About Buffy

In another life I was a grade school band director. I still think of myself as a teacher despite the fact that it's been almost three decades since I was in the classroom. I've been the office for my husband's masonry company, cared for my mother for 20 years, and think of myself now as a quilter. Retirement, what retirement??!

Apples

Fall must be here.  I’m collecting recipes for fall baking, particularly things with apples.  Obviously, DH and I can’t eat all the stuff I’d like to bake, so I hope to share some of it with the coffee group that meets following exercise.

The cover of Southern Living features a fabulous Apple-Spice Cake with Caramel icing and pecans.  I bought a Bundt pan and a cake carrier just so I could try this recipe.

I have another magazine with fall baking that features sweet things made of pumpkin, or apple, or cherries, raspberries, cranberries or pears!  Clafoutis, slumps, grunts, cakes, quick breads, cookies….you name it and they have a recipe for it.  I want to make them all.

I love Fall!

Exercise for Seniors

Dear Husband and I attend an exercise class three days a week.  It seems easier to do our exercise with this group than to do it on our own.  The class is 45 minutes long.  The first 30 minutes involve warmups, stretching, cardio and cool down, followed by 15 minutes of strength training, resistance, balance, etc.  Our leader uses a fair amount of yoga and a bit of Tai Chi.

A number of years ago, I’m not exactly sure how long, but I think perhaps seven years or so, our guru asked if I would be willing to lead the class when she was absent.  I was a band director for 11 years, so I’m accustomed to moving to music, so that didn’t bother me, but I would have to get 35 to 40 other people to move with me.  THAT bothered me!

I made a list of the moves we were doing, and our guru gave me a copy of the music.  I sat down and counted out the number of beats in each cardio piece, and assigned movements to the phrases.  Then I wrote those instructions on posterboard.  These became my “cheat sheets.”  When I lead class, I duct tape the posterboard to the mirrors in the dance room.

Our guru can call out directions as a phrase changes.  She can also tell us which direction to go while facing us, something I will NEVER be able to do.  She will tell us to go right, while she has to go left.  I face the same direction my classmates are facing, and call the instructions as we exercise.

I subbed Wednesday.  The cheat-sheets were taped lower than usual, so I could only see the lower half of my classmates in the mirrors.  It was quite funny, but it was enough to tell me that they could hear the instructions, and that they were all moving in unison (for the most part).  I saw one of the men go the wrong direction and told him “The OTHER right, Jim…”

I sub again tomorrow.  Or, it will be tomorrow in five minutes.  I couldn’t get my brain to shut down so that I could sleep.  Perhaps now, after visiting Word Press for the first time in ages, I might try again.  I want to be ready for class tomorrow.  It will be a good way to begin the Labor Day weekend.

Dear Husband and the flying machine

When I met my Dear Husband, I learned that he had been interested in flying when he was in high school.  He’d been a member of the Civil Air Patrol.  I thought he might earn a pilot’s license when we married, but a 16 foot fiberglass boat caught his attention, and he shifted to sailing.

Unfortunately, I’m a rotten sailor.  I did well on a Holland America ship, on glassy seas, with no storm in sight, but put me on the Seraphina and I puked.  DH sold her and bought a 32-foot boat we named the “Arr!!” (It SHOULD have been the “Arrrgh!!!”)  I still puked.  I really minded that he went off to sail every summer weekend, leaving me on my own, until I realized that I could quilt uninterrupted, and I didn’t have to worry about preparing meals!

We sold our house, and moved to a tiny lot with no room to store the boat in the winter.  The trip to the lakefront was getting to be less and less fun, so this past year we sold the Arr!!   Oddly, I actually miss her.

Then one day, coming back from visiting an apple orchard, DH discovered the soaring field.  We arranged to go for rides in their gliders.  It was glorious!  Dear Husband has enjoyed it so much that he has been pursuing his glider pilot’s license.  He has soloed and passed the written test.  He has enough hours in the air.  Now, he just has to pass the flying and oral test, and he will get his license.

I hope that he will be able to complete this by the end of the flying season this year, but he’s willing to accept that he might need to do it next spring.  He’ll be my magnificent man in a flying machine.  Cool!  Way Cool!

Where has all the time gone?

My high school class will celebrate our fiftieth reunion this month.  FIFTY YEARS!  Where has that time gone?  I can remember as a child thinking that the summer would NEVER pass.  I was always eager for school to resume, to get back to band and interesting studies.  As an adult, I’ve always been able to entertain myself, but as a child  it seemed that the days moved like molasses.

Now, the reunion looms, followed by an anniversary, and another birthday will pass in a month or so.  Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, funerals, reunions, they are all reminders to take a look at our lives.

Like most of you, some of my time was taken up with family.  Dear Husband and I built a house and invited my mother to live with us.  She was with us for 18 of the 25 years we lived there.  For a lot of those years I was a paper pusher for my husband’s company, and a lot of time was spent balancing the books.  That seemed important at the time.  Along the way my stepdaughter married and they gave us three granddaughters.  We measure time by their lives, too.

Now, we’re retired, working at staying well, and getting used to the idea that retirement isn’t actually afternoons spent in a hammock.  It seems that we are even busier now than when we worked. Perhaps that is the secret to the passing of time.  We have always had goals to reach, activities to accomplish.  We move from one goal to the next, not adding up the minutes and hours and days that are passing, until we get to one of those way points in our lives.

I’m glad that we have the chance to look back, to see if there are things we want to add to our lives, or if there are things that we should let go.  Whatever we do, I expect time will pass faster with each day.

Decorations

I am blessed to have a niece who really should be an interior design specialist.  She and her husband  volunteered to help us with our Christmas decorations.  E is the keeper of the ladder, so he was elected to put the garland and lights and Santas  on the shelf that runs at the top of the wall the length of the living room.  He also got to put the lights up on the outside trees.  At LAST we can hold up our heads as dusk comes and the neighborhood lights up.  The house directly across from us, and the one to the north of it, had lights shining immediately after Thanksgiving.  We’ve had at least a week of eye searing lights keeping the street safe from robberies.  The houses flanking us had their lights up a few days later. We were missing a timer and some three-way plugs for our lights, but it all came together today.  It’s a lot of fun to look out and see our trees decorated, and that we are a part of the neighborhood.

K worked on organizing the nativity scene and finding things for the mantle.  She set out table runners and candles of all shapes and sizes and we put up the “Snowman” quilt my mother and I made.  She hung ornaments from the chandelier in the dining room, and filled the Waterford bowl on the table with ornaments.  She even got out the Christmas guest towels.

It looks like Christmas here, and tomorrow I am going to work on the first of the Christmas baking.  Sunday, K will return with one of her cousins and we will bake cookies together.  Christmas is getting closer!

Network News

For some time we have been bemoaning a trend in network news on TV.  The stations repeatedly tell you what they will be covering. Five, six, seven times they will “tease” you with the news to come.  And when it’s time to report on those subjects, they don’t have time to say more than a sentence, or two if you are lucky.  This is not the journalism I remember from my childhood.  Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and Peter Jennings must be spinning in their graves each time a network news program is aired.

It used to be that “Who,” “What,” “Where,”  and “When” were the absolute minimum in reporting, and we hoped to to know “Why” as well.  Sometimes we also were treated to “How.”  Now, we’re lucky if we get two of these questions answered.  Frequently we are told that someone has been shot, but while they might tell us the corner where the shooting took place, they most likely won’t tell us where the victim was hit, or whether they will survive.

Today must be a very slow news day.  The big news byte is that the shooting in California is now being classified as a terrorist attack.  I think we could conservatively guess that in a five minute period at 4:55 this afternoon, we heard this same comment fifteen to eighteen times on one station.  I’m sure it’s the same on all the others.  Why not do a good job of covering the story in full, and then go on to other news?  Just as I am sick of the commercialization of Christmas, I detest the same thing happening to the news.

Serious reporting has disappeared at such an alarming rate that we are changing to news programs that will give us the deeper story, like the “PBS Newshour” and “Charlie Rose.”  I  rarely go to CNN for news, but I may check them out to see if they are doing a better job than the networks.

And, while I’m at it, it seems that radio news announcers feel that time is money, so they now leave out the little verbs, and report in incomplete sentences.  Stations which used to pride themselves on their presentations feel they have to go with the flow, so there will be a generation of radio listeners who won’t know there is anything wrong with this.

We need a groundswell of complaint, a grass roots movement, to let the stations know WE DON’T LIKE IT!!

November First

November first, at the crack of dawn, we headed out for a two week trip to the south.  The  plan was to drive down to Orlando to spend a few days with our granddaughters and their parents, and then visit New Orleans for  a bit before driving home.

We decided to drive east to Indiana and pick up Interstate 65 and take that south to Mobile.  The first day we drove through Indiana and a good part of Kentucky, stopping at Bowling Green.  The second day we finished the trip through Kentucky,  zipped through Tennessee and slogged through Alabama.

I’ve never made this  particular trip and was amazed at how beautiful Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Alabama are in late fall.  We drove through foothills (of the Smokies, I assume), and early in the day either clouds or fog ringed the tops of the hills.  We had an overcast day, but very little rain, which made the travel quite easy.  There was a brief spate of construction just after I took the wheel in Tennessee, but it didn’t last long.  Dear Husband was delighted to find an exceptional seafood restaurant a block away from our hotel in Mobile.  We opted for just about all the peel and eat shrimp we could eat.  I think I might have had hush puppies, too!

The third day of our trip we headed east out of the very tiny bit of Alabama that fronts on the Gulf of Mexico, into Florida.  The panhandle of Florida goes on FOREVER!!!  The worst part about the panhandle is that every mile looks the the one you just drove, and the one up ahead.  A little variety would be nice.  I think it might have taken us five hours to go from Mobile to Interstate 75, where we turned south.

We drove to Ocala, another place I had never visited.  I researched seafood restaurants in Ocala.  They have every kind of seafood place there:  shops where you walk up to a window to order, fast food chains that feature deep fried fish, nicer restaurants where you are waited on, and a few really classy joints.   We opted for the nicer restaurant, and made our way to the center of town.  Ocala is very people friendly.  We had almost no trouble finding our way around, and had a wonderful dinner at Harry’s.

The fourth day of our trip we were about 90 minutes from Orlando, and had the day to ourselves before we met up with the kids.  We slept in, had a big breakfast and continued south.  When we entered Florida, there was a rest stop that had fliers on just about everything you can do in Florida.  Dear Husband found a flier on a quilt shop on the Atlantic side of the state.  Since we didn’t have any plans, we went fabric shopping. (I know how odd that sounds.)  We bought the fabric for a baby quilt I need to make, and DH found several pre-printed panels that would make absolutely adorable quilts.  Before I singed the credit card  we headed back to Orlando to meet our family

And with that, it’s time for me to hit the hay.  Hopefully, I can give you the shorter version of the rest of our trip when I return.

Words never to be used

Did you know  that there is a movement among a small group of educators to stop fourth graders from using the word “said?”   “Get,” “nice,” “very” and “thing” are also on the list.

I understand the intent, to help students learn that there are amazing, and more specific ways to express yourself, but there are pitfalls in the current practice.  This is supposed to be  a two-step process.  First, you expand their vocabularies, and then you help them learn when to use the two-dollar words, and when to use a simpler description.  Unfortunately, the second step seems to be forgotten in many schools.

I think it’s fine to expand a child’s vocabulary.  I’m all for clear descriptions.  But, I think we need to work on flowing prose, and interesting sentences, rather than how to pack a paragraph with adjectives.

Here’s a link to the article, if you’d like to read about it.

The Passing of an Era

Last month Dear Husband sold the Arr!!  It now resides in the Atlanta area.  We understand that its new owner is going to refurbish it over the next couple of years.  It will get cleaned up, repainted, all the bright work will be done, and the wood will be sanded and varnished.  I’m so glad it’s gone to a new home.  It was a yarr little boat!

DH is still very interested in soaring.  He’s reading all the ads for gliders and talking with the members of his soaring club to learn which gliders are worth looking into and which are not.  I socked away the cash from the Arr!! into a fund for a possible purchase.  We’ll see if he flies the club’s planes or gets one of his own.  There are advantages both ways.

DH tried to solo before the planes were put away for the winter, but there just wasn’t enough time.  If we had been home in November, he might have made it.  This just gives him more time to study for the exam which will follow soloing.

So, we have left “Anchors Aweigh” behind and are moving on to “Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder.”  DH is never a dull man to be around!

Where did November go??

I have thought about blogging for the entire past month.  As we traveled through the south, when we played with our granddaughters,  when we were almost T-boned just an hour from home as we returned, as Fred began PT and we both came down with a miserable bug that I just can’t seem to shake.  But, I just thought about it.  All those thoughts are still bouncing around in my head, so you’ll get those thoughts in strange order, or maybe even not at all.  Most of those thoughts are centered in November, but there’s Halloween, too.  So, I’ll talk about Halloween here.

This is our second year in our ‘new’ home.  Our first Halloween we had roughly 106 trick-or-treaters.  This year we had closer to 160.  While it was cold, the rain held off just enough for the kids to get in their visits.  Dear Husband did the door duty this year, so I didn’t get to see the clever costumes and exclaim over them.  I really enjoy Halloween, especially since I know that the trick-or-treating is limited to between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.

We’ve been very lucky not to be TP’d, and none of the kids have done any tricks.  We gave out Rice Krispy Treats and one little girl said, “Oooo, I LOVE Rice Krispy Treats!”  I guess DH chose our treats well.  🙂