Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mennonite home in Burnaby

Last evening we were invited to Eric and Erika's lovely home for dinner, an opportunity to celebrate our lives (hopefully) returning to normal after this year's hectic concert season. Erika is a full-time nurse with an all-consuming hobby that is becoming a business. Nothing seems to excite her quite as much as the challenge of imagining how someone's room could be redesigned in one day on a very limited budget. Although decorating magazines emphasize what can be accomplished with limitless resources, that is hardly the world in which I live. We therefore enjoy visiting their home for the fantastic food and conversation, and we never fail to admire how Erika keeps her decorating skills honed by continually transforming their home, adding collectibles, rearranging furniture, combining objects which did not originally share a common purpose. I particularly liked this month's transformation of the quiet corner in her living room, lit only by the soft light of an overcast sky. Old exterior windows with peeling paint suddenly seemed appropriate in the newly painted room. (You can see how this corner looked before it was recently redesigned for Saturday, but [Monday] I just learned this morning that she found it much too busy and simplified it Sunday. Since I never ever rearrange furniture, this attention to design absolutely amazes me.)

Their front yard is now completely devoted to a relatively new flower garden. The April tulips and spurge were at their prime.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Memories Easter 2008

This Easter we spent a week with my parents in Indiana. Knowing that they will soon be seriously downsizing before moving to assisted living, I was flooded with memories every time I noticed another detail or artifact. I took a few pictures, of interest only to my family. Paul and Frank were able to join us. The home is impeccably clean (as home always seemed to be--those Swiss Mennonite genes), utterly orderly and well-appointed. When the unit was being built, the folks had the western wall designed so that it admits far more light than is available in other units, and that additional sunshine has been wonderfully satisfying for the past two decades of their lives, on dark days and sunny. Dad had been an ordained Mennonite minister in Ohio before becoming an administrator at the college. Looking around, one quickly discerns the importance of religion to these octogenarians.

My thanks to Amy for removing a pesky chandelier from the Easter dinner picture. What magic! My two absent brothers generously contributed the sugar-cured ham to the dinner.