In which the living room putters along

The great living room rejuvenation of 2023 is coming along. Mind you, it’s a small rejuvenation because it doesn’t address all the things it really needs, such as refinishing floors, repairing plaster walls, getting rid of painted wallpaper and those damn ceiling tiles. No, this is a mini rejuvenation but it’s making me happy as we putter along.

I loved the Log Cabin hooked rug I had over the fireplace but it’s been there for years and years and I decided it would be nice over the dresser in our bedroom. Leo offered us the use of his small collection (remember, if you’ve got three–it’s a collection) of train engine number plates.

Below is a shot of the engine that the plate at the top came from.

I liked the idea of having signs with text on one wall, and then numbers over the fireplace. We think the metal antique toy train looks all plumped up and proud beneath them. Of course the poor little guy is slightly bent because Hattie had this explosion of energy last year in which she jumped on top of the jukebox and raced across the mantel (hence the slightly crooked lamp on the left as well).

Yes, yes, yes, I see the dust on the table. I’ll get to it.

I’m a teensy bit worried about Hattie. I just get this feeling that she’s not feeling the best, but she likes this spot on the couch.

Thanks to Trinity and Delsie for the flowers.


Random notes from the Sandwich Life

Good GOD…that storm last night was incredible. The lightning seemed like strobe lights and hail and rain and thunder. We have yet to go downstairs and check our basement. Crossed fingers. Now, on to my summer tomato obsession and other notes.

1. Dinner the other night: gluten free spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and basil. We (meaning Ernie) chopped the tomatoes roughly and salted them and we let them sit for about an hour. Then I put the chunks of tomato in the food processor (and we drank all the gorgeous juices left behind) with a handful of basil and a few glugs of olive oil. Added a little black pepper, mixed in some parmesan and sprinkled the rest on top. Late summer at its finest. Well, Heather and Steve’s tomatoes at their finest.

I suppose a dash of red pepper flakes and lemon juice might be nice, but honestly it was perfect as is.

2. Remember how Hattie is supposed to be MY cat? This is the noise she now makes when Ernie walks in the room. Sigh.

3. Below are all the train horns that folks brought out to the Monticello Railway Museum’s Railroad Days.

Below is Leo’s train horn. If I’m not mistaken his was the only completely cast iron horn which makes it a bit older…probably 1940’s. A couple of folk there said they think it may be out of Pennsylvania due to the paint color. It was a good train day.

4. The girl made a rare trip upstairs, squawking all the way. I told I knew she could jump up on the bed just fine…I mean I’ve seen her race up and jump on the jukebox, run to the mantel and knock an antique toy train off (sigh). However, I relented and lifted her up and she curled up in the window near me side of the bed. She’s still my girl.

We were not feeling terribly ambitious with our cooking last night. We ended up with a BLT salad of sorts. Sadly, we didn’t have nearly as many salad greens as I thought but it was too late to alter course. We put the greens we did have on the plate and then topped them with tomatoes. I cut some bacon up into pieces and cooked it, setting it aside to drain. Then I took some of the bacon grease and made a vinaigrette with it (added a bit of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt…oh, and a tiny bit of honey. We drizzled that over the tomatoes and greens and then sprinkled the bacon on top, as well as some croutons I made out of my GF bread and crisped up in the bacon pan. It was supposed to have fresh basil, but when Ernie came in from the porch with the basil, it looked like this:


Flapping in the wind

We are indeed both flapping in the wind because we are blown AWAY by the generous donations (and words) from our friends in the GoFundMe that friends set up. Wow. The response has been incredibly kind and almost overwhelming. Thank you to each and every one of you, and thank you to everyone that put the fundraiser together. Despite feeling as though we’re not quite deserving of it, it takes a load of worry off our backs. I am so grateful that I can take leave from work on just focus on my boy. Thank you all.

I laid in bed for a long time last night, writing post after post in my head. I feel a tad guilty about all of this so some my posts were rambling explanations of how we ended up here, what personal failings were involved, etc. This morning, I realized I just need to reel it back and just say thank you. Thank you with all our heart.

I’m trying to adjust my head to not dealing with work and slowly unweaving from all the electronic alerts that are work related. Ernie is so tired. Hard to believe he’ll get more chemo on Monday. Then he’ll have a week off. Somewhere in there he’s getting a scan. Whether it’s at Carle or Barnes we are still trying to work out.

Ernie ate some breakfast so that was good. He’s dozing now. I’m doing things like writing Carle Billing to say that one of our bills is for $330 (the copay for my hysterectomy and for another appointment) but evidently the $330 payment has been applied to my physical therapy appointment, leaving me with a credit of $295 for that. Could those two things perhaps be adjusted? However, every time I hit send on the message, I get a message that they can’t send it and to try again later. Geez.

I will now leave you with two random notes!

A mug of Blue Bunny salted caramel ice cream (thank you Carrie). I have a pair of these. At one point….oh this was a long, LONG time ago…you could win a Maine Antique Digest mug if you…oh, damn, I can’t remember now…it was finding something in their online advertising and if you sent the answer you could win a mug, I can’t recall exactly. I got the first one and was delighted. I’ve always loved MAD. We started buying it on the newsstand in the pharmacy near my grandparents’ house back in the 70’s when it was still a new paper. The last few years I’ve had a digital subscription on and off but it’s just not the same. Anyway, I decided it would be nice if Ernie and I each had a mug so I entered the contest again. Yay! Another mug. Then I thought they would make great Christmas gifts for my parents. I think I won one more before they put the kibosh on my entries. Oh well, I just waited and then swooped in later to get one more, completing the Christmas gift.

Leo has a new tattoo of his beloved Illinois Central logo. Trinity is the best. Remember: Trinity at No Regrets in downtown Champaign!

Onward once again.