Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Took A Day Trip

September 30, 2017

We started the day piling Corey, Alyssa, Laurie, Kyle, Nic, Terry and me into a Nissan Pathfinder, rented for the day so we could all travel to Chicago together.  Destination: Lincoln Park Zoo.

There was a plan.

First stop was a great Cuban restaurant.  I love locally owned restaurants in Chicago.  They have a special ambiance that I am sure is unique to Chicago.  The food was better than OK but not superb.  But it was a great start to the day.  I have leaned to absolutely love Cuban food since Alyssa has introduced us to it.  She is an excellent cook...from scratch too!

We wandered through the zoo enjoying the exhibits until we came to the entrance along Lake Shore Drive where the Lion Statue greets visitors at the entrance.

That's when the plan hatched.

A total surprise for Alyssa.


They have talked about getting married and made plans on where they want to live and a business they want to start.  But the ring was a total surprise on this day.

Corey has a high school friend that is a jeweler.  Together they designed this exquisite ring with a deep amethyst focal with large diamonds on the side and smaller diamonds on the band.

The significance of amethyst is that purple is Alyssa's absolute favorite color.

This is the new family.

Nic and Corey get along well.  Alyssa and Nic fit very well into our family and we all could not be more happy that they are a part of it.

We topped the day off with stuffed pizza at Nancy's, another favorite spot that Corey found on Broadway, I think.

Corey has my love of my hometown.  He has explored it on foot the perfect way to see it all, finding the great places that tourists don't go.

Grateful:  Corey found the girl I always told him he would find when he least expected it.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Stitching Idea for Tast

I absolutely love anything Sugar Skull or Day of the Dead.  Heck, anything skeleton can jump into my cart!  When I was in our local Meijer store, I saw this tote on the shelf from about 5 aisles away and made a B-line to it and of course it JUMPED into my cart.

I am looking forward to the next stage of TAST.  I forget which name was selected to title it, but the stitches will be issued in Family Groups.  I'm thinking that I will use the Sugar Skull as the pattern to work the stitches on.  Perhaps I'll use a few blocks.  How many stitch families are there anyway?  I'll have to check in my reference books.

I can see that I will use this pattern for a lot of things.  I see purses, totes and pillows as possibilities.

Today when I went to edit my photo using Pic Monkey, the program would not let me save the edited picture unless I paid an annual 3.99 fee.  Well, that's worth it, but not if I could find a different free service.  I found the BeFunky Photo Editing Program and was free and easy to use so it's my new Go To program.

Grateful:  for free photo editing programs.

OK, so what else can I do with this Sugar Skull pattern?

What photo editing program do YOU use?

Are you planning to participate in TAST next year?
If you don't know about TAST, you can find out about it HERE
You can also look for TAST, or Take A Stitch Tuesday on Facebook

Have a great weekend.
xx, Carol

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A New Inspiration and A Nudge

Well, I can't post without a picture so here is Nic.  Such a ham!

I have a blog friend, Janine.  I love visits to her blog and the emails that usually follow.  She has been part of a group that create an art quilt every quarter that they design from a prompt.  The group will disband at the end of the year, so Janine and another member of the group are starting a new group..The Endeavourers.  If you think you might be interested, please go here to read about it, and sign up!

I am TERRIBLE with sewing dead lines, so I will strive to create my piece as soon as I get the prompt without procrastination. I'll be working on two issues I have at the same time.  Making time for myself to sew and my tendency to procrastinate.

Even if you are not interested in participating, please feel free to share a link to Janine's post.  The more the merrier.

Today, I am grateful for my ability to remain mobile as I get older.  And Coffee.  Lots of Coffee.

Let me know if you are interested in the group.  Do you drink coffee or tea?
xx, Carol

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Not So Empty Nest

A few posts ago, I teased you with a picture of a new pup.  Well, honestly, he is not MY pup.  He belongs to Corey and his girlfriend.  He is Harley..yes..not to originally named for the bike they own.  He is a Min-Pin which is short for Miniature Doberman Pinscher.  He weighs about 10 pounds and Boscoe has taken charge of him.  I call him Boscoe's Barbie.  Tyson likes him, but does not PLAY with him much.  Boscoe and Harley go non stop, with Harley making sounds that I say sound like the Tasmanian Devil.  He loves to go to the pond area and explore.  The big dogs are not allowed there, but Harley can fit through the slats in the gate so he takes great pride in going in and out.  Harley likes to sleep on our bed with his head on Terry.  We have never in our life had a small dog except for puppies that grew into BIG...VERY big dogs.

Here is a picture of Harley laying next to Boscoe so you can get an idea of the difference in their size.  They are both Alpha dogs and their personalities are so much alike.  It's hard to believe that Boscoe, who has always ruled Tyson, defers to the little dog.  They have learned to play together and Boscoe never gets too rough with the pup.  Their favorite game it...Harley steal the toy and run behind the chair and peek out to see if Boscoe followed then come out on the other side of the chair.  ALL DAY LONG.  It's pure entertainment and keeps us laughing.

This is Corey and his girlfriend Alyssa.  We thought that Corey was going to move to Idaho.  I guess it was one of those "nice place to visit, but don't want to live there" places.

Corey should live in a more liberal state. It has been reported that Indiana is THE most conservative state in the USA.  I'm telling you, if he moves west, we are ready to go to.  Plus, Terry and Corey miss each other too much when they are apart.

And THIS is Nic, Alyssa's son.

He is a great kid with a lot of personality and energy.  He just started school and these pics are from his first day and the first day he rode the bus.  He's a ham and reminds me of how Kyle was when he was young...always cutting up for the camera.  I've heard him say "Take my picture" several times, lol.

Anyway, for the time being the nest is not empty anymore, and I can truly say that we are happy about that.  I've always told Corey that when he least expected it, he would meet a girl that would appreciate him and love him the way he deserves. I just might be RIGHT!!

Today I am grateful for Nic and Alyssa, who make Corey, Terry and me Happy.  AND I am grateful for Harley who makes Boscoe happy!!

I can't close without asking you to say another prayer for those in Florida, Texas and the west where storms are reeking havoc and fires are disastrous as well.  Alyssa is of Cuban decent and all of her family is in Miami or Cuba which compels us even more to watch these horrendous disasters.

Do you have an empty nest?  If so, are you lonely, or relieved?  Do you have family in the disaster zones? Are they safe.  Alyssa's didn't evacuate.  Do you know someone that didn't?

Be safe.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Great Place To Visit In Mishawaka Indiana

 Mishawaka is a city that borders South Bend.  When I moved to this area it was a busy manufacturing area, full of union shops.  One factory, Ball Band,  was located on the St. Joseph River.  It made rubber things including tennis shoes similar if not the same, Keds.  I'm not sure when the factory opened, or when it closed, but it sat empty and unused for many years.  Sometime along the way, the cities near here paid high bucks for a study on how they could make this area a more desirable place to live.  All reports advised that the cities should make the most of their access to the river that runs through South Bend, Mishawaka and Elkhart and more towns along it's path from where it starts in Michigan.  Long before the study, in 1981 Mishawaka started a fish hatchery to supply baby trout and salmon to the River.  All along the river path fish ladders were built and the St. Joseph River is one of the best places to fish for Salmon.

Mishawaka made good use of the advice given in the study.  They took down the Ball Band plant.  The implosion and resounding booms were heard all up and down the river.  It was a pretty impressive event.  The city built a really nice park where the factory once stood.  They created a river walk on both sides of the river all through most of the city.  You can now walk along the river all the way to down town South Bend.  The pictures above show one of the fish ladders.  The third picture is not of a rock, but a Mallard Duck who apparently can't read the sign that says "No Fishing Within 100 Feet of the Fish Ladder".  The 4th pic shows a well used fishing spot.

The area includes tennis courts, a wonderful children's playground, and  clean restrooms.  There are many talented wood carvers in our area, both by hand and by chain saw.  I'm not sure which artist created these totems from tree trunks, but you can see their work through out our local towns.

Belgian and Italian flags fly throughout the park honoring the rich heritage of the immigrants that settled here and helped to build the towns into what they are today.

Recently a couple of large condo/apartment complexes have been build in this area and another developer has expressed interest in building another.  Apparently there is a huge Millennial interest in living here and the River Walk and park area was mentioned as one of the reasons the area is so appealing.  Though the area is not so hugely dependent on manufacturing as it once was, there are many national corporate offices here.  We have excellent medical facilities and several colleges including Notre Dame supply many jobs.

Terry and I had never been to the River Walk area, though our grand kids go their often.  we needed to take our car in for service to a shop located a few blocks from the Riverwalk.  Though the work would take about 3 hours, we decided to leave the car and walk to a little cafe for breakfast.  OMGosh, they had a TV on with Gunsmoke playing.  Terry was right at home.  When we left, we walked over to see the River Walk and sauntered through about 8 blocks of it.  Terry spent a lot of time mentioning a building that used to be here or there.  It was such an enjoyable morning.  But by the time we got back to the repair shop, Terry was totally beat and glad to have a seat on the seat the shop owner had made from a bench front seat from an old car.

Here is Terry, it was a windy day and his hair is a mess. Gosh, I LOVE this guy!
Today, I am grateful for Terry and a Great Mechanic!!

Have you recently discovered a place you knew about, but never visited?  Were you as impressed as I was?

Have a great holiday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bridal Shower "EVENT"

What do you think about this?

When my brother-in-law's grandchildren and step grandchildren have gotten married, they have hand carried shower and wedding and graduation invitations to us.  I find that to be nice.  Not only do we get the invitation, but we get to have a nice visit with them.

But I guess there is a new trend happening with today's youth.  About two weeks ago I received a message on FB messenger from my niece Crystal. (She is BIL Jerry's daughter)  It was a picture of a digital wedding invitation for HER niece. (BIL Larry's step granddaughter).  This gets complicated.   Anyway, the caption of the Messenger Message was an RSVP.  the message was send to everyone in the family.  The method of the delivery did not determine if we would go or not go.  But I did think that if this was their way of inviting people to an informal wedding, then surely we should have received an individual "message" invite.

The other day when I opened my Facebook page I had a notification that I was invited to an "EVENT".  I get a lot of these for civic events etc.  THIS one invited me to the wedding shower for the couple I just wrote about.  I mentioned it to my grandson's girlfriend and she said this is pretty common now.  I find this entire situation very impersonal.

Tell me what you think?  Have you ever received invitations via social media? Are you wondering if etiquette is becoming passe?

If you need an AWWWW moment, I leave you with this picture and wondering just WHO this guy IS.

xx, Carol

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lazy Days

I looked out the kitchen window and didn't immediately realize something was weird on the pond island.  There were two rocks on it where there should be one.  I went out to check it out and I was pretty surprised to see this TOAD sitting there.  His markings were really pretty.  He didn't look like the toads I see in the yard.  His skin was more textured and his skin was kind of tan under the nubby black skin texture.  When I went inside to get my phone to take his picture, I looked out the window and there sitting next to the toad was this tiny frog.  He is between the size of a half dollar and a quarter.  By the time I got back outside, he had jumped back in the water.  The other picture is one of him on a lily pad.  He kept jumping up next to the toad and then back off.  You can see the water marks he left next to the toad.

We are totally focused on maintaining the landscape around the pond.  Last year we didn't spend much time out there except relaxing and watching fish as we went through the grieving process when Terry's dad died.   We spend as much time working around it as we can now, but hot and humid days and rainy days limit us.  Then when the sun comes back out and the humidity subsides we find the weeds have taken over again.  It a cycle, but adding mulch has helped to keep it down some.

If you have been a blog friend  you might remember  that I suffer from depression.  Though I take medication, sometimes it overpowers the meds.  I don't get despondent, but I do withdraw.  That is what I have been going through recently.  While I was recuperating from foot surgery, I did't spend ANY time in my "room".  Dust collected.  Since my home office and sewing room share space, filing accumulated as well.  So self medication for my recent depression has sent me to my room to take it back over.  I've been purging unnecessary paper files and records.  It is so liberating to have a clear counter to work at.

I'll be posting more now.  I may not have much to show as far as stitching goes right now, but since my blog is kind of my journal, I do have things to say.  I really wish I could write in a paper journal, but no matter how many times I try to start one, I just can't make it happen.

What I am Grateful for at the moment:  Doctors, Dogs and Dolls.  More on THAT in a future post.

Tell me something today.  Do you keep a journal?  My friend Timaree keeps a WONDERFUL art journal.   How has your weather been?  Has it been hot and humid where you live?  What are you sewing or stitching? Inquiring minds, you know!
xx, Carol