Monday, February 27, 2012


Virginia, Mom, Gigi, Gini Mom, Tu, whatever you might call her is dying. I don't know when it will happen but each time I visit, I tear up with my heart aching and memories. She was a  beautiful, lovely, gentle, sweet mother. Alzheimer's is taking her. She can't speak anymore yet she looks at you. Her beautiful blue eyes say so much.

River Landing
Before Christmas my siblings and I decided to remove all medicines other than the ones that keep her comfortable. We knew there might be a decline but were unaware of how much the medicines helped. At times I question our decision. Now, she is completely dependent on people moving her from wheel chair to recliner to bed. She no longer eats and drinks but is fed soft foods; she refuses most of the time by clinching her teeth and lips shut. I think she is ready to die and I think we are ready to let her go. Yet, it's hard to imagine life without her and yet, she has been gone for along time.

I was saying goodbye to her and she was trying to blow me a kiss

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Mess

Marshall took a picture of me behind the plastic I hung to try and keep the "popcorn" from getting all over the house. Unfortunately, when I began to wet the ceiling the plastic began to fall from the walls. It also felt like I was in a big plastic bag so in someways I was glad when it began to fall.

                     Quite a messy job

These were the tools I used. The yellow plastic scraper was actually the best tool. The bigger tool was a $17 purchase designed  for the removal of popcorn ceilings, it was ineffective and a waste of money.

It was actually not a difficult process but on the messy side!

The ceilings definitely look better but still need painting. The other thing that happened was the drywall tape that connected the ceiling and wall came loose and had to be pulled off leaving a gap between the ceiling and wall. We have three choices:
  1. reapply drywall tape, add more mud...etc
  2. try to caulk and hope it corrects the gap
  3. add crown molding which will cover the holes and any remaining tape and uneven areas.
We have decided to go with #3.

Tuesday the ceramic floor will be laid. We are making progress!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Popcorn Removal

I love weekends! As I sit on my sofa typing away, it's only 6am and I'm on my second cup of coffee; I've been up since 4:30am. I just woke up and thought let's go ahead and begin this day. My objective for this day is related to POPCORN. No, not the kind you eat but the ugly ceilings sprayed with this speckled stuff they call " popcorn". In the 80's this was a popular finishing technique for ceilings. I personally think it was a lazy man's process instead of creating a smooth surface. Every ceiling in our home, except for our sunroom, has popcorn ceilings. Today's objective is to remove it in our Jack and Jill. I searched a You Tube video and learned the technique; I hope it's as easy as it looks. Here is the before picture of  what I'm talking about.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Jack and Jill's Update

Tuesday the plumbers came to add the toilet lines and cap off where the original one had lived; the hole in the floor is still there.
The electrician came on Tuesday to check out the changes we need to make: adding an exhaust fan, changing receptacles, and the placement of new light fixtures. I think most of these changes will occur closer to the end of the remodeling. Have you been shopping for light fixtures recently? It's quite overwhelming. I guess that's why people pay designers but when you are on a tight budget you become your own and search great resources like Pinterest to get ideas.





Today, Dwayne, the subfloor guy will be here by 9 to take up the rest of the old rotten wood flooring and add subfloor so the ceramic tile can be laid on Tuesday of next week. It's coming together.
Friday is here and my weekend todo list is growing. Stay tuned.

Glances in Mardo

Three weeks ago I began "A Praying Life" ladies bible study. We have met twice and what a sweet time working through this book. We talked some last night about coming to him like little children; just as we are, messy, impulsive, and persistent. I shared with my friends how He met me this week.

A definite place of weakness and struggle are the ugly messages of my past that seem to haunt me at unexpected times.  On Tuesday as I was putting on the finishing touches of my outfit, hair and makeup, I took a final glance in the mirror, and out of the blue said, "Dorothy, you look beautiful". This isn't a typical conversation I have with myself.  As I drove to work I began reflecting on what I had said and how I needed to fill myself with messages of truth. The more I thought the more tears felt close to slipping out.

Each Tuesday and Thursday the Rhetoric staff meet for devotion and prayer. On this particular Tuesday I heard God speak to me through my principal. I don't really recall how he began but I heard the following words that God spoke to Jesus:

Mark 1: 11

And a voice came from Heaven: "You are my beloved Son: with you I am well pleased."

My heart felt pierced and the pent-up tears slipped down my cheeks; I knew these words were for me. My heavenly father loves and accepts me with His perfect love. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Break Review

Let's see how I did:
  1. Clean out Jack and Jill bathroom cabinets
  2. Tear out cabinets and floors in J&J
  3. Select paint color for bathroom
  4. Remove Popcorn ceiling
  5. Mow leaves in compost area so they will decompose quicker
  6. Take chemicals to recycling place
  7. Pull unwanted vines from Rhododendron bush
  8. Clean up sticks/branches in yard
  9. Plant pansies (if I can find them)
  10. Pull out paints to play
I completed over 60% of my objectives. I celebrate what I did get done..

Monday, February 20, 2012

Jack and Jill's update

So much is happening around here. I left you on Friday with the hole in the floor. Last night at our family gathering my sister mentioned that my brother-in-law had an idea about our bathrooms. I was definitely more open to hearing about it than Fri night. He shared the idea of changing the location of the toilet and to add another one so each vanity would also have a toilet beside it since we had space. It would leave the room with the tub by itself creating much more room and even room for a chair or ottoman. I was afraid of the price but knew it would help the value of the house. Making it a 2 1/2 bath house.
Jack:  toilet #1 where the paint line starts

Jill: toilet #2 begins where paint line begins

Having today off was a blessing. I was able to make phone calls and by this afternoon we have the plumber coming tomorrow morning to add the toilet lines and Friday the new subfloor will be in. I will keep you posted!

Move in Mardo

No, we are not moving but I am moving. For the past little/long while I've been stuck. Not literally but motivationally, emotionally, physically. If you don't know by now I have a bit of a struggle with my weight. It's no secret because this is something you can't really hide, but it's not something I really like to talk about, because well... it's a struggle. It's an area I feel I should have worked through. So for the first time on Grace in MarDo, I am confessing my struggle (I've used the word struggle 4 times). Lately, I have been praying for this st----le in my life and wanting very much to believe that God can give me the strength to work through this and get to the other side. I do believe he has the strength to help me.

Ephesians 3:20

New International Version (NIV) 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
This morning I woke up and decided that I want to be purposeful and move. So I began my morning enjoying the snow.

Some how when it snows I feel Petals should be able to run freely off the leash.

Unfortunately, she's not obedient  and ends up back on the leash.
Stay tune as I share more in days to come.

Sunday in Mardo

A month ago I learned my niece Lauren was in town for the weekend. I took a stab at inviting the  family locals for dinner. I was surprised when 15 RSVP. It was a delightful afternoon; reminding us of Christmas without the presents and STRESS, SCORE!

We had a rip roaring fire

Snow arrived ending the party earlier than usual

Marshall's grilling attire, what a fashion statement (photo borrowed from
 Our menu:
  • Lovely tray of appetizers including dried figs, unique cheeses and sliced meats
  • Marinated London Broil
  • Chicken wings
  • Homemade mac and cheese
  • Yummy salad
  • Grilled veggies
  • Rosemary flat bread
  • Chocolate Chess Pie (Ginna made this from my step sister's cookbook)
The array of food was brought by everyone making it easy for the hostess!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday Excursion

Saturday was a beautiful day in the area. I had the pleasure of attending an all day Trail Ride de-spooking clinic by Pam Tanner, a local well known horse trainer. It was in Rockingham County only a 15 minutes away. We spent 6 hours on the ground building trust and respect, then confronting the "big bad boogieman who comes in many forms and topping it off practicing on the trail. It was an eventful day.
Molly is paying attention to the directions

These are my horsey friends, Linda and Sharon with Apollo and Kaleb 

This is the  blue monster we had to walk through. We were also faced with balloons, tarps and mattresses to walkover in preparation for .... see below.

The trails were gorgeous and here we are preparing to cross the creek.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why HGTV Helped Me

There are many reasons why watching HGTV has helped me get through this Day One. It seems like with any remodeling job there are hiccups. Our renovation was no exception. Diane and I thought we could make a dent this morning but it turned out it was more complicated; we put it on hold until Michael could join us.  The pictures tell it all!
Before shot of what we were removing

After shot, notice the back of the cabinet, they actually used kitchen cabinets so there was a back to the cabinet making it difficult to remove the cabinet over the plumbing, but.....

Diane used her special tool to cut it out so we didn't have to remove the plumbing.

Now to the floor.
First layer, thin sheet of plywood and then flower pattern.

Michael removing the toilet and then to discover....

Rotten floor.
Michael's foot actually went through the floor.

We have a problem!

Our budgeted project is turning out to be a bigger challenge. There is a good chance the floor under the bathtub is rotten too. A visit under the house is in order and a new plan put in place. This project will be put on hold for the day while I attend a trail riding clinic in Stokesdale. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day One

Today is the first day of Winter break. I woke up at seven am with a smile on my face. I could see the sun peering through the shades and awaking two hours later than normal felt wonderful.

Last night my oldest sister invited us over for dinner along with my other sister and husband. It was a delightful time. I shared about Jack and Jill. To be honest I've been a little concerned about the bathroom project. Two days ago I bit the bullet at Home Depot and payed for the goods and services to redo Jack and Jill. But, to save a considerable amount of money I agreed to do all the tear out, thinking "surely" we can do this. Not really sure who "we" is and what "we" were doing. Thankfully last night sister Diane ask me what I was doing on Friday and after I responded said "why don't we start on your bathroom?"  If you know my sister she can do just about anything.

So I better get busy. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter Break!

Today we have an all day "Communication" workshop with Caldwell's staff. At the end of the day begins a long weekend, returning to work on Tuesday. Our Admin wisely added a Winter Break to this year's schedule. Everyone is weary. Rest and rejuvenation is in order to finish the year strong.

I began my ToDo list last night. With roughly four days of basically unscheduled time, I should be able to accomplish a lot!

  1. Clean out Jack and Jill bathroom cabinets
  2. Tear out cabinets and floors in J&J
  3. Select paint color for bathroom
  4. Remove Popcorn ceiling
  5. Mow leaves in compost area so they will decompose quicker
  6. Take chemicals to recycling place
  7. Pull unwanted vines from Rhododendron bush
  8. Clean up sticks/branches in yard
  9. Plant pansies (if I can find them)
  10. Pull out paints to play

A few fun things are planned:

Saturday I'll spend all day at a Trial Riding clinic at the Equestrian Center of Rockingham County
Sunday a family dinner planned with everyone coming 
Wahoo! Can't wait for 4pm today!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red in Mardo

With Valentine's behind us I have enjoyed keeping flashes of red in my decor. On my deck I'm sporting a new/used table and chairs I recently bought from a friend of Lucy's.

 My first bloom on my Camilia bush. I have hundreds of blooms waiting to pop!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Thirty-one years ago today Marshall came home from Duke University's hospital where he had his first total hip surgery. It was also the day he told me "I love you so much I think I could marry you"! From then on Valentine's Day has been a special day for me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Orchid Challenge

Lady Slipper 

For sometime I've thought about buying an orchid and wondered if it really is as difficult as "they" say. A month ago my Oak Ridge Garden club toured a local orchid greenhouse I caught the bug, but decided to refrain from purchasing the $500 ones and start off with a $14 one froma local "box" store, Home Depot.  

Box Store Orchid

So far so good, it's still in bloom which is actually the easy part; getting it to bloom the second year and following is the real kicker. 

Since my first purchase my orchid population has grown. I saw one in the sale basket at Lowe's Foods and then my sister Susan said I could "babysit" her orchids since she hadn't had luck getting them to re-bloom. I guess the challenge is on. They only bloom in the winter so I may have missed the blooming window for my newest editions but hopefully this time next year my sun room will be quite the place.
Newest additions

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Courageous Friday night

It was a good Friday night. Marshall was on his way home from an overnight trip and I picked up Lucy to spend the night; she was sick with a "bug". We ordered pizza and rented COURAGEOUS. I wasn't expecting what it stirred in me but thankful for the tears that flowed. If you haven't seen it, watch the short trailer below and consider spending $1plus at Redbox and see what stirs in you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend is here

Not that I'm boasting but I'm kind of excited I have blogged six days in a row. You see I struggle with consistency. I think I have a touch of ADD and can easily get bored with doing the same thing over and over. Yet, blogging is not really the same. It's a creative outlet with words, ideas, and pictures. That's why I love gardening and reading about gardening. It's like a blank slate you get to create. Housework is a different story, it's really about discipline. Now discipline is a different story for a different day. For now have a wonderful Friday and create this weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jack and Jill Makeover

One thing I like about our house is our Jack and Jill bathroom our girls and guests use when they visit. Unfortunately, Jack and Jill need a redo. They are both quite old and very out of date and they meet in the middle with a tub and toilet where the vinyl floor looks like someone had one too many accidents. 




Lately my challenge has been to get quotes. I began with a contractor who had visited on another occasion and has sent us Christmas cards with his magnet business card attached for the last two years. His quote was over the top! Then a friend's brother-in-law quoted the job but it was too nebulous and just had that feeling. Well about 3 weeks ago I was picking up something at Home Depot and happened down the Kitchen/Bath design area and 45 minutes later Claudia and I were on first name basis. It's been a journey and the jury is still out, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Praying Life

 A number of years ago I borrowed a book from Marshall's book shelf, which if you've ever been to our home it's quite filled with books and more books. In fact the other day I hosted a shower for a friend's daughter and a guest commented, "you must be a writer", I said no, just a husband who loves to read and especially about theology. Well back to the point, the book I borrowed was A Praying Life by Paul Miller. I read it very slowly; a chapter every few days while savoring each word and new thought. Two years ago at the beginning of the school year Caldwell's board chair gave us each a gift. A book that had changed him, A Praying Life by Paul Miller. I was so excited to see that others felt the same way, I began to pass it along to friends and family. In the last year I've had a yearning. A yearning to study this book with a group of ladies. Tonight my yearning comes true with the beginning of a study, a praying life. It's a little out of character for me to lead a study. You know all the "messages" that keep you from acting, but tonight begins a new journey of putting those "messages" aside and let Him lead, guide and fill.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Signs of Spring


Spring is one of my favorite seasons for the mere fact that winter is almost over. Don't get me wrong there are many wonderful "things" that happen in the winter months: our anniversary, Christmas, New Years and always hope for a beautiful snow fall, and maybe a day off from school. But with those joys comes the cold, darkness, gray skies and long periods of rain. Just this weekend during a walk in the yard, I spotted signs of spring. Daffodils blooming, tulips preparing their debut and hundreds of camellia buds ready to show off. It made me smile and my heart jump for joy. MarDo is about to change.