Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lightening up '50s Style

(Before: Light in our sunroom, which is currently being used as our bedroom.)

Three of our rooms have this cheesy cheap looking replacement "diffuser" on the ceiling fixture, (or what I call them: a ceiling lamp shade.)
I took a look at the BigBox hardware stores and discovered this was the only kind they offered.

I remember when I was growing up in the 50's every bedroom had a ceiling light with a pretty wavy glass diffuser. Some, like my brother's, even had brown cowboys as a motif that was painted onto the glass.

Sorry, this plain disc shape thing just didn't measure up. The round against the subway tile pattern ceiling tile just didn't work. Nor did the fact that the diffuser failed to cover the light bulbs themselves when view from the doorway.

Totally NOT cool.

What to do...what to do...

Well, thankfully here in SLC, there is a splendid building salvage business known as George's Architectural Salvage store. It is quite an experience. The place smells of feral junk yard cats pee, which is only natural as there are several cats around the property, keeping tabs on everyone as the metropolitan versions the classic junk yard dog

You can get just about anything you can image there. Including lots of pink toilets and sinks and even bathtubs for those of us who have taken the pledge to Save the Pink Bathrooms.

(I shared that link with the young woman who waited on me. She is a TOTAL fan of pink bathrooms and it just pains here to see all the torn out pink bathroom fixtures that people bring in to sell. If anyone reading this needs a pink bathroom fixture, just give them a call!)

Anyway, back to the light shade: I was first drawn to this diffuser, which hangs like a bowl from the light fixture by three chains. Isn't it gorgeous? It would look so great in master bedroom with the coral pink paint that I am thinking about.

Sadly, it was already sold.


There was this lovely blue one. The guest room is to be blue; hmmm....

Trouble is, this is actually a style from the 1930s-40s.

Frankly they are gorgeous style, and each bowl is decorated as nicely as a birthday cake.

It took only a little bit to decide against going with that look though. Too fussy for a mountainside ranch house.

You have to be willing to hunt around a bit.

Get a little bit dusty and dirty...

I did find a pile of diffusers.

A few had chips.

Finally I found the perfect one for our sunroom.

It was dusty and dirty, and had a bit of paint speckle on it from a sloppy ceiling paint job long ago.
Ten dollars later, a dunk in sudsy water and some thumbnail scraping on the paint speckles and I had....

After: I love how the grey painted foliage looks like cut glass!
Isn't that a thrifty way to fool the eye.

I'd really like to have a glass or silver nut to hold the diffuser on.

The other rooms have brass nuts.

(Another small detail to be hunting down.)

The botanical theme works well with the garden view room!

I can't wait to continue the hunt for diffusers for the other two rooms.
The search is on!

Whoo hoo!

(PS: Ebay has TONS of the three chain hanging lights selling for well under ten bucks. One vendor suggested using them as bird feeders. I decided to take a spin on ebay right after I posted this, and guess what I saw? This ADORABLE diffuse with a little girl in pink jumping rope. Yup...I bought it. It was under ten bucks too!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Updating Mark

We just got a call from Bernie's mom. Mark is out of surgery. They didn't have to remove his colon, which was especially good news, and he lost very little blood. The removed organs are at the lab, after the results come back more will be know about the spread of the cancer.
There was one area tied up in major arteries that could not be removed, that will be an area of intense radiation therapy after Mark recouperates a bit.

We are so thankful...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lights and Shadows

When I said a lot has happened over the past week, I really meant it.

Not only are we up to our eyeballs with a house renovation...

Not only did we have my friend Gail fly in on Thursday...

And our son's future in-laws flew in on Friday for a first time meeting...

We also got a call on Friday evening about Bernie's younger brother Mark.

This is what we learned; none of us had suspected a thing:

Mark was diagnosed with Retroperitoneum Sarcoma in his left upper abdomen on Friday Feb. 13. Mark is to go into surgery prep Thursday, February 19th at 10:00 am.


His actual surgery is scheduled for 12:00 PDT. The doctors feels the cancer is malignant. The mass is extremely large and involves the left kidney, spleen, pancreas, stomach, large intestine, rib muscles, and is obstructing his bowels.

During the surgery the doctor plans to remove the kidney, spleen, approx. 1/3 of the stomach, up to 1/2 of his pancreas, colon (large intestines). He will do a possible transverse/descending colon removal/resection. Because of the extent of the damage, the surgery will be quite long.

The doctor said Mark will be in ICU, then transferred to his own room. The hospital stay will be 7-10 days.

4-6 weeks after the surgery he will begin Chemotherapy for approximately 5-6 weeks. The doctor is requesting the maximum dose for Mark because he wants to kill any other cancer cells in his body.

At the same time he will also undergo Radiation treatment for 5-6 weeks.

Mark became a Christian about seven years ago, and is a part of his Fresno church's worship team, playing drums and writing music. He is also a radiation therapist, he is all too familiar with cancer treatment. Both their church and the hospital staff where Mark worked are "there" for Mark and Kathie.

Please be praying for Mark and his wife Kathie, Bernie's parent Barbara and Hal, Bernie and his sister Shari in KY too.

My dad has also had surgery this past week to remove large skin cancers from his face and scalp. He has been battling skin cancer for years, but this surgery was larger than usual.

Bernie has been down with a flu like condition since Sunday, he is better today.

Yeah...a lot and more has been going on. The mixture of happy and painful happening in the midst of household renovation has been surreal. My brain hardly knows what to focus on.

All I can say for certain is that I know all of what is happening in our life has come to pass and not stay. And that a lot of other people face joy and pain today as well.

All of which is to be experienced best simply one day at a time, with patience and grace, and the loving support of friends and family who also care.

Our daughter, Mark's niece has been a cancer nurse for many years. She posted the following prayer guide on her blog; I'm copying it here for anyone to use for Mark and for anyone else who faces such kinds of surgery:

Today is a big day. It starts with me doing my first "civic duty" in being called to jury duty. Admittedly, I am glad for the break from work.But bigger, and way more significant that that, my uncle Mark is about to be placed under anesthesia, and his life is going to be placed into the hands of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and scrub techs. He is going to have a massive tumor removed from his abdominal area, and to spare all the non-medical people out there the gorey details, it is going to be massive.So my heart is heavy, and because of his medical background, he and I both know exactly what he is up against. Sometimes knowledge is a blessing, sometimes it just makes it that much worse.I can't imagine what he is feeling, and how emotionally and physically drained he is.But I know this. He is a strong Christian man. I know he has the best surgeons on his team. I know God has His hand on Mark.I have peace amongst the fear, even though I don't know how the next few days will play out. I know the plan, I know the medications they will be using, I know how the surgeons will pass the scalpel. I know how they start the IV's. I know how they will call the "time out" and I know how they will be composed.And then I know God will do what needs to be done next.So I pray. I pray for the hands of the surgeons. I pray for the pre-op nurse to get the IV in without any trouble asceptically. I pray that the wait time is minimal. I pray that the team in the room is anointed, and blessed by the Holy Spirit. I pray that no bacteria come into the room. I pray that sterile technique is maintained throughout the surgery. I pray that the team in Marks room slept well last night, and is at their peak today. I pray that God reveal anything that needs to be revealed during the operation. I pray that Marks veins and arteries remain intact, and that he does not bleed any more than absolutely needed. I pray that the edges of this tumor remain intact, and that the tumor is able to be removed. I pray that while Mark is under the anesthesia, that he is at peace. I pray that his organs operate in the way God intended them to work, and that he does not drop his pressures, and that his cardiac rhythm remains in sinus rhythm. I pray that when the doctors have removed the entire tumor, that there are no unseen cancerous cells left in his body. I pray that he comes out of anesthesia comforted, and that he does not become nauseated or have pain. I pray for the discernment of the nurses to recognise any symptoms before they manifest themself, and take swift action. I pray that God uses this terrifying experience to bring healing and blessings to everyone involved. I pray for my grandmother, that she have strength to get through this, and say just the perfect words that need to be said at just the right time. I pray for my grandfather through this frightening experience. I pray for Kathie that the peace light upon her and she can be a pillar of strength through all of this.Thank you for joining me in lifting up Mark and our family in prayer. It is good to be me, and to have such a wonderful support through this blog. So thank you, everyone who is reading this, for being a blessing to me.

Meet the In-Laws

Bernie, Bruce, Debra and Jill:

"The In-Laws"

Yes, Valentine's weekend my future DIL Rachel, ( or "Jill's Dil" as I call her..) parents came out for a visit.
It was time for the parents of the happy couple to meet.
Friday evening we met at a restaurant, had a marvelous dinner and were chattering away like old friends within minutes.
Later we went to Jeff's for dessert.
I had specifically brought my camera to record the momentous meeting, but completely forgot to use it.
The conversations over dinner and dessert were just too interesting!
Later Debra bemoaned the fact that she didn't get a picture of us meeting...
yup, I think we were destined to be friends!

We all attended church together and later they came by to see our house.
I made Debra promise to come to see it again after it all was done.
(It just rattled me to think of her forever more picturing us camping out in our crazy colors chateau!)
(I laughed when I enlarged this picture. Honestly, have you EVER seen an engagement ring glow like the one on Rachel? No wonder the guys were wearing sunglasses in the first picture. Beware of blinding bling!)
To tell the truth, I fretted about meeting them.
What if they were people that I wasn't comfortable with?
What if they didn't laugh or talk or share about themselves?
I wanted SO much to have my future grand children's co-grandparents be people I liked.
Well, the word "like" just doesn't do it to describe how I feel about these people.

Frankly, I wish they would MOVE to SLC so we could hang out together more often.
I absolutely adore these two!
Bruce shared about his mission trip to India to build a water/sewer treatment facility that also provided methane gas for cooking...
Debra shared about how much she likes her principal at the school where she is a special ed speech pathologist.
These are the kinds of things that makes me nod my head and say "Cool!!"

So the six of us gather on the deck, and we said a prayer and we toasted our future as a family.
Siblings we all are anyway through Christ, but now we are to be family in another way too.
It already just feels natural.

PS: Debra brought out her MIL (whoops, I mean MOB...thanks Lovella!) dress to show me.
She got it at killer price.
Oh such a deal she got. You just would not believe me if I told you so I won't.
Now that's the kind of lady I can relate with!

The wedding colors are navy and fuchsia. Debra's sleeveless dress and 3/4 length jacket is a soft duponi silk texture mauve fabric with a scattering of sequins and bead work. Just perfect for a morning wedding with just enough sparkle to balance the sparkle of a tear of joy or two.

I loved how she shared with me that she shopped with one of her best friends, and when she noted that the dresses seemed to look like Mother of the Bride dresses, her friend told her she had a flash for her: You ARE going to be the Mother of the Bride. Get on with it, buy a dress already!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines of all sorts

Ahhh yes...Valentine's Day!
Celebrated with loving made (ahem...OK, store bought...) Valentine's cookies AND chocolate covered strawberries.
OK, enough of that mushy stuff.
Back to work.
We've got a whole house to paint!

Best Girl Friend Gail came out to help with the painting efforts.
You know how you can tell a Best Girl Friend?
It is the person that when you call on a Friday afternoon in melt down mode, calmly says:

"I'm driving out to see you right now."

(She lives in Colorado Springs; it is an eight hour drive in best conditions.)
A quick check on the cost of gas, and the time, and a quick look at airfare lent a bit of sensibility to the offer and minutes later a flight was booked for the following Thursday afternoon.
I explained that we were basically camping out with one bathroom sink, and no kitchen.
She would have to sleep on an air mattress and bring her own towels.
She said she didn't care.
She would come anyway to be with me.

Gail flew in this past Thursday afternoon, and I was able to show her all the places in SLC that I had been wanting to go to with her.
You know; girl time.
Valentine's Day it snowed like crazy and Gail, Bernie and I painted the kitchen, living room and a couple of closets.

Mid 50's bodies painting mid 50's house = {I'm pooped!}
Such a way to celebrate a day devoted to love!

Please notice that Gail is wearing a pink turtle neck.
She had brought grubbies to paint, but then asked if I had a long sleeve shirt that she could borrow to paint in as well.
I handed her the old pink turtleneck that I had used another day under a sweat shirt to paint before.
(it was now freshly washed...)
She put it on and went to the rollers with zeal.
Later when we looked at the walls totally knackered, she took a moment to point out to me just how much she loved me.
No, it wasn't the painting (although that is not her most favorite past time...)
It was the fact that she meekly slipped on the PINK shirt.
Gail HATES pink.
She almost becomes ill at the suggestion of pink anything.
Knowing how we are "just basically camping and making do" she just this once swollowed her revulsions and put the shirt on and got on with what needed to be done.

I knew how she felt about pink; and just plain old forgot it in the craziness of the tasks at hand.
She was bearing the pink for me.
The funny part?
I can't bear to listen to the music while I work.
(Earworms and all...)
The contractors had left a radio in the living room; Gail switched it on to an oldies station and together we rocked and rolled while we paint rolled.
If Gail wanted to listen to music, then music it would be!
Cuz' I just love my friend and whatever Gail wants, as far as it is possible for me to make happen,
Gail gets.
Including listening to that old time rock and roll!
(please be praying for Gail...she was one of the 1/3 reduction of work force at Focus on the Family. It looks like she has found a new job...but until you sign on the dotted just keep looking, you know what I mean? She is her own sole support....)

In the name of....

Moving...and a slow Internet connection in the area made blogging with my own pictures impossible the first week in our new place.

SOOO much happened in that week; now we have a different provider, and it is possible to post with picture of my own again.

The first Sunday in February, at the local Aquatic Center....

At last our son...
was immersed, and baptised.
He has been a Christian since childhood; yet became a wayward teen and young adult.
Recently he has renewed his dedication to Christ, and heeded the commandment to be baptised.
He was dedicated as an infant; the decision as to when to be baptised was left to him.
At age 28 years and 11 was at long last the appointed time.

And his fiancee was there to see it too, and take pictures to record the event as well.
She got the first kiss after he came out from the water.
I got the next.
Years of prayers had been answered in that moment.
A long time coming, but it came.