Shades of Gray

I thought I’d be clever

When naming my blog

50 Shades was trending

With its wanking and snogs

I know it’s not porno

This little blog of mine

But it can get racey

When I’m into my wine

So when a day does come

That I can spend all in Gray

I feel I must share it

In my own special way

So I hope you enjoy it

These little snappy spurts

50 Shades of Gray(tone)

Trust me…it won’t hurt

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Should We Stay or Should We Go🎶🎶🎶

Okay.  So, I know it’s been a day or two since my last post 😉 and I wasn’t actually planning a post today ‘cuz it’s crazy busy for us right now, but…who the hell could resist?

Not I.

You all know how much I like a good ‘saga’  😂 😭 😓

Especially about cars.  Or moving.  Or houses.  Or other Shit-N-Stuff.

Right?

So…after all the blood, sweat, and tears, we shed before, during, and after, moving into our current home, we are considering selling.

Yup…2 years, 6 months in, picking up and moving again is actually being considered.

Nutz! 😵   Looney!  😱   Coocoo for Cocoa Puffs! 🐒

Why?

Two reasons really.

The first, to be closer to my recently transplanted Mom, who is, apparently, one of those lucky people I’ve heard about when it comes to adventures in moving.  Her pack and move went smoothly.  Her house behaved when she moved in and didn’t reach out and break her leg or rain down through her light fixtures from the floor above.

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Remember my crying lights?

She has made a beautiful home for herself…and is quite content to remain where she is.  But, we are finding that even a mere 20 minute/10 mile distance, is 15 minutes too far!

{Hmmm, note to self…A Drive Too Far…Book?  Movie?  Copyright infringement?  Carry on self…}

The second, as important as the first, is because our beautiful Ms. Sadie needs a place to safely run and play in her own backyard, and we cannot give that to her.

Why?

Because we cannot fence it in 😲

Why?

Bureaucratic Bullshit 🚧

We have a gorgeous back yard…

Northfield in the fall

What…don’t believe that’s mine?

What—everrrrrrrrrrrr  👀

Forget the mountains then.

Oh for Pete’s sake…take out the barn if it bothers ya!

Okay Okay (ya picky bitches), take out the fence, the trees, the other barn, and the rolling field in the background and you’ve got my yard.

Happy?

Anyhoo….because Virginia’s disclosure laws are a  j o k e, not one of the half dozen professionals involved in buying real estate, not to mention the previous owner, felt it necessary to inform us that this lot is one of the highest impacted lots in the neighborhood, rendering our little slice of Eden…all but USELESS.

Why?

There is a 60′ (yes, that is SIXTY) gas company easement from the back of the property towards the house and runs the entire width of the tad over a 1/3 acre lot.  From our way of thinking, that should have been mentioned by SOMEONE in the 2 month buying/closing process yeah?

Yeah……….No!

Add to that 60′ another 20′ for the build line which runs from the structure towards the back of the yard, making the total depth/width of what we cannot add to, plant on, or change in a way that would impede….a whopping 80′.

EIGHTY #$#$%#$ FEET  😖 😭 😕

Even though the gas company could work with us on a fee based waiver, they won’t.

But Wait!  There’s More  (oh goody)

There are also easements from the county that cannot be waivered.

One is a 16′ drainage easement, running back to front, the entire length of the property, but it’s on the side property line, so we didn’t give that one much thought.  At the time.  Not until we had to.  And we had to when we wanted to put a storage shed out there.  On the side.  Away from the gas easement.  Ya know, close to the garage and stuff.

Ummmm….Not gonna happen  🚫

Then {and I chuckle here} there is that all too common, everybody else must have one…FLOOD DAM FAULT LINE!  OR FAULT DAM FLOOD LINE!  OR DAM FLOOD FAULT LINE!  OR SOME DAMNED LINE GOING DIAGONALLY THROUGH THE ENTIRE BACK YARD!!

You got one, right?  And you?  And you, and you?  And you over there?  Everybody?  ‘Cause I’m thinking it’s so damned prolific as to be down right common-place.  Like we all got grass so why point out the grass?  Ain’t that why I’ve never heard of this effin’ thing?  Ain’t it?

What the hell is happening?????????????  😱

The only friggin floods that I have ever heard of around here….were inside my damned house and that fault line didn’t help one daggone bit!!  (el squat-o)

Did I say this made me chuckle?

I lied  😫

Of course, we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think we’d get a decent enough return to buy another.  The market is good right now, the rates are still low, people may be looking to get into a place before the next school year….all good things right?

So I ask you…

🎶 Should we stay or should we go 🎶

(sorry, I can’t help singing it…lol)

Oh geez…after all that, I forgot to mention why I even began this post.  While we muse over the possibility of listing (we’re about 98% there to be honest), we figured we’d do what we always do in this situation…invest more blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention 💰, into getting our imperfect 🏠 perfect so the next 👸 of the newly perfected 🏰 won’t have to lift a friggin’ finger or spend an effn’ dime!

‘Cause that’s how we role…we Hernandezeseses (Hernadezi?)

We buy, we fix, we do……..and we move.  So we can then…buy old and broken, fix to new and pretty, sell to others who don’t have to do a damned thing…just so we can buy old and broken, fix to new and pretty….blah de blah de blah!

In that vein…
We have had the fireplace that hasn’t worked since the day after we moved in, fixed.
We had the Jacuzzi tub’s leaky-ass faucets that we haven’t touched since the first time we went to use it and didn’t because it leaked, repaired.
We’re giving our wood floors a facelift so they don’t offend the next matriarch with their little Sadie scratches.
We’re resurfacing our pinkish, post-form, laminate countertops that somehow were good enough for me, but certainly will put off today’s savvy buyers looking for the trendier granite because ‘It’s so shiiiiny’.

And I’ve saved the best for last…

and the hardest for me…

the die-hard DIY’er:

Hiring someone to do what I do, and do well is tough. But time, old shoulders, bad, up close & personal, eyesight, added to my increased lack o’ patience, has dictated that this time around…we must bite the proverbial and hire a pro.

You all know me and my history with hiring professionals.

Though you know I pride myself in doing my due diligence, you also know it has gotten my leg broken, my house flooded, my toothbrush packed with the toilet brush, and my car dying at 70 MPH on Interstate 91 in New Haven.

Shall we agree that you know this Wonder Woman of Wacky Workmen?

Okay then…we’re off.

We hired a ‘Pro” to paint the interior of our 4BR, 3BA home, top to bottom, head to toe, and everything in between.  The references were stellar. The estimate reasonable. The time frame – 7 days. Perfect.

That should have been my first clue!

When. Will. I. Learn?

Nothing is perfect, nor apparently, what it seems!

I’m getting ahead of myself…let’s see.  To be pro-active, we removed all wall décor, switch plates, outlet covers, electronics, all items in/on/around furniture, packed everything in boxes, moved all furniture to middle of rooms to be covered, placed all non-necessary furnishings, boxes, small items, etc., in the garage, took up all rugs, and basically had the house ‘paint-ready’ for the start date.  Oh, and we moved into my mother’s to give them free reign to only have to cover stuff once and not worry about finishing one room at a time.  The house was theirs.  They had to do nothing but cover, patch, sand, and paint.

Two painters began on Monday the 6th.  The owner’s son who is taking over the business, and his side kick with 25 years under his belt, cut-in and first coat, guy.

Come Saturday, the 11th, one was left and the other one gone.  I fired the side-kick for lack of production and sloppy work.  His smoke breaks alone used half his hours and all of his work needed to be re-done.

He blamed the paint.  I blamed the painter.  I win.

Boom!  You’re outta here! 

I was told he would be replaced with a more professional side kick, but as of today, the 17th, there is still but one.

Mr Painter Man

Who I call IMA

IMA fix it – IMA gonna do it – IMA be here late tomorra – IMA sorry – IMA IMA IMA

By end of business today, there will have been a total of 11 painting days.

Know what’s done?  Hah…stop that laughing.  Wanna know?

Upstairs.

This is still my downstairs…11 days later

Know what else?

There are 3 walls upstairs that need to be redone.  But I told IMA to save that for dessert cause I needed his ass downstairs in the kitchen!  I’ve got a counter top being redone on MONDAY!!

I even returned the remaining 6 gallons of my accent color, a beautiful Crushed Oregano green, for IMA because he keeps blaming the paint…I changed my design for him!

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Does this color scare you?  It’s on my front door, which I painted, without trouble

 What the hell is wrong with me???  IMA STUPID!

Know what I’m doing right now?

😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 etc etc etc

Why bother going through all of this some might ask.  Especially when my house always looks good whether trendy or not.  Always up to date, clean, and comfy.  Homey!

Because Lord knows, today’s modern and discerning buyer would no doubt, walk into a home with red in the kitchen and yellow in the living room; green in the bathroom and a cloud painted blue sky ceiling in the bonus room, would run screaming into the street for the horror!

None of which I put on the walls but was perfectly fine with it until the day I decided to change it.

Boy oh Boy…we can’t expect someone else to think that way now can we?

Or so the real estate professionals tell me. After all, this is only the 6th house we will have sold, so how would I know anything about what sells and what doesn’t?

So…next week, it’ll be Mr. Painter-man who best have my kitchen done by tomorrow (or else ) and the counter-top crew.  That, should be an interesting day  😂

🎶 🎶 We Should’a Stayed and Let Him Go 🎶 🎶

 

I’ve been framed!

This week, Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack fame, gave the theme FRAME for her Travel Theme Photo Challenge.

I like this theme because even interesting or good photos can be elevated to something a bit more special in how they are framed.

Let’s see if I have proven this point somewhat…

Reflections – I could have stuck to just taking photos of the stained glass windows and stone work at Canterbury Cathedral, like most people do.  But I thought seeing them in the reflecting font was so much more interesting.
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This house is interesting enough on its own to be sure, but I loved seeing it reflected in the puddle in the road. It added just enough to make it ‘more’.
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There’s more to windows than just seeing out of them too…when used as mirrors to frame something interesting…it can be quite wonderful.
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I can’t say I would always advise looking backwards as a way to move on in life, but in photography…why not?
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Man-made structures can be a fun subject matter when you find them framed this way. Makes one wonder if the architects were in cahoots with Mother Nature doesn’t it?
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And of course, in grand old cities, there always seem to be the old framed by the new, which of coure, makes for another type of frame job!
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There is nothing like catching beautiful creatures of land and air, framed in their natural environments is there?
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I especially love when I can catch the moon, in daytime or night, framed softly by something earthbound. Definitely one of my favorite framing jobs!
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To say nature is a wonder is an understatement. It’s so much more than that. Ever changing, season in a and season out, always there for any who wish to see. Whether naked or adorned by something man-made; it’s nature’s frame that is the star.
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Cheers 🙂

One Word Photo Challenge: Winter

One Word Photo Challenge: Winter

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Night time cherry tree – Massachusetts

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Ice flow off the mountain – Vermont

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Blue spruce – Vermont

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Turkey gathering – Vermont

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Turkey tree – Vermont

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Late afternoon snowfall – Vermont

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Rare snow event – Virginia

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Ice fishing – Vermont

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Lake Willoughby – Vermont

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Frozen berries – Massachusetts

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The final descent – Vermont

King of the Mountain - Alaska

King of the Mountain – Alaska

I guess you could say I love winter and I’m glad it’s almost here

Cheers 🙂

The ODD Couple

You never know who or what you’ll run into at the antique market…but if you’re a photo bug, your camera’s usually within reach and ready to make the odd acquaintance with any odd ball things you may stumble upon.

So, for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, I’m sharing an Odd Couple or two that hang out in the mountains

Cheers  🙂

I'd like to see the Cat House where these cool cats hang out...then again?

I’d like to see the Cat House where these cool cats hang out…then again?

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Anyone else hear Mater from Cars yackin’ away here? That rusty tub has Larry the Cable Guy written all over it!

Yesterday

Yesterday, my Mother and I spent the day driving north and west here in Virginia, to capture some of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains before winter comes.

This was a favorite pastime of my father’s and mine, as we would spend hours driving the dirt roads of Vermont, stopping here and there to snap a photo or two. Loving what the land offered our souls but loving more, our time together. He’s been gone 8 months now…but it still feels like…Yesterday.

I’m glad my Mother appreciates and allows me to side track us any time we are out, and yesterday was no exception.  But it’s impossible to do without thinking about Dad and remembering all of our…Yesterdays.

Yesterday.  Just the word brings to mind the song, doesn’t it?
The problem is, the original lyrics don’t fit my yesterday, so maybe I can come up with some that will, could, maybe, fit into my…Yesterday

Yesterday
All the clouds just seemed to melt away
So the sun could shine and birds could play
Oh how I loved my yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not standing where I used to be
I’m outside so I can truly see
What yesterday did share with me

Why tears start to flow?
I don’t know, it’s just that way
Dad flashed through my mind
How I long for yesterday

Yesterday
He’d have loved this simple day away
It was how we used to spend these days
Oh, just to have one yesterday

Why he had to go?
I don’t know, he couldn’t stay
But I knew he was there
He’s in all my yesterdays

Yesterday
Love came through in such a special way
As I stood before what he would say
Was prove he’s never gone away

Yesterday…for my father
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See you tomorrow Dad

See you tomorrow Dad

I Believe in Signs!

TRAVEL THEME:  LETTERS

Alisa at Where’s my backpack has a travel photo challenge, and as this appears to be my new hobby (challenges), I thought I’d jump into this one.

When I first saw the theme, I thought of letters.  You know, snail mail letters, like this one I received from one of the busiest blogger/vloggers I know!  My friend Paula Acton in the UK.  She even wax sealed it for me like the blogging Queen she is!

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But on seeing the entries, I realize most are of letters.

Words.  Letters.  You know, like the alphabet.

And boy, do I have those!!!

So many in face, I think I’ll collage them to save space and you from becoming insanely bored!  🙂


 

1.)  The world of words being a New England  (and the Bal’more O’s of course) sports fan 

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2.)  The words of the places I love to eat, drink, and be mary (oops) merry

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3.)  Advertising is all about letters making words that drive us to WANT, NEED, CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT!  And I saw a story in this group…can you?  (Not to worry…all in fun.  I LOVE ooze and wine!)

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4.)  Famous words that drew me to interesting places while in London

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5.)  And lastly (I know what you’re thinking…phew right?)  But, lastly some local favs

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These letters may not be the same as writing or receiving a letter…but as letters go…these’ll do nicely!

Cheers  🙂

 

 

It was there all along…

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge this week is: (Extra)ordinary  –  Mundane and meaningful objects. Beautiful everyday things. This week, surprise us with something or someone (extra)ordinary


Seeing the world through a lens is as second nature to some of us as changing our underwear.

Would you leave the house without changing your underwear?

No…nor I think, would you leave the house without your third eye…correct?

Anyway…for people like us, (the underwear changing kind) seeing the Extra in the Ordinary is really just a matter of perspective.

We see it everywhere in every thing…eventually.

Sometimes, it’s in the reason we stop and shoot.

And sometimes, it’s in the 5th or 10th or 30th shot with minute changes in a particular subject.

But most of the time (at least for me) it’s often just a change of perspective…moving my focus, moving my feet, or just plain, being moved.

Below are some of my photos that I believe are Extra-ordinary. Not because they are great photos, because they are not. Some are pretty good, some are damned good, but some are just okay.

And I’m good with that. What I appreciate about all of them, is that by changing my perspective, choosing to shoot in less than favorable conditions, or focusing on the emotion of them and therefore hopefully translating it to the picture, more often than not, bring out the Extra in some of the more everyday, mundane, and ‘it’s just a sunset’, pictures.

Thanks for looking and here’s to more of the Extra in all of our Ordinaries.

And by all means, click on the photos to get the ‘extra’ full size effect.  lol

Cheers 🙂

When a beautiful ocean sunset...

When a beautiful ocean sunset…

...become 'extra' for the frond silhouette

…becomes ‘extra’ for the frond silhouette

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When a lone fishing boat surrounded by sea birds becomes ‘extra’ for the blanket of morning sea mist

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Or when a lonely cabin in the middle of acres of dormant farm land becomes haunted and ‘extra’ for the snow fog quietly taking over

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When I capture a magnificent ‘bird of prey‘, I’m not yet thinking...

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…about who he becomes when zeroing in on this beautiful ‘bird who prays. For me, they both become the ‘extra”

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When a sunset becomes so much more, has so much ‘extra’, when captured on a day the sky is teaming with the right combination of pollutants. Pollution as extraordinary? Extraordinary!

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When what the ocean throws away that which is more beautiful than anything than man can make…it becomes ‘extra’

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And when the ocean captures and transforms what man has left behind, and turns it to something beautiful…it has that ‘extra’

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Or when a forgotten church, surrounded by shadows of life forgotten…seen from a distance, and imagining its history…it becomes the ‘extra’

It’s Yellah

FLOWER OF THE DAY – OCTOBER 14, 2015

Hi gang!  For Cee’s Flower of the Day today, I’m choosing one of my favorite and longest lasting blooms…the African Daisy.

While I adore taking pictures of them, it’s rare that I get any I like because I have this “thing” with taking photos of yellow!  More often than not, they are washed out…almost like it’s a white balance thing.  Is it a white balance thing?

As I continue working toward capturing vibrant yellows that retain some detail…there is something to be said about this problem when I shoot these daisies in a certain light.

They look almost as if the light were coming from inside and that is the only reason I kept this series.  They almost look cartoonish but for the red pot in the background.

Anyway, I like them and hope you do too.

Happy yellah….R

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