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 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


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


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!