Thursday, November 27, 2014


it feels kind of 
kind of
that there isn't 
a sydney project
lying around
waiting in the wings.

after pressing,
dresses, bows, 
onesies, bloomers,
bibs, tops,
a tutu,
and sending that big box
of love on its way,
the #sydneycollection for 2014 
was complete.


what a sweet 
(to a crazy year)
God sent my way!

just one of the little things
in a 
i'm thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Friday, October 31, 2014

she can't reach...

after giving katherine a bath
and washing her hair,
she insisted on wearing her
"boy clothes"
(cutoffs and a tee shirt).
i had just started combing
her hair
when my aunt knocked
on the door.

sue came in with a halloween
gift for katherine,
a darling, halloween sweatshirt.
katherine couldn't wait 
for me to take off the tags
and put it on her.
she was giddy!

after putting the sweatshirt
on her,
i finished combing her hair,
parted it,
pulled the top part 
over to the side,
and put a band in it.
like clockwork,  
katherine immediately
ran her hand up to where
i'd banded her hair.

katherine: mama, i need a bow,
one that matches!

i looked at sue
and just shook my head...

me: well, let me go get 
you one!

sue laughed.

katherine always wore
a bow...
boy clothes or girl clothes
and it had to match!

i returned and
clipped her bow through
the holder and katherine
twirled around
modeling for us.
abruptly, though,
she stopped twirling
and looked over at me
arching her eyebrows.

katherine: i'm going to go 
get mabel to show aunt sue.

we had just brought
our sweet, stripey 
"mabel kitty" home
to live with us. 
katherine was chomping
at the bit to show her 


katherine was gone
for a few minutes. 

me: katherine, what are you doing?
katherine: i'm coming...
me: what's taking you so long?
katherine: i had to do something first!

in an instant,
there stood katherine
with mabel in tow.

sue: awwwweee, she's so cute,

katherine grinned,
a big, proud, cheese-eating

i noticed the fur on mabel's
head was wet.

me: katherine, why is mabel's
hair wet?

katherine handed mabel to sue,
came over to me,
 cupped her hand
around my ear,
leaned into me,
and whispered in my ear...

katherine: i washed her hair.
(thinking for a second, 
i knew katherine couldn't
reach any of the 
water faucets in the house.)
with what?
katherine: ummm...
me: with what, katherine?
she leaned back into me
and whispered.

katherine: with my tongue...

i pulled my head away
and looked at katherine
like, WHAAAT???

katherine: she can't reach.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


the way i have maintained what little sanity i have left?

  i put all of what you're about to glean into perspective: 

on the lane, 
we have clean paper plates, plastic flatware, and 
running water (just not in the kitchen)
 we are neither at war with isis nor ebola (yet)
and we have a LOT for which to be thankful!


after having gone through 
nearly 6 months
of a remodel from hell...


-from having to nearly
beg our contractor 
to do what we wanted
him to do...
-to him doing some 
of what we wanted 
him to do
 but only half-assed...
-to him (admittedly so) 
our replacement-window money
leaving us 
to pay for our windows 
(in lieu of having a lien 
placed on our house),
-to my and my grandmother's
engagement rings, 
my and john's wedding bands,
my silver punch bowl,
and katherine's watch 
all being stolen...
-to my suffering through
7 weeks of 
"the worst case 
of shingles"
anyone had ever seen,

we were
a bright spot!


a week ago yesterday
our quartz installers arrived
with our kitchen and vanity
counter tops.

 not only to be getting
the beautiful new tops
but, more importantly,
to finally have 
running water
in the kitchen 
after nearly 5 weeks
of not!

they were unable to install
the vanity top
because my bathroom 
sink needed
new shutoff valves,
they skipped the bathroom 
and installed the kitchen
counter tops.

installer: well, do you like it?
me: like it? i LOVE it;
installer: great! 
so, all we have left to do
is drop in your sink.
where is it?

awkward silence...

me: uh, it was supposed
to come with the counter top?

he looked through his paperwork. 

installer: no, only your vanity top 
comes with a sink.
me: hmm, lowes told me 
this one was supposed 
to come with an under-mount?
installer: ma'am, that hole will
not support an under-mount;
it was cut for a drop-in sink.


later that afternoon,
after a discussion with lowes,
i told them we would be willing 
to settle for a drop-in...
as we were past ready
to have running water
in our kitchen, right!!?!?

that evening
john and i went to lowes
to retrieve our sink
and purchase supplies 
for the plumber.


bright and early,
last wednesday morning,
mr. butts (our plumber) 

he asked me to show him 
all we needed him to do.
i obliged.
after showing him 
the bathroom and 
he reassured me
that was going to be
no problem,
i lead him 
into our kitchen.
upon seeing 
the sink hole,
he told me the sink
was not going to fit.

me: are you sure?
mr. butts: i don't think it will,
but i'll try it.

when he dropped the sink 
into the hole and it looked
like it fit,
i breathed a sigh of relief.
my relief was short-lived;
as the two of us lay
with our heads resting
on the cabinet base
looking up at the sink.
with his flashlight,
mr. butts directed
me to look at the 
three sides of the sink
which could be secured
to the counter top
and then 
to the fourth...
which could not.


30 minutes later, 
lowes' manager and staff,
mr. butts, and i stood
staring at the hole
in our new,
beautiful counter top.
the best solution
was to reorder the quartz,
which meant...
3 more weeks without 
kitchen plumbing.

after the lowes' folks
left, i walked into
the bathroom where mr. butts
lay with his head inside 
my vanity.

i sat down on the side
of the bathtub
at mr. butts' feet.

me: mr. butts, meester berrong
may be thinking,
"no news is good news,"
right about now,
but he'd be wrong
(no pun intended)."

i giggled...


a week later,
i don't know how this install
is going to go
(hopefully well).
what i do know is...
 instead of the new tops
arriving in 2 weeks
(we are already
a week out from 
last week's debacle),
it's going to be at least
3 more
because as of monday
when the quartz company
called about the vanity
the kitchen counter had
not yet been reordered...



in case you were wondering...

we fired our contractor, 
have received no
compensation for our windows. 
filed a police report-
though none of our stolen items 
have been recovered, 
are still eating on paper plates
with plastic flatware.

stay tuned...

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Thursday, July 31, 2014

time capsule...

there is currently
a corner, pantry cabinet
occupying our kitchen.

on the inside,
it stretches from our countertop 
all the way up to above
our 8ft. ceiling.
it is 3ft. wide
and 3ft. deep.
it's always held
holiday, paper
napkins and plates
(on the 5th/top shelf),
a case or two
of sterno canisters
and plastic 
cups and dinnerware
(on the 4th shelf),
boxes of
pasta, rice, cereal,
and cake/brownie mixes
(on the 3rd shelf),
can goods
and jars of 
peanut butter, jellies,
relishes, chutney,
special sauces
(on the 2nd shelf),
large containers of
sugars, flour, nuts,
oils, cooking sprays,
(on the 1st/bottom shelf).

(this cabinet,
though large,
has never been
very convenient...
as a matter of fact,
we have needed
to use a stepstool
in order 
to reach anything above
the third shelf.)




it is empty.



dale is going to take off
the door and frame,
replace them
with a large piece
and mud it closed.



before dale performs
his magic,
we are going to place
items inside the cabinet
in order to create
a sort of time capsule.

in this time capsule,
we will place 
indicative of 
our life on the lane:
today's newspaper,
low end currency (;-),
a can of die coke,
a bottle of wine,
one of katherine's baby blankets,
an old ball cap of johns,
a pair of my pajamas,
one of maggie's old collars,
a copy of this month's
kentucky monthly,
maybe a few other
odds and ends...

do you have any

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Sunday, July 6, 2014

chronic shingles...

shingles (herpes zoster)

two weeks ago yesterday 
i noticed i was getting 
a new case of shingles 
(4th case since the first of the year)
on my chin.
as you know 
if you follow me,
i have chronic shingles 
(and have had since i was 14),
which occur more 
and more often 
the older i get.

at first 
this case was no different...
itchy, burny, fevery,


a few days later,
i noticed i had several 
shingle blisters on my belly!


i had already started taking 
which was drying up the ones
on my face.
it was not touching the ones
spreading all over my stomach.


i called my doctor's office 
but could not get an appointment. 
then i called my dermatologist's office. 
unable to get in for nearly week,
i went ahead 
and made an appointment.

frustrated and miserable, 
i called a local naturopathic physician.
he squeezed me in that afternoon.

when i arrived,
he took me right back 
to an examining room.

doctor: (looking at my chin) 
what have you done 
to get so stressed?
me: i'm not here about the 
shingles on my face.
i'm here about these.

i raised my shirt.

doctor: oh, my God!
(he stared at my rash.)
i need to get my 
magnifying glasses.

(i got a little nervous.)

the doctor returned
wearing said glasses.
he put on a pair of 
latex gloves,
turned on the glasses'
and studied 
my blisters.
as he backed away,
he took off his gloves
removed his glasses.

doctor: well,
i have bad news...
you're too late;
i cannot do anything for you.
you have blisters,
which have already popped.
me: but they ARE shingles?
doctor: yes, they are definitely

(i breathed a sigh of relief.)

the naturopath took 
time to talk to me 
about my general health.
he gave me pointers about
a vitamin regiment 
i should try to
so i might be able to keep
the shingles at bay.



for days
my shingles continued
to divide and multiply;
they spread up to just below
my neck
and down
to just above my belly button.

i shared the above picture
with the 2 d's
to see what they thought.
dana, the nurse,
asked if i was sure they were
as they had crossed 
my center line.
(honestly, i was still wondering 
the same thing.)
i told her my naturopath 
said they were. 


i thought my derm appointment
time would never get here.
but, finally,
it did.

the nurse called my name,
and i followed her back 
to an examining room.

nurse: how are you today,
me: actually, i feel terrible;
i'm miserable!
nurse: oh, no what's the matter?

i proceeded to tell her.

after i told her,
she handed me a gown
and told me she'd get my derm
and would soon return.

when the two came in,
i was gowned and waiting
in the examining chair.

derm: hi, dani, i hear you have a rash...


derm: let's raise your gown 
and have a look at it.

as i started raising my gown,
i heard my derm gasp
(oh, yes, she did),
which caused the nurse
to turn around and take notice.
she gasped too
(oh, yes, she did).

i looked quickly at the derm 
and turned toward her nurse.
me: i told you.
i wasn't kidding.
nurse: (still staring at my torso)
no, you weren't.

the derm asked me to tell
her the whole story again.
she asked the nurse to get her
what she needed to do
 viral and bacterial 

after taking the cultures,
the derm asked her nurse 
to take pictures.
when she'd gotten all
the images she needed,
my derm left the room
and was gone for some time.

when she returned,
she told me she'd never
personally seen what i had
on my trunk.
she went on to tell me
the shingles virus
i had on my chin
had apparently settled in
a small heat rash i had
on my stomach...
and spread


was still spreading!

she prescribed a very
aggressive treatment of
and a topical antiviral
(which, thankfully, my dear pharmacist 
was able to compound for me!).

three days in,
i think i'm finally getting this
thing under control!



THIS will NEVER happen again!
the vitamin b complex
and weekly chicken liver meal 
will keep my shingles 
at bay.

if you are reading this
because you've happened
onto my blog because 
you, too, have chronic shingles
the vitamin b and chicken liver
thing will help
you too!

if it does,


love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

remodel: chapter III; slowly but surely...

slowly but surely
our lane transformation
is taking place!!!

(a sneak peak;)

come friday,
phase I of our remodel
should be completed.
phase I has involved
the building
of two new closets
in our master bedroom,
an update of our master bath,
and a conversion
of our master walk-in closet
to a new laundry room.

all this phase
lacks at this point
is another day
of laying floor tile
in our bedroom
and the utility room
and the installation of
shoe molding,
shower hardware,
new shower doors.


i'm starting to get really 
excited about phase II!
phase II will entail a complete 
remodel of our den.
currently, our utility room
is right off our den.
once our washer/dryer
are moved to the new
laundry room
(off our master suite),
we will tear out those two walls
increasing the size
of our existing den.
we are
not only going to tear
out those two walls;
we are also
going to tear out 
an exterior wall where
a french door unit
currently exists.

we will replace the french door unit
with a new fireplace
ceiling-to-floor windows
on each side of it.
a new paint job,
it will be time to move
to phase III...

stay tuned!

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, March 31, 2014

remodel: chapter II; shorty...

i heard dale's, 
big, old, red truck
as he pulled it into our driveway.
i was excited to get our
lane remodel started!

when john and i first met
with dale to discuss our plans,
dale indicated he would be
working alone.
as i sat at my dining room
table sewing that first morning,
i heard dale talking to someone
as he made his way up to 
our house.
i walked out onto the front porch
and greeted them.

me: good morning!
dale: mornin'!
me: how are y'all?
dale: awe, we're good.
me: (looking past dale) who've 
you got with you?
dale: awe, this is...
shorty: shorty, they call me shorty.
(shorty talked so fast i only caught
part of what he said.)
me: your name is shorty?
shorty: well, everybody calls me shorty,
but i don't like it much.
(he laughed.)
me: what's your real name then?
shorty: it's terry.
dale: (under his breath) it's shorty;
just call him shorty.

i offered terry my hand 
to shake.
he reciprocated.

me: it's nice to meet you,
shorty: uh, you can call me shorty.
me: okay, it's nice to meet you,
(i giggled.)


on my front porch...
 stood a skinny burt reynolds 
and a straight michael jeter.


evening shade:

dale standing no less than 6"
weighing no more than 150 lbs.
shorty standing no more than 4"10'
weighing no more than 105 lbs...

"tall and lanky"
would quickly become 
my new best friends
for the summer;)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Sunday, March 23, 2014


if you keep up with
my life on the lane,
you know meester berrong
have been contemplating 
leveling our house 
and rebuilding 
here on our lot.
after writing this post,
i began to dream
by way of my pinterest.
i found ideas, 
shared them with john, 
and began to plan what each room 
would look like...
high-pitched, exposed ceilings,
beautiful light fixtures,
bright paint,
colorful furnishings and decor,
the fireplace.
counter tops,
innovative showers 
walk-in closets,
hidden outlets,
and tile flooring.

from ceiling to floor,
i was making plans 
with john,
and he liked them:)



a few days later,
i awoke to an empty house.
i made my way 
from my bed 
to my bedroom door,
opened it,
and took one barefooted
step out
onto the cool, hardwood 
that is our living room

the floor creaked
(just like it always has/
just like it always does);
this time though...
the sound was deafening:
it may have even echoed.

i immediately experienced
the raw emotion of


that experience 
was apparently 
a pivotal point
in my plan-making
for i quickly found myself
looking at ways 


instead of pinning
large country chic
kitchen plans,
i began to look
at galley kitchen plans
and pin 
ways to renovate 
our kitchen.
instead of pinning 
exposed ceiling ideas,
i began to look at and pin
new metal roofing
to cover the 9' ceilings
we already have.
instead of pinning
furnishings for 
an open-concept den,
i began to look at and pin
den furniture 
for the den we already have,
which could be made
much larger by moving
our utility room
and knocking out
a couple of walls.

i began weighing 
our options.
meester berrong
was good with that too.


(a few photos of "before")

tomorrow will mark
the first day of our
lane makeover:)

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, March 17, 2014

remodel: chapter I; "phil"...

when we decided to 
remodel here on the lane,
meester berrong asked around 
about contractors.
a family friend told him
she and her husband
had been using the same contractor 
for over 15 years.
she said he was good
and would do a great job.


the meester came in smirking 
with confidence.

the meester: i found you
a contractor.
me: really, who is it?
the meester: here's his number.
me: what's his name?
the meester: janie said to just
call him.  he's finishing up
a project at her house now.
me: who is he?
the meester: his name is
phil something.
me: ok?


so, i gave phil a call.

phil: hello?
me: hi, phil, this is 
dani berrong. janie told
me you might be interested
in doing some 
remodeling work for 
my husband and me?
phil: well, sure...

i gave him our address
and directions to the lane 
and set up a time and date
to meet.


when phil arrived,
i showed him around the house 
pointing out what we wanted

we have 10 rooms.
phil said, "WOW..."
no less than 15 times.
i was afraid
i was scaring him 
away from the job.

me: it's a lot, isn't it?
phil: wow...

(note to self: phil's favorite word is "wow...")

we have 10 rooms.
i addressed our prospective
contractor as "phil"
no less than 15 times.

after completing our
i told "phil"
how i wanted to break down
the contract.
he gave me his credentials:
"dale's home improvement"
was printed across the top 
of the paperwork.

(note to self: "phil's" real name is dale! wow...)


all this storytelling
just to point out...

what meester berrong
meant to say when i asked
for the name of the contractor...

"something something?"

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx