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)

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!