Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cookies

Why is it that just when the house is full of cookies and candy everybody decides to go on a diet. Martha baked lots of cookies. Mary baked lots of cookies. Gretel baked lots of cookies. Gretel's girlfriend's mother sent over cookies. Santa brought lots of candy. He seems to be fond of Costco truffles. Then the family decides to have a joint weight loss project. Once a week everyone reports whether they have lost or gained,(no numbers please)and they get encouraged by their peers. I must admit that I could stand to lose a few pounds so I will join in the project but I also notice everyone else went to their respective homes and left all the cookies and candy here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cows






My daughter Mary collects cows. Not the real ones she is scared of those. But she has cow pitchers, butter dishes, cookie jars, soap dispensers, key chains and timers. So for Christmas I made her a set of cow dish towels. I also made both Gretel and Mary cupcake pincushions to celebrate their membership in the daring bakers.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Quilt For Jim And His Wife



When my son, Jim, was married I made a queen size quilt for him and his bride. Later on they bought a King size bed and always hung their quilt on the wall. So this year I made them a King sized quilt as a Christmas present. The pattern is a double Irish chain and I quilted the shamrocks especially because my daughter in law's birthday is on St Patrick's Day. I made it in similar colors to their original quilt in case they still wanted to hang the first one in the same room. When I shipped it I insured it for a thousand dollars mostly so UPS would take good care of it because I felt it was irreplaceable. Jim and his wife said they liked it a lot.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas. It all began on the 22nd when Mary and the Brain drove up from Ohio and then Gretel and the Tummy flew in from New York. The weather didn't cooperate and the driving left a lot to be desired but by 2 AM Wednesday we were all safely home. We always open our presents on Christmas Eve. So Gretel and the Tummy went and got Austin and we started celebrating with hors d'oeuvres. Pickled herring with sour cream, shrimp, smoked whitefish dip with crackers and celery stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts. Then we tried making origami airplanes like those on the tree but the guys wimped out halfway through. For dinner we had a honey baked ham, twice baked potatoes, carrots, green bean casserole, homemade applesauce and a salad with a flaming rice bavarian and a pineapple upside down cake for dessert. Dinner was scheduled for 5PM but at about 3:15PM the power went out. Edison said it would be back on in 5 hours. Something must have happened up on the main road because we had a steady stream of traffic including city buses coming down out street through the subdivision. Fortunately I have a gas rangetop and in the basement I have an old gas stove with a gas oven. We sprinkled candles liberally through the living room, got a camping lantern in the kitchen and lots of flashlights. Dinner was by candlelight which was very nice. We just scraped and rinsed the dishes.(I wasn't about to wash my good china in the dark) We opened the presents and passed the flashlights around so every one could examen more carefully their gifts. The power came on around 8PM. On Christmas Day my Mom came over for dinner. Martha traditionally makes Lasagna for Christmas dinner. Afterwards my brother and his wife came over with their two children and my nephews fiance. We had a great time with a lively evening.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Former Piano Student

Yesterday, in the mail I received a graduation announcement. One of the little girls I had taught piano to from kindergarten to high school has just received her doctorate in engineering. Michelle was a pretty, soft spoken girl who impressed me especially because she wore the most beautiful dresses to every piano recital, the kind I would have given my eye teeth to have ever worn. Her brother,Michael, was also a student and he went to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I am sure their parents are so proud they could burst. I am proud of them and I was only their piano teacher.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Hero

Yesterday I went out to shovel the 9 inches of snow we got here. Hubby is not allowed to shovel snow yet. I did about one square of the driveway and the path to the mailbox when Grant, the young man who lives across the street called to me. He has a snow blower. He said, "That's the hard way. Go inside I will do it for you." I didn't hesitate. I did give him a plate of cookies. He said he had noticed that Martha and I had done the earlier snowstorms and was concerned about Hubby. Good neighbors are priceless,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tragedy!

Last night as I was assembling the squares for my nephew's quilt, my sewing machine started making a knocking noise and wouldn't sew. This morning Hubby helped me open it up(farther than I have ever done before) and one of the gears is chewed beyond use. I guess I wore it out. I think the machine can be repaired. It was my Mom's second machine which she gave me when mine died. Gretel is coming over the holidays and we need to assemble her math student quilt. She has a machine but it is unrealistic to ask her to bring it on the plane along with all her Christmas gifts. Perhaps Mary could bring hers up from Ohio as they come by car. If we were not in the midst of a blizzard with 6 inches of snow already on the ground I would have Santa(aka.Hubby) go out today to buy me a new machine. He is likely to do that yet but not today. Me without a sewing machine is a sad thing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Snow

We got 4 inches of snow last night but it is Martha's turn to shovel and she did a beautiful job. Hubby did go out to fill the bird feeders but he noticed that the squirrel-proof door isn't working on the sunflower seed feeder and Sammy Squirrel was eating as fast as he could. I didn't go to lunch with Mom as I don't drive in snow, not that I can't. Today I am writing out my Christmas cards. I am never the first one to get them out. Helene is usually the first but this year she called to say she doesn't feel like sending them out so she was calling instead. Really a phone call is much more personal. I am really not a telephone person. Believe me I can talk with the best of them but I don't care to make phone calls. So today I am doing cards, wrapping a few gifts and taking it easy, which is what I do most days.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tall Slacks

I am a big girl. I am about 5 foot 11 inches and most of it is in my legs( of course if so much wasn't turned under for my feet I would be a lot taller). Buying clothes is always discouraging. Today I went into the Dress Barn to buy my Mom a Birthday present(She will be 91 years old). As I checked out I asked "Do you ever carry tall sizes?" She said"Yes, tall slacks." I bought 3 pair. The store had a full rack of casual slacks and another full rack of dress slacks. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Candy Cane Drive

During December the Lions have their Candy Cane Drive. For four weeks we beg for funds to support Leader Dogs and other organizations that serve the blind. The first Sunday I stood outside it was 16 degrees and windy. I was told my boots were too thin and they really were. Today it was 38 degrees and rainy. I wore my husbands boots, only one person laughed at them. I was chilled because of the damp cold but my feet were warm. I just couldn't run in them if I needed too. One woman gave me five dollar bills both weeks and said she would do so next week if I was there. Another man in a Lion (football team) jacket gave me a five both weeks but said his jacket wasn't for a football team, it was for a comedy show. Today another man, well dressed in a top coat, didn't give me anything but threatened to rob me. I looked at him like he was nuts and he went away.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Auto List

I think earlier in the year I had told you that I love to make lists especially using Excel. Thanks to Kittalog I was lying awake and thinking of car names which began with the different letters of the alphabet and it dawned on me that there were an awful lot of car names and model names. Needless to say I had to make an Excel list. I reached 200 names but I must admit every time I go somewhere I see more models. Now some cars like Mercedes and BMW don't name their models with fun names like Buick does. It is also surprising to see how many cars have names of animals(mostly horses, cats and snakes but also some cows and sheep. No dogs. That's for buses) Even Hubby now when he sees a different model will say "Do you have that one?"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pillow Slips


Last Christmas in an attempt to be eco-friendly, I made pillow slips out of Christmas fabric to hold each persons gifts. They were surprisingly appreciated. I had matching pillow slips for the married people. This year I did it again only this time with wildly striped flannel. It makes a funny sight under the tree but it sure makes it easy for everyone to carry off their loot afterwards.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Table Hostess

Last Saturday night the village of Lathrup had their annual Santa visit Christmas party. The Lions Club staffs the party and helps with some of the costs. I tried to get a picture of Santa coming across Southfield Road with his one reindeer pulling the sled and the police stopping traffic for him, but it was too dark and the picture didn't turn out. Inside the party I had the job of "Table Hostess" which meant I would randomly call the tables to come up and talk to Santa. Other Lions were passing out cookies and hot chocolate and another group taking photos of each child with Santa and printing them up as a souvenir of the event. I thought table hostess would be a cushy job. However, the photographers would get behind and tell me to "stall." Parents would say "Take us next" or "I'm sure you missed our table," and then "Could you take us next as one child has already wet her pants." After a while no one waited for their table to be called at all. It was a fun party and the kids were adorable. It was fun to see the parents whose children screamed at the sight of Santa( a lot of them did). They kept trying again and again but the kids were determined to have no part of Santa.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Village









One of my many eccentricities is that I collect those holiday buildings, not the expensive ones like the Dickens Village but the cheaper ones that are bigger by Lemax or several other companies. You can tell the electrical hookups are a little challenging. I probably should have blocked out the cords with photo shop. I also embroider stockings for everyone in the family. So far we have 21 stockings. I bought them from Charles Craft and found out they were discontinuing them. I contacted them and bought another dozen. I still have about 6 left.
Gretel is making fruitcake today and has called several times. I sure hope she is going to give me a loaf. The recipe is my mother's and is called Tennessee Fruitcake.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Can Hubby Cook Again?

Yesterday the doctor called to say that Hubby's path report said that all the cancer was removed and there would be no need for further treatment. That is really good news. Tomorrow he goes to get the staples out. My big question is "When can he cook again?" I have been heating up the leftover Thanksgiving dinner and twice almost poisoned the family. Tonight I made tuna biscuits with creamed peas. That's a long way from Hubby's gourmet meals. He still won't be able to lift more than 10 pounds but I'm sure he could cook without doing that, especially if I stood by for any heavy lifting.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

African Cactus


When I first met Hubby I was impressed by his love of everything desert(He likes desserts too). So for our first Christmas I gave him an Indian pot and for his birthday I gave him a cactus plant. The plant was about 24 inches tall and I got it from Frank's Nursery. Over the years it has grown. Every summer we take it outside and every fall we bring it back in. Three times now it has been necessary to cut it back to 24 inches( really we just start some 24 inch pieces over again) because we couldn't get it through the door anymore. We have a dolly with wheels and it takes both of us to wheel it in and out. During the summer it gets water but never during its winter days.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Cactus


Every summer I take all the houseplants which can possibly go outside,outside. The only things I leave indoors are the African Violets and the Snake plants. I have taken the violets outside to repot them and then left them outside but I wait until late summer when there is more shade. I always take my Christmas Cactus outside. I left some of them near the Impatiens and so now one of my cactus plants always has Impatiens blooming in it. Impatiens are what is called a tender perennial, like geranium, so they will bloom all year round without a frost. The special thing about putting my Christmas Cactus outside is that when I bring it in, it always goes into full bloom. I have learned in order to start a new cactus, you must break off some pieces and then let them harden a few days before you plant them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Claude Du Bois


When we were out in the Napa Valley of California last year we stopped at the Claude du Bois wineries. We joined their wine club and so they just sent us our fall selection. Usually we drink Two Buck Chuck(It is Charles Shaw from Trader Joe's) but this is special. Of course Hubby can't have alcohol while he is on the codeine so I am drinking the cheap wine until he is well enough to open the good stuff.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We certainly have a lot to be thankful for! Hubby is doing very well. He even made my coffee for me this morning. He is a very good patient and takes care of himself. I try to be a good nurse.(My mother named me Margaret because St. Margaret was converted by her nurse and Mom wanted me to be a nurse. ) Mostly I keep his laundry clean and change his towels and wash clothes every day and sometimes get him a cup of tea or pudding or something. I ordered Thanksgiving dinner from Bob Evans and picked it up last night. I am keeping it in the back of the car where it is good and cold. Dinner includes Turkey breast, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, beans, pumpkin bread, herb butter, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and topping, along with instructions on how to heat it up. Dinner will be at 4PM. Martha picked up my Mother and they went to my brother and sister-in-laws for dinner. So it will be a nice quiet dinner for Hubby and I.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hubby is Home

Hubby is home and recovering nicely. The surgery went very well and now he can relax and heal.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hubby

Hubby is going to the hospital tomorrow for surgery. He should be there for 1 to 2 days. Cancer is always a big scare even though we know we have caught it early and it should be no problem. Please keep him in your prayers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saving at Joann's

Today Mary and I went to Joann's to save lots of money. Hubby blanches when I come home and say, "Boy, did I save lots of money!" I wrap the children and grandchildren's presents in pillow slips which I make. Today holiday flannel was on sale so I bought it for next years Christmas. I really love that store. When I retired my fellow workers gave me a generous gift certificate to Joann's. Mary says she has so many projects to do but even she admitted I have a much larger list. I even have a doll house in the basement(really it is Mary's) that I have wanted to decorate but haven't got around to. I even thought it would be fun to try weaving but I must admit that would be unlikely. I would love to try painting ceramics but have no interest in scrapbook making. I really love most crafts but not cooking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mary's Apron




Mary came up from Ohio today and is spending the weekend with us. Well, the weekend days, evenings are spent with her friends. She had season opera tickets with one friend and a movie with several others tomorrow. This afternoon she was making a fancy apron and she always asks my help with these projects although she doesn't really need it. It is fun for me too and I sure wish she lived closer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still at the Student's Quilt


Here is another pretty square designed by a student,Xzherieh. Can you figure the mathematical formula?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quilt Squares




I am still putting together quilt squares for Gretel's class. It is lots of fun and the kids are quite imaginative. I think they will hang the quilt in the hall at school. The parent group wanted to have it for their auction on the 6th of December but that just isn't possible. Some of the squares take a lot of time to fit together because cutting fabric exactly is not an easy skill for kids(or grownups either) These are some of the pretty ones. Can you tell which is (x+2)(x+2); (2x+2)(2x+2); and (x+3)(x+3). One of them was (x+10)(x+10) which means I had 100 little squares to assemble.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Perfect Square Trinomials


My daughter, Gretel, is a high school math teacher in Brooklyn, New York. She teaches her students about multiplying polynomials by making quilt squares. The challenge beyond the algebra is having her students measure and cut out the pieces. They make a 12 inch square with sides (x + a) and have to calculate "x" once they have decided on "a." They also have to remember to include the seam allowance. She buys fabric and away they go. After they have cut out the pieces she mails them to me to put the quilt together. I have decided that some of her students are color blind and some of the pieces look like they were cut out with nail clippers instead of scissors. One student aptly names Raphael designed a square that looks like a miniature quilt by itself. Most of the squares are beautiful and the overall effect is stunning. The picture above is the math quilt I made for her class several years ago.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grandchildren

I have 5 grandchildren but not one within a hundred miles. I saw these cute advent calendars at Target with doors to open and had space to hold little gifts. However I don't see a grandchild until Christmas Eve and this year only one at that. I was sending letters and have been a little lax at that, they all have gmail addresses. As a kid getting mail was so important to me, I don't know if an email has that pizazz. The grandchildren usually come for a week in the summer and we did a grand rush through every science museum, zoo and petting farm we can find but it would be nice to have them occasionally for just a few hours rather than a week at a time. I guess it is a sign of the times. My kids grew up quite close to my parents and not too far from their other grandparents. I grew up quite close to my maternal grandmother but my Dad's parents lived down in Ohio and I never knew them as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hummingbirds


Last week we went to a class taught at the Master Gardeners Society about hummingbirds. The speaker was very knowledgeable and had beautiful pictures to show us. Here in Michigan there is only one species of hummingbirds and of course, hummingbirds look very different from other birds, so they are easy to identify. We have the ruby throated hummingbird here, The speaker said the hummingbird feeder should be put out by April 15th. He suggested putting out some potted flowers to attract them but you will need to take them in at night to protect them from frost. He said a good date for taking down the feeders is Halloween. He also said a 1 to 4 mix of sugar and water, but don't add red dye. He also suggested taking the bee guards off of the feeder as they become clogged with bees. Hummingbirds like the sugar but they also eat bugs. Hummingbird enemies include blue jays and spiders. The birds eat bugs caught in the spider web and make their own nests out of the spider silk. Sometimes they get caught though.

Hubby took this picture in our backyard.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lions Club

About a year ago I was telling my dentist that I really needed to get out and meet people and do something. He suggested the Lions Club. I am very grateful. We meet twice a month for dinner. The club has 7 women and about 28 men. About 75% of us are over 60 but we are young at heart. We do a lot of good work and laugh an awful lot at the meetings. It really is a great organization to belong to.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

I have never had much trouble with the time change. I worked with a friend who really suffered every time the time changed. However, now I am retired. The morning time difference doesn't bother me as the sun is well up before me but the clock in my craft room has not been adjusted and I am always ready for dinner an hour early. Now this is a problem because I am not the cook and therefore am way out of bounds to suggest what time we should have dinner. Hubby loves to cook and especially in the winter time he likes to make soups and stews. He starts around three o'clock and the aroma is fantastic especially around 5 o'clock when my craft room clock says six.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2008 Christmas Tree


My mother would change her Christmas tree quite often but I have not. When I was first married I decorated the tree with wooden ornaments from the craft store that I had painted. Then as the children came I added gingerbread cookies and decorated sugar cookies. I had a little trouble with John licking the frosting off of the cookies and leaving the un-iced cookies hanging on the tree. I didn't worry about it until we got a mouse who ate the cookie and left the frosting hanging on the tree. Gradually the ornaments changed to children type ornaments which each kid would pick out at Christmas time and we added paper chains and popcorn strings. When I started to teach piano I made ornaments each year with all the new students names on them and of course students gave me all sorts of musical ornaments. After Hubby and I were married and I wasn't teaching any more I did my tree in red and green ornaments. This year I decided to do the tree in blue lights, silver chains and blue and white ornaments with origami airplanes on the tree. (Hubby really likes airplanes although he doesn't seem to be too enthused about this project). I got the origami book from the library and it has taken many tries to get something which looks like an airplane. Today with Martha's help we reinterpreted a step that made a real improvement.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Falling Leaves


The leaves have just about all fallen. Hubby has a leaf shredder that he uses on the leaves to convert them to compost. He has to mix in some green material like lawn clippings to optimize the compost. Last year he volunteered to cut the neighbors' lawns to get more grass clippings. They didn't mind. You will notice that he is very safety conscious with his ear plugs and mask. Notice the neat compost bins. The fog is from dust from the shredded leaves.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voting Day

We didn't have to stand in line to vote because as senior citizens we qualified for an absentee ballot. It was exciting to read about the experiences of Amy of 'Zeke and I'(who stood in line for 4 and a half hours) and Arnold and Cleo's parents in China. My Mom's reaction was " Now when is that woman going back to Alaska?" Today is the last of the beautiful days for awhile. Hubby is busy raking leaves as they continue to fall like a snow storm. I have the windows open to get the last of the fresh air in the house. I think Autumn is so special because we really cherish every nice day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Memory

On Sunday I remembered that Monday was my daughter-in-law's birthday and I forgot to send a card. The more I thought about it I remembered I had not sent the five Halloween cards I bought for the grandchildren. I try at the beginning of the month to get all the cards I need but that is no guarantee I will mail them. It is really sad.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Giving Thanks Dinner

Today Hubby, Martha, Grandma and I went to Mary's for a Giving Thanks dinner. It was absolutely wonderful. The turkey was nice and moist. The roasted brussel sprouts were as sweet as candy. The salad was terrific as well as all the other stuff like mashed potatoes, carrots, stuffing and pickles. The cranberry sorbet makes me want an ice cream freezer for Christmas. Of course the apple pie and giblet gravy were also out of this world. It really is nice when you can go to a daughters house and have wonderful companionship, excellent food, eaten off of fine china. My kind of day!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dumb Squirrel

Squirrels are not the smartest animal on the block. Hubby feeds the birds. We have tried different kinds of bird feeders to thwart the squirrels. We used to have the kind that had a circular perch that would spin if anything heavy (like a squirrel or 3 purple grackles) landed on it. It worked but we had to be careful not to put it too high off the ground because it was not our intent to maim the squirrels. It also splayed seeds all over the ground. We sold it at the Lion's garage sale and bought the kind that is shaped like a little house and has a door that closes if anything too heavy gets on the perch. We also use a squirrel baffle and that keeps the squirrels out and the door keeps the purple grackles out. We have the new feeder mounted inside a half barrel that catches the seed shells. It has a wide mesh screen across the top so that we are not feeding chipmunks although if we do not keep the hibiscus trimmed they will go out on the end of a branch to dip down and reach the feeder. The old feeder was on a narrow PVC pipe hanging from a branch in the tree because it needed to support the weight of the feeder. The new feeder is on a pole up from the ground. We have many other feeders, a thistle feeder, a ball type feeder that the chickadees go inside to eat the shelled safflower seeds, a hummingbird feeder, an oriole feeder and a wire cage feeder that we filled with peanuts for the woodpeckers and nuthatches. Most of the feeders are on thin wires but since the PVC pipe was already hanging out there, Hubby used it for the peanut cage. We have been having trouble with a squirrel coming down the pipe and eating the peanuts and destroying the feeder by pulling the wires apart. Today Hubby took down the hummingbird feeder and moved the peanuts to a wire. While I was looking out the window I saw a squirrel come down the PVC pipe as he had been accustomed to doing only there was nothing hanging on the pipe. He was definitely confused and he tried to go back up the pipe but there was nothing on the end for him to get his footing. He hung on for a while before he dropped to the ground. I wonder if he will try it again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dundee, Michigan

Last week Hubby and I went to Cabelas in Dundee, Michigan. What a fascinating place. It was huge! All along the ceiling they had trophy heads of dear and bison and whatever. They had a display of taxidermied lions attacking wildebeests and an elephant. In another area they had a mountain with mountain goats, deer moose, elk, coyotes, wolfs and other North American animals. They had a stream with otters, raccoons and muskrats. In the fishing section they had lots of different fishes mounted and then they had a huge aquarium of North American fish. They had another display of stuffed ducks. We will certainly take the grandchildren there when they visit. We also found out that there is a Russell Stover outlet on the same corner. After that it wasn't just the animals who were stuffed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home by Myself

Today my brother called Hubby to say they could use him at the auto dealership where my brother works. My brother drives cars between the dealerships. Hubby was unusually excited at the prospect of "working." He said he really enjoyed the day. For me, it was a day to do as I pleased, which I usually do, but it was without the guilt factor. When I felt like it, I played a computer game. I did my needlework with no need for excuses. I even cooked dinner. I told Hubby, when he got home, that from now on he had to disappear one day a week. He said that on Wednesdays when I go to my Mom's he usually takes an extra nap, guilt free. I guess we are still learning about how to be retired.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gardenridge

Saturday, Mary was up here and she, Martha, Grandma and I went out to lunch. It was lots of fun. Then we went to the Gardenridge store. If you don't have one near you it is a big box store with tons of Christmas ornaments (this time of year) . It also has lamps, pillow, mirrors, pictures etc. It is sort of like a down scale Pier One or Cost Plus Marketplace. One of the things they have are nice gift boxes, perfect for cookies and quite inexpensive. Anyway we all bought lots of stuff. My mother has always loved to shop and so she is fun to go to the store with and it is nice to have daughters to shop with as well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Husbands!

Last Sunday Hubby took me to the hospital for my cat scratch. When the nurse came in to give me my tetanus shot , he also asked me some questions. "Do you smoke?" "No." "Do you drink?" And just that fast Hubby said "Like a fish." I could have died laughing. My friend Carol said her husband did a number on her. They bought a new mattress and were donating the old one to a charity. The charity called to pick up the mattress one day and she said "Oh no! come tomorrow!" (The new mattress wasn't delivered yet) The next morning her husband got up for work and called Carol from the driveway to say he was Gardner-White and they were in the driveway to deliver the new mattress. Unfortunately he knew Carol was still in bed. She started hollering, "you were supposed to call before you came." Finally her husband said "Carol, Carol, it's me." I think men have a strange sense of humor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It All Depends on the Weather

Mary and I were going to participate in another 5K race walk. This one was in Flint and was a U of M/MSU Tailgate Challenge. U of M people walked in one direction and the MSU people in the opposite direction. As you passed there was the opportunity to heckle. Mary had attended U of M, and Hubby is a U of M grad. Both Hubby and I are Master Gardeners through MSU. However I would most likely walk with Mary, that is until the weather report last night which said "rain and a HIGH of 53 degrees." Neither Mary nor I had registered yet so we figured - maybe not.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Invalid

Today I really took it easy. I couldn't do any dishes and I spent a lot of time soaking my thumb as per doctor's instructions. I found it difficult to sew and even to turn pages when I read, so I studied my spanish and played a lot of computer solitaire. Such a hard life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Emergency Room

I did something really dumb tonight. Hubby had shut Cleo in the basement and Fervor was running around upstairs. I went out to the garage with the trash and forgot to close the basement door. Immediately Fervor ran downstairs to attack Cleo. Martha saw Fervor go downstairs and we both ran down but it was too late. Fervor was already attacking Cleo. Like a dummy I reached down and grabbed Cleo. She scratched my thumb very deeply before she realized I had saved her. Fervor attacked my leg for having picked up Cleo. At the emergency room they had a lot of trouble stopping the bleeding in my thumb but didn't want to put stitches in for fear of infection on an animal scratch. I now have a splint on my thumb as the scratch is deep and a good inch and a half to two inches long. It is glued together with tape strips. I have to take an antibiotic, got a tetanus shot and have to see the doctor in 48 hours. I have a large bruise and scrape on my leg as well. Hubby says if the cats fight again we will use a broom or a shotgun.(which we don't have, - the shotgun that is)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Get Rid of it!

A couple of weeks ago I went to the dermatologist and told him I had a bump on the side of my nose that I didn't like and I wanted it off. Now it was not a big bump. Some of my kids never noticed it and others thought it was just a pimple, but I didn't like it. The doctor removed it. The kids were surprised because I didn't have him remove the large mole in the center of my chin. That mole looks just like the one all the Halloween witches have on their chins. When I taught piano, students invariably asked what it was and when my son John was five he asked me if that was where my babies came out. It is not exactly hidden. However I have had that mole as long as I can remember. This bump on my nose was quite new. Anyway the path report came back as basal cell cancer. Now this is nothing to worry about but I feel quite justified in being so adamant about getting rid of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chocolate

Tonight Hubby and I went to a Tollgate Garden Society meeting. The topic was "chocolate." The speaker was a pastry chef who made a raspberry chocolate mouse for us and gave us lots of samples of different kinds of chocolate. He answered tons of questions for us on the different brands of chocolate and on chocolate standards and how to cook with chocolate. European countries have chocolate standards that we don't have in this country. He talked about making your own chocolates but said the Wilton chocolate pieces that they sell at Michael's are only good enough for plastering your walls. He said good white chocolate has cocoa butter in it but much of the white chocolate that you get has no chocolate in it at all. Mary once gave me a box of Vosage's chocolates from Chicago and he said they were some of the best chocolates but very expensive. During the talk tonight while the chef was mixing up his recipes and passing out samples, one of the members of the audience asked if he could mix in a little insulin.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Club Report

The family book club almost collapsed until my son in law suggested the story Tortilla Flat by Steinbeck and interested the group again. I got the book out of the library but I haven't started it. The books chosen by the family covered a wide range of topics some of which I never would have thought to read like The Tipping Point or Nickel & Dimed on (Not) getting by in America. They are fascinating non fiction. Of course I loved Memoirs of a Geisha and Water for Elephants as well. The ladies book club has really had a more difficult time choosing books. This month we are reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I had never read even though my children all did. It is a wonderful story and I am really enjoying it. I usually read at night as my father always had a fit when I would read in the daytime instead of doing something more active. When I was younger and we would go camping I would sit and read all day now I find that I read during the day when I am on a cruise.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Craft Room is a Mess

It has been a long standing joke about Hubby spending time cleaning up his cubical. ( That is what we call the bedroom that has been converted to his office because he put in gray carpeting and gray cubical furniture.) Hubby is always cleaning it but it never seems to get cleaner mostly because he gets distracted by the things he finds in it. My craft room, however has in the past been very neat and organized. Not any more! I have too many projects and nowhere to put all the boxes of stuff. I brought in my two large wax begonias from outside and they are dropping flower petals all over the floor and not helping one bit. It seems that for every piece of cloth I use, I buy three others that I haven't used. I made an excel spreadsheet of all my projects with a color coded scheme of green, in process and yellow complete but the list now has 87 projects, 21 completed and 10 in process. On Mondays I work on my Spanish lesson mostly at the computer which is located in the closet of my craft room. I brought a lingerie chest into the room but it just makes the room more crowded. So now my craft room matches Hubby's cubical for being downright messy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful Fall

This weekend has been an exceptionally beautiful fall weekend here in Michigan. Yesterday we went to an outdoor party to celebrate the recovery from breast cancer of a dear friend. It was lots of fun to sit outside and talk with every one. Today Hubby and I went and walked around Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. To any of you out of staters, Greenfield Village is a must on any Michigan tour. The trees were all decked in their fall color and there were carved pumpkins all over the main street area. Because we have a membership it is especially nice because we don't have to try and see everything at once. We go for an hour or two and walk around or go the the adjacent Ford museum for the current exhibit. On the way home we stopped at Starbucks for a mocha frappicino. They are too expensive to get often but a treat when we do. ( Especially now that our 401K has been reduced to a 101K)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Recycling

Our city has updated the list of items it will take for recycling. It takes any kind of plastic or glass, even dishes and ceramics. It takes all newspapers, cardboard and even junk mail. It really makes you think when you throw something in the trash as to whether it goes there. Hubby and I really try to think green, even though we can't afford solar panels or a green roof. Maybe our next car will be a hybrid but that won't be for awhile. Mostly Hubby drives the Focus and I drive the Freestyle. Both get pretty good mileage. We have our compost pile and a mulching lawn mower. We were doing worm composting but we did something wrong and all the worms died.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Next Year - A Vegetable Garden


Hubby has been working on a new vegetable garden for next year. He put in a wall and 5 yards of black dirt with compost. It is located in the only sunny spot in our whole backyard. We are both excited about the prospect of fresh wax beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. We also plan for some beets, squash and turnips. We signed up for a garden plot at the senior center as well. That is where we will grow the things that don't have to be monitored every day. The last time I planted a vegetable garden, years ago, it looked like the Sahara. Even the weeds didn't grow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Mouse!


Yesterday I had been into the walk-in attic off of our bedroom and must have let a mouse into the room. At 3 AM I woke to hear Cleo howling in the bathroom and scratching at things. If it had been Arnold I would have just rolled over but Arnold was sleeping on top of my legs. I went into the bathroom and there was Cleo chasing a little gray mouse around the bathroom. Sometimes she batted it around but when the mouse stood up and batted at her and SQUEEKED she seemed to be confused. I watched for about a half hour and then called Hubby to get his camera. After about 15 min Hubby came running out to get his movie camera. Arnold was still snoozing. I picked him up and opened the bathroom door and threw him into the fray. Hubby got rid of the mouse after about an hour and this time Arnold slept through the rest of the night.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Frost Warning


We had our first frost warning Friday Night. Fortunately I had brought most of my houseplants back into the house already. I hate it when I get the warning and it is freezing cold and I am trying to stuff all the plants in the foyer so they are safe for the night. Today I put the pots of geraniums back outside. They can stay out a little longer. The wandering Jew is so hard to keep over the winter but is a beautiful hanging basket now. I think I will just take a few cuttings to start it again next year. Hubby went out and picked roses from the rose garden, so I had a beautiful bouquet and the fragrance was incredible ( Mostly from the Mr. Lincoln rose)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A 5K Race Walk

This morning Mary and I participated in a 5K race walk held in Wayne, Michigan. There were a lot of participants. We didn't place in the winners but we were not near the end either. It is fun to see the people who do the 10K run. They are real athletes, trim and muscular, not necessarily young. The first event was a 1K run for children. The 8 and 9 year olds were serious and had great fun. There was one 4 year old, Jimmy according to the signs his mother and baby brother carried. Jimmy was beautiful with big blond loopy curls and a huge grin as he waved to his supporters. Some of the little kids got about a tenth of the way and Mom had to carry them. The weather was a little nippy. Where ever there was a shadow on the grass, the grass was encased in ice. Afterwards we were all served hot dogs, cider, fruit and cookies. Mary and I had a good time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green Roofs

Last Night Hubby and I went to the meeting of the Master Gardeners Organization. They had a speaker on "Green Roofs". That is not the color green but roofs covered with plants. Hubby won a prize because he has seen two of them, Ford Motor Tractor Plant and the dog house at Tollgate Farm's Children's garden. I didn't expect the meeting to be that interesting because I thought you could only do green roofs on flat roofed buildings but that is not true, although the steeper the pitch the more you have to do. A green roof needs about 30 pounds per square foot more load tolerance than an ordinary roof. There were lots of examples of green roofs especially for sheds, bath houses and even carports or dumpster covers. We were each given catalogues of sedums and like plants to use. It was a really interesting meeting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New Sidewalk


Yesterday the sidewalk to the house was finished. The company who did this were wonderful. They gave us several designs to choose from, gave us an estimate and met it. They even fluffed up the grass where they had been working. We have some landscape plans but we will wait until spring to do them. The bank at the corner has a hedge of bush roses and we want to do the same
around the walk. We will put a bench on the walk and the roses will give a little privacy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Doll Clothes

I bought one of my grandchildren an American Girl Doll for Christmas. I am not saying which one. I also bought several patterns to sew for it. I think sewing doll clothes is difficult, all those little hems and stuff. I think I better keep practicing. At least the doll doesn't grow so when I finally catch on I can keep on using the same patterns. My own daughters would drool over the American Girl catalogue but when they were little I couldn't afford to get them one. Now I wonder if it wasn't me that was drooling over the catalogue.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Election is Coming

Well I stayed up last night not only for the debates but for all the commentary on them. This seems like it has been the longest election process ever and still they seem to be neck and neck. The only candidate who really bugs me in Sarah. McCain proved himself knowledgeable in the debate last night but I really question his judgement in picking Sarah. Republicans seem to have a bad record in vice presidential picks, like Dan Quail, Spiro Agnew, and Dick Cheney.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chili Sauce

Last Saturday Hubby and I made lots of chili sauce. It's the only thing I still can. The recipe came from my grandmother and it is wonderful. Hubby runs the food processor while I peel the tomatoes and cut up the celery, onions, and peppers. Before the food processor we used to grind things. What a mess! After grinding everything you add the sugar, salt and vinegar (and the spice bag) and cook it down until you want to go to bed and then you decide it's thick enough. The recipe says 1 1/2 to 3 hours. I have never known it to take less than 6 hours. We use the chili sauce on hamburgers or mixed with hamburger to make Sloppy Joes. We also cook short ribs or brisket with it. One year I gave each kid one jar for Christmas. That wasn't their only gift.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Everyone is Busy

Sometimes I have a little trouble thinking of things that are interesting enough to put in my blog. Sometimes there are things that are interesting but too personal to put on the Internet. I notice that when I look at my favorite blogs some times they have lapses too. Mary from Shazam in the Kitchen, is really busy now that she has gone back to school. Gretel from Super G's Potpourri, is at a new high school teaching and is super busy. Our family book club has disbanded because Gretel and I are the only ones who can fit a book into our schedule. Oh well, we did go to a lovely baptism today for a great nephew, Joshua. He was beautiful and screamed justifiably when they immersed him.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Arnold the Clown

I know I keep writing about Arnold but he is a very funny cat. Lately, at night, he sleeps on my pillow which I can handle, except he likes to chew on my hair, which I can't handle. That also means his tail is in Hubby's face, which he has some trouble handling. Yesterday I was upstairs when Hubby called to say, "You have got to see this." Martha has rolled up tiny balls of yarn for the cats to play with. Somehow Arnold had the yarn wrapped several times around his tail. He would turn to get himself free but kept making the matter worse. As he was walking and turning, Fervor was chasing the moving yarn across the kitchen floor. Where could you get better entertainment?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Quilt


My nephew and godson, Michael, is getting married in June of next year. I have started on a quilt to give him and his bride as a wedding present. Michael's mother said they like bright colors and since I love purples, I picked out these colors in a Dresden Plate pattern. I have wanted to make this quilt pattern for a long time. It is a combination of piecing and applique. I already made out my Excel spreadsheet so I know I can have it done by the wedding.

All that rain over the weekend really eliminated a lot of the yellow jackets. It had been uncomfortable to sit out on the patio. We haven't been stung but having yellow jackets crawling up your arms is at the least unsettling. The humming bird feeder is now free for birds alone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Family Blogs

Hubby's daughter decided to write a blog with her son. She is an art teacher in Baltimore. Gretel, my daughter is a Math teacher in Brooklyn and has a blog as well as my daughter, Mary, who is studying to be a math teacher in Nowhere Ohio. Not the same nowhere as the one the bridge went to. Now we just need to convince some of the other kids to have blogs. Jim's wife sometimes writes on a knitting blog http://inaugurationdayscarf.blogspot.com/. We need to get Bill to write a blog he is a former college teacher. Hubby has his blog Frenetic Felines listed here.
I added Laura Schlesinger's book to my book list because I read it. I don't recommend it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricanes

We are very glad that in Michigan, although we get cold, damp winters and hot humid summers, we don't get hurricanes. We occasionally get tornadoes but no earthquakes. Our lightning deaths are low, we have no volcanoes and few but small forest fires. We find ourselves horrified that people are willing to live with these risks. Once in visiting Texas people told us how awful it was to deal with snow while they were describing dust storms that sanded the paint off of cars and leveled the vegetation. In Detroit we really don't get the heavy snow or the bone chilling cold. I guess we all choose our poisons. The weather in Detroit isn't that bad.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Night Owl Arnold

We still have a problem with Arnold in the middle of the night, well around 3 to 4 in the morning. This is the time when Arnold becomes his most vocal. He also plays with the Venetian blinds and the screens. We keep the blinds up even though I am sure the neighbors think we are exhibitionists and we definitely need to do something by the time the leaves fall from the trees. But it is hard to stop Arnold from scratching at the screens which on our windows are on the inside. Hubby had a plan. He took our Vornado fan and cut long streamers of newsprint and taped them to the top of the fan. He placed the fan on the window seat facing the trouble spot. He has a switch which he keeps under his pillow. When Arnold scratches at the screen he flicks on the fan. It startles Arnold and he dashes away for at least an hour.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Netflix

Hubby and I signed up for the minimal Netflix, $5 a month for two movies maximum a month. That is plenty for us. We just watched King Kong. I felt my education was lacking because I hadn't seen it. It was fun. Mostly we watch movies that Hubby as seen and feels I should see. I am not a movie person. We have seen "The Queen" which was great. "Barefoot in the Park" - OK, "Planet of the Apes" -very interesting. "Hannah and her Sisters" - Pretty good. I thought "The Apartment" was dumb even if it won an award. I would guess that as the fall progresses we will watch more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Arnold the Helper Cat

As I said earlier I am working on a cross stitch project that is done on 22 count cloth. My dentist is ordering magnifying glasses for me which snap on to my eyeglasses, but until they get here I am working under a magnifying glass to do the stitches. The directions take up 16 pages. I used the PC Stitch software and chose too many colors and I had trouble that the original drawing had shadows that I don't want in my needlework. After Christmas I will be able to explain more. At any rate I sit at a table in my craft room with 4 pages of directions taped together on one side of my magnifying glass stand while I work. Arnold then comes to help. The table is a little high for him to jump on but he likes to crawl up the back of my chair and over my shoulder to lie down in the middle of the directions. Yesterday as I worked he fell sound asleep, on my directions. I would lift up a paw or scoot him over every once in a while but that didn't disturb him at all. I also have the problem that he carries off any piece of floss that isn't tied down. Arnold is definitely MY cat and follows me where ever I go and stays with me all the while I sew.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A New Driveway











Last Wednesday we replaced the driveway. The one section was broken and sinking badly, the other sections were just broken. We really felt we were in danger of someone falling on it.
As you can see there were a lot of roots from the neighbor's poplar tree under the old driveway. I really hate poplar trees.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pear Terrine

Today I tried to cook. Mary Alyce and Jim have a Bartlet Pear tree in their backyard. We were there on Monday and picked some. I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living(You may wonder why I would read Martha Stewart Living, but I like the pictures of the china). It was a beautiful pear dessert called a pear terrine. I peeled and sliced all those pears, made the carmel sauce and baked it at 250 degrees in a boiling water bath and it was a disaster. They ended up as slices of pears floating in syrup. Now I know why I leave the cooking to Hubby. I went back upstairs and worked on my needlework.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home Depot

If we should ever move we know that our house has to be close to a Home Depot store. Hubby made three trips there today. It's about a half mile away. One of those times I had to go with him because he was buying a 16 foot board and he needed me to help carry it. It all worked out well because we bought polish sausages for lunch. I love Home Depot hot dogs and polish sausage. When I worked with Carole we would drive to Home Depot on our lunch hour just for a hot dog.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Quirky Machines

We all know that machines can't think for themselves. They only do what they are programmed to do. Yet I know that there were times when I was working and a robot would just get lost and there was nothing to do but take it back home again. Everyone who works with computers knows that sometimes you have to just turn them off and start over again. I understand a broken appliance. Our Bun coffee maker has a coil burned out so you can only make a pot of coffee every 6 hours. But our ice maker sometimes doesn't work and has to be turned off so that it will thaw( I guess). My dryer drum will not rotate until you give it a push and then it will work fine for days. I am not saying I want to go back to a clothes line, or even ice cube trays, but are there appliances that work all the time?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Olympics are Over

For many evenings we watched the Olympic happenings. I really enjoyed watching Michael Phelps and the divers. However there was much too much beach volleyball. I like watching Misty May but the men's teams didn't excite me as much. I was surprised that they showed the entire women's 26 mile marathon and I am even more surprised that I watched it all. The gymnastics were interesting but I really don't know much about wrestling or boxing and I don't even care to learn more. I was in total amazement that both American relay teams dropped the baton. The expression on the runners faces was heartbreaking. I missed the opening ceremonies but I thought the closing ceremonies were very interesting. Now we get to watch the Democratic convention which is kind of an Olympic event.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Great Party

The Book Club party was a terrific success. Hubby's chicken was spectacular, both with its taste and the 4 alarm blaze when the grill caught fire. He was the entertainment for the evening. We made Martgueritas and sangria, both were yummy. The food everyone brought was great and Margie's brownies were to die for. We are so lucky to have such good friends. Today Hubby and I will have a feast for dinner just eating the leftovers. Of course we all had Jerry's cake and a brownie for breakfast.
Arnold was the hit of the party. He made sure he was right in the middle of everything. Mary Alyce said she was going to sneak him home with her.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Patio

We have a beautiful wood deck off of our family room. It seams that years ago, mostly before I married hubby, we used it a lot. Now we use it seldom because Hubby likes the air conditioning and says it is too hot to eat outdoors. Tonight the ladies book club is meeting here with their husbands, which makes 14 people. Hubby says it is too hot and sticky to eat outside. He has even gone so far as to say if I want to eat outside I can but he won't. I think because of air conditioning we are becoming sissies.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Grumpy Girl

Last Saturday I went out to the farm to help pull weeds in the display gardens. Since then I have a rash on the back of my neck and on the crooks of my arms. Could I have touched something I shouldn't have? It is not poison ivy. Maybe I ate something that I shouldn't have. I had a red wine on Wednesday night a week ago. Hubby brought home some dark sweet cherries about the same time. Lately we have switched laundry detergents to Tide Ultra. The pharmacist says that the rash is not a problem with the prescription drugs I take. So today I am taking Benadryl and using a cortisone cream and boy am I grumpy. It itches.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Quick Trip to East Lansing

Today Hubby and I made a quick trip to East Lansing to pick up a display for the Michigan State Fair for the Master Gardener Society. As we drove along we were aware of the end of the summer greenery. Somehow everything looks dusty and at the end of its life cycle. The plants look like they are done growing. It isn't the cold just the end of their summer life span. My gardens don't have much color now. The roses are still blooming, but even the Rudbeckia seems a little wilted.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Animal Farm



About a year ago we went on a garden tour with the Master Gardener Society. The woman whose home we visited had a children's playhouse and had planted all around it, plants whose names had animals in them. We later on found the plant Bear's Britches and yesterday we found Pig's squeak. We don't have a playhouse but we thought the names were fun.


Thanks to Mariann for sending us a picture of her cat.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Vocal Cat

When we were first told about Arnold, the cat, we were told he was quite vocal. Boy is that an understatement. This cat walks around whining all day long. We have tried asking what is the matter? Is Timmy in the well? Even "Shut up Arnold." The only thing that quiets him is, if you stop what you are doing and give him a healthy dose of loving. Arnold is very affectionate. He loves a rough petting and is always appreciative of any kind of attention. Often he will come up to you and either put he paws on your lap, just to say hello, or else crawl into your lap and stick his tail in your face. I really like this cat. I tend to be a little rough with the cats, according to Hubby, and Arnold loves me and comes back for more. He sleeps next to me and follows me around all day long. I have a basket in my sewing room that he likes to nap in while I am sewing. What more could you ask for in a cat?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Job Interview

I had a job interview for a position as an office assistant at a local elementary school. I have never had an office job or at least not in the last 40 years. The job seems pretty straight forward. They should be letting me know by tomorrow as the job starts next Tuesday. It is a half position so I would work every morning for 4 hours. That should get me out of bed anyway.
We had guests yesterday, Pete and Mary came in from Iowa. Such delightful people I wish we could see more of them. They are talking about a garden tour of Italy next spring. I could handle that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Next year - A Vegetable Garden


Hubby has started on a project for next year, a vegetable garden. It should be quite large. He has begun to lay out the garden and solarize it to kill the grass and weeds. He has stretched plastic over the area. It has been making lots of compost so he will fill it in and also make it into a raised bed. We are kind of excited about it and looking forward to fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. I love green beans from the garden and after tasting Mary's turnips, I am sure we will grow them as well.

Mary stopped overnight and felt confined because the guest room is on Fervor's side of the house.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Looking for a Job

Today I made an appointment for a job interview as an office assistant at a local elementary school. I also picked up an application from Bed Bath and Beyond. I really think it would be good for me to go back to work some place. I am a little picky about jobs. I thought I would apply at JoAnn's as well. I have lots of crafts to do at home but I think it would be better if I got out. I never thought I would be the kind of person to get bored at home. Hubby is very busy, probably because I can think of hundreds of things for him to do and he has a tendency to like doing them alone. I am not really complaining, he dosen't even want me to carry the laundry basket up or down the stairs.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Break in the Weather

This morning when we awoke it was 51 degrees out. Hubby got up and closed the window. How refreshing though. We all went out to breakfast with my mother. It is Gretel's first 29th birthday, she says. It is always fun to see her and the Tummy. They spent the night before with Mary and she sent some Jalapeno cupcakes. I think I prefer chocolate but they weren't bad. Hubby has been recovering from having his tooth pulled and the lousy Tiger baseball game. The company was fun but the Tigers were rather boring.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Quiet Time

I don't know if I haven't been blogging because there is nothing to blog about or it's just that I have been busy working on Christmas projects that I cannot put on the blog. Probably both. Today it nice and cool almost like fall. I even walked a mile and a half this morning. I started a counted cross stitch project that is on 22 count thread. I used my "PC Stitch" software to get the pattern. I probably chose too many colors. I have to use a magnifying class to count my stitches. There is a strong possibility that I won't finish it. I need those magnifying glasses that the dentist uses. We are going to a Tiger baseball game tonight with the Lions, I will have to ask Dr. Kamar when I see him there. (Hubby thinks it's funny that the Lions are going to see the Tigers.)
Oh, and I have been cooking. I decided to give Hubby a break but he still helps. Wednesday night we had pork chops, fresh beets from Mary's garden,sweet potatoes and a salad. I made up the menu and did the kitchen work, Hubby cooked everything out on the grill.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Russell is Returned




This past weekend we drove Russell back home to Maryland. It had been a fun visit. He is such a sweet kid and beautiful. Wednesday when we went out to lunch with Great Grandma he was telling me we should fly back to Maryland. I told him plane flights were expensive and Grandma and Papa only had so much money. Russell said, " If you have so much money why can't we fly?"
We took him to the nature museum on Belle Isle where he fed the deer and to Greenfield Village where he especially enjoyed playing the old fashioned games on the green.


It was a long trip for him and although he was really good in the car we got a lot of "How many more hours?" On the way back from Maryland we took Interstate 68 because of repairs on Interstate 70. It was a beautiful ride with breathtaking scenery. It was like a mini vacation when we didn't expect it. Now we are getting back to normal. Gretel and her family will be here on the weekend.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Computer Kid

Russell has come to visit and brought with him his computer, cell phone and IPod. I have my own computer, a desktop but Russell explains he has his own card that links to the web, I forget what it is called. He also has a web cam, whatever that is. I don't have an IPod and Hubby and I share a cell phone. When we were working we both had one but now that we are retired I never replaced mine when it died. The truth is when we go out we often forget to take the cell phone with us. Maybe it is a psychological thing. We feel free when we can go out without strings. More likely we are just forgetful.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Detroit Science Center


Hubby and I took Russell to the Detroit Science Center today. It is really a neat place and a big improvement from years ago. Russell said he enjoyed lunch the most. He also enjoyed playing the synthesizer drums, lifting the thousand pound weight, trying to pick up a coin using the robot and pushing lots of buttons and levers. My favorite was the hurricane chamber. The center had a neat electricity presentation with lots of sparks and explosions. The special show was about pirates and shipwrecks. The center is definitely worth a visit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hubby and the Cats

This morning after breakfast Hubby made a trip to Lowes. However that is right next door to PetSmart. So he came home with new toys for the cats. He bought a remote controlled mouse, a yellow feathery boa on a string, and a fishing rod with a glittery fish or a sparkly mouse. We tried them out on Cleo who loved the boa and did some roll over maneuvers that belonged in the circus. Cleo is active in the morning. Arnold is a nighttime cat and seldom gets up before 1 in the afternoon. Fervor is active during any of the daytime hours. My grandson, Russell, is coming tonight to stay for a week. He is usually pretty good with the cat although he hasn't met our new ones yet. I listed Hubby's cat blog I think you will find it funny.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Diamond Crystal Salt

Hubby grew up in St. Clair, Michigan. While he was attending college he worked summers at the Diamond Crystal Salt company. He got the job because his father worked there. St. Clair is celebrating its sesquicentennial and one of the activities was a tour of the salt factory. We drove up for it. Well over 400 peoples also signed up for the tour. Fortunately we were in the first 100. Our tour guide remembered Hubby's father and went to school with Hubby's sister. It was a neat tour and they provided us with free salt and tons of salted snacks. I got a box of Kosher salt for Mary to use on her pickles. Because all of their salt is food grade we couldn't wear any jewelry, no shorts, skirts or open toed shoes. We had to wear safety glasses, ear protection, hard hats, hair nets and gloves. Hubby looked good with a hair net containing his curls.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just the Three of Us Again

Just the three of us again. It was fun having the grandchildren visit but just a little exhausting. Today was a quiet day. Hubby mowed the lawn and worked on the back window he is repairing. I thoroughly cleaned the family room and did a lot of laundry. Even the cats flaked out. Cleo found an open dresser drawer and slept in it with my T-shirts. Last night for no apparent reason a transformer blew on the power line so we had a two hour outage which meant we went to bed early.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mommy is Here

Amy arrives last night at about 3 AM. Young people do crazy things like that. Driving 10 hours by yourself and arriving at 3 in the morning. The kids are thrilled to see Mom again. We have had a good time with them. Amy will leave with the kids on Monday. Already today we have showed her all our pictures from the week and took a walk through our gardens. Now she and the kids are all taking a nap. (I think Papa is too). I am a very lucky stepmother as Amy is as close to me as my own daughters and considering that she was 20 when Hubby and I were married, I am very lucky. She has also bonded with my children and they are all very fond of her.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Christmas Exchange List

Because Hubby and I have seven children between us with six spouses and five grandchildren, Christmas gift giving can become cumbersome. We have a system where the children exchange names and give to all five grandchildren. I wrote a program in Python to choose names so that no one gets the same person in the last two years or their spouse to buy for. I had a bug in the program which I finally worked out today. When I was studying electrical engineering I had to take a class in Pascal and loved it. I mentioned that to the head of the department and he said "Programming is boring." Interestingly since working as an engineer I have done mostly programming and I still love it. Anyway my gift giving program is off and running.
Yesterday we took the grandkids to the Morely Chocolate Factory. It was fun and the free sample was delicious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keeping Up With the Grandchildren

Yesterday we took the grandchildren to the Henry Ford Museum because it was Macy's 2nd Monday. You would be surprised how fast kids can travel through a museum. After lunch at the Wienermobile Cafe we headed out to the petting farm at Domino Farms. That is the best petting farm ever. The kids fed carrots to the goats and cows. (but not pigs, donkeys, or horses, because they have teeth) They had a hay ride and saw baby horses, calves, goats,chickens and piglets. It was a great time.
Today we took them to the zoo. The animals were mostly out and visible. For the first time I actually saw a wolverine. The kids were puzzled as Hubby and I sang the Michigan fight song for it. A polar bear was laying on top of the glass tunnel so we were really up close and personal with it. After supper, Martha put a movie on for them but Kameren fell asleep. I will leave her in the armchair until it is time for Keegan to go to bed. Every night when I finish tucking them into bed and turn out their light I find Papa is already sound asleep in bed.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grandchildren and Cats

We were surprised to find that Cleo and Arnold, our cats, are nuts about the grandchildren. They follow the kids wherever they go. Keegan is trying to train Arnold for the animal planet show where animals compete for being able to do the best tricks. Arnold is not cooperating a whole lot on the training but just enough to keep Keegan hopeful. I turned around yesterday to see Cleo wearing an assortment of doll clothes and very happy with her new attire. You would think the cats had grown up with children but as far as I know they haven't. We also have not had any problems with Fervor as he is afraid of the kids so avoids them and therefor Cleo as well.

I did a walk around of my garden and here are a few shots of what I see.




The cattails are forming nicely.

The rose garden has everything in bloom, We have eight rose bushes,3 expensive delphiniums and one of the 99 cent kind (the light blue)and a lot of snap dragons around the edge. They seeded themseves in from last year.

I have a pot of geraniums on the front porch. I have had this pot for four years now. I just bring them in for the winter and take them out in the spring. I water them all winter but don't repot ever.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our First Day With the Grandchildren

Today being our first day with the grand children, we drove up to Port Huron to see all the sailboats getting ready for the Mackinac race. We walked all over Port Huron and then went to a carnival. Kameren, the 5 year old, was fearless. She went on every ride several times. She went on the Ferris wheel with Papa and scared the living daylights out of him by rocking the car. He said he tried not to show it. Papa also went on the Tiltawhirl with the kids but one time was all he could handle. They went three more times. As we drove back, Keegan said the carnival was better than Blissfest. So it was a successful first day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Greeting Cards

Last month on June 9th Gretel and the Tummy received their anniversary card and gift from me. The only problem is that their anniversary is today, July 9 th. They have been married three years.( boy does time fly) They are both very happy together and they love living in Brooklyn, New York. I seldom get cards out early. My usual rule is late. In fact I am not much of a card person. I usually remember the children and grand children's birthdays within a week and the same for their anniversaries. It was an unforgivable sin to forget my mother's birthday or anniversary.(as well as not cashing her checks quickly) I am also a dollar store card buyer. Two for a dollar is hard to beat and Mom and I go there regularly. Of course, they look nothing like the spectacular cards my sister-in-law buys. For years, (before she was married) Mary made all her Christmas cards and shopped for the funniest(and most insulting) birthday cards. I also like the homemade cards I get from Dante, my grandson.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cleaning the Craft Room

I buy a lot of cloth material and worse yet I save all the scraps. In my craft room I have shelves with 37 plastic shoe boxes of cotton scraps all filed according to color. Underneath the counter I have larger tote boxes for bigger pieces of material. Today I pulled out some pieces of polyester I have had since polyester was in and some linen that is in colors I really look bad in. I put them aside to send to the Salvation Army. I know I have seen some people still wearing polyester, maybe they also sew. I have much material that is still waiting for more granddaughters and some that is waiting for me to get thinner so I feel like sewing for myself. Whenever I clean the room I find things that I either forgot I had and even more likely forgot where I put them. I will probably forget again. The grandchildren will be here on Wednesday. We are all pretty excited.
Fervor and Cleo have been separated all day. I think Fervor is catching on that if he goes near Cleo she will scratch his nose and scream. Then we come running and lock Fervor behind his gate.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Baptism

Today we went to the baptism of a friend of ours. It was at a small church with a black congregation. The sermon was very inspiring with lots of amens and hand clapping participation from the congregation. The choir was made of mostly young people and they were spectacular. The baptism was by immersion. They had a pool behind the dias with a mirror so that we could see the converts be submerged. It was a very happy occasion for at least a dozen people who were baptised. It was truly a joyful experience and very meaningful for us all.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Book Clubs

My two book clubs seem to be going strong. The ladies meet every 4th Thursday and everyone seems to enjoy the get together and lunch as much as reading the books. This month's book is "Winter Kill" by Box. I have even learned how to use the library and will be picking up the book soon. The kids book club has less than perfect attendance but the kids are younger and busier. Bill just bought a house so I am sure his reading time is cut dramatically. Martha chose the book for next month and it is "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. It might be a little trickier for me to read with the grandchildren here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A New Start

Every once in a while I go through a sort of crisis. Last night when I went to bed I was thinking that the cats have more control of my life than I do. So this morning I got up and put the flag outside for the fourth and took a mile and a half walk. Since hubby wasn't up yet( well he did get up and walked Cleo down to the litter box, she dosen't like to go downstairs alone, and then went back to bed.) I had locked myself out so I planted some snapdragons that I had thinned out of another section of the garden. I decided I had to get my weight under control too. For the next 2 or 3 weeks we will have the grand children so if I use that time to work on my weight and think out my further plans that should help out. To my surprise Martha came up to me today and said she wanted to lose weight as well, so I have a partner in this endeavor.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

More Thunderstorns

Well there is another thunderstorm heading this way so it won't be long and we will have to shut the computer down again. We have had so much rain lately that we certainly haven't had to do any watering in the garden. The cat tails are doing just fine and so are the mosquitoes. It just is too bad that mother nature can't even things out a little but that doesn't seem to be her style. Fires in the west drought in the southeast and floods in the middle.


Here is a picture of Fervor in detention. Quite pathetic.

Kitalong asked what was blooming in my garden. Here is a picture of some lillies that have been in the family for years.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Cat Problem

We have one problem with our new cats. Fervor, Martha's cat, and Cleo do not get along. Fervor looks for Cleo and she screams and hisses and both cats get some scratches although Fervor seams to get the worst of it. You would think he would stop going after her. He even looks for her when she is hiding under our bed. Hubby chases Fervor off but then Cleo takes off after Fervor. Cleo loves Hubby and the feeling is mutual, so he protects and defends her. Hubby built a door in our hallway to keep the two apart, but Fervor cries when he is confined. I take Fervor into my sewing room with me and close the door so he has company but cannot get at Cleo. Our life was so much simpler before. Hubby loves cats and I don't think it would be wise to ask him to choose between me and the cats.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun Memories

Gretel and I were talking on the phone yesterday and one of the things we talked about was funny memories. I mentioned the time I dropped my iron (which I do alarmingly often). Only this time I dropped it onto a can of spray starch and punctured the can. I had starch dripping from the ceiling. It was very dramatic. Gretel mentioned the Thanksgiving that she and Martha were baking pumpkin pies. Martha balanced the spatula on the side of the mixing bowl. While the electric mixer was running the spatula fell into the bowl and she had pumpkin all over the kitchen. My mom mentioned the time she was trying to jam a can of "Pam" into her kitchen cupboard. She took the big plastic top off to help it fit. When she jammed the can into the cupboard it depressed the nozzle and sprayed oil all through the cupboard. Worse yet she had a hard time unjamming it to get it out of the cupboard. Hubby had a funny memory. He needed to buy a 12 volt automobile battery for some special use and he needed to make sure the terminals were a specific distance apart. He was buying it from Sears, so he whipped out his metal tape measure and stretched it across the terminals. Needless to say there was a large bang which caught every one's attention in the departments and melted the measuring tape.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Garage Sale

Hubby and I filled both cars with stuff for the garage sale. I stayed all day (from 8 to 4). About 10am Hubby drove up to warn us that we had about 5 minutes before a large storm hit. We covered things with plastic and it rained hard for a good hour. Afterwards the place was like a sauna. We sold a lot of stuff at bargain prices but it was all for a good cause and it was lots of fun.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting Ready for the Big Garage sale

Tomorrow is the Lions Club garage sale. We make most of our money by renting out the spaces in the parking lot for other people who want to sell things. We do have our own booth though. I will work at the garage sale all day long but I am also bringing lots of stuff. It is such a good excuse to get rid of a lot of junk. Of course the trick is not to buy anything. I am even bringing some houseplants I no longer want. I am sure there is a ton more that I could part with, maybe next year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lunch

Yesterday, Wednesday, I had lunch with my Mom, only this week my sister-in-law came along. My brother and I are quite close in age. We don't do a lot of things together but when we do I enjoy his and his wife's company a great deal. We have a system for visiting Mom, not a formal system but we each know that twice a week someone is there to check on her. Mom says, "What do you want to do, take my temperature?" The truth is Mom is not likely to complain or even tell us if something is wrong, so a visit is kind of essential. A visit with Mom though is not a duty but a pleasure.
Last Saturday, Gretel was in town so we took Mom out to lunch at the Olive Garden. The waiter dumped 3 full glasses of coke on her. She was soaked from head to toe. The waiter didn't tell anyone and we didn't get any remuneration at all for her clothes or the inconvenience. I sent an email message to Olive Garden from their website last night and this morning they called to apologize and send us a $50 gift certificate.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cattails



Hubby's rain garden has been doing very well and filling in quite nicely. He is very careful to keep the cattails extra watered and his effort is certainly paying off. He has about 6 cattails forming. This plant is a varigated cattail so it is a pretty plant even without the brown cattails. The big plant in the middle is a swamp milkweed which is supposed to attract Monarch butterflies. The purple flowered plants are spiderwort. He has day lillies planted in the front of the garden. Hostas are not supposed to like the wetness but they are surviving.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The C-47



Today Hubby and I flew to Cleveland on a C-47 which is the Air Force version of the DC-3. We left about 8:30 this morning and had an incredibly smooth flight across Lake Erie to Cleveland. We landed at Burke airport and toured the Women in Aviation Museum. Then we walked down the street and toured the U.S.S. Cob. That is a 1945 American Submarine. I was surprised how big it was. We had to enter and leave by crawling down the hatches. I often have nightmares about having to crawl through a narrow opening like that and not being able to do it. After that we had lunch at the Great Lakes Science Museum and then toured an ore freighter, the William G. Mather. Then we took a long walk looking for ice cream and took the plane back at about 4:30. There were only 12 of us on the plane.