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??!

Generations and Holidays

My siblings are widely spread apart in years. There’s nineteen years between my oldest and youngest sisters. My two older sisters have four generations on their family trees, while my youngest sister and I are grandmothers of fairly young children.

I tell you this because I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving, and how it has changed over the years. When we were young, even when we were newlyweds, we all gravitated home to share Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad. Those who married into our family occasionally complained that we were a tight-knit bunch and that we always wanted to be together. It meant that spouses celebrated with us when they might have occasionally wanted to celebrate with their families.

We have done the same Thanksgiving dinner for years, even when Dad arranged for us all to dine out together one year. Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Dressing and Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli Rice Casserole, Vernice Kastman rolls, and Mother’s pumpkin pie. My oldest sister makes a cranberry sauce, too.

This meal has altered a bit over time, with interesting veggies being added as one branch of the family veered toward a cruciferous diet, and another needed to go gluten-free, but the basic meal is still there. I personally am very happy that someone introduced pretzel salad to the mix! My preferred version is raspberry but one of my nieces made two of them last year, so that her stepfather could have strawberry pretzel salad.

Unfortunately, we’ve discovered that as you add generations to a family, it’s really difficult to keep drawing them all to one dining room. Now that both Dad and Mom have passed away, we have splintered into smaller groups. Distance and other family celebrations pull our younger ones away. I wonder if we will see a time when just the five of us, and our spouses meet for Thanksgiving, while the kids go off and do their own thing.

I truly loved hosting the family during the time when Mom lived with us. We set up three large tables, and occasionally a couple of smaller ones, and I chose to sit at the kid’s table, so I could see how they had grown over the year, and hear a new crop of jokes. We have some fierce competitors among the younger ones. If you got suckered into any of the games played after dinner, you learned early on that they took no prisoners!

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving with my oldest sister’s side of the family. Dear Husband and I will take a Caesar salad, corn for the young kids, and Vernice Kastman rolls. It will be fun to catch up with her family and hear how things have changed this year.

To my friends, and the rest of my family, we hope that you have a wonderful day filled with loved ones and great meals. May we all reflect on just how fortunate we all are, and give Thanks.

He Did it!

Dear Husband has passed all three parts of the test to become a licensed glider pilot! YEAAAAA! He brought it down to the wire, but was able to squeeze in the flight test before they took apart the last glider for the winter. It’s a testament to the fact that he has built friendships, that they were willing to hold off so that he could finish his licensing.

This test makes him a pilot for life, but the glider association will require that he pass a test every two years to reassure them that he is still qualified to fly their planes.

Now that he is licensed, he is also eligible to be a board member. I don’t know if he embraces that option, or if he would like to avoid it. We’ve had more than enough politics in the past two years. I probably won’t hear anything more about METARS, NOTAMS, DUATS, or the PAVE model until he needs to review for the next test.

Congratulations, Sweetie! You Did It!

To Decorate or Not to Decorate

There are two sides to this issue. There are people who want to get the decorating done so that they can enjoy the entire season, and those who feel that we should not consider anything having to do with Christmas prior to Thanksgiving. I’m one of the latter.

I realize that it makes sense to get your outside decorations up when you have a 70 degree day in the middle of November. I don’t mind the lights so much, especially when they remain turned off until after Thanksgiving, but other things, like candy canes lining the sidewalk, and lighted reindeer grazing on the lawn surely could wait another week!

We drove past a farmhouse today that had a lovely Christmas tree in their front window, with the lights on. Rushing it, a bit…. Three of my nieces started decorating their houses for Christmas the day after Halloween. We see pictures of their children in red and white striped pajamas on Facebook, daily. I KNOW they love Christmas, and that it’s a job to decorate the ENTIRE HOUSE. I just think we need to show some restraint.

Perhaps we need to move Thanksgiving to the first Thursday of the month. No….that would be too close to Halloween. It could be the day after Halloween, which would never work! Maybe the second Thursday of the month. Or, maybe I’ll just stay at home and close my eyes to all that early decorating. It may be the only way I can resolve the issue to my satisfaction.

When I am Queen, we will not decorate for Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving!

Odds and Ends

Today was a day of odds and ends, errands and good deeds.

At exercise today we said goodbye to a member who is moving to Texas to be close to her children. She, too, is a quilter, so we occasionally had the chance to talk about our favorite pastime. Our exercise guru brought a big platter of cookies, and encouraged everyone to help themselves and take the time to say our goodbyes.

I started taking pictures of class members in groups of four. I want to see if this is a possible way to put together a picture album so that class members can learn each other’s names. If I can do them four to a picture, the cost would be much more manageable, given that we have over forty in our class. I need to work with my computer to learn how to “tag” people in a photo, for this to work.

After class, four of us gathered baked goods the class donated and dropped them off at the Army Reserve unit. One of the women in our class encourages us to let the military know that we support them. We mailed 15 boxes overseas to three servicemen related to class members, and we collected baked goods for the local reservists who will be on maneuvers this weekend.

Because of the wind, the soaring association didn’t meet today, so Dear Husband was willing to give me a hand with errands. Our next stop was at church. The Empty Nesters are gathering items to fill four laundry baskets for women being helped by a shelter the church supports. We donated large containers of Tide, sponges, kitchen scrubbing sponges and zip-type storage bags. I was really grateful to have the help carrying everything in. And, while I was there, I got to meet the interim pastor and give him a quilt from Scraps on a Mission (two more things I really needed to get done.)

I thought we might stop there, but Dear Husband was willing to make a 60 mile round trip so that we could pick up my sewing machine. With Scraps on a Mission ending for this year, it was time to get the machine cleaned and checked out. I take it back to the shop where I bought it, so we’ve made that trip twice in about a week. It’s good that he was able to get to it so quickly.

We had lunch and then made our way home. Naps seemed like a really good idea, but we got caught up in a movie that lasted until dinner time. Ah, the life of a retiree.

I’m delighted that we got so much done, ahead of the worst of the bad weather coming our way!

The Good Thing About High Winds

…is that you may not have to rake your lawn when they die down. Of course, while your leaves may be in the next town, you might gain someone else’s leaves. You just have to wait to see how things settle. I figured that we might have to rake part of our neighbor’s lawn because our leaves were being blown into their yard, but we may luck out.

Dear Husband has a flight test to take to finish the requirements for his pilot’s license. It was scheduled for tomorrow, but it’s been put off until Sunday. That’s a good thing, because the winds will be so high that there won’t be any flights tomorrow. Unfortunately, Sunday is the day the association will be taking the gliders apart for winter storage. Fortunately, they are receptive to Dear Husband’s need, and will save his glider for last. Keep him in your prayers and positive thoughts, please. I hope that he will accomplish his goal and not have to carry this over to next year.

The winds are really gusting tonight. I think the noise may make for restless sleep. For sure, we will have to keep an eye on the roof to see if any shingles need to be replaced after this weekend. It could be worse. Somewhere to the North, they reported 33 inches of snow. At least we have just the wind!

The Day Before

Today is the day before the most disturbing election we have ever held. We have listened for the past 18-24 months to what everyone has had to say, ad nauseum. There are several things I can tell you.

1. I CAN NOT vote for Donald Trump.
2. I don’t like my other choices
3. No matter who wins the election, we will have a serious problem with a nation divided.
4. The problems we see at the presidential level are repeated down ballot.

We have become a nation of leaders who are more interested in maintaining their personal agenda than in passing laws which will help our citizens. We are no longer the greatest nation, by far, and it’s because those who have been elected are only looking out for themselves. People who are qualified to lead no longer wish to run the gauntlet of the election process.

I’d like to see us improve the quality of our education system. I’m open to innovation in how we teach, but we need to make sure that we are an educated nation so that we can make educated choices, and not just follow along like sheep. We need a simplified health care program. EVERYONE who needs medical help should be able to participate. It should be mandated on the federal level, rather than giving states the right to decide if they will participate. And would someone PLEASE come up with a workable way of dealing with immigration?? Our nation was created by immigrants. We should be willing to open our arms to those who are in need. That doesn’t mean we should accept those who want to tear us down. (Dear Husband reminded me that Congress should not pass any laws that apply only to themselves…or, they should have to follow the exact same laws they pass for us.)

And, I want term limits, and shorter campaign periods, with limits on what can be spent on a campaign!

Okay….I have to walk away from my computer, but this is enough to tell you how I feel about the coming election.

Lots of little things

The past three or four days have been gorgeous! We have a small maple in the back yard that looked like it was on fire! We enjoyed the color with the sun rise, and through the day, until it lit up the back yard as the sun was setting. Then, we had a rainy night. The next morning it was as if the tree had blown a raspberry and dropped ALL it’s leaves! Our tiny back yard has a lot of wonderful trees, but this one speaks to my heart.

I think we may have the stupidest squirrels in town. I bought one of those bird feeders that has the bar that closes off access to the seed when something too heavy (read: squirrels) sits on the bar. We don’t have a great deal of space along the patio where we could plant the bird feeder. I thought I’d chosen a place far enough from our flaming maple, but I underestimated the squirrel’s leap. However, I’ve been saved by the fact that they aren’t familiar with this style of feeder. They fly off the tree and land on the feeder, and then sit there. They don’t seem to understand how to slide down to the bin. I’m anticipating some fun watching them try to figure out how to hang off the edge of the feeder and scoop seed into their mouths.

Scraps on a Mission has had their last meeting. We made 42 quilts this year, and shared them with 2 shelters, a hospice and the pediatric department at the hospital. Two members of the church have received quilts, too. During this session I needed to make four baby quilts for my extended family. Those were my only personal quilts during the summer. Today I started working on a quilt top that has been patiently waiting for me for several years. This one is the only quilt I’ve ever made of Depression era reproduction fabrics. It will be bright and cheery, with white to contrast the pink, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple fabrics. I have all the patchwork sewn (actually twice as much as I need), so I just need to sew the rows together. Once I see what is left over, I can decide whether I’ll make a second top, or two baby quilts. It’s good to be getting things finished!

Dear Husband is studying for his oral and flight test, which is scheduled for a week from today. Each day we go over a portion of the study guide. I give him the subject and encourage him to tell me what he knows about it. I’m learning a LOT about soaring! I hope and pray he does well, and gets his certification this month.

We’ve had a month of wretched excess thanks to birthdays and anniversaries. Both DH and I have October birthdays. Our anniversary was in September. The kids gather each year to celebrate their father’s birthday. DH decided this year that we would go somewhere where our granddaughters might not be able to order grilled cheese, or mac’n’cheese. We have watched them eat endless meals with no variety. So, he chose Benihana! It was a joy to watch them experience the “circus” part of the meal, and they were able to find loads of things that they would eat: chicken, shrimp, corn, noodles, soup and rice. We had a good time, and the kids will be talking about it for years to come.

Happy Fall, All!

Books

I’ve recently found the “Joe Gunther” series by Archer Mayor. At the beginning of the series, Joe is a Lieutenant in the Brattleboro, Vermont, police force, a detective. I understand that as the series progresses he will move from being a city cop to a detective in one of the statewide divisions. I know there are at least 20 books in the series, and probably more.

I’m always delighted when I find a series with five or more books. I think that character development interests me even more than whodunit, or how it was done, and that usually requires more than one or two books.

My family tend to be readers. For her most recent birthday, I gave my oldest sister the first book in three series I love. She is not really into mysteries or science fiction, but I couldn’t think of anything better to share than three of my favorite books. If you’re interested, look up these series:

Donna Leon’s Commissorio Brunetti series, set in Venice, present day.

Louise Penney’s Chief Inspector Gammache series, set in Quebec, present day.

Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan saga, set in outer space, the future.

I’m also in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The Drums of Autumn, and The Fiery Cross are probably my favorite books of the series. My sister discovered the joy of listening to these books, narrated by Davinia Porter, while she knits, the best of both worlds.

One more detective series to share: Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker, set in France, present day.

I’m sure there are more book series to share, but this is enough to whet your interest. If you have favorites let me know, please!

Move to Trash

My blog is published on the Word Press platform, and I just noticed that they provide the option to Preview, Publish or Move to Trash. A great deal of what I post could be moved to trash. This is not the place to come to solve the world problems. You’re more likely to find the minutiae of my life. Tonight’s thoughts:

When I was working on my master’s degree, I had to take a class called “Mental Health.” For some reason when I say those words, the image of someone holding a hose to one ear to wash unhealthy thoughts from their mind pops into my head. I wonder if our teacher planted that image when she introduced us to the subject? It doesn’t seem likely to have originated with me.

Speaking of mental health, the election is driving me crazy. I have come to hate the election campaigns. We allow this tripe to go on MUCH too long. I would wholeheartedly support limitations on the duration of presidential campaigns. For that matter, we could limit how much is spent on a campaign, too.

Election debates: I think once a participant has had their two-minute say, their microphone should be turned off. Personally, I think time should be taken away from a person who talks out of turn and given to the other debater. Or we might consider electric shock, in increasing voltage for repeated offenses, for those who can not restrain themselves. I’d also like a siren to sound when a candidate waffles and avoids responding to the question. DO NOT WASTE MY TIME WITH THIS SILLINESS!!

The CUBS! I’m afraid to talk about it. Watching the most recent games was a thrilling roller coaster ride. Beyond that, I don’t want to jinx them with my hopes.

I want new feet. My feet hurt so much tonight that I couldn’t sleep. Hence, this silly post. At least the one person who is likely to read this will know that I’m yet living.

Fall. I LOVE Fall! I had several errands to run today and had the pleasure of driving through lanes of trees just getting into their most beautiful colors. Some trees are becoming burnished from the top down, others were flaming in the sunshine. Houses have Halloween decorations up. At the very least, you’re likely to see pumpkins and mums and asters, which are my favorite. I’d like to talk to the chipmunk or squirrel that’s chewing on my pumpkins, though. Little rotters!

I may give sleep another try.

Snowbirds

One of the things you face, when not blogging on a daily basis, is the plethora of subjects that you might blog about when you return to that blank screen. Unfortunately, in my case, there are usually dozens of one-liners that pop up, but not as many full blown thoughts. Tonight the subject that has floated to the surface and seems stuck in first place has to do with “snowbirds.”

A few years ago I used to think of snowbirds with distain. They were “elderly” people who fled areas as moderate as northern Illinois (HA!) for the colder months of the year. Some would go for a month, others for the entire period from November to April. I thought, “They’ve been raised here. They know what our winters are like. They should be able to make it through the winter without needing lengthy vacations in the (much warmer) south.” I thought, “Canadians don’t run from a little cold. What’s the big deal?”

Well, I have a great deal more empathy for those “elderly” people these days. I am in my late sixties and I have arthritis, and I could be the local weather girl. This is OCTOBER, for God’s sake! We had one rainy, cool day yesterday and I wanted to stay in bed for the day with an electric blanket. I can’t imagine what it will be like this winter when it is truly cold.

I was conversing via e-mail with my three sisters, and the youngest, who lives in Indiana, was requesting an electric sleeping bag that she could wear when teaching because her classroom was so cold. The oldest one was talking about buying more socks! It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in not looking forward to winter.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll stock up on hand warmers and look for my crocheted sock patterns. I think I’ll take a serious look at a room heater for the basement so that I can continue to quilt without icicles dripping from my nose, and I’ll buy stock in Advil.

Who knows, there might even be an extended road trip south in my future one day, or perhaps a lengthy Caribbean cruise. Just don’t call me a snowbird, though. That would mean I’ve joined the ranks of the elderly. (Sigh)