Dec 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

 It has been quite the week weather-wise anyway since I last posted.  Lots of rain and threats of flash flooding.  Just judging by the creeks (yes, there are two of them in about a half mile), man-made lake and two retention ponds near me there is a ton of water.  I don't know that Calhoun County got the washed out roads that other parts of the state did but it is easy to see that the water could easily get out of its banks at any of those locations.  Including what blew in yesterday, or at least I think it was yesterday,  I have counted a total of 9 inches in my gauge since a little over a week.  The picture shows what I got up to one recent morning.

This is across the main road from me.  (basically they cut through a hill to run the road between my back yard and they have a steep drive way up.)  That water does NOT belong there but both roads on either side of the two houses built are higher ground than this spot.  This sort of puts them in a bit of a basin.  The water had to go somewhere.  The other house didn't get so much directly behind it as near as I can tell but it was puddling back between the two houses.  I live on a hill so it was rolling down the lane.  Still, I stayed off the roads as much as I could.

There were even two tornadoes in AL Christmas Day.  An EF-0 near Tuscaloosa and an EF-2 near Birmingham.  Weird, El Nino weather!! Meanwhile, TX, NM etc--blizzards.  My BIL and his dad got held up in Amarillo for a couple of days while trying to get to Phoenix where his dad will snow-bird from IL.  My sister said they had finally arrived on Tuesday but had driven from about 3 in the morning to 3 or 4 pm to get to their Phoenix destination.

It has been quite warm lately too and the grass/weed patch is greening up.  There is a lot of wild onion out right now.  I don't know what that stuff is in my back yard is but it could stand to be mowed if it were not so gooshy under foot.  Oscar's belly is dragging in it!  Well,  he is pretty low to the ground so it wouldn't take much, I grant you.   The camellia is going nuts!!  This is spite of two below freezing nights while I was gone to Illinois.  Mine is not the only one either.  I spotted a gorgeous mixed color bush up the road from here with bright pinks and almost red flowers.  I even spotted a couple of dandelions in bloom in the yard.

 Now we are headed for a cooling, more seasonal temps.  While it has been nice to shut off the furnace, many of use are ready for it to be cooler especially if it means some sunshine with it!

Trying to think what I've been doing this week, LOL.  Went out to lunch at an area Mexican restaurant mid-week.  Binge watched a bunch of holiday movies in my collection for Christmas and have another stack of rom-coms waiting for tonight/tomorrow viewing.  Watched/listened to a bunch of Celtic Thunder material on YouTube. Love them!  Cleaned out and re-organized the kitchen freezer area and then binge cooked for two days so it is now crammed full again.  The outside chest freezer isn't much better.  I need to start eating the contents or quit baking, LOL.

Today, I took the Christmas decorations down and swapped out the quilts and wall hangings, did my last guild newsletter and some other paperwork, ran some errands, chatted with my neighbor and thus far walked Oscar twice.   The Alabama--Michigan State football playoff game is on tonight but I don't have ESPN and can't watch it.   I told Miss Kathryn I would go with her to her son's house to watch the game if Alabama gets into the championship game.

I am supposed to be sewing with my FAB buddies tomorrow.  Norma said for me to pick a pattern and I decided on Gudrun Erla's Square Dance from her book Strip Your Stash.  It's the one on the cover but  THIS LINK will take you some preview pages on Google Books---look for page 11.  These are big blocks finishing at 14 inches if laid straight horizontally but she shows them tilted and finish at 17 inches.  I should be cutting something for a background since I have a jelly roll to use as well as some charms of the same fabric line Block Party---love this stuff!

It is going to take me loving the fabric and/or really wanting to play with a pattern to get me back at the machine.  I don't think I have the right colored background to want to play with this pattern.  Almost looks like a cream color is more needed than the gray or white I have on hand.  HMMMMM.  Rob that Moda Bella Solida Snow I keep having to replace??  Go a hair darker?  Missouri Star shows the Bella Solid Yellow as their choice of go-withs.  I like yellow.  Fig Tree Cream, Orange and Pistachio were other suggestions.   I AM going with the girls to the quilt shop after the "supposed to sew" day so maybe this will be on hold while I work on something else I have started.  I won't be happy with then results if the background is not what I want.

I promised I would sew---what you do on New Years, you are supposed to do all year--even if I have to sew in the kitchen which I do NOT like to do.  Normally we plan on doing a bit of donation quilt sewing.  The "something else I started" thing would cover that--those neglected blue elephant challenge fabric blocks that have not been touched since the November sew-in.  OR I try a block out with some 2.5 inch strips that I have in my stash.  I still have strips left from the Popsicle Stix quilt, brights and a mix of color.  LOL, not many colors NOT in that quilt (below)

The other thing I need to do tomorrow and most days thereafter is go walk.  I really fell off the walking wagon this month. Between that upper respiratory stuff that lasted over two weeks, being gone for 5 days, the crappy weather my resolve to get out and exercise has really fallen off.  Truthfully, almost non-existent other than dog walks in the lane.  I need to get back in my routine and drop those two lbs. of holiday weight gain.  Cannot start going upwards again!  I can and will do better.

And having said that it is about time for Oscar to go on last walk of the day.  Hope you have a good and safe entrance into 2016.  Got to get used to typing and writing that, right?

Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 It is a little quiet around here today.  Not that it would be all that lively if DJ were here with me. Christmas music might be playing or some holiday movie on TV.  He loved those formulaic Hallmark Christmas movies!  We always exchanged presents on Christmas Eve, cards on Christmas morning and then I was preparing our holiday meal.  Often it was ham and dishes "opposite" of what we had for Thanksgiving.  Sweet potatoes versus mashed and gravy.  Pecan pie instead of pumpkin.  Corn casserole instead of peas.  And so on.........

A few days ago the down the lane neighbors invited me to come to their dinner later but I passed.  They have a large family and I would feel that I was intruding in some manner.  LOL, Bob did ask if they could share my garbage can this week as theirs was half full before the packages were to be opened.  Of course, I said.

I did purchase a small turkey breast but decided not to mess with it pulling the dressing and sliced turkey that Bev sent home with me at Thanksgiving out of the freezer.  Made some fresh cranberry sauce though!  Two batches of White Trash snack divided up between my two neighbors and me and some baked oatmeal rounded out most of my culinary efforts this week.

I have been playing my Christmas CD's the last few days.  It takes three remote controls to get the job done and I had forgotten just how to operate the VCR/DVD/CD player.  DJ's territory there.  You turn on the TV set with one remote.  You change the format mode with another and the third actually operates the player.   Then I watched several of the rom-com movies with a holiday theme---"While You Were Sleeping", "The Holiday" and "Love, Actually".  And then "Notting Hill", just because.  Today I may pick out a few more old favorites.  My dad had suggested the Purdue choir on PBS but it doesn't look like my PBS market purchased it.  There is a "Call the Midwife" Holiday Special though.  I've already seen the Boys Choir in "Christmas in Harvard Square".  That's how I see the day unfolding.

You see, in some ways I already had Christmas last Saturday. That makes the actual Holiday  "just another day" of the year to my way of thinking and there is no reason to get all mopey.  I had the opportunity to go up to IL for a quick trip leaving on Thursday to drive to my brother's home outside Nashville.  Friday my brother Steve, sister-in-law Jan and niece Beth shared a ride up to another brother's home (Phil)  in central Illinois.  We got there about 3:30.  Jen and her mom had a huge pan of lasagna and a wonderful salad, etc made up for supper.  The plan was for those who wanted to would go to my nephew's basketball game at the local high school.  Teddy had quite a cheering section that night!  My parents came with my sister Janet who had arrived the day before from Colorado.  I stayed with them the two nights we were in the area.

In the picture above, my folks were waiting for some of us to come fill in the gap for group pictures.  It looked sort of funny to see them parked on opposite ends of the couch.  Some one said they should reach out to one another.

I have probably told you this before but I am the oldest of 6 kids.  ALL of us were there though a spouse was missing.  There are 12 grandkids.  7 were there.  We are blessed with three great-grands--one was there.  A crowd and I would not expect you to keep anyone straight in this mob.

This is the more relaxed shot when Teddy's friend just kept clicking the camera.

Janet's family always takes a "piranha family" shot--she's on the floor in the front row showing us how.  That explains the silly look in this picture, LOL.

 The company was the best!  We had a wonderful non-traditional meal of fried fish and ribs with salads, mac and cheese, collards even, corn muffins and desserts.  Jen is" hostess with the mostest", for sure.  She made my favorite rhubarb meringue dessert and sent some back with a road trip back along with some other goodies.  Got some good cooks in the family!

Jen kept getting pictures of me munching but this one and my new profile picture I was not!  Sister-in-law Jan had made a huge batch of her version of White Trash and it is hard to keep out that stuff.

The Big 3---Steve, me and Dave

Part the "little 3" --Janet, Diane and her husband Rick

Phil, our host and fisher person--last of the "little 3"

How wonderful to be back for the holiday!  I think the last time that happened was back in 98.  DJ and I drove back in a big mess in Indiana and decided that we would wait till spring/early summer to go back to visit.  Jan, Steve, Beth and I drove back to TN on Sunday and I completed the trip on Monday morning.  I pulled in my drive about 1 pm after picking up the mail.  A whirlwind trip but worth it.

Here is how it has looked the last few nights.  Skyler has decided to hog Oscar's pad lately.  Oscar then has to fight him for room on the couch.  They were even more "butt to butt" the other night but the picture I took with the phone was a bit dark to share.

Both of them have been quite clingy since I returned.  Skyler is actually sitting on my lap or glued to my thigh. Then Oscar mows him over to get sole occupancy.  So jealous of each other!  Oscar is back to whimpering and whining when he goes to bed.  SIGH  Some of that is probably due to the weather.  We have had a lot of rain and storms the last two nights after bedtime.  I've dumped a total of 4 inches of rain from the gauge.  While we did not seem to get the tornadoes here that MS had, thank heavens, many places are flooded.  This is our secondary tornado season so anything can and will happen.

And so it goes---thx for stopping by and I hope you have/had a happy and safe Christmas!

Dec 14, 2015

what a weekend!

What a weekend! Most of the time there is not a lot going on around here, the usual home chores that make up anyone's daily life.  Yada, yada, yada.  Not this weekend with all the holiday happenings.

Saturday, Friendship Quilters had their luncheon/ short business meeting at the Magnolia Cafe in Lincoln (AL).  Funny thing happened come serving time.  We had all ordered off the menu and I had requested Chicken Parmigiana.  Everybody but me had been served but it turned out my friend Beth forgot what she had ordered and got MY plate.  All that was left was a dish of unclaimed Chicken Eggplant Parmigiana.  I like eggplant so took it.  Beth was embarrassed about it but it was fine.  The portions were large so I had the rest of for lunch yesterday.

The picture shows a machine embroidered ornament that Shelia made.   There were several designs, some were ornaments or other holiday motifs but this was the one in the card she gave me.  The pattern was from the club president who unfortunately could not be with us.  There was a gift bag filled with patterns and this is the one I pulled.  "Piece of Cake" from Thimble Blossoms.  This might give me another idea of what I could do with a "Silk Road" from Bernatex layer cake I got with Christmas money several years back---if I can find something to use for a border, that is.  It is quite elegant looking fabric so deserves a more sophisticated use.   If you want to see how someone used the line, check out her fall quilt made with it HERE.

Jane, Aline and I had a couple hours break and then Saturday evening were off to the Oxford Performing Arts Center for Christmas on Ivory.  Jane's husband Hugh went with us.  Marilyn was supposed to go too but was not feeling well.

They have apparently done this concert at various area churches since 1996.  I loved this!!  There were 3 grand pianos and 6 pianists along with a percussionist.  Two of the women were part of the original group of musicians.  Two were a mother and daughter team, the daughter is 17 yrs old and coincidentally, the daughter and granddaughter of friends of Jane and Hugh.  Another was a daughter of a friend of Aline's from her church.  Some numbers all six were playing, others three pianists.  A couple of selections had vocalists (Let it Go from Frozen and Chestnuts Roasting) and a young violinist (7 or 8 yrs old maybe?) played part of Silent Night quite beautifully in a medley of songs.   It was a good mix of secular and religious holiday music, even some classical music in "Trepak" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.  Hallelujah Chorus was quite moving but they also jammed out Mannheim Steamroller style with Chip Davis' arrangment of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".  I've got about 5 tapes/CD of Mannheim Steamroller so recognized that right off!  Need to get those out to enjoy.  I'm still whistling "Hark, the Herald Angels" days later, LOL.

Yesterday Aline, Jane, a friend of Aline's and I were off to the CAST play "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)"    and they do!

Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, three actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season!
The Classic "Christmas Carol"sort of morphs into "It's a Wonderful Life". "The Grinch Stole Christmas" and the "Gift of the Magi" are involved.  The Macy's Thanksgiving parade also figures in as well as a variation of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (they don't have the copyright so it becomes Gustav, the Green Nosed Reingoat").  Funny and entertaining!  Glad we all got to go.

We were under a wind advisory last night and some possible storms were due to pass through during the night.  The critters and I  must have slept through it.  Other than the garbage can sitting a bit cockeyed and the usual twigs down from the dying trees across the lane it looks like the shingles stayed on the roof.  DJ would always do around the house to look after something like our forecast.  Only a half inch of rain in the gauge.  Still, it is too warm for December and you worry about tornadic activity.   It was sprinkling when Oscar and I were out earlier but has cleared up nicely---high 60's and sunny if a bit gusty at times.

I'm trying to work up some enthusiasm for dusting and vacuuming.  So far it is NOT happening, LOL.  Little got done around here with that upper respiratory deal.  I'm still dealing with the sinuses dripping but otherwise okay.  Yesterday I managed to clean up some suspect carpet spots but no sooner did I think I was done but Skyler lost her breakfast in 4 different spots.  UGH!  How could I live without Resolve Carpet Cleaner around here?  I do need to find a decent sponge mop though.  The head keeps coming off the stick on the one I got.

And just because this guy is so darned cute, here is Oscar.  He threw his pad on the clean couch pad on the floor and proceeded to play and nap there the other day.  Whatever!  We should go walk.

Hope you have a good day.  THX for stopping by------

Dec 11, 2015


LOL, most of the time you can find me sitting on that couch cushion between these two furry friends. No, seriously!

Long time no post, right?  You die hard readers will have noticed the lack of content.  I have been hanging out on Facebook a bit but generally taking a little blogging break.

Thanksgiving came and went since I last updated.  I was invited to join my friend Bev and her husband for dinner but she and I had to promise to keep the tears at bay.  (Her son had passed away a couple months ago and she had lost another about 6 years ago.  Holidays are hard.)  I was asked to bring the pumpkin pies so I did my favorite No Bake kind. When I got there at the appointed arrival time, she said we were going over to their friend/neighbors around the corner from them.  I had heard about this bunch last year as the deep fried turkey was almost incinerated--there were pictures!  Fortunately, they had an oven baked one for back-up.  This year too!  As it turned out Chris, the host deep fried 3 turkeys (one his mom was taking home) and his wife April baked one as well.  So did Bev.  Lots of turkey for later meals!  Bev and April sent me home with leftovers as there was every possible classic holiday casserole/side to be had as well.  Some of the turkey breast I sliced up for the freezer as she sent half of the turkey breast with me.  I love having a sandwich with cranberry mayo when I have real turkey.

I've done a bit of baking while actual meal making has sort of taken a nose dive.  Mom's Zucchini Bread, a couple of loaves.  Another batch of Apricot Cheese Bread went in the freezer for a future Belles meeting.  I also made a batch of the Libby Pumpkin Muffins but halved the recipe in two bowls so I could put nuts and craisins in one part of it and chocolate chips in the other.  I have been thinking about making some cookies but have not quite gotten around to it as I WILL eat them especially if I make my all-time favorite White Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts.  I don't need to eat them!!  Still, it is hard not to be tempted by all the snacks, sweets and goodies I see on my facebook feed.  Like this stuff---White Trash from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.   OOH I want a handful, LOL.


I have been laid low with an upper respiratory situation for over 10 days now.  It always seems to start with a scratchy throat and then spreads to runny nose, cough, etc.  I was thankful I had a doctor's appointment for those followup test results.  Actually the nurse said that a lot of the patients lately have been coming in for something else and saying "oh by the way, can he look at my throat etc while I'm here"  By the time I was seen my throat felt like I had swallowed glass and even my tongue and roof of my mouth were sore.  I could barely swallow nor could I get the secretions up or down.   I've done a week of antibiotics and several nights of Theraflu Max.    Walking fell by the wayside as I was having too much trouble breathing to exert and walk 2.5 miles when the couch sounded better.  I am back to walking Oscar 3 times a day.  I'm better but still blowing my nose, occasionally a cough but thankfully, I turned the corner earlier in the week.  I'm starting to get tired of sitting and laying around so I figure that is a good sign.  However, when changing the bed linens and quilts out or vacuuming the living room exhausts you maybe best not to push it??

I'm still not sure what is going on with those hinky lab tests and clinical picture.  I had a thyroid ultrasound after I saw the doctor last week and he is referring me to another physician in the practice for consultation.  However, I have to wait till mid January to see here.  I feel okay--well, other than the lingering URI--- but maybe there is something to it.  We'll see if it is anything to worry about.

Our quilt group cancelled for the week of Thanksgiving but we met for our usual 2nd Tuesday this week.  No one wanted to really fuss and go out to eat--we do that almost everytime we meet anyway--but we did have a little low key potluck lunch.  Lois had 3 quilts to pin all using the same pattern with varying sizes of strips.  Are you familiar with M'Liss Rae Hawley's More Fat Quarter Quilts? I found an image on pinterest for Island Star.  Lois sashed hers to break up the star points and the background on two of three were the same backgrounds.   You will see them down the line!   We resume meeting after the first of the year. 

No surprise here, but no sewing.  I think the last time I had the machine fired up was the Friendship quilters sew-in in mid November.   I have been considering a future project though.  I've been looking through books in my library and my files for patterns made with pre-cuts. I've been hanging around the Missouri Star videos.  I consulted with Norma who has some ideas from GE Designs perhaps--links flying back and forth.  I ordered a used book that had one I particularly liked from Strip Your Stash, the cover quilt.  

You see, at the retreat I attended this past October we all were invited to participate in a guild challenge and the resultant quilts will be hung/judged etc in October 2016.  To that end, Jennifer with the help of the Ashville House Quilt Shop picked out and ordered charm packs of Good Karma from Moda (we prepaid for one or two packs and some yardage) and we also were given 2 yards of a "Green Stitch" tone on tone from the line.  It is there at the top in the middle.   I love the brights and the colors in this collection!

There are some size limitations but I have been considering what I might like to do with this stuff.   The tone on tone is a directional print though.  I think we have to use a representational piece of every one of the fabrics in the charm pack and at least some of the tone and tone.  It's one of them.  I don't think we have to use it ALL up physically although the instructions are worded that way. Wwe can add two more fabrics to the mix.  I've got a list of ideas but I think I have it sort of narrowed down to two things I've been itching to try.  It has to be quilted, bound, finished, not just a top.  Of course, I'll keep changing my mind if I keep looking.  Today I drew something up in EQ which would be an alternative way of piecing an existing pattern.  No, I can't show you as it is supposed to be kept a secret.  I don't care so much about that though as I KNOW I won't get any sewing done if I don't drag me and my machine some place away from home and get some "work" done!!  Unless Oscar logs some outdoor time on the mild days, it is not happening.

I've got a few things planned with the girl friends in coming days.  A piano concert, a Christmas play, guild luncheon.  I put the Christmas decorations up--dialed back version minus setting up the tree--soon after Thanksgiving.  It looks festive anyway.  I may not feel like sending out cards or wishing everyone a Merry Christmas just yet but it will happen, LOL.  Trying not to get all mopey just because another holiday is rolling around and DJ is not here with me--still, always in my heart.  Does it ever get any easier?

I guess the overview is written.   Hope YOU are staying healthy and happy this holiday season.