Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One of my most memorable presents was sort of re-gifted to me. I have a small collection of teapots that we have picked up over the years. I used to put them all out on display, but a clumsy cat stopped that practice years ago. One in particular was pretty adorable, it was a momma bear dressed up in a long dress, apron and moppet hat, and holding a baby bear. It looked pretty cute at Christmas time when I would put it out next to my Santa bear teapot. I don't remember now how it got broken, but it did and I put it out to be sent to the dump with the trash. I felt bad, but I learned long ago with 4 kids and several pets in the house at any given time, that things are going to break and you just have to remember what's important, so I felt bad, but not horrible. That next Christmas I opened a fairly heavy box from Becky and Vanessa. Inside was my bear teapot glued back together as best they could. Yes, I cried. It means more to me fixed than it ever did when it was whole. I still display it at Christmas and the obvious cracks and glue make it even more special. I suppose it's more like me now than ever.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas tends to make me feel rather reflective, I think part of it is hanging all the ornaments on the tree from Christmases past.  They all bring back some memory and then those memories poke other memories and pretty soon a person (okay me) has spent the last hour daydreaming.

Thinking more about gifts and ones that are remembered years later...
Unfortunately our oldest daughter has a memorable Christmas for a crummy reason. With 4 daughters to buy for, I tended to pick things up throughout the year if the occasion presented itself. A good idea, right? Well it would be if I had taken some time to list who I had gotten for and what I had gotten them, or noticed how many boxes were labeled for each child. Unfortunately that one Christmas, she got the short end of the present stack, and even worse, her dad and I had planned a funny surprise for her. Tired of loaning her my fingernail clippers we had gotten her a pair and to be "hilarious" we had put them in a HUGE box with tons of tissue paper. Well, her sisters had made quite the haul that year for what ever reason and she had a few small things, then came this big box. Yes, you may guess how disappointed she was with those clippers when her sisters all had clothes and toys and such and she had a pathetically small pile in front of her and a lousy pair of fingernail clippers. We both learned some lessons that year. I learned to make a list of each gift as I bought it and she learned that mom will overcompensate in a personal shopping trip to make up for the mistake! We had a mother daughter trip to Maurice's that January.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas gifting

Isn't it funny the gifts you remember, and the reasons you remember them?
 Every Christmas it's been the same, how do I find or make just the absolute perfect gift for each person I'm giving to? The years of gifts for 4 daughters a husband, parents, in laws, nieces & nephews, neighbors, friends... become a blurr. So many packages so many wrappings. Looking back I'm realizing that most of those gifts so carefully chosen or made are probably completely forgotten, with just a few exceptions, some good and sadly, some pretty bad also! Daughter number 2 probably remembers best a teapot we gave her when she discovered her love of tea. Not because it was such a beautiful pot, or especially valuable, but because of the pathetic wrapping job. I could not find a box to fit it properly, so I threw caution to the winds and simply wrapped it snugly with paper, being careful to go around the handle inside and out, the spout and probably even the lid. It was pretty obvious to the observer what it was, so the game of "what's inside this package?" was kind of lame for her. Still, I think that might be her most memorable gift.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you ever feel like you can't possibly deserve the blessings you have?  I feel that way so much.  We have a sturdy house- it certainly proved itself this summer with the tornado.  Plenty of food, often too much food.  A loving wonderful family and good friends.  We have  jobs that help us pay for everything, though I have to admit, there are more times than not that I am not so very grateful for my job.  I'd love to spend all my time at home with the cats and dog, sewing or painting or cooking or any number of more pleasurable activities than dealing with lawyers and insurance companies and computers.  Still, I really have nothing to complain about.  My job is in no way dangerous, and my working conditions are comfortable.

This time of year, I think makes us remember even more how much we have.
This time of year I tend to keep dollar bills in my pockets because I never want to pass by a Salvation Army kettle and not put anything in.  I love it when there are kids volunteering as ringers, or special needs groups who are giving their time.  But the most wonderful ringer of all
stands on the corner next to a coffee shop and across from the library in our town.  He has the most fantastic attitude.  If you put a dollar in his bucket he sings your praises as if you had given $100.  If you happen to give more, he still proclaims very loudly how absolutely wonderful you are and what a blessing you are.  Last year it was terribly cold one day and he was still standing there outside the warm up shed they have for him, so I gave him a hot chocolate and a cookie along with my money.  He was so effusive in his thanks that you would think I had saved him from starvation.
Today, I pulled over next to him and handed a 5 dollar bill out my window.  He lavished me with thanks and said, "it's been a slow day, but now you have turned the tide!!  It's going to pick up from here out!  You are so generous I could stand here in my stocking feet and not feel the cold one bit! You stay here I'll watch the traffic and let you know when it's safe for you to pull out."
See what I mean? 
Of course it's all for a good cause, but what else could make you feel so  great, and better than a dozen other things I could spend the money on.
God bless that man.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gray November

 November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear.
- - - Sir Walter Scott "Marmion"

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
- - - Thomas Hood

November always seemed to be the Norway of the year.
- - - Emily Dickinson

November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.
- - - Louisa May Alcott

How sad would be November if we had no knowledge of the spring!
- - - Edwin Way Teale


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It doesn't look like much does it?  But here are the more recent pictures of cleaning up, fixing up, replacing

Here is the big guy working on the holes in the garage

the windows from inside,
the old, pretty ones, with the charming wavy glass

And the new, state of the art, no wind or rain or anything is getting through these, refinance the house windows.

Not going to lie, I will miss the old widows, the little spring thingies that held them open

the pretty wavy glass

But on the plus side, they ALL open.  I realized there were 3 windows that we had NEVER opened in this house!  Next time I'll show you my new kitchen sink window.  It opens! and no cold air comes in!
Plus, the big guy knew how much I loved those old windows so he saved a few of them for me.  Now I get to plan an art project around them!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

And everything stopped for a while

I meant to write about the wonderful anniversary party our children gave us, but right now it's all I can do to put one foot in front of the other and keep my chin up.
Early last Wednesday we had a tornado rip through our area of Wisconsin.
Unfortunately we were right in it's path.
The weather service says it was an F-1 which is the lowest grade of tornado.  I for one never want to encounter anything like this again, F-1 was more than enough for us.
Here is  what our homestead used to look like.

This is what it looked like the morning of the tornado.
I'll be downloading the really "after" shots soon too, here it looks like a war zone, now it looks like a lumber camp.

Here is the beautiful old barn before.

Here is what is left of it.

See this big pine tree?

There is a truck under there somewhere...

there it is!
yes, it was totaled.
As was miss V's car.
Other damage includes two windows and two rooms in the house, several holes in our fairly new metal roof, a hole in the garage where the tree that is on top of the truck ended it's run, dents dings and a hole in our new camper, the barn completely flattened, another outbuilding damaged, and worst of all, 60 trees.  Some of those trees were really good friends.
But, if you know me at all, you know that I am a pretty positive person, so here goes the list of blessings.
Jim and Miss V safe and unharmed despite the fact that he was closing one of her bedroom windows when a branch came through the other one, me not hurt, the dog and cats unharmed- a bit skittish, several apple trees unharmed, another special tree unharmed, one very old chestnut tree damaged but salvageable and still standing, so many friends and family who pitched in to move trees and help us clean up without us asking once, power back on, one old lilac still standing, indestructible hosta plants, heavy work gloves, people stopping by to extend their sympathy on the loss of our beautiful trees, an undamaged porch, family and friends who cried with me, and then asked if it was okay to start making Wizard of Oz jokes. 
Life goes on.  I will probably miss some of those trees every day that we live here, but I will be glad for having them for as long as we did and grateful for the beauty and shade they gave us.  And we will replant and make our homestead beautiful again.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Camping fun!

In June, the big guy and I went to Perrot State Park.
we camped with Kona

The big guy kayaked with Kona!

Okay, in all honesty it was a little stressful for him, but I had a great time!
:-)  Kona was a good girl, sitting in the front...
until a duck flew up from the river...
then I heard some stern and loud commands.
She did listen and remained int he kayak.  

We'll pause for a relaxing flower picture now

and a bit of a lie down

and perhaps a glass of wine

yes, that's better.
Now, we'll take her hiking
 Good girl.
the dog, not me
 Really good girl.
Mississippi river scene
and a sneak preview...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Some HOUSE work going on at the green mansion
Here we have dad and "son" working on tiles.
It sort of looks like they are doing some weird yoga doesn't it?
I was teasing Trevor that he really looked like that. 
It was great having his help, and some good father son time for them.

Think someones back was getting tired?

Meanwhile the flowers are flowering nicely and I hope to get some more good pictures of them all.
This particular basket was given to me by some lovely ladies I work with.
My clinic sites were combined so I will no longer be working at their site to do my records and they said they will miss me.
Gosh I miss them already too!
Just a picture of the gardens as a sort of before, I plan to take pictures throughout the summer again to see how much things grow and fill in.

These planters are already much fuller and lovelier.

The big guy and I are headed out for a week long camping trip and leaving the cat babies and the plants in the charge of the lovely Miss V.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy May Day

I wish these pretty flowers were from my yarden this year already,
but since we still have a wee bit of snow in some of the shady areas, it's not
even likely any time soon.

The grass is starting to green up, and the trees are budding.
the birds are busy with nest building so we know
it won't be too much longer.

My wrist and elbow are healing, a bit too slow for my taste, then I remind myself that
as long as I'm still healing I get to be off work.
yup, that helps! 
This past weekend we trimmed our bridal wreath hedge WAY WAAAY back
to encourage some new healthy growth, and we raked and raked the yard.
and of course by WE I mean the big guy did 99.99% of the work.
I discovered rather quickly that one armed raking is not comfortable.  My back began explaining
this to me by the next morning.
But I am nothing if not supportive.
I can hold tarps, fetch tools, make dinners, make tea and bring ibuprofen for his aching back!
I'll attempt some one handed picture taking soon. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A big fat thumbs up

A big fat thumbs up for recovery.
My thumb is so swollen it only goes up!  hopefully soon I'll be able to bend it again.
This was 2 days after surgery.  I got most of the Ooompa Loompa color rubbed off, most of it
 Here we go, Doesn't look too bad, though I do seem to be the queen of bruises this year.
In February I slipped and tore my hamstring, and the entire back of my right leg was black and blue.
I'm learning to type one handed... spell check and the arrow keys are my best friends!
I won't mention how long this one weeney post took me.
Meanwhile, waiting for spring & the swelling to go down & missing my sewing and crafting!