September 25, 2015

Been Gone a Long Time, But I'm Back Now

Consider this a very long overdue (and I mean really long!) morning greeting, a "Hello, how are you?" inquiry...and something of a blog peace offering. I've been gone for what seems like forever...I know. It has been far longer than I realized. It's something of an embarrassment, because, well, I hate following blogs where the authors suddenly disappear for extended periods, leaving little behind except wondering/worry. In fact, I stop following them because I find it frustrating and disappointing.

I tried for quite a while to keep this blog breathing, at least, if not thriving. But life always seems to intervene and time escapes into the veritable ether. I wish I could do better, but working full-time surrounded by a busy life beyond work has made focusing on the blog more time-consuming than I could afford. And, realistically, I do this for me and to be worth the time of the few who have been following here. I appreciate that others find what I have to say of interest, but finding time to share it has been challenging for most of 2015.

I won't promise to do better because I'm not sure that will be possible for a while, but I'll try to do what I can when I can. I have a long-range goal, but it's still a few years away, when I'll have the time to devote to such indulgent pursuits, but that time hasn't been much of this year, unfortunately.

Still, this moment is one of those elusive times when I can share, so here are a few tidbits from recent days that have made me smile and give a hint at what I'm working toward.

First, the planter of flowers above have made me smile all through the late spring, summer, and now into the first days of fall. Those bright pink impatiens started as tiny transplants from a few six-packs of shoots back in May. It never ceases to amaze me how they literally consume much of that planter! The purple and white taller flowers are perennials and I'm trying to decide how best to keep them through the winter. Not sure yet if I'll put them in another, smaller pot and whether that should stay outdoors through the bitter cold or perhaps in a more sheltered location in the garage. We'll see on that.

Then, just two days ago, I scored two nice coups. I'd been at my local Michael's store on Tuesday to pick up some paint for a tiny repair project and saw, once again, a cheerful rooster throw pillow I'd seen weeks earlier and admired, but thought was a tad pricey at $29.99. It now was sitting in the 50% off grouping of selected autumn items, but even at $14.99, I still was not motivated to grab it. It was a good size and did have a nice removable beige cotton cover with a pretty, contrasting twisted stain rope trim in a nice rust color. But I still passed.

Then, while at work on Wednesday, I got a promotional email from Michaels alerting customers on their mailing list to a BIG, limited time sale - most items could be had for 20% off, whether regular OR sale price - with the coupon in the emal flyer, but only on that day and for a few short hours. Bingo! I popped in after work and picked up the pillow for $12.83 including tax!

I'm a fan of roosters (though not to excess) and have always had a lot of blue in my decor. This pillow fit the bill for my currently very loosely slipcovered wing chair (a nice, new slipcover I nabbed on eBay this week for $20 is on the way, too).

I haven't broken out the pumpkins and all the other pieces of my fall decor yet this year, but I'm thinking this year's autumn theme will incorporate more touches of blue and red to the oranges, yellows and greens.  Along those lines, I picked up a nice platter at Goodwill few weeks ago that I actually had listed to sell on eBay, but now that I see it with the pillow, I'm thinking it's the perfect complement to this decorative scheme since it has what I think of as "blanket stripes" but not the traditional Hudson's Bay motif.

It's a bit hard to tell in the photo, but that middle stripe below the red actually is a nice, deep olive green, and the platter does pick up the colors of the rooster rather nicely, so I'm keeping the platter for now and will put it on the white and red painted steamer trunk that I've had for 50 years and currently serves as my "coffee" table in front of the fireplace. I'm liking the insertion of these nice blues into the usual seasonal oranges, yellows, golds, rusts and browns of autumn decor. Maybe I'll sell the platter later, but, for now, I want to enjoy it as part of my decorative scheme for the fall.

Then, as if my good fortune in snagging the pillow wasn't enough, I happened to be scrolling through the local furniture listings on Craigslist and spotted a pair of classic, weathered teak wood deck chairs being offered by a seller nearby. Her post had only been up for 3 hours, so I promptly contacted the seller and got the two chairs for $30. Quite a nice buy for a great pair of foldable chairs that complement the weathered arm chairs and bench I've had for a number of years. While it's getting to be a little late in the season to enjoy them outdoors for much longer, I'm happy to have them to use in the future, whether indoors or out. (Hint to savvy, late summer/early fall is a great time to seek out terrific buys on outdoor furniture...most folks just want it gone and you can get some serious bargains on some very good stuff!)

I hope the stories of these fun scores have been some small consolation for the many months I've been absent. I'm in that inevitable phase of life where I'm preparing to transition from being a full-time worker for others after many decades to being a full-time worker for myself. I'm not calling it "retirement" - that's not  the game plan at this stage - but working at what I want to do is something I'm looking forward to for a long time. As I said earlier, it's a process and is not happening all at once, but I am moving toward that goal and hope you'll stick with me as the path unfords. I'm excited about the possibilities ahead, but not ready (or able) to leap just yet. In the meantime, I'll continue to share stories of fun events and little coups along the way.