craftsman style fireplace

When I graduated I thought I’d have all the time in the world to do so many things and ha!  I’ve been just as busy.  I’m finding a zillion projects that need done around the house and I’m babysitting my grandson every afternoon.  What a handful!  I don’t remember my kids being that much work but I guess when they’re your kids you don’t worry as much if they  get hurt or like you.  When I tell him no and he looks at me like I broke his heart I feel like I should run out and buy him a pony.  It’s not that easy being a grandma.  It’s complicated.

I’m also preparing for the next step in life. I plan to continue as a grad student but I haven’t decided where I would like to apply yet or which specific program to shoot for.  The top contenders are Illinois State, the University of Illinois, and Oregon State.  I’m pretty sure I would have no trouble getting into Oregon State’s grad program.  They already know me and my GPA is definitely high enough but I think I would benefit more by going to a school here in Illinois. I’d like to attend some classes in person and learn more about local natural resource issues but I’ll just apply at all three and see what happens I guess.

Anyway, I don’t plan to go back until January or March.  I really need the time off to recharge and refocus and build a craftsman style fireplace surround in my family room.

The only woodworking I’ve done in the past is building frames for stained glass panels so I’m pretty proud of myself for building a fireplace surround piece by piece out of pre-finished oak with only hand tools and a lot of improvisation.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the Norm Abram workshop in the backyard.  When we added onto the house in 2011, I had the family room built for a craftsman style built-in fireplace but we ran out of money and mostly energy by the time it came to doing the finish work.  So, I installed a stone surround with the intention of it being temporary.  I should have picked something that would have been a lot easier to remove than stone.  That’s been the worst part of the job so far.

Over the next few weeks I plan to build shelves to connect the cabinets to the fireplace and give it that true built-in look.  Hopefully, it turns out how I have it pictured in my mind.  So far so good but I’m not going to get overconfident just yet.

The Tradition Continues or Starts Again

Today, I visited Greenwood Cemetery to prepare for next week (no I don’t plan on dying).  I always visit the cemetery this time of year as tradition.  It’s the perfect time to visit because the leaves are beginning to turn, the autumn weather is magical, and there’s tons of acorns meaning there’s zillions of squirrels running around to keep me company.  I didn’t make it there last year and I think I unleashed unspeakable evil upon the Earth by not going.  2016 was such a miserable year.  The Cubs won the World Series which was Twilight Zone-like and Donald Trump won the presidency, which is beyond any reasonable explanation from even a parallel demented universe.

So, I’m hoping my return will restore the natural order of things and the gods will bestow good things upon Earth once again.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll need to find a volcano and toss a virgin in it or something.

I’ll be shooting a video at the cemetery next week.  I’ve been wanting to do a narrated walk through Greenwood for years but I never got the chance for one reason or the other.  It should be fun.  I hope.

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