Little by Little

Work continued today. Jami and I ran some errands, and the crew was probably grateful that for once I wasn’t walking outside every thirty minutes or so to stare at the work being done. It didn’t stop me from taking a few more photos to share on the old blog.

This is what started the whole ball rolling – a soft spot in our kitchen floor (tile has been removed) – we were worried that our subfloors were rotten.
After our crew removed some of the old flooring, it was determined that the damage was actually minor, and probably the result of someone spilling a glass of water at some point in history and it seeped under the vinyl tile.
There are a few of these spots, though, so the plan (part of which has been executed) is to remove the plywood subfloor, leave the shiplap (or whatever that stuff up there ^^^ is called), lay hardiboard over that with a vapor barrier, and then install our new flooring.
While some of the guys were working outside on Monday, other guys were inside marking the studs behind this wretched accoustical ceiling tile. Chalk lines were popped in preparation for our new ceiling.
These are 3 1/2″ wide tongue in groove planks that will be installed on our ceiling. After an understated “crown” molding is installed around the perimeter, we are going to paint it Ultra Pure White (Behr).
The pups are a little confused by all the chaos. We’re having to keep them in the back of the house during the day and when they are set free after the crew goes home at 5:30, they are so excited!
Jane chases Kona around the empty living room!
They run a few laps around the room in the evenings after running a few around the backyard. Poor pups.
Jane honestly has had a hard time with the upheaval. She doesn’t like storms and always leans against us when the weather’s bad. The last few days the weather has been fine, but she will come and lean against my leg while I am working at my desk. She wants to know when life will return to normal. Me, too, Jane! (But won’t it be nice???)
In the living room looking toward the dining area. I am trying to imagine after the ceiling and floors have been finished, the walls have been painted and we put everything back in place. It’s almost more than I can imagine.
Standing in the dining area, looking back toward the living room. Someday those three windows (and the two in the photo above) will have plantation shutters on them.

I have to go into Houston for just a bit this morning. Whenever I have to leave the house, it’s so hard because I can’t watch the progress. Coming home is a bit of a kick, though, because there is definitely progress being made! More photos either later tonight or tomorrow!

Sally Needs a New Dress

We bought our little home almost nineteen years ago, from the widow of the man who built it in two stages. The first – a two bedroom, one bath house with a small living room and eat-in kitchen was built in 1950. The second, done in the mid 60s’, made the living room into a third bedroom and bath, the kitchen into a little sitting room and added on a new living room, dining area and kitchen. The little 900 square foot house increased to almost 1,700 square feet.

We have been dreaming of this day forEVER. We paid our last mortgage payment in October, enjoyed not having a mortgage for a couple of months, and then took out a small home equity loan to get Sally a new dress. Her crumbling blue siding was well past its prime, and she also needs some subfloor repair and new flooring. While we’re at it, we’re going to put up a beadboard ceiling!

I am really looking forward to the finished project in two or three weeks (hopefully sooner). In the meantime, here are a few pictures of the progress, beginning with the brick repair we had done:

Sad little house — we originally planned to have the brick stained to match the trim color we planned, but after they pressure washed it, we reconsidered. I’m glad I was there to see how good it looked before they stained it!
It’s looking so much better.
He is sealing the brick so it holds its color better over time.
New Hardiplank over foam insulation. This side of the house gets COLD in the winter, so we are hoping this will help.
This used to be the front of the house before the original owner turned it sideways and added on. That little window over the a/c compressor is a bathroom now, but it was the front door!
I noticed this out the brand new backdoor a few days ago. Beautiful.
Repairing rotten wood and putting in new porch posts.
They used to be skinny posts – we really like the simple way our builder dressed them up for us.
Of course, there’s always a surprise. The flat roof over the garage had a hidden leak. This has been repaired and Monday we are having a new roof put on the garage.
New backdoor and painting coming along!
First coats of paint are almost done. I am so happy with how everything is looking. Look at our red door!!!

This is all for now. I’ll be taking more photos and sharing them as the work progresses. Right now I need to go take a chandelier apart…

And then there were two…

Thursday night was a blessing, a confirmation of my decision to “pass the baton” of my photography class to Cheryl. While I enjoyed sharing my thoughts on composition that evening, as 9:00 pm rolled around I was tired and ready to call it a night. One of my students asked a question about capturing the little raindrop splashes formed when rain hits existing puddles. I froze — not because I couldn’t answer, but because class was over and unlike in the past, I did not want to stay late.

Cheryl jumped in and offered to take the two students who’d stayed behind (everyone else was gone) out to a fountain near the entrance of the building. She said they could play with their cameras and see what they came up with. I put my things in my car and then wondered over to the fountain to see how the impromptu shoot was going.

I could not be putting this class in better hands! Cheryl very generously explained some technical concepts required for shooting both moving water and shooting in low light. She then offered to pull her car around so the two students could use its headlights  to play a little longer, since by this time it was well past 9:30 pm.

We have two classes left (if you don’t count the Saturday field trip to Galveston that I throw in as a “bonus”). I’m feeling a little bittersweet, but in a good way. I’ve already given some of my resource materials to Cheryl to use (or not) as she sees fit. There’s a lightening in my spirit with the passing of this particular responsibility.

I expect I’ll always enjoy making photographs of the things that I find lovely. For that reason, I expect my blog name will continue to be “A Scribbler & A Shutterbug” for the random occasion I share a visual story with you.

 

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I regret not picking up this Baby Brownie I saw in an antique store in Comfort, Texas last May. Aside from the fact that it’s so stinkin’ cute, I wonder who owned it and what memories he or she captured with its lens. 

 

Wrapping Up and Moving On

I taught my first photography class in the spring of 2011. Having always been a hobbyist, I felt incredibly unqualified. I had to concentrate intently on not hyperventilating from the barrage of nerves that threatened me each week. When I try to remember that first class, it is mostly a blur. In its original incarnation, the class met three hours a week for 14 weeks. I cannot for the life of me remember what I managed to talk about for a total of 42 hours, over the course of the semester! Apparently whatever it was was mildly informative and moderately entertaining, because the 24 people who signed up left me with positive evaluations, and I even had some people say they enjoyed the class so much they planned on coming back. I am still a bit flabbergasted by this.

Over the years, the class has morphed into its current format — a six week class presenting the technical aspects of photography, followed by a second six week class composed of guest speakers and photowalks, each with a maximum of twelve students. Sometimes there’s a waiting list, other times it’s me plus four — the minimum number of students required for the class to make. The class I dubbed the “Making Friends with Your Camera” class ended up bringing me more than a few friends of my own.

One student from the early days wanted to learn to take photos of her granddaughter. It’s funny, though, how she started down one path and ended up doing something completely different. A classmate’s invitation to go on a wildlife photowalk sparked a passion for bird photography that came completely out of left field. After she finished my basic class, she took off running — seeking out additional photography classes, watching YouTube tutorials, practicing, practicing, practicing. Always learning! And her work has won awards — people have purchased her work to hang on the walls of their homes and their businesses. I’m incredibly proud of her.

It was really a no-brainer when I realized this fall that I really need to, really want to pass the torch and I thought of Cheryl. I’ve enjoyed the almost eight years that I’ve taught this class. I guesstimate I’ve probably helped between 250 – 300 people make friends with their cameras. But I have other things I want to focus on and I know my former student — my now friend — will do a fabulous job of helping people make friends with their cameras when she becomes the new photography teacher in the spring. I’ll begin my last session this evening with my friend observing and assisting. I’m a little sad — teaching this class has been a huge part of how I define myself:

“What do you do?”

“I have my own business, I’m a writer, and I teach photography at the college.”

I have the business to help our family economy. I teach photography because my teacher asked me if I would when he moved away, and I discovered I enjoyed it.

But the thing that I’ve done since I was in grade school, the thing I want to find more time for, the thing that I always find myself coming back to is there in the middle, in the heart of my answer:

I’m a writer.

Voluntary Participation Makes Good Coffee Tuesday Possible

From my good friend, Tim. A story about good coffee… and other things.

 

via Voluntary Participation Makes Good Coffee Tuesday Possible

Grateful for Plenty

Thought I’d share the latest update, and a big part of the reason why I’m MIA around here most of the time (for now). My business has been really busy the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been meeting with clients, preparing quotes, tweaking quotes, discussing options to the point that I think my potential clients are never going to order anything.

Oh, ye of little faith!

I closed the deal on a house full of shutters this evening — almost 400 square feet of glass to be covered by beautiful custom shutters. Signed contract and deposit in hand – hooray!

I am waiting for the signed contract and deposit on a commercial order involving 71 window blinds — I’ve been told it’s as good as done, but until that signed contract and deposit are in hand, I’ll wait patiently to celebrate.

I’ve got a couple of appointments on the books for next week, and several projects are in process right now. God is good and I am grateful.

Goodnight!

I’m Still Here…

…just been super busy with business stuff, family stuff, and a wonderful trip to see my bestie in Ohio the last week of August. We’ve been friends for 41 years — since we were 13 years old. She probably knows me better than almost anyone, except My Guy, of course. But even then — she has probably known me longer than anyone not related to me! She is my “sister by choice,” and I am ever thankful God brought our paths together.

I have one grainy “selfie/usie” I snapped of us with my phone when we stopped to have some coffee. Other than that, I chose to “be in the moment” while I was there. I actually took an extra suitcase to hold my camera bag, and never even took it out! And I don’t regret it one bit.

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Best Friends/Sisters by Choice since the last day of school in 1977.

Sometimes you have to let your mind record the memories. You miss so much when you have a camera separating you and what’s happening. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true to some degree. If you’ve never seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (which is nothing like the short story, I’ve been told) I strongly urge you to watch it. The ending has a powerful message about slowing down, sitting still, and really SEEING what’s happening before your eyes. Here’s the clip:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty