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the cow jumped over the moon

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a year ago

A year ago, Robert had his heart valve replacement surgery.

Here he is, about a month ago, at the local record store (owned by our pal Aaron).

a year ago
A carefully placed album :)
Thank goodness all went well, and is well!  I don't know what I would do without him. Thank goodness for ACA/Obamacare - if we didn't have it, he wouldn't have gone for a regular check-up (he had no real symptoms; but we had insurance and a low co-pay), and when his valve would have failed, it would have been catastrophic! We'll see what the powers-that-be replace ACA with - but I'm not feeling very hopeful. Thanks to everyone for being supportive, esp Denise who was with me all day long that very very long emotional stressful day.

And look!  The crocuses are popping up in our front yard.  It's been oddly warm for the past week.

a year ago


And a pretty sunset last week at the old reservoir in town:

a year ago


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


I took a walk through the reservoir last week...it's just a few blocks south of our home and I don't take nearly enough advantage of it.



The moon - the night before the Summer Solstice (taken from our back yard)


Watching too much soccer - both the Euros and Copa (ughhh, US got beat by Argentina - I had hoped that they would have scored at least ONE goal...sigh.)  and not getting enough done around the house. I think it's just a way for me to zone out - been quite concerned about current events, upcoming elections and thinking about all my British friends with this upcoming Brexit vote.

A brother (Brother M) and a nephew flew in from Minnesota for the big Cavs parade in Cleveland today!  I won't be at the parade - too many people, plus Sephora needs to go to the vet (she has a stye on her eye lid that needs looking at) and I have to be at work, too - but it will be fun to see all the photos and videos and TV coverage about it!

The win by the Cavs was a HUGE thing for Cleveland - we haven't had a major championship win in ANY major sport here since 1964. (Though this year, our AHL - minor league hockey- team won their championship, and they'll be included in the parade today!)


I joined Instagram - I'm challenging myself to post a photo every day and having a blast using my new fancy phone- so if you are also over there, here's the link to me.   I'm also reacquainting myself with focusing/calming/attention techniques, using a few decks like a hand-made oracle deck that a bunch of us made about 10 years ago, my 1990s Universal Waite tarot deck and my new Lenormand deck.


The morning is flying by, so I'll post this now and get ready for the day.

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!

what's going on

what's going on
Ruffled cowls- I have been making a lot of these!
Guess what? We actually went to a party last weekend!! An annual gift exchange party (you know, where everyone brings a wrapped gift, and then we all pick a number, and you choose a gift and open it, then if someone else wants it they can take it from you and then you have to choose another gift - either a wrapped one or 'steal' from someone else ?) - we had been invited by Danyl and Louise for years and finally were able to attend, and we had such a good time!  Denise and her husband Jonnie, and Joan were there too!! EVERYONE wanted Brandon's Coveted Cast Iron Rabbit that he picked - I got it once and had to commemorate the moment as I knew it would be 'stolen' from me. We left early as our drive back home was an hour, and Denise later told me that it was 'stolen' by a few more people before it ended up with Devlin.
what's going on
Top Left: Devlin handing out numbers (Joan is in that photo - she's looking at Devlin's dad Danyl)
Top Right: Jonnie making that face on purpose and Denise
Bottom Left:  Brandon seeing if anything else is in the box that held the Coveted Cast Iron Rabbit
Bottom Right: Me and Robert with the Coveted Cast Iron Rabbit
Then Wednesday I met up with a very dear friend - Steve and I have known one another since our teens, and we have kept in touch since he moved to New Orleans thirty years or so and met his partner Warren, but we haven't seen one another in yikes, about 15 years? My only time visiting France was with him and other friends who were at college and I went along with them in the two weeks around NYE 1980.  How times flies, doesn't it? We had SUCH a blast - lunch lasted three hours! Robert and I have got to go to NOLA to visit one of these days soon.

what's going on
I'm wearing one of my ruffled cowls!

Pottery classes started this week. Oh I believe I figured out how to extend the firing times! WHOOT!!!  I'm off to load a kiln now.

Have a great weekend, folks!


games and puzzles

Last year, I received this puzzle for the holidays and we only opened it last night. Yikes! Since we haven't done a puzzle in a long long time, I'm not sure this is the one that we should have started on.

games and puzzles

Many families and friends in the US tend to play games over the holiday season (as well as throughout the year, but it seems that the holidays have more game-playing sessions than at other times) - or at least in my circle of family/friends they do. Maybe because, unlike in the U.K. where I understand that over Christmas there were and are Christmas Specials, slim pickings were on regular TV. Plus usually during the holidays there would be snow and cold in our neck of the woods (unlike this year as we haven't had real snow yet and currently it's raining again) and being inside and warm was a nice thing. Or maybe it was a good way to keep the peace! For whatever reason, I remember playing a lot of games during this season when indoors!  Also when I was a kid, we often received a new board game from Santa. I remember getting Masterpiece in 1970/71, for instance. Santa used to bring my son games often, too!

I have to admit that I got bored easily with some board games - after playing a few times, I was ready for the next one. But cards on the other hand I seemed to enjoy more. Rummy was a favorite of mine. And pre-packaged card games are fun, too - I heard that there is a new game called Cards Against Humanity - this coming weekend, I'm meeting up with my sisters and I think we'll be playing that one.  I also recommend Aquarius - it is a fun Dominoes-type game.

Here is our current stash of games in our home (which means these are games that still interest me!).

games and puzzles
The two cases are - fancy poker set and backgammon.
There is also a checker/chess board in there somewhere,
but I don't have any checkers or chess pieces anymore for some reason.
Did your family and friends play games at this time of year? And do you have any game recommendations?

And once again I say:  There needs to be a word/term for this week between Christmas and the New Year!  EDIT 12/29/15 - I read that in Norway the week is called Romjul.

#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 .




a year agohappy holidays!we saw...catching upeasterwhat's going ongames and puzzlesthankful for these two#TBT - summer activities

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