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As a writer, needle artist and photographer, I invite you to share my pursuits with me on this site. Among other things, there is a weekly post called “D-mail” that examines the spiritual meaning in current stories, both personal and news events.  I invite your comments at  cathycongerblog@gmail.com

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”  N. Platt

Sadly, no one has shown an interest in buying our house yet, so we wait a little longer.  In the meantime, plans continue on the new house!  It’s been over 10 years (we remodeled our 1977 kitchen at that time)  since we have had to think about kitchen design.  With the opportunity to build a new kitchen from scratch, I have a chance to plan the latest efficient gadgets for it.  Even better, I can have a convenient place to store everything I need!  A wise friend advised me to take inventory of my present kitchen, getting rid of the things I never use and listing everything else.  With that done, I sketched out a general cupboard, appliance, and island design.  The evening before we were to meet with the cabinetry people, I took my inventory and began to virtually put everything in its most convenient place.  When we got to the cabinetry shop the next day, we sat down with a decorator and a kitchen designer and began to make sense of all I’d written.  We changed quite a few things and added substantially to the size of the island.  I chose wide, deep drawers, instead of cupboards, to store my dishes, pots and pans, and casserole dishes in.  On one end of the island, I designed a baking center, complete with a cupboard for my mixer which, when opened, pops the mixer up to counter height!  The kitchen cabinets will be white shaker.  The island will be dark wood Shaker with a Formica calacatta marble top.  The other countertop will be a Formica Navy blue surface with white subway tile back splash.  Both baths will have Shaker cabinets.  The vanity in the guest bath will be painted a beachy, mint green, while master bath cabinets will be white. It took nearly 5 hours to plan out the kitchen, bathroom cabinetry for 2 bathrooms, cabinets for the laundry room and mudroom, and the built in shelving for the living room.  We designed a half wall between the diningroom and four season room.  On the diningroom side we designed wine storage shelving.  On the four season side will be bookcases. I’m doing the laundry room with white cabinets, a retro turquoise countertop and red washer and dryer!  The mudroom will have a white wood locker design on one wall with a black counter along the adjoining wall for setting down things you bring in from the car.  The mudroom colors will be kiwi green and black, designed to be cheery during the long winter. We came away from the shop exhausted but I feel wonderful about our decisions.

Next stop was the flooring and tile store.  It’s a good thing that the decisions we made there aren’t set in stone, because since then I have changed my color schemes completely.   We did nail down a beautiful blue tile for our fireplace surround.  They told us that it was going to be discontinued soon so we ordered what we need this week. The hearth will be calacatta marble.  Because we only need a relatively small piece of marble, we are keeping our eyes peeled for just the right remnant at the stone places.

At Door County Interiors I had seen a sofa table I really liked, but I thought I would look for one that had more storage.  Well, as far as I can tell after hours and hours searching online, there is no such thing in the finish I want.  So we went back to Door County Interiors and bought the sofa table (and it turns out that this table is being discontinued so I’m glad we did).  I decided that I can store things in baskets on the shelf at the bottom.  The cool thing about the table is that the top is hinged like a drop leaf table to give you an oval top perfect for buffets.  Then I saw an end table that goes with it perfectly!  All in all, it was a very productive weekend.

The builder is getting permits now, which can take awhile. At this point, we have plenty of “awhiles” .  Once again, we are in a holding pattern until our house sells.  There doesn’t seem to be anything left to pick out for the new house except back at the flooring store, light fixtures, and the design for the walk-in closet in our bedroom.  I have purchased some things online, such as the headboard and nightstands for the guest bedroom and yards of red tartan plaid fabric to make a duvet cover for that bed.  It took me hours online to find that plaid fabric!  I bought 3 lamps at Home Goods and a rope wrapped round table at a nautical store.

This weekend we’re heading to Minneapolis to shop at IKEA for closet and pantry fixtures and to celebrate our son-in-law’s birthday.  I wish I had photos to make this house-building journey more fun to follow.  Rest assured that as soon as the bulldozer revs up to break ground on the new house, there will be lots of photos.  If you’re curious about the house we are selling, go to www.trulia.com  and look for the house at 510 Bruce Lane in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.  If you know anyone who might be interested, send them to that website or they can call Coldwell Banker in Wisconsin Rapids. We’ve had sooo much rain that my husband can’t keep up with the mowing.  Weeds are growing, well like…weeds!  Keeping the house picked up and cleaned all the time is getting old, but I don’t mind if the house sells.

Minnesota farm after a thunderstorm

Minnesota farm after a thunderstorm

Boe Chapel St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Boe Chapel St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach

Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach

Sundown at Cannon Beach

Sundown at Cannon Beach

Oregon coast on rainy day

Oregon coast on rainy day

Oregon Coast near Cannon beach

Oregon Coast near Cannon beach

Oregon coastal highway

Oregon coastal highway

view of beach from Oregon coastal highway

view of beach from Oregon coastal highway

Estuary on rainy day - Oregon coast

Estuary on rainy day - Oregon coast

Oysters for lunch anyone?

Oysters for lunch anyone?

My son and his wife at U of Oregon

My son and his wife at U of Oregon

Sweet Cheeks Vineyard near Eugene, OR

Sweet Cheeks Vineyard near Eugene, OR

After the storm - Minnesota

After the storm - Minnesota

Pacific coast - Cannon Beach, OR

Pacific coast - Cannon Beach, OR

My grandchildren

My grandchildren

Snow covered Long's Peak viewed from my son's balcony

Snow covered Long

Fountain in rose garden in Portland, OR

Fountain in rose garden in Portland, OR

A rosebud in Portland

A rosebud in Portland

Sun through the clouds over Long's peak

Sun through the clouds over Long

The first week of April, we flew to London to spend a week with our youngest daughter.  She is a masters student at the University College London in archeology.  She was to go to Turkmenistan for 5 weeks in May so we wanted to see her.  We’d never been to London before so I wanted to see everything!  Of course we only had one week, but we managed to pack an awful lot into that week.  It was unseasonably cold there so we missed out on April blooms.  I still haven’t sorted through the 800 photos we took, but when I do, I will post the best of them.  All the walking nearly did me in.  We took the red double decker bus around the city to get the lay of the land.  We took a boat trip on the Thames river.  We took a coach bus tour to see the countryside in the Cotswalds and in Stratford Upon Avon.  We had high tea at The Dorchester Hotel.  We saw The Lion King in the West End and heard Handel’s Messiah at an Easter Sunday concert at St. Martin in the Field church.  We went to Windsor castle one day and the British Museum and British Library another day.  We toured the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.  We toured Churchill’s underground bunker from WWII.   Everything is very expensive but it was fun just to walk around in Harrod’s.  Our meals were simple, often something we picked up at the grocery store.  Of course we had to have fish and chips one evening.  We really got the hang of navigating The Tube as we traveled all over London. Our hotel was near our daughter’s apartment which made it convenient to meet her.  I learned a great deal and saw the things I had only dreamed of seeing.  A wonderful trip was had by all!  Back at home, we have been watching via Netflix, a British TV series called New Tricks.  It takes place in London.  What fun to recognize places we had been as we follow the TV characters.  Photos to come.

I can’t believe how I let this blog fall behind.  I am so sorry.  I had been writing about the sale of our house and building the new one. But to tell you the truth, there hasn’t been enough action to write about.   When we started this journey, I had no idea that it would become so frustrating.  Since I wrote last, they have shown our home a handful of times.  After the snow melted, we planted a lot of flowers, spruced up the screened porch and brought the lawn back from winter damage.  It’s been hard to wait while plans for the new house progress.  Once you make the decision to move, your heart is in the new place already and it’s difficult to be on hold.  Everything for the new house has been decided, bids are in and accepted, and they can start digging the foundation any time- that is, as soon as we sell this house.  We were nervous that when the bids came in and were totalled up that it would be over our budget.  Good news - the projected cost is well within our budget!  I admit that keeping this house cleaned up and ready to show is getting OLD!  I have been praying for patience to wait peacefully for God’s timing.

Picking out siding and shingles and woodwork, doors, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, flooring, etc. has really been fun.  This weekend we are meeting with the cabinet people to start a plan for the new kitchen.  I have purchased a few lamps and light fixtures as well as fabric for duvets for the 2 bedrooms.  last week in an antique shop, I found the sweetest picture of 2 little girls saying grace over their tea party food.    The colors make it perfect for the new kitchen.

I may have a different perspective once we are into the nitty gritty of building, but right now I believe the waiting is the hardest part.  Packing to move will be a challenge of course and I wonder how we will say goodbye to 36 years of friends.  In the meantime, I am trying to keep the rabbits and chipmunks from chewing up my gardens!  And then there’s all this rain!  Last year we prayed for rain as the drought killed off everything.  This year we’re worried about flooding. There’s always something.