Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekend update

My 'Weekend Update' will not be as interesting as the Saturday Night Live' crew would write.  Sorry, I just don't have good writers or as interesting of a life so you will just have to take what I have to give.  
 Saturday was a busy day for us.  We went to lunch in Sutton's Bay with all the nieces and nephews in Michigan.  Sonja joined us too.  She had decided to stay home for Christmas Eve because the weather was a little slippery.  She is in the far back on the right side.  Next is Megan.  She just recently graduated from Grand Valley University and is enrolled in Western Michigan's masters degree program.  She only took off the Christmas break before starting right back into her college studies and then she was sick with a flu bug part of the vacation.  Next is Danielle and David.  Danielle is finishing this spring at U of M and has been admitted into the dentistry program next fall.  David is finishing his senior year at Michigan too and is waiting on his acceptance to their medical school in the fall.  I am POSITIVE they will admit him, they wouldn't pass up on such a talented and wonderful man.  Jack is in the front on that side.  He is in his second year at Michigan and is studying engineering and doing very well.  Going around the table, in front of Jack is Charlotte who is in her junior year of high school and the talented singer of that family.  Above Charlotte are John and Brittany.  John is in his final year of law school at Michigan and is joining the family in August as Brittany's husband.  Finally you have Brittany who is in her second year of medical school at Michigan.  Bud is hiding there in the back too.  WOW, what a talented bunch of kids.  It is reassuring to know that the future generation is doing great things since my social security depends on their success.  It is a good thing that Bud and I chose to have nieces and nephews instead of children.  We reap all the benefits without all the work. They are all talented AND wonderful individuals. I am proud to know all of them.
After lunch we headed to the birthday party of a 1 year old.  That is always an interesting event since the little one is pretty unaware of the importance of the event.  This little one was feeling a little 'under the weather' too so she wasn't really in the party mood too much.  Her parents and friends, us included, enjoyed the party anyway.

So, social butterflies we aren't exactly but we do try to get around a little.  Family and friends do provide us with some fun outings.
Bud has been working a lot lately, getting things done before the end of the year.  He is at the office this afternoon and he informed me that the is going to work tomorrow.  I have an appointment next week for a check up on my foot.  That will make it 9 weeks.  I am not necessarily too hopeful that it will be my freedom.  I have been told by a couple of other people that broke their foot that 23 months is a usual healing time so I am not too hopeful that I will be getting my driving privileges back just yet but am hopeful that I am on the 'home stretch' with this accident.  I am ready.  I would just like to go some place on my own and when I want to.  Bud has been terrific at taking me out when I need a bit of the outside world. and the holidays have helped but still I am ready.

No laughs unless you are laughing at me, but the Weekend Update is all I have for today. I will let you know about my possibility of 'freedom'.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas pictures and YES there are a lot

We spent our traditional Christmas Eve with Bud's sister's family.  We have been doing this for a long time and it is a wonderful tradition.  
 Brittany and Charlotte look beautiful, as always.  It is hard to believe they are almost all grown up.
 David put on his 'best smile' for pictures this year.  His girlfriend, Danielle told him she wanted to see him smiling in the blog pictures.  Thank You, Danielle.  He looks terrific.
 Sue and Jack look fantastic too.  When did Jack get taller than his mother??
 Dick and Hettie, the neighbors at the cottage, came over to share dinner.  David tried to get away with telling me that he made the gingerbread house on the table.  I didn't believe it.  John, a neighbor here, came along with Bud and me.  He is 92 years old and his family lives in New York so we thought he needed to join us.  It was nice of Sue and Walt to allow us to bring him along.
 WOW, another one of those big smiles for the camera.  Such a handsome man too.
 Ah Yes, sister and brother.  It is nice for us to have them living so close by.  Maybe a good chance for Bud to repair all the damage he did as an older brother while Sue was growing up.
 Hey, I got to pose with two beautiful girls.  Lucky me.
 And Walt was able to do the same.
 The traditional Christmas story was read by the tree before some presents were handed out.  LOTS to be thankful for.
 A picture of the whole family.  The last year of Christmas before the BIG summer wedding.  Next year Brittany will be a married woman.  WOW, that is hard to believe.  We missed John but he was with his family this evening.

After dinner and pictures, Bud and I came back home while the family went to Christmas Eve services.  We watched a movie and were in bed early enough so that we were able to get up and on the road in the morning.  We made it out of the house by 8:00 and were in Grand Rapids by 10:30.
 Leo arrived shortly after us.  Jessica and Doug were there before us, helping Eva with the cooking.
 Eva and Jessica made a wonderful dinner of barbecue ribs, garlic potatoes, roasted broccoli and fruit salad. They are such good cooks.
 Jessica and Doug spent Christmas Eve with his family and arrived early in the morning to cook and relax.
 The Christmas story was read by the fire once again.
 Doug was invited to join the family by adding his Christmas tree bulb on Eva's tree.  They too are spending their last Christmas as single.  He is a wonderful addition to the family.
 I know this is a strange picture but the 'fun guy gift' was these L.E.D. lights and this is the best way to show their power.
 Jessica and Doug received a new waterproof camera from Eva.
 Eva received a new wood carrier from Bud.  She usually uses a box or just carries the wood in her hands so this will be an improvement.  She loves to make fires so I am sure that it will be used often.
 Maybe you are thinking that Doug is taking a nap or doing sit-ups.  No, he is trying out his new 'back  message tube'.  Look closely and you can see it under his back.  Matt has one and it is suppose to give you a message when you can't afford to go to a professional.
 I am wearing my new sweater from Eva and my new 'broach' from Jessica and Doug.  I just had to get in a couple of pictures.
After presents we spent a little time on the I-Phones doing some 'face time' with Sara, Leo, Erik and Sofi in the Cape.  They were having a quiet Christmas day. We were so thankful to spend some time talking.  Isn't technology terrific.  I love talking to people far away and being able to see their faces.

Another tradition for the evening, we went to the movies. We pondered the decision but went for funny as a way to end the day.  We watched Parental Guidance which was a great funny movie.  Jess and Doug went home from the movie, the old folks went back to the house and relaxed a bit before heading to bed.  It was a beautiful day and I was so thankful for all the family time, both in person and 'face time'.
 The next morning Eva was up cooking for us again. We had a great breakfast egg bake and more family talk.
 While sitting around and just relaxing Eva suggested another movie so we quickly moved around and picked a more 'heavy' movie this time.  We went to see the new Lincoln movie.  It was great and had a very 'epic' feeling.
Eva did manage to squeeze in some 'handyman' jobs for Leo.  He is great at fixing things.  He fixed Eva's faucet quite quickly and she was thankful. After the movie we came back for lunch and continued to 'ponder the troubles of the world' around the table. I now know how Dad was able to go for coffee every day in town and just sit around the table and talk with the 'guys'.  The older you get the longer you linger around the table, just talking and relaxing.
We all left just in time because a snowstorm began blowing into the Grand Rapids area.  I heard that the roads were quite slippery in the evening but everyone made it home safely.
It was a great Christmas for all.  What a wonderful family.  I am so thankful for such terrific opportunities to spend time with them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas time is here

No picture this post.  I just couldn't come up with the right image so I will bore you with my words.

Christmas past and future.

Childhood time at the farm
Early morning surprises
Church programs that ended with a bag of candy
Those moments and special events were more intense than adult moments
Treasure those moments in your memory or with children. 
They always have a different perspective 

Adult Christmas
Spending the day with family
Sometimes surprises come (1974)
OR this Christmas with new lives to cherish.
The presents aren't that important as you grow older
We seem to buy what we want, when we want it
Experiences are the most important gifts.
Give time and happy activities.
I am thankful most of all for those happy memories in the past
Those Christmas gatherings of old,
Family gatherings on a houseboat,
We will always have Paris, Rome, Malta and Norway.
Far away places we have been
New places to explore in the future.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

OK, I was wrong but so were the Mayans

I will admit that I kind of scoffed at the weather reports in my last posting.  I was mistaken when I thought the winter storm was finished with us.  In the night on Thursday we lost power.  The cold winds were blowing outside our windows.  We snuggled in our bed and slept in but that still didn't work.  Bud's sister rescued us though.  We packed up and went over to the cottage where they DID have power.  We were able to clean up, Bud went to work and I sat and watched the waves on the water and talked with Sue.  We were able to solve most of the problems of the world over great coffee and catch up with each other. 
 I took this picture out our window before we left.  What you can't see in this picture is the wind blowing the trees around.  It was a very wet snow so it packed down and it didn't look too deep but we did get a lot of snow.  I would guess that we got about a foot of snow.  The power flickered on briefly in the afternoon here at our house (reports came in on a regular basis from Jack and Charlotte who stayed behind at the Franklin woods house, snuggled in their beds)  By late in the afternoon Bud came home and reported that the power was back on.  He came over to pick me up.
Charlotte and Jack finally managed to get out of bed and seek warmth.  Charlotte and her friends were performing Christmas songs around town to earn money for a choir trip so they stopped in between 'gigs' and helped with the Christmas cards that Sue had brought along to get ready for the post office.
Bud and I left there in time to get the cards out for the last mailing of the day and then on to the Yacht Club for dinner.  Everything survived here in the refrigerator but it was just easier to eat at the Yacht Club.

SO, like I said the Mayans were wrong too since we are all here today.  Lesson to learn, DON'T TRY TO PREDICT THINGS, even the weather but especially the end of time.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Change, Snow, and Christmas Bows

Well, we only have a few more days until Christmas.  I DO have my shopping done.  I did a lot of it online this year since I couldn't get out a lot and didn't want to make Bud take me out in the evening any more than he already is.  I am waiting for one more item to arrive before sending out my last package. I am afraid I waited too long to order this item and the gift won't make it to the receiver until after Christmas.  They will just have to understand my disability this year.  

NOW on to explaining the title of this post.  
 While being confined to home, Bud had to buy my supply of soda.  Being the great guy he is, he pointed out that my traditional Ruby Red Diet Squirt contains caffeine and with my heart irregularity I probably shouldn't be drinking it or at least as much as I do. SO, I decided to switch instead of quit.  I was lucky that the first thing I tried really tastes quite good and I am glad for the change.  YES, no more Ruby Red!!!!  I know the family will find that hard to believe but I HAVE switched.  I am now a drinker of Diet Cherry 7 UP.  It is quite tasty and not as RED so if it spills it isn't such a big deal to try to clean it up quickly.  I was carrying a glass of the red stuff down the stairs when I fell and broke my foot.  I do remember trying to keep from falling wrong so that I wouldn't spill the full glass and stain the carpet.  I don't know if that had any effect on my broken foot but it is time for a change.  I am embracing this new soda.
 SNOW, the weather report for the last couple of day has been warning us of this HUGE storm that was heading our way.  Predictions of 12-18 inches have been carpeting the airwaves. It was suppose to start this morning and last until tomorrow morning.  WELL, it had better get busy because we really didn't get that much snow here in town.  Maybe places out of town received more snow than we did because the warm water of the bay kept our temps higher.  Leo sent me a picture of his truck this morning and they received more snow than us, about 4 inches.  Many of the schools around here cancelled for the day which surprised me a lot.  I think they closed because of the forecast.  I remember driving to school in MUCH worse conditions over the years.  This just seems to be a 'light dusting' of wet snow here at our house.  The storm had better get busy if it is going to live up to the weather people's expectations.
 CHRISTMAS BOWS   I finished wrapping all my gifts yesterday and even have the bows on them  Like I said I am still waiting for something but that will be easy to package up and send out quickly.  My pile of presents seems to be a little small this year but we did have our Christmas with the TN family already so maybe that is why.  Anyway, to quote Leo, "It is what it is" and I am done.  I am looking forward to our time with the Noble family on Christmas Eve and then driving down to spend time with Eva, Leo, Jess and Doug in Grand Rapids on Christmas Day.
Finally, some old traditions keep on shining.  I have the Christmas tree that Penny made for Mom many years ago. I usually put it downstairs but I'm not going up and down the stairs as much this year so I had Leo bring it up for me when he was here.  It looks great in the corner of my living room on the table and I remember to turn it on and off every day.  I do love this little tree and the tradition behind it.  Thank You Penny for making it and letting me have it from the farm.

I hope all of you have been taking some time to enjoy the season, not becoming too stressed.  (Break your foot and you don't have a choice but I'm not recommending it.)  I am blessed to have such a wonderful family and am looking forward to seeing some of you over the holidays.

OH, I almost forgot.  DOOMSDAY I did have my hair cut yesterday so I will be 'looking good' as the world comes to an end.  One of the  Doonesbury comic strip character has been trying to choose a nice outfit to wear as the world comes to an end.  I just had my haircut. It doesn't look that much different so you will recognize me when the we meet where ever the Mayan plan on transporting Earth.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Driving Miss Daisy (or maybe just Della)

The weekend brought Leo up to visit us and give Bud some relief of driving me around.  He came up Saturday afternoon and went to a hockey game with one of his coworkers that was here in Traverse City.  Then he came on to our house.  I had fixed a nice meal of my vegetable soup and then we went to a 'guys' movie, the new James Bond movie.  It is often our tradition to go to the movies and I owed Bud a guy movie  since he went to a movie of my choice last weekend.  The Bond movie was actually quite good.  
Today Bud fixed a nice breakfast for us and then was off to the office.  He is quite busy lately and has been spending weekends at the office.  I was glad to have Leo around and he drove me around while I did my chores.  He did a terrific job of taking me to all the stores that I needed to visit and waiting patiently while I did my shopping.  It gave Bud a break from having to drive me around.  I was thankful for my driver.  
 Then when we came back to the house I had another chore for him to help me with.  I wanted to hang my Christmas tree wall hanging in my kitchen.  The wall that I wanted to hang it on is stone so it is a challenge to find a way to anchor it to the wall.  We decided that we would put little hook eyes in the ceiling and used some string to raise it up and level the picture.  He was careful at measuring the space so it was in the center.
 Then he climbed to the top of the ladder and put the eye hooks in the ceiling.
 Then he raised the banner up so we could decided where to place it on the wall.
 Finally he tied it off and it was done.
 It looks great on that wall.  I like how it turned out.
We rewarded him with some football time on the new big TV and his own recliner.  I'm sorry but I didn't notice that I cut off his head until I sat down to do this post.  I was trying to show off the TV room and the new furniture along with the guys watching the Lions try to lose the game.

I have flank steak ready for dinner and he will spend tonight here too.  He is on vacation, using up all the vacation he has until the end of this year.  He doesn't have to go back to work until after New Years.

I was very thankful to have a driver today.  I was also thankful that he was able to help hang the quilt.  Bud has been suffering from knee problems this past week, maybe 'sympathy' pains for my broken foot?????  So, I was reluctant to have him go up on a ladder and hang up my quilt.

Leo's great line last night as he was watching Bud and Me limp around was something to the effect that it might be kind of dangerous to be here with us.  He might go home with a limp after spending time with the two of us.  I hope not but am very thankful that he was here and able to help out.
The 'little brother' can be helpful.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I just came back from my 6 week appointment with my orthopedic doctor.  I even took along a shoe, hoping that when the cast came off I would be able to put on a regular shoe and get my keys back.  As you can tell from the title of this post, it didn't happen.  They took off the cast and then gave me (well I bought it really) this new "boot" that I have to wear for 3 more weeks.  It is only a very slight improvement.  It feels bigger and I have to take it off to put my regular clothes on.  With the cast I could just slip my clothes on over the cast.  

However, on the bright and optimistic side, I WAS able to wash my leg and foot for the first time in 3 weeks.  When I got home I took off the boot and scrubbed my leg, what an awful sight of dry dead skin,  (I decided no one needed to see that sight)  and I shaved my legs.  Finally I took my 'pedi spin' clean up tool to my callouses to clean up my feet.  They too were disgusting. My legs and feet feel much better but my spirit is a little low.  I was hoping to get something that would make it possible for me to drive.  I have 3 more weeks of being home bound.  I am glad that Christmas comes in that time so I am hoping that the holidays make this confinement go quicker.  I don't have to wear it at night so that is also a good thing.  I am trying to find the good in things.

SO, cleaner, hairless legs, scaly  dry skin is smooth, Christmas will break up the time and as always I have lots of sewing projects and good books to read.  I have a wonderful husband that takes good care of me and  it will be over soon I am sure.  Life is full of disappointments but we all manage to get through them.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Home bound but still getting things done

I am going into my 7th week of being home bound.  This coming Tuesday it will be 6 weeks since I broke my foot and have been unable to drive.  I will be very glad to see the doctor on Friday and see if this cast can come off and I will be released.  It has actually gone quite fast considering.  I am thankful that I was able to have some time to travel with Eva out to the Cape and visit Sara and Leo.  That seems like a long time ago.  I am also thankful that my wonderful husband has managed to get me out of the house as often as possible.  This past week we attended parties on Thursday and Friday evenings so I was able to dress up my cast and go out to see people.  Saturday night we also went to the movies although I don't think that Bud enjoyed the movie as much as I did.  I chose the movie since I wanted to see Anna Karenina, toe Tolstory movie about Imperial Russia.  I spent one summer many years ago reading this book and decided that I would like to see the movie.  I liked it, the acting was fantastic but the 'staging' of the movie was a little different.  Again, I liked it but Bud wasn't as sold as I was.  By 'staging' I mean that it was kind of a stage play combined with movie effects.  It is hard to explain but it was a good movie and makes me want to go back and try the book again.  It is hard to read Russian stories sometimes because I always get the names all mixed up.  However, it is the eternal love story well told and I am always a sucker for well told stories.  
 Today it began to snow.  It was light snow at first and then it really picked up.  It is a wet heavy snow that sits on the branches of every tree so the world around us is totally white.  It is a nice look if you don't have to drive in it. AND, I don't have to drive in it.  I am thankful that my days of driving 20 miles to work in the snow every day are over.  I don't miss that part at all although I do miss going down to school now that I have this broken foot.  I hope to resume my volunteering as soon as I am free to drive.
 I have managed to keep busy though.  I finished my tree wall hanging just today.  It looks beautiful.  I did my own quilting, which means that I did the stitching of the back to the front with the batting in between.  That is a step that I usually get my quilter to do but since this was a smaller quilt and the owner of my favorite quilt store gave me some tips on how to work with it, I thought I would give it a try.  It was a nice feeling to know that I could complete the entire project.  Maybe I will try to do this more often with smaller projects.  That will save me a little money and help me develop another skill.  I think I will hang this above my fireplace in the living room or in the kitchen.  It will require me putting a hanger on the back and getting something on the stone wall to secure it to.  That shouldn't take too much work.
Finally I made this little receiving blanket today.  I have made several of these little blankets which are about 35' square.  I learned how to make them when I bought some flannel from one of my local quilt stores.  They included the pattern but if any of you quilters want to know how to make them, you can go to Youtube and enter 'One hour receiving blanket' and there are several tutorials on how to make them. They are easy to make because you just bring the back piece of fabric around and over the front piece to make the border.  It turns out so cute.  They make great gifts for babies.  I took 4 of them out to the Cape for those babies.

Bud is busy this time of year, finishing up projects.  He had to work all weekend to just keep ahead.  He just came in from doing a little shoveling.  I talked to Leo earlier.  He too has been busy.  In the last 2 weeks he only had 1 day off (last night) and the week before this past week he put in 47 hours of overtime.  That is busy.  He has vacation time starting this coming Friday.  I am hoping that he comes up for a few days.  I am also hoping that I will be able to go down there and help him shop for possible houses.  I have been doing some online and phone research for him on modular, double wide, or single wide homes to put on his 10 acres.  I hope to have a plan ready for action when spring comes.

SO, even though I  have been housebound, I have managed to keep fairly busy.  My shopping is almost done and I need to wrap presents.  Maybe this week I will work on that before I get my 'freedom' to drive.

You know, I really just do the things that I like to do and ignore the things that I should do but that is retirement and I'm not making any excuses.  I am happy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Busy holiday weekend

The month of December started out with a busy weekend.  We had dinner with Sonja on Thursday.  We hadn't seen her in quite a while.  She is doing well and has just added a new companion to her home.  Sonja has always been fond of dogs and has been without a dog for a short while.  She decided to adopt this cute little dog and named him Murphy.  He is a puppy and even for a non-dog person, he is cute.    

 As you can see, I even enjoyed him.  He is very friendly and full of energy.
 He also loves to give kisses.  Bud got one here.
 Sunday Bud drove me down to Coleman for the Lewis family Christmas lunch.  I had originally invited Leo to meet us there but he called on Saturday and said he is working this week, 12 hours a day and 7 days a week.  I did stop by and leave him some treats in his truck.  I made Christmas cookies as part of my contribution to the potluck and some extra for him.
Kay and Greta, part of the 'cousins' stopped by.  We didn't have a lot of time to catch up.  I wanted to spend a little time with the aunts and uncles.  It is nice to talk to them and since they are the older generation, I like to spend a little time with them when I visit.
 Uncle Vernell came alone this year.  Marilyn, his daughter is here with him.  Aunt Glenna was home, her arthritis was bothering her so she didn't come this year.
 Aunt Florence and my cousin Joanne were there too.  When you get these two together, a lot of laughter fills the air.
 My cousin Denny was here with his grandson.  They are a very good pair.  It is nice to see the grandchildren of my generation coming along to some family events.
 The 'trio' did manage to get their picture taken.  We missed Eva who is often in the picture too.
 I thought a picture of the cousins was important.  I remember seeing pictures of their Lewis parents and I think it is important to keep a record of this generation too.  About half of us were there. Back row: Bill (Aunt Florence's son) Victor Long (Aunt Kathleen's son) Jack Lewis (Uncle Vernell's son) Jim Lewis (Uncle Clarence's son) Next row Denny Lewis (Uncle Carl's son) Kay Shelby (Uncle Clarence's daughter) Me (the only representative of Dad's family) Greta Tigner (Aunt Ruth's daughter) Marilyn ( I always forget her last name but she is Uncle Vernell's daughter) Front row and sitting because they are the oldest Joanne Waddington (Uncle Carl's daughter) and Jerry Lewis (Uncle Clarence's son)  No representatives of Uncle Elmer's family but I did visit them.  The Lewis crowd of the next generation looks pretty good.  I hope to see many more family gatherings and great pictures.
 After leaving the family gathering, I did my duty of putting this nice wreath on Mom and Dad's grave site.  It is ready for winter.  While standing there I remember the time that Sara was here with us at Christmas time and she showed us a traditional Norwegian custom of placing a candle in the snow.  It was a beautiful little ceremony and I was thinking how now the next generation is coming along and Sara is waiting for those little babies out on the Cape.  We had great times with family in Coleman.  I am thankful for those family memories.
 I had one more thing to do before leaving Coleman.  I took some of my cookies out to Aunt Mary and Uncle Elmer.  Uncle Elmer is looking a little weaker but he was enjoying football with his son.  Uncle Elmer is 92 years old.
 His son Scott was visiting too so one more cousin of my generation.
Finally we drove home just in time to meet up with friends for the November birthday dinner.  Bud and Andy were born within two days of each other.  We try to get together for dinner and a birthday celebration every year.  We were a month late this year but we made it.  It was great to catch up.
 So we had a great weekend, busy with all kinds activities with family and friends.
 One last thing that I am sharing.  I just finished this small wall hanging Christmas quilt.  I used some fabric that I had left over from another project and put this together.  I really like how it turned out.  It is full of  a LOT of 'half square triangles' that have to fit together in the center to make the stars. I am actually thinking of doing the quilting on this piece. For those of you that aren't quilters, I usually just do the piecing of the fabric together for the front of the quilt.  The 'quilting'  part is when you put a batting in between the back and front fabric and sew all three layers together.  My mother and her friends always did this by hand.  I am going to attempt to do this on my sewing machine.  This will be my first attempt at this skill so I hope that I don't ruin this beautiful piece but I would like to give this a try.  I think I will be able to hide any bad stitches in the dark fabric.
If you click on this picture you can make it larger and maybe see the half square triangles.

SO, busy with family and friends.  That was my weekend.  I enjoyed every moment.