Monday, April 27, 2015


A few days ago I took my coffee and latest book out to the patio. It was a very windy day but warm enough to relax outside and that’s what I decided to do. Imagine my surprise when I heard the deep and reverberating tones of a church bell … or at least that’s what I thought it was. I hadn’t heard it at my house before and it delighted and surprised me.

Then it dawned on me. My daughter and son-in-law are with me for a bit and he knows how much I love the huge bells that he makes out of discarded oxygen tanks. Every time I’ve been to their upstate New York home I’ve told them how much I love to hear their bell toll and how it transported me back to the wondrous days that I’d spent in Florence, Italy.

Sure enough … Brian had made one for me and he snuck it in when I wasn’t looking. I think it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts that I’ve ever received and to have it be a surprise made it even more special.

Brian is a master when it comes to making art out of discarded materials and here is another example. This adorable nymphet statue had lost whatever it was that she was holding but Brian bought her anyway. Now she sits amidst the greenery as you approach their front door, having been transformed with the addition of a small shovel into “our lady of perpetual gardening”.

It never fails to make me smile. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How did I miss this ?

In 1944 the movie “Gaslight”, a mystery-thriller starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman was a huge success. I was just eleven at the time but I do remember being fascinated and scared by it and from that time on I would always go to see any movie that featured Charles Boyer.

Although he was a retiring person off-screen, Boyer left female movie-goers swooning and, somewhat like Sean Connery today he seemed to get even more attractive with age. I thought I knew a lot about his life but it was a complete surprise to me this week when I came across an article referring to prominent actors and actresses who had committed suicide and he was among them. How did I miss this?

Then I saw that he died in 1978 and that was the year that we moved to North Carolina. So that explained how I missed hearing about his death but I was still amazed that it was a suicide. I knew that he had wed the British actress Pat Paterson in 1934 and that it was a happy and successful marriage. What I didn’t know was that he retired in the mid 70’s to care for his wife who was diagnosed with cancer. She died in 1978 and just two days later the grief-stricken actor took his own life.

I don’t know exactly why this affected me so much now. I guess it took me back to a simpler time when a girl on the brink of becoming a young lady could be totally enthralled with an older man with a throaty French accent …and then to find out that his actual life ended in tragedy “just like in the movies”.    So sad…


Friday, April 17, 2015

A “Feel Good” news story … for a change.

Look at this guy … doesn’t he look like the young hitchhiker that Brad Pitt played in “Thelma and Louise”? Well, he’s certainly not a loser like that young man was!!

This is Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments in Seattle, Washington. He and his brother Lucas founded the business in 2004 “providing merchant processing services”. I have no idea what that actually means but I love the fact that, as CEO, Dan made a bold decision that will affect the well being of his 120-person staff.

He was disturbed by the fact that his executive salary was exorbitant compared to that of his employees and he decided to do something about it. "I want to be a part of the solution to inequality in this country, and so if corporate America also wants to be a part of that solution, that would make me really happy," Price said.

His idea became reality this past week when he made the amazing announcement to his employees that he planned, over the next three years, to raise each and every one of their salaries to a minimum of $70,000.

I doubt very much if corporate America will follow his lead but I hope it makes those companies quibbling over a $15 per hour minimum wage think twice !




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Update on the roof …

“Ixnay on the goofy self portrait Brian … that roof won’t paint itself !!”
“Who cares? I’m having a ball up here.”
We had hoped to have my roof just about done by now but the erratic NC weather has proved to be less than cooperative. Lots of rain and high winds have been the norm. We decided to make it a full house make-over since it’s been about 15 years since it was painted and it looks it.
You can see what a job it will be !
I will be thrilled when I can post a picture of the finished project !!! Patience in not my strong point


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Permit me to brag ….

This is the house that my oldest son, Mark, designed last year and I’m so proud to say that it won the 2015 House of the Year award by the Moore County Home Builders Association. The write-up that accompanied the picture says it much better than I could …

"The McCrann residence was designed by Mark Dean of Imark Design …The building site's beautiful views of Lake Dornach greatly influenced the overall design approach. The property is shaped at a triangle with the small end at the driveway side which provided the design's greatest challenge as the garage had to be placed in front of the house. The solution entailed detaching the garage from the house and treating it as a separate support building that visually screens the home's entrance. Guests are invited to the Entry Terrace by walking around the Garage toward the sound of a water fountain and then arriving under the flat terrace roof at the large tumbled marble stairs that flow from the interior of the house. Upon entering the house the marble surface of the entry walkway and stairs is continued down the barrel vaulted Hall that connects the entry terrace with the rear lakeside terrace and the views of Lake Dornoch.”

Here are a few other views ….
I’m proud of all three children and my son-in-law but this is Mark’s time to shine !!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Brian … the Roof Guy !

Meet my son-in-law Brian … understandably proud of the roof repairs that he made to his and my daugher's barn in New York State. Here you see it in another perspective:

…and why am I showing this to you? Because now Brian is on MY rooftop and it is very exciting. I have a little house that was built in 1902 and it has a very sturdy tin roof but it does need to be painted and I’ve been dreading that. My two boys, Mark and Matt, are excellent workers too but this is about as high as they like to go:
… and I can’t blame them. I am leery of heights too ! So, we are all happy that Brian has taken on the job.  Here he is at the start of the project…
I will be sure to highlight the results in an upcoming post.