Friday’s notes

We’re coming down to the wire today, trying to get things cleaned up or cleared out before the photographer comes to take pictures for the brochure the agent will provide to those looking at our house

We’ve been moving things to the basement, boxing things up, and getting general cleaning done.  The guy who came to clean the carpets worked miracles, getting out an old rust spot and a newer stain that we couldn’t identify.  I made sure to praise him to the agent,  who had recommended him.

Yesterday, the men came to patch the hole in the office wall, and while he was at it, he patched some nail pops that had been irritating me for about 15 years.  Today they painted one wall and the ceiling.  I hope things will be dry enough to return the office in time for pictures,  we can always do that room last.

The house should be really clean, and lovely for Easter, but we won’t be hosting the usual family gathering.  Hopefully, we can rest for a couple of days before the house isn officially listed.

I love the open areas, and the light.  I love that the house shows it’s size and looks uncluttered, but it’s a very sterile look.   I’ll have some serious work to do when we start opening what I’ve packed up at the next house.  For sure, we won’t be keeping everything.  Most likely once we have moved, all my posts will be about having to decide what to give up.  If you’ve read this far, you are a very patient person, or a very good friend!

Soon to be gone

Resized  Exterior 1

 

Resized Exterior 2 Resized Exterior 3 Resized Office branch

 

This branch in the office is the only place that was damaged on the first floor.  There are at least three more branches in the attic.

TResized shot from inside

This was no little tree.  The tree service is working on it now, so that we can get the roof covered.  What you can’t see is the star magnolia that has been obliterated by the tree.

 

Tidbits

We have a fourteen-foot stake-bed truck that we inherited when our company closed.  It has a snow plow,  which has been very necessary this year with a minimum of 14″ of snow in the past month.  Unfortunately, the plow wouldn’t lift.   My surgery got in the way, or we would have had it repaired early in the month.  I finally pushed DH into the work necessary to make it possible to drive to the repair shop.  They discovered it wasn’t the plow motor that was the problem, but a very expensive computer part in the truck.  <sigh>  We brought it home, and DH spent an afternoon moving snow.  When he came in he told me that we will need to make another appointment to have a brake line repaired.  It’s always something.  We have a drive that is more than 240 feet to the garage.  We can’t do without it.  The good thing is, when we sell the house, we will have a truck with a recently repaired snow plow to sell, too!  :-)

My great-great-grand nephew Henry, who is about seven months old, had open-heart surgery on Friday, and has come through it like a champ!  He was in pain last night, which upset the entire family, but the docs have worked out his pain meds, and he’s doing much better, today.

Today,  DH took me to see “Monuments Men,” which was a very interesting movie.  I didn’t realize that we were able to prevent the theft of so much artwork, and return a great deal of it to the previous owners.  My understanding is that there are still thousands of paintings lost, but many of them, including those by Picasso, were burned, and others were taken by the Russians, so we won’t ever have a clear picture of what might yet be found.

I am healing nicely from my hernia surgery.  I’m going to return to exercise on Monday, which will be just three weeks and two days after the surgery.  The doc said I could do the footwork of the cardio session, but nothing that might pull on my stitches.  I need to get back to exercise or I’ll be a puddle very shortly!

I need to think of something spectacular to do for DH for Valentine’s Day!  He has been an amazing nurse, and good companion, seeing me through the past three weeks.  He deserves special recognition.

And, I’m ready for Spring.  My mind is full of cold frames, and seeds and plant catalogs.  I don’t need another month of snow, thank you very much.  Everyone….THINK POSITIVE!

 

Bunny Faces

I have a wonderful quilt top almost finished for my newest great great niece.  Actually, it’s been finished for a couple of months, waiting for me to figure out how to do  eyes and mouths for the bunnies that grace the quilt.  I’m very aware that it is inappropriate to sew  on small buttons for the eyes, so that left me in a quandary.  Should I try to do something with my sewing machine, or try to draw faces with permanent markers?

Well, I’m not much at drawing things.  I’d hate to ruin a block that is already sewn into a quilt top. (Yeah….I know….I should have done the faces and THEN sew them together.)  Everything about this quilt is a new experience for me.  This is the first time I have ever tried my hand at machine applique, including trying Stitch Witchery and Heat and Bond and other types of  sticky things. I’ve learned to use a blanket stitch, and learned that  I might want to consider putting the stitch into proportion with the pattern I’m  making.

Today, I spent about three hours at my sewing machine trying to see if I could sew  eyes or a wink, and a smile, or at least a mouth.   I’d choose a design and sew it.  Then I’d alter either the length or the width and run it again.  At that point I’d mark the design number and the changes.  And then I’d make some more changes.

(I think my new sewing machine can make waffles, but I haven’t found that button yet.)

I  took time to read through the manual.  It’s large and not very well written, but I did find a magic button that elongates a pattern, and that was just what I needed!  I practiced a bit, and think I’m ready.  Now, should all the  mouths and winks be in black, or white?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Thank God for all these babies who have joined my family.  I learn new things with each quilt I make for them.

 

Chores

EVERYONE has chores.  Sometimes I make lists of what needs to be done to encourage myself to get through them.  There are days I don’t do any chores, and days when I regret I didn’t do my chores! I’m adjusting to being retired, and have learned that having goals helps me to keep to a healthy schedule.

Having said that, I can tell you that I have finally put away the Halloween decorations, and re-organized those for Thanksgiving.  I think there might be another box of Thanksgiving decorations in the basement, but I’m happy with what is already out.

This Fall I made table runners from my batik stash.  The colors were warm golds and reds and tans.  I made one for each of my sisters and one for myself.  I have a lovely little mum, a grapevine pumpkin and a Tiffany-style lamp sitting on mine. I am trying to enjoy it as thoroughly as possible, because I’ll have to pack it up at the end of the week. (And I don’t have one made for Christmas!)

Can you hear me making lists of chores in my head???

 

Fall Family Birthdays

Our family has an amazing number of birthdays spread out over September and October!

Dear Husband and I were invited to celebrate our birthdays with My-Sister-The-Nurse and her children and grandchildren.  It was wonderful to be wrapped up in that big group of people, from newborn to almost eighty years old.  We had a lovely meal, and watched the most brazen squirrel steal the ornamental corn on the table just outside the sliding glass doors.  I love being with my extended family.

This weekend, just two weeks later, My-Sister-The-Nurse, and DH and I drove down to visit with Frankie, and her husband and daughters.  It was My-Niece-The-Artist’s birthday on Saturday, and DH’s birthday is this coming Saturday, so we were celebrating, once more.

We drove down  on Friday,  getting in around 2:00 EST.  We sat quietly for a bit, not quite snoozing, until Frankie arrived and we had the chance to chat. Dinner at home, and we all called it a day early to be ready for a full Saturday.

We had a lovely breakfast that was sorta like a  “You Pick Two…..or Three or Five” before heading off for a tour at the Kokomo Opalescent Glass factory.  This factory is the oldest art glass factory in the United States.  They supply Tiffany with glass, and their glass is in the Smithsonian and the White House.   The tour was fabulous.  We saw molten glass moved by men from the furnace to a roller, where sheets of glass were created.  A glass artist was working on blowing a small bowl, and we saw most of that process.  We walked through a HUGE room of stored sheets of glass in every color, and of course, it reminded me of a quilter’s stash.  The end of the tour brought us to the area where artists were making items for sale in the gift shop.  One of the women gave a demonstration of bead making, and we each carried away a piece of the glass we saw being made at the start of the tour.  It was just fascinating!  I brought home two hand-blown teardrop-shaped ornaments for our Christmas tree.

We went to dinner at an Irish pub to celebrate birthdays, and visited with friends who came to see our artist.  We got to spend some time with our artist’s sister, too, which was very nice.  I spent a lot of time holding Mickey, their very old grey and white tiger cat, who needed to be kept warm.   I really appreciated getting my cat fix, since we have been pet-less for some years now.

Sunday morning we were treated to a fabulous breakfast before it was time for us to head home.  Frankie makes the best egg casseroles.  Her hubby put together Michigan peaches and blueberries, and strawberries for us, and there was an amazing variety of bread: rye, wheat, cinnamon, cobblestones, apple cider donuts, and on, and on.  We could have rolled home! lol

I’m not getting across to you that it was really the time with family that was so wonderful.  Yes, the tour was interesting, and yes the meals are always fabulous, but the time spent with our family was just the best!  It was really difficult to say goodbye.

Thank you, dear sister, for a wonderful visit!  Your home is lovely, and you are an amazing hostess. Big Hugsssssssssss to you.  Take good care of yourself, hmm?

Changing Food Needs

I hate to say it, but we’re not kids any more. <sigh>  At least that’s true of our innards.  We’ve known for years that there is a growing list of things we can no longer eat in terms of fast food.  I love K-F-C Extra Krispy chicken!  Every two years or so I hunt down one of their shops and get several chicken breasts and bring them home with coleslaw and a biscuit.  Once I’ve eaten them, I know why I don’t do it regularly.  My body just thinks it’s a bad idea nevermind what my tongue is saying.  Gyros are on that list, too, and a lot of other things.

We are also at the point where we COULD order one meal and share it.  We both like the same things, and frequently when we have gone out to eat, I have thought, “I wish I’d ordered that…” when I hear what  DH chooses.  We could just as easily order two meals with the intent of taking half of each home with us, so we didn’t have to cook the next day either.

I’m aware that we need to be eating “dinner” earlier in the day, and need to change my cooking habits.  We also need more protein earlier in the day, which seems more difficult to accomplish.  I’ve suggested to DH that we consider making our evening meal either vegetarian or soup.   We might want to swap the wok with the crockpot.

Lots of choices to consider, decisions to make.  Whatever we do we need to have more vegetables, and fewer carbs in our diet.

Butternut Squash soup

I saw a recipe for butternut squash-apple-bacon soup in one of the magazines I’ve read in the past three or four weeks.  I really want to try that soup, but can’t find the recipe I planned to use.  So, today I spent some time searching for an acceptable alternative.

I had no idea how popular this soup must be!  I found one that had been designed to start a Thanksgiving celebration, filled with seasonings, lots of carrots and onion, apple, curry, and apple cider.  I had everything but the cider, or I might have tried it today.  This chef had roasted cubes of squash to give the soup a deeper flavor.

Since I couldn’t do that soup, I looked at another, and it had fresh sage (I still have some until the freeze), but the squash was cooked in the broth, rather than being roasted.  This soup was simpler to prepare.

When I don’t have apple cider, I think I’ll make Emeril Lagasse’s Butternut Squash soup.  It has the apple and bacon and butternut squash, plus  half an onion and some leek.   The only ingredient I might not have on hand every day was the leek, and I could always adjust to a little more onion.

THIS will be the fall we’ll try Butternut Squash-Apple-Bacon soup!  And I think it just might be this week.

Fall is settling in

We have a week of temperatures in the 50s, and our first frost warning.  We’re supposed to have SNOW on Wednesday, and the forecaster seemed to think the highest accumulation would be over the town where we live!  It’s only supposed to be an inch and a half, but still, it’s SNOW!  (I can hear the people in Denver, and through out Kansas, laughing, given the snow they had last week.

I saw an egret and a heron this morning as we came home from exercise.  They’ll be gone soon.  I wonder if they fly in flocks as the geese do.  Dear Husband reminded me that the sand hill cranes fly in flocks, so he suspects the herons and egrets do, too.I brought in four pots of plants that I want to winter over.  I suspect they may be shocked to go from the upper 40s to the upper sixties, but I wasn’t up to carrying them to the garage, and then carrying them in.  Three of the pots hold geraniums, and the fourth is a pot of spearmint.  I’m not sure how the spearmint will do inside, but it seems worth the try.

There are three pots of iris, and one of thyme that I’ll winter over in the garage.  They did well last year.  I think I’ll let the chrysanthemums in the pots go.

It’s time for some Fall cleaning, inside and out.  Our favorite landscaper will come to put the gardens to bed.  I can’t do the time on my knees any more,and he has wonderful tools to make the job go faster.  I need to take down curtains in the garage to be washed and ironed.  I can clean the inside windows once I start that, and I’ll arrange for outside windows to be done, too.

I’m FINALLY going to use EZ-off on the tops of the gas burners on the stovetop.  It’s a job that I have intended to get to for ages, and now it the time to get it done.

And I hope to pull some grapevine down to top off Cousin It, a wonderful grapevine Christmas tree that my sister, Frankie (and her husband) made for me.  We wrapped it a couple of years ago, and it’s settled.  I’d like to fluff it up a bit, and get the lights wrapped around it again. (Thank you, Frankie!)

And so its goes….we get ready for colder weather.

Air!!

We had another of those amazing days today.  Tuesday, when we were bumming around, we saw a sign for “Windy City Soaring.”  Dear Husband was immediately interested, and we looked them up on-line.  This is an association which gives rides in gliders, the planes that have no propellers or motors.

We headed out to the farmland west of Chicago for the headquarters of the group, and asked if it would be possible for the two of us to have a ride.  Gliders come in one seat or two seat versions.  Since neither of us is a pilot, we would need to go up with an experienced flier.  Both the front and back seat are equipped with the controls needed to fly the plane.  The pilot explained what we were seeing and then told us not to worry, we wouldn’t do any of the flying.

Dear Husband went up first, not because I was afraid, but because I wanted to see how it was done before I tried it.  It was about 10:00 in the morning.  The tow-plane started up, and moved into position so that the tow line was straight and taut between the planes and then they were off.  Toward the edge of the field there was a  fountain of leaves in the air as the tow-plane lifted into the air, and then it was just a matter of watching as they circled up into the sky.

It was cloudy this morning, and I lost the glider in the clouds for a few minutes, but could watch for the rest of the flight.  They were up for about 25 – 30 minutes, longer than I expected.  When they came down, DH was smiling, and had obviously enjoyed the flight.  Unfortunately, I had to wait for a bit.  Someone had booked the 10:30 appointment.  I got to watch them go through the same pre-flight experience and take off.

When the glider came down, it was my turn.  I got into the plane, (like stepping into a bathtub) and was secured in the seat with straps much like a baby in a car seat.  Once they were satisfied that I was secure and the equipment was working, we took off.  It was a little bumpy over the field, but we were up in the air right away.

Dear Husband had been towed to almost 3000 feet in the air.  We were towed to roughly 2500 feet. Those clouds that I mentioned had continued to move in, and the pilot was concerned about  the lack of visibility,  so I had a shorter ride.  It was fabulous!  There were no thermals to provide lift, so we circled around as we lost height.  I enjoyed flying over harvested and un-harvested fields, over farm houses, creeks, roads and train tracks,  farmland churches and cemeteries.  I’m eager to go again, but it will probably have to wait until next summer.  We’ll choose a clear day, so that we can stay up longer.

Our pilot timed it just right.  Ten minutes after I landed, and paid our bill, the first rain drops came down, and DH saw lightening to the west.    Scot can be my pilot any day!