Saturday, October 22, 2016

A New Theme for my Blog!

I have rewritten the intro/welcome page to my blog reflecting my new theme. It only took me 2 years to figure this out when I graduated my youngest in 2014. lol It's now a look back at the past, and towards the future. =)



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Convention of States, Keeping our Republic, and Remembering our History

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Last night my fearless leader (grassroots coordinator for Northern Virginia) had a Convention of States event in Alexandria. Would any of his team attend? I volunteered myself and my son, who had joined me to help at our COS booth at the Occoquan. Actually my son was having an enormously busy day but at the last minute opportunity reigned so we drove together to Alexandria to listen to my fearless leader speak to a group of citizens about the urgency of Convention of States.

My son was totally impressed with the presentation and wanted to hang out with our grassroots coordinator as long as he was willing to talk about Convention of States. I wasn't surprised. From the first time I met our coordinator, I knew I had to get my son to meet him!

So...did you know that Convention of States volunteers like my fearless leader, myself and many others are willing to come to your group to speak about the bi-partisain problem in Washington DC and the non-partisan solution that our Founding Fathers gave to us?

Did you know that Convention of States is:


Did you know that Convention of States wants to propose amendments to the Constitution to:

Did you know that eight other states have already called for a Convention of States?
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee

Why are we petitioning for a Convention of States? Because of the bigger questions:



When our Founding Fathers separated from England, they knew America needed a federal government, but they didn't want the government to have too much power. Thus they gave them as little power as possible under the Articles of Confederation. That didn't work either. During the war Washington couldn't get funding or supplies for his troops.  After the war commerce between the states was so difficult that more problems were created than solved. etc, etc, etc. Something had to be done.

Therefore the states sent delegates to a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia with the intent to form a new government. The Founding Fathers conceded they needed to give the federal government more power. However they were still very careful in regards to how much power they gave the federal government.

Our Founding Fathers were well-educated. They knew their history. They remembered that Ancient Greece fell because of democracy, which was one man one vote. Mob rule destroyed Greece. Ancient Rome didn't do any better with a republic, because there were no checks and balances. England tried to blend the two a bit, with a monarch. But even then the monarch had to be reined in: King John and the Magna Carta, Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution...

During that time Virginia was settled by Britain in the early 17th century. Our very first representative government in America began in Virginia, in Jamestowne, before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. These men were burgesses who represented their neighbors. By the 18th century the Virginia government had moved to Williamsburg. You can see the capitol today in Colonial Williamsburg. On one side sat the Governor's Council, formed by men appointed by the king to represent him in Virginia. On the other side sat the burgesses, who were elected to their positions by their neighbors.

All was well. Virginia became the largest, wealthiest, most populous, and most British of all the colonies. Education was important. Even the grammar level, which is the most George Washington obtained due to his father's death, was far more than we see in many colleges today. Education in the 18th century was of the classical nature. At the grammar level students studied Latin, Greek, philosophies, sciences, etc. Many, like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, continued their education through the rhetoric level and beyond, learning law and honing their rhetorical skills. Those with education often went on to represent their districts as a public service, not as a career.

Then after the French and Indian War the king imposed taxes on the colonies without allowing them any input. The colonies were in an uproar. Their heritage as Englishmen, with rights to representation, had been ignored. Despite years of boycotts and discussion with the king to have him recognize the representative governments in America, the king continually ignored the colonists.  Eventually war broke out.

While Thomas Jefferson was at a convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a historic document was being written at a different convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. A group of burgesses which included George Mason and James Madison, wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in May of 1776. Mason, in fact, led the committee.  The second paragraph of the document says:

That all Men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights, of which they can not by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety. (Virginia Declaration of Rights)
A copy was sent to Thomas Jefferson, who a few weeks later drafted the Declaration of Independence.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Declaration of Independence)
I am not suggesting that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized George Mason. However I am saying that our Founding Fathers were of like mind. They had all studied many important works of history and political theory that have been written during the course of history. They knew their history. The idea of  liberty for all was not a novel idea to any of them. They read about it in the writings of Locke, Voltaire and  Montisquieu. They heard the pleas for liberty from various peoples across the ages as written in books of history since the dawn of time. However, our Founding Fathers were the first to put the ideas on paper with ink, then risked their lives by signing documents like the Declaration of Independence.

They risked. their. lives.

None of our Founding Documents were trivial. Great weight was put upon each word that was enscribed onto parchment for all time. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were discussing and writing for all people for all time when they wrote the Declaration of Independence (which declared our government legitimate), the Federalist Papers (which rationalized the Constitution), and the Constitution (which became Supreme Law of our country).  (The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution by Jenna Ellis, Esq.) They were willing to give up their lives of leisure to allow us, the citizens of the future, to have our liberties. In short, they did not want tyranny. They did not want big government.

However, after the failure of the Articles of Confederation, our Founding Fathers conceded that the federal government needed a few more powers than had been granted them under the failed system. Yet, not too much power, only that small bit of power that the states couldn't do on their own. The failure of the Articles of Confederation drove home the federal powers which should be enumerated in the Constitution.  

Under the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave these powers to the federal government:
  • military
  • interstate commerce
  • immigration
  • money
  • treaties
  • postal system
  • patents
The states have these powers:
  • education
  • social welfare (including care for the poor, healthcare, housing) 
  • all commerce and commercial products
  • food
  • farming
Obviously our federal government today has increasing control of the powers the Founding Fathers meant for the states. Our Founding Fathers knew this could happen someday. After writing Article V of the Constitution, which explains how Congress writes amendments that are ratified in the states, George Mason (remember him?) stood up. He reminded his fellow delegates of the likelihood that the people would need to have the ability to rein in big government. The other delegates agreed. They added a second way to propose amendments...through the states. Ratification is still done the same way as what we are used to through the states.

Those who oppose Convention of States due to fears of a runaway convention need not worry. Our Founding Fathers had a plan for that too. There are checks and balances properly in place. In fact, Convention of States is the check in balance the Founders put in place for We the People to check the federal government. Ratification through a Convention of States is the same as it is when the federal Congress proposes amendments which is through the states. (Be sure to read the link above for many more proofs!)

Part of the problem with today's government has been interpretation of the Constitution. There are many lawyers who are taught today that the Constitution is fluid. They believe the Social Contract Theory. That is not what the Founding Fathers believed. Just read the Declaration of  Independence that says that we are endowed with natural rights. The Founding Fathers were very specific. They never intended government to use the Constitution to take rights away from the people. (The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution by Jenna Ellis, Esq.)

At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin walked out of the statehouse. A lady who was passing by asked him, "What kind of government did you give to us?" Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

The question each of us need to ask ourselves is "Are we keeping the republic?" The Founding Fathers intended that we be ever vigilant. Are we vigilant? Some of us are. Some of us are only talking about it. Some of us need to take action.

Let's do so through the legal means under Article V of the Constitution that the Founding Fathers gave to us and fully expected us to use. Let's call a Convention of States to propose amendments to rein in big government and secure a future for our children and their children. The federal debt is at $17 trillion. Powers are continually taken away from the states. We the People have been largely ignored by the federal government.  Even if the most wonderful president in the world came to office and did completely wonderful things to set things straight, a future president would surely come  later to wipe all that out. Only Constitutional amendments will rein in big government, because the federal government will never put a rein on their own power.

Learn more and sign the petition at www.conventionofstates.com


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oh the Agony of Choosing Paint for the Ceiling...and Why I've Been Absent

Our latest redecorating project was all about fixing problems, like finally painting over a previous homeowner's craft project. We had had a lot of trouble buying a house 7 years ago. Every time we put down an offer or tried to write an offer someone else snatched it up. During those tortuous weeks of waiting for an offer to be accepted (not!) we kept coming back to this house...the house that needed all the work. This house had sat on the  market for 6 months! One reason was because no one wanted to buy a house with flowers stamped on the ceiling. Neither did we. But we finally did. We've done lots of other work on this house, like replacing the old builder grade chandelier with this lovely one. But the painting the ceiling. (groan) So in September my husband said it was time.

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Now, what color does that ceiling look like? Sort of white, right? So.......if you were to paint this ceiling, which shade of white would you choose?

We picked up a paint chip of options from the paint store that our builder used 16 years ago. The store said there were no more records on which specific colors had been used, but it was one of these. Hmmm....

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We chose a shade from Lowes (to save some money) that matched "White Shadow" in a sample size. That was a good idea because the color was a poor match! 

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We thought it was white! Perplexed, I held the paint chips to the ceiling in the best lighting I could find. Hmm....my first guess was the whites on the far right, but those were obviously wrong. What could the correct color be? My husband went back and forth to the store. After two or three samples that were clearly wrong, we tried a different approach. I went to the fb page for our community and did a search for a previous discussion on ceiling paint color and found the recommendation: Cool Platinum (the second color on the far left. They had to be kidding! Dubious, my husband bought more paint, again in a sample size. And they were right! It was nearly a perfect match!

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Here's a close-up of "Cool Platinum."

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There were other reasons that we were painting our ceiling. Around the corner in the foyer there was a spot where we had disassembled and taken down an old smoke detector that had become useless. That left holes in the ceiling from the screws. Also there were scuff marks in the ceiling. How does someone get scuff marks on a ceiling?
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Thus I had to pack up my sewing room (which is housed in the dining room). My husband had drop cloths prepared to hang from the ceiling.

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The chandelier had been protected. A primer coat was painted over the flowers.

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Yet another reason for the ceiling paint job was because my husband wanted to do some repair work around the window in the dining room. A few years ago Hurricane Sandy leaked through that wall. My husband wanted to take the sheet rock off, take out the old damaged insulation, patch things up and replace everything with new. So lots of dust, repair and painting.

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He painted the ceiling the day I was volunteering at the Convention of States booth at the Liberty Farm Festival. Now that the dining room was finished, I reorganized all of my sewing stuff in baskets that I had taken from the library in the basement. I moved out all the table linens from the bottom of the hutch to store my sewing baskets. Thus began my reorganization of the kitchen. I've been busy!

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Meanwhile my husband began work on the kitchen ceiling to cover up an old stain from a leak years before we moved in. It's all tight now, since we had a new roof put on last year. Also there are stains from leaks on the other side of the kitchen...and upstairs in the stairwell. So there is lots of ceiling to paint. Not fun.

One day, my husband officially kicked me out of the kitchen...

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Time to protect this new chandelier...

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Drop cloth and tape in place...

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Old stain from previous homeowner now primed...

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Old leak from previous homeowner days now fixed and primed...

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Repainting the entire ceiling requires pulling out the pot lights so they don't get painted too.

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Finis. Now I had to put all the stuff back on top of the cabinets. I really didn't feel like doing that. Besides they were all dusty and the top of the cabinets were all messy, so I started deep cleaning. Then I found a new home for the table linens I took out of the bottom of the china hutch, which meant I had to find a new home for everything. Meanwhile I decided to reorganize all the cabinets to try to fix lots of issues. I honestly don't have room for all of my kitchen stuff. I did some purging and reorganized for better efficiency. Alas, it's still not perfect. Oh the lack of space. Thus, my husband told me he'd build drawers for me that pull out completely for all of the lower cabinets, just like I left in Texas. It will be a while before I get them, but we know that will be a major item to impress future home buyers. (They'll like our newly painted ceiling too!) 

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I got rid of some of this stuff. Moved some of it elsewhere. Packed up all the patriotic stuff, and brought out all the autumn stuff. Then I repurposed old autumn decor and put the rest aside for the Salvation Army. The pile for them is growing. 

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So that is why I haven't been blogging. I've also reorganized all the files of important paperwork (I did that during the Olympics.) That has been worthwhile because now I can find important papers when we need it. Also all of this reorganizing has us thinking long term to put my sewing room in the basement. Stay tuned!


Monday, October 10, 2016

A Peak into the Bits, Bobs and Gadgets of my Birthday

Ah, yes. It's that time of year again, which means I'm busier than ever. From October to January I am on a permanent busy streak primarily because my family likes me to do the ultimate for the holidays and family birthdays. That means autumnal decor by October 1 is always a hope. Prefacing this, though, was my husband's repainting of the ceiling (post forthcoming) and the ensuing clean up which led to deep cleaning of the house which finally led to putting out some autumnal decor (post forthcoming...lots of new looks) and a general low budget redecorating of the house. (post forthcoming)

Ideally I would have blogged daily because I have  much to catch up on since last summer, but I was determined to finally conquer all the piles before my birthday. With the help of my husband that finally happened the night before so I didn't have any piles taunting me while I had a great day with my family. We played board games. We ate well. We even danced: Swing Dance and Waltzing! Then we topped off the evening with Anne of Green Gables!

Opening the gifts was a lot of fun too. I thought some of my gifts might be of interest to some of my readers, and would create a bridge between a quick catch up of past events and forthcoming posts. 

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My daughter bought this historic home card for me when we were at St. Michaels last summer (post forthcoming). So pretty! It's the cannonball house, so named because it survived a cannon bombardment during the War of 1812. We'll have to look for this house next time we visit.

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She also gifted me this beverage bottle which I have dubbed the "forever hot drink container." Many of her classmates at college have these. They have raved at how long their hot drinks remain hot (up to 12 hours for hot) and how long their cold drinks remain cold (up to 24 hours).

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My son gave this Mac Nut Oil to me. Long story short, he wanted to buy a gift for his chef friend. When he asked me for ideas, I suggested fun cooking ingredients. He saw this, buy 1 get 1 free. He hesitated about gifting 2 and I agreed. I told him he could just give one to me for Christmas or something. So I got it for my birthday. It will be fun to use! (His friend liked it too!)

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My son also surprised me with these gloves! He likes to gift me technology themed items. Do you see it? It's in the fingertips of the pointer finger and thumb. That is a special surface to allow one to use their smart phone while wearing gloves. My son knows how much I prefer to wear pretty things over practical things, and how much I like to wear vintage things. This covers it all! 

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Now for my husband's gifts to me. He does not like to shop for me at all. He is most happy when I show him something I like so he can buy it on the spot. In fact all of us in the family do that for each other, so it's rather rare that we actually surprise anyone. Since we stick rather closely to budgets and
rarely buy ourselves many items, this works well for us.

My husband purchased this mug for me on a very recent incredible trip to Colonial Williamsburg! I have been so anxious to share this visit on my blog, because it was a most unique and historic visit due to a most unique and historic event!!!! My plan is to blog about it later this week. Oh, and I love the mug which is a great companion to the one my daughter gave to me from Mount Vernon last spring. I love the boxes these come in as well. I already reused the other one for storage. I will store something and keep this one on display somewhere too. Probably my sewing room which is the other bit of big news I wanted to share. We are planning on turning the basement into my sewing studio!!!!! (Oh, and now my husband wants to buy me the spring one. Nope. We don't keep many secrets around here.)
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This cute bit of practicality is a magnifying glass shaped like a sunflower which I discovered at Gunston Hall!

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I also got this blotter from Hawthorne House at the Occoquan from my first visit of the year there. (post forthcoming) I've since made a very recent second trip that had nothing to do with sightseeing, shopping or eating, though I did eat there. (post forthcoming) This blotter has a fun story! I showed it to my husband, asking him if he'd buy it for my birthday or Christmas. He asked, "What in the world is it?" After I explained it to him the saleslady exclaimed that she was so glad to hear someone who knew what it was! I exclaimed I was so glad that someone who was selling it actually knew what it was! lol She gave me some good tips on what to use when I replace the paper part of the blotter. This box is also lovely and will definitely will become displayed storage.

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My husband also gave me these lovely earrings from our trip to Harper's Ferry (post forthcoming). I had pointed out different items so I was surprised to see which one he chose. I'm glad he chose the turquoise. Pearls might be  my first favorite but I think turquoise is my second favorite. Or third. (Opals might be second.)  

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Since I was taking these photos this evening I thought I'd take a couple more. My son bought the gadget below for a Christmas gift a few years ago. It helps me use my smart phone when I need to try to touch a very tiny space (or even if I want to touch a large space) on my screen. I think I am well covered for smart phone techie gadgets. I don't know though. We'll see. My son said another gift was supposed to arrive for my birthday but it's going to take a while so that will become my Christmas gift. 

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My daughter gave this crossword puzzle book for my birthday last year. She gave me one the year before too but I had pretty much finished it out. It was a New York Times with puzzles from throughout the week, so it ranged from easy to difficult. I settled down with this one and it has much tinier font. But worse...it is insanely difficult!!!!! I've been slowly plugging away at it though.

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Just the other day I happened to read the back cover, laughed, then showed it to my daughter.

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Well...it has definitely raised the bar on crosswords for me. Some puzzles are only 1/4 complete but others are nearly done. I confess I do use google for questions like: "Which song almost won the emmy  in 1966?" "Who almost made the cut to be with the Beatles Tour?" etc, etc, etc. (I made those up but they fit.) Even those answers can be agonizing to find, but any clues I get help me to figure out the mind benders that can have multiple correct answers. Then there are the in-between ones that leave you to think the answer is obvious, but not always. That leads one to think that the rest of the answers aren't as obvious, but they are. Agggggghhhhhh....but fun at the same time.

Finally...here is the Mount Vernon mug my daughter gave to me for Mother's Day. I thought I had already shared it on my blog but I can't find it anywhere. Life has been so crazy, but with all the reorganization I've been doing, I a m finding necessities like important papers quicker, so I hope that translates into other parts of life to free up more time for reading, blogging, and sewing.

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