January Adventure

We started 2016 in Virginia, with Lisa and Cam.   I can’t express our enjoyment of getting away to visit with them, and spend time in the mountains.

I am a little superstitous about how to spend the first day of a new year.  It must be spent on something worthwhile, as this is symbolic of how time will be spent during the rest of the year.  Lisa and I enjoyed an almost daily walk along the Shenandoah River, tackling an especially long hilly trail on New Year’s Day.   Perfect.   If this year is filled with walks outdoors in nature, it will be a wonderful year!

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Jeff and Cam went fishin’….it was a good day on the water for them.

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January 2 we ventured out to Great Falls National Park, in Viriginia.   Water  so powerful, rugged cliffs, trails winding along the rocky edge.

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What’s really amazing is that this entire gorge will flood to overflowing.  As shown below, I would have been underwater during the years marked on the post.

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Remnants of the Patowmack Canal, built by George Washington’s company in the late 1700’s to bypass the Falls.

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We really had a great time exploring this place.

Thank you Lisa and Cam for the memorable and perfect start to 2016.

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Lisa has a beautiful garden, is an animal rescuer and rehabber and a gifted artist.  You will see what a beautiful person my SIL is….visit her blog, here.

Jan 30, 2016

Hello friend, how are you doing?  Sorry to be out of touch for so long.  Its so hard to start writing and posting after a long absence.  I have a big catch up on this blob…daunting task. 

I will start with a heads up to my blogging friends.  For years I used Windows Live Writer to publish my posts.  I found it so much easier and convenient than the WordPress publishing software.  But then, in 2012, Windows stopped supporting Live, which was no problem until I upgraded to Windows 8.  The Live program started acting “funky” and frustratingly slow.  This dulled my motivation to post over the last couple years.  But, Glory Be!, Windows gave the program a new life by letting it go open source.   As I understand, this  means that Windows released its copyright, and a group of volunteers revamped the program and have released it anew.  Here is the link that will let you read and download the new Open Live Writer.  Open Live Writer works with many blogging platforms, not just WordPress.  And here is a review of the new Live Writer.  I am looking forward to using this program again, and optimistic Writer receiving regular updates. 

So, where do I start, after ending with Halloween of 2015?  With thankfulness for the past year, for the love of my family and friends, for health and vitality, for all the good things in life!  Sometimes the days aren’t what you would choose them to be, but that’s life. 

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.  -John Lennon

We finished off the year on a good note except for the health of my parents.  They have been to the ER many times over the last 2 months.  My dad’s  immune system fights pneumonia and other germs not quite as efficiently as in the past.  Mom had a bad fall in December, and broke her nose.  And from all the stress of these past months, she now has come down with a case of the shingles. 

Our “Littles” are growing and doing great.  The twin’s, Dylan and Aubree, speech switch seemed to flip on the minute they turned 2.  We now affectionately mispronounce many words because of them.  For instance, pillow = bippo, truck=twuck, wine=Grandma juice.  Colton is in first grade and loves school, so much so that he was upset on Martin Luther King day.  Codi is 3 now, and her own little person…full of sweetness and spunk at the same time. 

Right now I am working on mosaicing a large mirror frame for Steph and Derek’s main bathroom.  I thoroughly love working on artistic projects, and hope to spend more time doing that in 2016. 

After catching up with some photo editing and downloading, I will be back….

Thanks for stopping in, please say hello in the comments!

Halloween, then and now

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There are my three children, way back when, enjoying the canopy of our long gone maple tree.  The Giving Tree.

Digging through old boxes, looking for Halloween photos.  A daunting task.  But I did find a few.

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(Note Jackie’s shoes, above:  “I can do it myself!”)

Here we are a few years later, posing with a big, bad pumpkin.  This was a tradition.  First hunting for the biggest pumpkin, and then drawing designs and finally carving.

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Here we go back far,  late 80’s (I wonder who was babysitting)  with my mom and dad, Jeff and I.  Saints and Creeps!

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This year, we attended a couple fun evening events with the Littles.  Do you think I would remember to take photos?  Right.  But I did remember when we went to ZooBoo, at the Detroit Zoo.  Thing1 and Thing2 move at the speed of light…one is always a blur…..

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I’m hopeful for a great photo with the whole bunch on Halloween.

One year, when my oldest grandson was 4 or 5 years old, he asked me where all my Halloween decorations were.  From then on out, I decided I would not be Grandma Grinch.  I try to decorate for the seasons and holidays.    Adding to the fun and slight scary aura of Halloween, I made a couple things for our home and  to capture little peoples imagination.

My old blueprint cabinet, the first thing one sees as they walk in the side door:

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Mr Chillingsworth is a fabric panel, and I love how he fits right in the cabinet.  The top of the cabinet is a little collection from over  the years…my shrine to All Hallows Eve.

I also made a table runner.  My friends shared their fun fabrics with me.  Thank you Gail and Julie, I could not have planned it better.

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And looking at the back, Gail’s fabric has me ready for the next holiday!

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Judging from the reactions of my grandchildren, my efforts added a bit of intrigue to the season.

Hello again, hello

 

Thinking back over the summer of 2015, yes the one that passed by at jet speed, I reflect on how good, happy, and busy we were.  We went up north three times, had a wedding, besides all the “regular” stuff.

Just want to share a few photos to show you how our “littles” are growing:

Colton and Codi….(had trouble finding good photos of little Codi)

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Aubree and Dylan….

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A big big bunch of the fun was had with their cousins over the summer….

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Well, maybe Baby L is just a little too little this year to join in the fun… P1040668

An official “Goodbye  to Summer”…..!  And an official end to my blogging hiatus.  I next want to show you what I have been doing.

Warmest autumn wishes to you, thank you for reading!

Meet Lili

Jeff and I were not looking for a cat.
We knew Jeff’s sister needed to find a home for her’s though.
I resisted, until a moment when she intently stared at me with those big beautiful eyes and I knew right then we would be taking her home.  When I told Jeff, he  glanced at me with a look that said “I agree, glad you finally came around”.

No regrets.  She is a good kitty, we are getting  acquainted more every day.

Lili.   I’ve decided this stands for “little lioness”.  Although, at 18 pounds she is not a little cat.

She’s 8 years old, mostly sedentary and sweet, a little shy.  She has a judgement process for our guests…and you are either immediately accepted, or hidden from.  Loves  being brushed, and moves around on my lap so I don’t miss a spot.
She likes Jeff and I equally well, but whoever rubs her ears the hardest is her favorite.  We enjoy hearing her slow, heavy steps move about the house.

The vet says she is a “Norwegian Forest Cat”.  She does have an exotic look with her slightly curled ears and stub of a tail

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Yes, it’s good to have a kitty around again.  And Lili is happy here with us, too.

Just a Number

I am turning 60 this week.  How the heck did that happen?

I’ve always thought bucket lists were an indulgent waste of time.  But I am having second thoughts as I turn this milestone.  Time goes by,  its running out quickly!  Why not have a little plan…..

So here I go, celebrating that number 60 with a bucket list of 60 things!  Mixed up in no particular order…some are big crazy dreams, some I can carry out this summer.  There are so many ways to look at a bucket list.  I could have made a list of things to experience over the summer, over the next year, or the next 5 years.  This list tries to encompass it all.

1.  Read 100 books

2. Complete 100 watercolor paintings

3.  Complete 100 mosaics

4.  Complete 100 embroideries or quilts

5.  Work as an accountant until I’m no longer able to account

6.  Still be planting and digging in the dirt when I’m 80

7.  Travel the US with Jeff in a motor home

8.  Have a picnic in Central Park

9.  Travel down the Mississippi River in a houseboat with Jeff

10.  Participate in an artist residency

11.  Visit the Grand Canyon

12.  See the redwood forests

13.  Explore the Porcupine Mountains

14.  Spend some time in Savannah, GA

15.  Spend some time in Charleston, SC

16.  Go whale watching

17.  See the “green flash” when the sun sets over the ocean

18.  See the northern lights at least one more time.

19.  Record sightings of 100 different bird species

20.  Walk at least 10,000 steps a day.   This might require a hip replacement, or maybe just consistent training

21.  Be successful at hunting for morels

22.  Visit the wineries in Northern Michigan

23.  Go to Ireland with my daughters

24.  Go to New York City with my daughters

25.  Go to New Zealand with Jeff

26.  Become proficient at adjusting the manual controls on my camera

27.  Buy local produce, visit farmer’s markets during the summer

28.  Bake a perfect lemon cake…easy to put together, moist and very lemony

29.  Drink a $100 bottle of wine

30.  Fly first class, just once

31.  Grow a vegetable garden again

32.  Clean out the attic

33.  Stay up north for an extended time during the summer, maybe one month

34.  Find and identify 100 different wildflowers I did not know

35.  Wow my grandchildren with hula hoop skills

36.  Jeff and I ride bicycles around various Michigan cities to explore

37.  Visit my friend, Kat, at her Florida home

38,  Photograph 100 mosaics from cities in the US

39.  Pass that enrolled agent exam

40.  Visit the Florida Keys

41.  Stay one winter in Florida

42.  Teach my grandchildren to sew

43.  Draw and paint with my grandchildren

44.  Teach my grandchildren a love of plants and gardening

45.  Make alphabet books for all of my grandchildren

46.  Keep up my illustrated journals

47.  Continue with this “blob” to write about all of these adventures

48.  Finish strong in faith, charity and love

49.  Have a chickadee eat out of my hand

50.  No gray hair until it is completely gray (Kelly, I will keep you busy).  Then I will cut it short and go gray.

51.  Do something fun with my children and grandchildren about once a month

52. Enjoy a morning walk most everyday

53.  Master a half dozen yoga poses

54.  Cut back on my art “stashes”, use up, recycle, divest

55.  Visit Barcelona, Spain and the Gaudi architecture

56.  Visit the Japanese Garden at Meijer’s Gardens

57.  Visit Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan

58.  Live in a way that in the end I will be remembered as giving person who made a difference in a few lives

59.  Lose 20 pounds, and keep it off

60.  Keep the tradition of Friday night-date night with Jeff

There, that was a stretch.   It initiated some good conversation between Jeff and I, we talked about our future…we looked ahead.  We will have some adventures together!

Writing this list was a great experience.  I would love to read your list, too.  Please link in the comments to your own bucket list.

Backing up a bit

Back to April, the month in pictures…heaven forbid I miss a month of memories!

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Easter traditions and festivities:

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A trip to the Detroit Zoo:

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On April 19th we had Jackie’s bridal shower at Steph’s house.  I had a blast seeing all my favorite peoples, and meeting so many from Kevin’s family.  We had lasagna and salad, and cupcakes!

I lifted these photos directly off of Facebook, thank you Alicia for remembering to take photos!

Jaclyn and Alicia, the most wonderful and helpful maid of honor one could have:

Jaclyn and Kevin’s sister, Emily:

They seem happy with the quilt I made for them:

The last weekend of April, Jeff and I escaped up to the cabin

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….very early spring up there:

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Many other events and details of daily life are recorded for posterity in my journal…the pages won’t forget and definitely helped me remember!

Thanks for revisiting April with me!