Big Country

Kirkwood

Last Saturday we said goodbye to my beloved Granddaddy in Abilene, “Big Country”, Texas. It was so nice to see family, some of which we hadn’t seen in many years, although we wish it could have been under happier circumstances. It feels so strange – filled with sadness and happy memories all at the same time – the business of packing up someone’s life; as we went through my Granddaddy’s home, putting things away and boxing things up, I had so many wonderful memories of years past spent in that house – Christmases and summers and happy times…the smell of him lingering in his closet and in his shirts. We cut some pink garden roses from my Granddaddy’s front yard and brought them in a vase to the funeral home; they were so beautiful and I think he would have liked to have his own roses, that he spent so much time growing and caring for, there.

Roses from my Granddaddy's garden

Before we left Abilene on Sunday, we made it a point to take some photos on my Granddaddy’s front porch in the white porch swing we spent time on even as kids. I will miss his pretty little white house on Kirkwood, but most of all I will miss him. I’ll always have wonderful memories though and he will forever be in my heart.

This was one of my favorites: a photo of my brother, my cousin Trina, and I on that white porch swing… Then…

Then

And now…

Now

More photos from our visit to Abilene here.

by Valerie | 05.04.15 | For Funsies | 1 Comment »

Granddaddy

Talbott Family Christmas 2011

I am heartbroken as this world lost an amazing man yesterday – my Granddaddy, Clifford Talbott; he served through the entire WWII and made it home safely, he would have been 95 next month, and he still lived in the house he raised both his children in and celebrated almost 64 years of marriage with my beloved and dearly departed Mema. He was kind and brave and gave so much to so many. He will be missed by many as he loved so many and was loved by so many.

When my Mom asked my Granddaddy (about 4 years ago) to share his thoughts on marriage and his wife/my Mema (who had passed away), he had this to say:

“I can say that she was probably one of the most beautiful women you could ever want. Whatever I wanted to do, she was always ready to do it. We never did sit there and one of us want one thing, one want the other… When you get married, it works both ways and if you’re gonna keep married you better have it both ways too.

We had two wonderful children (Connie Watkins & Charles Talbott), you couldn’t ask for any better, more perfect kids than what we had.

Like I say, we had almost 64 years…and people would always be asking me, they’d say, ‘Now your wife’s not here, you gonna get married?’ And I’d say, ‘Nope. There’ll never be another one. I’ll never marry another lady.’ Cause you just don’t have a marriage like that. If you ever had to pick another one, if I had to do it over, I’d do the same thing. That’s the way I would do it.”

What a beautiful love story!

cliff army

by Valerie | 04.26.15 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

sunshine and pretty, pink peonies

peony power

It actually snowed here this last week, but my dear friend Jennifer Reedy had this to say and it’s so beautiful and so quotable that I wanted to pass it along: “It was such a soft April snow. So vulnerable that most of it would collapse and dissolve into the earth almost immediately, so fragile it would be obliterated instantly upon contact with warm skin. So delicate and so very fleeting, I thought it beautiful and poignant. These clusters of snowflakes cascading down from the clouds that bore them, with only that brief journey through the atmosphere to exist within. It seemed a little sad, but also peaceful. No part of me felt anything at all akin to “ugh” while watching it. Things begin and things end, and we are at that crossroad in a season of change. So don’t fret Val, spring cannot be stopped now. Vibrant colors have burst forth by way of flowers blooming and the buds are growing every day on the trees and shrubs, as you know.”

Unrelated, but this had me laughing – it’s important to remember…things could always be worse…you could be dead on Mars.

It’s wonderful to witness the change in seasons – with the arrival of spring blooms and signs of growth all around, the sunshine seems somehow extra special this time of year. Our forsythia is blooming, and I see that our lilacs will bloom soon too which I find myself looking forward to each spring. They even had some beautiful pink peonies, which I was happy to take home with me, at the grocery store this week; I’m hoping the peony we planted last spring will come back this year (fingers crossed).

peony power

Even my purple shamrock is blooming…

Soaking up some sunshine

by Valerie | 04.26.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

Spring!

Lenten Rose

While Ann Arbor, MI still has the potential for frost through early-mid May (meaning we won’t be planting anything outdoors until mid-May at the earliest), it is definitely looking/feeling like spring and the change is weather is much welcomed! Last Friday and Saturday were perfection – sunshine and highs in the 70’s. We took advantage of the weather by cleaning out our garage, placing out (and buying some new) our patio furniture, doing some outdoor chores on our home, and firing up the grill for the first time this year. I was so excited to see the forsythia in our yard in full bloom as of last Friday and my Lenten rose plants are looking lovely as well; it’s so nice to be able to cut flowers and plants from our yard and enjoy them in vases inside the house this time of year and throughout the spring/summer. We’re already starting to plan for and think about all the wonderful things we’ll be planting in our garden boxes soon.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

Forsythia

As we were waiting in line to purchase our new patio furniture, we conveniently had a place to sit while we waited – here’s Ryan enjoying one of our new chairs; coming soon, a DIY table in the making…

found some patio chairs we like - bonus is that while waiting in checkout line there's conveniently a place to sit

by Valerie | 04.20.15 | Around our home, For Funsies | No Comments »

ch-ch-changes

my home improvement hero!

It’s been quite an eventful week or so… Some friends of ours welcomed a new baby boy (congrats!), other friends/colleagues of ours announced they will be moving for other job opportunities out of state (you know who you are and you will be missed!), and…Ryan was able to successfully install a new garbage disposal on our kitchen sink – while this may not seem nearly as exciting or important compared to the other items in my list, it was a big deal to us (even the nice lady at the hardware store commented that plumbing jobs always take at least two trips – but ours only took one)! Change can be hard, it can be good, and it is definitely inevitable. And just look at these daffodils… How could you look at these cheery, yellow blooms and not smile?

coffee table tray 4/11/15

Untitled

Last Saturday was National Pet Day and Melody spent it lounging around the house, getting pets, and laying in the sunshine as much as possible…which reminds me that it’s about time for us to switch out our glass insert for the screen insert on the door to the patio – looking forward to enjoying lots of sunshine, some fresh air, and open windows and doors again!

#mywestelm happy national pet day

sunning

by Valerie | 04.14.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Easter/birthday weekend

birthday cake with sprinkles

I enjoyed a really great birthday weekend, full of celebration and fun activities, and thoughtful gifts and wishes from family and friends too – thank you all for making me feel so special! The Birthday Cake at Sava’s is pretty amazing…and it’s on their regular dessert menu so you can enjoy it anytime you visit (this could be good or bad, depending on how strong your willpower is). I don’t think I went a day from Thursday on last week without having some sort of delicious sweet treat – cake, cupcakes, pie, candy, etc. – even the salad I ordered for lunch on Friday had bacon toffee on it (and it was amazing).

We ended our fun weekend with a lovely Easter afternoon brunch (complete with egg dyeing), which Ryan made an excellent vegetarian hash for, followed by a tasty dinner of casarecce pasta with roasted asparagus, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. And there’s still a pile of Easter chocolates and candy on our kitchen table, a pretty spring-appropriate shade of nail polish, and some beautiful tulips, daffodils, and roses around our house for me to continue to enjoy. We had some rain/thunderstorms last week and I spied pots of pansies for sale around town over the weekend too – more sure signs of spring!

Happy Easter

Easter 2015

by Valerie | 04.06.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

weekend haps

sunset 3/27/15

We enjoyed the Animated Films in Competition showing at the AAFF last Friday, as well as this lovely sunset view from the parking deck rooftop. My flowers of the week are pink roses, dark purple hellebores, and pink waxflower. And I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to these jelly beans…they’re really, really tasty!

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

kitchen flowers 3/28/15: wax flower & hellebores

And Melody strikes a classic pose…

classic

by Valerie | 03.30.15 | Around our home, Around town, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

good fortune

I sure hope so! 👍

I enjoyed finding this fortune in my fortune cookie last week; with my birthday just around the corner, I sure hope this comes true! And I was so happy to walk past this beautiful sign of spring in my neighborhood last week – a yard full of crocus!

crocus

by Valerie | 03.26.15 | For Funsies | No Comments »

looking up

Evening walk

Things are really starting to look up…weather wise, that is, here in A2 and I’m pretty sure I can speak for the general local population when I say that we’re all very excited to see a possible high temperature of 69 today; as long as we’re above freezing this time of year then I’m one happy girl!

Upon close inspection of the hellebore we planted in our side yard last spring/summer, which have only just recently been visible from under all the snow on the ground, I saw that they all have little buds coming up and will be blooming for the spring this year and I’ve been noticing comments from friends in the area that other bulb sightings have begun…this makes me very, very happy and is a sure sign that spring is really on the way and soon I hope! We are enjoying longer hours of daylight, lovely afternoon/evening walks, and seeing hints of green again.

Speaking of green, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day – may the luck of the Irish be with you. We are planning on a dinner of bangers and mash and will toast the day with some good Irish stout. Turn on some Irish tunes, raise a glass, and “Sláinte”!

Evening walk

Evening walk

by Valerie | 03.16.15 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

spring forward

Sunday morning breakfast view

Daylight Saving Time went into effect over the weekend and we were sure to “spring forward”. Speaking of spring…the weather finally seems to be heading in the right direction here as highs are moving up into the 40’s and 50’s, we’ve enjoyed some lovely sunshine, and the ice and snow are beginning to melt; I’m already looking forward to when we can begin planting our summer garden and spending some time outside again – I tend to hibernate and stay in as much as possible during the winter months, so spring is always a much-welcomed change. I was sure to take advantage of the tulip sale that Whole Foods had on Friday – 3 bunches of tulips for only $10 – so I bought myself 6 bunches of course…I can’t resist!

Melody is still enjoying eating the snow, no matter how much we tell her not to do that (you never know what may be in the snow) or how much we fill up her water bowl, but I’m hoping it will be gone before too long and we’ll start to see some grass and bulbs coming up for the spring soon. The sweet little grape muscari bulbs that I’ve got in a pot in our house are starting to flower. Sunny, late afternoon cocktails at our place looks like this. And Melody makes a good model, as always!

Tulip sale at Whole Foods - 3 bunches for $10...so I bought 6! 💐

heads up

action shot

by Valerie | 03.09.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

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