Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Last dinner and last job before university bound

Sunday evening we went over to the cottage to have dinner and say goodbye to Jack.  He left for his first year at the University of Michigan yesterday. 

 It was a wonderful dinner and a good evening with the family. 
Today David came over and did some planting for me.  It is his last job before joining Jack and Brittany at U of M this week.  I had him transplant some ivy from the area behind our woods to a place beside the driveway.  The ivy was very thick in the woods behind our house so it was hard to dig up.  I knew that I would never get to this job so I quickly recruited David to do it for me.  We have a few holes in the ivy in the woods but I am confident that it will fill in within a year and it is just the woods.  The ivy that he planted is on the left side of the driveway as you pull in to our garage.  I had some large pots there earlier but we moved them.  That area is kind of wild and hard to keep free of weeds.  I decided that the best thing to do is to 'recycle' what we already have and fill it in.  If the ivy spreads and covers that area more, it would be great.  That whole side of the driveway is just sandy woods with nothing really planted in that space until now.  I think it should be very easy to take care of that space now and still have it look like it is really purposefully landscaped, not just let grow up into weeds and woods.  The ivy is so thick that I doubt the weeds will survive in that area.  I am always looking for simple solutions that don't require work on my part since gardening really isn't my thing. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tribute to Aunt Jean

Yesterday we celebrated the life of my Aunt Jean.  This is a picture I took about a year ago at a family gathering.  I don't have many pictures of her so I decided to use this one.  She was a wonderful woman.  She and Uncle Clarence lived across the road from our family on the farm in Coleman.  She was the aunt that we spent the most time with while growing up.  We used to spend many evenings over across the road.  They had a TV and we didn't so we would go over as often as possible and watch Saturday cartoons or evening shows.  Kay (her daughter and the playmate of Eva and me) would come over and rescue Eva and me from just having to play with each other.  We had many adventures in the woods, along the creeks, in the barns and in various trees.  It was a wonderful life with family all around you.  Aunt Jean was an important part of that life.  We will miss her. 

 Eva, Della and Kay the trio that spent many days together in the summer, trying to stay out of trouble and away from our parents so that they wouldn't know exactly what we were doing.  The outdoors was our playground and we spent many a days just wandering around our 2 farms, creeks, barns and trees. 
 Eva, Della and Greta.  She lived about a mile away and was just a few months younger than me.  I would often walk over to her house on Sunday and spend the afternoon until it was time to go home so she would walk me half way back.  Her mother, Aunt Ruth is Dad's sister. 
 Aunt Jean was known in the community for her chocolate pies.  If you were lucky, one of these pies would show up at a potluck and you managed to get a piece before it disappeared.  If you were even luckier, one or two of them showed up when you were visiting Coleman, especially if Glen was in visiting.  She would make a couple and then call Glen or Leo to go over and get them.  They were delicious.  Kay and her children made all these pies Friday afternoon.  Again, everyone that wanted one made sure that they took one right away. 
Finally, the 4 of us all together.  We are sometimes a force to be reckoned with but we always have fun together. 

When you celebrate the life of someone as good as Aunt Jean, it includes a lot of laughter and wonderful memories.  The Lewis family is kind of known for their laughter fill ed celebrations.  I am thankful for such a wonderful family, the good memories of growing up in Coleman and most of all the laughter. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Channeling Sara

Yesterday I took a risk after noticing a small advertisement in the Arts section of the paper.  The ad was for learning relaxing and meditating techniques along with some fun art activities for women that would open your creative mind.  I called and signed up for this little evening adventure.  It started out with some relaxation techniques and meditating for about 20 minutes.  I must admit I am not very good at 'stilling my mind' in moments like that.  There is a lot of 'chatter' that continues while I try to relax my mind but I had my yoga mat and did my best.  I was pleased that there were so many women there, about 25 women of all ages and most seemed to be alone or just with another woman, no big groups of women exploring this together because that would make it 'safer'.  Maybe that is just my projection.  But I too was alone, not to be influenced by a safe friend to introduce me into this world.

After the introduction we went into a room that was set up with all kinds of artistic activities available for us to do.  Some were more interesting than others but all of them helped you with your creative mind and opening you up to have fun and explore.

This is one of my more frivolous pieces.  I am sorry that I can't turn it the other direction.  Anyway I was working with a paint brush and the brown ink.  There was a name for this kind of work but I can't remember it.  Suddenly this PIG appeared in the work,  (It is just above the red spot in case you can't see it like I did.)  Well, I just decided to go with the pig thing and really be foolish.  I took it over to another table and embellished it with little pieces of glass, feathers, finger paint and a few words.  Silly but fun.
 These two were my first two pieces and really not too imaginative.  The one on the right is just a damp coffee filter with dots of paint on it and then you put it in a pie pan with some marble.
These are the last two activities.  The top one is just wallpaper cut up and make a collage the bottom one is a little folded book that we made. 

So,  I thought of Sara a lot when I was with this group.  Channeling Sara was my evening's mantra.  The evening ended up with the leader doing some Tibetan chants.  A very interesting way to end the day. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Last evening we attended a fund raiser and dinner to honor former Governor William Milliken and his wife Helen.  It was a nice event that honored their lives and commitment to the Arts.  The keynote speaker talked about the arts and the need to continue to fund them.  As a little aside, the present governor was attending too and of course Michigan, like many other states is cutting back government funding for the arts.  I think that our present governor is hoping that the private sector picks up that needed funding.  Maybe that is a plausible idea in these times. Michigan does need to get back on its feet and become a more vibrant society. 

HOWEVER, that isn't really where I am going with this post entitled 'Emotions'  The keynote speaker stated in passing that there are 9 human emotions.  I was sidetracked a while trying to name those 9 emotions.  I could only come up with a possible 5-7.  Maybe someone could edit my list and/or add to it to fill it in for me. 

My list includes:

Feel free to add, subtract or comment on the list.

Friday, August 19, 2011

29 Years and still in love

This is the card that Eva sent us for our anniversary.  This is sooooo funny.  I know it isn't the front porch but can't you just see Mom and Dad in this picture.  I know I have driven past houses of some people that are just sitting out in their lawn chairs in front of the garage, watching the cars go by.  That isn't how we spent our anniversary, at least not yet. 

 We went sailing.
 The captain here and my friend Maryanne.  It was a beautiful afternoon and evening on Grand Traverse Bay.  Not a cloud in the sky, a nice light breeze and wonderful company.  We sailed out to the island and checked out that side of the bay, enjoyed some wine, beer and cheese and good conversation.
 Maryanne and Gordon are great friends and they LOVE to spend time on the water.  It was terrific for the 4 of us to get together and enjoy the afternoon.
The anniversary couple.  It is hard to believe that 29 years ago we made that leap into marriage.  I have enjoyed every one of those days with this wonderful man.  I am blessed. 

SO, Eva, we are not quite ready for sitting in front of the garage in  our lawn chairs, watching the cars go by.  Anyway, we would at least have a glass of champagne in our hands.  Thanks for the smile though. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Galleries and Gardens

Galleries first.  I have been looking in closets in our basement.  We have been redecorating our bedroom and I was going to put away the old art work.  WELL, I found other discarded pieces and decided it was time to get rid of all of them.  Some Goodwill shopper is looking for something to decorate their walls and I am just the one to give them something. 

 This is a pretty eclectic selection.  Some of the pieces have seen better days.  The "Dick, Jane and Sally" posters were from a 'Big Book' that I found at school and had framed for my walls.  I still have more of them in a box.  They were cute for school and that is about it.  I also have some Georgia O'Keeffe posters that were hanging in our house many years ago.  It is time for them to find a new home.
 Here we have the flowers selection and the nice abstract piece that was hanging above our bed.  We have changed the style and they need to go. 
This is the selection of just SOME of the boat pictures that we have.  I am waiting for Bud to help me choose the ones that he wants to keep.  We have even more of them but I decided it was enough of the gallery. 
Our garden has been planted in the area beside the driveway.  They put in about 35 hostas this morning.  We wanted something that would look good and fill in but not be too high.  They did a great job with the planting.  I am now going to have to keep them watered.  I had some hostas planted before and they didn't grow well, I think that I just didn't water them.  I will be much more vigilant with these plants.  The paving blocks made a nice look for the side of the driveway.  We will have the dirt in front hauled away and plant something at the bottom of the wall when everything is done.  We have some flat space up beside the garage that will need something but right now we are focusing on getting everything painted and then working on the space beside the door, out our kitchen window.  Kevin is going to build a little deck/walkway around that part of the house.  Then some landscaping may need to be added to finish that off.  I am not much of a gardener so this is really stretching my limits.  Eva would be having a blast.  I have consulted her a few times and she definitely said that the hostas were the way to go.  I hope she approves. 

I would rather worry about the galleries but am getting to know a little about gardening.  Expanding my horizons.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bud's garage and my quilt

Well, the weekend was filled with activities around the house.  The weather was rather cloudy and rainy on Saturday so that was helpful.  It made it easier for Bud to work in his garage.  I joke that I have become a 'Garage Widow'.  That is the label that Eva gave me when I sent her a picture.  I guess I could have worse complaints.  He has been working hard getting it in shape. 

 You can see that he has finished his back wall with the primed siding boards that were leftover from the outside.  It looks very nice and he still has some more to use in the future.  They are stored in the rafters.  He made several trips to Home Depot this weekend for supplies but the major purchase was the shelving units for the back wall.  He assembled them and used leftover wood for the shelves.  It looks very nice.  He is especially proud of his innovative ways of storing things like the old garbage barrel for all the shovels, rakes and hoes. He hadn't filled it up when I took this picture but it is full now. He also is very proud of the way he decided to store his car top carrier, attaching it to the end of one of the shelves.  He went into my garage and took out many of the rakes and such that were hanging on the walls and motorcycle boxes that were blocking the stairway to the back door.  I now can get around my garage without fearing that a rake or ax will come tumbling down and hit me or my car.  I can also exit the garage up the steps and to the house without going around through the big garage door.  I will have to get into the habit of using that door again.  It has been blocked for so many years that I forget to use it.  I am very happy with the results and Bud is especially happy with his new garage.  I joked about him putting a wood stove in the back and heating it but he said NO to that idea. I'm not too sure that our subdivision rules would allow a wood stove and I don't think he wants that great of a workroom  just yet.  He said that he doesn't have any plans of making furniture like his dad. 
 I stayed inside and worked on this 'scrappy' quilt.  I have been working on it for quite a while but it isn't a quick pattern.  It takes a lot of blocks to make this quilt since the darker pieces are 2"x4" and you put 8 of them together to make the 'pinwheel' block.  The block is only 8 inches square so it takes a lot of blocks to make this quilt. The good thing about this pattern and this quilt is that I am using up scraps from other projects only bought the white material for this quilt.  It has been time consuming but a good project to keep me busy and away from buying more fabric. 
While Bud was working in the garage yesterday, I did a little sorting and cleaning in my sewing room.  I said that I have been trying to stay away from quilting stores this summer while finishing this quilt but I still have a LOT of fabric in my 'stash'.  When I first started quilting I only bought fabric for a project that I was planning to work on.  Even when I saw pretty fabric, I passed it by because I didn't have any use for it.  After I retired and really got into quilting more, I started going to fabric stores more often and started just picking up a yard or two of something that I liked, hoping that I would find something to go with it and make something beautiful.  I found it harder to pass up those pretty pieces of fabric. 

WELL, just like all good quilters, I have established a 'stash' of fabric without any projects in mind.  The fabric is very pretty but very eclectic.  I also have a lot of leftover fabric.  When I buy for a project I usually buy a little extra.  It is very painful to be in the middle of a project and run out of the fabric you need.  This happened to me early on in a project and I had to make a distressed call to a store and pray that they still had some.  I was lucky that time but you hear stories from fellow quilters of disasters or maybe that is just what we tell ourselves so that we can buy a little extra.  The smaller pieces of just 1/2 yard or 1/4 yard aren't too disturbing, I can always make a scrappy quilt and use them up.  So far I have made 3 and they were all pretty big.  They made great gifts, one for a wedding gift, one to Penny and the one that I am making now. 

What can I say, quilting keeps me busy and out of the bars and casinos.  It could be worse, I could be gambling away my money or drinking by noon.  I just read and quilt in my retirement. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Red Sky actually left the harbor

A beautiful day in Traverse City and the boat actually left the slip for the second time this year. I was invited to join the Noble family on an afternoon sail.  Bud worked, he said he needed to get some projects done.  He did take the boat out last week with a friend when I was visiting Leo.  That was the first time this year.  We aren't very good boat owners but at least we did it on a great day. 

 Even Ringo came along.
 Jack tried driving.  The tiller in this location usually illicits a obscene gesture or statement from Bud.  I hope that Jack didn't learn that from Bud. 
 Jack and Charlotte are both looking relaxed for our sail.
 Brittany leaves for school on Sunday so it was nice to spend some time with her. 
 Cutie Charlotte will soon be the only child left at home.  How do you think she will handle all the attention??
 I was glad to be included in the afternoon of sailing.
 The boat still looks pretty good.  We should try to get out on it more.
 Three lovely girls. 
One last shot at the harbor.  It was a great day. 

We left David at our house.  He and his two buddies are painting our house.  His boss (Bud) wouldn't give him the day off. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The garage continues

 Bud worked on his garage quite a bit this past weekend.  He had some leftover siding from the outside and it was enough to fill one wall on the inside.  SO, he started this project.  It looks pretty good since the siding was already primed in a similar color as the outside.  He is nearly finished. He hopes to put shelves on this back wall and a bench for his table saw.  It was a hot weekend and he really worked hard to finish this wall. 
 Almost done and he still has some more wood to use somewhere else on a different wall.  He is happy with the outcome.  I worked inside out of the heat.  I am working on the bedroom furniture.  I have the knobs on and have moved much of it into the room.  I still have some more work to do but it looks great so far. 
Today David came over to begin the project of painting the house. Today was a power washing day.  He started out wearing a raincoat but decided that it is a wet project anyway and it was useless to try to keep dry, and then it rained a little too.  We hope to have this all painted by the time David goes off to U of M this fall.  I think it will get done. 

SO, the garage continues to be a project for us. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Escaping downstate and my birthday lunch

Yesterday I decided to take a trip downstate for the day.  I started out early (9:00 is early for me) and drove down to the outlet mall at Birch Run.  I really thought it was closer to Midland than it is but I kept on going.  I decided I needed some new tops to wear and haven't found anything here that really excited me.  I did a quick trip around to some stores.  I found quite a few tops to buy, a pair of shorts and a pair of caprice.  I thought it was a pretty successful trip. 

On my way back I stopped in Midland.  Aunt Jean is in Tender Care there and I wanted to see her.  She is not doing so well, in some pain and a little weak.  I didn't stay too long, just long enough to let her know that I am thinking of her. 

Then I stopped by the farm to see if the crops were up.  I couldn't remember if we had wheat or beans planted this year.  Well, it was planted in wheat and the crop was already harvested.  I thought maybe you needed a picture to see.  I should have arranged to meet with a real estate agent so that we can put it on the market.  I need to do that once I find out some more information about land  and prices there.  We have only received a few calls on the land and none for quite a while.  It is time to get the professionals involved. 

 Finally I stopped in to see Leo.  I really went down to see Leo and Aunt Jean, the other things were just excuses to get me there.   Leo and I had dinner and caught up on each other's activities.  His biggest activity has been working lately.  He worked 8 days straight this past week and all the days were 12 hour shifts.  He has been pretty tired this past week.  It was good to see him.  Things will be a little slower for him this week but he is still  putting in quite a few hours. 
 Today, my birthday, I had lunch with some of the girls from Kingsley.  Molly (on the left) called and invited me to lunch.  Then some other girls decided they wanted a lunch out too so Amy, Jessica and Tonya (I forgot to take the picture before Tonya left so she isn't in the picture)  surprised me at the restaurant.  It was nice to catch up with them too.  I rarely see them except at school or some place where things are hurried.  They are all young mothers and it is fun to hear them talk about their troubles of being a mother and working and such.  I enjoyed the lunch a LOT.  I love staying connected to the younger generation. 
Here we have Molly and me in the parking lot.  She is a great friend. 
Tonight Bud and I are going out to dinner so lots of meals out this week.  Thank you for my birthday messages this week.  One more year older. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birthday dinner

Monday night we met Eva and Jessica in Big Rapids for dinner.  Our favorite restaurant wasn't open so we settled for a little 'bar food'.  It was just nice to see them.  We invited Leo but he was just getting off a VERY difficult and busy week of work.  He worked 44 hours of overtime last week which means that he worked a total of 84 hours.  He had worked a 12 hour shift on Sunday night so he was just going to sleep and hope for 8 hour shifts this week.  I am going down tomorrow to see him and have dinner with him. 

 The bar food was good.
 Jessica bought and made me this TERRIFIC magnetic board filled with pictures from Paris.  It is really very cute.  I LOVE it. 
 Of course we are getting better at having the waiter take our picture.  The whole gang. 
Eva bought me a sharp new jacket.  I LOVE it too.  I was glad to see everyone.  We have discovered that Big Rapids is a great halfway point to meet.  I don't know what took us so long to think of meeting for dinner more often. After all these years of Eva living in G.R.  we finally figured this out. 

I loved having the chance to have dinner with them and share my birthday. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Busy and full weekend

Saturday was a busy day for us here.  We had two important commitments for that afternoon so we had to 'juggle' our time.  We started out by going to Jack's Open House.  It was a great day at the beach.  We went early and then took off to a wedding.   We left the wedding reception early and then came back to the Open House.  Dividing our time was a great way to see everyone.

 Jack and Charlotte are ready for the crowd.
 Bud and Sue look great. 
 Brittany and Charlotte look fantastic, as usual.
 The Aunt and Uncle with the proud graduate.  He will join Brittany and David at the University of Michigan this fall.
 Jack is the third one to go off to college.  The house will be quiet this fall with only Charlotte to keep them busy. 
 The 'Valet" parking crew.  The driveway only holds a few cars so David and his friends parked cars for the visitors. 
 Then we took off to Kingsley to a wedding.  The bride and groom are/were Kingsley teachers.  Josh was one of my students LONG ago in third grade.  Then he came on staff as a third grade teacher and we worked together several years.  Last year he took a job as a principal in a different school district. 
 The bride is a local Kingsley girl and a 4th grade teacher.  I think they are a great match.
 Groom and former teacher.  It was a HOT day under the tent.
FINALLY,  I did get on Bud's bike for a ride on Sunday.  We went with some friends up to Leland for brunch.  It was a hot day and it was good that we were on the road early.  It was a fun ride.  I am not going to get my own bike but I will ride now and then with Bud.  Many of you were encouraging me to ride with him so I did.  It still feels a little 'dangerous' but I will go now and then.  However, I'm not going to be his regular "bitch'  (That is what they call the woman on the back)

I hope you enjoyed your weekend and the hot weather.