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 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.
And a pretty sunset last week at the old reservoir in town:
Hello everyone: I had to take a little break from some social media. And I'm back, with a few good things as of late:
Denise and I went to see Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks at the Cleveland Museum of Art two Sundays ago. It was absolutely fantastic. I never got to see his work in person back in the '80s. Gosh he was (we were) so young then!
I stopped by the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse on the way - what a serene and sweet place:
A few years ago, I promised myself that I would either use up a bunch of fabric I have sitting around, or donate it. So I started my first scrap quilt. I am going to make a few minor changes to the layout, and I am a bit nervous about sewing it - I am not at all precise so we'll see how it turns out. I also promised myself that I wouldn't buy any new fabric, and I did keep that promise. All I bought was spray basting and batting. Once it's done, I'll post the finished quilt. It's quite small - only 9 - 5" blocks by 10 - 5" blocks - it (will hopefully) fit on a piece of fabric I have had for years that I'm using as backing:
Another thing I have wanted to learn for a long time was fair isle/color work/stranded knitting. So I am knitting this hat - the pattern is here and yarn by Candice at The Farmers Daughter Fibers who I happen to follow on Instagram. It's quite fun and I'm happy how it's turning out! Since it's my first time, I am really twisting my yarn a lot so I'm knitting very slow. Between the quilt and the knitting, I am checking the news less often, which is good for my mental health. (I'm still making phone calls, writing letter, etc, though)
And last but not least!! Happy Valentine's Day (early) to us!! A darling new flock of chicks!!! It's so good to have chicks again - been too long (I think it's been over two years since we have had chickens Robert reminded me that it has been three and a half years since we have had chickens! Wow). We named them (and this is not in the order of the photo) Bettie, Hettie, Lettie, Nettie - and Myrtle! (I cannot stop laughing when I say "...and Myrtle!"). Beware that I'll be boring the pants off of you all by posting lots of photos of them in upcoming blog entries :)
EDIT: If you have never seen a baby chick fall over falling asleep - well, you have to!! When we first had chickens, and saw that happening, I thought the chick had died. Now I am laughing all the time when I see them do it. Ahhh good things :)
Heart-swelling. Mind-blowing. Hopeful. Inclusive. Positive. Empowering. So many more words that my soul is exploding!
It was a trek to get there! We left our town at 12:20 a.m. Around 4:15 a.m., we stopped at a rest stop and there were SO many people there, with pink hats and without, we were overjoyed!
At 5:30 a.m., our bus broke down in Pennsylvania. Our bus driver was able to notify some busses that were passing by to stop and load more than half of us. There was about a dozen of us left, waiting for a mechanic to arrive. About five hours later, with the heroic efforts of the bus driver and another mechanic, we were on our way again to DC. We watched the speeches on cell phones - the bus had WiFi and we could charge our devices, too!
We arrived at 2:30 (if you're counting, that was 14 hours on the bus - it would normally take half that time to get there). As we got off the Metro/train, we saw a TON of people leaving. Oh NO! We missed everything. Some folks told us that they had cancelled the actual march because there were too many people. We went on, thinking we had to get to the area anyway; there had to be people still around. We saw the photos of the crowds when we were on the bus.
Once we got there, we were told that indeed the March was on!! So we joined in.
It was a very positive atmosphere. My favorite chant "This is what democracy looks like." I should upload some of the videos I took somehow - maybe on my YouTube channel. Of course, there is more to do - phone calls, emails, letters, petitions, meeting with groups in our area - esp in light of the Press Secy 'alternate facts' reality. So many phone calls today that the White House comment line was turned off for awhile - perhaps it still is?
Thanks to everyone who supported me on my trip, and cheered us on on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to everyone who marched either in a sister march or at home! The MILLIONS of people who marched across the globe!!! We are NOT alone.
As many of you know, we haven't had a reliable vehicle in years. So on Friday, Denise scooped me up and took me to her place, so I could have a mini-vacation!
After a trip to a bookstore and a delightful dinner, we went to a nearby town where the Big Ships were docked, but we were too late for the tour so we just enjoyed the sunset and the beach. Yes, I actually enjoyed the beach (I have bitched about hating beaches for years and years, but made myself shut the hell up and enjoy it for a little while, until the sand flies starting biting).
Yeah, it's a moody photo of Lake Erie with the Perry Nuclear Plant in the distance. . I took a bunch of photos of the sunset but you all have seen lake sunsets so I figured I would post this photo instead.
Next morning, I got up early so I could take the yoga class Denise was teaching. I snapped this photo of her out in her garden, while she was picking berries.
We visited a salvage shop - the prices were quite steep for some things. For instance, there was a little baggie of sewing trims, so I picked it up thinking it would be a dollar or two, but it was $10.00 and I exclaimed "What?!!" outloud and I embarrassed myself. There was also a mason jar full of buttons and another full of pieces of ribbons and those were both $15.00 each. What!???! But there were a lot of cool things to look at.
Insulators / cool round metal display cart Catholic church metal candle stand / tin ceiling pieces Of course I wanted the round metal cart and the church candle stand
Driving through the countryside, we stopped at a nursery where Denise knew the owner, and picked up some things, and the owner gave us free flats of vegetable seedlings. More seedlings for the community garden! (Did I mention that I went to a crystal shop a few weeks back and the clerk there gave me a bunch of basil starts? Lots of generous folks around here!!) And then we went to another small town and had some chai and walked around their town square as there was a little music festival going on.
And then late Saturday afternoon, she brought me back home. Although I was only away for about 28 hours, I felt that I truly did have a real vacation - I felt quite refreshed and relaxed, and so very thankful to have such a dear friend.
On my way to visit Denise yesterday, I had to stop to get my driver's license renewed. Had a nice talk with the gentleman who was sitting next to me in the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) - he told me that he had been homeless, and is now working six days a week, and life couldn't be better. My driver's license photo turned out okay, too.
Then I stopped into a gas station, and the clerk was absolutely delightful. I asked him if he had American Spirits, and he told me with a huge grin that he has wonderful American spirit, and I couldn't stop laughing and then he added "oh we have that brand of cigarettes, too."
Popped in next door to the Taco Bell because I was treating myself to a 7-layer burrito, and the clerk there gave me a free pop!!
Then onto Denise's. I hadn't been to her home in months and months, so I am super happy that our car is fixed. She has the most wonderful garden - I kick myself for not being able to stop by during the summer to see it all in its full glory.
Denise in front of her polyhouse - she had just gotten back from teaching yoga
The camera on my phone doesn't do her garden justice
Another section of her garden
It was a slightly chilly but beautiful afternoon. After walking around the garden, in which I was oohing and ahhing at everything, Denise made huge mug-fulls of tea (seriously the mugs were huge!), and we sat on her back porch and talked, sipped tea and snacked on tabbouleh she had made. What a fabulous afternoon!
The only downside of the entire day was coming home - I was stuck in Cleveland traffic for forty-five minutes. The upside of this was that I was able to figure out how to program radio stations in the car.
I think one of the reasons all this good stuff happened because I was wearing a stripe-y outfit (I was also wearing black and purple striped tights).
Today I was pleasantly...no, I was totally excited!..when I opened up a package that came in the mail.
I am not 100% sure who sent this to me - I told both my son and my husband about these aprons and that they were on sale awhile back, so I'm waiting to hear from one of them to 'fess up! I absolutely love it.
If you want one of your own, here's where you can get one: http://hipgirls.bigcartel.com/product/screenprinted-aprons-pickle-design
Recently, I received an email from the New Mexico monastery, telling me about how another group of monks came to visit, and they admired the caps. New Mexico monks wanted to know if I could make some for them as well.
I mentioned this on my LiveJournal page, and a pal from there donated money for the yarn!!! (I have been without a job for awhile, so money is quite tight in our household right now). Now the New Mexico monks had offered to pay for the yarn, but monks are just as broke as we are - they do not get funding from the diocese, and live off the land, selling handmade goods (sound familiar?) and I didn't feel good asking for money from them. The LiveJournal pal who donated the money for the caps, I have never even met in real life! I am so very grateful for her generosity and thoughtfulness - thank you R!!!
These are actually dark brown as this second monastery is a Carmelite one, and brown is the color of their robes. The New Mexico monks wear black caps and robes, as they are Benedictine.
Now I better get back to knitting as I would like to get these in the mail on Monday!