Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quilt shop"Hopping"

My friend Kathy is back in TC after taking a long vacation in the RV. She retired from nursing and took the summer off to travel before going back part time this month.  It is good to have her back in town. 
Yesterday we decided to take in a few quilt shops south of here.  We drove to Cadillac and found a cute shop downtown.  I also found a 'voice from the past'.  I was asking about the restrooms and a lady answered in a voice that I hadn't heard in several years.  It was Cathy, Eva's former sister-in-law and Jessica and Matt's aunt.  We had a nice little chat.  It is funny who you run into when out and about.
 We checked out another shop in that area, had lunch and then headed south a bit more.  We went to the shop where I often stop in Farwell and then on to the Amish shop in Clare.  I didn't buy much fabric, just a couple of pieces for a baby quilt that I am making for someone soon.  I tried not to add to my 'stach' too much.  I love the quaint little Amish shop.  It is fun to talk with the owner and see their modest selection. 
Finally, we stopped in to see Leo for a short visit.  Of course, he was THRILLED to see me.  I did call earlier this week and warn him that I would be stopping in for a visit.  He is doing well.  He said that he had 2 WHOLE DAYS off this past weekend.  The first time that he has had 2 days off in a row for quite a while.  He said that he had 48 hours of overtime on his last paycheck.  That is a lot of working. 

SO, it was a fun day with a surprise, lots of fabric, and a visit with my brother.  What more can a retired lady ask???? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Busy weekend

 The weekend started with a concert at Interlochen.  We had 4 tickets to Jackson Brown so Sonja and Sue came along with us.  It was a good concert but you can tell that we are bundled up for the colder weather since the concert was outside.  It was just him singing along with his guitar or keyboard.  The music was good and he has still kept his voice even though he has been doing music for a long time.  One interesting thing about the stage was the number of guitars he had lined up on the stage.  He seemed to choose a different guitar based on the song that he sang.  If you are not familiar with this music, I encourage you to check out some of his more famous songs on YouTube.  This post is too long for me to include a clip from his music so you will have to do it on your own if you are interested. 
 Saturday morning I was up early and heading down to Grand Rapids. This weekend was Art Prize in downtown Grand Rapids.  Bud chose to stay home as he really isn't that interested in walking around and checking out the art. Eva, Jessica and I enjoyed it very much.  We met at Jessica's house and then took off downtown for the day.  The weather forecast wasn't that encouraging but it turned out to be a great day.  The rain didn't come until we were too tired and needed to come home anyway. 
YES, this Tonka truck was one of the entries.  Art is Art is Art.  We thought this was fun. 

This piece was all photos of people arranged in this shape.  Interesting!!
 This is photos too but they are of handicapped people. 
 The shape of this sculpture was fantastic. 
 We did a loot of looking and reading the words of the artist.  Eva and Jessica have their "Paris Scarves" on, looking so stylish. 
 You know, I can't remember what the artist used for this piece but it sure looks great. 
 This piece was made from lottery tickets.  That is hard to believe but it was fun to look at. 
 We gave out in the late afternoon and headed home.  We stopped and bought some wine, cheese, crackers and bread.  We headed back to Jessica's house to recover and wait for Doug to come home from his Rugby game and join us for dinner. 
 Sunday morning I went back to Jessica's house for day 2.  Eva went to church and then out with friends for the afternoon so she didn't join us on Day 2.  Jessica and Doug were working on this VERY cool stool that they found on Craig's List.  They repainted it and recovered the back and seat.  It reminds me of the one we had at the farm.  They did a great job with it. 
 It has a wonderful new home in their kitchen.  Jessica is working on painting an old window frame to hang above it.  The kitchen looks great. 
Then Jessica and I went back out for a couple of hours to see some more art.  This is a display that was outside the Gerald Ford Museum.  The sunflowers are made from recycled water bottles. 

SO, you can see that I was busy.  Bud worked on chores around the house and getting the boat ready for the winter. Fall has arrived, the days are shorter, the leaves are turning and the air is colder.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I have been reading a LOT of novels about Paris this summer and fall.  Sometimes it is a coincidence and sometimes I pick up the book because the story takes place in Paris.  But anyway, I have been reading and thinking about that wonderful city a lot lately. 
The other night I was lying in bed waiting for sleep after just finishing a chapter of my latest book, The Invisible Bridge which takes place in Paris just before WWII.  I was thinking of the streets and the experiences of the characters.  My mind drifted off to my very special Paris trip this past spring. 

I have taken many terrific trips with my wonderful husband.  We have visited some exotic places and some of the great cities of Europe.  However, this trip with  the women in my life was so extra special for me too.  As I look back over the trip and relive some special moments, I am SO VERY THANKFUL for that time together.  It was such a wonderful experience for me not just because I was able to share the time with everyone but my traveling companions made it especially wonderful.  The experience of the city was also made special because of the way we kind of immersed ourselves in the city.  It really helps to have along with you companions that can navigate the city ( I am terrible at finding my way around anywhere let alone a large city)  It was also nice to have a couple of companions that spoke a little french.  Those two 'treats' added to the experience for me too.  I was able to just relax and enjoy the experience, the women, the wine, the food and the love all around us. 

SO,  I know that I facilitated the experience but my companions added so much to my enjoyment.  You lovely women of my life, THANK YOU,  I will always treasure that memory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainy Monday

This weekend was BEAUTIFUL here in TC.  It is fall though and the air was crips.  The leaves are just starting to turn. 

 Saturday we drove up to Suttons Bay for lunch with Megan, Patty and Sonja.  Megan turned 22 this past weekn anad was home from college for the weekend.  We used that as an opportunity to see everyone and catch up. 
 Then I went out to my local and favorite quilt shop.  They were having a 'Tent Sale' and many things were 20-30% off.  I was looking for backing for the scrap quilts that I have made the last few months.  As you can see I found quite a few things to buy.  YES, I know that I have been doing scrap quilts to get rid of my 'stash' but I did manage to replenish some of that stock on Saturday.  Bud asked me, when I returned, if I found anythign that I liked.  WELL, I told him that I can always find something that I like in a quilt store. 
 Bud worked on the deck.  He used a power washer to clean it up.  The wood that we have on the deck off our living room is a special very dense wood.  It looks beautiful when it is wet and clean,  almost like mahogany,  but it turns darker over time.  We tried to put a clear finish on it several years ago so it would keep that nice clean look but the finish wouldn't absorb into the wood.  Now he is cleaning it up and planning to put tounge oil on it.  An artist that uses this kind of wood told him that would help it keep the beautiful color.  I hope it works.  It needed power washed anyway. 
Things have cooled off a little in TN so the girls were able to have a campfire outside.  I know that many of you may have received this picture from Diana but I thought maybe others of you might like to see how much these girls are growing and getting more beautiful each day. 

I hope you had a great weekend. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Still have the 'touch'

I taught twice this past week.  It was nice and I enjoyed both days of teaching a couple of lessons.  I can still do it.  I am thankful that the third grade team still allows me to practice my craft.  I enjoy the time with the students and the staff.  I am going to be a regular this year, going in every Tuesday and Thursday for the afternoon.  It is a good way to feel useful and have fun with students.  I am also glad to see the people on the staff.  I always go in so that I can spend part of lunch time with them and catch up.  I knew that when I retired I didn't want to be a substitute teacher, that is too much like work and requires you to be there too early for me.  I also knew that I still wanted to have contact with students and with adults that aren't just my age.  This is a great way for me to accomplish both of those goals.  I am a happy retiree.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slow week in N. Michigan

It has been a slow week here in T.C.  School started so I went in this past week and helped a little in Molly's classroom.  They have a "new to Third Grade" teacher on the team now because of all the changes and a couple of layoffs.  He is an experienced teacher but most of his experience is in middle school so he is kind of scrambling to learn the program.  I helped him with some organization things for his classroom and am going in tomorrow morning to teach his class while he does some individual testing with his students.  I told him that I wouldn't do the testing ( I always hated this test when I had to administer it) but I am able to teach his class for the morning and let him do the testing.  I think I will go in twice a week this year.  There have been a LOT of cut backs with things like aides and so they really could use the help.  Many of the classes have increased class size too.  I don't regret not teaching, especially since I do get to 'dabble' in it now and then at my convenience. 

I did work on a quilt this past week though.  Continuing with the theme of using up my 'stash' I cut out this quilt and put it together.  It is an easy quilt to put together.  I was thinking of putting the 'pinewheel' scrap quilt on the back of this one (You can check an older post for a picture of that quilt)  but I decided it would be too busy to have these 2 colorful quilts back-to-back.  Now I need to make a back for each of them.  I was trying to use up my stash and not buy any new fabric but there is a big sale at a local quilt store this weekend so maybe I will try to find something to go on the back of each of them.  Like I said they are VERY bright but interesting.  They are 'up for grabs' if family is interested.  It will be on a first come basis.  They both would fit on a double bed and cover the mattress.  The bed that they are on in this picture is our king size bed so it just goes to the edge and a little over. 
 I do like this pattern and it was so easy. 
Some of you might recognize some of the fabrics in this quilt.  I can tell you where each of them came from.  The quilt does tell a story. 

Bud continues to work on his outside work.  He is almost done.  He has managed to get himself a walkway all the way around the house. He had a goal of building some kind of flat surface around the perimeter of the house.  Yesterday he bought the last pieces of paving cement blocks to put by the back door.  Then he put the flat stones back in the area outside our kitchen window.  I think he is done building decks and moving stones.  He also planted some grass next to the retaining wall so it should grow this fall.  He is going to wait until spring to plant wildflowers next to the driveway on the other side where we put the ivy.  He wants something growing there until the ivy takes over.  NOW I need some visitors to check out all our work.  Fall is a beautiful time in N. Michigan so 'come on up'. 

The house has been a big focus for this summer and of course an unexpected event hit us last week, the dishwasher decided to leak and we had a repairman tell us it needed to be replaced.  I was shocked to find out that appliances last about 10 years now.  That isn't good.  We have been washing dishes by hand this past week.  (I don't know how those pioneers did it, washing those dishes in dishpans AFTER they heated the water over the fire).  We have a new on now. 

Well, that is all the little stuff that has been going on here.  Maybe more exciting things have been going on in your life???

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All Decked out

Bud worked all weekend on his newest decking projects.  He told me it was a good thing that the weather was not good for sailing.  He is getting closer and closer to reaching his goal of having some sort of decking or flat surface around the house to walk on.  I'm not sure why he wants that surface but he is willing to build it so it will happen. 
 This is the right hand corner as you look at our house from the road.  This is the last area for him to put the decking.  He worked on this yesterday (Monday) and it is almost finished.  He just has to screw the boards on the frame. 
 He built this part last weekend.  You can also see that we had some stones delivered and some workers put down these flat pieces of stone with the 'river rocks' around them on the side of the garage.  It looks very nice.
 The first area he filled in was the area between the house and the new garage.  He used the flat stones that were in the back of the house to fill in this area.  It is a narrow little walkway but it looks nice. 
 Kevin is building this area.  You can see our front door is on the left and the old garage is on the right.  This area had old railroad ties that were used for steps and crumbling fast.  He cleared out the flat rocks to bring the electricity into the house from the new garage so that really dug up that area a lot.  The part next to the house was just filled with large rocks because it is under the 'drip line' of the roof and rarely gets water.  Now it has this nice little walkway. 
 This is just another view of Kevin's deck.  He is here today and has finished it off.  It looks very nice.  We will let it 'weather' a couple of years and then stain it a dark brown. 
This is the save view that I showed in the first picture but now it has the boards on the top. 

SO..... you can see that Bud has been very busy.  I have been working on a very bright quilt too.  I will show pictures when it is finished.  I am continuing to use up my scraps. 

We did have time to go out to the movies this weekend.  Saturday night we went to see 'The Help'.  It was as terrific of a movie as the book was.  I read the book a couple of years ago and loved it.  I have given it as gifts many times and also enjoyed the movie.  I strongly recommend. it to everyone.  It is a good history lesson and a good lesson on how to live a good life.  Sunday night we went to see 'Cowboys and Aliens'  (Bud's choice this time)  It was fairly good for an action movie.  I really didn't expect it to be a 'serious' action movie though.  Somehow I had the impression that it was a comedy.  Well it wasn't.  It was kind of like and 'Indiana Jones' movie of the west.  Bud enjoyed it but I don't think it will win any awards.  Just entertaining. 

I hope you had a good "Labor Day" weekend.  All is well with the family.  Sara told me that Erik is in the U.S. so I hope to see him while he is here.  Sara and Leo are enjoying Sara's Norway family that are visiting.  Her mother and all her siblings were out at the Cape.  Good family times.  Leo said that he did manage to get a couple of days off this weekend and made it down to his 10 acres to do a little 'outdoor' work.  Eva spent the long weekend with her grandchildren in TN.  Jessica and Doug went 'pontooning' at the lodge. (I told her that I didn't think that was a real verb but would accept it in a text.  That is the "family report" for this week.

Friday, September 2, 2011

mystery solved

YES, YES, it is me.  I really did get all that hair cut off.  I have been thinking about it for a few months and decided that maybe this would be the 'new look' that I needed.  I talked to Mary, my stylist, and we decided that it would look good short. I told her that I wanted it kind of close to my head, not the round headed look of an old lady that just got her permanent (like MOM)  I was really open to anything when I went in but had decided that shorter would be a good way to go.  I told her that I would like something about 'chin length' and showed her the length on my face.  She got VERY excited and started to plan.  She is a wonderful stylist and a very creative woman.  I love to watch her cut my hair because she works kind of like a sculptor, cutting a little here and a little there after she gets the shape she is looking for.  I didn't expect it to be quite this short but I like it. It is still easy to work with, just wash and let dry.  My hair grows quite fast so it will be interesting to see how it grows out.  I like how she left the back at the neck with a little length that flips up a little.  It feels very funny to me because I don't have hair on my neck any more.  This is the shortest that it has been since the mid 70s when I had it even shorter. 

I hope you like it too.  Thanks, Jess, for noticing on the blog and leaving a comment. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Who is this and what is happening????Can your guess????  To be continued.