Monday, November 25, 2013

our level of 'finished'

Nate and I are quite the team of beginning a project.  
Having lived in our house now, exactly a year, we have come A  Long Long Way!
Yet, to actually 'official' finish a job takes A Long Long Time!

Exhibit A.  The office.

One year ago there were burgundy curtain toppers to match the Lighthouse Border.  Along with this truly touch of class, came indoor/outdoor carpet.  

Exhibit B.  The timeline.

July:  Remove carpet to live with exposed plywood flooring
September:  Remove border to see two different paint colors
October:  Wipe down the walls in anticipation of painting (a month later)
November:  Paint the room gray and add cork flooring
December, cross our fingers:  finish molding and trim work

Looks finished until you look closer!  blue painters tape for trim, transition strips, molding, curtains, aargh

Monday, November 18, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

to follow or not to follow

This morning I realized how easy it was to 'not follow' someone on Facebook.
Unfortunately, I may use that procedure to 'not follow' more than I originally intended. 
I truly want to hear what is going on in my friends and families lives -
yet I don't want to hear all of the negative drama.  
Making of list of what I love to view and share on Facebook...
-pictures of kids in Halloween costumes
-birthday candles and well wishes
-a health difficulty
-a slightly inappropriate ecard
-football scores from the Friday night game
-a celebratory announcement
-a book or movie review
-a funny video of a kitten and dog playing

Sorry - but Facebook isn't the best venue to solicit more chaos and drama from me.   

Friday, November 15, 2013


The hospital near our house is building a new cancer center.    
The building is replacing the long forgotten empty parking lot that once housed our beloved Watt Powell Park.   That baseball field was one of the first things that I remember our family doing together, that involved 'tickets and planning and such.'    Mom worked for Blue Cross at the time, so we would get free tickets to many of the games each year.   Dad would take us and he would watch the game more seriously than the game ever intended.  
The organ player who rallied us with live cheers. 
The trains amazed us with its whistle of warning.
The traffic of MacCorkle Ave had us running to the back of the stands.

But now we welcome a new cancer center in that same spot.  Something of hope and encouragement.  
One of the supporting beams for the center was available for  public signatures.

I am happy to have this memories of Watt Powell and the future of the Cancer Center.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ahhhh welcome back

I have missed you sweet blog.  
Your kind and forgiving blank white screen would call to me, yet I stayed away.  
I promise to keep in touch better.   Pinky Swear!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

dining room phase 2

Thank goodness for simple.
Some may think that tan and white and white is boring -
I think it is serene, clean and a back drop for our life.

before shot - if the wallpaper doesn't scare you away...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

a passing prayer

At least once a day, rain or shine,  - Ripley and I head out to breath the fresh air for me and to burn some crazy puppy energy for her.  While the pleasant homes, manicured gardens and other walkers are all so enjoyable to walk past, we opt for a diversion on the last 4 blocks toward home.

We leave the river view and head past the hospital.   There we encounter too many cars, piles of cigarette butts, stinky city buses, and overflowing trash cans. 

However, this route gives us an opportunty to send love to the patients who are worried, the nurses who are overworked, the doctors expertise and the family mmbers that are frequently just waiting for good news.  
People smile, just seeing Ripley - maybe that smile ease the worry lines.  

I feel incapable of praying right now - but Ripley and I do send love and energy into the hospital everyday. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

circling the wagon

There are times when I feel social and inclusive of more people and more experiences. 
But there are other times when I simply want to just stay as close to home and family & close friends as I can. I am in the 'Circle the Wagon' stage, wanting all of the protection and attention focused inward.   I can't always place what sparks the change, I do know when it envelopes me like a hibernating animal.  Thick from the winter storage and slow to care for basic obligations.
 I long to only fill my time with the routine and mundane. 
Dishes, writing, napping, walking and reading.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Jake loves to shred paper.
He looks anywhere around the house for papers that we can part with.

Last week, Nate and I were working on the printer, so to test the printer, I typed in the word

Jake found this paper, brought it into the kitchen where we were all sitting, and wondered what the paper was for.
Elizabeth did not miss the chance to say that was word was written to describe him.
We then all started writing other funny words to describe Jake - it was hilarious.   
dirty shirt

He then giggled off to shed the list. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

she didnt get that from us....

Elizabeth is at the age, 14.8 years old, that she is making many of her own decisions, withi boundaries of course.
With this new turn of freedom, she is more mature and centered then I have ever been.
Oh, she is still silly and fun and fearless, but beginning to make decisons that clearly demonstrate her prinicples and inner strength. 

She has recently started dating and this has opened up a whole new conversation.   With boys that like her, she holds all the cards.   She decides when they see each other, when they hold hands during the school day,and when it is time for the break up.

Where did she get this confidence?   Nate and I both agree that we were usually not the decision makers in the relationships.  In high school we were just happy to have someone that liked us.    So this confidence that she exhibits is beyond our comprehension.  

Elizbeth is now currently courting a new fella.   Nate and I anxiously ask.... are you guys dating or are you making plans to see one another over the weekend....  Her answer is, "I don't really know him  well enough to committ to seeing him over the wekend."
Who is this cute, confident little bundle of hormones?  
She didn't get  that relationship confidence from us.
I am constantly learning from her and wondering how differently my life would have been if I had deemed myself worthy of waiting until it all was my decsion and my comfort level.

I hope Jake and Chance see Elizabeth's example and learn from that.

Monday, March 11, 2013

it's all about balance

It seems so hard sometimes to figure out the perfect balance of my life. Often I am so lop-sided toward my work, that Nate and Elizabeth begin to show the signs of negative.... whiny, needy, and only comforted by quality time together. 
Or often I focus too much our family and friendships and my writing suffers.  Even with 24 set hours per day, I feel like I am always stretched too thinly and long for more time. 
As a child I wished only for the day to pass and for me to get to become an adult.  Time was slower and my needs were tangible.   The longing for my own bottle of 'pop', my own room so that didn't have to see my brother or sister, or my own jeans that matched the rest of my friends.
A few days ago, while driving the boys to their school, the song"Wish I had a Wish right now."  I asked Jake what would he wish for, and he only wished to be picked up at school right at the dismissal bell, to be a 'Walker.'    
So instead of wishing for the unattainable - to have more minutes in my day - I am going to wish for more serenity in my choices for those minutes.   When I start to lean to heavily on one side of my life (career, house, friends, family, etc) - I will aim to move back toward the middle to achieve a balance.  A happy middle is my wish. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

answers after twenty years

Tuesday morning, 6:30 am, dressed and ready to take Elizabeth to school, I slipped on our icy deck steps and fell down straight onto my back.  One particularly sharp step did quite a number on my lower back.   I stood up immediately - angry at myself for not holding onto the rail, for skipping down stairs in the dark,and now, 4 days later,  of losing valuable days to suffering in bed. 

I cannot imagine living with back pain for years.  Dad was injured when he was in his late twenties.  So for thirty years, he survived numerous surgeries, prescriptions, therapy and a fair dose of self medication to keep the pain at bay.  

Thinking back over Dad's last few years before his death, maybe the pain explains all the things that I struggled with.   Was Dad distant because of his back pain?   Did he only half heartedly listen to my storie because of his pain?   Did Dad settle for a partner that didn't make him happy because of his pain?  

I have a deeper respect for Dad... and the pain that made him who he was.

Monday, March 4, 2013

amelia the amazing


Here is the infamous "Amelia Earheart"
flying without a plane!
Elizabeth's accent is perhaps the most interesting - since Amelia was from Kansas. 

how to lose a glove

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dining Room - under construction

I cannot live with this carpet for one. more. day.

We were not supposed to rip up the carpet until summe - but Nate and I were so blah last night (weather, colds, nothing on tv, etc)  - that we needed to do something.  Gladly, our finest form of fun is home remodeling.  Well, 2nd form of fun. 

So, we dug in.   The carpet & pad only took about 15 minutes to remove, another 2 hours for the staples and nail strips and now for the clean up.
In between nail strip sections, we played 4 games of UNO with the kids, 3 levels of Sniper on XBox, 2 bags of popcorn, and 1 podcasts to drown out the noise.

carpet & pad removed 

clean up floor
remove wall paper
hang curtains
take down hideous wall paper
paint above chair rail
paint below chair rail
floors refinished
new light fixture

living everyday with my best friend and kids in our forever house

Friday, March 1, 2013

get off the xbox!

"Get off the xbox!"  
I hear Nate exclaim up the stairs.
The boys had been on the new Batman xbox game for about an hour.
Within a couple of minutes, Chance, Jake & Ripley come bounding down the stairs.
The fun (non electronic time) started with playdoh and then quickly moved to a puzzle that Nana had gotten Jake for Christmas.
What a gift - to share the evening chatting and laughing, instead of just the sounds from Batman and his rivals.  Its not that time playing electronics is bad, its just that some time not playing electronics is very good. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

grocery thursday

While in Krogers this morning (with reusable bags and coupon binder mind you)
I made a startling observation of my shopping habits....
I buy healthier food items when I go shopping in the morning.

Anytime before the hustle of traffic and emails - I am hopeful and full of energy.  I imagine that the grocery store food is there, simply for me to enjoy.  I linger in the produce area just enough time to touch as many oranges and celery stalks that it takes to make the restocking employee feel uncomfortable.   The organic section calls my name to tempt me to buy fun snacks for the kid that are still healthy.   In the day, right before I have to work or take care of other responsibilities, the cereal aisle reminds me of the amazing amount of choices that I have.  The time spent in the baking lane allures me with walnuts and flour and tubs of prepared icing. 

Maybe pre8am shopping isnt for everyone, but I see a startling difference in my post 6 pm shopping trips.   For those late shopping trips - There is longing for comfort food to soothe away the stress of a dissertation obligation, cheese to satisfy the palate of richness, and chips to encourage my appetite for a beer.  

As for me - I will choose the time when the birds are singing - inviting me into Krogers so that cashier #42 Tom is ok with coupons, reusable bags and the water that I still need to pay for that is half gone.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

If you get into trouble....

If you get into trouble at the Allenger/Epling household -
you will always first loose your phone privileges.
You will then loose all electronics and trips to the mall.
But our speciality is a chore list that must be completed. 
This chore list is 2/3 punitive and 1/3 kinda funny.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting for the sun to return

Another day, at home working to finish chapter 2 -
I am wondering where the sun has escaped to. 
Did it travel south to honor to retirees?
Did it travel to the north to celebrate with the polar bears?

Well - I am making a personal invitation right now.

Dear Sun, I have missed you. 
I understand that I have frequently taken you for granted, and even fussed at the heat.
But I take it all back - I will only be appreciative. 
I promise if only you will return soon.  
I am the house with the Yellow Ribbon tied around the front tree.
with love and optimism,