Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sunshine (Sunny) Byrne-Hammond, September 2001 - November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve I lost my last and most loved dog.

She was named Sunshine after the song 'You Are My Sunshine' because she lighted up my life.

Sunny was my first little dog. She was about five weeks old and weighed two pounds when I found her on Petfinder and sent in an application to adopt her.

Her mother and two siblings had been found abandoned in a ditch. Breed was a total mystery, even in the mother's generation.

A few weeks later we took a trip to Big Rapids and brought her home.

When she was three months old Sunny and I started doggy school together. She loved obedience from the very beginning and learned quickly. We won the award for best in the class and continued obedience for the next six years until her arthritis got so bad I couldn't let her jump hurdles.

This is our graduation picture from puppy class.

Whatever her genes, she had a strong kill instinct for her favorite toy, a green rubber turtle. She fetched them and shook them until they were dead. I bought all I could find and kept extras in a drawer for when replacements were needed.

She loved to sit and bask in the sun.

Sunny had a strong herding instinct and didn't play well with other dogs. She tried to herd them.

People would ask what breed she was and sometimes I would tell them 'at least a third generation designer dog.' (That means unrecognizable mutt.) This went over most people's heads, so when I didn't want to explain I would answer 'I don't know but definitely something that herds.'

Her curly, unruly coat collected ice balls in the snow so she wore a jacket for winter walks.

Sunny had many orthopedic problems and got through the muscle spasms and pain taking strong steroids which eventually resulted in serious biochemical problems. She rarely whined and she didn't let her problems get in the way of what she wanted to do.

About five years ago her long time veterinarian told me, 'She can't walk, but she's a dog and doesn't know she can't walk.'

Even though she was mostly blind, she moved into our new house, learned her way around, and settled in like she owned it.

Rest in peace Sunny. I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge and you can herd me in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapshot Of My Life On November 18

Weather in SW Michigan ...
It's winter weather - snow, wind, ice, cold. Schools are closed including the university.

Really? ...
My first snowstorm in Westport Village, a condo community.

The first snow plowing truck arrived at 5:30 am today. I woke up long enough to be impressed, even though I didn't plan to go anywhere.

The second snow plowing truck arrived a little before 8:00 am. Yes, there was that much new snow.

Something from the kitchen ...
Wow, the kitchen. I love our new kitchen. Haven't had time or energy to cook much in it yet, but plenty of opportunity to use the refrigerator and dishwasher and sink. Jay put a lot of time and research into picking the appliances and sink that suits our lifestyle, and he did a great job.

We still don't have everything organized and put away. I thought we worked through the duplicates, but we still have way too many of them.

Combining households is not as easy and simple as one might think.

I am creating...
We are creating a new home for our life together.

I am procrastinating ...
Getting window coverings, and we need them.

Keep thinking we should be more settled and organized before making that decision. That's just an excuse to cover the fact that I am burned out from months and months of making decisions. My brain wants to be indecisive for a few days weeks.

Yesterday Kelli, the amazing lady who helps us know what we want, gave us a place to call that other village residents have used for blinds. I will be calling them soon.

Sunny is adjusting ...
She spent the first night in her new house pacing the floor. No one slept very well that night, although we were all exhausted.

She spent the first week in her new house being nervous and waiting for me to take her back to the house where she had spent her entire thirteen years minus the first seven weeks of her life. It was stressful for all of us.

Now, after four weeks here, she knows she lives here and is relaxed and doing well. She is not healthy in many ways and I'm sure we have some challenges ahead. For now, all is under control and she is happy.

Something new for me ...
What isn't?

A few plans for the next few days
Jay has been sick so we haven't done much the past few days except the basics. Hope to get back to organizing, sorting out, and putting away soon.

Most of this stuff in the picture below is headed for basement storage. It probably will languish there until someday when our kids have to clean it out, but we have intentions of going through it occasionally and getting rid of the things we're not using. Doesn't everybody?

Every time I look at this pile I think it looks like something large vomited a pile of junk and boxes.

Giving thanks for ...
Two years ago Jay and I were both alone and hadn't seen each other in over ten years.

One year ago I was just starting to think I might say yes if he asked me to marry him. By the time he got around to it in January, there was no doubt in my mind. His timing was perfect.

Everyday I give thanks to God for these senior years blessings that I never requested and never expected.

And ...
Two weeks ago the landscapers seeded our grass and covered it with straw. It's waiting for spring under the snow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014


Most of these pictures got posted on Facebook, but some of my dear friends (hi Marsh and Barb) aren't on Facebook. So, here is a brief summary of the past weeks when I've been too tired and busy to post on the blog.

Memo to myself: You are too old to move again. You may have been too old to move this time.

October 15 was the day I officially sold my house in Paw Paw. It would have been nice to have time to celebrate this happy day, but Jay and I were both frantically sorting and packing and arranging for movers to come a week later.

Daughter Heather and Jason came to help me pack. I never would have made it without them. I thought I was organized and ready, but as we packed things kept materializing out of nowhere.

8:30 Wednesday morning, October 22, our eight month wedding anniversary, three movers arrived at Jay's townhouse and two movers arrived at my house in Paw Paw. We combined household belongings at Oak Haven and officially started living together.

Our new Sleep Number bed was delivered the day before we moved in.

Sunny's Sleep Number is 35.

Thursday, the day after we moved in, Jay boggled my mind by picking up his vegetable allotment from the Kalamazoo Nature Center. He washed them and spread them out to dry on the island in the new kitchen.

At this point in our moving, we still had not located the silverware and were operating with two spoons. It's amazing what can be done with two spoons. Why do we need forks and knives?

Last week the landscapers arrived with potted plants. It appears we may even get grass planted yet this fall.

Yesterday they returned with a large rock for the garden (not shown), and a Red Sunset Maple for the front yard.

I don't have a good closing for this post. We are still heavy in the process of getting settled, meaning we are far from done. To be continued.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

House After Hilton Head

When we got home from Hilton Head Island last Friday evening, the first thing we did was drive out to the house to see the progress. There was a lot of progress but not too many photo opportunities. It was evening and the light was not good.

First thing we noticed as we drove up was the brick on the garage. Now the outside is complete except for the front door and the sidelights.

We have a house number on the garage.

Second thing we noticed was our new mailbox. This mailbox is heavy metal, so heavy I have to wonder if it could win a fight with the Almena snow plow. Probably not. Fortunately the Almena snow plow is not expected at Oak Haven, so this mailbox should stand all winter.

Jay and I have both started address changes in anticipation of the move.

Inside the door, the compass was partially installed. The sign says 'Please do not walk here.' We didn't.

Above the compass the foyer light fixture was hanging. We only have a few hanging light fixtures in the house and this is the largest. It was exciting to see it up and looking just as beautiful as we hoped it would.

The hardwood floor is down. So are the tile floors and the floors in the basement. More floor pictures will appear when the light is right.

One of the reasons we are building a house is so Jay can have the refrigerator of his dreams. It was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and I think he's in love.

He asked me to take this picture. I think I may make it his new Facebook header.

That harvest gold wall color in the refrigerator picture is the result of poor light, not the Hammonds having a regression to the 1960s. The walls are actually a beautiful light sandy brown color.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Painting Done

Blogging this house update from Hilton Head Island. The pictures are six days old.

It's beautiful and relaxing here, but I do occasionally think about the finishing being done on the house and wish I could see what is happening.

Driving up last Wednesday we noticed the frame for the driveway and sidewalks.

Friday morning when we checked on the house one last time before leaving, the cement had been poured and was dry enough to walk on.

Hard to get an accurate picture of the paint colors. The wall that runs the length of the house, starting at the breakfast room in front and ending with the dining room in the back, is tricolored.

The top is Pumpkin Spice (an accent color), the chair rail is Soft Chamois (ceiling, trim, and closet color), the bottom is Sandy Brown (the main, default wall color).

The quartersawn oak cabinets stained chestnut go gorgeous with the Pumpkin Spice upper wall. I have loved these colors my whole life and doubt I'll ever get tired of looking at them together. They're trendy right now and will probably look dated in a few years, but that's what old people do - they stick with what they like.

When picking paint, I looked at every orange/tangerine/terra cotta chip there was until I was totally crazy looking at colors. Jay put me out of my indecisive misery by selecting the Pumpkin Spice. It's just perfect for us and goes great with the flooring and the slate compass.

Our other accent color is Kensington Blue, commonly known as a light navy blue. This is how it looks on one bedroom wall. The rest of the bedroom is Sandy Brown. We also have Kensington Blue on the TV wall in the great room, and the short, far wall in the laundry room.

The four season room painted.

The closets are all painted Soft Chamois, our trim color. It is a light antique white.

When we stopped at the house on the way out of town last Friday, the flooring man was there with a truck full of hardwood flooring. He was sanding the subfloor smooth and told us he would be installing flooring this week.

Looking forward to seeing the flooring, counter tops, and light fixtures when we get back.

Also looking forward to Wednesday, October 15 for the closing on my house in the wilds of Almena Township. Long time blog readers know I have enjoyed living there for twenty-three years. And now I'm going to enjoy selling it and moving to Oshtemo Township with Jay. Life is good. Very good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Garage Door Down and Compass Alignment

Saturday we went out to the house and found the garage door down and two painters who were nervous about us touching something.

The front of the garage that is still unfinished will be bricked before the house is done.

We didn't touch anything and we didn't stay long. It was not a good place for non-painters to be.

We did appreciate the excellent job the painters have done and are doing. After seeing a professional paint job, I don't think I can ever paint by myself again and pretend it's a good job.

On the way home we admired the new Costco store scheduled to open November 1. It is the first Costco in the Kalamazoo area and it's only a few miles from our new home.

Today, Monday, we were back at the new house for a compass meeting with Craig, the flooring guy. Craig drew the outline of the compass on the floor just where we want it installed. Then Craig and Jay used a real compass to determine north so the slate compass will point true. True north is not straight down the hallway.

Side note: Jay does not have a missing arm. Have no idea what happened in that picture to make it look like he does.

Some of the light fixtures have been delivered and are sitting in the garage.

This is the fixture that is going in the front hall with the compass. The shades are made of shell and are so pretty.

Three matching pendant lights are going over the kitchen bar.

Three painters were working today, and where ever we went we seemed to be their way. We did our compass chore and headed home, much to their relief I'm sure.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Garage Door Up and Ceilings Painted

The trip out to the house Wednesday was exciting. I know that's what I almost always say, but it almost always is.

First clue that the garage door is up - a sign in the yard.

Opener and door are visible on the inside of the garage.

Trying to get a picture of the door, but it's going to have to be down to get a good one.

Daughter Heather and Granddaughter Kim were with me and I wanted to show them all the cabinets, but the cabinets and windows were all covered with plastic and the painters were busy painting.

The main level was primed. All the doors were off and in a heap in the middle of the great room. The painters were working and we didn't want to get in the way. Also, we couldn't tell what paint was wet, so we made a quick tour and left.

Some of the ceilings were spray painted in our trim color of Soft Chamois. They're going to use a roller on the walls and a brush on the trim.

We're hoping to see some Pumpkin Spice, Kensington Blue, and Sandy Brown when we go out tomorrow/Saturday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sunny's First Visit to Oak Haven

Jay was out of town for a UC Bearcat football game, so I decided it was time to take Sunny out to see her future new home.

She was very excited and ran around looking the whole place over, inside and outside, like she knew it was something important for her. Or maybe she was looking for the right place to pee. Whatever, she was excited and had a great time.

We have top soil and it's not too difficult to imagine a driveway and grass growing in the yard.

There were few new things to get excited about, although it was obvious people had been working to finish up the trim and the get the cabinets in place.

The lazy susan is enclosed now, but still lacking the final trim. The chair rail is new this trip.

Chair rail in corner of breakfast room.