10.16.2014

Grad girl...

We moved into the tiny tudor at the end of the summer.  Sara finished school last June- as in aged out and D O N E.  It's a new era, she is 22, on to bigger and better things- and it was time for a change...

We took a trip out to the PB Teen store and found the duvet she loved- this is what we are decorating the room around...


The console/dresser that Travis built her is the same deep pink as in the roses.  The walls are White Duck by Sherwin Williams and the interior doors are Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams.  I am thinking of painting the gallery wall in her room a smokey black as well...

image via Pinterest
Sara's gallery wall...



The sheets, sham and bedskirt...



I am also including touches of Gold and plan on painting a few things gold to put on the gallery wall, like the giant "S" I found in a garage sale years ago.  I also bought her the bunny lamp for her end table...


Once Travis finishes his turnaround schedule at work, he is going to build her a headboard.  I am thinking we will do a painted wood version of the PB Teen one Sara likes...


Sara loves momentos- pictures, announcements, invitations- all of it is part of what gives her room meaning to her.   She treasures memories and I knew that the graduation plaque by Tiny Prints was the perfect addition to her wall.



Personalizing a space is easy to do with pieces that commemorate special events in your life.  For Sara, her graduating was something we were told she would never do.   We knew that with the right environment, encouragement and support she would not only graduate, but she would do so much more.  When Sara looks on her walls and sees her diploma, graduation picture, and this plaque- it is a reminder that we are all capable, and with love we can accomplish great things.

10.15.2014

Happy notes...

When Sara and I started painting signs for The Happy Soul Project it became obvious to me that aside from the painting, Sara's absolutely favourite part of the entire process was the wrapping and addressing of each sign.

"Where is it going?"

"Who is it for?"

"Do they have Down Syndrome too?"

The only thing that she loves more is when people post pictures to Instagram or Facebook of their child with the signs we make.  I think for Sara she enjoys the creative process, but the real joy lies in the giving.  And who can fault her for that?  Giving is a good thing.  So the opportunity to use some thank you notes by Tiny Prints was the perfect addition to an already perfect "job".  Sara loves to sit and write out a small thank you to each person who purchases one of our Happy Soul Project signs...


My main focus at this point is to ensure that Sara is doing something worthwhile, and that we are spreading the message that people with Down Syndrome are productive members of society.   Ocotober is Down Syndrome Awareness month, and while I think people are pretty aware of Down Syndrome, I think the emphasis needs to be more on acceptance.


Sara wants what any other adult wants- she wants purpose, a job, something to call her own and take pride in.  Painting signs does just that, and the thank you notes we send out mean so much more than the few sentences Sara writes on each one.


So thank you to each of you who have purchased a sign and given Sara a chance to spread a little happy...

10.14.2014

This and that...

I have a few decorating posts in the works, but I wanted to pop in to say that my courtyard posts are mostly in jest.  One cannot avoid picking up on other's quirks- that is just human nature, as we are all quirky in our own ways.  Living in such close proximity to others seems to amplify the quirkiness and I thought it would be fun to share some of the stories.  We love this little community, colourful residents and all ;)  This is the neighborhood I grew up in and I knew going into this little area that it was going to be entertaining.  We have been very lucky to have met some lovely neighbors and we are looking forward to getting more involved with our homeowners association.

I've been going through some personal stuff, health related and family related.  I've had to severly limit my interactions with one family member in particular.  It's toxic and I just had to put a stop to it.   Letting go of something, even if the realness of it was imaginary, is tough.   I'm just not going to cry over someone who wouldn't notice if I went missing.  I'm working through it, as it is a process, and I will be okay.

As for the health front, I'm taking care of that too.  It turns out that my heart wasn't the issue, it is in fact pulmonary.  I've never smoked, but my lungs seem to think that I was a three pack a day girl.  Scary for someone who is an asthmatic and biggest fear is not being able to breath.   It's going to be okay, and I am thankful for a supportive husband and wonderful kids.

Travis continues to work his turnaround schedule.  It's going to go a bit longer than planned, but hey- it's a job- and a good one at that.   We are adjusting to the schedule and the days are quiet with lots of reading and learning going on.

I'm hoping to paint Sara's gallery wall this week.  I haven't painted since we moved in and I feel the itch ;)

Take care, and as always- thanks for reading and checking in on me.

10.13.2014

Lead foot Larry...

No community would be complete without a resident ex-con.  Seriously, we have one.  He is a thin wiry little man who walks around with a permanent twitch- probably attributed to the extensive drug use that led him to a stint in state prison.  Thankfully he lives on the other side of our community and is not in the direct vicinity of us, because let me tell you- it's a total Amtrak situation over there.

Larry grew up in the town home he now lives in.  After his parents died, they left the town home to him, probably because Larry was still living with them in his 40's and the squatter's rights must have kicked in.   So Larry lives there rent free with his equally colourful wife.  When they are not screaming at each other on their tiny front patio, or knocking on doors asking for money- they can be found racing through the cul-de-sac.  You might ask how does one exactly race through a circular drive- he manages.  Speeds of 40-50 mph have been noted as he peels out to run "errands" and is back within thirty minutes.

We first met Larry on one of his errand peel outs.  Only this one led to him crashing into two vehicles and knocking down a lamp post instead of leaving the area.  Don't get me wrong, he tried to leave, he even asked Travis to help him move his truck (Travis gave a definitive, NO- so not helping you flee the scene answer).   When leaving wasn't going to happen, Larry decided to run back to his house and get his wife to come sit in the driver's seat- because Larry didn't have a license or car insurance.  Classy, I know.

At this point several other neighbors were beginning to gather around for the mid-day entertainment.  Larry was gesturing wildly and pacing back and forth.  We had already called the authorities and they were on their way.  This gave Larry and his wife time to come up with a story- one where she was driving the truck and not him.  Never mind the fact that several of us witnessed Larry plow into both vehicles and knock over the lamp post.   Details.

Finally the officer showed up.  They know Larry.  This is a small town and apparently Larry is a frequent flyer in our local police station.   Larry began to explain how his wife was pulling out and some belt on the truck snapped, she panicked, pressed on the accelerator and ran into the cars and took out the lamp post.  The officer took notes.  Then Travis walked over to the officer and simply said, "I saw the entire thing if you need a witness account".   The officer then took down Travis' story- the one where Larry was driving, and the officer turned to the wife and said, "If Larry was driving why did you tell me it was you??"  They both shot us looks that told me right away we would not be getting a fruit cake from them for the holidays.

Larry ended up handcuffed, the truck he hit was totalled since it was hit so hard that it jumped the curb, hit the lamp post and ultimately bent the frame.  Larry was fined $200 for lack of insurance and the poor truck owner was out any help with repairs.  The officers let Larry go after they took down the information for their report, and I'm really not sure if anything else came from it.    Needless to say NOBODY parks in the cul-de-sac anymore, except for Larry.  Wide berth.

The lamp post is still missing, and all that covers the still live electrical wires is an orange rubber road cone.   We were told by the city that we would be getting a new lamp post, but that was back in June.   I'm not holding my breath.

We still have Larry though- and I imagine we will for some time to come, because really he's like a cockroach, and what is a community without a resident ex-con?

10.12.2014

Inside the courtyard of good and evil...

If you get the title reference to this post you may know where I am going with this.

We love our tiny tudor townhouse, but folks- we have moved right into One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Maybe it's the close proximity to our neighbors, but we have some interesting characters living near us, so many in fact that I think I may write a book.   (well, more likely I will just blog about it)

I'm going to start with the woman who lives directly beside us.  I will call her Garbage Can Girl (GCG for short)  I first met GCG while we were remodeling this past summer.   I was in the house and painting- brush in one hand and a lollipop in the other.  Don't ask me why, but I suck on lolipops when I paint.  I was mid brush dip, when I heard a rather terse "Hello??".  Walking into the garage I saw a woman wildly gesteruring to two trash cans and she began acusing me of stealing them.

Yep, totally busted.  I lift trash bins.  It's what I do.  Breaking bad.

I tried to explain to her that when we moved in they were in front of our garage, and maybe one of the contractors pulled them in and used them, but before I could get through my explanation she began TIPPING the cans over into the garage and DUMPING the trash onto the garage floor.

I wish I was kidding.

I just stood there, lollipop in hand, bewildered and waiting for the camara crew of Pranked to pop out.

They didn't.

That was our first interaction with GCG.   The second is ongoing and involves her little dog that she leaves in the atrium area next to our atrium area for extended periods of time.  Do you know what little dogs do when they are left alone and bored?

Bark.  Non-stop.

Travis is sleeping days, since he is working nights- so I tried ringing her bell so I could ask her to please take the dog in.  She peeked out, but wouldn't open the door.  I did this three times.  Finally, I wrote her a polite, but sternly worded note asking her to find someplace else to stash the dog.   All's quiet at the moment.

Next up:  Bumper cars in the cul-de-sac...