It’s been a long time since I had a mantel to decorate, so I’m enjoying playing around with this one.

I especially love changing up decor and paintings on my fireplace mantel.

No matter how many different paintings I try on the mantel, I seem to keep coming back to the same ones I first put there.

Maybe I’ll add a little variation. But the tall flower painting that I got from Tuesday Morning years ago seems to fit there well.

As does the red geranium painting that Nancy Medina painted for me.

I’m sure I’ll come up with many variations on my mantel. Especially at holiday time.

I’ve noticed there is also a chinoiserie decorating trend going on, mostly of blues and whites. And I think it’s very pretty. Which is reflected in the other painting.

Feeling Better:

I’m feeling better today.

Ivy was affected by my crying yesterday, though I tried to keep it from her.

I told myself that I can’t keep doing that to her. It is upsetting and she doesn’t understand. I will try to do better with Ivy because I don’t want her to be sad about me.

Yesterday evening I wished I had not written yesterday’s post as well.

It exposed feelings I wish I hadn’t burdened you with. I was reacting to the emotional ups and downs of grief.

When I’m feeling like that I should probably not write anything until I’m through the worst of it. However, that is hard when the writing is so cathartic for me.

I should just wait to publish it till I’m feeling better.

In Mantels Meals & Neighbors, here is vignette on my kitchen counter top

Next Door Neighbor Steve:

Last night I made a broccoli, mushroom, green onion, and carrot crustless quiche. The recipe just called for broccoli and green onions, but I decided to add the other vegetables since I had them.

After I put it in the oven, I called Steve to see if he had eaten yet.

His daughter had just left. She’s helping him with the bills and his new phone, etc. So it was good timing.

I’ve decided not to plan too far ahead when it comes to meals. I never know if I’ll be able to stand long when cooking. The more preparations, the faster my ankle hurts.

Having A Neighbor To Help Out:

Steve helps me with repairing lamps and this and that. And occasionally he comes over at suppertime for a meal. It works out pretty well actually.

As many of you know, it’s hard to cook for one. I’d have leftovers for a week. So a few times he has come over to have supper. And I typically send him home with a small casserole he can eat later or freeze.

And then there’s always more for me to eat later too.

Who knows of a repair shop these days? I don’t know that there are any. People these days just use things till they break and then toss them. Then buy something to replace them.

Steve brings his tools and sees if he can fix things sometimes. He has also built furniture for his apartment.

I saw his place for the first time Saturday. There just hadn’t been the occasion for me to go over there.

He’d gone to Ace Hardware for parts to see if he could fix one of my lamps. But then once he had the parts, he couldn’t find any tool that would reach in from the bottom all the way to the top to tighten it.

So he called me over to see the problem and to tell me he just didn’t have long enough tools to fix it.

The lamp and the parts he purchased are now in my closet. It was the red one on my coffee bar.

My apartment coffee bar, mostly in apple green and red.

The Ceremony:

They are spreading his wife’s ashes in a town about an hour from here on Earth Day. Then a few days later they’re going back to have a ceremony.

His son is flying in from Seattle, so he will have company for about a week. His daughter lives here.

He has some of the tuna and noodle casseroles I made in his freezer if they want to eat a home-cooked meal. Yesterday he took home crustless vegetable quiche.

That tuna casserole went a long way. Kasi came over Friday at lunchtime and had two plates of it with a salad. I ate it until it was all gone, which was Saturday I believe.

I love to make food that can be eaten for a few days and then frozen for another day.

In Mantels Meals & Neighbors, here is one of my many house plants in a yellow-gold pot

Why Did He Choose Earth Day?

Maureen loved the earth. She loved gardening and nature.

And she had many hobbies. They were very happy together for 53 years.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be with someone that long.

Both of them often volunteered in the various communities they lived in. Just as he’s volunteering now with the literacy program reading with elementary school-aged kids. He also volunteers at his church with their garden.

When I went over there he showed me some of the things Maureen had made. She had woven baskets and created all kinds of beautiful things. She was very talented artistically.

He said I would have liked her. I told him I was sure he was right. Artistically inclined people always fascinate me.

We figured out that he goes to the same church as Kasi and her family.

Andrew wanted to plant a garden. So I saw a photo on Facebook of them at the church a few weeks ago.

He and his dad, Ross, were preparing a raised garden for planting and it mentioned the church.

Maybe he’ll love gardening like his grandma.


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  1. Glad to read that you are feeling better. This move has been a blessing in many ways – not just more space, but wonderful friendships blooming, as well. I love leftovers and could eat the same things for days.

  2. My little Fuzzy Pomeranian had a stroke and died on March 5, 2022, He was 17 years plus 7 months and I am still very down hearted about it. I have lost my ability to concentrate on anything for very long, and just don’t have much zest to do anything. I know these feelings lose their hold on me after a while, but it sure isn’t very easy to get through it. Occasionally, I still cry about Fuzzy being gone. I have to make myself remember what a long time we had with him, and remember that we were lucky to have him as long as we did.
    Your fireplace mantel is so pretty. I love the paintings you have placed there.

  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better today, Brenda. I was worried about you. I know mostly you just need to vent, or have an understanding shoulder to cry on. Don’t worry, we got you! And friends are way cheaper than therapy! So, about your foot hurting when you have to stand on it for a while, when you’re cooking… can you sit on a stool at the kitchen counter, so you’re not bearing the weight? At least if the prep work is going to take a while, you will be comfortable. Just a thought. Oh, and your quiche sounds delicious! I haven’t made a quiche in years. I might just have to make me one, lol. Wouldn’t that be fun if Andrew takes after you and loves to garden?! Maybe you could encourage and nurture his interest by having him come over and help you out with your porch plantings. That wood be some good bonding time for both of you.

    1. I ordered a stool just before I moved here. But the seat is wood and I can’t sit on it long due to the pain in my hip. Think I need to tell my internist about the hip.

  4. PS – I hope Brian and I are together at least 53 y3ears. We’ve been married for 37-1/2 years and have been together for 40.

    1. And that’s SO wonderful, Melanie. A feat not many couples can lay claim to. And with the death of your son, you seemed to have dealt with it together. It breaks many couples apart, as I’m sure you know. I admire your courage.

  5. Isn’t it fun to have a mantel to decorate? I love decorating mine though sometimes it gets frustrating because it’s a long, narrow one.

    You aren’t burdening us with expressing your feelings. That’s what friends are for.

    Steve sounds like a genuinely nice man and wonderful neighbor. You are both helping each other out; him by helping you with things around your apartment and you by providing him with meals.

    Our family is going to scatter Brian’s father’s ashes soon, too ~ we just don’t know when. Maybe in May.

    1. That’s the way I want to be dealt with after death. I told my daughters to just mix my ashes with that of however many pets’ ashes I have when I die. And just to scatter us someplace like a flower garden. Yes, I love playing with a mantel again!

  6. It is wonderful to have good neighbors and someone you can exchange food for work in essence…lovely idea!! Glad you are feeling better. I think most of us here appreciate your honesty…never fear expressing how you are feeling…after all, it is your blog!!

    1. I feel better emotionally today. But physically I feel like I’m right back where I started before I got the brace last Monday. Just like with the boot, it now hurts with the brace on as well. Hugely disappointed.

      1. So sorry you are in such pain!! Chronic pain is the worst!! I hope the doctors will decide to help you soon!! Have you tried finding someone who does I think its called blue light therapy? We have located someone here who does it and we hope to take Hubby there and get some relief from his pain in his legs and knees.

  7. Everything takes time Brenda!
    I’m sooo happy that your feeling better and taken an interest in cooking and some entertaining too!

  8. I believe Dianne was commenting on your mantle. She says your arrangements are so lovely the first time, maybe you should be content with what you placed there . Then when the seasons change, you can create a new display.

  9. Most of us have days when we are fed up and need to vent. I vote that you continue to write to get past it.

    Sigh, I wish I had someone to fix things. I have managed some repairs with the help of You Tube, but I would prefer not to. lol

  10. It is wonderful that you and Steve have forged a friendship. He sounds delightful. I’m sure he appreciates your meals. I have two lamps that need rewiring and can’t find anybody to do it. So guess I will be consulting You Tube.

  11. Brenda,
    I love your honesty and that you share your feelings that so many of us have felt but don’t know how to put into words. Your blog is the only one that I read now. I check in everyday to see how you are doing. Just know you are admired and very loved. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. Take care! Hugs for you and Ivy!

  12. I care for you and I hope you don’t take this wrong. It’s just my opinion but you share a lot about your neighbor. Does he approve? I am only writing this because someone shared very personal health information about me on social media. I was very hurt and not ready to share my challenges with anyone. Please take care. This is not meant to be a critical reproach.

    1. Well, I appreciate your words and concerns. Maybe I shouldn’t have shared about his wife’s ceremony? What specifically are you referring to?

  13. I just adore the community you’ve found here. Such kind, understanding people.
    Don’t apologize ever for sharing your feelings. They are beautifully expressed and shared by many of us who lack your skill in communicating them. I think if most of us happened by your apartment and saw you out there puttering away, we’d plunk down in a chair and just start chattering away as if we’ve known you for a lifetime….which we kind of do – because of your honest, open heartedness!

  14. Please feel free to write what and when you wish. Holding all that emotion is not good for you.
    The choices you make first usually do not need to be changed. You are one of those people who gets it right the first time. Can you just live with it until a new season and then make changes? You work so hard and that would give you time to enjoy it. Your mantle is very calming. Take care of yourself.

  15. I agree with Margie; your blog is your outlet so you should feel free to post about anything you want. Your blog provides inspiration to so many, like me but you can’t always have happy days. It’s your blog so you write about anything you feel like writing about.
    I used to blog and now I post on Instagram. I do miss my blog very much and have often thought about blogging again. I miss the more personal interaction.
    I’m so glad you’ve forged a friendship with Steve and others in your new “home”. Have a wonderful Monday!

  16. I am so glad you are feeling better Brenda.
    I have been married for about 53 years to a man I met on a blind date (do we even call it that any more!) On the second date he went home and told his Mum he had met the girl he was going to marry! I felt the same, he was so gentle and kind as he still is. We have changed a lot through the years but somehow we always seem to be on the same page about a lot of things that really matter to both of us so it really has worked out very well.
    I always try to make more food for left overs but somehow my husband always eats it at first sitting, it always amazing me as he is and always has been thin.
    I am glad you have a good friendship with the neighbor next door and it seems to suit you both which is great.

  17. Anyone who can fix anything, is a genius to me! ~ what a great neighbor to have, my friend! It’s like a divine confirmation that YES! you were meant to live HERE!

    Nor could I imagine being married to one person that long! However, I have had some very longterm friends – 40 years +

    1. I’ve found that the maintenance men don’t always know what they doing. So good to have Steve, who knows quite a bit. But then, he’s 77 years old and has had years of practice. Even if he doesn’t know what to do, he tends to know what NOT to do.

  18. I’m glad you have found a friend in your neighbor, Brenda, and it seems you have found a new interest in cooking as well! Glad you are feeling better today – we all have bad days, you should never feel you can’t share them on here. This is your outlet, you have many friends you have never met on here.

    1. I like homecooked meals. If only I could stand up long enough to prepare them. Over the weekend, I’ve found that the brace isn’t always the answer. And that’s kind of depressing.

  19. Hi Brenda,
    Your blog is your outlet and you should not feel bad about posting your thoughts and feelings whatever they may be. We’re all human and we can all relate. It also helps to know that we’re not alone with those feelings and can emphasize. I’m happy you’re feeling better today. Love the photo of Ivy. Also happy you have such a good friend and neighbor and I’m sure Steve feels the same way. Your mantle looks lovely. I like to change things up too, but then tend to end up going back to favorites too. Have a great week.

    1. Ditto what Margie says about not feeling bad about what you wrote! Ditto for everything she said. (Except about the part about changing things up… I tend to leave them the same for too long!) 🙃

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