Friday, July 18, 2014

What's Up Friday

What’s up Wednesday is a blog meme that I’ve been interested in doing for a while. But I haven’t quite gotten around to it. In the meantime here’s my What’s Up Friday.

What I’m Doing

Finishing a resume. I haven’t written one of these in two decades. Ugh. It’s interesting though—who knew there were fads in resume writing. I looked at resumes of technical writers (that’s what a lot of my past jobs have been) and I discovered some…creativity. One tech writer (currently with a very reputable laboratory) had a resume with a “cowboy theme.” In fact, one phrase mentioned “wrangling words and people.”

Why are there fads in resumes? Why can’t we just list our past jobs, list our degrees, and promise to work really hard? I mean, what else is there?

What I’m Writing

Editing. And more editing. I’m two-thirds of the way through an edit of my latest work-in-progress. The 2/3s mark is always writing/editing kryptonite for me. I’m just starting to get burned out, but not quite burned out enough to say, “What the heck.” So instead, I experience huge amounts of self-doubt. Do the themes work? Is the character development arc legitimate?  Just how underwritten is this puppy? Will anyone want to read it? And, am I EVER going to hit the necessary word count?

What I’m Reading

Earlier this week I got my next book to review for “Blogging for Books.” It’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. I’m not far into it, but the words and phrases are so lovely. It’s like entering a spell cast by a muse’s fairy godmother.

The setting is interesting—Chechnya, the characters are sympathetic, and pacing is spot-on, so I just hope, hope, hope that the author can pull off a wonderful plot. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

If you missed my review of the last B4B book I read, click here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY Ugly Fence Fix

Each time we moved, we've bought a fixer-upper house. And most of the things we've had to fix ourselves. But sometimes, what I don't like isn't "broken," it's just ugly.

One thing I hate is that a lot of the fencing around the house is chain link. So no privacy and super, super ugly. At first I planted climbing roses. They were beautiful. A wall of roses. And then, they got rose rosette disease (also known as "witches broom"), which is untreatable and kills the plants.

So once again I had an ugly fence. And because of the residual effects of the disease, I couldn't plant more roses. But I needed something that formed a wall. Something beautiful that would turn a minus into a plus.

And then it hit me. Grapes. But we'd tried grapes before in a different area of the yard. It was a disaster.So I researched grape growing on Google. And bought plants at WalMart (I amended the soil--which is clay and pebbles with top soil and composted steer manure, i.e., cheap fertilizer). And my husband built a double cordon system. It sounds fancy, but it's basically eight feet posts buried about 16 inches into the ground with two levels of heavy gauge wire strung between them.

Last year, we followed simple double cordon guidelines and cut off extraneous vines as the plants grew. This summer, we had grapes. It was a lovely surprise because we weren't supposed to get grapes until next year.

To the right are Concord grapes, which we've already eaten. Small (probably because they weren't supposed to bear this year) but delicious.

To the left are red flames grapes. I can't wait for them to ripen.

And there's nothing more wonderful than seeing a wall of grapes. So bless that ugly chain link fence, without it the grapes wouldn't have the free air circulation and heavy sunlight that they love.

BTW, If you read last week's post about the 52 year old towels, one Facebook commenter mentioned that she has towels bought in 1945 that are in great shape. Wow, that's 69 years!

Friday, July 11, 2014

52 Year Old Towels

Okay, this is a weird blog post. But it is what it is.

In the photo below, there are three towels.

Towel number one, the pink one is 52 years old. I know how old it is because my mother bought it before she was married—my parents have been married for 51 years. Please notice, it has no pulls, no frays, no stains and has retained its color despite 52 years of use. 

Towel number two. This one is six years old. It is mildly beige. It used to be a creamy light brown. It didn’t used to be “ruched” in the middle—that’s from uneven shrinkage. It is completely frayed and worn out.

Towel number three is three weeks old. It still has its original color. (Thank goodness.) But it already has pulls on the terrycloth--though you can't see them in this photo.

I want towels from 50 years ago. I’ll pay three times as much as they currently cost if they last 50 years. Heck, I’ll pay five times as much and still save money. (Though I would not buy pink.)

So, in spite of modern advancements and computerized weaving, they can’t make a towel like they did fifty years ago. Okay, maybe they can. They just don’t want to. Because I wouldn’t buy new towels if the old ones were still good. Pink or no pink. Which explains why I’m the owner of towels that are 52 years old. (And in case you’re wondering, the washcloths are in good shape too.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

DIY Front Door Repair

My latest summer DIY project was our front door. (Originally, I wanted it to be our kitchen floor, but there may be asbestos issues, i.e., $$$ and we're still paying for the new porch.)

Instead, the front door started falling apart, and it became our fix-it-quick-before-it's-ruined project. Our front door is as old as our house. Almost 100 or 80 years depending on who you believe--the records aren't accurate. And the panels of the door had begun separating. Getting a new door wasn't really much of an option since it would mean serious money because our door is not standard.

So my husband Cal and I enlisted my dad's help. And these. Cinching straps and really long screws--6 inches long. They used the cinching straps and brute strength to pull the door together. Then they drilled an opening for the screws (not the full 6 inches, of course) and countersunk it. Afterwards, they put in the screws to secure it. (Thanks, Dad!)

After the door was secure, we used fiberglass filler to patch cracks in the door. Cal sanded the fiberglass. That takes more muscle than I've got, and he can do it before I can find and plug in the sander.

Here's the door primed.

(Sorry, no photo of the door in its original state. I always forget to take "before" photos. Just imagine a door warped and separated and you'll get the idea.)

We filled the screw holes with dowels and then covered those with more fiberglass patch. Here's what the side of the door looked like before sanding, priming and painting.

Pink stuff is the fiberglass patch.
Then, I painted. Here's the finished product, which went from medium gray to red.

Now, back to editing.