Monday, December 31, 2007

Some Redecorating

Over the past twelve months, this old house has been getting a long needed face lift!

The interior hadn't been painted since 1982 because, for at least a decade, we thought we'd be moving. The house is so old and outmoded, without central air-conditioning and with only one bathroom, that developers considered the house a tear down. Once our sales contract fell through in September 2006, Mr. AOW and I decided that it was high time to stop living in a dump so bad that I don't even have many "before" photos. But I do have several "after" photos.


In December 2006, we redid the bathroom, the most hideous and the most dangerous room in the house. The floor ominously creaked every time I stepped into the bathtub, and it was only a matter of time before I ended up, tub and all, in the crawlspace!

Here's what the bathroom looks like now, complete with a window made of glass bricks and all new fixtures, including a bathtub with whirlpool jets. The walls are lavender, my favorite color:

Check out the medicine cabinet in the above photo: an authentic antique, with a black-walnut frame.

Of course, once the bathroom was so lovely, we couldn't stand looking at the dining room, despite all the beautiful antiques therein. We converted the dining room into another kind of room.


In spring 2008 I bought and moved in a Yamaha upright, thus finally having a piano room, with gray walls and white trim:

In this photo, the piano is decorated for Christmas:

The "cat table" below is made of black walnut. My father cut the tree from his father's farm and milled the wood at this own sawmill, which Dad operated on Granddad's farm. He took the wood to a cabinetmaker and had this "telephone table" custom-made for my grandmother, never mind that she hated and rarely used the phone:

This three-cornered china cabinet, complete with Grandma's Bavarian dishes, graces the northeast corner of the room:

On the east wall next to the right side of the above china cabinet is a Queen Anne's sheet-music cabinet, with bow front and beveled mirror:

Yes, the piano room is crowded. In the above photos, you can't even see the wine cabinet and the mirror from a brothel in Georgetown. But the piano sounds like a Steinway, and that's what counts!


This room got a new face just a few weeks ago. I have one "before" photo, which shows the contrast between the old color and the white primer. This is the corner by the front door and the coat closet. The door furthest to the right is the one leading to a hallway:

Below are the "after photos" of the living room. The first is the same corner as the above ugly picture:

Note the antique mahogany banister, which looks beautiful against the damask-rose accent wall going up some 50 feet:

The big mirror opposite the banister and above the fireplace captures the reflection of the accent wall:

When I'm blogging from my laptop, I sit in the corner of the love seat under the floor lamp in the background of this photo:

Every year, I string Christmas cards from the banister posts to one of the high-placed windows:

Our Christmas tree sits in the southeast corner of the living room:

Now that the living room has such beautiful walls, we'll have to get some new curtains and a new recliner!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Vacation 2007

In late August and early September, we traveled to Indiana to meet, for the first time, some people whom I'd met on the Internet. We had such a good time on this vacation that we seriously considered sending for our stuff and moving there!


Panorama views:

The sandbar for the party animals:

Barge traffic on the Ohio:

Riverboat casino:

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'll Be Back

With all that's been going on lately, I haven't had time to dedicate to this site. But I haven't forgotten about posting photos and will do so when I return from vacation on September 9.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Flower Garden

In May, the sight and fragrance of peonies fill the air of the walkway to my front porch. Although the joy is brief, we look forward every year to the blooming of the peonies.

All of the peony blooms pictured here are from bushes which have been in my family for at least a half century.

The white blooms are our favorites because they are the largest and the most fragrant:

Some of the blooms are smaller and of a different type. The following picture is slightly out of focus, but gives an idea as to what the pink blooms look like:

This year, we had fewer and smaller blooms. I must remember to feed and water the peony bushes this fall.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sunrise At The Beach

All these photos were taken at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where Mr. AOW and I vacationed at the end of the summer of 2006. I managed to capture the sunrise with sequential shots. These scenes followed a full two days of stormy weather, and we got another storm later that day:

Of course, no trip to the beach would be the same without my Mustang:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Front Porch

As you enter the gate and walk on the flagstones leading to my front porch, you'll first notice a big planter. Every spring, I buy some annuals to fill the planter, which is at least years old and make of solid concrete. Talk about heavy! My aunt wanted to take the planter with her when she moved from this house, but the management at her apartment building said that it was too much weight for the balcony.

This year, I chose purple petunias:

On the northeast side of the above antique planter sits a rain gauge, a Christmas gift from Claudia. Isn't he a cute little fellow?

Ever since 9/11, I've made sure that a flag is hanging from my front porch, except in the most inclement weather. I've had to replace the flag three times, and the present one is getting pretty battered now. The flag is probably the first thing one notices about my front porch.

This picture was taken in the fall of 2006:

Once you climb the few steps to the porch, you'll notice Mo and Osama, both enjoying a life of leisure next to the Adirondack chair which sits under my dressing-room window:

Turn right to enter the front door. Look who welcomes you!

Muslims aren't fond of visiting my front porch. LOL.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My Mustang

My midlife crisis:

At the time I bought this beauty, it had a mere 6000 miles on the odometer. Now the odometer is close to turning over 100,000.

I bought this "pre-owned" Mustang GT convertible on my 49th birthday, with a bit of money which my father left me in his will.

After I'd gotten the salesman down as far as I could on the price, I pulled out my driver's license and said, "It's my birthday. What're gonna do for me?" He lowered the price another $200, which covered the fees for tags and title.

We've added a lot of dress-up to the Mustang, including the 18" wheels you see here, as well as interior billet-aluminum knobs and handles. We also added a chrome-plated fuel door, chrome-framed halogen headlights, a chrome frame to the third taillight, and an after-market grill. Chrome on the outside and under the hood; billet-aluminum for the interior.

Mr. AOW likes to think that the Mustang is his car. It's not! But I let him keep her shined up and add after-market chrome-plated, horsepower-enhancing goodies under the hood. Regrettably, I let him lower the car, so we have to be careful with that x-pipe exhaust when we go over speed bumps and come in the back gate.

I also let Mr. AOW take the Mustang to the drag strip now and then.

"How many tickets?" you ask. Well, I've gotten one speeding ticket. Mr. AOW has gotten too many to keep track of, but none lately.

In an odd way, my Mustang is responsible for my finding a circle of blogger friends. More on that later.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Our Cats

Cameo, so named because of the white spot at her neckline, will turn 6 at the end of July and is our youngest cat. She's 3/4 Russian Blue and 1/4 Siamese. As the dominant kitty, she's the boss around here! The following picture was taken on our front porch:

Dusti, named Cinderella by the rescue group who found her in a litter of kittens in an alley in D.C., turned 10 years old on May 5. The following picture, which I call "Dusti Greets the December sunrise," was taken when she was quite young:

Mysti, nicknamed "The Mystery Triller" because of the sounds she makes, was born in a Maryland barn of a feral mother who disappeared after one day, thus leading to Mysti's having to be bottle fed until she was 8 weeks old. She had a rough start because right after we adopted her, she suffered from a nearly fatal attack of coccidiosis and to this day has a very delicate stomach and a slight build. She turned 8 years old on June 18 :

My husband found Sheba in an alley when she was kitten. We thought she'd become a shed cat, but she turned out never to want to be on her own again. Today, she is quite senile and spends most of her time on her mat by my husband's recliner. She'll turn 19 years old on July 15. Click directly on the image to enlarge it:

Our Anniversary Trip To Steubenville (Part Two)

Next to the sign which marks the site of Dean Martin's birthplace stands a duplex. When I was in Steubenville in 2002 for Dean Martin Day, I met Francesca Monaco, who lived in one of these residences (the one on the right, I think).

Ms. Monaco saw me taking pictures of the site of Dean Martin's birthplace and came out her door, saying, "Are you a teacher? You walk like a teacher." We proceeded to converse for nearly a half hour. Ms. Monaco had been Dean Martin's teacher when he was in 10th grade! She was only a few years older than he; back in those days, when an aspiring teacher graduated from high school, in order to certify as a teacher, she didn't have to attend college, but only take a summer's worth of certification courses. I asked Ms. Monaco what kind of student Dean was, and she told me that he was quiet and intelligent, though he didn't apply himself in school.

Another interesting factoid I gleaned from Ms. Monaco, from a family of several girls: Dean's mother, a seamstress, made all her sisters' wedding dresses.

I have no idea if Ms. Monaco is still living, but the duplex where I met her is still standing:

Francesca Monaco informed me that the Crocettis lived only a few years in the house in which Dean was born. She directed me to another house in a better part of town, further from the railroad track. In this house, Dean's father worked as a barber on the first floor, and the family lived upstairs. I'm not sure if the following picture is exactly the correct address, but even if not, the building looked like this:

Sheer cliffs, showing lots of evidence of iron in the rust coloring, rise from the Ohio River on the West Virginia side:

The iron in the geological formations led to the establishment of the steel-mill industry in Steubenville. In the background of this picture, you can see the railroad track for the trains and the smokestack from one of the steel mills. I took this picture not far from the site of the previous photo:

In addition to being Dean Martin's hometown, Steubenville is famous as "The City of Murals." Here are two of those murals: