Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Merican Flag"

My grand daughter, Molly, is very impressed with the "Merican Flag." I understand most flags are "Merican" as far as she is concerned.  When I saw the pattern for this sweater in the Mary Maxim catalog I had to make it for her.  I am not really very good at juggling all the colors but I don't think Molly is real particular. Unfortunately I didn't finish it for Christmas but it is quite large and will fit for awhile.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas

video
We had 15 for Christmas.  It was wonderful.  They came from Oklahoma, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maryland, New York, and Michigan. Hubby made a wonderful dinner.  All the gifts were great and we had lots of cookies and fruit cake. I made dresses for the two little girls and put bells on their petticoats. They were a hit.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I have a Code in my Node

The holiday season gets so busy and there is always the worry about someone getting sick,  Last year we had 16 people sleeping on air mattresses at our house when we all got the stomach flu. This year people are staying in hotels.  Last week both Mary,in Ohio, and Kameren, in Baltimore came down with the big flu. I have a head cold, no fever. On the 19th we went to Greenfield Village Holiday Nights.  Greenfield Village is a must if you come anywhere near Detroit. On the 21st Hubby and I collected for the Lions club.  The first 2 hours were not so bad but the last 2 were awfully cold.  From there we went to the Olive Garden for Mom's 97th birthday party. She was dressed nicely and walks in the restaurant like a 70 year old.  She did say that although we usually share the olives in the salad, since it was her birthday she got them all.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The House is Ready for Christmas


Our neighborhood is decked in light. I love that part of the season. Hubby does all the outside work. Years ago we bought the airplane.  It caught my eye because Hubby is crazy about airplanes.  He was a pilot when he was very young and still manages, no matter where we go for a vacation, to find an airplane museum to visit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Can Swim

This fall I signed up for swimming lessons at the YMCA. As a kid I took swimming lessons with the local parks and rec department but never got past the bubble blowing. I could dog paddle but not put my face in the water. So at 71 I decided to take lessons.  I bought nose plugs but decided they were more trouble than they were worth. I had six lessons.  I bit the bullet and put my face in the water. It wasn't so bad. I can do the freestyle, backstroke and the breast stroke. I have the most trouble with getting the timing right on the breast stroke and I need to kick more when I do the freestyle. Not bad for an old lady!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sofie's Birthday

Yesterday we went to small town Ohio for my granddaughter, Sofie's birthday.  She is all of three. What a charmer! Her daddy cooked steaks on the grill and her other set of grandparents were also there. They have a puppy named CoCo who sleeps in a crate when they are not home.  Sofie decorated it for her birthday because she decided Coco should have a birthday too. Sofie requested a pink cake with snowflakes. Her mommy acquiesced and made a beautiful cake with white chocolate snowflakes.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Roasting Chestnuts

The Lathrup Village Lions Club had its last meeting of 2014.  One of our members, Roger, grows chestnuts and sells them all over the country. His website. The Village has a pavilion with a fireplace and Roger brought his chestnut roaster. It was very cold but the fellowship was warm. We ate roasted chestnuts and drank mulled wine and hot cider. We enjoy the Lions a great deal and it is rewarding to be part of an organization that does so much good work.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Master Gardener Christmas Party

Last night we attended the Oakland County Master Gardener Society Christmas Party.  It is a pot luck and the food was plentiful and delicious.  Hubby made deviled eggs.  They also had a silent auction. We managed to raise the bids but didn't take anything home with us. The Troy high school choir entertained us and they were delightful.  Afterwards we had a sing-a-long with the choirs help.  Traditionally, every year we sing the 12 days of Christmas with different words.  Last year they were gardening utensils, this year they were invasive weeds. Our table had "5 Phragmites" It was very funny because no one at our table sang it the same way. Each table was assigned a number and had to stand as they sang. People were bouncing up and down when their turn came and all had a good laugh.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nelson

My son-in-law, Tom, had a Cabbage Patch Preemie doll when he was a kid.  He passed it down to his son, who passed it down to Molly.  Nelson, the doll, is now over 30 years old and in the process of being lovingly passed down from one child to another, and another, has lost his pants. This can happen.  So for Christmas I made Nelson a new outfit with pants. I sew for American Girl dolls and Bitty Babies but for some reason Cabbage Patch patterns are hard.  But it is done and Nelson can now be more discrete.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Visit to Lathrup Village

Yesterday Lathrup Village had its annual Santa Visit Party.   The Lions club helps staff the affair and pay for Santa.  Each child got his or her picture taken with Santa.  Hubby was part of the crew that took pictures of the kids with Santa.  (Thanks to digital cameras and those little on the spot printers)  I was in the crew that dished out toasted cheese sandwiches and hot dogs.  We had a fun time. There were about a dozen Lions there and we were kept pretty busy with 140 guests.
That evening Hubby and I had dinner at the brand new Appleby restaurant.  Our area does not have many places to eat so I think that explains why everyone in Southfield was there Sunday night.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bitty Babies

This year I decided to give my two three year old granddaughters Bitty Babies for Christmas. Of course they have to have clothes.  My friend Willie had these wonderful patterns so I made the girls diaper bags and clothes.  Hubby says I am having too much fun doing it.
On another note , Gretel noticed my birds on my tree were missing beaks.  That is what you get when you shop at the dollar store. So this morning I made beaks for my birds.  I must admit they look like doves with duck beaks but it's only a decoration
on a Christmas tree.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Dr. M's Christmas Party

Yesterday I went with Mom to her cardiologists Christmas party. Mom lives in a senior residence and her doctors come right to the campus. So the cardiologist sees a large percentage of the population there.  Every year he throws a grand Christmas party and makes sure to invite his patients and their families. I go with her to all of her doctor appointments so he knows me well. The party was a luncheon.  We had a spinach salad with orange cranberry dressing, grilled veggies, butternut squash ravioli, chicken piccata, and salmon  with pomegranates in a sauce.  We had rolls with honey butter and for dessert cherry strudel and mini mousses. They had a pianist playing Christmas carols and a choir performing.  The doctor went around wishing everyone happy holidays and being as proud as he could be of his party. I am sure that there were residents that were not his patients that crashed the party.  There always are.  It also surprises me that people who are relatively wealthy still stash all the rolls they can grab and pieces of strudel in their walkers.  The doctor gives out nice pocket calendars and they grab as many of them as they can get. I wonder what they are going to do with them.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Leader Dog Kick-off Dinner

Last night we went to a fund raising dinner for Leader dogs for the blind.  It was put on for the Lions clubs in the Detroit and Windsor areas.Because Leader Dog is under reconstruction it was held at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township.  The food was excellent served family style and plentiful. We have been to many programs explaining what they want to do with the kennels. First of all they want to air condition them and make the cages bigger and open so the dogs can see the other dogs. Leader Dog has placed 14,000 dogs for free to blind people. They now have a special program to give dogs to people who are blind and deaf.  Needless to say this is a charity that Hubby and I are deeply committed to.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mindy Update

Today we got an update on Mindy from Leader Dog for the Blind. They sent pictures and said,"Mindy loves to show her obedience skills and how good she can sit and down. She is very sweet and still adjusting her new environment in the kennel."  They also said she passed her entrance physical exam. Seeing her picture makes me miss her even more.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Doll House

Back almost thirty years ago by daughter,Mary, just a teen, bought a doll house that was a demo at Frank's Nursery and Crafts. The house was kept in the basement and got bumped around, never fixed up. My brother offered me a doll house and I suggested he repair this one. I intended to give it to Mary's daughter,Sofie, for her third birthday.  After Mike repaired it and decorated it, I decided it was too beautiful to give to a three year old. I thought I would give Sofie a Fisher-Price doll house and the refinished doll house to her mother. Then I thought of Mary's house.  Where would she put it with a three year old and two dogs, one of them being a puppy. I decided to keep the house myself. I don't have much furniture yet. I have an upright piano, bench and music stand given to me by students back when I taught piano. I have a little desk and chair from my brother.  I bought a sewing machine and quilt rack and I have bathroom fixtures. I am excited about playing with my doll house.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Christmas Tree is Up

I put my Christmas tree up.  This year I used white Led lights instead of the blue ones I had used the last three years. My kid's response to the blue tree was: "I didn't know we were Jewish." This year I  did the whole tree in white, including balls, flowers, snowflakes, and dead birds. Back in the '70's my Mom and Dad got an aluminum tree.  Mom decorated it with pink and blue birds.  My Dad put a spotlight on it (you couldn't put lights on a metal tree) with  rotating colored filters. My children's response - "Grandma has dead birds on her tree!"
A few years ago my brother bought my Mom a small table top tree that was already decorated with lights. When Mom took the tree down after Christmas she carefully removed all the lights, in little pieces. My brother bought her a new one with stern admonitions not to take it apart.  Today when I was visiting Mom (she is 97) she said, "I think I'll wait and have Michael, (my brother) put up my tree for me."  It is a season of memories.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Those Little Houses

I have collected those Lemax or Santa's village buildings.  They are the relatively cheep ones they sell at Michael's or Joann's, not the real little ones they sell at the Hallmark store.  I have 21 of them.  I get them out at Christmas time and put them on every flat surface I can find in the living room and family room. It is a real chore turning their lights on and then off again at night. But the real chore is carrying all the boxes down, emptying them and then carrying the empty boxes back up stairs.  After Christmas I carry all the empty boxe
s down and then the full ones back up.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cats!

We have two cats, Arnold and Fervor. Arnold is a black cat who is definitely showing his age. Fervor is an orange and white cat who doesn't seem to age. Arnold is friendly and Fervor is afraid of his shadow. At night Arnold wedges himself right between Hubby and I, Fervor likes to sleep either on Hubby's chest or on either one of our thighs. It makes rolling over tricky.  Yesterday I put up the Christmas tree. Under it I have a skirt that I embroidered.  It took me ages.  Arnold ate some of the palm plant and decided that the skirt was a good place to barf. Boy did I move fast.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

This year Hubby and I are spending Thanksgiving by ourselves. Hubby , as usual, is doing the cooking. Since neither of us particularly like turkey, we are having a roasted chicken with all the trimmings. Hubby just announced that we will have dinner early so that we can eat pumpkin pie all evening. We watched the Detroit parade on TV this morning. A nice quiet day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mary Anne's Quilt is Done

I finished Mary Anne's quilt today. It is a Hunter's Star pattern.  She has requested apple green, yellow (not gold), and teal.  She wanted a Florida quilt so I used a low loft batting.
 I did the border in a sea shell pattern.  It really turned out nicely.  I hope she likes it.  I used the Rapid Fire template for the Hunter Star and it was wonderful.  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Getting Used to Not Having a Dog

On Wednesday we returned Mindy to Leader Dog.  The house seems awfully quiet. The dog slept in her cage next to my bed and now there is no snoring. Dick has taken down most of the gates we had through out the house. Thursday we cleaned up what seemed like bushels of black hair.  This morning Dick chopped the walnuts for his oatmeal and put them on the window cell, like he usually does to keep them from the dog. When he turned around Fervor, the cat, was eating them. Fervor stayed pretty well hidden while we had the dog.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Raking Leaves Indoors

Now that winter is here all the indoor plants have been sprayed and brought in the house. When we took the Master Gardener class we were warned that if having a plant that drops its leaves bothers you, don't get a ficus. I have a ficus. The other plant that drops leaves in great profusion is a Boston Fern.  I remember my grandmother had a wicker basket planter in her living room filled with Boston Fern. It brings back fond memories.  All summer I keep it out on the front porch but now it is in the house. It is a terribly messy plant.  The ficus will eventually adjust to the change in temperature but the fern doesn't really.  I keep rotating it and watering it and misting it but nothing really helps. Oh well it reminds me of Grandma.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Collecting for the Lions

Twice a year the Lions Club solicit funds for their charities, Leader Dog for the Blind, Bear Lake Camp for the Visually handicapped, Michigan Eye Band, and the Penrickton school for the blind.  The last two weekends we were standing in front of the Kroger store with Mindy.  The wind was icy cold. Mindy is getting better at not jumping at everyone who walks by unless they talk to her in a high pitched voice and tell her how cute she is. Almost everyone who has a dog comes up to show us pictures of their dog and tell us all about him or her.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Winter is not Gone Yet

Well the snow this morning caused Detroit to go over the record for seasonal snow.  Now that the record is broken, here is hoping we are done with this winter.  We finally got Mindy used to going to the bathroom on grass (she kept looking for snow). It isn't just the snow, tonight is going down to 24 degrees.  We are going to a Master Gardener meeting tonight at Telly's greenhouse.  The topic is spring flowers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lion Convention

Last weekend was the Lions District A2 Convention in Grand Rapids.  We decided to take Mindy with us.  She was pretty good.  She didn't bark at all and stayed under the table during meals and meetings.  Walking through a crowd is still very difficult for Mindy as she feels it is necessary to personally greet anyone she sees. The convention was very informative.  I especially enjoyed the business meeting.  That was where all the charities reported how they were doing and the number of people served. It really made you feel good about being a Lion.  At the banquet Saturday night I carried the banner in for the Lathrup Village Lions Club.

Friday, March 21, 2014

An Update on Mindy

Mindy, the puppy we are raising for Leader Dogs, is almost 5 months old now. What a delightful dog. This one is really going to be hard to part with.  She is very food motivated and learns quickly. The only difficulty we have with her, is that she is very friendly and gets so excited when she meets anyone. We have taken her many times to CafĂ© Clare for lunch and she is really good once we get her to the table but on the way she wants to greet everyone she passes. This weekend we will take her to Ohio to visit my daughter and next weekend we will take her to the Lions convention in Grand Rapids so we are doing our best to expose her to people.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back to the Cold North

We are back from our Panama cruise.  It was wonderful.  Every day the temperature was in the 80's and the sea was as smooth as glass. I spent my time on the veranda doing cross stitch and enjoying the warmth. Tomorrow I weigh in at Weight Watchers, so that will be the moment of truth.  I am going on another quilting retreat tomorrow.  Life is hard.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A New Furnace

We have a maintenance contract with Consumers Power. They will come and repair any of your gas appliances. We called them last October, the exhaust fan on the furnace died. A week ago the furnace didn't go on but Hubby cycled the power to the furnace and it started up again.  He called Consumers to check it out. The man came and before looking at the furnace said, "This is an old furnace we don't want to put any more money into it." (28years) He then went to the basement and condemned our furnace (which was working at the time), shut off the power and turned off the gas.  Hubby complained that it was zero degrees outside.  He said "Have a nice day." Today we are having a new furnace installed. Sort of an unexpected expense.  We don't recommend the maintenance contract with the energy company.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Quilt Retreat

Carole and I spent the weekend in Holly, Michigan at the Create A Memory Inn on a quilt retreat.  It was wonderful. There were 8 other women there and they were all delightful.  The place is decorated so feminine with the kinds of decorations which would cause a husband to have a stroke. The food was out of this world, Bananas Foster French toast for breakfast, and coconut cream pie for dinner dessert. I got a lot done on my quilts too. I will share pictures when I finish them.
  The new Blog My Leader Dogs is written by Penny's new owners.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Penny is a Real Leader Dog

Last night we went to Leader Dog Headquarters to meet Penny and the client, Denise, who is now her master. Penny was as lively as always but Denise said that in the harness, Penny is terrific. She knows her stuff. I was very pleased because Denise is definitely the right person for Penny.  She is a lively woman, about 20 years younger than us, and has had 2 Leader Dogs before Penny. This woman was amazing.  She is a Lion and also a Toastmaster.  She worked as a social worker and now wants to write books.  She is married to a man who is also blind and both of them got new Leader Dogs at the same time. They live in Augusta, Georgia. I was nervous about meeting her but now I feel really good about the whole thing.  Penny looked a little older and bigger (maybe because we are dealing with little Mindy. She was just as lively as ever. While we visited she was on a leash and not in harness. So she could just be a dog and not working. It was a great evening.  Denise gave us her address and her blog site so that we could keep in touch.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books

Some of the best books I have read have come on the reference of friends.  Carole recommended "Prodigal Summer"  Luella suggested "Unbroken" and "the Devil and the White City" My Daughter Mary suggested " Angry Housewives Eating Bon-bons" and Gretel offered "Alias Grace".  These same people have suggested many other wonderful books.  Isn't it nice to have good friends who read?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mindy's First Car Rides

When we brought Mindy home from Leader Dog Headquarters, I held her in my lap. Now she has doubled her weight and she rides on the floor in the front passenger seat. Oh my! she whimpered the entire way the first trip we made and the second.  The third trip I would reward her for sitting quietly with kibble. (Mindy will do anything for food) That night, last night, she had diarrhea and Hubby had to take her out every two hours. Now they are both taking a nap.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ficus Trees

About 35 years ago my Mom and Dad received a ficus tree as an anniversary gift. With all the moves they have made, I inherited the tree. It has done very well.  We take it outside over the summer and bring it back in the fall. When we took our Master Gardener training, the teacher warned us. If it bothers you when a plant drops its leaves, don't get a ficus. Now that Mom is home from the hospital and I had time to check on my plants, I found the ficus was doing its thing.  Mindy was helping clean up the fallen leaves.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mom is back in the Hospital

When I went to see Mom on Tuesday, I found she hadn't taken any of her medications all week and she was very dizzy.  I took her to the Clinic and the doctor said she was very dehydrated, her sugar was up and she was quite confused. They called an ambulance but because of the terrible cold and snowstorm we waited 5 hours and then I drove her to the Hospital myself. Today they decided that there was a heart blockage and she will need a heart catheterization but only after her creatinine goes down.  The dehydration had affected her kidney function.  My brother and I have been visiting her and trying to explain to her what is happening.  My brother is great.  I don't know what I would do without him. But I am exhausted and going to bed early.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Fine Craftsman

My son-in-law, Seth, is a master craftsman especially with working with wood. For Christmas he made this rack for me to hang on the wall and hold all my quilting rulers.  It really does the job well.  In the past he has also made racks for hanging quilts.  I have one hanging in my family room. Last year for Christmas he made triple bunkbeds for his daughter, Kameren's American Girl Doll

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Socks

I love fancy socks. I have about 80 pair of socks. I keep them in bags for the different seasons. I have them for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, 4th of July, St Patrick's Day and Halloween. Then, of course, I have everyday fancy socks with cats, jungle animals, music, fun stripes and dots. It is a sure fire pleaser for me as a gift. I have a Christmas pair with individual toes but they are a little difficult to put on, and I have a pair of wonder woman knee socks which even have capes attached.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

House Training Mindy

We have our new puppy, Mindy, which we will be raising for Leader Dog for the Blind. She is a cross between a Labrador retriever and a golden retriever. Our last puppy was very easy to house train and just like with children, when you think you know what you are doing the second one proves you wrong. We set the kitchen timer and take her outside, in the brutal cold, every 15 minutes. Even though she does her stuff outside she still manages to leave puddles in between. The only signals we get are during the night, when she is in her crate, or if she has to poop.  She has been surprisingly easy to teach other commands. She knows her name and comes if you say her name. She is a very eager eater and is now up to 12 pounds.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Nice Christmas Present

This year, one of the presents Hubby gave me for Christmas was a photo album of all the quilts I have made. I am missing only three, a queen size quilt in the peony pattern which I gave my brother 40 years ago, a baby quilt for my friend, Margie, with embroidered birds on it, and a baby quilt for my sister-in-law, Peggy, which had an appliqued Winnie the Pooh on it. I still have to label the quilt pictures and decide on the year they were made, not as easy as one would think.  The last quilt I finished was one for my daughter, Martha, a sawtooth star.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snowy Day

It really is snowing quite heavily today.  I am up in my craft room working on another quilt.  Hubby is working on the computer in the kitchen. He is trying to housebreak the new puppy by taking her out every 20 minutes. She is compliant when he takes her out, otherwise she pees on the kitchen flour. I was trying to decide if I wanted a piece of baklava.  For Christmas Eve dinner I chose baklava for dessert.  The best place to purchase that is Shatila in Dearborn.  When I arrived on the 23rd of December I took a number.  Mine was D#90 and they were serving D#33. At some point a man with a number D#71 gave up and I took his number.  A while later the manager announced that those who wanted mixed trays, already packaged , could come to the cash register. I was among the 20 people who ran to the cashier to buy, all of them pushing and shoving and most of them doing so in Arabic. I got my package and went out to the parking lot. (I had thought myself lucky to get a parking space) A delivery van was parked behind me and I had to wait 20 minutes for it to move. When I got onto the Southfield expressway, I went about one mile before all three lanes came to a stop because of an accident. The baklava was delicious and some was left over as peoples appetites were not up to snuff. That will go with a hot cup of tea.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Christmas to Remember

There were 17 of us for Christmas dinner. All but one of them stayed overnight during the holidays.  Then the disaster happened! Monday morning the stomach flu hit Molly, by Monday night Martha was down. Early Wednesday Hubby and Tom had it.  It ended up going through 11 of us. (literally)
We all got together for my Mom's birthday on the 22nd before everyone got sick, so she was spared the virus. She said she was grateful that no one came to visit after that.