Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday morning ramble.....

Exeter Cathedral in South Devon, England

I am putting my Monday Food Post in hiatus for a while, for how long I don't know, not too long I don't think.  I haven't been trying any new dishes of late, making old tried and true favorites, or simple but nourishing ones that we can just throw together. 

 We will also be busy with the family as Gregg's Dad is coming up to his 95th birthday and family are flying in to help him celebrate.  It will indeed be a wonderful celebration this year, it is an extra blessing for everyone. 

We have been very busy at home as we are starting a long list of projects/improvements, and we are up to our ears in pots of paint.  We do a little here and a little there, and we figured by using our tortoise and the hare method, we will get things done eventually, and probably get it more neatly done. At least we are moving in the right direction, and I couldn't be happier we have at least made a start.  We just won't be doing any entertaining at home until the downstairs is once again presentable.

 I have already mentioned the plumber visits and another man came to measure the area where our new stove top is going to be placed.  I will be able to put the portable two-ring burner away soon, fingers crossed.  It will be brought out when we have large gatherings and I need the extra cooking elements.  

In the meantime the stove top.  Oh boy, I thought it would be an easier project than it is turning out to be.  The standard measurements for kitchen appliances of a 30 year old house has changed, and a new standard stove top today doesn't match the hole in our countertop.  It is too small a hole, which means we are going to have to find a carpenter to make that hole bigger.  I wish we had those kind of skills.  My dad was an excellent hobbyist carpenter but did not pass those genes down to his daughter.  One day we will redo the entire kitchen but that's not in the cards for a while.  

Another man came by and power-washed the siding on our house last week.  The house is looking pretty spiffy on the outside.   He did a great job and we asked him if he could please come back next year.  He put us on his call list.

The hall closet is almost finished I am happy to say, and we have considered this a practice session for larger painting projects.  The last time we did any major painting ourselves was when we sold our house in California twenty-five years ago.  I could actually stand on a stool without getting dizzy, or bend my body without a groan, the kind of sound effects I use more and more when I try to touch my toes.  I can still actually touch them, but you know, sound effects.  

Now we are retired we figured we can paint the house ourselves.  The spirit is certainly willing.  We have a tandem technique.  Gregg paints the top part and the lowest part, and I do the middle part as far as my arms will stretch, no over-stretching, no groans.  It works out pretty good that way.  I have also been watching YouTube techniques from professional painters.  I have learned a lot doing that.  So, onward and upward and don't forget to paint in a 'W' Denise.  None of this straight up and down malarkey.  Any other tips out there please pass them on, and no we're not going to hire a professional until we absolutely have to.

This has been another busy month for visiting with family and friends, and we even managed a trip up to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoahs, fitted in between the many trips to the hardware store.

In our downtime we have been having fun with genealogy.  Gregg has discovered this wonderful new hobby, investigating not only his family tree but mine too.  Much to my surprise, and delight, I find that I have relatives in America, tracing back to some of the first immigrants to Jamestown in Virginia, and one who fought on the Colonial side during the War of Independence. 

Yes, I'm afraid being related to Princess Catherine of Denmark didn't pan out.  At that time there was no Catherine of Denmark, and no she didn't marry a relative of mine because she didn't exist. Gregg did have fun calling me Your Royal Highness for a while but thankfully that went away the next time he discovered another relative.  "Hey, did you know you were related to......"   It truly has been a hoot at times.  There were relatives who came here and settled in Pennsylvania in the 1800's, other in Indiana.  Some went to Australia.  There is Welsh, Irish and French blood coursing through my veins. Who would ever have thought.  

An old friend told me years ago that once we started doing this it would become addictive.  I can say now that he was right.  You just want to find out more. Gregg has gotten my roots going back as far as the 1100's and he is amazed at how great the records are allowing us to go back that far.  There have been a few misleads and we have had to backtrack here and there, but with lots of cross-referencing we have managed to stay on the right branch leading to another branch, and so on and so on and so on. 

I didn't realize how much fun it would be finding out about my relatives going back hundreds of years.  The names have been fun, like Bathsheba which was mentioned two or three times, a few Hannah's, there was an Armel married to Awelthy, Enoch, Samuel, literally thousands of names.  My grandmother, my mum's mother, had a brother called Bertie who at 18 years of age was on a ship that was sunk during WWI, and he was lost at sea.  His name is on the memorial in Plymouth which we visited on holiday.  We did not know about this as I have only just found out about Great-Uncle Bertie. I don't even remember my mum mentioning him but am so glad I know of him now.  Definitely another reason to go back.  Well, I know those of you who have been invested in genealogy know how wonderful a time we are having discovering new branches on our family tree.

Enough of the rambling.  At the top I put three photos together from our visit to Exeter Cathedral, and will do a main post soon.  All the times I visited Exeter in my youth I never once went to the Cathedral. I doubt I would have appreciated it then as much as I did this time.  It is an amazing place and full of beauty and history.

In the meantime, Her Royal Highness, not related to the Danish Royal Family, is going back to painting the closet.