SoCS: Aunt Dot’s desk

Beside me when I read this prompt was a maple desk. It is part of a bedroom suite that once belonged to B’s Aunt Dot. Actually, Great-Aunt Dot. B only had one aunt, but he had a bunch of great-aunts, several of whom lived close by enough that he saw them often when he was growing up. Because we were high-school sweethearts, I also had the privilege of getting to know them.

Aunt Dot had lived with B’s mom and her parents and grandmother when B’s mom was young. When I met her, she was still living with B’s grandfather, who was by then a widower. She was retired from Sprague Electric and knew one of my aunts who worked there.

Aunt Dot loved to travel. I remember there being many souvenirs in B’s home that she had brought back from trips in the US and Europe.

She was also a force to be recognized with! She was a no-nonsense sort who had her own ways of thinking about and doing things and didn’t really feel compelled to change them – thank you very much! She was good-hearted and generous, though, and a good caretaker. Though she had never had her own family, she was certainly used to family life in a multi-generational household.

When she was in her 70s, she developed liver cancer. She was ill when I was pregnant with my first child. She bought a teddy bear as an early gift for the baby. He had a tam and scarf in tartan and was named Angus. E was born on April 6, a bit earlier than expected. By then, Aunt Dot was in a skilled nursing facility because she was so ill. She passed away on April 29, E’s original due date. I remember thinking at the time that maybe E had arrived early so that Aunt Dot would know that she had a new great-great-niece before she died.

For many years, Angus lived on a shelf in E’s room. When a pregnant E moved home while waiting for her spousal visa to come through, B and I moved into E’s old room upstairs, so that E could be on the first floor near what would be the baby’s room. Given that E’s old room was still outfitted with a twin bed, we needed to have a double bed. We moved Aunt Dot’s maple bedroom suite into E’s old room. It had come to us via B’s mom who had inherited it and was using it until she had passed away. It has a double bed, a tall dresser, and a desk with drawers. I use the desk for storage and as a nightstand.

See, I did eventually stream-of-consciousness myself back to object that started this whole thing…

With E and ABC now in the UK, B and I will eventually reclaim the downstairs master bedroom. We want to do some re-decorating before we move back in, so we had delayed moving in. It’s just as well because it has now been re-purposed as B’s workspace during the coronavirus shutdown. We have the feeling it will be his office for months, so I think it will be a long time before Aunt Dot’s maple bedroom suite becomes available for guests.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is to write about whatever was beside you when you first read the prompt. Please join the fun! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/03/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-28-2020/

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

Family time in London

One of the great things about going to visit family living in a historic and dynamic city is that you get to experience non-touristy, neighbourhood life. (I hope all my UK and Commonwealth friends will appreciate my remembering to put the u in.) L, E, and ABC live with L’s parents in Plaistow. The row houses there remind me of ones that you see in some US cities.
Larry's parents' house in London
L’s parents love gardening. The weather in London is mild enough for flowers outdoors in the winter. There were definitely no flowers co-existing with Christmas wreaths at our house in upstate New York!

We were surprised to see a tree full of parakeets! Apparently, escaped parakeets have led over the decades to thousands of these birds flying about London.
parakeets in London!

We learned that while most of the utilities are underground, the phone lines are not. Londoners get a lot of use from one utility pole!
London telephone lines

While we sometimes went in a family car, we most often got around by train or bus. Never having lived in a large city with good public transportation, I appreciated the extensive network of routes. While people in the US tend to think of double-decker buses as tourist vehicles, they are the common bus on most routes. They can carry twice as many people as regular buses and there are definitely a lot of people on the move.
London bus station
ABC loves to go on the buses and trains, especially when she can sit in the front of a train car or the top level of a bus. She likes to pretend she is driving.

Another advantage of being with Londoners is that they can direct you to phenomenal neighbourhood fish ‘n chips shops that a tourist would never find. We decided on haddock and there was so much food it overflowed the plates!
London fish 'n chips
It was also great to have so many home-cooked meals, especially when we had Filipino dishes. Given that most of us came down with a cold, it was especially great to have homemade soup.

changing constellations

It’s been a bit hard to keep track of who is in residence at our house.

Starting in mid-September with B out-of-town on business for two weeks, we have fluctuated between being a household of three, four, or five.

I was away at my MASS MoCA residency, about which there are many posts, and returned just in time for B to fly to Missouri to meet up with daughter T, whose job as a crew chief for a study of the effects of fire on prairie plants had concluded.

They drove back in T’s car and we had a week together before daughter E and granddaughter ABC embarked on ABC’s first trip to the UK to visit her daddy (our son-in-law L) and his family and friends, most of whom had not yet met ABC in person.

It’s pretty adorable to have a four-month-old with both US and British passports off on such a big adventure! E and L have been sending lots of pictures and videos to us, which we have been sharing with Nana and Paco. It keeps us all from missing E and ABC too much, although it is also a bit of a trial run for the big move sometime next year when E’s spousal visa is approved and she and ABC relocate to the UK.

I’ll think about that more later…

Meanwhile, we are waiting to be a household of five again, for most of November and into December, when we hope that L will be able to join us for Christmas.

At least, that is the plan, although T is job hunting and could need to leave the area again…

If there is one thing I have learned in recent years, it is that change is inevitable and often not under my control, so I will adjust as needs dictate.

From the current household of three,
JC

 

 

Re-oragnizing

Some of my faithful readers may have noticed that I have been scarce around here the last few weeks, even given that I have had to cut back significantly on blogging this year due to family commitments. While I have been spending time on family obligations, even more of the time in the last few weeks has been dedicated to re-organizing our house (for reasons that will be elucidated at a later date).

I am the first to admit that I don’t like housecleaning, but this re-organization went way beyond that. There was a lot of going through things, both our own things and things that we had brought to our home after Grandma died this spring. Some things got donated, some got packed and stored in the attic or basement, and some found their way to new places in our home.

Bonus:  We freed up the garage so the minivan can stay out of the snow.

The most difficult thing for me, though, was sorting through papers.

Some things were painful or poignant by their very nature. Obituaries. A note from a friend who has since passed away. The fiftieth jubilee mass for a long-time pastor who died this year. Copies of my junior organ recital at Smith, a reminder that I haven’t been able to play the organ for years now, due to orthopedic problems.

Other things caused a more wistful reaction. My daughters’ artwork, starting in preschool and going up through middle school. Some of their report cards and concert programs. Programs and liturgies from our years at Blessed Sacrament, before everything fell apart.

There were some things that had been gathering dust, perched on a high display shelf in our bedroom, that I packed away. My summa cum laude diploma. My Phi Beta Kappa certificate. A certificate naming me a Presser Scholar. All things that I earned thirty-five years ago, when I was quite a good student.

This sounds like I am bragging, but remember these were in our bedroom, not out on the mantel in the living room.

Some may also infer that I am very competitive person, but I am the opposite. My parents raised us to do our own best, without regard to what others were doing. I was fortunate that my best translated into good grades, but my motivation was not gaining honors but learning as much as I could.

Having these mementos was a good reminder for me over the years when I was feeling overwhelmed that I did have a brain in my head that could go to work and research and weigh options and arrive at a useful course of action.

Now, they are in a box in the attic.

I hope that, after thirty-five years of learning, living, and growing, I no longer need a visual reminder.

 

SoCS: Work in or out?

As usual, there is a lot of work to do.

The question is – do I work in or out?

We had a cold, wet snap this past week, so the autumn leaves have largely fallen from the tress onto the back lawn, so I could go out and rake and haul leaves to the curb.

On the other hand, we are trying to get the house in some semblance of order and I have lots of things in the den to go through.

It’s probably best to stop stream of consciousness-ing and get to work.

Maybe I will decide in or out while I eat lunch! 😉
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is in/out. Join us! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-2916/ .  Also, check out Linda’s ebook! Purchase links here!