Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nothing says Christmas Like Semi-Automatic Guns

SO, I was walking through the living room, on my way to start a nice fire in the fireplace.  The NPR news came on with this item.

Arizona is now allowing children to pose with SANTA carrying a semi-automatic machine gun or a grenade launcher. 

"Isn't that special???" (a 'church lady' reference from SNL for those that don't remember)

I don't even know how to react to that picture in my mind.  I am all for civil liberties but don't you think that common sense would tell you that picture isn't good for Santa OR the child sitting on his lap. 

Merry Christmas

Monday, November 28, 2011

I am thankful for family time

It has been busy few days.  Tuesday afternoon Bud and I left home and headed to Grand Rapids.  We met Jessica, Doug and Eva for a birthday dinner.  It was actually Eva's birthday day and we went to her favorite Mexican restaurant. 

 Wednesday morning we went about loading up the car.  There was a big debate about if we should have brought our car top carrier but we managed to get everything in the 2 cars. 
 There was a 'little' nest in the back just Eva's size. 
 We met Jessica and Doug and switched a few things around so that the ride would be more comfortable for everyone. 
 Panera Bread was our lunch choice.We took our time because Matt and Diana were going to the Bells for dinner that evening.  We arrived a few minutes before they came home, unloaded and hid our presents and waited.  It was a very easy drive down with good weather and dry roads.  There was quite a bit of traffic but not too bad. 
 Thursday morning was the time for cooking.  First Hailey had to go gather eggs for the cooks
 The stuffing was a work of art.  The cooks did a great job.  I just wandered around checking on everything.  They really get into the seasoning of the stuffing and I am just a 'Stove Top' kind of girl. 
 Brookelynn did my hair while the cooks were in the kitchen.  I think I had more fun. 
 Of course, Gram played games with the girls while the turkey cooked.  I guess I don't have any dinner pictures.  I must have been hungry.  The meal was terrific. 
 After dinner and before Gram's birthday, we went for a walk of about 2.5 miles at a nearby park.  The weather was great and as you can see, we weren't dressed in heavy coats.  I took a little stumble while on this walk.  It was quite a sight so I was told.  I kind of stepped off the edge and rolled my ankle.  As I was going down I realized that I wouldn't be able to break my fall so I just rolled with the fall and kind of ended up on my back.  I bruised my knee and I have a large black and blue mark on my hip now but I am fine.  That lesson on 'Stop, Drop, and Roll' really sunk in for me but I wasn't on fire. 
 After our walk it was time for Gram's birthday.  We had pie instead of cake but it was a great celebration.  When ever Gram has her grandchildren all around her, it is a grand party. 
 Lots of smiles.  Gram got a new camera.  She has quite a history with cameras so this one was a bright pink one.  She is hoping that she doesn't lose this one or leave it on the top of her car. 
 Matt made delicious homemade ice cream to go with the pie I brought from Grand Traverse Pie Company.  It is the best pie I can make.
 The camera was a hit. 
 Sara and Leo joined us via Skype.  It was very cool to have them there with us via technology.  They celebrated their Thanksgiving in Cape Cod with family but it was nice to be able to talk to them and see them so sometimes technology can be great. 
 Friday was a beautiful day and we were to go canoeing.  We had a bit of a setback a few miles down the highway.  The car was giving off a BIG black cloud so Matt pulled over.  This red liquid was flowing out of the engine.  The boys were able to figure out that it was a loose hose to the transmission.  The fluid was all over the ground but we took the other car and went ahead to a gas station to buy some more, filled up the transmission again and were on our way without too much of a delay.  It was nice that it happened with another car right behind them so we could solve the problem without too much of a problem AND still go canoeing. 
 Matt received his Christmas present early, a new canoe paddle from Jessica and Doug.  Jessica did a great job of decorating it too.  He was happy to have his own special paddle for the trip.  We loaded up the canoes and kayak.  Matt and Diana had Grayson (the dog) in their canoe.  Doug had Eva and Hailey in their canoe, Jessica took Brookelynn in her kayak and Bud and I took Annika in our canoe. 
 As you can see, it was a beautiful day.  There weren't very many people on the river, only a few fishermen looking for trout.
 We stopped for a great lunch along the river and then finished off our trip.  The finish line was rather exciting this year.  Bud and my canoe were the first ones in to the shore.  We pushed the nose up on to the shore and then we tipped over right away. I am not sure what happened since I was in the front.  One moment I was pushing the canoe onto the shore and the next minute I was sputtering and trying to stand up after going under water.  Annika managed to get to shore quite quickly and Bud was in the back holding on to the canoe so it wouldn't go downstream but I couldn't get my footing and stand.  I think I went under at least 2 times or more I kept falling backwards every time I tried to stand up.  Finally I managed to be near Bud and he helped me up and I crawled to shore. 
I was MOST disappointed for 2 reasons.  First of all I really don't like to get wet and was so sure that I wouldn't that Bud and I didn't bring along extra clothes.  Now that isn't from MANY people asking us and reminding us that we might get wet but we just didn't take extra clothes.  The second reason I was so upset is that my camera was in my pocket.  I did have the sense to put it in a zip lock bag but I forgot to secure it after stopping for lunch so it was wet and ruined.  I was thankful that the card was still fine since I had ALL of my pictures from 2011 on that card.  I hadn't downloaded the pictures all year. 
SO, two lessons, always take extra clothes even if you don't plan to get wet and put your camera in the dry bag after you use it every time.  Bud and I will both be looking for new cameras on 'cyber Monday'.  I am just glad that the pictures on my card were OK.
 Saturday was our Christmas in TN.  It started with an Uncle Bud breakfast of bacon and french toast.  It was delicious.
 Annika helped Bud make snowflakes for the craft time. 
 Aunt Jessica helped Hailey decorate her tree in her room.  It has a 'beach' theme.
 Uncle Doug helped Brookelynn decorate her tree in her room.  I don't know the theme there but they seemed to have a good time. 
 Then we went looking for the family tree.  This one was perfect for a perfect family. 
 The guys did the trimming of the bottom of the tree.  Any time is a good time to get out a chain saw.
 Diana put the lights on the tree while Gram decorated Christmas cookies with the girls.  Then we went for another walk before presents.  It was another beautiful day with the temps in the 60s.  Not exactly a winter Christmas weather scene but it was perfect weather for a walk.  This time I didn't fall.
We opened presents and enjoyed the giving.  I didn't take many pictures.  My camera wasn't working but Eva let me borrow her old one.  This is the fantastic gift that Jessica and Doug gave Brookelynn.  They made this tent for her.  It was so cute.  They also made one for her doll, Bertha.  I didn't get a picture of that either.  I am counting on Eva and Jessica sharing their pictures with me. 

Sunday morning we were up early and on the road because we were coming all the way home.  It is about 600 miles for us to travel so we kept on moving.  We arrived home about 10:15.  It was a rainy drive with LOTS of traffic in some areas. 

It was a GREAT trip full of fun, food, laughter and terrific family time.  I am thankful for such a wonderful family.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

*&#*+*! Technology

WOW, what a frustrating event at Radio Shack this morning.  My cell phone has this little problem, it won't let me receive Eva's calls.  They go right to voice mail and she is beginning to feel like I don't love her enough.  Well, I got out the trusty book to see if she is in my "blocked call list"  As you can guess there is NOT any support for 'blocked calls' in my information.  It only tells me how to block them, not how to access the list or even more important how to take someone off the list.  SO, I decided that I would go to the Radio Shack store since they were the ones that sold me the phone.  After the "tech support' man looked in the same places that I had looked and couldn't find anything he asked another "tech support" person in the store and he had the same problem..  They both suggested that I should go to the AT&T store.  I let them know that it wasn't an AT&T problem but a problem with the phone but since THEY didn't have the knowledge to solve the problem, I would go and seek informed support.  What I didn't say is that I won't ever buy a phone from them again since their 'tech' people don't know anything about their products. 

I walked into the AT&T store and was greeted by a very friendly sales associate and she IMMEDIATELY knew what the problem was and was able to fix it in about 5 minutes.  She also walked me through the fix a couple of times so that I knew how to do it too.  Then she walked me to the door and told me to have a great day.  Now that is service. 

So, next time instead of spending 30 minutes with uninformed sales associates at Radio Shack,  I will go to the AT&T store.  They know their products and they know about service. 

I am thankful for my technology but sometimes it can be frustrating.  We are heading to TN via Grand Rapids tonight and tomorrow.  I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving and don't eat too much turkey. 
Safe travels to all of you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Boldly Go Where NO Man (or Woman) Has Gone Before

The Subtitle of this post should be:  At least not for a LONG time.

Cleaning, my least favorite household chore.  The shower is the most difficult since we don't have a tub shower in our bathroom upstairs.  SO,  I got our the Soft  Scrub With Bleach and started working on the floor of the shower.  It was in need of a real good scrubbing.  Then I decided to work around the drain.  That might have been a mistake.You really don't want to know what is lurking in your drain but I was a brave woman of the 21st century and decided that I could do it myself and not call my husband in from the garage.  I did clean it out and disinfect it quite well and we are a cleaner house for that accomplishment. 

I hope your shower drain is cleaner than mine WAS or you find some handsome man to clean it out for you. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What a difference 12 hours can make

I told you that the sky last night was a 'Winter Sky'.  Today we woke up to this white snow covered view. I was hoping that the forecast was wrong but winter is here after all.  I just wish it wasn't so pretty.  I will look out and enjoy the view and try not to think of the many months of this to come. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter night sky

Today the weather turned cold.  I managed to take my walk this morning, a new plan to get my exercise done before my day gets going so that I don't put it off and then stay inside instead.  The sky has been dark all day and the sunset is full of dark clouds with a rim of sunshine at the edge of the horizon.  I decided to put a fire in the fireplace and just relax while watching the sun set. 

Life is good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bud was busy this weekend

Saturday was a beautiful day.  Bud used this day to work on chores. 
 Bud has been staining and finishing this new door for the last few weeks.  It was finally ready to Kevin to install.  He came on Saturday morning and proceeded to work on the door.  I was surprised that he had to take some of the siding off before installing the new frame. 
 Kevin is our wonderful builder.  He is Molly's husband.  I work in her classroom about twice a week this year. 
 The guys worked together to install this new door.
 Then they admired their handiwork. 
 This is the final look of the door with the knobs and the siding back on.  It looks very nice.  The color matches the garage doors very well.  Bud did a great job. 
He was also busy raking leaves this weekend.  He has this great backpack leaf blower that he uses to make it a bit easier but it is still a lot of work.

After his long day of work he was a little sore but felt good about his accomplishments.  Most of the leaves are up and we are getting closer to being ready for winter.  Today he took his motorcycle and sports car to the gas station to top off their fuel tanks and they are safely tucked away in his new garage. 

I wasn't nearly as hard working as him this weekend but I am retired and don't have to squeeze all my work into the weekend.  Aren't I lucky??? not just because I am retired but also because I have such a great husband. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dangerous new TV channel

Suddenly this week a new TV channel appeared on  our TV.  That is not so uncommon with our strange and limited Charter cable system.  However this channel is a bit dangerous for me.  It is called JTV which is short for Jewlery TV and it is a 24 hour jewlery and jemstone channel.  It has jewlery and all kinds of jemstones that I haven't even heard of.  Some of the jewlery is in settings and some of the jems are just unset stones.  It is a bit addicting to me and I constently go back to it at comercial time.  So far I have resisted buying anything because we all know I don't need any more jewlery but it sure is tempting. 

What junk on TV are you tempted by and have trouble resisting?????  I would like to think that my strange temptations are not 'just me'.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Leo came up on Friday.  He had this past week off on vacation and spent the time cleaning up over at his 10 acres in the pole barn.  He said that he was very happy with how much he was able to throw out and organize and needed a day off.  He arrived in the morning and the two of us just 'knocked around' and also went to several stores to buy bulbs for me to plant.  He didn't stay around long enough to help me plant all 250 of the bulbs that I planted on Saturday but it was nice to have him around for the shopping.  In the evening we went over to the Yacht Club and had dinner.  He left that evening and was going back to working on his chores on Saturday.  He hoped to put new brakes on his truck and do some other chores.  I was glad to have him visit. 
Of course Bud took some time to show Leo around his garage and the new things he had put on his bike. 
He had to start it up and show him how the new horn works.  The guys had fun. 

Saturday evening we went to the movies.  We saw the new movie 'Tower Hiest'  It was fun and entertaining. 

Sunday evening we went to a very interesting concert.  Check the next post and I am hoping that I was able to upload a clip of the music. 

I hope you had a good weekend, filled with family, entertainment and maybe even a little culture.

Anda Union - Derlcha

Bud and I were lucky to experience this wonderful cultural event last evening.  I'm not sure that I was able to upload this exactly but I am hopeful.  This group is from Mongolia and their music and singing was terrific.  Their instruments and 'throat singing' were very unique. It is folk music from Mongolia.  We have a wonderful theater here that is small and intimate so we were in the 4th row and could watch their expressions and really have the entire experience.  If you aren't able to upload this from my post, just go to YouTube and enter UnDa Union and there are choices.  I liked this one the best. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Family photos, birthdays and Halloween and such

I have collected a few photos this past week that I decided to pass on.  I know that some of you received some of these pictures but I am just putting them out there for some people that may not have seen them and for people to catch up on each other's activities. 
 Bud turned 57 yesterday.  We went out to dinner last evening. We had crab cakes at our favorite restaurant.   He received many calls, text and cards for his birthday. 
 The girls looked stunning in their costumes on Halloween. 
 Jessica went to work dressed as a championship rugby player.  Check out that RING.  I told her that she could wear it and really get into a great bar fight and cause some serious damage with that ring.  Doug received the ring because his team won the U.S. college rugby championship last year.  I think that a LARGE bonus would have been more useful than a ring but maybe not if they ever get caught in a dark alley and need to defend themselves but then again they are RUGBY players.  Do they ever need to defend themselves?
 Eva went at a 'blond Flo' from the Progressive advertisement. 
 Brookelynn is a great spider. I wonder who made this costume??
 Hailey makes a great hippie.  Peace and love.
Annika was Marie Antoinette (I'm sorry I can't spell that one)  I hope no one lost their head and managed to eat a little 'cake'  You know from the French Revolution,  'Let them eat cake??'
 This is a picture of Garrick.  He turned 2 on November 1st.  Leo sent him this Tonka truck for his birthday. 

Well, that is my collection of family pictures to pass on.  I hope you enjoyed them and I hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New project

I left my 'Block of the Month' project since I am several months ahead of the group.  I went back to this project that I started a month of so ago.  I took this class and I needed to return to it before I forgot all that I had learned.  It is called "Stack and Whack".  That sounds kind of strange and I will try to explain this process without going into too much detail that it is boring. 
You must start with a fabric that has a repeat pattern (think of wallpaper and hoe it has a repeat pattern)  Then you cut up 8 sections of this repeat pattern.  The next step it to stack those repeat patterns on top of each other, making sure that all 8 layers match exactly.  Then you cut the strips through all 8 layers and make those strips into the diamond shape.  If you look closely at all 8 of these diamond shapes they should look exactly the same.  (If I did a good job at stacking and whacking) 
 The next step is to put in the background.  It looks kind of complicated but it really isn't that hard.  I use triangle shapes and added them to the diamond shapes and then made them into a square and finally put all the 4 squares together to make the big square.  If it goes together correctly the seams match and it goes together to make this star shape. 
I had a hard time finding fabric that I liked that also had a repeat pattern.  I settled on this Christmas fabric because I liked the colors.  I really didn't know what I would do with the quilt after I put it together but it was all about learning how to do the technique.  When I started working on it at home I began to think that it would make nice banners.  Many of you may know that I have banners hanging in my entrance way along those long walls.  I have been wanting a change there.  Bud suggested several months ago that I could make different sets of banners for different seasons.  I was a little nervous about undergoing that project but after seeing this block I decided that this will be the first set of banners that I make. I will take my time and this won't be ready to hang up for this Christmas but I now have a plan and am thinking of other designs that I may use for that hallway.  I really don't need any more quilts so making seasonal banners for our house may be my project for this coming year.  I am thinking of a snowflake design of some kind for winter, maybe something floral for spring, I don't know about summer, and leaves for the fall. I already know what I want to do for the leaves so that will be where I go next. 

I continue to keep busy with my quilting and it does challenge my mind on a regular basis.  I rarely go a day without spending a couple of hours at the sewing machine and loving it all the time. 

I hope you all find ways to spend time doing something you love.