It"s Done and Delivered

I did it! Finished the grant. Then collated and checked and rechecked before I packed it in a pristine box. Set it on the back seat of the van and drove it downtown.

One last check in the lobby of the building before I took it up to the office and turned it in.

I handed it over to the receptionist and she slid it down the counter saying, "I will tell them its here. Whew!

It looked a little lonely.

The woman behind the counter was surprised when I took out my camera and snapped a picture of it. "A souvenir," I said.

A souvenir of the hours that went into getting that unassuming box together -
and, of the hopes that go with it.

You know, like sending a child out into the world!


Writing a Grant

Writing a grant! Its like gambling except I am spending time not money to take the chance on the prize. If I am selected the money will be a boon and mean I can do the project. After all the writing about it its now very real - although it is still just a dream. Dream on.


Hair Spray - Go See It

Rollicking Fun. It was a chance for Jim and me to touch base with our past. We lived in Baltimore in the 50s, leaving just before the time of this movie. Things changed slowly in Baltimore so we have many strong memory connections with this movie. Don't miss the narrow suit jackets on the guys, the long pointed toes, shirt waist dresses with their little narrow belts, and the big hair.

The big hair - that is a memory. I once had a bee hive hairdo. Sprayed so that it was like a metal helmet. There is a story about that. Maybe I will come back and add it.

Read Bob Mondello's review on NPR.

To get the feel of the movie check out these websites, one. two I liked the link for yaho (two) best because there are so many clips to hear the music and a brief chat with John Waters, the creator of the original.


More on Dedalus Diggle

After I brought up Dedalus Diggle in the last post I thought to google him and find out if anyone else was interested in a Diggle. Surprise - yes, there is lots more. Lots I missed and I thought I was trained to spot the name of Diggle.

He was in all but one of the books, was an original member of the Order of the Phoenix, and is standing next to Dumbledore himself in a photograph Moody shows Harry. Not bad, not a bad relation at all.

Lots about Dedalus Diggle. And a great companion site for all the folks in all the books. Fun.

and More at Fun Trivia - look up Dedalus Diggle. This is quite a prep site for trivia games.

and Still More.

If you are not done by now - check out J.K. Rowling's website.


Lost in Harry Potter

There were so many things on my list for today.
I meant to do them, I really did.
Instead I picked up The Deathly Hallows
and got lost in it.
My list fell by the wayside.

Do you ever do that?

The story is rocketing along. Rowling draws you in and holds you tight.

As Rowling re-connects to the earlier parts of the story from the other books many characters re-appear, some only briefly.

I was so happy to have Daedulus Diggle dash across the page once more. Did you miss him? I could not possibly miss him. Why? My family name is Diggle. Ellouise Diggle - that's me.

Dedalus Diggle first appeared in the Sorceror's Stone (page 69), then dropped off the radar - so welcome back Dedalus Diggle. Look for him wearing his mauve top hat in The Deathly Hallows (page 36).

A lot to be learned about story as you soar along with Ron and Harry and Hermione.
Many threads reappear from the other books to connect today to yesterday - that's good storytelling.

Repetition is a mighty tool in storytelling.

Tip: Repetition is vital for moving a story along and keeping the listener connected to all the pieces of the story. Its not just kids who enjoy and respond to repetitions in stories; for adults you inlcude them differently. Remember "I have a bad feeling about this." in Star Wars? Its like a sounding note that echoes through the story. .


Storytelling and Book-making: Great Partners

Teaching at Pyramid Atlantic, a paper-making and book making studio in Silver Spring, MD, today. Helen Frederick and I introduced a new one-day workshop, Close the Book; Tell the Story. Eight exceptional women enrolled for the day-long workshop and it was a terrific day of stories and book-making.

We had asked each person to bring a significant item as a story prompt to use to introduce themselves to the class with a personal story. And they did. Wow! The women were generous in sharing stories from their life, from the betrayal by a friend when her car was stolen, a touching memory of a grandmother, talismans that represented lost parents and a special childhood object with its story.

After the sharing the group commented on the stories and their reactions to them. One woman said, "I am floored by the level of intimacy we have as a group - just through these stories. We don't know anything about each other and yet we know each other."

Right there they were getting to the power of story! this is why I particularly love and work with personal stories.

TIP: As we talked about story I told them the tip I learned from storyteller, Donald Davis: "Don't memorize a story. Know the six rocks you need to step on to get from one side to the other. The rest is like the water that keeps moving around the rocks."

The women were eager to work.

Helen led discussion sessions on the book-making during the day - as only she can. Helen Frederick is a gifted teacher who can lead people to new levels of visual appreciation and accomplishment. I have known and worked with her for more than 20 years and it is a joy to be with her and she always teaches me something - she just can't hep it - it slips out of her.

On a personal note: Being in the Pyramid stuido brings out the "trash picker" in me.
These fresh scraps of hand-made painted paper were too luscious to leave in a bin so I resued them. When I told Helen I thought I would use them for collage, she said, "with my blessing. Those are cuttings from my work." Another level of collaboration.


Sacred Heart Memories

I stopped the car and we looked at the place. Jim knew it. I tried to explain it to Karen but it was hot and she wanted to move on. I clicked the picture. That's how it is, isn't it?

You can't explain your memories to other people - when they have no connection to them and none of their own about the place.

TIP: Donald Davis teaches that you have to make people care about the folks in the story first. Show what normal was; then turn the applecart upside down.

I was six year old when my Daddy went to war, World War II. I had started the first grade. After he left things stayed pretty much the same for we three girls. it was Mama's life that was tipped on end. She was a single working mother - before they called it that. We moved from the large single family rental house to an apartment in a twelve famliy apartment house. Smaller quarters were less expensive and easier to take care of. And living around all those people was fun for a kid. People to talk to and things to see. I started and finished the second grade. Then, several months after school was out - polio struck. An epidemic. Polio roamed the streets looking for the children. People were scared. Children under 15 were restrcted from going to public places. Mama was terrified. This I think was a final straw for her - with daddy gone, working and all. She made arrangements for my sister Lynda (5) and I to live at Sacred Heart for the summer.

It was a good plan actually. Get us out of the city and into the country - away from the threat of polio. The Sisters agreed we could come. All the student were gone for the summer - just Lynda and me and Patti P and her brother. They were there because of a divorce. Four kids unexpectedly separated from our homes and parents.

But kids adapt. Sister Loyola, a wonderful woman I came to love, took charge of us every day. She told us stories and taught us religion as we sat outside in a gazebo stringing beans or shelling peas. It was quiet, peaceful, It was a large farm with chickens and cows - fresh eggs and just milked milk. A new world.

Mama came to visit on Sundays. She did not tell us until months later that our cousin Janice, a cute freckle faced red-head, was the first child in Charlotte to die from polio.

When school started in September Lynda and I stayed for the school year. We lived at the beach in my grandparents house the next summer and then we returned to sacred Heart.

The war ended and Daddy came home. He came home in November. We went home for Christmas and we did not go back to Sacred Heart - except to pack up out clothes.

Lynda and Ellouise

I cried bitterly at leaving.

Sacred Heart had beome my home.

The Book is Mine - and Chocolate too

The book is mine! Now for a slow good read!

Jim and I joined our prayer group for a pot luck supper tonight and I carried with me a treasure from Marvlous Market. Absolutely the most sinfully chocolate cake I have ever had. YUMMMMMMM! It tasted every bit as good as it looks. Surely given the new thinking about dark chocolate - its not just sinful - its healing and healthy too. I would like to think so.


Book Talk: an author and a reading list

Politics and Prose is my favorite bookstore. The store does not just house books. It is known for an active and exciting schedule of Author Talks.

Jim and I stopped in to reserve our copy of the new Harry Potter book. Not thinking there was a "talk" on a Wednesday night we commented about the full parking lot and number of people walking in.

Upstairs chairs were set up. Robert Novak would arrive shortly to talk about his latest book, Prince of Darkness. We decided to stay - after we purchased the voucher for our Harry Potter ofcourse. We wanted to hear Novak's talk, not because we share his politics, but because we have often seen him on television. Here was a chance to see him in the flesh.

Novak was a charming, articulate speaker, not combative as he often is on the talk shows. He was delightfully candid in his opinions about the people of official Washington and what they get up to. He charmed us into buying his book - and why not when you think about it. Whether you agree with his politics or not he is giving an insider's eyeview of fifty years of our political history. The book is a tome, weighs a ton so not for the bedside table. I have read around in several chapters and the writing is fast paced, chatty and entertaining. Much like his newspaper writing.

When I am left alone without a syllabus my my reading is very eclectic. It certainly has been this month. Looking at my book stack I see that it has been charted by travel, gifts, random encounters, impulse and whim. A lot like my life.

Storytelling Tip: If you are looking for personal stories have you asked yourself how the stack of books you are reading came together? Do you have a story of your own hiding among those books?

My Book Stack this month:
From my bookshelf:

Harry Potter - Because of all the expectant hoopla about the impending release of the new Harry Potter boook, I took down my J.K. Rowling collection to browse so I would be refreshed and ready when I had the The Deathly Hallows in my hands. I did read The Sorcerors Stone but then switched to watching the movies. When I borrowed the movies from our grand-daughter Juliana, she gave us the first movie under the British title, The Philospher's Stone.

From the public library:
Donna Leon. Death and Judgment I relish most anything set in Venice. Check my blog Saluti di Venezia to see why. Donna Leon writes well crafted mysteries that hold your attention. The protagonist, police inspector Guido Brunetti is a likeable man, someone you'd like to know. Leon's descriptions of Venice are so vivid people conduct tours of the city based on her books.

Off the 50 cent cart at the library:A book for the plane to California
John Lescroart, The Hearing, a fast paced and involving murder set in San Francisco. Good writing and engaging main characters which I am delighted to find out reappear in other suspense thrillers. I am not an easy flier so an engrossing suspense thriller is a good companion. If its really bumpy I often just clutch it.

A gift;
My daughter Robin had saved this one for me.
Christopher Vogler The Writer's Journey (Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters) Excellent primer on myth as a story form.

From browsing in bookstores:
Victoria Findlay, Color, From Kramer Books in DC. Interesting travel book exploring an intriguing subject. Don't you envy people who find topics that send them to exoctic places for their information?

Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor Accidentally touches this book on a remainder table at Barnes and Noble in Walnut Creek, CA. It is a good eye-opener for readers.


Telling Stories on TV and Tips

Stories in Time is a television show for local access television. I tell a 10 - 15 minute story into a wide-eyed camera and they play it every week. Its the only storytelling on TV in our area. Stories in Time has been airing since February - Montgomery Municipal Television, Channel 16, Kensington, MD.

Before we left on vacation I banked a number of stories so have not had to tape for a month. But now it was time again. Usually I go in with the story planned and rehearsed. Sometimes I have not been really happy with the way they played - finding myself looking more like a talking head than a storyteller. Well what did I expect. That is what I am - photographed from the waist up - talking.

This week I decided to "work" a first time telling of a recent incident I had written about on the blog - "Its About Hope". After writing it down for the blog more memories of other forays to beauty shops had emerged that I could use and I also wanted to add something that would tie things more tightly together.

Melissa, the producer and sound engineer, called out. "Anytime you are ready, Ellouise." I took a breath and called back "3 - 2 - 1 - go." I looked into the big round and dark eye of the camera and started telling, working my way into a new story.

You know, its all about trusting the process, isn't it. I felt the story, saw the images, new images, told it, laughed through some bits of the telling and closed as I had wanted to. It felt right.

Melissa was laughing when I walked into the sound booth. "Great story and have I got a story to tell you about when I got my hair cut. I was five and I still remember it."

When I watched the play-back I was pleased - yes, its still a talking head, but my eyes are more engaged, I am working the story and working with the camera in a new way. And it came through.


Five things I have learned about telling stories on televison:

1. Wear something comfortable so that you can forget your clothing.

2. Politicians and power folks wear red: I have found that a faded blue denim shirt works best for me - makes me look more friendly and relaxed. These days I am wearing a blue work shirt I bought in the Jonesborough Visitor Center the last time I attended the National Storytelling Festival.

3. Use a stool if you can. You will have free range of motion in your arms and upper body. Sitting in an overstuffed chair just drags the life right out of you.

4. Look into the camera and imagine the best audience you ever had and work to them.

5. Time your stories two minutes under your allotted time. This leaves room for breathing, good pauses or an on-the-spot inspiration. The engineer can always add something if you end short and that's better than rushing the story.


More Once Upon a Time

First time telling stories since we left for California almost three weeks ago. I felt dry and weary, not really in the mood. But once I heard the calls, "hey its the storyteller" I perked up and my brain started turning over.

A wide-eyed seven year old pulled at my sleeve. "Are your going to tell us the Thunderbird again?" He remembered a story from three weeks ago - wow - that's what keeps the storyteller coming back.

I told two new stories, Rabbit, Tiger and the Hurricane and How the Beatle Got Its Colorful Coat, then The Name of the Tree which has a big part for the kids and ended with a longer story, my sort of tall tale version of The Queen Bee, a Grimm's Tale.

During the school year I tell stories at this location once a month, for the summer I am coming every week. In April I took Audubon Storytime to a near-by elementary school and recognized half the students in the second grade. I feel lucky to I know this group of youngsters quite well.

Today they behaved as they always do, starting out restless and noisy, then falling into the stories, quieting down and really listening. And, as it turns out remembering.

Its this behavior pattern that makes storytelling so important in the classroom.

On working with a familiar group:

There are challenges and rewards in telling regularly for a familiar group. The ages this summer range from 6 to 11 years old and there are forty in the group. Along with the campers there are 8 teen counselors. For their weekly programs I try out new tales and include favorite stories. Since half of the group knows me from the school year and the rest are new faces it is a wonderful opportunity for gathering audience reactions to the stories. The challenge is keeping ahead of them with new stories; the rewards are the opportunities for audience feedback.

Whatever - the bottom line is - its FUN.


A Birthday to Remember

Since it would be nice to spend my birthday with my mother, Jim and Karen and I drove to NC.

Started the day with a nice surprise. My youngest sister, Dena, brought me a pound cake she made "from scratch" using my mother's recipe. Talk about a special surprise! Dena hesitated as she handed it to me. " I hate to give one of these away without cutting it first -" I knew what she meant. Laughing I reached for the cake, "If there is a "sad" streak I will love it anyway". Anybody that has ever made a pound cake from scratch knows the moment of truth at the cutting - if the cake is not cooked well there is a streak of undercooked dough right through it and its "sad".

Mama treated us to lunch at Concord Place where she lives. Dena's cake was a treat for all especially Mama who loved eating one of her cakes again. Once Mama was "known" for her perfect and perfectly delicious pound cakes. " I made them for parties at work and then people started asking me to bring them. Once a man took a bite and said, " Maam, this is the BEST cake I ever ate." Mama asked for a second piece of cake. "I think she did good with this one, don't you?"

Do you ever have the feeling that you are seeing someone as you once knew them? I know that when I look into my mother's face today I have a memory of this woman -and I think she remembers me as this child.

We had a great visit - lots of laughs despite having to deal with the painful truth of my mother's cancer as she accepts it and decides what course of medical treatment to follow.

Mama and I go back a long way - proven by this birthday. We share a heap of memories. When we start laughing together we can bring back very happy times and lots of people we share. Nobody knows you like your mother - and nobody has seen as much of your life as your oldest child - especially when it is a nosy daughter.

Yes, I have enjoyed some really special birthdays - in Africa and Italy and Ireland. And I have had some neat parties thanks to Mama and Jim - but right now , this one tops the list - home made cake and holding my mama's hand.


My New Driver's License - more to the story

In June I wrote about my history with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Department. Here is more to the story.

July - time for me to renew my driver's license. When I renewed four years ago it took hours. So, I was dragging my feet about going to the MVA Office and as a result came right up against the last day before my current license expired. This was the DAY.

I parked my car in the lot about 9:20 am. When I walked into the large room I was startled. It was empty. And changed. It had been rennovated since my last visit four years ago. Now the room was more open and brighter. I by-passed the rope line since there was no one standing there and went directly to one of the "stations". Before I could say a word the man motioned me to sit down and look into a small black box - the new approach to the old eye chart on the wall. While I was answering those questions he checked my form and pulled my record up on a computer screen, that I could read as well. I read the information and approved it, "yes its all the same."

"Stand up and look into the camera". That's when I noticed th blue fabric drape on the wall; across from it was the bold eye of a camera. "Smile." Click. Then I signed a small computer screen. As I wrote out the check for the new license the picture was processed, the signature captured and all of it embedded onto a laminated card. Voila - my new license to drive.

I was amazed. From start to finish - 15 minutes.

When I turned to leave I counted eight people standing in line waiting their turn.

Where did they come from? I must have stepped through the front door just before the beginning of a rush.

I left smiling and marveling at progress.


Ireland re-dux

Nice to be settling in at home after almost two weeks in California. Loved being with Robin and her family and seeing everybody at the family reunion but - there is nothing like the familiarity of your own bed.

So why is it we move around so much. What is this restlessness?

As I was unpacking this afternoon I remembered that at this time last year I was unpacking in Ireland. That was a strange trip.
We traveled with an Elderhostel group and by the time we got home we were hostile elders. Since then its been hard for me to process the trip and write about it. Not that its necessary to write about trips; its just that when I do I remember it.

First off, I have to say that by the third day of the trip I was felled by a severe attack of diverticulitis. I could hardly walk without excruciating pain in my back. I was miserable. And irritable. Making me a really delightful traveling companion for Jim.

But more than that - we both felt confined by long daily bus rides with our American group which closed us off from meeting or interacting with locals. And, we had really looked forward to spending time in a country where we had a common language and could meet people. And, hear stories.

We heard stories all right - from our group companions - because we shared three meals a day with them and all those endless hours in the bus. The people were nice. Perhaps they felt as trapped as we did. Its just that we were looking for stories from Irish locals - not our own country follk. And, the leader, an articulate and very smart university professor, was committed to his syllabus and talked it at us endlessly all day, every day. Leaving little room for spontaneity or serrendipitous discovery. I could not believe that we were riding right by a replica of an immigrant ship that brought our relatives to America and that we were not going to stop. When a group of us prevailed in our request we had a ten minute peek at this ship - because we would be late for the next stop on the agenda - a mock-up village of early Ireland.

Jim and I took a bye on an afternoon at the Waterford Crystal factory. Instead we thoroughly enjoyed a lesiurely tour of the Waterford City Museum - not only was it rich in the history of the area but it was set in a rennovated waterfront factory which had been redone in a very creative use of the space- creating effective museum exhibit areas and preserving the original brick structure throughout the interior. And we met a few folks in the museum who made the time doubly worthwhile.

When we reached Dublin Jim and I bolted the group for a few days. The highlight of our entire two week Irish excursion was the Mary Gibbons day trip to New Grange, Tara and several other sites near Dublin. After reading Ireland by Frank DeLaney we could not miss New Grange - and it was not part of the Elderhostel agenda. Pity. Well - we did see the Book of Kells, and had two nights at the theater with the group. But most of all we loved just wandering Dublin city on our own.

What have I learned? To read the materials carefully epecially the daily agendas and not to assume anything.

This trip was exactly as it was described in the brochure and on the website.

It is not the fault of Elderhostel that their plan did not fit my expectations. I made those expectations up all by myself.

Would I sign on for another Elderhostel? I doubt it - but I might - if I read the descriptions carefully and decided it was the trip for me.


Back Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Its time to go home. Off we go into the wild blue yonder. Have you ever wondered - where is that fabled wild blue yonder?

On Jet Blue a little tv screen in the back of the seat ahead shows you exactly where you are, how high and how fast you are going.

Its a little too much information for me.


Fickle Me

Several years ago I went to the Apple Store in Walnut Creek and caved in to the lure of Apple. I bought this light weight Mac iBook. Its easy to carry and the compact square shape fits well into a small tote bag. The big keys felt good and reminded me of an old typewriter. I was in love with it. And, we were happy together.

Until a few weeks ago -

I went back to the Apple Store in Walnut Creek and encountered the new MacBook. it has a wider screen, a shiny white case and a small camera eye that winked at me. I was swept away. Wiithout looking back I bought the alluring MacBook.

But then - came the moment. I put down the iBook, patted the key board and walked away. Saying good-bye to a friend is hard.


Catching up

We have moved on to Madera, CA - Jim's hometown - for a family reunion.

Hot! Hot! Hot! The heat has moved in. Even in San Francisco. But I was not ready for the 109 degrees here in the Valley. Jim says it feels familiar to him. Maybe so, but whatever - it's HOT. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

We are staying at the Madera Valley Inn. It has fallen out of favor with some of the other out-of-town family members but we are loyal to it. Yes, its getting care worn but after forty years of annual visits we feel at home here. To us it is the "king's motel".

When our grandson Jamie was 3 years old he noticed the Best Western gold crown logo and dubbed it the "kings motel." And so it has been for us ever since.

The coffee shop at the "king's motel" is a breakfast gathering spot for old-timers in town. Jim always sees someone he knows. Last time we were here he ran into a girl-friend from high school. This morning he introduced me to a guy he knew at Madera High School who is a seasoned large scale farmer in the area - managing large pistachio orchards for absentee owners along with his own acerage. I found the guy fascinating and learned a lot about how farmers adopted the pistachio when cotton and corn were on the way out as profitable crops thirty years ago.

When I asked him how long his family had been farming in this area he shared some wonderful stories about his family arriving in the Valley by covered wagon in 1870. They came from the South, their freed slaves choosing to come with them.
He said his grandmother was a six year old girl. http://www.friendsofsaguaro.org/rattlesnakes.jpg
She told him stories of the trip. "They gave her a sawed-off shot gun. She walked beside the wagon and shot snakes in the brush which they ate for supper. She told me that a well-cooked rattler tasted just like chicken."

And ofcourse there is always the quick trip into Wal Mart to pick up something.

We watched the fireworks over Moraga, CA from the Safeway parking lot - fewer cars and an excellent view. We set up lawn cars beside the car and enjoyed the show. Only one thing - Safeway Starbucks had closed-so no lattes.


Its About Hope

This morning Jim and I went to California Haircuts for trims. I love going to a beauty shop. Having someone wash my hair feels so good, I can feel the stress melting away as the water flows over my head.

And I always am so hopeful that I will emerge - - changed - glamorous.

I was thumbing a book as the woman started to trim my hair. I did not notice another client walk over and sit in the chair next to me.

Then I heard her beauty operator ask her how she wanted her hair cut. I looked over - saw her patting her thick white hair, cut just below the nape of her neck. She reached up and moved her hair this way ad then that. "Do you know the actress Doris Day?"
Unfortunately the young Vietnamese woman cutting her hair nodded a bewildered no.

I did not listen to her try to explain the Doris Day signature short perky hairstyle.

It brought back another memory.

When I was about 14 I had my first professional permanent. I had high hopes when I walked into Jack Garrison's Beauty Shop at the corner of Central Avenue and the Plaza in Charlotte. I even had a picture with me. I wanted a poodle cut - so that I could look like Sophia Loren. Several hours later the woman took the tight curlers out of my hair, washed off the smelly perm solution and styled it for me. I fought back tears as I watched her comb out my new curly hair . I was ruined. When she finished my hopes were totally dashed. I did not look like Sophia Loren. I looked just like my grandmother except that I did not have a blue rinse on my hair.

I walked home in dispair. I tell you I felt ruined. At home I sat in front of the dresser mirror in my bedroom and cried. Then I hit on a solution. I got as pair of scissors and began cutting off the tight ringlets. I was sure it could not get any worse.Today
I picked up a pair of scissors and began to cut. I knew it could not get any worse.

I was wrong!
Today I still sit in from of the mirror in a beauty show - hoping for a transformation - but now I am not wishing for anything as specific as I did then.

Better is often good enough.


Future Basketball Stars

Check this out. So that's how these kids learn to handle the ball so well! New to me.

Taking short spurts of film with my baby digital camera as I practice loading them onto You Tube.
Its like eating peanuts - more, more, more.

And you will never see my best to date. A film of wild turkeys by the road side but then they starting doing what turkeys will do and oops - it became an X-rayed film.

How Did I Miss This?

Is it possible that Star Wars was not always part of the world mythology?

Star Wars, IV, V and VI are my all time favorite movies but I did not see them until 1997 - twenty years after they were released. Then I fell in love with every image and minute of the movie.

House guests at a construction site

Living in a remodel is really a challenge.

Robin and her family have a great attitude. After the several months of household upset its amazing to me that they are not pulling their hair out. Probably because they have their eye on the prize - two new bathrooms and the setting for a wall mounted HDTV plasma screen - big enough that they will all feel as though they are sitting right on home plate.

Anything that disrupts my home gives me heart burn. Actually I have been very surprised at how well I am doing in their chaos -but that's the key, its not MINE.

I remember how it was when Jim and I added a room to our kitchen. It seemed to me that a crew of strangers prowled in and out of our kitchen for months. Jim and I were the only ones at home - but still, eating in the upstairs bedroom for several months wore thin.

Looking on the bright side:
Yesterday Jim and I made trip to the Teddy Bear Coin Laundry. Cute place with kid-looking bears painted on the wall. With a Starbucks across the parking lot it turned into a pleasant outing - sitting outside reading in the sunshine with a latte while the clothes tumble and dry. What's not to like?

Starting back to normal:
This morning the door bell rang. It was Moses from Sears. He held the magic papework in on the new washer and dryer waiting on his truck. Robin's new laundry room was ready. She had everything measured to a T - all they had to do was attached the various hoses and plug them in. After two long months, that only took fifteen minutes.

The house is humming with the sounds of clothes tossing and tumbling down the hall.