A Brick Firepit!

A few weeks ago I headed back to my primary care doc. I have decided to remain without the typical health insurance and simply pay for direct primary care. I like my doctor a lot, she’s young, has a great sense of humor, and is honest and direct. I told her, “I’m still in a lot of pain, and it is really starting to affect my life.”

She ordered some x-rays. And lo and behold, I have degenerative hip disease, accelerated by damage in my early 20s. I did something stupid a quarter of a century ago. I didn’t use a ladder and instead climbed a warehouse rack, then jumped down and damn near broke my  right kneecap on a solid metal cart. It took about a year or more until I could walk right and of course, I didn’t report it, because I knew I wasn’t supposed to climb and I was young, poor and desperate to keep my job.

Osteoarthritis is the official diagnosis and it pretty much means years of pain, that will get worse and worse until it is so damaged that I need a hip replacement.

So I’m back in the weight-loss saddle – less weight means less strain on my joints – and I hope to lose about 25 pounds. It sure would make a difference if I can manage it!

Happy Birthday – Have An Inversion Table

For my birthday, my wonderful husband bought me an inversion table, which helps to decompress the spine and joints and give everything a lovely stretch. It feels wonderful and I use it twice a day for a couple of minutes at a time.

My left hip is out of whack. It’s also the one that shows the most damage on the x-rays. When inverted, I can easily reach the carpet with my fingers of my right hand, but my left hand barely touches the carpet. I’m uneven!

I hope to also stretch my body and become more flexible through yoga.

Why Look, A Brick Firepit!

So, what I DON’T know about laying brick could fill a small book. And when I first started, I just lay them directly on the dirt. As a result, three years after laying a beautiful, winding brick path, this is how it looks today:

I had also tried to outline the crop garden, something we have NOT kept up with for several years and which mainly lies fallow now, except for a couple of fruit trees, gooseberry bushes, and elephant garlic.

As the weeds overtook the bricks, they simply hid them from view, which became a real problem when my husband mows. So I realized I needed to dig up the bricks I had laid down and do a better job of it.

The best job I could do would include a couple of different paving mediums – crushed rock, sand, and the use of heavy equipment to compact the earth. But we have a lot of projects in motion right now, including the new addition of Little Miss, our foster daughter. I can spare a few hours here, and a few hours there. So I did the best that I could do – lay down the black landscape fabric and settle for eclectic, not quite level, but very cool looking firepit surround.

Little Miss was my supervisor as I dug bricks out of the ground

Once I figure out how to move the massive y-shaped stump from the tree we had taken down last year, I’ll expand the circle by another 2-3 feet. I’ll also burn the wood that’s in the pit, let it cool and then dig it out, remove the edge of landscaping stones currently defining the circle and dig down at least two feet to allow for more wood to be placed in the firepit than it currently can hold.

I’m not done yet, but this project is well on its way.

Four bags of paving sand later and it is starting to look better.

And then I’ll also expand (and level) the bricks around the gooseberries and trees and then turn my sights on re-doing the brick path along with widening it another foot.

Gooseberry bushes surrounded by brick. I need to level the bricks out, and expand the surround out more.

Go For Wool Rugs Instead of Those Awful Poly Blends

I just picked up this cute little 4×5 wool rug used for just $40. I was so excited because I think it fits perfectly in my laundry room!

As a housecleaner, I can attest that polyblend carpets are nigh impossible to vacuum. You have to attack them in a certain direction and my ORECK vacuum, with its strong motor and roller brush, is a bear to use when it encounters the “wrong way” of the carpet pile. Wool rugs don’t have this problem, and the nice thick pile is absolutely luxurious to walk on.

Just keep an eye out on Craig’s List and in thrift stores. I found this beauty at Weird Stuff for just $60 last year.

Bohemian or Victorian?

I am lucky enough to visit a variety of homes through my housecleaning business. I see traditional, shabby chic, Victorian, modern, and more in the varying decor styles and really enjoy getting new ideas.

One of my clients has a lovely little Craftsman style home with bright colors, Bohemian/eclectic style choices, and seeing her house has reminded me of the different choices I can have in decorating my own house.

Growing up, my mother made use of lots of antiques, mid-century fabrics, and truly beautiful design choices that were true to a more traditional sort of decorating.

And I followed in her path, telling myself that I didn’t really know how to decorate like my mom did. And honestly? I still don’t.

But lately, the bohemian style of decorating has caught my fancy with its bold designs and bright colors. The eclectic, whimsical style has also made me smile. It’s one of the reasons I made this terrarium here and put in the dinosaur.

Yeah, so that’s a bad picture. I spilled a bit of dirt and it the humidity is also clouding the glass, but hey, you get the idea.

Eclectic, bohemian, and a dash of Victorian antiques thrown in for good measure. Yep, that’s the decorating style I’m aiming for. I’ll call it the “She can’t make up her mind” decor style!

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