Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beginning to feel like home

As you can see I finally got around to replacing my lost camera. Somehow I can't seem to get enthused about blogging without a photo or two to drop into a post.

Of course one of my first photos was one of the Overlord, he of the red hair, green eyes and monumental attitude. For those who are wondering, he has made a smooth transition to condo life.

But I also tested my new camera by taking a few pictures of the living room. Nothing like a photo to show you what still needs to be done (lots) but those who have been asking what the place is like can get an idea.

One of the quirks of this condo is that the living room has no window. There's a six-foot wide door off the hall, so it's more or less open-plan. I don't actually mind, as it gives us more room to hang paintings. I've hung maybe half of our paintings so far and am wondering which ones will end up in the closet. If we had windows in this room I'd have no room at all for paintings!

In a few days we'll have been here six weeks, and while we still aren't entirely unpacked or organized some order is beginning to emerge from the chaos, as evidenced by books, DVDs, CDs and various junque loaded into the bookcases.

At the end is one of the many model ships Tony built over the years, and in front of it the "host" chair from the dining room set. Over the TV is a cut-away model Tony made of the structure of a clipper ship - from a cereal box. On it sits a tiny dory he built and a miniature three-masted sailing ship which was a gift from friends many years ago.

Taking a cue from the model ships and our collection of shells gathered by family and friends and the half-dozen or so sea-themed paintings we turned this into the "sea wall". Though I love all of these paintings, my favorite has to be the large one to the far left. Tony's mother bought it 50 years ago from a Norwegian Canadian named W. Raade who travelled through Canada in the 1950's and 60's selling his oil paintings door-to-door from the back of a station wagon. It captures all the moody restlessness of waves lifted by an approaching storm.

The stack-of-books coffee table cleaned up nicely. I retouched the spots where the leather had been wet and had faded, glued down the loose bits of leather and rubbed it down with brown shoe polish and it looks great. Still old, and well-loved, but full of character in a way a new piece would lack. It also makes a great runway for a tissue paper and balsa model plane Tony built by looking at pictures in a book. Sadly, I ruined my chances for the "Martha Stewart room stylist" job, when I took this picture with lots of evidence that this is a "lived-in" space lying about.

What I really need is a picture of Salvador lying on the sofa with his four feet in the air, totally comfortable and happy. Somehow the flowered sofa provides perfect "catouflage". (He's just about been sat on a number of times.)

But with cat and our rockers in place it is a comfy room, and while it might not be a candidate for a chic Apartment Therapy home tour it is filled with items we love which make us feel comfortable. And what more could you ask of home?

Friday, April 08, 2011

April KIVA Loan

Our April KIVA loan goes to Manushak Mkrtchyan, who is the same age as our older son. She is a widow with three children who lives in Kapan Armenia.
Her two sons are still living at home but her daughter is married and she lives separately. Manushak’s younger son is a student. Her elder son helps her with her business, which consists of fruits and vegetable trading in Kapan market.

Previously, Manushak sold clothing but decided to become a produce vendor because food trading is more profitable. Part of Manushak's income goes towards her younger son’s education and the rest part supports her family.

This is Manushak’s seventh loan. She will use her loan to buy tomatoes, cucumbers and fruits to resell.