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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Penny Farthing

Part of my adventure in Olde Towne was getting the tire fixed on my bike.  This is the owner of the shop.  He built this old-fashioned looking bike which is known as a "penny farthing."  Here's why.  Back in England,where these bikes first became popular in the late 1800's, the penny and the farthing were two common coins like this:
The term penny farthing referred to the very large front wheel and the tiny back wheel.  The British Royal family loved to ride these bicycles.  They frequently emptied out the ballrooms at Sandringham and Buckingham Palaces to ride around and around in the winter.  Here's a pic of the family of King Edward VII when he was still Prince of Wales.  HIs mother was Queen Victoria.  The Edwardian Era, in which these bicycles figured prominently, is named after this future King.
Back to humble Portsmouth, the one in Virginia not in England, I got a demonstration of how to ride these bikes.   Please note our historic, one screen movie theater, the Commodore. You can order dinner to eat while you see a movie here.
The penny farthing is way back, but this gives a nice view of High Street and our bricked sidewalks.
Here's another absolutely stunning restored vintage bike inside:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Queen Bee's (An Amazing Vintage Shop in Portsmouth, VA)

I had a slow leak in my bicycle tire, so I peddled to Olde Towne to the bike shop.   I had a few moments before the "bike man" opened and stepped into the Queen Bee's.   I'm so glad I was early!

Sharon Black has such a lovely little shop and such a great eye for unique treasures. 

Sharon will look at this pic with dismay and say, "But I just took all the orange stuff out of the Hoosier cabinet and didn't have time to re-arrange it."  I like it anyway,

I brought this sweet little teapot home with me!  Here it is in my living room with the birds.
I wish I had room for this little blue flower pot chair in my living room, but this gorgeous shade of blue did settle in my mind which color to paint the two chairs that sit at the table where we usually eat.

The Queen Bee's
425 High Street
Portsmouth, VA

And no, I don't get anything for talking about this lovely little shop.  I just loved it so much I wanted to share it with my friends!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So many pumpkins, so little time

Happy Fall, ya'all!

I think the top pumpkin is really exquisite. The folks at the Morris Farm Stand in North Carolina didn't know the name of this particular type.  The delicate markings made me think of this month's country living cover:

The delicate toile tissue paper on the left large pumpkin made me think of that top pumpkin pic taken at the farm stand. Some men see pumpkins as they are and ask why, I dream pumpkins that never were and ask "Why not"? (from  That quote cracked me up.  JFK actually said that about something other than pumpkins.)

One caveat.  I love the way those Country Living pumpkins look, but if you are covering up pumpkins with tissue paper you may have too much time on your hands.  Maybe you should volunteer at a soup kitchen ministry.

Finally, a humble, ordinary pumpkin and its intellectual lightweight companion in my front yard:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shine Little Glow Worm, Glimmer Glimmer

When I went in to Starbucks yesterday, this Mills' Brothers hit was playing.  Shine little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer transported me back to age 5, when my grandmother used to sing this as she accompanied herself on the piano.  I would beg her to play it.

As I think back to this time, when Ginger (a marmalade-colored cat) lolled in a patch of sun near the piano while Helen played, when the chief of the Fire Department lived across the street in a house with a red door and red shutters, I also loved these:

I used to call them "one two threes" because my grandmother taught me to count by enumerating them as she gave them to me.  I don't think they said "fat free" on the label way back then.

My grandmother taught me many valuable life lessons, mostly by example, but the things I remember during the "glow worm days" were simple.  She baked chicken in a paper bag.  I always marveled that the bag didn't go on fire.  She ironed on a board that folded into the wall, which I would give anything to have now.  She had a red love seat that wasn't balanced well and if the person on the inside got up suddenly, the person on the outside would fall off.  I found this hilarious.  We watched Elvis movies or Miss America accompanied by the clicking of her kniting needles. 

Think she was a typical old lady?  Think again.  She drove a T-bird convertible, wore jeans, and worked until she was 85. One of her favorite songs was Bill Joel's "My Life."  A boyfriend of mine once asked her to go with him to Club Med. She was that cool.

She glows in heaven now, glimmer, glimmer...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

If A Coffee Can Hits the Galley Floor At Test Depth Does it Make a Sound?

I have a nasty habit of not fastening the lids on jars and things like shampoo or detergent.  I guess it is because I'm afraid that I won't be able to get them open again.  Someone else who lives here, a person I refer to as "ole wrench wrist" can fasten or secure something so tightly that I can never reopen it, such as a wide-mouthed jar of pickles or the faucet for the hose.   Makes me cuss sometimes.

Not only is this annoying habit of using one's wrist as a wrench frugal because liquid won't evaporate, but carefully securing all household items in their appointed spot has the added benefit avoiding said object falling and hitting the floor.  At times, an object falling and hitting the the deck somewhere below the surface of the water and acknowledged unclassified test depth can be dangerous. Especially outside of international waters. As I've been told many times, an improperly stowed coffee that falls can be heard for miles underwater.  Or feet.  Or fathoms.  Or knots.  Or whatever it is.
As madcap and devil-may-care as you know me to be, I continue to do things my own slapdash way and did I pay for it this week.  I had the biggest, nearly full, container of liquid Tide on top of the washer.  The lid was on fairly tightly, but not all the way hermetically sealed if you know what I mean.  I was working on the computer and heard a thud. I attributed the sound only to the wash being a little unbalanced.  Or maybe I'm the unbalanced one.  One of those. The sound stopped after one thud, so I did nothing.
I wish I'd thought to take a pic, but I wanted to cry when I went into the laundry room. The Tide had flown off the washer, I guess from the vibration, and the top flew off when it hit wall.  There was detergent down the wall, all over the floor, inside the radiator, down the front of the get the picture.
I had a good idea, though.  Okay the really good idea would be to store the Tide in the sink area and put the top on tight.  But I was in critical incident management mode.  Anyway, I scooped up a lot of the mess in my bare hands and put it back in the container.  This worked surprisingly well.  Then I got the clean rags I use for household stuff and sopped up the remainder on about a dozen rags, enough on each for a wash.  I put them in some zip locks (I reuse zip locks over and over), and have used them all week to wash clothes.  Put a rag with the Tide in the wash, throw in the zip lock to clean it off, and turn the machine on.

So, kids, what have we learned?  Close containers all the way, whether the shampoo bottle, or the pickle jar, or the Tide.   You never know how you might figure out to knock them over.  And think creatively when you have a mini-disaster.  There will be a test on this later. 

FINEX, FINEX, FINEX....Mark FINEX  (only submariners get this)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Before and After

Sister Kerry handed this down to Mom who handed it down to me:
An hour later...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Farm Stand and Pumpkins in an Old Silver Ice Bucket

Okay, okay I know I'm rushing it, but according to the farm stand it IS fall:

Although I think we have some spelling issues...

I love farm stands.

I found some really interesting pumpkins which were in the shape and size of an acorn squash.  I put them in an old silver ice bucket I picked up at Goodwill last week.  It wasn't until I got it home and polished it that I noticed it had my initial on it.

Edenton, North Carolina

It is official.  I am in love with this little town on the sound, 70 miles south of good ole Portsmouth.  I headed off with bike in tow and found my new favorite spot in the whole, wide world.

I love the expression on King Frog's face.  I love used bookstores in general.  The wonderful thing about this one is that the books are displayed and organized just as though they were being sold in a retail bookstore.  Tidy, non-dusty, and lovingly placed.  I bought three.

Also wonderful was the availability of a sugar-free latte

I seriously want to own this store and fill if full of antique linens and the refurbished Victrola cabinet I found discarded on a trash heap.  More on that when I finish it.
Here's an adorable clock.  The clock has not been placed there to look retro.  It was placed there to look modern and became retro and hip.


I loved the colors and the scroll work on this commercial building:

This Victorian gingerbreading looked like lace to me.

And the lovely gardens

But wait, there's MORE!  (in the post below)

Edenton, NC, Part 2

Fortified with some good coffee, and okay I admit it, a few home baked chocolate chip cookies, I headed out of town where agriculture is still king.  Imagine this if you can with the addition of peanuts processing in a little factory, all intensely "Mr. Peanut" wafting as I rode mile after mile.  These horses and the donkey looked at me gravely.

This barn was around the next bend in the road.

And a cotton field

Cotton pretty much the same in the field as it looks inside your Vitamin-C bottle

Peddled all the way back to town then past this park

And headed here

for a cup of beef with vegetable soup and an entree of crab-stuffed mushrooms.  Yum-o!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bloom Where You Are Planted

This post is for all of us who, whatever the circumtances, feel that we are not able to operate in our giftings because our present conditions aren't perfect. I can't write because I don't have an office. I can't practice hospitality because my house is small. I can't bless my home with a graceful appearance because I am on a limited budget.  Good news...getting the dishes out of the sink is free!  I can't give to God because my husband doesn't want to tithe.

Here is Staff Sgt. Angie Johson and the Sidewinders band in a Middle Eastern war zone operating in their giftings and blessing other service members with their stirring rendition of Adele's smash hit "Rolling in the Deep." Rock on in your fatigues, sister friend.

Here is construction worker Gary Russo, singing Sinatra at the job site. Douby douby doooo, dude.

This little light of mine? I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Bloom where you're planted, people.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Dreadful Anniversary

I have no words for what this ten year anniversary means.  Instead, I will link you to the blog of a police officer who was there.  This is his first-hand acccount.  God bless our country.  And please remember to pray for first responders throughout our country and for the families of the first responders who died that day.

On Peace

I've been pondering the meaning of peace lately.  I've felt the lack of peace keenly over the last year or so, probaby longer. I have a restive spirit.  I long to develop that inner core of calmness and stability, but find my feathers all too ruffled, all too disturbed by people, events, and circumstances which I cannot control. 

A monk went to his abbot complaining of his dificulties.   "My feet get burned on the hot sand, " he complained.  "My feet are bruised by the pebbles on the pathways.  I cut the sole of my foot on broken glass in the kitchen."  The abbot responded, "My brother, you can put leather over the whole world or you can put sandals on your own feet." I'm seeking to put sandals on my feet, so to speak.

The world looks at peace like this (from


[pees] Show IPA noun, interjection, verb, peaced, peac·ing.
the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
( often initial capital letter ) an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism: the Peace of Ryswick.
a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.
the normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security: He was arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace.
cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension

Jesus said,"I leave you peace, my peace I give you" in John 14.    Here's what it says in the Amplied Version about peace:   Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Isn't that great?  Isn't that so much better than an "absence of hostilities."  Please note that Jesus didn't say, "I give this to you if you're perfect."  He didn't say, "You can have this if you cross off all the items on your To Do List."  He didn't suggest, "Hey, as long as everyone else is doing what YOU think they should, then you'll be peaceful."  He said, "I bequeath you my peace."  Think about that, not the peace of the world...he gave us HIS peace.

My grandmother bequeathed a Georgian tea service to me.  It is precious both in monetary value, but even more so in its personal value to me in the memories we shared.  So precious, in fact, that you can see it in the top picture on this blog. 

I was in California when my beloved Helen died.  Once I settled down here in Virginia, I drove to my father's home where he had carefully stored this treasure for me.  I had to accept what Helen left to me.

So, also, I have to accept Jesus' peace.  I have to recognize when I have no peace, such as this morning after I sent a snarky email today in response to an even snarkier email I received.  I felt no peace afterwards.  Thankfully, I was able to "unsend" it befor the recipient opened it.  I'm learning to recognize when my peace is stolen and to take immediate action to get it back. Soon, I hope not even to leave that sense of peace so I don't have to return to it.

Remember, the Bible says, "stop letting yourself be agitated or disturbed or unsettled."  Check that out.  You let yourself be unsettled.  You let yourself.

Be the peace you seek.