Wednesday, July 9, 2014

House Hunting

We're sufficiently at home in Colorado now that we've decided to buy a house. So for the past few weeks we've been out viewing properties with our realtor. We were going to put an offer on one, but the house sold before we could submit the paperwork.The second one went the same way. Finally, we found the third house and submitted our offer. To our great delight, it was accepted. So in a few months we will be happy homeowners once again.

The new house is small and perfect for us. It's brand new, which will be a welcome change from the nearly 100 year old home in Pennsylvania. It has a tiny yard, so it'll be low maintenance, and a loft space that's perfect for a library. The only thing it lacks is a view of the mountains, but we couldn't afford any of the places with such a view. 

I think that packing up the apartment will be a lot easier than packing up our house in Pennsylvania. After all, the house contained twenty years worth of accumulated stuff. Of course, I still have several bookcases of books to pack, but at least I won't have to sort them first. Right now, we only own things that we need and love. It was liberating to get rid of all the junk, and I'm determined that we will NOT fill the new house with new purchases unless they are seriously considered. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crow vs Hawks

As I was sitting in my car today waiting for my husband, I caught sight of two hawks riding the thermals just above me. They were swooping on something in shadow of the trees. Then, like a Valkyrie descending from on high a crow came down, and began to attack both hawks. The hawks fought back for a while, but they soon realized that the reward for their tenacity wouldn't be worth the price of an injury, so they disappeared. The crow landed in the tree, and although it had won it looked rattled. It preened itself shakily.

The crows here are brave. I saw another one whilst I was walking the dog, and it didn't move at all even when my dog rushed towards it. Of course, my dog only weighs 6lb, so he's not very imposing. The crow was bigger than him. Even so, I thought it would fly off when threatened by anything. I was wrong. I passed within two feet of it, and it watched me insolently with shining black eyes. It was beautiful and also somehow imposing.

I can see how people become fascinated by birds.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The View of the Mountains

Our new apartment has a beautiful view of the mountains, without anything blocking the way. I never get tired of seeing them, and now that the weather is better Pip and I love to sit out on the balcony and watch the clouds go by. Or rather I watch the clouds, he patrols to make sure no birds land on HIS territory.

We made it to Colorado. We sold the house, pared down our possessions and drove three days to our new apartment, which we had never seen. Luckily, we loved it, as we had signed a year long lease. We got Colorado drivers licenses and Colorado plates for the car. We became used to hearing the coyotes howl at night. Although I have to say that seeing them makes me nervous. Not for myself, but for Pip, who weighs in at 6lbs. A nice coyote snack! We have become accustomed to the altitude, and even started looking for a home to buy.

I have been writing, which is wonderful. After getting all the work done on the house and packing everything, I hadn't written a word in months. There were stories within me, and at night I'd dream about them and their characters. It's been a relief to get them down on paper, although one of them has had to be re-written about seven times. I find that staring at the mountains has awakened my creativity, to the point that I'm even starting to paint again, after five years hiatus. I'm glad we moved.

The only thing I miss about Pennsylvania are the people we left behind. Friends, colleagues and my wonderful writing group. I miss the staff at my usual coffee shop, who knew what I wanted before I opened my mouth. I'm thankful that modern communications allows me to stay in contact with everyone.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cleaning, packing, landscaping and painting

I never want to see another paint brush for as long as I live. I've painted four rooms in the past few weeks. Enough is enough.

Tomorrow the house is going on the market, and I will finally be able to hang up the renovating apron. Then there's just the challenge of keeping the house clean and tidy for prospective buyers. I have threatened everyone with the prospect of being killed and buried in the back yard if they so much as think of making a mess.

We're still not sure where we're moving to, although we are actually going to scout out Colorado in a week. People have been giving me odd looks when I said we've never been to Colorado, although we fully intend to move there. Heck, we hadn't visited Pennsylvania when we moved here, twenty years ago. So we're just following our usual pattern.

To keep myself sane I've been reading Bram Stoker. I re-read Dracula, then the Lady in the Shroud, and now I'm on Lair of the White Worm.

One good thing about all this mindless work: it seems to be stimulating my imagination. I have two short stories in my mind, just waiting to pour out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Colorado ho!

We're moving, hopefully to Colorado. Although we may end up in San Francisco, which wouldn't be a bad thing, as I love that city. It's just super expensive, and I prefer to keep my money to myself.

The list of "things to do" is a bit overwhelming. Paint the house (inside and out), re-landscape the garden, fix up the basement (which was flooded when the hurricane came through), make sure everything is neat and tidy for prospective buyers. Get rid of 20 years of accumulated junk.  The mind boggles.

I ordered boxes already, and I am looking into getting a storage unit to store some clutter. The house has to be ready for sale by mid June, as we want to move at the end of September. This is a non-negotiable date: it's when my husbands work contract is up and he needs to move on to another job. I'm really just hoping that everything works out as regards timing for this move.

Fortunately my daughter is home now until September, so she has offered to help as much as possible. Today we meet the realtor again to get an estimate of what the house will sell for. It's like climbing a mountain, you have to just concentrate on the next step, or it will become overwhelming and you'll never get to the summit.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

It's cold again, and I find my mood slipping once again. I'm sluggish, and can't seem to motivate myself. All I do is search for interesting anime to watch, or take long naps with the dog. I can't wait for spring to hit, with its explosion of life and warmth.

Soemtimes I think I should move to a place where it's warm all year around. Somewhere like Phoenix AZ. Yet I think that I'd miss the seasons as well, since I especially love spring and autumn, and it's really only the short dark days of winter that bother me. I've been thinking that this next winter I'd try some light therapy. It's just a matter of buying a special bulb for a lamp, then sitting in front of it for fifteen minutes a day. I can manage that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

D-Days in the Pacific

I've always been a historian of the European theater in WW2. I'm not sure why it worked out that way, except perhaps living in Scotland for a while influenced me. Now I'm learning all I can about the Pacific Theater, and it is more complex than I could have imagined. There were 126 D-days in the Pacific, each one followed by island battles that were sometimes short and furious, and other times long and grinding.

I don't think I have the memory to remember every single D-day, so I've started with a list of what historians consider to be the most relevant. They might have been strategically important, or just vast in terms of impact upon the troops. On my DVR is a three part documentary that I've been watching and taking notes on.

I'm going to buy "D-Days in the Pacific", by Donald L. Miller. I had a look through it, and it seems to be a comprehensive study. That's for a later stage, however.

After the D-days comes a study of the naval battles and strategy. This should prove to be difficult, as I know so little about naval history. I just read "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by
James D Hornfischer. It was an excellent book about the battle of Leyte Gulf that I would recommend to anyone.

I'm going to haev a busy summer.