Category Archives: family

When a Nonna Wants a Rocking Chair . . .

I wanted an old rocker. A rocker that had already put generations of babies to sleep. I had one many years ago – my grandmother’s, in fact. But our family will always have at least one female chocolate lab and our first, Millie, ate everything. Her preference was loafers with tassels, and she didn’t care if there were feet in them or not. Her second choice, though, was wood. She preferred it nicely painted or stained. The runners on a rocking chair were a snout-level snack when we were all away during the day *sigh*.

Anyway, I had my first grand-baby flying in from Austin (oh, and her parents) and I was by-God going to have a rocker here when they arrived. So I’d been stalking rockers on my fave online estate sale auction site, Everything But The House. Just in time I scored an old rocker we picked up about ten minutes from our house. I was glad Michael had insisted on coming with me, because there was no way I could have moved this baby on my own. I couldn’t even lift it!

It was covered in cobwebs and dust, and someone had clearly given it “a lick and a promise” with some leftover white paint about a decade ago.

Ornate curlicues had been knocked off (probably by a basketball that wasn’t supposed to be in the house) and replaced by someone who needed new bifocals.

It has an embossed leather inset seat that had been painted (EEK), has at least three major cracks, and has plain upholstery tacks holding it in place in a completely random pattern. Or perhaps Morse Code. Or by the same person who painted it after a few too many beers. Decide for yourself.

It also has lovely decorative carving on the headrest, and is way comfortable. Since I can’t sit in an ergonomic desk chair for more than fifteen minutes, this is high praise.

The chair, without even a sponge-off, went to the Graduation / Welcome Baby Emma party along with Emma’s great-great-grandparents’ card table. While I was there the rocker was never empty, despite the overstuffed chairs and sofas in abundance.

Cut-throat card games are a traditional activity at all large Ballard family gatherings, and we were packed in there like sardines. I left before the card games started, but Michael and John didn’t get home until nearly midnight. The party started at 2 p.m. – LOL!
So my question, I guess, is where do I even start? Is the embossed leather salvageable? If so, do I need to remove it and restore the wood and leather separately, then replace? The chair is very sturdy, but this section is split.

Fill with sand-able, paint-able wood filler/glue, right? Ideally, I’d like this beauty to be a deep lake blue, about the darkest blue in this upholstery fabric I bought when a local craft store went out of business. I plan to use it to cover the throw pillows on my chocolate brown sofa (matches the dogs)

But I want it distressed all to hell so it doesn’t matter if a little one scratches it with a fork or colors on it with a crayon, or if I get a bit of nail polish on the arm. And I would like brown leather on the seat, with decorative nail heads or something equally pretty and comfy. I have a large number of creative high school grads I can put to work on this project. And it can be done in stages. Emma is hopefully only one of many children to be rocked in that chair – why not leave room for each to add his or her own touch?

When Your Youngest Graduates

Seven years ago (almost to the day) I wrote a poem about my eldest growing up and being ready to graduate high school at the same time my youngest graduated to middle school. Note to young parents: Do NOT have children seven years apart. It may seem great timing early on, but it also means you will have a teen inhabiting your home for fourteen consecutive years. And they will go through major life events at the same time. This year my eldest and his wife made me a Nonna (Italian for Grandma) in April, and my baby will graduate from High School in May.

I thought my hair would surely turn grey with all the stress of the past eight months or so, but I still have just my few silver strands I’ve had for years. My daughter-in-law has a hematologic genetic issue (MTHFR mutation) that predisposes her to difficulty conceiving and increased chance of miscarriage, and she ended up delivering three weeks early due to uncontrolled pregnancy-induced hypertension. It was terrifying being so far away, but I think it made us all that much more thankful when everyone was confirmed healthy!

My youngest has had two good friends in his Senior class commit suicide this year. One was early in the year, the other was just a few weeks ago. He just wants high school to be over, to never set foot on that campus again. Fortunately, I’ve talked him into going to most of the Senior events. I think he’ll even agree to a graduation celebration as long as it’s while his new niece is there to steal the spotlight. Yes, he performed in a local musical in front of a sold-out crowd of six hundred when he was a kid, but he’s too much like me sometimes. I can speak in front of thousands of people, but am uncomfortable with a hundred people paying attention to me, not what I’m saying.

I got to look at his yearbook last night, and it was an incredible publication! I pulled out my own Senior yearbook for comparison mine was pretty awesome) but was blown away by the creativity these students showed. Yes, there is digital technology available now that wasn’t available in 1984, but there are a lot of things included in both that really define the feeling of the time period. Kudos to all Yearbook staffers everywhere!

John still has Prom, Senior Walk (I think this is a Louisville thing) and Graduation to go. Sadly, Graduation is on a Wednesday at 5:00 pm downtown, making it nearly impossible for extended family and friends to be there even with the huge venue (Freedom Hall). BTW, 1984 Defender yearbook staff, I do want to correct one error in the coverage of our graduation at Rupp Arena. The Assistant Principal who shook our hands was given six hundred pennies, not marbles. Marbles would have been dangerous. I brought and passed out the pennies myself because he wouldn’t let the picture the school-contracted photographer happily took be included in the yearbook.

Check in with Mama Kat for Throwback Thursday this week!

Seven Binge-Worthy Netflix Series

7qt_lyceum_v2I’ve only ever blogged about when to stop watching a series, so I thought I’d bring the positivity today and suggest some series to start watching. Just in case anyone is bored, can’t sleep, or is on bed-rest (which is HORRIFIC for those of you who haven’t experienced it.)

— 1 —

Black Mirror – depressing future world, blah, blah. But I didn’t have a book handy and I wasn’t sleepy, so I started it. Each episode is a completely different future. If it were a book it would be a page-turner! (BTW, don’t bother to correct my grammar. “If it were” is the past imperfect tense. Only 9% of English speakers use it. It’s much more commonly used in Spanish.)

— 2 —

Stranger Things – I paused this about thirty seconds in to see if Stephen King had suddenly decided to do script-writing. The font of the title is even Stephen King’s. And yes, I do realize how weird it is that I can recognize his font. I’m okay with that. The whole series could have come straight out of one of his novels. And I don’t mean one of his many books that have been turned into pale, poorly cast imitations of variations upon his movies, either. When I saw him (yes, saw him in person in the middle of a raging thunderstorm *insert smug smile and hair flip*) he made it clear he doesn’t have any interest in the movies made from his books. In his own words, “There’s one movie I will always think of when I hear the name Tim Curry, and it’s not ‘It’!” Yes, I stood and cheered at that comment. But the brothers who did this series are clearly huge fans. Just watch it.

— 3 —

Santa Clarita Diet – I’m not a Drew Barrymore fan. Honestly, I haven’t been impressed with anything she’s done since E.T. So I was surprised by how much I enjoyed her acting in this series. I know, the premise sounds stupid, but how would your family react if you suddenly started craving human flesh? She and her husband are realtors, which I think is brilliant. I truly can’t watch some of the shows on HGTV anymore because I imagine them munching on feet between takes. (Flip or Flop? Seriously? There’s no other possible reason they’re still on TV other than that their producers are afraid of being eaten.)

— 4 —

Lost Girl – This one had a long time between seasons, so when the fifth season came out I watched the first four seasons again first to catch up. I’m glad I did, since I’d forgotten a lot. It’s got true BFFs, a love triangle, the supernatural, and just enough action/adventure. It’s more about the mystery and the magical creatures, but there are some political maneuverings thrown in. The costume department is heavy on black leather and high heels, and their eyeliner person probably has to be replaced each year due to carpal tunnel, but it’s fun!

— 5 —

Grace and Frankie –  With this all-star cast you’d expect something serious and meaningful. We’re talking Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin, and Sam Waterston. And the supporting actors are no slouches, either! Instead, we get comedy and unexpected friendships. A new season was just released, and I will totally binge-watch the whole thing in a couple of days. It’s that good.

— 6 —

Glitch – Do you love hearing an Australian accent? Think zombies are a cool concept? You’ll love this – watch ASAP!

— 7 —

No Filter – Oopsie – this isn’t a series, it’s a movie. But it resounded with me so completely that I added it to my list of recommendations. Here’s how Wikipedia describes it: “When a woman visits a Chinese doctor, she discovers her pain is due to pent-up rage, and the only cure is to fully express herself, whatever may come.” Yeah, sound like anyone you know? If only my behavior in recent months had decreased my pain 🙁

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