Category Archives: Discovering Home

Like a Tourist

Once again, I apologize for neglecting you for so long! The creative part of my brain has been a bit like this . . .Foggy Tree

. . . not quite clear, specifically in landing on a subject for this post. I have been bringing my camera along as much as possible whenever I’m out and about, in hopes of inspiration. Mostly I’ve noticed it feels a bit weird to be basically a tourist in your own hometown, but in fact, a number of things did change while we were on our adventure.

There’s a fun new cheese shop and bistro close to our house . . .

The Fox and The Crow
The Fox and The Crow

. . . that sells fabulous cheese from all over the world, including France (Woohoo!) and my new favorite sandwich called the Figgy Piggy: prosciutto and whipped chevre with arugula and fig spread on a baguette. Yum.  Just YUM.

And there’s a new shop downtown called Crescendo: The Symphony of Taste, that sells oils, vinegars, spices and . . . um, I’m not sure what, but they have this funny sign that makes me want to go back when they’re open . . . .Deliciousness

Fort Collins AlleyA few things in Fort Collins are the same, like the alleys that have been progressively beautified over the past few years. This one, from this angle at least, almost looks French. Love it. Downtown is all decked out for the summer, just the way I like it, with flowers everywhere . . . Sidewalk Flower PotsFort Collins Flowers

Three of the four panels are DONE -- WOOHOO!
My first attempt at lined drapes

But definitely different is the daily rain, that is still very much with us. This has actually in some ways been a good thing, because it has kept me inside a bit more, so I could make some progress on the drapes . . .  → which are WAY MORE WORK than I had any idea. Now I understand why they’re so expensive when you have someone else make them. But three of the four panels are done (with completely new, maddeningly frustrating errors on each panel, just to keep things interesting). Fortunately, the end is in sight.

So although David and I miss France and especially our French friends, we are enjoying discovering and re-discovering this place. Whether it’s a new shop or a new task, our new-to-us house or even a new way of looking at a familiar alley, we’re trying to keep the spirit of adventure and discovery alive.

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge. ∼Daniel J. Boorstin

Wishing you fresh eyes this week. I’d love to hear what you discover.

Calling Noah

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed any ark building going on, but the sand trap on the golf course behind our house is currently also a water hazard.

Sand Trap Water Hazard
Sand Trap Water Hazard

What happened to Fort Collins while we were gone? Colorado is supposed to have a semi-arid climate (a.k.a. LOTS of sunny days), but I’m pretty sure we’ve had rain EVERY DAY for weeks. Here’s the 30th of April . . . ↓Rainbows Over Collindale . . . and here’s the 3rd of May . . . ↓

Northern Colorado in the Rain 1

Northern Colorado Rainy Day
Northern Colorado Rainy Day — Shot from a ranch north of Fort Collins

Sharing a Rain SuitThen yesterday, it rained so much the green had a stream running across it. This is unusual enough here, that the city workers are apparently not adequately supplied with rain gear. These guys seem to be sharing one set as they tend to the golf course. The pants guy does the kneeling tasks like changing the hole position and the jacket guy . . . well, mostly walks around.

On the plus side, the trees are happy . . .

Finding Blue 2I, on the other hand, am finding my new-found appreciation for rain sorely tried. Not even ONE Rio Patio afternoon since we’ve been back (see the photo in my “About Me” sidebar), and that is one of my favorite things. Grrr. I do love the green, and I’ve found a bit of blue for variety’s sake . . . →

I’m like a kid during the month of December, who knows Christmas is coming, but hates that it seems to be taking FOREVER. I know the sunshine is coming, and the Friday afternoons at Rio, and the sunny Harley rides, and the barbecues on the deck, so no more whining!

Instead, here are a few thoughts about weather:

In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. ∼Mark Twain

Here’s a REALLY positive attitude . . .

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ∼John Ruskin

. . . and a few encouraging souls. . .

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ∼James M. Barrie 

A good laugh is like sunshine in the house. ∼William Makepeace Thackeray

. . . and one comedian . . .

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. ∼Steve Martin

Here’s wishing you smiles and laughter, no matter the weather!

Work in Progress

You may know we just bought a nicely maintained ten-year-old house, but you’d be stunned at the number of strangers bearing tools we’ve welcomed into our new abode during our first three weeks in residence. This house is neither new enough to require finishing nor old enough to require rehab, but after ten years of renters, a number of things did need some attention, and a few still do. You’d think it would be annoying, this constant parade, but we’ve met some of the nicest people, and their level of expertise has been absolutely first class. The place is definitely shaping up.

Many tasks, of course, have fallen to David and me. I enjoy arranging things to our liking . . .

Living Room Fireplace. . . and I can handle most picture hanging unaided, except this one, over the living room fireplace. This house was designed for the serious TV addict, so there are giant alcoves with black movable hardware for attaching your flat screens, so you can have TV invading nearly every space in your house, including the master bath. Gha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a! No, thank you. So I had a few of my photos from France enlarged onto canvases, like this one from the Chapelle Saint-Hubert at Château d’Amboise. Getting the wire the EXACT right length to hang it on a picture hanger at the back of the alcove at the perfect height to cover the entire hole took about five tries. (We’re planning to add a stone fireplace surround, since we fell in love with all the stone in La Rochelle, but we’re trying to get a few other things done first.)

On the plus side, our cross collection is finally up . . .

Cross Collection No Flash

Although some tasks seem like jobs for David (mostly because he’s done them before), if I get impatient enough, I’m not afraid to at least start a job myself. Usually I’m thinking, “Well, I know how to use a tape measure and mark a spot with a pencil, and I know how to check that something is level horizontally and lined up vertically, so I’ll just get it started.” But then, unless disaster strikes, I don’t see any reason to stop. So while these men, undaunted by the pouring rain, were doing this out behind our house . . .

Undaunted Golfers
Undaunted Golfers

. . . I, undaunted, did this last night . . . ALL . . . BY . . . MYSELF . . .

Replica of my favorite tapestry -- À mon seul désir
Replica of my favorite tapestry — À mon seul désir — now hanging in our bedroom

. . . No, I didn’t weave it! But I did hang it, to cover yet another TV cavern, this one in the master bedroom. Since you can’t tell from the photo, I’ll tell you that the rod is ten feet from the floor. You read that right,TEN. AND power tools were involved. Gold star for me. There may have been a bit of celebratory dancing and fist pumping, and someone may have yelled, “Women with power tools, YES!” once or twice. (Ah, the freedom to be weird when you’re home alone.) David had gone to a meeting, or he no doubt would have had something to say about me standing on TOP of a four-foot step-ladder wielding a drill over my head. I know. Reckless. But our huge metal ladder is in daily use for a project downstairs, and it’s no picnic to get that thing up and down the stairs. Anyway, I survived. I didn’t drop and break anything, and the job is done. Woohoo!

Flush with the excitement of my amazing DIY prowess, I decided to hang the coat hooks in the entry off the garage. This DID NOT GO WELL. Argh. Fortunately, I am an expert at failure. And even more fortunately, David arrived home shortly after I gave up, and got them up. In my defense, David says a design flaw was to blame. He found different anchors and screws that worked much better than the ones provided. Interesting that I assumed I’d done it wrong, and David simply figured out how to solve the problem, even if the solution involved materials not originally provided. Eb, one of David’s brothers, once said, “I know how to . . .” [fill in the blank with a specific task]. . . . “Tell David it’s impossible.” And that, people, is true. Even impossible things like having a year of adventure, including living in France for a while.

A few more thoughts for you:

When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself. ∼Isak Dinesen

When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. If you are going after Moby Dick, take along the tartar sauce. ∼H. Jackson Brown Jr.

A positive attitude, of course, isn’t everything, but it sure helps.

Wishing you success in all your endeavors!


Sweet Home Colorado

So very sorry to have neglected you for so long! Moving is HARD, even if you’re only doing the UN-packing part and have already done the packing part. (Okay, that was mostly David.) But with help from some friends and family, we’re finally getting a few spots looking like people live here on purpose . . .Kitchen CornerLiving RoomBookcase

So if you don’t look at the garage or at the boxes in various closets still to be unpacked, it kind of looks like home. The strange thing is it doesn’t exactly feel like home yet, although it does a little more each day. We’ve only been in for nine days, and we’ve stayed in so many other houses and condos over the past thirteen months, some of them for a few months at a time, it feels more like that than we expected. Like we’re just settling in for the next temporary stop. Of course, I suppose in a way that’s true. We’re all temporary inhabitants of our spaces to one degree or another.

We do like the view . . . Seventh Fairway. . . which, being a golf course, we do not have to maintain!

And the neighbors are reasonably quiet . . . Bird NeighborNeighbor Rabbit. . . even the humans!

Many thanks to everyone who has stopped by with words of welcome, with flowers, with wine, with a few hours of your time. You are appreciated. So as we continue to work on settling in, here are a few thoughts for you on the subject of home . . .

Home is the nicest word there is. ∼Laura Ingalls Wilder

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ∼Maya Angelou 

Home is where the heart is. ∼Pliny the Elder 

. . . and with all the picture hanging, etc., I couldn’t resist this one . . .

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is. ∼Charles M. Schultz

Wishing you a (decorated) home full of love, wherever you are!