A Perfect Schedule.

September 1, 2007

This past week has been a little different and has gotten us off our normal routine. Race week was interesting with 160,000 NASCAR fans around, but is now over and our little town is getting back to normal.

Then cousins from Richmond came to town, camping in Aunt Carol’s fifth wheel at the lake.  So we made several trips out there to visit and one day to sightsee with them. This morning we went out to say goodbye and witness the “giving of the quilts”.  My sweet mom and her two equally sweet sisters made these fabric works of art especially for the cousins who were duly surprised and grateful. 

 I am back to working on our project rehab house where the wall paper removal continues to challenge me… but I am winning with only a couple of rooms left to do. 

Yesterday Liza got her new chain saw and Paula Bunyan has been happily felling many small trees that were killed by this Spring’s extreme frost.  There are plenty of trees on this property so the dead ones won’t be missed and will be replaced in the Spring.

Yes, I like having a schedule. Liza’s mom had her own retirement schedule: bathing, coffee, dressing, US TODAY cross word puzzle, breakfast, housework, bill paying or letter writing until it was time for her to prepare the lunch sandwich she would enjoy during “The Young and the Restless”, “As the World Turns” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”, followed by a nap. And so it was, every weekday the same. It seemed to serve her well.

My own mom has a daily routine that I think helps keep her grounded: early rising, grooming, breakfast, projects like quilting, gardening, laundry (she still irons everything) and household chores. Then lunch with her soaps, nap, after which she reads until dinnertime. She reads everything: classics, mystery, romance, historical fiction, you name it. The reading is the reward for her busy and productive mornings. It is her schedule.

What would my perfect schedule be? How could I fit it all in a day? Rehabbing on our project house, reading, writing (which has been reduced to blogging too infrequently), cooking and caring for us, real estate and personal clerical duties, spending time with family and friends, studying and learning, gardening, music, oil painting and other art related activities, traveling…. Trying to find my way and set up a routine that makes me feel happy and productive but not stressed and over-booked. I’m probably not alone in this quest.

But I am grateful for good health and many options. Just sometimes caught myself saying, “I want to do so much but I don’t know what to do next!”

Warm wishes to all.


NASCAR in Bristol!

August 25, 2007







Every hillside and front lawn for miles around the Bristol Motor Speedway is host to campers of every size and shape filled with all-American auto race fans. They are a casual bunch for the most part, sporting bright coolers filled with Busch and Pepsi, and tee shirts picturing the racer they favor.

Yet Nascar fans are serious about their fun… showing up as much as a week early to garner a prized camping spot within an easy walk to the tracks. The race fans also fill every hotel/motel room between Knoxville and Roanoke. But then again, according to race fans, “There is no place like Bristol for racing excitement, down home friendly locals, and the beauty of this Tennessee valley!”

Mobile vendors provide a race parafinalia tent city just across the street from the speedway. There one can purchase clothes, mugs, bath mats, glasses, lighters, food, drinks, race car models, bath towels, key chains, posters, and much more usually inhanced with the name, photo, autograph, or race car number of your favorite racer embossed somewhere on the product.

We think the best spot to watch this race is in our own TV room at home, But Liza volunteered to drop of and pick up some family race attendees this year when she captured the photos above.

All this excitements got the best of us so we watched most of last night’s race and plan to watch the big race tonight on ESPN2.

I was personally amazed by the youth of some of the drivers and their amazing crews. Seasoned drivers were represented as well and all seemed positive and up beat about their sport. No bad boy behavior, drug testing scandals, or mean comments about their competitors. That part was refreshing.

The raceway chatter was about the new surface to the track which most of the drivers approved.

Hope you enjoyed our hometown veiw of Nascar in Bristol. Warm wishes and happy racing!


Richard Petty, Nascar in Bristol

August 25, 2007



Whenever I am out of town and people ask me where I live, and I say Bristol, TN… if they know of Bristol at all, it is usually because of Nascar. Yes folks, Liza and I live in the town known for “the fastest half mile in the world.”

Since 160,000 folks have come to town to watch car racing this week, we are taking a few days off from the renovating of our project house to take in the festival feeling of one of the biggest car racing events in the world.

Now, I am technically a native but really not much of a “gear head”, as car racing fans are referred to. But it is hard to deny that when all these auto racing fans come to town it is quite an event! Pictured here is Richard Petty, one of Nascar’s racing legends. Liza got this photo during “Food City Family Fun Race Night”, a fan appreciation event held on Thurs. night before the week-end races.

On this night, many of the racers and their race cars, sponsors and crews set up in downtown Bristol and offer autographs, photo ops, and free stuff. Although Liza wondered through the crowds (60,000 they say) several times on Thursday, I only made it twice. What a scene! Thousands of race fans standing in lines for things like: Nascar Burgers, official Nascar apparel like a $35 tee shirt, sponsor give-a-ways, or a moment with one of the drivers. Rhonda Vincent sang on a stage at one end of the street (Bristol can’t have any event with out music!!!)

One of the racing teams had a mock pit where ordinary people could try changing a tire to a timed challenge. Changing a tire is apparently not as easy as those guys make it look in the pits on race day! TODAY: the Sharpie 500!!!


Kitchen Post Demo

August 19, 2007



Here is the kitchen of our rehab project house. Scary, heh? Demo is completed and the kitchen has been opened up and the new stairs to the lower level have been framed in. Now we are waiting for Kitchen Floyd to complete the design of the cabinetry so we can:
1. order granite tops
2. order appliances
3. call electrician Jamie to update electrical before closing up the walls.
4. so then we can get the dry wall guys (and gals)
5. so then we can install the cabinetry
6. then call the hardwood installers, pick out sink and fixtures, paint……….

The list seems endless at this point. But exciting to see our first accomplisments:

1. Old fireplace surrounds removed.
2. Old spiral stairs replaced with a well located straight stairs to lower level which brings more light into the space.
3. Tons of debris from demo removed.
4. 3 1/2 rooms of wallpaper removed.
5. Most of fencing and stacked stone walls have been power washed sparkling clean. Thanks Liza.
6. Preliminary meeting with heat and air Tom. Waiting for his quote.
7. Lots of planning and dreaming about the final product. (my favorite part)

Tomorrow: more blasted wall paper removal. But it is just more time to think and plan and dance with my scraper to NPR classical tunes in the morning and sassy blues in the afternoon. Time to bond with this place. Time to discover what this house has been, how it passed through different reincarnations. Time to dream of what it might become.


Power Washing Fun!

August 13, 2007



Something Liza loves more than taking photos… power washing! For her recent birthday, this Leo received a new power washer and what a difference it is making to the brick courtyard of our rehab house!

So much to spray wash, so little time!!!


Wallpaper Removal Art

August 13, 2007



Here is the result of a day of wallpaper removal. Somehow the heap of removed paper was more interesting in this form than gracing the walls.

I understand that centuries ago wallpaper was used as art and to mimick the look of luxurious fabrics.

Personally, I can’t wait til it is all removed from our rehab house. Let’s see… bedroom #2 and #3 completed. That just leaves bedroom #1, the foyer, a hall, the living room, dining room and one bathroom! YIKES!


The Ups and Downs of Wallpaper Removal

August 13, 2007



Apparently the wallpaper in bedroom #3 was a single ply paper that came of easily. Different situation in bedroom #2! This shiny embossed paper is two ply!

I found that I could scrape off the first layer easily, but under neath I found a thick backing that required a repeat of the entire process. Ole well… it got done!

And as it came off I uncovered the lively avocado green that was original to this 60′s rancher. I kind of like it!


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