Hello 2022!

Hi Everyone!

I’m pretty sure some people gave up on me. I have been missing since mid-October so I can’t say I blame them. Life got CRAZY. My last post was on October 21st. Halloween weekend we took off to South Carolina to visit my daughter and her family. Their neighborhood is something to behold on Halloween. We didn’t get to go Trick or Treating with my grandson, but we had a nice visit and took in the ghosts and goblins.

The following weekend we hosted our annual family chicken stew. I pulled it together this year, but not at the level that I have in previous years. Normally I have the weekend before to get the last minute stuff like decorations and games for the kids, but barely got the food this year. For the record, I do not consider myself an Event Planner. I enjoy the people, but not the planning.

Our chicken stew was on Nov. 4th. On November 5th we went and picked up the newest member of the family. Meet Miss Phoenix aka Pheeney. I couldn’t stand it without a dog. It was too quiet in the house and I was getting depressed. I had Dinah, our niece’s dog, but honestly any dog that weighs less than 15 pounds just doesn’t count as a dog in my world. Dinah is also very squeaky and needy. Phoenix is a American Pit Bull (though we do not know what Daddy was) and is probably going to top out somewhere between 60-70 lbs! DH and I just adore her. She is smart, full of personality and very snuggly. If we can survive the puppy stage Phoenix is going to make a great dog. Right now we are in the toddler stage and having to take her out once or twice a night and keep her entertained and out of trouble. We are exhausted!

The following weekend DN was supposed to be gone on a trip so DH and I planned a weekend of fun for us. Then the trip got canceled. Well, she’s old enough to take care of herself for a while now so we packed up the pup and went hiking that Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous day and Phoenix made the 3.5 hike mostly on her own four feet. Saturday night DH and I went to a local theatre and saw the band Sythian. We NEVER get to go out to see live music so this was a huge treat. A much needed evening of fun. If you haven’t heard of them, look them up.

November 19th was the long awaited graduation of my son from the firefighter’s academy. DH and I loaded up the car with the pup and my ex-mother-in-law (we are still good friends) and headed to the coast of North Carolina. DN had the opening night of her theatre class’ production of Frozen Jr. She stayed with my sister and BIL who also got her where she had to be on time and was in the audience for opening night. At the same time we were sitting outside for the graduation freezing body parts off. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but you just don’t think the coast of NC could be that freakin cold.

After a nice celebration dinner we headed back to our Airbnb, got up the next morning and toured the house my son and his girlfriend were closing on three days later. I’m very proud of them. They have made some serious lemonade out of lemons in the past two years.

Back in the car before noon for a 4 hour drive home and settled in the pup, dropped the niece off at the school, a quick dinner and off to see her in the play. By this point we are thinking we are getting too old for this kinda crazy schedule and by the next week our bodies were telling us the same thing. It started out as a head cold that put DH to bed for Thanksgiving. My daughter and family came in, but he didn’t get to enjoy the fellowship. I served him Thanksgiving in bed.

By the first week of December I had the head cold and we were both on our way to bronchitis. Yes, we tested for the CV19 and it was negative. The rest of December we struggled to just do what we had to do. DH worked, slowly. I managed minimum decorations. DN took on most of the Christmas goodies. We got through but I can’t say we were thriving. Let’s just say there are a few Christmas presents that have not been given yet. They may be Valentine’s Day presents!

So, that’s where I have been. We are fairly recovered, but I don’t yet have my normal energy level back yet. It was fun and we got to spend time with both sides of the family, but I’m ready for life to slow down and get back to normal.

NEXT WEEK (as long as crazy doesn’t set in again) I will fill you in on my 2022 plans. Wishing you all a wonderful 2022. I can tell you that my one resolution this year is to take things a little easier and add in more fun. I worked too hard last year.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace and Peace,

Christel

Puppy photo credit Hope Animal Rescue. House photo credit Sam Hittle.

Babies, Puppies, Flowers and Bees

Hi Everyone,

Yes, I went MIA last week. I believe I mentioned that we would be keeping one of our grandkids over the weekend. What I did not know until Thursday (when I normally write my posts) is that their new puppy would be coming along too. Now, I can usually juggle normal chores with a baby, but a baby and a puppy is a whole different thing. Add to the list that the puppy has some health issues and requires medication and baby + puppy = full time job. So last Thursday I went into high gear to finish any major projects/chores before Friday evening.

Even with DH and DN to help out, we had our hands full because the puppy kept us up several hours Friday night. Saturday we were exhausted all day but you can’t rest much with a baby and a puppy. Luckily both got a nap or two in. The baby was easy peasy the whole weekend. She was just the normal active 9 month old cruising the furniture and crawling around. The puppy on the other hand was cruising around trying to find more things to get into than the baby. He especially seemed to like chewing on our kitchen cabinet pulls! If you have ever had a baby/toddler and/or a puppy you know that if you can’t see them or hear them then you better be finding them ASAP!

Saturday night was slightly better. DH and I were out walking puppy and our dog at 3:30 am, but we got some sleep. Sunday night there were three people and one old dog that slept like the dead after baby and puppy left. Our dog, Odie, was a trooper the whole weekend. He tolerated the baby pulling his ears and poking her fingers up his nose and the puppy not only sat down on him, but took his bed part of the time. Odie just gave me a look that said “I didn’t sign up for this!”.

This week I am in gardening mode, attic work and beekeeping. I really think the months between April – October I need to call this blog “Bees, Babies and Blooms”. That pretty much covers most of what I am doing instead of artwork. I have a list I am trying to get to, but it’s a challenge right now. Next weekend we have another grandkid coming to stay so if I’m MIA next week then you know why.

Yes, it is really this purple!

The photos are of many of the lovely blooms happening here. We have spent almost a year and a half of uncovering flower beds and shrubs and trees from layers and layers of ivy (poison and English!), honeysuckle, and wild grapevines. Under all these vines have been so many lovely plants and flowers. This Spring has been more surprising than last Spring as we have uncovered more irises, lilies and old roses. We still have more to go and I have lots of thinning to do because these plants are so excited to see daylight again that they are bursting at the seams in places.

Have a great week and I plan to be back next week, but you know…babies, blooms and bees are happening here.

Faith, Hope, Love, Grace

Christel

Goodbye Dad

Hi Everyone,

My Dad, William Robert Dull, passed away on October 9th, 2019 at the age of 84.  The week before he passed was bittersweet.  Both my kids and grandson managed to get back from Charleston, SC and St. John USVI just in time to visit with him before he left us and be here for the funeral.  There are times when you know that you need to soak in every second because they are precious. October 3rd through October 13th were such days.  I don’t even think I took many, if any, pictures.  I just wanted to be very present for the time with my seven month old grandson, time with both kids, time with my Dad and time with my sister and Mom as we watched Dad slip away.

There are things that I wanted to say about my Dad that weren’t said at the funeral.  A funeral service is a collective snapshot of a life.  It certainly couldn’t convey 84 years of his life or even my 57 years of being the daughter of Bill Dull.  I would like to take the opportunity to tell about the man who taught me so much and even if no one else reads this, it will be here for me to revisit as needed in the years to come.

What I learned from Dad…

  1. The Practical.  In a time where it wasn’t so common for a girl to be taught such things, my Dad taught me very practical skills.  I learned the name and use of every tool in his toolbox as I helped him do repairs to the cars and maintenance around the house.  He taught me how to plant a garden, mow the yard, check the oil, jump the battery and change a tire on the car and clean a fish.   I have used these skills pretty much daily (except for fish cleaning, but I could probably still pull that out of the memory bank if necessary) since I was a teenager and especially as a single Mom.  I remember saying a silent “thank you Dad!” as I built shelves in my son’s closet many years ago.
  2. Real Friendship.  My Dad, except for his time in the Army, lived his entire life in the same community.  Most of his closest friends were the same ones he had a boy, but he loved people and had a wide circle of good friends.  My Dad’s family loved to argue politics.  It was a sport to them.  In contrast to today’s craziness, my Dad would have NEVER dreamed of dissolving a friendship over something as petty as politics. Several of his close friends were of the opposite party and yet after a good political “discussion” over coffee they would walk away as friends to repeat the conversation another day.  Having had at least one incident where I evidently offended a “friend” because of an opposing view and was dropped from their friend list, I will continue to follow my Dad’s example of putting friendship first.
  3. A Love of Nature, Animals and Small Children. Dad never would have guessed that it was his influence that began my “Hippie Mama” (my kids’ sometimes nickname for me) mind frame. He would walk through the woods and name every tree, plant, bird and animal sound.  In the 70’s we would be in the car and he would rant and rave about the trash on the side of the road.  We NEVER looked for pets because Dad brought home every unwanted, home needing creature.  Only he could love the infamous Killer Cat, aka “the meanest cat on earth” that lived to be 22 years old! I got it honest.  He also loved babies and small children like nobody’s business. I was waiting on the day that we needed bail money because he scared some young mother to death by stalking their baby or child in a store to make silly faces or baby talk to them. On a mission trip that took us to a border town in Mexico, he was so upset by the small children begging in the streets that I checked under the seats of the bus on our way back to make sure he hadn’t smuggled some of the children on with us.
  4. Perseverance. I learned this lesson by watching my Dad for six long years.  To be able to move up into management at his company Dad needed to have a college degree.  While working FULL TIME, RAISING A FAMILY and LOOKING AFTER A HOME, my Dad went to NIGHT SCHOOL for SIX YEARS! Three nights a week he came home from work, ate supper, got into his used VW Beetle (back when gas was in short supply) and drove to the nearest community college for classes.  The other two nights a week and on weekends he studied. We didn’t see him much during those years, but even though I was little I knew he was putting in some hard work.  I remember watching him walk across the stage to receive his Bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and being very proud of my Dad…and happy that we would have more time with him again.  His example of putting in the time, effort and hard work to reach a goal has gotten me through some tough times.  Put one foot in front of the other and get it done no matter how hard something is.
  5. Love People and Do The Right Thing.  I can’t get through this one without sobbing. He loved his family, his friends, his community and his country even when all of them let him down or disappointed him at times.  He did the right thing for all of them even when I’m sure he didn’t want to or knew there would be no recognition or reward.  Kenny, his long time friend who spoke at his funeral, called my Dad “A Southern Gentleman”. That’s probably as true as it gets in the best sense of the title.  Not in the warped, contemporary political take of Southern men, but of the long standing sense of pride, gentlemanly behavior towards all people (he had friends of all ages, race and political persuasions). Dad would stand up for what he believed was right in a heart beat and scare you half to death, but turn right around and rescue a kitten from a drain pipe. You could count on him.  ALWAYS!

We are going to miss you Pop!

 

Tackle box therapy 

Hi Everyone,

How have you been? We have had one of those weeks where almost every day has been packed full. Monday and Tuesday seemed to have been winter’s last rally, complete with snow on Tuesday. Thankfully it looks like we have entered true Spring now. 

I’m going to keep this short today. Last night I picked my son up at the airport and he will be in for a few days visit as well as my daughter, son-in-law and that soon to be spoiled grandbaby. We keep getting more and more depressing news about my Dad’s health so the visits will be a bright spot this week. Needless to say, I’m going to spend every possible minute with family for the next few days. Tomorrow Miss L. has a color run and immediately after that my bonus daughter has a horse show. Sunday we all converge at my parents’ for food, fun and baby spoilage.

This week has been a continuation of the never ending cleaning, decluttering and packing up. We are reaching crunch time now that prime house selling season is upon us. The other day during my storage unit cleaning, I unearthed an old “friend”.  This fishing tackle box started holding my art supplies way back in high school. It was then a constant companion in college as I hauled drawing pencils and charcoal back and forth from art classes to dorm room. At some point I moved on to art supplies that no longer fit in this simple box. Airbrushes, tubes of paint, cameras, COMPUTERS were all too big. 


It’s funny how at this time of major downsizing in my life, my tackle box reappeared just when I needed it. In a couple of weeks I am going to have to find a place to hide my art supplies at a calls notice. My paints and canvas have been packed up and are soon heading to the same storage unit my tackle box lived in. I will be down to just pencils, pastels and paper that can easily be tucked away. It’s crazy to get excited over finding this simple, super efficient, portable box, but it solved a major problem of how to wrangle my supplies in a stressful situation. Divine intervention. Therapy in a tackle box…that does not include cleaning fish! 

Here is this week’s work in progress. I’m trying to draw fog. It’s a challenge. 


I’m off to make coffee for the “boy”. Have an awesome week! 

He’s here! 

Hi Everyone,

Baby Brayden arrived on Tuesday, March 5 at 12:57 pm. He decided to arrive much faster than anyone expected so all the grandparents were in route when we got the call he had arrived. Of course I have to show pictures or my grandparent card will be revoked. 


He looks like a mini version of my son-in-law, but I suspect his personality may be more like his momma. On day two he was already raising that head trying to look around. His mom would scream at the top of her lungs if she had to look at a ceiling. She spent her entire infant hood in a bouncy chair so she could see what was going on around her. 

I am enjoying my quiet, snuggling time with the little guy and quality time with my daughter and SIL, but have to leave this sweet time and warm weather and head back to the hills tomorrow to the other people who need me. For that reason, I’m just popping in with the baby arrival announcement and go back to squeeze out as much baby time as I can in the time I have left. 

Have a great weekend!