Saturday, July 31, 2010

Before & After

On Wednesday, our kitchen looked like this.

Take note of the brown countertops which have lived with us for twenty-five years and enjoyed infrequent use for serious cooking purposes.
Unsurprisingly, not a single scratch disturbs the leather-grained surface, but this look is out and granite is in.

Thursday morning, I snapped these photos of the miracle workers who were about to bring my kitchen into the twenty-first century.
As you can see, the old countertop is nowhere in sight, discarded as if it's of no value to us anymore. Call us heartless homeowners, if you must.

The sink's out of sight as well, but not for long. The plumber removed it yesterday and it's on the floor in the corner. Fortunately, it's quite new (sporting granite as well) and won't be banished from our home, but returned to its place later today.

We hired the best cabinet/countertop makers and installers that Lon knows since we'll undoubtedly keep the new countertops forever.

I came home during my lunch hour and was greeted by this entirely different look.
I think the shades of black, brown and off-white in the new surfaces, blend in nicely with the wall, floor and appliance colors.

The sheen is a change as well and I like it, especially at night, when the lights reflect off it.

I think I should let the new countertop "set" for a few months before I actually use it. It wouldn't be polite to expect too much of it before its acclimated to its surroundings.
Let's pause and reconsider. Perhaps I'm not as heartless as I felt earlier. Laziness I'll admit to, whereas, lacking heart could prove to be fatal.

Our bear, standing aloof behind the television, isn't the least bit interested in our project. He could at least turn this way and appear life-like for the camera, if he's expecting us to keep feeding him.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My View 32 Hours Per Week

As some of you know, I work in a dental office. This is my view as I sit in my chair with the telephone, appointment book and computer within easy reach.
Everything I need is easily reached from my chair on wheels. To keep my blood circulating, I always get up and walk the folders to their place in the file cabinets.

Straight ahead of me is the waiting room. We use the television to show movies for the children who come in with their families.

If I rotate my chair to the left, I have a nice big window. I can't imagine spending eight hour days without the ability to see outside.
We're located on a busy street with a wide variety of businesses all around. My window is facing a side street while the main street is to the right of the window.
The white building ahead and to the right is a car wash. Beneath the tree is a hair salon and to the left of it is a U.S. Cellular/Directv store. An adult day care center is across the empty lot in front of my Avalanche, the dark green truck. Our dental office shares a building with a drycleaner and a dog groomer. Through this window, I can watch the small dogs as they're carried or led by leash to the groomer's suite. I hope to capture some photos and post a blog on the daily parade of dogs that pass by.

I've lost most of my table top space to the copy machine and fax/print/copier.
Since I started working for Dr. Onderak in 1992, we've accumulated several file cabinets full of patient folders.

Last week, we added a fourth file cabinet in order to provide relief to the tightly squeezed folders. They're breathing a lot easier now and I don't have to play tug-of-war with a folder to pull it out.

As we journey to the left, I'd like you to meet my printer, an office essential.

Pictures of Lon, Jared and the fruits of their fishing labors are great conversation starters when patients are at my desk. The hammerhead shark, the stingray and muskies draw nearly everyone's attention.

This is Operatory #1. When I first finished the dental assisting program at the local vocational school, I did some chairside assisting. I haven't done that at all since I started working for Dr. Onderak. I like the office work and the variety of responsibilities in my position.

Instruments are cleaned and sterilized in this area. I pass through this area frequently on any given day. The ladies' room and the refrigerator necessitate this route.

I seldom enter this room, Operatory #2 or Operatory #1. Unless I need to ask the doctor an urgent question or deliver a message to a patient, I stay out.

The south end of the reception area provides this view. I roll behind that tall section of my desk when I'm eating my trail mix bar, drinking my smoothie, spooning straight peanut butter from the jar or applying lipstick or powdering my nose. Nobody has a clue what I'm doing when I disappear.
The tricky part is when the phone rings just after I've taken a mouthful. I chew as fast as I can, push whatever I'm eating into my cheeks and say "Wewoh, Doctoe Ondewack's awfith."

This interesting work of art hangs on the west wall in the reception area. This framed wallhanging is composed of a painted barn and an assortment of other materials depicting the rest of the scene. Fabric, yarn, paper and cotton were used by the artist.

These close-up shots reveal the artist's materials.

Here's another view of my work area. You can probably guess where I am!!

I start my work day with a cup of coffee in this unique mug. The design reminds me of the rosemaling my mother used to do. Its bright color and unusual shape start my day off on the right note. Of course, the coffee inside jumpstarts me too.

The screensavers on my computer monitor provide me with glimpses of the rest of the world beyond my little niche.

A second or two of looking at these photos revives me throughout the day.

I mostly like my job. My boss and coworkers are easy to work with and I've made friends with many of our patients. I'm only a few minutes from home so that's a plus also.
Thanks for coming to work with me. Grab a snack from my drawer before you go.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Cousin From The Upper Peninsula

Last Friday, two of my brothers and I were reunited with our cousin, Kathryn, who lives in Michigan. Kathryn and her husband, Doug, were on their way home (Marquette, Michigan) from a trip into Illinois. I'm so glad Kathryn reached all of us by phone and that we were all available to get together.

In the fifties and sixties, my parents used to take my four brothers and I to visit Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed who owned a resort on the St. Mary's River not far from Sault Ste. Marie in the upper peninsula. We vacationed at the resort in the summer several times as we were growing up.

After we were settled in at the resort for a few days, Dad would drive us to Bernard (Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed's son) and Betty's farm nearby.
The farm was swarming with our cousins. You see, Kathryn has six sisters and one brother. In other words, there were plenty of cousins to go around.

I was closest to Kathryn and spent all of my time on the farm with her. Back then and now, she loves to have fun and laugh and I appreciate and enjoy that. I always secretly wished I had the nerve to visit with Edward, the only boy. He was so cute with his dark hair, eyes and complexion and his lean and lanky frame.

Kathryn's given first name is Phyllis and that's the name I'm used to. Years ago, she decided to go by her middle name so I'm adjusting to thinking of her as Kathryn instead of Phyllis. I'll get there someday! Writing this blog post is good practice.

We met up with Kathryn and Doug at my brother, John's house. My brother, Bob, arrived shortly after I did. Unfortunately, my brothers, Tom and Carl live near Detroit so of course they couldn't join us for this spur-of-the-moment gathering.

Doug and John are pictured above.

Bob and Kathryn haven't changed much since those long ago summers when we spent time together.

Thanks, Phyllis, (I hate to confuse things but there's another Phyllis in the family--John's wife) for snapping this lineup of Bob, Kathryn, Me and John.

Here are the travelers, Kathryn and Doug.
(I'm sorry, Kathryn, but fear not. I caught a better photo below.)

Kathryn and Doug patiently posed again.
(Sorry, Doug. Look above, you're all smiles).
If I had the patience to learn how to crop photos, I could have presented both of you at your best.
We're so thankful that Phyllis and Doug contacted us and that we had the chance to see and visit with them.
Two of the cabins and one of the cottages on the St. Mary's River are still owned by our cousins. Hopefully, some summer soon we'll gather a cluster of cousins together at this place which holds a bushel basket full of fond memories for me and undoubtedly for all who were there.
(St. Mary's River is the only water connection between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Huge freighters passed by Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed's resort as they left Lake Superior and headed for Lake Huron. What sights we saw!)

Please, Won't You Join Me On The Porch?

It's such a beautiful day, I just had to bring my laptop onto our screen porch and work on a blog post in the fresh air. As you can see as you scroll down, the temperature is perfect. I've decided that the time, 2:45PM, is exactly right for me to sit down and soak up a thick slice of this excellent summer day.

Before I plopped down, I snapped some photos of my view as I sit at my laptop, photos of our backyard and of the porch decor. I downloaded them into my computer and then uploaded them to this place. Do you think that qualifies as an upper body workout, all the work of loading down and then back up again?

We picked up many of the items on the porch walls in Door County, famous for its cherries.

I appreciate the company of our welcoming bear and when I look up I always get a kick out of the bumblebee who hangs over my head. (I bet you didn't know that they do that!)

I captured this picture of the sunset last night. As you can see, we don't get panoramic views of the sun as it slips down the sky and out of sight but the little glimpses we get are thrilling. As we viewed the burnt orange sky, we remembered, "red sky at night, sailors' delight." As promised, today is indeed a day to delight in.
(Have you read Charles Dickens' GREAT EXPECTATIONS? If so, you may like my previous post).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pip, The Pockets & Miss Havisham On Fire

Yesterday, I turned the last page of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Before I replace my volume on the bookshelf, I'd like to share these illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.
If you've read this infamous book, perhaps these drawings will refresh your memory of Pip's experiences from his humble beginnings to his acquaintance with Miss Havisham to his coming into a fortune and finally to his return to a simple way of life.

Pip is raised by his mean and nasty sister. He eventually begins to work with her husband, Joe, a kind and compassionate brother-in-law, in the forge he owns as illustrated in "Pip Falls Into The Routine Of The Forge."
After Pip comes into a great fortune via an anonymous donor and moves to London, he becomes acquainted with the Pocket family, illustrated in "The Pocket Family In Various Stages Of Tumbling Up." Mr. Matthew Pocket tutors Pip as he strives to become a fine gentleman worthy of his fortune.
As a young child, Pip was introduced to Estella on the same day he came to Miss Havisham's home per her request to, as a diversion, watch the two children play. From that day forward, Pip yearns for Estella's love, illustrated in "Pip Asks For Another Kiss," which is thwarted by her unloving nature, trained into her by her guardian, Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham was left alone at the wedding altar nearly a lifetime ago and still lives bitterly as if the sun never set on that day, eternally wearing her wedding dress and keeping the wedding cake on its table in the room across from her bedroom.

Having assumed that Miss Havisham had provided his fortune, Pip's world spins when he learns that an escaped convict he aided as a young child bestowed his fortune on him. The ex-convict climbs the stairs to Pip's room to reveal his identity as the benevolent donor as illustrated in "Pip Has A Visitor By Night."

After Pip's final visit with Miss Havisham, he looks back into her room where she is sitting by the fire. Her dress catches fire and bursts fully into flame, sending her straight at Pip as illustrated in "Pip Sees Miss Havisham In Flames."

Pip shelters and comes to care deeply for the convict and attempts to get him out of the country by boat as illustrated in "The Final Journey."
I haven't done Dickens' book justice by my words yet I've done my best. There are many, many characters I haven't touched on.
Have you read Great Expectations? If so, what are your thoughts on it or what do you remember about it?