Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Cold Windy Day

On Wednesdays Mom and I usually do a little shopping and go out to lunch. Unfortunately this Wednesday was bitter cold, 12 degrees with a 1 degree wind chill, so I picked up some deli sandwiches and we ate at her place. Mom missed going out. She kept going to the window where the sun was shining in and said, "It dosen't look that bad." We did spend a delicious afternoon talking. I worked on my "City Fish" cross stitch and we talked. She told me what was new with her lady friends in the complex. I feel like I know them well. We talked about the political campaign. She is a well informed independent voter. We talked about religion, about eternity, about my children and their religion and how we responded to their different ideas. We talked about the books we had read and eventually she talked about her things that she would be leaving behind. I assured her that my brother and I would not fight about anything (unless he wanted her cedar chest or her cut class fruit bowl) but we wanted those things she valued because we treasured them too. Mom keeps reminding me that she is 90 and she won't last forever but I don't want to think about ever losing her. This picture was taken at her 90th birthday party.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Ice Cream War

My Hubby and Daughter are at war. My Hubby likes to buy coffee ice cream, specifically Starbucks coffee ice cream. My daughter dosen't like coffee and won't eat it. She goes to the store and buys ice cream with stuff in it like peanut butter cups or cookies. Hubby won't eat ice cream with stuff in it. It really is a power play, he who has the money wins. They could buy black cherry or caramel swirl which they both like but that's not the way war works. Now I don't go near the kitchen or the grocery store for that matter so I am not a combatant in this war. I probably could be called an instigator because I love coffee ice cream and peanut butter cup ice cream and I definitely get my spoon out to share in the spoils.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Savannah is the kitten pictured on my blog about quilting frames. Savannah has grown and is now a fat cat, food is the driving force in Savannah's life, but a smart cat. Last September something happened to her, she couldn't walk. The vet thought maybe she had injured herself or it could even be a spinal problem. He gave her some medicine and said wait and see. Two weeks later with no improvement she was taken into the vets to be be put down. When she got there she walked across the office. A Smart cat! She was brought home again. About a month later I was sitting knitting and I said to hubby. "She's having a lot of trouble with the stairs to the basement litter box and dosen't always make it all the way. Maybe we should put her down." Savannah stood up on her one good leg and playfully batted at my knitting needle. She is a smart cat. She can now go up and down the basement stairs and even goes up to the second floor and squeezes through the cat door to sleep in our room at night. The one leg still dosen't work. During the Christmas holiday with all the children and grandchildren here, she lay in the middle of the kitchen floor. She likes to be where the action is. Every morning at 8 AM and evening at 5:30PM she howls something fierce until you feed her. Food is still the driving force in Savannah's life. She is a smart cat.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Schedule

I said early that I love Excel. I have an Excel spreadsheet that calculates when I should finish a quilt based on my progress at any particular time. I count the squares in a quilt and the equivalent number of squares for assemblingthe quilt and the border and binding the quilt. I then choose a date that I would like to have the quilt completed. As I finish the squares I list the total completed and the program fiqures out if I will finish on time at that rate of completion and if not when will I finish the quilt.

I am a task finisher. A coworker of mine told me I obcess on finishing a task. She would have to come and tell me it was lunch time because I would get so focussed on the job at hand. She said I even ate quickly because I considered it the latest job. The only things I might not finish are clothing I make or a really disappointing book. When you go shopping for clothes a lot of things you see on the rack look good until you try them on. Unfortunately when you sew you have invested a lot of time and money before you get to that try on stage. Clothes sewing is my least favorite type of sewing. My daughter in law gave me a book"She Came Undone" by Wally Lamb and although it was written well, it was so depressing I stopped reading it. I found the same thing with "The Blind Assasin" by Margaret Atwood.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Remember the Face

Last week, or when ever it was that Michigan had its primary election, I saw a familiar face as I was going into the polls. The woman immediately said "Peggy, how are you?" We talked a few minutes and then I finally said. "I'm sorry I don't remember your name." I thought that was embarrassing enough but this morning it sort of happened again. We had stopped for breakfast at the local grill after church and on the way out I saw another familiar face. Only this time I knew who it was. I thought I did. I introduced her to my husband and then she said she wasn't that person. She was the person who had lived next door to me for ten years. Of course she moved away twenty years ago. Now the question is, is it more embarrassing to not have any idea what a person's name is or guess the wrong one? I think I should work on my Brain Age Program more.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Night Out

Last night Hubby and I went to hear the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Hubby looked so sexy all dressed up in his suit. We had wonderful seats just 8 rows from the front on the main floor. Before hand we had dinner at the restaurant in Orchestra Hall. It was good, nothing to rave about and certainly not worth the price. The orchestra played two incredible selections. The first was a piano concerto for the left hand only by Maurice Ravel. By the end the pianist was holding on to the piano with his right hand because his left hand needed so much strength and indurance. The second selection was Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique. That is such a fun piece especially when the guillotine cuts his head off and you can hear it bounce, followed by the Witches Sabbath movement. In that movement they use the "Dies Irae" theme from the old Catholic Requiem Mass. Most young people who have never been to an old Latin Catholic Requem Mass don't know what scary is. The priests vestments were black, the coffin was covered in black surrounded by big orange beeswax candles. The choir would sing this mournful Gregorian chant which meant Day of Wrath. Anyway it was a fun evening.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cross Stitching

I make lots of quilts (23 not counting baby quilts) and I love doing them but cross stitching is my favorite kind of needlework. There is always someone waiting for me to finish a quilt and then there is the pressure of having a quilting frame taking up space in your family room or bedroom. No one waits on my counted cross stitch, I do it at my own pace, just for me. My cross stitch is not perfect. In fact I didn't realize how bad it was until I saw a sample of my daughter-in-laws stitching. I guess I never took lessons, just picked up a kit and started. The one drawback to embroidery is "What are you going to do with it?" Almost every room in my house has some cross stitch displayed, except for those rooms that hubby hasn't finished the frames for them. These pictures shown here are in my guest room and bath. John gave me the perfect cross stitch pattern for Cristmas last year. It is called "City Fish" and the pattern takes 15 pages. I am struggling to do 3 pages a year so it will take me 5 years to complete. That solves the problem of having too much to display.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Time for a Hair Cut

Hubby and I go to get our hair done at the same time. We used to go separately when the lady who does our hair was close to where I work. But now since it is about 30 miles away, we go together. It takes lots of courage to have your lover see you have your hair colored. I look like a gooey porcupine with my hair sticking up in all directions covered with dark brown goo and my eyebrows looking like Groucho Marx. Everytime I ask if I should go with my natural color ( I am not sure what that is)Hubby says "No." He likes it brown. Hubby has beautiful white hair, although the spot on the back of his head gets larger all the time. I tell him not too worry, I think bald is sexy. He tells me he is getting sexier all the time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Migraine Headache

Today I woke up with a migraine headache. I have pain and nausea but truthfully not as bad as my children or my ex-husband had them. They are debilitating though and I spent most of the day in bed in that half sleep dreaming stage. I think the worst thing about them is the fear, maybe it is something more than a migraine. Maybe it's a stroke or a tumor. It is hard to believe that something that painful is not doing damage to your body. The doctor has done all the tests and says they are migraine headaches and they don't do any harm. It sure messes up a perfectly good day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

International Auto Show

Today the Auto Show was open for those who had a ticket and a camera at 8 am before the general public was let in.The purpose was for photographers to be able to get good shots for a photo contest sponsored by the auto show. Hubby and I went with our cameras. His fancy one and my point and shoot. 8AM was awful early, there was even traffic and snow. There were very few people there and it was wonderful. Some men were there with their cameras and tripods I tried to look professional too. I sat in the Mazda Miata. That is my favorite car. I have always wanted one. The closest I got was a Ford Probe Hubby bought me when he proposed. He had a chance later to get a Miata for a good deal but he said a small car like that was too dangerous. I figure I should have asked for a motorcycle then the Miata would have looked less dangerous. I did have a Jaguar for a short time so I went and looked at them. They looked great except they didn't have a hood ornament. That was one of the best things about a Jag.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Purple Rose Theater

Yesterday the Lions club had an outing to the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea Michigan. We saw a play called "Vino Veritas"written by David Mac Gregor. It was a very funny comedy but also discussed some very serious topics. The play was rivetting. The actors really incredible. The Purple Rose Theater group was founded by Jeff Daniels of "Escanaba in da Moonlight" fame. Chelsea is a delightful little town. If the temperature wasn't nine degrees out we might have looked around more. We did have dinner at the Common Grill and it was wonderful. I have mentioned before how much I enjoy the Lions. The people we had dinner with were fun and interesting to talk to. As a result of this I know hubby and I intend to catch other plays at the Purple Rose and take some time to tour Chelsea( the Jiffy mix factory is there). I hope the Lions schedule another play too.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary!

Today is Mary's Birthday, Mary of "Shazam in the Kitchen". We celebrated with cake and ice cream last night. Mary seldom gets to celebrate a birthday all by herself. Her younger brother, Bill, was born 2 days and 2 years after her so they usually celebrated together. This year she celebrated with Gretel's Tummy, "Super G's Potpourri." This morning Mary got up early to make pumpkin glazed donuts. Every year Mary and her Grandmother send each other the most insulting awful birthday cards they can find. I think they start looking for these cards a year a head of time. Mary has always been an adventure for me. Not always a "delightful" child (she was a queen of temper tantrums as a youth), she always was creative and innovative in her approach to life. She has a real flair for drama, can be a real comedienne, and is definitely clumsy. She broke her nose in ballet class trying to do a pirouette. Happy Birthday Mary!

Friday, January 18, 2008


My hubby loves to play with Adobe Photoshop. He loves straightening slanting building in photographs or taking the red eye out of pictures. He even likes taking pictures of the baby grandson and putting mustaches on them to match their father's. It is too bad my dad didn't have Photoshop. I remember a beautiful picture my mother took of my dad with my children. She always said it would have been perfect if someone could have just closed the closet door in the background. No problem with Photoshop. Another time my dad took a picture of a family celebration at the dinner table. He put the milk bottle on the floor so the table top looked better. Unfortunately the milk bottle showed up on the floor and really looked silly. With Photoshop - no problem. When Mary got her wedding pictures back she decided she looked too heavy in them. I told her "No Problem" tell your photographer to use Photoshop.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Nuts and Berries Night

Tonight hubby has a camera club meeting. Whenever one of us will be gone for dinner the other one forages through the refrigerator or where ever he or she can find something to eat. Hence a nuts and berries night. Tonight I had a bowl of popcorn and a diet pop. I had leftover pot roast, potatoes and carrots for lunch so I wasn't really hungry. On these nights hubby usually has cereal or cottage cheese. It is kind of nice to be alone in the house. Martha is at school late so I quilt and listen to classical music. Really although hubby and I are both retired we don't get on each others nerves at all. He does the cooking and I do the cleaning. He likes to work with photography on the computer and I like to sew. I miss the people at work and I miss the intellectual challenges my job offered but then it's kind of nice to do one major cleaning project every day and then play the rest of the time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lunch with Mom

I am the luckiest girl in the world. Every Wednesday, my Mom and I go out to lunch and shopping. Mom celebrated her 90th birthday last month. We had a party for her and almost 60 people attended. She was thrilled and had a wonderful time. She said the best thing was that she knew everybody there and remembered their names. Like I said Mom and I went out to lunch and we went shopping at Joann Fabrics. We take turns buying lunch. We usually go to Bob Evans for lunch but that is not near Joann's. We go to the Dollar Tree several times a month because that is our favorite store and we dare each other to go through the store without buying anything at all. Mom is fun to talk with. We talk about religion, social problems, politics, books and television programs. We both had seen Frontline last night and we discussed that in detail. My Mom is a treasure and I look forward to Wednesdays.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fiber One and Yogurt

I am a lifetime Weight Watcher member. I have reached goal a couple of times. My saving grace is that I am almost 6 feet tall so I can weigh a lot. At one of the meetings the leader pushed Fiber One cereal(1/2 cup) and lite yogurt. The Fiber One is free of points. I have been eating this for breakfast for about 5 years now. I am the kind of person who will eat anything. I eat when I am happy, sad, bored, stressed, any mood whatever. I also eat fast. The Fiber One and Yogurt is not unpleasant. It's crunchy. I am somewhat lactose intolerant so the Yogurt works well for me. I don't like vanilla or pina colada flavored and the blackberry yogurt has seeds that get caught in my teeth. When we go on vacation I find many hotels will have cereal and yogurt. They usually don't have Fiber One but most cereals and yogurt are better than a donut. I am not on a diet now but this breakfast fills me up and means that at least part of the day I am not overstuffing myself with food. It also helps with regularity.

Monday, January 14, 2008

John's Wedding Quilt

I make a quilt for each of my children when they are married. John is the latest to marry and I have started on his wedding quilt. The pattern I chose was purchased from Jinny Beyer's quilt shop in Great Falls, Virginia. Jinny Beyer designs her own fabrics and patterns. I heard her speak at a quilt convention in Chicago and she was delightful to hear. This quilt is called Somerset. The pattern is for a square wall hanging but I modified it to fit a queen sized bed.

I finished piecing the top and now it is time to put it on the quilting frame and quilt. I use a Grace quilting frame that I bought in Chicago but they carry them in many of the stitching magazines and on line. The frame is called self basting because the top, back and batting are put on separate rollers and then wound together as you quilt so there is no need to pin or baste the quilt together before starting to quilt. I really love this quilt frame. This is the fourth quilt I have done on it. I did a crib quilt, a king size and now two queens.

I have two other quilting Frames besides a hoop. I have my grandmothers frame but it is impossible to even turn the quilt yourself unless you are very agile and can use your legs as well as your arms to push the rods into position. When I learned how to quilt in Pennsylvania my teacher used two sawhorses notched for a 2 by 2 rod to roll the quilt on. I used that for years but this frame required that I baste the quilt. There are two problems with basting the quilt. The first is space. You need to lay the quilt out flat. When I was working I could stay after work and move large tables together and that worked well for laying out the quilt. The second problem is that no matter how carefully you smooth things out it seems you always need to rip out the basting or move the pins as you go.

This is our cat Savannah helping me quilt Amy's wedding quilt, a Pine Burr pattern. I am using the old sawhorse quilt frame.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Baby Walls

I tried to decorate my guest room in a way that appeals to my grandchildren. We all know children love pictures of themselves. On the two open walls at the top of the bed I hung pictures of my grandchildren as babies, my own children as babies, their spouses as babies, my hubby and I as babies, and even great grandpa and great great grandma as babies. It has been lots of fun especially seeing pictures of the daughter and son in laws as infants. Some of them look remarkably the same as they do now. Some have hair when they didn't as babies and some don't have hair who did as babies. That is my hubby in the pink romper. I don't know why it is pink.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lions Club

When I retired my dentist talked me into joining the Lions. I really enjoy being a part of the club. Our club has 36 members, five of them are women. The ages in the group run from 28 to 92. The purpose of the Lions is to cure preventable blindness and help the blind. We support many groups including Leader Dog, Penrickton Center for Blind Children and some local activities. Meetings are fun. We usually have at least 20 people at a meeting. We have dinner, tell jokes, and organize our activities. We just finished our Candy Cane Drive over the holidays where we solicit funds outside local stores. 31 members volunteered and we collected $6000. This month we will go to the Purple Rose Theater for an outing, just for fun. Next month is the Pancake breakfast and computer raffle fund raiser. It is really fun to be part of an active group where everyone gets along and yet there is no pressure to do more than you can.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Library

Martha asked me to go to the library and pick up a book for her, "The Idiot's guide to Calculus." I have a library card and one of my New Year's Resolutions is to get out of the house, so I went. I have always felt uncomfortable in libraries. As a kid we had a bookmobile in our home town and I never went to the actual library. Even in college my school had closed stacks so I never saw where the books were kept. My children are very familiar with the library. I used to take them every week during the summer and while they were at story hour I would browse in the quilting books. I even checked out sheet music for the piano.
Now we have a new library, I don't know where the books are. It is huge with lots of computers, video tabes and recordings. It has stunning art works but it isn't friendly for those uncomfortable in a library. Martha left a note as to where to find her book. It was on the third floor in section 515. The whole third floor was reference books. I found her book but I don't know where the quilting books are, or if they even have sheet music anymore. When I go to Borders or Barnes and Nobles someone is always there to help you find anything you want. They even walk over to the correct shelf with you. Here at the new public library I felt very alone. I went down to the main floor to check out the book. The clerk sat at a computer just like at Borders. She said "your library card is out of date it must be renewed every year." Now as a senior citizen years go by like weeks. I didn't even know it had been that long. In order to renew my library card I had to have two pieces of identification with my address on them. I can get to Canada with two pieces of ID! Needless to say I didn't have it and left the library. I went to Meijer's to buy a lampshade and a candy bar. When I got home the lampshade didn't fit the lamp but I did eat the candy bar.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Late Bloomers

My daughter , Martha, is a late bloomer. Well really she is still a bud. She has budded before and not bloomed but we are hoping. I was a late bloomer. I didn't receive my engineering degree until I was 52 years old. So Martha has time. She has an aunt who was almost 40 before she got her degree and now does very well. You would think that I understand late bloomers but I don't and I certainly don't understand Martha. Somehow I think there has to be a "happening" that makes you know it's now or never. Something has to shake your complacency to make you want to exert every last bit of energy to reach your goal. For me, I was 47 years old, divorced, with 6 kids. It's sort of like my African Violets which bloom profusely when I forget to water them. I can here them say, "Put out seeds, put out seeds."

Today I was helping Martha with her calculus because her previous course was ten years ago. It's going to be hard for her. We can only hope and encourage, she has to find the drive to reach the goal.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Brain Age

When one reaches retirement age the biggest fear is that our brain will wither up and die. We have a clock on the wall that tells us what day of the week it is because all the days tend to be the same, except for church on Sunday and garbage pickup on Monday. We set the alarm for both. So for Christmas I asked for and received a Nintendo DS with the Brain Age program. It's lots of fun and gives you feedback immediately. My first time doing the program my brain age was 80 but I have improved until now it is 30. The program also has Sudoku games on it which I love to do. I found when I was working and I would make an error in my computations or forget how to do something I immediately assumed that senility was creeping up on me. Younger people just say "oops" and don't worry about it. Of course when you have children who are now grown, everytime you mix things up or forget something they are also sure senility is creeping up on you. My hubby says that the part of your brain which keeps you from saying blunt or untactful things is the first to go. So everyday I do my Brain Age game and hope I can keep the gray matter active.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Year Resolutions

When I was growing up my mother always insisted we make New Years Resolutions. I still do but I have learned a new system. First of all being a nerdy engineer I use Excell for my resolutions. The truth is I use Excell for everything. The other thing I do is make lots of resolutions. I make some that are going to be a real effort, like walking 5 miles per week or practicing the piano 3 hours a week. I make others that are no brainers, like brushing my teeth twice a day or making my bed every day. I have others that take some effort like getting out of the house 5 times during the week or writing my grandchildren every other week. I divide these into categories, Mental Health, Physical Health, Family Health, Social Health and Projects.

I score my performance and at the end of the week give each category a score and highlight my performance with different colors. Did I say I love Excell. Because I have the easy categories my scores are never terrible and I love seeing all the different colors. One of my New Year Resolutions is to "amend my New Years Resolutions" that is sort of my "escape" key.

My hubby is even nerdier than I am but he knows better than to make New Years Resolutions. Mary had a quick test she found on the internet on how to tell if you were a "geek". Gretel came out by far the Geekiest. All of my offspring have sort of nerdy occupations, except John. He drives an 18 wheeler.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Today I had to put my cat, Virginia , to sleep. She was 17 years old and over the last 4 months was having greater difficulty finding the litter box. We moved it into our bathroom off of our bedroom to no avail. Virginia was not a very sociable cat. If she heard a new voice in the house, she darted under the bed. Most of the grandchildren had never seen her. I did find it comforting that she slept at my feet and in the last few months on my chest.

Cats are strange animals. We have had several over the years. My hubby is nuts about them. He put a cat door in our bedroom door so that the cat could go in and out but we could have some privacy too. One of our cats, Savannah, is a very large cat, much over the 12 pounds the cat door was designed for. When she would go through the door during the night she would cause the whole door to bang on the jam. Fervor, our kitten, would wait outside the cat door to jump though and startle the cat on the other side.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I Do Have a Kitchen

I do have a kitchen, in fact it is beautiful. Since my hubby retired he does all the cooking and he is awfully good at it. Before he retired I did cook but it was mostly with frozen foods and a pair of scissors. I did cook in the past, after all I have six children, the shortest is Mary and she is 5 foot 9 inches and the lightest is Bill who weighs in at 170 pounds, so obviously none suffered from malnutrition. If you read my daughters blogs they will refer to my cooking talents which mostly involved large volume and dishes that did not require strict attention to detail. Interestingly all of my children love to cook, except John.

My hubby and I remodeled the kitchen about 5-8 years ago. I wanted a kitchen that more than one person can fit in. That way when everyone was helping with the cooking I could slip out. Originally the kitchen area was open to the family room but a large family is noisy and walls cut down the noise. Both hubby and I are Master Gardeners so the plants in the sun garden are important. My hubby made the china cabinet out of upper kitchen cabinets. I may not cook but I love china and crystal.