Three Positive Things – May 2021

Picture-Perfect Poodle Puppy Fun

(Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliterative headline!)

We ventured away from Long Island for one of the few times since the start of the pandemic and had such a wonderful time recently, remarking on the freedom of crossing the Whitestone Bridge to distant lands. Well, just to Yonkers, which is a little over an hour away (without traffic), but still, a feeling of adventure was in the air that beautiful Saturday afternoon.

We were also excited to see Yogi and Pepper, the two poodle puppies referenced in the headline, and the latest additions to our family’s five-feline pet collection – toy poodle Yogi just turning two and bigger miniature poodle Pepper about eight months old. Oh, and we did also get to see my brother Larry, and Vivienne, too … lol … Viv being the official owner of said puppies.

Larry’s apartment is on the 11th floor, with a terrace and big picture windows overlooking the Palisades Mountains and Hudson River … really pretty spectacular. He’s got bookshelves filled with non-fiction hardcovers that rival the Barnes & Noble biography section. He’s got framed photographs he’s taken of iconic sites like the Palisades and Brooklyn Bridge, along with cool Woody Allen and other framed movie posters on the walls. And he’s become quite the little host, serving us tasty appetizers, different varieties of quiche, and a tossed green salad I continue to be impressed he made.

Besides playing with the incredibly friendly, well-behaved pups and seeing them do their tricks for food (Pepper a little more eagerly and obediently than Yogi), we went to one of my brother’s favorite ‘tranquility’ spots just about 10 minutes from his place – Untermyer Park and Gardens. We just strolled around admiring the walled gardens, rock-and-water features, scenic overlooks, and what looked to be acres and acres of freshly planted daffodils on rolling hillsides. Everything was in full bloom with spring surely in the air. Just NICE!!!!!

Thanks for a delightful day, Larry, Viv, Yogi and Pepper. Great to reconnect with family too, and hoping there will be more and more opportunities in the future. Love you guys.

Piglet’s Last Stand (a.k.a. Final Repair for the Big Misstep)

As some of you will recall, just about a year ago, I had the misfortune of putting my foot through the ceiling of our family room in a fiasco-filled farewell to daughter Jamie and her two cats. ‘Piglet’ was the at times troublesome tabby I was trying to rescue from the back of Jamie’s closet when the traumatic event occurred – read more here if you like. It is pretty funny … in hindsight, that is.

In any case, like so many other pandemic-restrained families, we’ve been making various in-house repairs and one was to finally, fully cover up the ‘big misstep’ by fully painting the family room, including where the big hole in the ceiling was. Call us crazy, but we like to do things like that – paint a room – every 20 years or so, whether it needs it or not.

We actually made the not-so-bold move of going from one off-white color to another – from something like ‘Egyptian Silk’ to ‘Navajo White’, which reminded me of a really funny scene from an episode of Frasier where he and his brother Niles rattle off all the shades of off-white carpeting as only they can. (Check it out here.)

As usual with any home repairs, or really any projects requiring mechanical skills, sense of space, meticulous care and neatness, Jim was the mastermind of the project. As he often says, the hardest part is the preparation, in this case because there are barely any ‘straightforward’ large sections of wall in the room we were painting. We had to work and maneuver around built-in bookshelves, a fireplace, a big cavernous indentation in the wall behind the TV, a skylight, loads of pictures on the walls, etc.

I was the ‘sous’ painter, just trying to follow his instructions as best I could for taping off the areas I just spoke of so they wouldn’t get paint on them. To be brutally honest, I did find it challenging to figure out and execute on that one small task for some reason, with Jim at one point pointing out you don’t paint ON the tape and you put the tape on the surface you DON’T want to paint … ‘That’s why they call it barrier tape, HONEY!’ he exclaimed at one point, with some exasperation, though he did otherwise stay pretty patient with me!

I did some trim work and served as the usual ‘clean-up’ crew. Fastidiously and quickly running around cleaning up is my true strength. I tend to show the zeal – maybe ‘over zeal’ – of that fish in Finding Nemo who can’t help but clean the tank even when the idea was to let it get all dirty and foggy so the owner would clean it. (The cartoon character I could relate so well with is a ‘Pacific cleaner shrimp’ – I just looked that up on Wikipedia – called Jacques. But I digress …)

The only other somewhat frustrating part of the project was that, of course, the Saturday before was a cool, rainy, ‘crappy’ day which kept us from going to a college baseball game and would have suited our purposes really well for staying inside and painting. Instead, we painted on a gorgeous, sunny, picture-perfect day where you just want to be outside. And being the little kid I am at heart, I was easily distracted from the task at hand, trying to stay on point with my painting and not run outside and play!

Plus Jim – the real home improvement visionary AND workhorse – was up on the high ladder painting around the skylight, sweating up a storm in what felt like 90 degree heat. It was so bright, too, he had to do some of the finer, clean-up points later when he could actually see what he was doing.

And, truth be told, cats Lucy and Will were not great helpers either – mostly showing total lack of interest and ‘helping’ only briefly by walking around on the tarp.

In spite of noted challenges and obstacles, the painting went really well and in just two days’ time we had a room that looked light years’ brighter and made such a difference in the overall feel of the room where we spend quite a bit of time. And that ended the tragic little chapter of the bygone cat rescue. Thanks for the inspiration and impetus for our latest little home improvement, Piglet!

New Sneakers

In one of my first blogs a couple of years back, I wrote about my sneaker obsession. I hadn’t really added to the collection in a while but then bought a few nice pairs of Skechers, a much-sought-after high-top Vans sneaker that finally fit and didn’t make my size 10 feet look TOO monstrous, and the pair of kicks I’m in love with, shown in the pic. They were Valentine’s Day special Vans and as comfortable as they are adorable (IMHO). (Couldn’t resist using my newly discovered acronym … not bad for a Baby Boomer, right? In case you don’t know, it stands for In My Humble Opinion!)

New sneakers will always be fun and make me SO happy. I got a few compliments on them at work too, which I was hoping was a ‘good’ thing being I was wearing sneakers at work!

***

So if I had to sum it up, family, fun and productive projects as we (hopefully) continue to wind down the really difficult 18 months of COVID-19 pandemic life are my three positive things for May. Stay well and see you next month!

3 thoughts on “Three Positive Things – May 2021

  1. Love the paint job and your new “kicks”!
    The area your brother took you to looks beautiful. Glad you got out for a some fresh air.

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  2. Hi Ellen, I loved reading about your three positive things for May. Beautiful gardens- I’ve never heard of the place- something new to explore! Your family room looks fantastic and new sneaks are fabulous!

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  3. Enjoy your stories & beautiful photos as well. The room looks great! my favorites are Navajo white and Swiss coffee. (Very Close) lol. Love your sneakers – they are you!

    Like

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