carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Noren

Noren are traditional Japanese fabric dividers, hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows. They usually have one or more vertical slits cut from the bottom to nearly the top of the fabric, allowing for easier passage or viewing. Wikipedia

Our condo is small.  When planning the renovation, our contractor and designer Reid suggested using an outside mounted sliding door as the entrance to the bathroom downstairs rather than a door that would open out and take up more room.  I wanted a very plain one with no panels but this one came as a kit (with the hanging hardware) and was less than a plain one with separate hardware.

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Too barn door for me.  Back in February and March I had lots of time so I started looking for ways I could camouflage this barn look.  I finally decided upon noren.

This is what the door looks like now.

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Outside

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And inside the bathroom.  (something to contemplate while ‘sitting on the throne)

I had so much fun looking at norens that I decided that this one would work well to cover the entrance to Ben’s ‘office’ (also known as his cubby hole)

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I thought I was going to like the cranes the best but I think I like these guys more.

 

 

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The Last Move

You’d think I be through chatting about moving.  I mean really, how long can this go on?  Even after we moved the suitcases that we brought with us from Italy in May there was still a storage building in Oxford, NC.  We finally got our ducks in a row and cleared that out on Tuesday, June 27.

Ten years ago when we were packing up our house in Virginia and getting ready to move to Italy, we had no idea how long we would be gone for, if we would buy a house in Italy or what.  I had a few pieces of furniture that were family pieces so I went ahead and gave those to family members.  We sold a lot.  But there were some pieces that I just thought we should keep along with lots of pictures and mementoes.  What to do, what to do?  I looked into a storage unit, kind of expensive.  How long would we need it for?  It finally occurred to me that buying a ‘garden shed’ from a big box hardware store and planting it somewhere might just be cheaper in the end.  Our friends Jim and BK graciously agreed to let us have a shed built on their property.  After 18 months the shed had paid for itself versus what we would have been paying for a storage unit.  And ten years later it certainly had paid for itself.

U-Haul has this wonderful service where you can arrange for helpers if you are moving.  So I rented a truck, arranged for helpers in Oxford and another set here in Raleigh.  Loaded Ben up in the truck and we were off.

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This is what it looked like when we started loading.  There are 4 of those tall bookcases, packed full of boxes.  The piece of furniture on the far right, full of boxes too.  Lots of boxes.

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Empty at last.

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Back in Raleigh, we had to unload all the boxes on to the lawn to get to the furniture in the truck.  Furniture had to go in first because the boxes just filled the place up.

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Our beautiful space has been invaded…..

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But look at the treasures that we have found.  So now, 5 days later, Sunday, July 2 we still have boxes downstairs and up too.  But not as many.  I think I have gotten most of the kitchen boxes unpacked.  Now it is pictures, pictures and more pictures.  And things from my parents’ house that I should have gotten rid of before we moved to Italy.  Fortunately it is ten years older now and even more ‘vintage’.  Hello Craig’s List.

 

 

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Happy 4th

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From my Mother’s collection of strange belongings…..I found her in a box with a sort of Pocahontas figure.  Hopefully she has been reflecting on our nation’s past and future.

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First Round of Moving

The plan was the condo would be completed on 5/15.  When booking our temporary place I allowed a few days ‘just in case’.  Good thing I did.

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This is how it looked on 5/15.

I whined.  Everyone pulled together and on Thursday, May 18 our very kind friends Debby and Pat came over from Pittsboro to help us move out of the condo.  They came again on Friday with Pat’s very cool VW truck

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It was great for moving mattresses and the large trunks out of storage.

 

Ben was even put to work

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Pat and Debby helped us move, hang the TV, put together our table and organize things.  They were a big help.  We spent our first night there on the 19th and we woke up there on the 20th for my birthday.

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Jim and BK stopped by to help me celebrate but I think I was more than a little worn out from cleaning our temporary place and trying to get us unpacked enough to be able to live comfortably.

The next week with the help of our neighbor, Denis, we emptied our storage unit in Raleigh.  The week after that we rented a van and made a pass at the storage unit in Oxford.  It was great fun to open some of those boxes which have been packed for almost 10 years.

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In the next few weeks we will be going back to the building on Oxford and finally moving everything here.  This will be a lot to absorb in this small space.  I will need to channel my inner Marie Kondo.  And I know that we are so lucky to have all these resources and friends to help us get settled again.  Even though I don’t see the immigrant situation every night on TV I still think of it and realize how fortunate we are.

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Resolved:

Our first real meal that I cook at 1652 will be spiral sliced ham.  Here in Italy I watch Mike and Molly reruns every night on Italian TV in English.  About once a week, the family (Vince, Joyce, Victoria, Mike and Molly) all sit down to a dinner.  And there it is, spiral sliced ham.  I miss that so much I can almost taste it.  Yellow squash, snow peas too.  I got plans….

 

I wrote that before we left Italy.  Even though we moved in to 1652 on 5/19, we had to wait until 6/1 until the range was hooked up to gas.  We had several false starts so I was still buying microwaveable meals each day.  It was late in the afternoon when three men working together finally got the gas connection to work, so that made my daily grocery store trip happening at 7:00 PM.  No time for a whole ham.

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I think I did pretty well, ham steak, yellow squash (local) and corn.

I went outside later and when I came back in I realized that the house smelled like food.  I realized then, that we were finally home.  Thanks to every one who has helped to get us this far.

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Moving along

Now that the inspections are done, work is moving along at a rapid pace.

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Kitchen cabinets being delivered

Saturday, 4/22 there was a stack of sheetrock.  Sunday, 4/23 the sheetrock was up!  So last week they finished sheetrocking and installed the kitchen cabinets.

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This week the tile was laid which includes the floors.  Today 5/5, the carpenter is installing Ben’s bathroom vanity and trim.  Painting starts next week.  That leaves lights and appliances.  It will be close but we have to be out of our temporary place by 5/20.  So no time to fool around.

What won’t be done is my bathroom, the vanity is on back order and I don’t want to pick another one.  The stove will be in place but probably not hooked up to the gas.  It might take the gas company until June to get to it.  Wayyyyy back in 2016 I was told by someone from the home owners’ group that there was no gas in the building.  And since I was in Italy and had no way to check and no reason to doubt this person I planned for an electric stove.  Then in early April I discovered that the condos on either side of me had gas, so why couldn’t I have it?   Fortunately, this was before insulation or walls went in.  So the gas line was installed which meant more inspections and caused a bit of delay.  And we had to get on the gas company’s schedule. Who knew it took five to six weeks to set a gas meter?   And we went over budget because a gas stove costs more than an electric one.

We are also still waiting on Ben’s motorized wheel chair.  (That is a whole other post)  which means we are waiting to see where a curb cut needs to be cut in the sidewalk.  And waiting to buy a vehicle to accommodate the wheel chair.  In our current ‘big ride’ the power window on the driver’s side has stopped working.  Our friend, Cathy helped me get it up and so far it has stayed.  And the air conditioner is working, thank goodness, so I am not going to worry about that right now.

All this is to say that I’ll be really busy for a few weeks so maybe no posts for a while.  But I’ll be back.  I am sure there will be lots of fun happenings during the move.

 

 

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How much can you cram in a storage unit?

January

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All neat and tidy

April

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Now I can just barely get the door shut…..

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Queen Mary 2 (part 3) and Moving

There are two other parts previously posted if you want to see them.  This is about our crossing and move back to the US in December, 2016

The Queen Mary 2 was refurbished in 2016.  To be honest I don’t remember much from our crossing in 2007.  I do remember this

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And it is still there.

I was very interested in these large reverse glass paintings

 

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It appears that Ben did not share my enthusiasm.

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It is a very grand ship.  Very roomy.  Not over crowded.  A very enjoyable experience.

Many friends helped us with our move.  I had this thing about our move and we needed to close ‘the circle’.  John and Richard jumped right in by allowing us to stay at their place for our last two weeks in Italy, the place where we first lived when we arrived in Tuscany.  Grace and GC helped us with the last of our packing and very graciously offered to feed us dinner our last night there, but as part of ‘closing the circle’ we needed to eat our last dinner in Tuscany where we had our first dinner, Il Cacciatore.

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We have watched Julia grow from being a shy young teenager into an outgoing, loving young woman.

All too soon our time on the Queen Mary 2 came to an end and look who was there to welcome us.

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Along with my wonderful cousin Bonnie and her ever patient husband Pete.  In September, 2007 they had driven us to the Queen Mary 2.  And now here they were to pick us up, care for us, and make our return as painless as possible.

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And so now we are back in the US.  It all seems like a dream…..

 

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Random Pictures

Sometimes I have pictures that I can’t manage a long post about.  So just enjoy these pictures and comments.

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It was on sale.  $5 off so ONLY $11.  I almost choked but bought it anyway to enjoy on a special occasion.  It takes me a whole week now to drink a bottle of wine.  (short pause while my friends in Italy gasp in disbelief)  I am holding my own with beer drinking however.

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About the only fog I see here is when I take a bath and fogged up the windows

 

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I might have to do something with these in the future.

 

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Totally miss these.  We can only afford to buy it when it is on sale.

 

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My attempt at colonizing the front porch.  Turns out that our neighbor’s dog is allergic so I had to move them.  I got all these pansies for $5.  The pots for free from the agricultural recycling bin at the State Farmers’ Market.

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Wait until you see these again….

 

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Spring pasta using leftovers from my fake eggs Benedict.

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Janis Joplin stamps.  Look closely at the sheet.  It is a 45 record sleeve.

 

 

 

 

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On the Queen Mary 2 (part 2)

This is a continuation of our trip on board the Queen Mary 2 taken in December, 2016.  Read part 1 if you missed it.

Our crossing of the north  Atlantic in December took 7 days.  The sea was very rough.  It is December in the north Atlantic.  Get over it.  We went outside, briefly, one day to see the kennels and think about what the good dog Nerone would have done on this trip.  The Queen Mary 2 is the only vessel that will take dogs on the transatlantic crossing.  Many folks who are moving use this as a way to get their dog to or from Europe.  Our friend Lynn who just moved to Italy came over that way with her dog Flori.  On our vouage there were at least three other sets of folks who were moving from Europe to the US.  If you want to bring more than one suitcase it really is the way to go.

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What other things did we do?  We went to the very well stocked library every day.  We heard several talks given by Nicki Chapman the host of Escape to the Country and other shows.  That is a series that we had watched, so we found her very enjoyable.  I managed to make it in the hot tub 3 times.  I do wish that I had pictures of that.  The seas were very rough.  The indoor pool seemed to have a giant wave machine in it as the ship would slosh up and down.  It was rather fun to watch.  Ben got bronchitis and we got to visit the medical clinic.  (thank goodness for travel insurance which covered all the costs)  And that was about it.  That is probably less than one tenth of the things that we could have done.  It was just that the sea was very rough.  Fortunately I had Ben in his wheel chair to give me stability.  Unfortunately I had to push that wheel chair every where.  That wore me out.  So by the time we reached someplace I just wanted to sit down, taking pictures was the last thing on my mind.  Even though we were eating three full meals a day, I lost weight.  I really was worn out.  And there was a lot of dressing up to do.

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How do you dress someone with balance issues on board a ship in rough seas?  You make them hold on.  The handicapped bath room was one of the best designed bathrooms that we have seen.  It was really designed for someone in a wheel chair.  This was about the only time Ben was out of his wheel chair for the trip.  The sea was very rough and we did not want to chance him taking a fall.

So how about some food pics

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surf and turf

 

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This was supposed to be rabbit. I think it was a dry chicken wearing bunny ears disguised as bacon.

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A very nice Indian meal

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Lamb and mushy peas

On the last night the Chefs and cooks come out and parade around.  It is impressive to see how many there are, probably over 50.

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The best meal I had was a bowl of Thai shrimp soup.  For breakfast and lunch rather than going to the dining room we went to the open buffet.  Ben had sushi most days and I had whatever ethic food was offered.  That was where I had the good soup and most of the meals that I thought were good.

To be fair to the Queen Mary 2, there is nothing wrong with the food in the restaurant.  It is important to know my filters.  I worked in the restaurant/culinary industry with many talented chefs and students.  I lived in Europe for 10 years and have traveled other places too.   At the risk of sounding like a spoiled over privleged brat,  I do not get excited about most ‘classicly prepared dishes’.  (like most of those above)  I do get excited about ethic food that has different and strong flavors.  I do get excited about a main ingredient that stands by itself not nappped in sauce, think a steak with just a blessing of very good olive oil, salt and pepper.  (at out of the way restaurants in the Tuscan countryside that is how food is prepared)  I do get excited about taking a traditional preparation and giving it just a little twist…. oh Menchetti how we miss you.   But for many, many folks without these filters/opinions the food will be a highlight.

Look for one more post with some more pictures of the ship.

 

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