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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


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!

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! 

snapshots

snapshots
Thursday, Robert had a test at a hospital in Cleveland. I took the day off to go with him,
 and during his test, I had a cup of coffee and sat in this pretty courtyard.
snapshots
Afterwards we went to Coventry Village, met my Mom and treated her to lunch, 
and then we bought some incense at City Buddha, and we lit a stick on the ride home.
We turned the day into a little date day/mini-vacation!

snapshots
Friday evening, we had dessert before dinner - this little place is just outside the town where we live.
snapshots
We sat near this tree as we ate our ice cream - isn't it grand?

snapshots
We didn't go out to see the local fireworks last night, and we didn't even light our sparklers on the Fourth of July -
this is my lame 'Happy Fourth" photo taken this morning. Whoo hoo!
I'm off to work at the garden center/nursery today - and then will be glued to the television the evening to watch the Women's World Cup final - GO USA!  (I am very happy that England beat Germany yesterday!)

random thoughts, mostly sports

This is a jam-packed sports-on-television weekend  Yesterday, I tuned in the French Open just when Serena Williams was double-faulting, so I quickly turned it off thinking I was the one who was jinxing her.  What an accomplishment - 20 Grand Slams!!!
 
random thoughts, mostly sports


Then the Champions futbol game. Since bitey bitey Suarez plays for Barcelona, we were cheering on Juventus. Good game, but of course Barcelona won.

In between television, we worked in the yard. When you live in a climate like ours, you're always running to keep up. Winter is long, and then spring is fickle, and next thing you know the weeds are two feet tall, and you're playing catch up.  The tomatoes and peppers were planted a few weeks ago, but the corn Robert wanted to plant hasn't been.  I am finally done weeding/planting/mulching three perennial beds, but the infamous 'weed bed' is only half way completed. Plus  I need to go to the community garden today and water our plot there - spinach probably bolted, oops! - and I hope the sugar snap peas are ready. 

Oh yeah, sports yesterday.  Then we watched the second game of the Stanley Cup finals. Dang, I like hockey! I never followed it when I was younger and the main reason we started watching it last fall is because Robert has always liked it- which is odd on two levels - one, he doesn't do sports, and two he's from California (see below). I wonder why I didn't follow it when I was younger?  Maybe it was because of the Russia/Canada thing in 1972. I mean, I used to ice skate, and back then Cleveland did have a good hockey team.  I wish Cleveland had an NHL team now.  There is a second tier team here, and maybe we'll go to one of their games when the season starts again. We're rooting for Chicago, and I'm rooting for them because  1) they're from the Midwest and 2) I find it absolutely hilarious that there are hockey teams in towns/states that have no winter. That game was crazy exciting, even though Tampa Bay won.  

Why are there seven games in playoffs?  Isn't five enough?

We didn't see any of the Triple Crown. As a 13 year old, I was obsessed with horses (what young girl isn't?) and was watching when Secretariat achieved that historic status. But that was the last time I payed much attention. 

Speaking of Cleveland, the Cavs are in the NBA Finals!! Though I hope we win, I don't like watching basketball on television. I read somewhere that the writer didn't like watching basketball because of the squeaky sounds of the shoes on the court. I get that.  Hockey on the other hand - the skating is pretty and sounds nice, and then that beauty is juxtaposed by the fights and hits!

Also on television today, more of the Women's World Cup. We will probably watch some of those games, too, but I have to finish up the 'weed bed' before the week begins. Plus we only have basic cable, so we don't get every single game that is being broadcast on the millions of sports channels out there. Which is a good thing.

And now, this all brings me to aging.  You know, I am not that upset about wrinkles and sagging, but what I do care about it that I cannot do a lot of what I used to be able to do. I was quite a tomboy (and I use that term with pride) and athletic.  But now arthritic joints ache and fallen arches hurt.  Maybe that is another reason I have been watching a lot of sports over the past couple of years...if you cannot do, watch?

Here's a photo of my Mom when she played basketball in high school (mid/late-1940s):

random thoughts, mostly sports






"i go to bakeries all day long..."

When I was growing up, there were two bakeries in the neighborhood.  I can still picture them, inside and out, which then reminded me that I have a recurring bakery dream. I rush to this bakery before they close and hope that there is something left to buy. This dream bakery stumps me - have I been to one like this before? And if so, where? Even in my waking life, I can picture this dream bakery perfectly.

We didn't often get sweets growing up, so once in a while on a Sunday, coming home from Mass, our dad would stop by one of the bakeries as a special treat for us.

Yes, baked goods are a current obsession. The Great British Baking Show is somewhat to blame, but also the weather, and Fat Tuesday.  Paczkis are all the rage here at this time of year, and we picked up some the other day; though honestly I don't remember them when I was younger, which is weird because my mom is of Polish heritage. But she wasn't a big baker - other than making us cakes for our birthday, that was about it - plus we didn't live in a Polish neighborhood.  I really wanted apricot filled ones but they didn't have them so I chose lemon. Robert has baked us brownies and apple cobbler recently. I cannot get enough.

My favorite baked good is this (though the ones we had were rectangles not squares):



We just called them coconut bars, but I read that in Australia they're called Lamingtons.  But why would an Australian baked good be so famous in the Cleveland area? Hmmm.

Tonight we may break the all-time cold weather record. Yeehaw.

*The title of the blog post is a reference to The Modern Lovers "Hospital" *

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!!!

first snow

We did get a little dusting of snow the other day, but today is our first real snow of the season.

first snow
Front porch this morning - my beloved
"The Cow Jumped Over the Moon" wind chimes
Working on program development for the non-profit this morning, then later this afternoon, I'm off to Cleveland for the week. My mother is having surgery tomorrow (not life-threatening, just something that needs to be taken care of) and I'm taking her to the hospital and will be with her, and then stay at her house (the old family home) in the evenings. Denise is coming to the hospital tomorrow - since Mom will be in surgery then recovery for probably 6-8 hours, it will be nice to have the company.  And my siblings that are nearby will be stopping in to visit, too! (I am the free-est to be with her in the hospital this week as I do not have a nine-to-five/office type job right now - any work I need to do for the non-profit, I can do remotely.)

Robert will drop me off at Mom's, we'll all have dinner together, then he'll come back home after rush hour.

I have to finish packing.  I'm just about done.  Clothes, computer and phone and their chargers, lots of yarn and knitting patterns and needles, and books.
happy holidays!microburstswe saw...leap day mondaythankful for these twosnapshotsrandom thoughts, mostly sports"i go to bakeries all day long..."photos of photosfirst snow

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