Feeling at Home at Bev’s Place

First, an update from last Friday’s post: The chocolate cake was a hit. (Was there any doubt?)

Second, as to our haphazard posting: If I ever get back on a regular writing schedule, it will be a miracle. (Hang tight, folks. We’ll get there eventually.)

Third, as to our housing situation: We signed the papers on Monday; it’s officially ours. (Yippee!)

mid-century home

I don’t know how well you can see her, but in front of the house by the two small shrubs we have a metal lawn decoration of a girl holding a flower pot.

She came with us from Phoenix. My kids were in grade school when we found her in a thrift shop, so we’ve had her quite some time. Over the years she took on a fine reddish-brown patina. As you can see, she fits right in with our Minnesota home.

I wonder how long before that’s true for me? When will this truly feel like our home?

At times it feels like we’re staying in a vacation rental, mostly when we walk to the river or stroll along the nearby golf course.

Other times it feels like we’re staying in the home of an elderly relative.

(There was a time when the sight of arm rails and assists would have bothered me. But after having undergone a couple difficult surgeries, I look at them now and think, “What a great idea!”)

Husband and I seem to have a knack for buying the homes of old ladies. Our first was in Nebraska from a woman named Willametta (great name, don’t you think?). The second was Eva’s home in Phoenix.

And now it’s Beverly’s home. Or Bev, as the neighbors say.

As I said last week, we know a few things about her. She collected recipes, enjoyed reading, worked at a school, enjoyed her sunroom and yard.

I found this picture posted on an online tribute to her (she passed away in March):

Beverly on porch

One of the many comments posted: “What a kind and classy lady.”

She does look rather classy, don’t you think?

Jerry, our new neighbor, said she had funny little sayings she’d repeat, perfect for whatever you were talking about. Jerry’s wife, Patricia, said no one could tell a story better than Bev.

“She’d make you laugh so hard you’d cry!”

I wish I could have met her. I’m certain we’d be friends.

Look what I found in the backyard, next to her cute little shed:

Peace

I have a hunch — just a hunch, mind you — that a grandchild painted it and gave it to her.

Walking through the home, it’s easy to feel the love and care that went into it. For over 50 years this was their home. Children were raised here, meals served, laughter shared and tears shed.

Someone asked me if I can feel her here. Meaning Beverly.

I don’t put much stock into the idea of ghosts, but I know others do so usually I say, “Well, she didn’t die here, you know. She died in a nursing home.” Thinking that will explain my lack of haunts.

It doesn’t of course. They point out “her spirit will inhabit the place she loved most.”

Now were it me? Were I a ghost?

Seems to me I’d travel. See the world. Hang out in Paris for a bit. Head over to Venice for a ride in a gondola. Spend some time in Egypt studying the pyramids… But like I said, maybe that’s just me.

Now should Bev drop by, maybe to check on things? I’ll show her how the Peace Rock is in its place and I’m doing my best to keep the yard and flowers looking nice.

I might also ask her a few questions.

Like, what did she put in the odd little space by the dining room table? Why are there seven outlets in the small sunroom, but only two in each bedroom? And why the five small nails under one of the bedroom windows?

But mostly: what the heck is the plastic hook above the basement light switch for?

light switch

Was it a key? A key to what?!

Augh, I may never know. If any of you have a guess, I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime, in case you’re curious, here’s the nitty-gritty on making Bev’s chocolate cake mentioned last week:

Bev’s Rocky Road Cake

Ingredients:

  • One package Devil’s Food Cake mix
  • 4 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or peanuts
  • 1 jar hot fudge topping

Mix the cake according to package directions except replace the water with coffee (this is optional; you don’t really taste the coffee, but it adds a nice depth to the flavor). Spread into a greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and immediately top with mini-marshmallows and sprinkle with nuts. Heat the hot fudge topping in the microwave according to directions on jar, drizzle over the top of the cake. Let cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

chocolate cake

Thanks, Bev!

Bad Theology: A Special Edition for St. Patrick’s Day

wp_20170104_14_18_20_proFor a brief look into St. Patrick’s history, with a healthy dose of good Theology thrown in, please turn to Mitch Teemley’s post: Forgiveness + Love = Freedom.

It brought to mind a book I read… couldn’t remember the name, but I knew it had something to do with Celtic Christianity. So that’s what I Googled.

Little did I know it would lead me down a rabbit hole toward Bad Theology… Continue reading “Bad Theology: A Special Edition for St. Patrick’s Day”

Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay

Not sure about you, but I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. Not quite feeling the lighthearted folly I try to bring to you every Wednesday, if you catch my meaning.

I was about to give it up for lost and take the week off, certain you’d understand, being the understanding sort of readers you are. Then yesterday evening, while going through a box of old photos, I found a little Valentine’s Day card dated 1924: Continue reading “Message From 1924: We’re Gonna Be Okay”

Do You Keep Christmas Well?

charles_dickens-a_christmas_carol-cloth-first_edition_1843I reread A Christmas Carol recently, because it’s a thing I do every year and it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.

(Not to be pushy, but if you’ve never read it, DO SO NOW! Here’s an online version if you don’t own a copy. I recommend you read it slowly, to get all of that great Dickens’ humor.)

Anyway, yesterday as I was listening to the radio, I heard the DJ call his brother a Scrooge because he was complaining about the nonstop Christmas music. The DJ was wrong on two counts: Continue reading “Do You Keep Christmas Well?”

Warning: What You Are About to Read Mentions Politics

Everyone, I’d like to introduce to you our neighbor, B.J.

batman2Or, as Daughter likes to call him, Batman.

Here are a few things I know about Batman: Continue reading “Warning: What You Are About to Read Mentions Politics”

I Feel it in My Soul, It’s Meant to Be…

Wedding picture
August 9, 1985

Thirty-one years is worthy of a celebration, right?

Funny though, what counts as a celebration when you’re young isn’t quite as enticing when you’re… not so young.

We decided – five days after the event, because we were gosh-darn busy on the actual day – to go to Black Angus. Husband had a coupon for a free steak dinner, on account of his birthday being just a few days ago. Even better, the restaurant was by a mall, which meant we could gain some extra steps for the ol’ Fitbit.

Yep. We’re just a couple of wild ones. Continue reading “I Feel it in My Soul, It’s Meant to Be…”

Kindness Challenge- Before Post

RevofKindnessI’ve never done a blogging challenge before, so why now?
One: This only requires one post a week and I can choose my day (I love the lack of rules).
Two: My favorite all-time movie is Harvey. Seen it? You should.
Here’s my favorite quote from it:
“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ – she always called me Elwood – ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

I’m going to give pleasantness a try. Wanna join me?

The Richness of a Simple Life

Attention all 2016  Kindness Challenge Participants!

As one challenge ends, another begins! If you’re already signed up, feel free to write a “before” post and pingback here.

View original post 334 more words

The Tragic Tale of a Beetle in Love

sad
Photo credit: Volkan Olmez, Unsplash

Typically on a Saturday, I try to post something happy. Something to make us smile. But this tale came to me recently and I can’t get it out of my head. It’s the tale — the tragic tale — of the Death Watch Beetle.

Cool name, isn’t it? It comes from a time when people died at home. (Sorry. I told you this wouldn’t be happy.) As the person was lying in bed ill, clinging to their last thread of life, the family members would be very, very quiet. Out of respect. This period was called “the death watch.”

And in those times of absolute silence, during the death watch, they would hear a light tapping. Almost like fingers drumming on a table, very faint and rhythmic. Legend had it that it was Death, drumming his bony fingers, waiting for the person to die.

As it turns out, it was actually the mating call of a little beetle. Hereafter called the death watch beetle. Scientific name: Xestobium rufovillosum.

This is the life cycle of the death watch beetle (you might want to grab a tissue):

Continue reading “The Tragic Tale of a Beetle in Love”

Want a Romantic Quote for Your Valentine? Keep Looking.

kitty high fiveLaughter is the key to a healthy relationship.

No… wait… that’s honesty. Honesty is the key to a healthy relationship. But laughter helps. It always helps.

In keeping with that, I found some quotes about love that are worth a hearty chuckle or two.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Want a Romantic Quote for Your Valentine? Keep Looking.”