Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Seven-Year Cat Scratch Fever

Carla at the locks on the Mississippi
We had visitors. Close encounters of the nerd kind. There were people sleeping in my guest room. And a most surprising development in months, maybe even years.

Brother Jim and his wife Carla flew in from Everett, Wash., for a weeklong visit with the Wisconsin arm of the clan. It was a really nice time. I'm beginning to think we're all just terribly wise not to visit one another except for once every couple of years. It keeps things fresh.

Columbia at the Eagle Center
So Jim and Carla flew into Minneapolis, rented a car and drove down to Ettrick, staying with Steve and Pam for three nights and then staying three nights with me in La Crosse. I went out to Ettrick for the regular Friday Pizza Night, giving 50-50 on whether the Washingtonians arrive before I faded.

Natalie and Lake Toys carousel
They stopped and had dinner with Amanda in Winona (on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi). Around 9:30, I called it an evening and drove home. Good thing, too, as Jim and Carla arrived between 10 and 11. I had to get my beauty sleep, as we were all going to make the Cheese Shop-Eagle Center-Lake Toys River arc the next day.

The idea of this day trip is drive north on the Wisconsin side of the river. Stops are Alma (the great bluff view of me), Nelson (with a great cheese shop). We cross over to Wabasha and the Eagle Center on the Minnesota side continuing south to Lake Toys, then Winona and home.

This time out, we had lunch at Slippery's (famed for being a location shoot for "Grumpy Old Men"), visited the eagles and stopped off at Lake Toys for fudge and ice cream cone purchases, as well as a ride on the carousel for Natalie.

The Coulee Valley, I guess it's called
I skipped out on Sunday's excursion, as I was still working on cleaning the house. I had paid Emily to come over and clean the week before, but there was still stuff to do (there's always stuff to do), so I was a busy guy. Patty always gets upset when overt cleaning takes place, so I try to do it as surreptitiously as possible.

Speaking of Patty, something amazing happened. A few weeks ago, Steve and Pam were sitting in the living room at my place and Patty came downstairs and meowed at Pam. From the landing, of course, but she did allow herself to be seen.

After seven years, Patty starts socializing.
Then, Tuesday morning, I believe it was, Jim was up and in the bathroom and, as he reported it, Patty came in and started rubbing up against his legs. He reached down and she let him pet her. Afterwards, she came down in the evening and got petted by Jim and Carla. It seems she's realized the pleasures of socialization.

On Monday, around noon, Steve came into town with Jim and Carla (Pam was at work at Western Technical College, as she is not yet retired). It was a gray day, drizzling/raining off and on in the afternoon, but we did get in a stroll through the International Gardens. and check out Riverside Park.

On Tuesday we drove back to Minnesota, about an hour east, to a small town called Lanesboro, which is something of an arts colony, as well as an Amish stronghold. Carla was interested in a tour they had, about 3 hours long, which showed you working Amish farms and gave you a chance to purchase their wares as you stopped at each farm.

An Amish farmhouse
Of course, being Amish, they dealt only in cash, and that was probably a saving grace for me, because I only had about $50 in my pocket. So I ended up buying a very nice door mat for the front door. I could have dumped a couple grand or more into the amazing furniture they had available, but alas, lack the funds. Beautiful work.

Tuesday evening we went out to dinner at Piggy's, which was a very disappointing experience. This is a restaurant down in the arts district (across the street from the Pump House Art Center and catty-cornered from the community theater). I have had numerous lunches there, and the food was really good. This time, we went "upstairs" for fine dining and, after about an hour of waiting got lukewarm food and dismal service. The woman wasn't rude or abrupt, just terribly trained. I had steak and scallops, and the scallops were on the point of being bad.

Wednesday, Jim and Carla went to Pettipoint Island and some canoeing. I stayed at home and nursed my back, which had received a lurching in the tour bus much like I experienced on the train going cross country. It took several days (in both instances) to work out the sore muscles that resulted.

Wednesday evening, Steve and Pam and Amanda and Natalie joined us in the back yard for brats. Amanda did the cooking. I thought it was a fitting conclusion to Jim and Carla's Wisconsin experience.

I got an e-mail from the place in Paris that is renting us our apartment. Seems, because of some regulatory changes or something, the apartment I originally rented (and have already paid for) is unavailable. So they sent a list of similar properties for about the same price but none of them had two bedrooms or a bathtub.

I went online and picked out another property, only a few blocks from the original one, and replied via e-mail that this was the property I wanted and to apply my payments to this one.

I got a reply back from an actual person (Vesna), and I think things are back on track.

It's getting close to leaving time and I'm starting to get excited about this.

And since I didn't end this blog at the ten-year mark, I suppose I'll have to make a really long entry about Paris when I get back. (I don't want to lug the computer overseas and the rules on bringing them into the country are murky right now.)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Untidy Timing

Well, Sept. 11, the 10-year anniversary of my starting this blog, came and went and I never got around to putting together a deeply meaningful, comprehensive final post.

So screw that. I guess you're going to be inflicted with photos and a painfully long post about the upcoming vacation in Paris. That won't be for a while yet.

That's all. Nothing to blog about.

Nothing to see here.

Go away and do something more interesting.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Summer Stuff

Let's see. What's been going on? Like most of my life, there's not much to report.

From left, Ada, Pam and Penny attack tabletop s'mores.
In July, longtime Solberg family friends visited (Sam, Ada and Susan). I joined them, Steve and Pam, and Pam's sister Penny at the Cameron Park Farmer's Market, then we walked over to the Twisted Moose for dinner. The food was good (the place is new, and Steve and I had had lunch there recently), and Ada insisted on ordering the tabletop S'mores for dessert. It was really quite interesting.

Picnic cake
That was on Friday. On Sunday, there was a family get-together in Ettrick and a great host of Solbergs were present for the festivities. Someone brought a really great cake that looked like a picnic basket on top of a checkered blanket. It even included ants marching toward the food. I didn't get a single bite of it, but I'm told it was as tasty as it was creative.

The day's repast was typical Wisconsin, with barbecue (which is ground beef with a tomato sauce served on hamburger buns) and hot dogs. There were also numerous finger foods, appetizers, and sundry goodies that everyone had brought. And seeing as everyone had brought a little something, there was lots and lots of food.

The family gathers, including a squirming Natalie, far right.
To give you an idea of how many Solbergs there are (and were there), here is a group photo of the clan as it convened for the above-described gathering.

The next Saturday was my 64th birthday, and Steve and Pam took me out to a real Wisconsin supper club situated on the banks of the Mississippi in Trempleau, north of La Crosse. The environment was evocative of supper club places in Oregon that our parents had taken us to as kids, except it did not have the relish tray on the table. Emily and Jim were also in attendance, and it was a great birthday present.

Steve and Pam at the Viroqua War Memorial.
Steve, Pam and I went on our second day trip, this time to Viroqua, which is south of La Crosse and home town to my friend Deeann Hoff, who was art director when I worked at the Hollywood Reporter. I wanted to check out Gary's Rock Shop, which I had seen on the news, and I wanted to try out lunch at Driftless Cafe, which had won a national award and also been on the news. I bought a stone carving (a bison or a bear or something) and lunch was very good.

As of the first of August, I've started volunteering at the Center (full name is Seven Rivers LGBTQ Connection) on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 4-8 p.m. On Mondays, a board member named Kellen hosts a live Facebook feed focusing on folks in our community. And on Wednesdays nothing of importance occurs, so things are pretty dead for my shifts.

There was one Wednesday when the board met to discuss expanding the Center into an adjacent space in our current building (we are literally busting at the seams), and I got to tag along and inspect the proposed expansion space. It would be a real improvement, and make a coffee bar and hangout space a reality.

Plant on April 5 this year
Just today, my quietude was broken by a tall gentleman who walked in. Turns out he's been in town for all of 10 days, is in residency at Gundersen Healthcare (my provider) in alternative and spiritual healing. He asked lots of questions about the town and the people, what we did at the Center. I filled him in as much as I could, explaining that I had only been here two years, which is considered an outsider by the locals.

Repotted plant
The plant in the living room (I have no idea what it's called) has grown so much that it required a second transplanting. I found a nice planter at Menard's — lightweight and just stylish enough for my tastes (also it has no drain hole, which is good for the floors). I messed up the dining room preparing the soil and pulling apart the dense root ball. It turns out there are seven separate plants, so now it is/they are repotted and just starting to take off after establishing new roots.

To give you an idea of how happy this plant is, I've posted a photo of it from April, when it got its first transplant, and after this second transplanting. Please note there is no longer a table underneath; the pot is a standing planter.

Patty sleeping with her eyes open
and her tongue out, just because.
I think I've finally found a person to do my yard. I've been looking for someone who can do the weeding and trimming and let me do the mowing. He also does snow removal, so I may have the same deal with him in winter: I do the sidewalks and he does the driveway. We're meeting tomorrow, so all things should shake out then. Cross your fingers: a good , reliable yard person is hard to find here.

Another fun household thing: the knob on the shower no longer mixes hot and cold water, but provides one or the other. I am also sick of the toilet upstairs, and when its ballast ball broke off last week, I decided it was time to replace it with a high-profile unit. So I had the plumber out this week to check things out. He took pictures and will get back to me with a quote. Doesn't matter; if it's within reason, he can do it ASAP. I'm sick of showering in the basement (although the basement shower is really nice, and much cooler in the summer).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mark Marking Time

New mug because
I finally did it. Dad's grandfather clock is once again ticking out time.

When mom died, my niece Amanda took several pieces from the estate. Among them was the clock.

It got shipped out to Ettrick in 2010 and sat in Pam and Steve's living room (still swathed in bubble wrap), never set up but waiting for Amanda to get a place where she could house it.

Grandfather clock working
When I bought my home in 2015, Amanda suggested I take the clock, since I had room for it and it lent itself to the house. So we moved it over to my house and it has sat in the living room, unwrapped, only semi-assembled. The winding key was missing and the weights were not installed. Still, it looked really good.

After my brother Steve retired earlier this year, he cleaned out his home office and ran across all the paperwork for the clock, including the installation instructions and, yes, the winding key. There was finally no real reason not to get the clock up and running.

Crystal under the entry light
I can't imagine that a clock not keeping time in one's home can't be good feng shui, and I've been trying to fine-tune things. Pam kind of started it all with the offer of a crystal for the entry. (The front door faces the front closet on the other side of the entryway. The crystal helps to disperse the chi to the sides, I'm told.)

The other dormant feng shui remedy in the house was the table fountain. It had been sitting to the side in the entry, unplugged, unfilled, inert. It was just a matter of sprucing it up a bit, some assembly and a little experimentation.

Wet and flowing once more
I tried it out where it was in the entry, but I found I couldn't hear the water, and I'm of the opinion that the sensory input of feng shui remedies is half their effect. So I made a little room in the corner of the living room and moved it there. It looks really nice there, and the sound of water fills the room.

The other thing I did (awhile ago) but haven't shared is the print plates from "The Bridge of San Luis Rey." My dad gave me the book for Christmas when I was in my early teens, and I loved the story and was taken by the litho art plates. I had them hanging up the stairway in Pasadena, for anyone who visited there.

But when I went to hang them in the dining room here, I discovered that the frames were too big and slightly different sizes. That just wouldn't work in the tight arrangement I wanted. I found super cheap frames online ($8 a piece) and they're anodized aluminum so they have a slick, minimal look.

Plates from The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
But back to the clock: I got out the instructions and read through them several times to make sure I knew what I was doing. Some of the clock elements are fairly fragile, so I wanted to work carefully and deliberately.

It really didn't take much at all. Getting the weight wheels onto their cables was the most difficult part. Once I got everything assembled, I started the pendulum swinging and the clock's been striking the hour and quarter hours ever since.

Right now it's on Winchester chimes, but there are other settings (including silent). The chimes are quiet enough that I don't hear them up in the bedroom, and I like hearing the clock marking time all day long when I'm downstairs.

And speaking of time, I was looking back on the blog entries and realized that I started this 10 years ago come September 11. I did not start it on that date for any meaning, it just happened to be when I sat down in front of the computer for my first entry.

So I've decided that, since only about a dozen people (if that) read these posts, I'm going to conclude this project 10 years to the day it began. Now I just have to remember to make that last post on September 11, 2017.

I guess you'll never get to hear about the trip to Paris and Le Salon du Chocolat here, as that will happen in October. Them's the breaks.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Early Sticky Summer

Dark clouds approaching
Today at 3 p.m. the sun went away. Huge gray clouds loomed from the north and west, and soon it looked as dark as sunset. The cat's head popped up in alarm and she shot off upstairs for cover. There was a moment's silence outside, then came the rain. Then the wind. Then the lightning, followed by loud thunder. As usual, my smartphone weather alert popped up a minute or so after the pelting rain began. "Precipitation detected within five miles of your location." Thanks for the heads up.

Here comes the storm
This last week has been hot and humid. La Crosse has set new record high temperatures nearly every other day. Highs in the 90s, lows in the upper 70s, and humidity of 50% and 60%. Needless to say, the air conditioner has been running around the clock, as much to pull the stickiness out of the air as to cool it.

Now the front has passed on to the east, the thunder has lessened somewhat, the winds are just blustery and the rain is steady. We didn't get much rain in the last month or so, and this is a relief, for my lawn and, more important, the farmers all around who feed us.

Moments before bolting
Patty, my cat, has developed a sixth sense for thunder storms. I think she must feel the ozone in the air or something, because she's upstairs and ensconced in her happy place before a drop of rain ever falls. She is also an excellent watch cat: whenever someone comes to the door (or even when the neighbors take their trash out) her head pops up in alarm and she's gone.

The hills are alive
It was only weeks ago, it seems, that the trees were emerging from their dormancy, budding, every green possible springing up in the neighborhoods, on hillsides, the bare canvas of winter suddenly covered in verdant vegetation. And with that reawakening came the burgeoning growth of my yards, both front and back. I got the lawn mower up and working a few weeks ago and tackled both the front and back yards. 

My little meadow
Since then, I have again mowed the front, but decided to leave the back yard to go fallow, since it's more a collection of meadow plants than actual grass. There are tiny purple and white flowers, low-growing greenery and patches of tall grass. I think it's rather pretty.

I let it go wild because I don't use the yard but, since allowing it to take its own course, I have found that the neighborhood wildlife are quite fond of it. I have a couple rabbits who come and hide in the grass while munching it. The squirrels like it, and the birds visit every morning and afternoon, especially the robins.

Just because
I know at some point I'll have to cut it back at least once, but since no one sees it but me and my backyard guests, I'm in no hurry. The front yard, however, is another matter. Facing one of the most traveled streets in town, everyone gets a gander at it, so I try to keep it at least presentable.

At first I was horrified at all the weeds in the lawn. But as I went about town, I realized that only the expensive houses with pristine yards (and a full compliment of gardeners) had grass lawns. Everyone else (including the city parks) just kept the weeds and plants in among the grass mowed down to an acceptable height, so that has been my strategy, as well.

Best cheese shop I've found in Wisconsin
My brother Steve has officially retired, and we are committed to planning day trips, since we now both have our days free. It being summer, his wife Pam (a teacher at the local community college) may come along if she's not busy taking her classes online this summer. A few weeks ago, we took our first outing up to Nelson, along the Mississippi, to visit the amazing cheese shop there.

We stopped and had lunch (the cheese shop is also a sandwich shop). I picked up some Jarlsberg and a cousin to brie (can't remember the name, but it was scrumptious) after having a reuben sandwich with a cream soda.

Toy robots for days
We then headed over the river to the Minnesota side, driving down to Lake Toys, a complex of toy store, toy museum, lunch shop, fudge store, carousel and mini golf course. The only other time I'd been there was in March. The snow was still on the ground and the mini golf was totally covered. 

This time around I got to see it active, with several water features. I was amused to see the water was tinted blue, as though the water itself wasn't inviting enough. I also stumbled upon a couple fun mirrors that I'd never noticed before; embarrassing, because they are in the main hallway of the place.

Funhouse mirror
We continued south to Winona (stomping grounds of Amanda and Natalie), then over the bridge to the Wisconsin side and back to Ettrick. It was a pleasant day, and I got to purchase cheeses (though my next trip to Nelson I have sworn to be a little bolder in my exotic cheese choices).

Pam and the toy museum
Beyond that, I haven't been up to a whole lot. Moon Tunes (a series of weekly free concerts at Riverside Park) started last week, but it's too muggy to sit out there for any time. Artspire, the annual arts street festival, was last Saturday, and the same excuse applies for not visiting that.

Waiting for egg rolls. Photo by Pete Solberg
On Friday, things were a little more pleasant, and Pam and I went down to the Farmer's Market in Cameron Park (right downtown). Her brother Pete is the unofficial photographer for the market, so he's always in evidence. We walked up and down the stalls. I was looking for tomatoes, but it's a little too early for them. The big crops now are strawberries and asparagus. I bought neither.

I replenished my stock of Kickapoo maple syrup (dynamite stuff), broke down and got a loaf of chocolate cherry zucchini bread, and bought a hand-thrown coffee mug, which I have yet to use. (I mean, who wants to brew up a piping hot pot of coffee when it's 80ยบ at 9 a.m.?) After this consumer frenzy, Pam and I stopped by the food truck. She got egg rolls and rice, I got sweet and sour chicken and rice. Heading back down the line of stalls, we chose cookies for dessert.

Artificial intelligence names
colors. Just because
My sister Kittie sent an e-mail recently, asking if I had old family photos, as she was looking for a particular one to use in a playbill for a show she helps put on each year. I did have old photos, so I dragged them down and spread everything out on the dining room table. It was certainly a stroll down memory lane.

I didn't find the one she was looking for, but I did successfully separate the photos out into separate piles for the five siblings. Then, this afternoon, Kittie called again and said Steve had some photos, as well. So he's bringing them over tomorrow, along with great-niece Natalie. Steve has a doctor's appointment, so this will be my first time watching Natalie solo. I think I'll enlist her in a separation of the new old photos and see if we can't find something more appropriate depicting her great-aunt Kittie.

The one constant over the weeks has been my reacquaintance with the French language via Rosetta Stone. As dedicated readers will know, Kittie, her husband Dave and myself are going to Paris in October to attend Le Salon du Chocolat. And although just about everyone who deals with the public there speaks English, I want to be able to speak to and understand what the locals are saying in their native language. It's also a good way to reactivate the four years of high school French I took and keep my gray cells alive and hopping.

Just because again
Beyond that, I've started binge watching "Leftovers" on HBO. I've been watching the first two seasons on HBO GO on my laptop, then I plan to segue to the show's third season now on cable.

Also, I watch the news channels on a daily basis, waiting patiently for things to unravel, for the truth to come to light. I have a feeling that, once all is known, Watergate will pale in comparison to the misdeeds of Trump, his campaign, his cronies and, indeed, his entire presidency. 

But, as with Watergate, it will be a long haul between the smelling of the malignant detritus and the vivisection of the entire panorama of ill deeds. Next year's elections will be interesting.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Song

I think spring is finally here. We haven't had a freezing temperature at night for over a week, and the days are reaching up into the mid- and upper-60s. The sun appears in the east around 6 a.m. or so and doesn't dip into the west until nearly 8 p.m.

We've had rains off and on over the last few weeks (even a couple of thunder claps, which send Patty shooting upstairs to hide under the bed), and the grass is getting scraggly enough that I'll have to seriously think about assembling the lawn mower. Also, I'd say it's fairly safe to put the snow thrower away until next fall.

Patty in the afternoon sun
Looking at the square footage of the driveway and walks versus that of the yards, I think it's about the same area I'll have to cover with the mower. There will be extra effort the first time around the yard, as the trash passers-by have tossed into the front yard over the winter will have to be collected. (The small stuff, I already did a once around picking up beer cans, tennis balls, fast-food wrappers and the like.)

I've had the house opened up on several occasions, but Patty doesn't seem interested in getting back into the window casements, staring at the outside world. When they stay open all day and night, I think she'll get back into the habit. By the end of fall, I'm sure she'll be slightly offended when the windows close up again for the winter.

She does have a wonderful time sun bathing in the living room, though. And with a plant growing in the window, she's sure to get that lovely afternoon sun, no matter how glaring it gets.

Homemade politics
We've had another election, this one for the city council. My new council member is Jessica Olson. I got one of her circulars in the mail and, once again, it encapsulates the reason I love it here in La Crosse. Instead of hiring a marketing firm to send out slick campaign materials, it was all done at the kitchen table.

You can see by the picture that the circular is handmade with construction paper and paper doilies, along with a photo of Jessica. A short letter outlining her positions was included. The envelope is hand addressed, and the stamp is licked and placed by hand. Even the return address sticker is hand applied. I'm glad she won.

The biggest news since my last entry is that my sister Kittie and her husband David are going with me to Paris for Le Salon Chocolat in October. We've got the plane tickets purchased, I rented a two-bedroom apartment in the Marais for us, and we're looking at what else to fill the week with, beyond the chocolate fair.

We just couldn't resist the temptation
David wants to see the Eiffel Tower. I want to hit some of the museums that I haven't made it to in my previous trips, and I'm trying to get them on an evening boat tour of the city. No one's really had time to pore over the information, as it's tax season for Kittie and David is very busy at work.

I do have time, so I'm online every couple days looking up potential eateries and orienting myself to this new neighborhood. I usually stay down by the Louvre in the 1st arrondisement, but I had a problem finding any decent apartments in that area, especially two-bedroom places.

The Marais is the gay district in Paris, although I didn't choose it for that reason. It was the cheapest two-bedroom apartment with double beds and a large soaking tub. It's also two short blocks from the Metro station and two short blocks to the Monoprix (think Target meets A&P). There are also many places that sell hamburgers, just in case we get a hankering for home. Also, there's a Starbuck's a couple blocks down the Rue Rivoli.

I've also coughed up some money to Rosetta Stone to brush up on my French. In Paris, just about anyone who deals with the public speaks English, but I'm going to be prepared at least to feel good about speaking with the natives if needed. I go to sleep every night with French swimming around in my head, which is a good sign, as I recall.

In a few weeks it's going to be warm enough to get started with spring cleaning. I really understand what that means now. After months and months of a closed-up house, Clearing everything out and polishing up the place is at least a necessity, if not a requirement.

As per usual these last few years, I waited until the last minute to do my taxes. They were fairly simple this year, so it took less than an hour, and I'm getting money back, which is nice. With my move to La Crosse happening in April, my car registration and insurance was due as well, followed by my homeowner's insurance in May.

So that's my post. I'm trying to keep up at least one a month. If my life ever gets exciting, their frequency might pick up. But I wouldn't count on it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Still Breathing

I guess it's time for another entry, though nothing much is going on.

Christmas bins
I have yet to get all the boxes down to the basement, mostly because once I got everything into the new bins, there are excess boxes, which means having to glean everything out of them, then break them down and get them out to the garage.

New plant in the window
It seems like, being cooped up in the house on cold days, I could get all this stuff done, but I seem only to attack one or two chores a day—if there's nothing good on Netflix. I have been making a concerted effort to keep the kitchen clean (it's very easy for things to pile up). I have the disability that most men have: being incapable of rinsing a dish and putting it directly into the dishwasher. My M.O. is to stack them up in the right side of the sink and let them "soak" (which means just sit there). Pots and pans need to be done by hand, so those pile up in left side. Lately, I've tried to have everything clean before I go to bed, and this has been fairly successful.

Little improvements have cropped up around the house, like a new caddy for the shower upstairs (the old one had weird red stuff growing on it: it was only 12 years old), finally repotting the plant I got several months ago at the grocery store (it's at the living room window, adding class to the place). More puttering. I also got a second toolbox, so there's one for downstairs and one for upstairs. Maybe I'll get to mounting all the stuff needs mounting (the vacuum cleaner, new smoke/CO detectors) and get the rest of the artwork up on the walls.

Sitting area is looking good these days
Things have been nice and warm (well, 40s and 50s, which seems almost tropical) and the snow has melted away. It would seem that spring was here, but the upcoming week will bring a cold snap, a couple days of near-freezing daytime highs and down into the teens at night. Get precipitation with that, and it means more snow and more snow removal. I am now fully prepared for winter weather, with my snow thrower, my snow shovel, my snow boots and nearly 70 pounds of ice melt salt still remaining. This will ensure that we don't have any more heavy snows.

Mower and thrower: Going green
I have been thinking on spring though, and bought a lawn mower that runs on the same batteries as the snow thrower. I'm taking responsibility for the yard myself, since hiring someone is such a pain. Mark (my previous yard guy) really spoiled me. I figure taking over the mowing might even lead to getting out in the yard and planting something. I'd really like to have something planted that would come up with the spring thaw. Something with color.

I have also been tackling the unpacked boxes upstairs. When you have extra room, it's very easy to leave all the stuff you don't use all the time in the boxes it arrived in. Most of it is office flotsam that really should be stowed or tossed, but there's enough stuff among it that should be out and available, so each box needs going through. I'm digging through, organizing stuff to be stowed and finding homes for the stuff I want to keep out and available. And getting rid of more empty boxes. Then there's the books and the artwork.

Sassy brassy stuff
I've finally put up the brass hook rack in the bedroom. I dragged out all the brass stuff that hadn't been polished in three or four years and bought some Brasso. It took a good afternoon of elbow grease, but now my comedy/tragedy masks, the hook rack, and the house numbers are all shiny. (Getting the numbers back on the door is another chore I've been putting off because of the cold.)

I also broke down last month and bought a new iPhone 7 (my previous phone was an iPhone 4 and the battery was starting to fizzle, not holding a charge overnight). The new phone has lots of bells and whistles, and I now get reception when I'm out in Ettrick at Pam and Steve's place (Friday nights are Pizza Nights, you'll recall).

Finally found a decent lamp
The last and most recent acquisition is a lamp for the "conversation area" in the living room. I finally found one that I liked that didn't cost an arm and a leg. And, of course, it came in a box; two boxes, actually. More breaking down and stowing.

This weekend we spring ahead, timewise, and I think the change will do a lot toward making things feel more like spring. This past winter, I noticed how long nights and short days affect me. It's not as pronounced as dark winters in Alaska were, but it still is a change. Maybe I need one of those sun therapy lamps.

I've gotten used to the cold, though, and enjoy it. Temperatures in the 30s are quite comfortable, and when it gets into the 40s things are downright cozy. All too soon, though, I'll be bitching about the weather being hot and muggy. Life's like that.