Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Autumn at 256

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot
George Elliot was the pseudonym of the great author MaryAnn Evans. I feel the same way she did about Fall. By early September, the landcape looks tired and dried up. I feel tired and dried up, too. It is a great joy to change my seasonal decor to concentrate on God's bountiful Harvest.
The first pic is of my fireplace mantle area. I finally got up the nerve to paint it white this Spring. It was one of the best decorating decisions I've ever made. Pssssst, I spray painted it!
The second pic is the area at the side entrance to 256. This is the side entrance that everyone wants to deliver flyers to. The census takers argued with me for a while about who lived there. I live there. The house was once a two-family during the war years, when it was considered a patriotic duty to divide your house if you were able, to accomodate the many shipyard workers who streamed into Portsmouth starting in 1941. 256 has been a single-family home for many years now.
The third pic is an area to the left of my front door. The final pic is a close up of a sweet, sentimental vintage harvest picture bought at a junk store on a old-timey looking easel I got at The Dollar Store. I put up the vintage Scrabble letters just for fun.
I see a few leaves turning color and there's a slight nip in the morning air here in Virginia. God's breathtaking artistry as He paints with golds, oranges and brilliant reds is just a few weeks away. Soon we will lay a fire in the fireplace and have roast pork and warm applesauce with cinnamon. We will bundle up in jackets put in the attic last Spring and throw a colorful pashmina around our neck. We'll harvest the pecans in the backyard, bake hubbard squash and make pumpkin muffins. It is time for parnsips, chestnuts and maple sugar candy. And I can't wait!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Children of the Corn

My nieces are the joy of our lives. Since we've never had children of our own, it is such a treat to see the world from their eyes.

When Piper was 3 years old, she walked up to Famer Boy and said, "Tio Bruce, I have Jesus in my heart." Bruce always gravely addresses children as though he was discussing macro economics with Alan Greenspan, so he said, "Is that a fact? What is Jesus doing in there?" She thought briefly and very earnestly said, lifting her hands in the air, "He's vacuuming up all the bad stuff, Tio." This about sums up the Westminster Catechism, as far as I'm concerned.

Piper is thoughtful, very intelligent and thinks about things before she does them. I think she is going to be a risk management director for a major insurance company when she grows up.

Jaime, her sister, is her polar opposite. Jaime of the huge brown eyes, mischeivous ways...Jaime the outrageous who exited the rink from her sassy ice skating dance performance with the heart shaped Elton John sunglasses and the jeans jacket she chose over a little tutu number and said to my mother, "Gran they loved me!" I think she has already written her Academy Award speech.

Piper who keeps a confidence to her heart and Jaime? Well, as we say, "Telephone, telegraph...tell Jaime." You never know what Jaime will share in Show and Tell the week after you see her. Piper who never wants to get out of bed and Jaime who is smiling at you at 5 a.m. all ready to start the day.

They were here late this summer. We had quite the hilarious time at Water Country USA. Little kids are an excuse to act like a child yourself. They were amazed that Tia Annie wasn't afraid and wasn't screaming. We baked bread and I had planned to take them to the beach. They preferred to play in the sprinkler in the back yard, play in the corn and pick fresh vegetables in the garden.

Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven." He was right.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bad Blogger

I have been a really bad blogger. I almost quit blogging entirely, but I decided this morning that I wouldn't let a really terrible experience stop me. I hope you'll allow me some indulgence as I share with you the experience and, if you're so inclined, pray for me and the person involved.

I have a neighbor, let's call him George. He's a colorful human being with interesting ideas about life, neighborly behavior and how to keep up his property. I was once the Civic League President for my neighborhood and off and on for years, he has blamed me for calling the housing inspectors about his property. For the record, I never have...but they have sure called me to figure out how to deal with him.

George's colorful nature causes him to do things like building a tower on the side of his house with no city permit. We call it the gun tower. His neighbor says he uses it to look down into the neighbor's hot tub. This neighbor complained and then, suddenly, his little dog was missing until he saw it looking out from George's house. Then the dog suddenly returned after being missing two days. When he has construction debris to dispose of, he burns it in the front yard in the middle of a city. I think you get the picture.

Over a month ago, when my blogging stopped, I was out taking pics for both my and my Civic League's website. It was a lovely day. I was enjoying a walk with the dogs prior to leaving for church. I made the huge mistake of taking a picture of a fence George had installed on his front porch. George is a master welder and does beautiful work. The light was hitting this metal fencing in the shape of a sunburst just right, so I snapped a pic.

I had no idea that George had, yet again, been cited by the housing inspector for another infraction. He thought I was spying on him. He and my husband had words. My husband called him a "horse's ass" which he admits wasn't the most Christian response. George came out onto the street and challenged my husband to a fist fight. We walked home with him bouncing up and down with his fists raised, calling us names and following us for while.

The next day, my husband, Farmer Boy, left for Groton, CT for three weeks. Also on the next day, I was informed by my police officer friend Jason that George had filed a warrant with the magistrate for "threat to commit bodily harm." "You horse's ass" had changed into, pardon the expression, "I'm going to kick your ass." Farmer Boy has a top secret security clearance in order to work on submarines. I might add that he has never been in any trouble of any kind ever in his entire life. We were very concerned about how this would affect his clearance.

This caused us unimageanble stress and me a lot of fear while he was gone. However, we put it in God's hands. When Farmer Boy got back, he appeared in court and the charges were dismissed because George never showed up in court.

A week later, George went to another magistrate and filed another warrant for the same incident on the same day. Only this time, he said that Farmer Boy threatened him with a gun. This is a violation of double jeopardy (in addition to being a bald-faced whopper of a lie), so it cannot go too far forward in the court system, but again, it is stressful, sad and painful.

A local attorney and public official and my hero even though we are from differing political philosophies, has agreed to represent us pro bono and adivses that we have nothing to worry about. I know that legally this is the case. However, from a neighborly standpoint it breaks my heart.

I'm busy re-evaluating how I stay involved and contribute my fair share. It is my visibility as Civic League President is what started this whole thing. I'm bearing consequences with someone for calling city housing inspectors when I never did, soley because I volunteered to help make my neighborhood a better place.

However, I've decided that since I love blogging so much and since I love reading blogs that have enriched my life immeasurably, especially Debra's from "As I See It Now," that I won't let George take this away from me. If you're reading this, say a prayer for him that God will clear his mind and change his heart. And sends a plague of boils on him. Joke!

And since I ended up with so much grief over the pic I took, I might as well use it, so please enjoy it...LOL. As you can see, it is beautiful work. I mght add that this house was essentially a shack when George bought it. He does beautiful work and eventually, cleans up the property. It is too bad that his behavior doesn't match how attractive his work ultimately is.
I'm going back to my joy of writing and blogging. So you'll be hearing from me more often.