Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Door Opens ...

At least it opens a little bit wider, anyway.  Back around New Years I posted the sad announcement that the philosopher didn't get the position at the school where he's been adjuncting for a couple of years.  I also posted about a possible job at another Happy Southern School, and told of our friends and my desire not to hope for it too much because the disappointment was so fresh.

Well, the philosopher has a phone interview tomorrow.  We were laughing about it on our hike this past weekend, saying that we had friends there already, and we knew where we would go to church, and by golly there is even a 1920s Arts and Crafts house for sale that we would love to buy and restore.  So really, all we needed was a reason to move!

We're not quite at that point, but yes, we are hopeful.  It's been a long time wandering in this desert.  I don't know if we've learned what God wanted us to learn here, but I'd like to think we've grown in ways we don't even realize.  I do know that we are both ready to start on our next adventure and we pray that this path, which seems so clear right now, is the way we need to go.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hiking in February

It's a great idea when it's 70 degrees!  Hurrah for a warm weekend!

For Saturday's adventure, we first had to actually gain access to the trailhead.  This involved no mean feat - traversing 10 miles of rather alarming forest service roads in a small sedan.  (In our defense, the Alabama Atlas and Gazetteer, as well as Google, said these roads were COUNTY roads.  Not so much, I say!)  Fortunately, we've been rain-free for a while so the roads, while terribly dusty and completely frightening to drive on, were passable. We ended up at the Pine Glen Campground, deep in the heart of the Talladega National Forest.  It's actually a nice place, with toilet facilities and such.  We parked next to another small sedan and noticed it had a flat tire - "A-ha, we proclaimed - they must have came the same way we did!"

The campground is sited next to Shoal Creek, a wide and deep waterway that is filled with fish and turtles.

We started out on the trail, headed for our turnaround spot at the Laurel Shelter, some 4 1/2 miles north.

Along the way, we hiked around the western edge of Sweetwater Lake.  Folks were out fishing, and there was a boy scout troop setting up camp for an overnight. 

The shelter was built by a small creek, and there were some really cool rock formations.  As you can see, though, I was too tired to really appreciate the scenery!  ::grin::

This marks our longest hike ever, over nine miles!  And I just did the math based on our hiking log (I'm a librarian, remember - I keep notes of this kind of stuff!) and discovered we've hiked over 68 miles of the Pinhoti Trail.  That's pretty darn good for someone who didn't own a pair of hiking boots until three years ago!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Re - re - do!

Well, occasionally I don't win one.  You may remember, back in 2008, when the philosopher and I renovated the main bathroom?  It went from a horrid brown with pheasants to a slightly less horrid white with blue.


Zana was never *really* happy with the white and blue combo, but she was loathe to admit she.... may have made a mistake on color.  OK, Ok, ok.... I CHOSE POORLY.  (Fortunately we're not talking about the grail here.)

So this past summer (yes, it's been a long time but what with this and that it was Labor Day and then Christmas and then February and then we remembered to take a picture) the philosopher went to a week-long conference.  And of course, what do I do when he goes out of town?  I paint something!  I decided to re-do the bathroom, with a little help from my dad the cabinetmaker.  We rebuilt the closet door and the vanity doors, giving them a beadboard look.  I painted the white walls brown, and the vanity and medicine cabinet white.  We already had dark blue towels and other accents, so - voila - bathroom 2.0!

What you can't see is the roman shade and valance, which is white with a dark blue and a mottled khaki stripe, and the lovely shower curtain from my mother-in-law, which is white with a dark blue stripe.  And the hallway is no longer dark brown, but white.  Bonus!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Art Project

Well, it's sort-of an art project.  When we were in New Orleans this past December, we were browsing the antique stores (read that "junk shops") which have all manner of random ephemera for sale.  From voodoo dolls to Victorian cabinets to cobalt and jadite glassware, there's something for everyone.  We were visiting a place called "Greg's Antiques" (I kid you not.)  What caught my eye were these... interesting... sculptures of birds made out of brightly painted bits of metal.  My father collects flamingo statuary (again, I kid you not) and I thought one of these would make a GREAT Christmas gift.  Alas, plenty of pelicans, no flamingos.  (Sorry, dad!)

But they did have an astonishing array of architectural salvage... doors, windows, archways, all kinds of stuff.  We saw some small stained glass windows that were obviously from the craftsman era - very simple and geometric.  Some were in decent shape, some were cracked or broken, some had busted frames.  They were selling them at a price we could afford (read that "cheap" - he's not kidding on his website when he says he has "the lowest antiques prices in New Orleans".)  Later I looked up similar windows online, and they were selling for hundreds of dollars.  So for about 50 bucks, we got a DEAL.

Anyway, we bought one.  It was one of the few that didn't have a geometrical design, but rather an abstract flower.  The window was loose in the frame, but the frame was reasonably solid and all the panes were tight to the lead.  So we purchased it, wrapped it up and brought it home.  The philosopher reset the glass in the frame and reglazed it, and we roughly sanded the remaining paint and gave it a topcoat.  We tossed around a bunch of ideas on where to put it, and finally decided to hang it over the railing between the kitchen and the study.   Voila!

This is looking down from the kitchen to the study (yes, our house has a crazy layout!)  The window is about head-high.

This is a view from the study looking up, with the new track lighting beautifully illuminating the glass.

Yay, art project!