Monday, July 27, 2015

Do You Know Pickles and other stuff

Pickles is my very favorite comic strip.  There are so many times I see Terry and I in the strip.  It's fun to laugh at yourself.  Lots of times I show it to Terry and cut it out to keep to laugh at another day.

I do that pretty often...cut something out of the paper that I want to see later.  Sometimes it's Pickles.  Sometimes it's a column that Leonard Pitts wrote.  I like Leonard's take on certain events of the day.  Sometimes I agree, most often he puts into words what I would have said, sometimes he gives me more things to think about.

I love the Blogs I follow.  Recently one of my blog friends, Robbie posted about having a daily schedule.  It made me almost wish I had a schedule.  Maybe I'd get more done everyday. I never could abide a schedule but I definitely have a routine. Getting up at 5 AM keeps my day in sync.  I like to read my email and then my blog roll.  That's it.  The rest of the day revolves around what the weather is and what ever errand need to be done.  Throw in a couple loads of laundry, a little bit of yard work, a little TV and lots of puppy love.

While I was surfing the blogs, I came across a post about the writer finding her purpose in life.  That post made me stop and read, because I'm approaching my 64th birthday and have been wondering just what IS my purpose on this earth.  I must admit I have not idea.  The writer found hers.  Just being herself.  She is a joyful person that elevates others moods with a joyful good morning or good day wherever she goes.  When I read the post I thought how wonderful for her to realize that is a great purpose.  But it still has me wondering what the heck mine is.  My blog friend Mary Anne includes a quote at the end of each post.  The other day she included this one:

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why"
Mark Twain

How the heck do you find out why?  Maybe you just look at your life and select a reason you like and focus on it and call it your purpose.  Maybe we HAVE no purpose.  Maybe we are just here and some of us try to make the world a little better.  What do you think?

Well, the deck is clean and we need to stain it.  I selected an opaque stain.  It was the brand Robbie recommended when I posted asking for suggestions.  After she commented, I found out it is the same brand my brother-in-law has been using.  Two thumbs up is good enough for me.  So yesterday we set out to use our Wagner Paint Crew Plus to spray it on.  It had been used successfully a couple of years ago, cleaned thoroughly and stored away.  So, we got the paint loaded and can do.  It just didn't work.  Corey took it apart and checked out all places that could need to be cleaned again..Nothing.  The stain would just not suck up.  Plan B is to hook our real paint sprayer to the air compressor and spray away.  that beats plan using a brush.  I wouldn't mind it, but spraying is so much faster.

I'd love to hear what your STUFF is today.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Save A Turtle--Again

Our road is 3 blocks long and ends at a bay of the St. Joseph River.  Over the years we have seen many box turtles.  I have saved a couple from the traffic on the small highway which is 3 houses away. It's just second nature that if you see a turtle about to cross the road, or in the middle of the road, you stop and help him along his journey and take him safely out of traffic.

The other day, Terry, my grandson and I went to St. Joseph Michigan.  Even though we know the area well, Terry missed a turn and we took the LOOOOONG way home, if you know what I mean.  My grandson had his phone and used his GPS to guide us along the back roads back to a major highway.  It was a leisurely drive through the country side including roads along several of Michigan's lovely lakes.  There was not much traffic, though there were sporadic cars traveling to their lake cottages.  At a crook in the road, we found a turtle slowly walking across the road.  Terry stopped the car and other traffic while my grandson jumped out and put the turtle safely out of harm's way. We got thumbs up from the other drivers.  I was surprised that no one was angry to have been stopped.

Ironically that very night there was a spot on our local news cast that talked about how Box Turtle numbers have declined due to losing their habitat to new home building and being killed on the road.

Seeing that newscast on the very day we saved a turtle was like getting a Thank You from the Universe.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spider Webs Already???

I always complain to Terry that he saves too much STUFF.  We have a 3 stall extra garage that was meant to be his work shop/storage area.  I swear we have every tonka toy and tool and can of something or other that ever came into this house stored in that garage.

He NEVER EVER reminds me about how much stuff I save.  Jeans that I'm going to make something out of, tubs of fabric, yarn skeins. But lets face it, mine is NOT a 3 stall garage, lol.

So, that's not what this is about.  The picture is a spider web on denim that I saved because everyone needs a CQ spider web.

What this IS about is all the spider webs that are appearing EVERYWHERE.  In our yard, in our window sills.  I even had one on the sink that was spun while I was sleeping!!  Usually we don't see this amount of webbing until closer to Autumn. A Google search confirmed that I didn't just imagine it.  You DO see more spider webs in Late Summer and Autumn when the weather cools.  Our weatherman said we are in late summer.  Let me tell you, August in northern Indiana may be late summer but it's usually sweltering. Not spider web spinning weather at all.  I like to watch what wildlife is doing to try to determine what the next season will bring.  We hardly saw any squirrels burying nuts yet.  Usually that indicates the winter won't be harsh. Early spiders?  I'd say early fall.  But who knows?

Let me know if you think you have any signs from wildlife of season change. Maybe tales your parents told. Should I get a Farmer's Almanac?

One thing for sure.  We are going to get bales of straw to put along the house along the bathroom wall.  Last year our pipes froze and we're not taking a chance on a repeat!!  Just in case.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Stitching for ME again

If you know me, you know that my family is full of crazies.  That's why I call it the Crazy Train.  The key quilt I am making is for my daughter who is in a mood swing and is not talking to me.  It was hard to stitch in that situation, so I have put it aside to get back to the CQJP15 blocks.

I was getting a little bored with the Princess On A Pea theme.  I need happy thoughts.  I have always wanted to make Hexie CQ blocks.  I bought a Hexie ruler that allows you to cut different size hex shapes using the same kind of slots that the fringe rulers have.  Due to my preoccupied mind, I had a little difficulty using the correct slots to make the size I wanted.  What a DUH!! moment.
Anyway, I'll be working on different theme hex shapes for a while.  There will be a Queen of Hearts because I LOVE the Queen of Hearts. So much so that I have a QOH tattoo on my arm.  I also want to try a hex shape in landscape piecing.  I'll be gathering fabrics today to get the shapes pieced.

Don't be sorry for me about my daughter.  We were pretty close when she was small, but the teen years brought a rift that has  been an undercurrent ever since.  Things work out eventually but I must admit that I ...I hate to say the word...envy..mothers that have fabulous relationships with their daughter.  I no longer blame myself except maybe for the mental illness that runs in my family. I am lucky that I have found medication that works. AND glad that it is no longer a taboo subject.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Watching Birds

We noticed a baby sparrow hanging around our feeders.  First he was walking around under them, harassing the dogs, daring them to get in trouble for lunging at him from the inside of the patio door screen.  That was going on for a couple of days.  On this particular morning I woke up to pouring rain and there was that little bird, huddled on the feeder.  Whenever we went outside, he would fly up to the tree.  He seemed to fly OK so it was kind of strange for him to be hugging that feeder all the time.  He even scared off other birds including my beloved Cardinals.  I drew the line at that and would scare him away.

Then, I didn't see him for a couple of days.  We have had a Hawk hanging around.  The other day when the Hawk came in the birds flew off.  I found a dead sparrow on the porch.  I don't know if the bird hit the window when the Hawk came, or if maybe it was that little bird.  He didn't look sick, but maybe he was.

This is one of our Blue Bird houses located on the fence by the fish pond.  We have been trying to work in that area.  I wanted to plant the lily that I bought recently along the fence.  There is a walk way between the fence and the pond. There are 4 or 5 baby birds in that house.  While I was taking a rest on a bench by the pond,  we watched the father bird come and go bringing food to the babies.  I don't know how long the mother sat there with a bug in her mouth, never going to the nest to give it to a waiting, chirping baby.  We try to limit time spent in that area, especially now that the babies are almost ready to leave the nest.

There is something about Bluebirds that make them special to us.  Perhaps it's because we actually made our area friendly to them.  We coaxed them to breed here by enticing them with meal worms, shelter and plenty of water.  We guard them as best we can from the Evil Sparrows.  I can't tell you how many times I have scared off the sparrows from trying to get into the nest to throw the babies out.  The blues never fly away when we do it and we like to think they know we love them.

We have had a couple of really good weather days which have been perfect for working outside.  This weekend should be really hot and humid.  The pond area is shaded in the morning so I'll be out there as soon as I can.  I'm excited to work out there because things are coming together nicely, even though slowly. We put a deck out by the pond and I want to get it cleaned this weekend so I can stain it as soon as the humidity subsides.  Gosh, I love 80 degree summer days!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Windows 10--or not?

I noticed this little box at the bottom of my monitor that I never noticed before.  TA offer to switch my Windows 7 to the new Windows 10.

Let me back up a little here.  I'm the person that came late to the Smart Phone party.  The same one that resisted Windows 8 when they bought me a new computer at work before I retired.
But we got Smart Phones and I became familiar with apps.  Now Microsoft is offering to give me a free update to Windows 10 when it becomes available on July 29.  I reserved a copy.  I have to admit that I hate Internet Explorer and I hope Edge is different not just a re-name. I'm pretty sure Microsoft will probably support Windows 7 for as long as I will probably own this computer, but you never know.  Just like the fashion industry, when they need sales they make what you own obsolete, lol.

If anyone has read anything CURRENT about why not to switch, let me know.  Most posts that I read from those that were given preview copies to test have not had any real issues.  At least not issues that make a difference to a technologically challenged senior.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Key Block Progress and I Learned Something New

Here are some of the key blocks that I have completed for my daughter's quilt.  I'm kind of tired of keys and locks so I thought I would add embroidered blocks that have key sayings, like "You hold the key to my heart".  You would think that it would be easy to find key sayings that are just a few words, but it's not.  So if you can think of any good ones, please let me know.

One thing I learned just today when I laid these out to take a picture is that some of my images are backward.  The key is facing the wrong way.  If I turn it around it's upside down.  No mater, whatever I have to do short of discarding them, I'll make them work. Did I mention before that this is the first quilt I have ever made, lol.

The other day when I was reading someone's blog, they mentioned how to print digital stamps and included a link to a U-tube video on how to move them around the page and even enlarge them.    Last year when I bought a new computer, I couldn't find my Word program and my new unit didn't come with it free.  Now I am using Libre Office and find it to be very easy and similar to Microsoft programs.  The only way I have ever enlarged a picture and successfully maintained the scale in the past was to do it using the copier at work so I was excited to learn something new. It was easy to follow the Word instructions in my Office Libre.  Not only am I HAPPY, but I am so SELF satisfied that I learned a new technical thing.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Trip To The Flea Market

We live about 1/2 hour from one of the largest flea markets in the U.S.  Back in the 80s it was a must day trip for us.  We would go leave at about 6 A.M. to beat the truck traffic and morning rush hour on the highway.  We always stopped for breakfast along the way. It took ALL day to walk through the vender tents and believe me many items caught your eye.  My Go-To sterling silver jewelry guy had a shop and you could buy authentic Indian made turquoise pieces and other hand tooled items.

I recently read an article on Yahoo that talked about flea markets and how they have become a place to buy cheaply made Chinese items.  One Dollar Store booth after another.  Then it listed the 10 best flea markets in the U.S. and included Shipshewana.  I can only wonder when the last time the reporter had visited.  There are VERY FEW "flea market" booths remaining.  It has become booth after booth of dollar store items..many booths that are merely an extension of the shops you can find in the Shipshewana Downtown shops.  They even had bouncy houses set up.  And Camels! It was hardly worth the walk through each aisle.  I found a car telephone holder for $6.00 that Terry has wanted to buy.  I bought him a T-shirt that says "Don't Bother Me I'm Only Talking To My Dog Today".  Very appropriate when Terry gets ...testy with me.  I also found elbow braces for him. He has lost all cartilage in his left elbow and wears a brace all the time. They were only $2.00 each so now we have spares to switch out when it needs to be washed.  We skipped a lot of aisles due to repetitive shops.  Terry pooped out and waited in the car for Laurie and I to call it.  That's it.  All I bought except....

Plants.  I love the part of the flea market that sells fruits and vegetables.  But I can't resist the venders that bring perennials to sell.
They are always healthy and unique varieties.  I bought three different varieties of day lily, all beautiful shades of red and very dark red.  I especially love the one named Chicago Cherokee.  Dark red with yellow center. Heck, I would have bought it just for the name, lol, in honor of the Blackhawk win.

There were so many other plants to choose from, but this year I am especially drawn to Day Lily and Asian Lily.  I'll be planting later today.

When we left the flea market, we were starved.  Laurie and Kyle wanted to stop at Das Dutchman Essenhaus for lunch.  It is a tourist attraction area by itself with lots of Amish artisian shops on the campus. The restaurant has menu dining, but also has a buffet.  I am not a huge Amish cooking fan.  I think it is bland so it's not my choice of dining.  The food is good, but a bit costly.

It was an enjoyable day and worth the visit if you are in the area.