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the cow jumped over the moon

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happy holidays!

I celebrated the Winter Solstice with Denise and a bunch of her friends. Women only. It was fabulous. I got there early (hurrah for a reliable vehicle!) so I could spend some time with Denise, and we talked and talked while she was cooking, and then her friends started to show up around 6:30, with lots and lots of good food. We ate and talked.  Made our head wreaths and then wrote our New Year's wishes on small pieces of paper, and then burned them as offerings in her wood stove.

A pottery student gave me a selfie stick on our last class (when we took that photo of us all with our Empty Bowls, I had joked that we needed one to take a good photo of all of us) so I was playing around with it, and finally got a good photo of us all!

happy holidays!
oops!

happy holidays!
That's better - but now I have to figure out how to take a good photo in low light on my phone.
Here's Sephora on Christmas Eve Eve:

happy holidays!

Christmas morning, I picked up my Mom from Mass. She was staying with my Brother C and his wife for the weekend, and since they were at their church, I was able to pick Mom up and take her back to their home.  Again, thank goodness for this reliable vehicle!

happy holidays!

Before we painted our bedroom, there was a built-in cabinet on one wall. When we tore it out, we found some old wallpaper still on the back wall.  So we saved the best square of it.  For my holiday present this year, Robert found a frame, and without the glass, attached it to the wall.  Then he mounted a cross-stitch portrait of Clara Bow that a friend had made years ago.  I love it!

happy holidays!

We keep our holiday decorations up until the Feast of the Magi.  Today, I am doing laundry, putting away paperwork, and we watched the Liverpool/Stoke game on TV. Here's a view from my chair.

happy holidays!


Wishing you all the best during this
holiday season!

happy holidays!
Dried tangerines for stained-glass-ish decorations


app for that?

Why isn't there an app for blogger? Now that I have this fancy phone, all my photos are on it, and it would be so much easier to just write a blog post from the phone, instead of the computer.

Happy Halloween for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere!

app for that?
At the old reservoir in town yesterday, early evening 
The Cleveland Indians are in the World Series -  1) Chief Wahoo is horribly racist and has got to go and 2) everyone outside of Cleveland fans want the Cubs to win.  But I am a Clevelander through and through (even though I have lived in this little college town about 35 minutes outside of Cleveland for 18 years) and it would be great if they would win - haven't won the World Series since 1948.   Keeps my mind off of other things.

My sister M and brother D went to one of the games; and the next day, sister M came to visit!

app for that?

Robert went to TX for three gigs, and while he was gone, Denise came by to take me out for my birthday - we went to a public garden, and then to lunch.  It was a gorgeous day and a wonderful time spent with such a dear friend.

app for that?
Denise next to the river
Life continues in its little ways. I teach pottery, work part-time for the non-profit. R and I did some much need yard clean-up the other day, but our lawn mower is on the fritz again.  I haven't knitted much these days but will remedy that once I pick a new project. I have been watching way too much sports on TV, and posting nearly daily on Instagram. Will be pickling a bunch of peppers my brother C and his wife K grew and gave us over the weekend.

app for that?

Today Sephora is at the groomers.  She has a growth on her eyelid, but fortunately we found out it was benign earlier this month, and she'll have that taken off when she gets her teeth cleaned in November.

app for that?
The growth is on her left eye, so you cannot see it in this photo
I'll post next week when I am celebrating the first female President of the USA!

Have a great week everyone!

microbursts

Two Saturdays ago, our town was hit by a microburst.

Fortunately no one was injured.  From what I have read and seen, hundreds of trees were knocked down or damaged. A few houses and cars were damaged. Nearly the entire town had no power. Oddly, and fortunately, we weren't hit at all and had power. We offered our electricity to those who needed to charge their phones.

microbursts
The top photo is representative of the kind of damage that happened all around us.
The bottom photo is one of two branches in our yard from the storm.

Not sure why the photo is blurry...hmmmmmm
And then another microburst:  On Robert's birthday last Wednesday - he turned 61, and Wednesdays are his usual day off -  we (with a borrowed car - our car cannot be trusted to make it that far) drove into Cleveland to celebrate his birthday and to visit my Mom in the hospital (she is doing much better, and is back home).  His cell phone rang - his work - but he didn't get to it in time and because he had never set up his voice mail, there was no way to know what they were calling about.  I joked that they were calling him to with him a happy birthday!

We first stopped into the West Side Market as he had a hankering for Moroccan olives. We picked up some other goodies too - enchiladas, blueberries for Mom, and we got a flat of strawberries for $5 because it was the end of the day!

microbursts

We visited Mom and she was doing so much better, and we had a great time, and sang Happy Birthday to Robert.

The next day, Robert goes to work, and comes back home 45 minutes later.  He, along with nearly 30 other people at the warehouse, were laid off.

We were (and sometimes even now) in complete shock. So what did we do?  We made jam with those strawberries. When life gives you ______...well you know the old saying

microbursts

Sunday, we went back into Cleveland to visit Mom again (at home) and were there with my brother C and his wife, and my sister M!  Happy early 86th birthday, Mom!

So, yeah, that is that. We'll get through this - but it is a tough thing to have your life changed around. Especially at our age. And especially that many people in and around our small college town now without work, too.

Of course, sometimes when we are blue, we think "just when things were finally looking up for us, then this happens!?!?!" And other times, we are strong in hope and us together being able to face this huge change in our life. The roller coaster of emotions these past days!  But it could be worse, right? We didn't get hit by the weather microburst, for one.

What is weird about all of this is that we usually don't really make huge plans for the future. But recently we had been talking about the next five years or so. We were quite happy with the way things are and that things were looking up, and thinking that perhaps we could put down a down payment for a better vehicle soon. Then BAM!

I don't usually like to write about negative stuff in this blog, but oh well.

Here is a happy photo of breakfast (actually the photo was taken yesterday, but we're having the same thing today) Robert made the bread and that's the jam we made.

microbursts



we saw...

We saw a happy horse in town last Saturday!  The Mennonites were selling their baskets in town (remember this post?), and this is a perfect shady spot for the horse to relax, in the shrubs next to the parking lot of the community arts building, where I was unloading/loading a kiln.

we saw...

We saw some of my family.  Brother D came into town from CA to visit our Mom; we went with my Brother C and his wife into Cleveland last Sunday to meet up at Mom's house. On the way home, we drove through a thunderstorm and look at the colors (no camera filters used) afterwards!  Maxfield Parrish skies.

we saw...

we saw...

We saw and are seeing some of our garden in bloom:

we saw...
Peony

we saw...
Salvia - and I see some weeds, too!
Speaking of seeing, I am reading Asimov's The Naked Sun in which people on the plant Solaria get completely grossed out by seeing people in person, and feel more comfortable viewing them (through a device like a hologram).

We will be seeing a lot of our yard this weekend - I have a ton of weeding to do!

catching up

It's been awhile since I posted!

Speaking of ketchup - Malcolm Gladwell wrote a little essay about the many varieties of mustard vs. the very few varieties of ketchup which was included his book What the Dog Saw that I read not too long ago.  It has been a few years since that article was originally published, and I can now tell you that we have found a delicious new ketchup - Wild Oats Organic Ketchup. We're not obsessed about organic, and the main reason we bought it was because it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, and best of all, it is not expensive. (Obviously, that essay stuck with me)

The Big Parade paraded on Saturday April 30th. I missed the actual parade because I was loading and unloading a kiln at the community arts center, but here are a few photos as people hang around afterwards. I think some of you remember that when Robert and I got married on May 1st in 2004, the Big Parade was on the same day, and as we (and our family and friends) walked through the square on the way home, the excitement and spectacle and colors and happy energy added to the day.

catching up
The decorated tree in front of the community arts center
catching up
The town square
Today I'm finishing up some of my watercolor cards, and attempting to scan them, but the scanner we have is about a zillion years old and the color is way off, so I decided to just take photos but they're not great, but better than that old scanner.

Speaking of snail mail - does anyone else get confused about this?  So, I often write letters in my head, and then I think that I have actually written them. Weeks later, I'm all "oh yeah, so-and-so should have gotten my card by now!" and then I think "did I really write it or just think I wrote it?" (With one person recently, I just thought I wrote it - sheesh!)  I found a little notebook and am now writing down when I send cards to people. Unlike email where you can check to see if you actually sent a person an email, I need to document my letter-writing.

Which makes me think this - back when people only wrote letters, and wrote to many many people, how did they keep their correspondences straight? Did they repeat themselves often?  Did they make copies of their letters? (I used to do that with a few friends with whom I wrote a lot of letters to years ago, especially if I happened to work at the copy shop or an office, where I could sneak a personal copy in now and again). I have been mulling this over, and will probably do a mini-research/google search to see if I can come up with any answers.

Last night, R and I were invited to my brother C and his wife K's home for dinner.  We had a wonderful time! I'm cutting back on some social media (not blogs, though - I love blogs - it's like being in someone's kitchen, listening to them talk about their day) and making an effort to spend more time with people 'in real life' and of course also writing more letters.  (Which reminds me of an article I read about millennials and their love for the TV show Friends  - and this article too which I found very interesting, and a bit sad, given that I grew up in the pre-internet/cell phone era and am glad for that, though I can be a hermit sometimes, especially in the winter! )

easter

easter
I just had to dye and decorate some Easter eggs
(dye, markers, crayons and wax)
I have always loved Easter.
The Easter Bunny would hide our baskets - 
we would tear about the house Easter Sunday morning trying to find them.
And when we had our morning newspaper route, those of us kids who got up early to deliver the papers had a hard time being good on holidays by not looking for our baskets (or under the tree on Christmas) before everyone else was up. Sometimes we did sneak a peek. We hurried to deliver the papers on holidays.
Candy was a special treat three times a year - Easter/Halloween/Christmas.
Dad would buy us girls (and Mom, too!) corsages.
We usually got a new Easter outfit.
I was so into that blue and green color combination. And I remember loving those tights I'm wearing.
A lamb shaped cake, too, for dessert after dinner.
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate. I'm celebrating Spring!

easter
1967 or '68 because brotherD isn't in the picture.
SisterM, brotherM, me, brotherC and sisterD
Thanks to SisterM for finding this photo!

leap day monday

leap day monday

It's been a weird a weird warm winter, but I'm not complaining - after the past two, this has been a nice reprieve.
leap day monday
Photos from Friday:  Leaving the hospital/Nearly home/Home!
Robert is doing very well!  I cannot believe a week ago I was waiting with Denise (she was with me for a big chunk of the nearly 12 hours I was there while Robert was having the surgery - thank you sweetest friend!) in the Ugliest Waiting Room Ever. Waiting for a loved one while they are in surgery is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. But I have to say,  modern medicine is amazing. And he and I are both very very happy he is on the mend and home.

leap day monday
Denise waving - the cheeriest thing in this, the Ugliest Waiting Room Ever.
During the week, Mom and SisterM came to visit Robert at the hospital, then they took me to lunch! Then BrotherC brought over some home-made soup on Saturday! We have received soo many well wishes from family and friends and here on the blog and on FB!  We also had an on-line fundraiser that our dear friend Mike did for us - what a help that has been and will be since Robert will be unable to work for 2-3 months. People are awesome.  

Revving back up to go back to work at the non-profit tomorrow. Re: pottery teaching -  I'm not teaching any full classes this month, so will try to get more private students and do a few evening open studios.

I love the way this un-bisqued piece looks - need to figure out how to get this look as a finished piece. I'm going to pop out to the community arts center to unload a kiln and glaze this piece in a few minutes as R is taking a nap.

leap day monday
Sgraffito-ed tumbler
I'm applying for a spot at the famous and most amazing Hessler Street Fair, which will be held in late May. I have been a vendor there years ago and wow were those times a blast.  I'm applying because 1) well, it will be fun (especially if I can get a space next to Joan) and most importantly 2) having this scheduled will kick my butt in gear to get moving and do more art! 

#TBT - summer activities

The other day, while eating ice cream at Dairy Twist, I asked my husband what activities in his youth were specific to summer.  Which was actually a silly question because he grew up in California. Summer didn't mean quite the same for him as it did for me; we had the school's-out-for-summer in common but that was about it.  Here in the Midwest, summer was special - we only had a few months of warm weather.

There are activities which I don't have photos to illustrate - like how I used to sit on the front porch of our house, with a glass of lemonade and some saltines, reading books in the shade.  Playing kick-the-can with the the kids in the neighborhood, and sometimes with our parents which was quite fun!  Riding my bike for hours in the streets or in the parks alone or with friends. Swim lessons and then swimming every year at the local pool (there is a great photo of me in a swim show but it's at my Mom's house -I'll have to find it and scan that one). Eating soft-serve ice cream! Oh, and I just remembered -  annual church picnics out in the country by a lake most every summer.  And our street would have a block party once in awhile.

We would go on vacation - either a few days to visit relatives in Pittsburgh, or a day trip to an amusement park:

#TBT - summer activities
1964 at Cedar Point, and I absolutely loved my cowgirl hat!
And I still love carousels.
We visited friends in Erie, PA and this is where my dislike for beaches started - I got sand in my swimsuit and we drove all the way home at night, and I was so uncomfortable. So very uncomfortable.

#TBT - summer activities
Also 1964 and the last time you'll see a photo of me smiling at the beach. 
With my sister D and brother C

#TBT - summer activities
1966 with  three siblings (C, D and brotherM) and five cousins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - I'm the one with the ponytails.
As teenagers, we were allowed to drive an hour or so away to go to a man-made lake/water park called Holiday Sand, and most of the time I would take my younger siblings with me.  We teens also went to amusement parks (Cedar Point or Geauga Lake), festivals, and outdoor concerts (usually at Blossom Music Center) often times without adult supervision. It was a much freer time to be young back then. We always had money in our pockets because we always had some sort of job or another. For instance, I helped with the family newspaper route, babysat (which I hated), worked at the farmers market and a golf course.

Young adulthood - well that is a whole 'nother story. Maybe for another post. But for now - I have had my soft-serve ice cream this summer and have ridden my bike (maybe not for miles and miles, though). I have yet to go to a festival or an outdoor concert (even though every Friday here in town they have concerts in the square) or a county fair. I didn't start going to county fairs until after my son was born - it wasn't something we did growing up as we lived in a suburb very close to the city - but it has become a must-do summer activity. Which reminds me - we once stayed at a farm in Pennsylvania for our vacation and I absolutely loved it and named a newborn calf Elizabeth -  have to find that photo, too.

The county fair is coming up soon, and I'll definitely be going with Robert. But I won't be going to the beach.

#TBT - summer activities
1990 - bored to death and still worried about sand in my swimsuit.
But the suit was vintage!
 And I was inspired to post this photo by THIS post of Melanie's .




photos of photos

Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes to my mother.  She is doing very well after her hospital stay! It is amazing what modern medicine can do these days. My mom received a lot of visitors - my siblings Chris, Diane, and David (who happened to be nearby as he lives in California.  Marc is in Minnesota now and was unable to come due to work), my nephew Stefan, and my sister Maria and mom's sister Marilyn are driving up from Pittsburgh today to spend the weekend with her.

I didn't have time to do much knitting, but I did browse through some old family photos while I was there, and took photos of the photos because there wasn't a scanner around.

At the first house we lived in as a family; the upstairs of a duplex in East Cleveland:  Since it is April 1963, I'm three years old (would turn 4 in October), and my Gramma G (mom's mom) is probably there because my brother Marc was being born.  My sister Diane isn't in this photo - she would have been a year and a half or so and was most likely in her crib.

photos of photos
Gramma G, my older brother Chris, and me.  What game are we playing? 
This next photo in particular jumped out at me. See, I loved pickles from an early age! And as it was the holiday season, you see us with pop because pop (especially the well-loved Little Toms which I am drinking) was an extra special treat for us.  I wrote about Little Toms here).   I loved my sailor suit outfit.  I heard from a friend , who was born in Ireland, that sailor suit outfits were all the rage there at that time, too! But why is Chris wearing his football gear? Oh, maybe he received it as a Christmas present?

photos of photos
Me and Chris - December 1963.  I am four years old, Chris is 6.
Our family had just moved into the house where my mother still lives in Cleveland Heights..
Mom told me that we moved to this house the day JFK was assassinated
Gramma E with Chris, Diane and me.  It says May 1964, but this must have been taken at Easter.

photos of photos
Gramma E - my dad's mom.  She was quite stylish, and was a nightclub singer for awhile.
And the same day, this time Dad and Mom with me and Chris.

photos of photos

Okay enough tripping down memory lane.  I need to get some knitting done.  I didn't go to the Winter Market today but Robert is there, subbing for the cheese guy.  Which means he gets paid partly in cheese - whoot!!!

happy holidays!app for that?microburstswe saw...catching upeasterleap day monday#TBT - summer activities photos of photos

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