Category Archives: Fun times

Halloween

I’m not sure if Halloween is purely an American holiday, but we Americans sure go all out for it every year.  It’s been reported we spend as much on Halloween decorations as we do Christmas ones.  I’m not sure about that because I have never gone out driving to see the Halloween lights, but if “they” say so, it must be so.

I loved Halloween when I was a kid. We lived in a tiny town of about 400 people and everyone knew everyone else or was related to them or knew some of their relations.   I knew the grandparents, cousins and aunt and uncle of my husband long before I met him because he was an “out of towner.”    So, when you went trick or treating, you knew every one in every house you visited.

I don’t remember any of my Halloween costumes except one. My mother made me a white rabbit suit one year with long ears and a furry tail.  It was so hot to wear, but I loved that thing.   I was probably a first or second grader at the time and our class paraded around the school in our costumes, going into each classroom.  Now my school had grades one through twelve in one building.  I had older brothers and a sister in the school at the time so we visited their classrooms.   I remember going in one room and suddenly one of the older boys was laughing and  pointing at me.  I wondered what was so funny until someone told me my flap was down.  There was a flap on the backside of the costume so I could well, use the bathroom should I need to, and evidently I had not refastened it.   I was so embarrassed.   I walked out of the room backward.

In other years I am sure my mother bought those hot fabric masks they use to sell in the five and dime stores and I would find some old clothes of some kind to wear and my brothers would take me trick or treating.   I remember wearing those masks and sweating and the more I breathed in and out,  the sweatier I got. Those masks sell for high prices in antique stores now.

Since everyone knew each other, at each house the person handing out the treats would try to guess who we were before they would give us any candy.  It was a long drawn out affair with names being guessed and I could only shake my head so as not to give myself away.   Finally they would guess who I was and put a candy bar in my bag.  Back then we got the big size candy bars, not the tiny ones handed out now.  I was taught to say “thank you,” and then we would proceed to the next house.  Being a country girl, it was so much fun to be in the “big” city going door to door and seeing all the people I knew.

When we had visited about every house in town we would go back home and mother would put a sheet on the floor and we would dump our bags onto it one at a time. For some reason my brothers always seemed to have more candy than I did.  They would have these big piles while my little pile looked puny in comparison. But still, there was a lot of candy and we got to eat some before we went to bed and then mother would put it up and dole it out a little at a time.

When my children use to go trick or treating they would bring their bags home and dump it all out. I would always look for the Snickers bars and when the candy was put away, the Snickers bars would mysteriously disappear from the candy stash.  My children are old enough now I can tell them my deep, dark secret.  But they very rarely got to eat any of the Snickers bars they got in their trick or treat bags.    I don’t think they really cared because they didn’t like Snickers or at least that’s what I tell myself!

When I got older and thought I was too old to trick or treat I wanted to go out tricking like some of the older kids would do. You could always tell it was Halloween in our town because all the windows of every business had been soaped. I don’t think that’s done much anymore and would probably get kids in trouble now, but back then it was a rite of passage. Soaping was taking a bar of soap and writing or scribbling something on windows.     So one year my very best friend, Mary Jean, and I decided we would soap windows.   We were both terrified of getting caught so we didn’t soap many windows, but we did throw shelled corn on people’s porches and thought we were sooo bad!  But it was harmless fun and the adults in our town knew to expect it and put up with it for one night of the year.    There was some outhouse tipping that was not funny and my brothers told of some cow tipping although I think that was just a myth that came out every Halloween.

Back in the day my brothers use to tell me there were these two men who lived in our barn.  They would tell me they heard them talking and would scare me so much.  I didn’t now why my daddy would permit two men to live in our barn.  I think that was another myth my brothers told just to scare their little sister.  At least I hope so.

My daddy worked nights in those days and we kids and our mother would sit up waiting for him to come home.  One Halloween we were sitting outside looking at the moon and my mother said she saw a witch fly across the moon.  My mother could tell a story and make me believe it no matter what it was about.  I just knew she had seen a witch fly across the moon.  She saw a UFO once(or so she said) and I was forever looking up in the sky for a UFO.    Those were such fun times though and I remember them with such fondness.

So now I watch as my grandchildren celebrate Halloween by dressing up and collecting candy. My grandsons go trick or treating two or three times and don’t usually know most of the people who give them candy.   My one grandson dressed up like the headless horseman this year.

Speaking of the headless horseman. We always watched Disney’s cartoon version which was usually shown right around Halloween.  It would always scare me to death. Poor Ichabod Crane. No one ever knew what became of him. So when I learned that Conner Prairie, an 1836 reproduction village north of Indianapolis had headless horseman hayrides, I just had to go.  My older grandchildren and their mother go every year.  First you walk around Conner Prairie where they have puppet shows, crafts and food booths and a story teller and then when it’s your turn you get on a big wagon with several other happy people and ride back in the woods. Slowly your horses clop along.  You sit there in anticipation. Suddenly, there he is, the headless horseman coming behind the wagon on a big, black horse, his cape flying, his head gone and he is galloping faster and faster.   He is laughing this awful laugh as he comes closer and closer and suddenly he is right beside the wagon and you can feel the horse’s breath right on you if you are sitting in the back, which I was, and you scream your head off until he finally gallops away.  So much fun!!!

They say Halloween is a pagan holiday. It may be for some. For me it’s all about fun. As long a no one gets hurt or too scared it’s a holiday I hope we continue to celebrate.  I don’t go for the gory or bloody or murderous Halloween. I go for more the Casper the Friendly Ghost kind of Halloween.  The candy filled Halloween. The cute costumes Halloween.  The slightly scary Halloween.  Happy Halloween!  Bye.

 

Wandering Down Memory Lane

I had my 50th high school reunion this past Saturday night.  Fifty years!  Really it seems like only yesterday, but all my friends with brown, red, blonde and red hair have become grey headed or white headed or bald!  How did that happen?   We were the cool class, The ones who were going to conquer the world.  The ones who would remain forever young.  Well, we were fooled because life caught up with us. We grew old while raising families, working at jobs we may or may not have loved, saw friends and family pass away and learned life can be hard at times, but at others simply wonderful.   So many memories all mixed up in that room that evening.  So many life experiences. I hadn’t seen the majority of those people for at least forty years.  Some I have kept in contact with.  Some I wanted to see didn’t show up.  Some of my friends, who shared a lot of life experiences with me, were there.  I was glad I went although it did bring back the old teen-age feelings of inadequacy and shyness that I often had back in those days.

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This isn’t the best picture of us all because it has the woman in it trying to get us all to stand where we could be seen in the picture, but this is my class.  Or at least a few of them.  Many have passed away or lived too far away to get here.  Or some just didn’t have the best high school experience and didn’t come. Some just wanted to remember the class the way it was, but we don’t remain the same, do we?

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Some of my best friends from school are in this picture.  They know who they are.

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This lady was one of my good friends. We went through twelve years of school together.  She probably won’t remember it, but in the second or third grade I drew some paper dolls with clothes and everything and gave them to her.    I stayed all night at her house.  Her mother loved the musical “South Pacific” and we played the music.  Her dad was a dairy farmer and had lots of cows.    She had to work hard.  She’s spent the last few years care giving parents.  Hers and her husband’s.    We were pen pals for years when she lived out west.  Then we lost touch like you do when you live far apart.  This is the first time I had seen her in decades.

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This lady has the prettiest smile. She was always one of the nicest people and though I didn’t get to know her real well in high school, I always liked her.

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This is David’s cousin’s husband.   His cousin went with David and me on our first date.  We went to see the movie, ‘Joy in the Morning,” with Richard Chamberlain and Yvette Mimieu. I think I misspelled her name.   Evidently something funny was said here.  That’s David on the right.

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A good friend with her partner.  Reading an old diary recently, evidently she and I had planned on forming a secret club that just she and I would be members.   Evidently it was so secret, neither one of us could remember it!

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Two of my best friends. We went to school twelve years together.   We still laugh when we are together which isn’t often enough.   The lady in the middle and I went to see the Beatles at the Indiana state fair when they were on their first tour of the United States. What fun it was.

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Carol made the cakes for the evening.

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They were very good.

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Someone did a great job on the table decorations.

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The fellow in the middle is a good friend. We went through twelve years of school together too. He went on and got his PHD  and has traveled all over the world.   I use to help him pass papers in our little town back in the sixties.   We were in youth fellowship at the same church and had a lot of fun times together.   He’s still as nice as he ever was and we had a good visit.

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We all received a folder with papers people had  written and sent in about what had been going on with them since high school.  We also got a little booklet that told what was happening in the world the year we graduated.  We have lived through some pretty interesting history.

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We all got a book bag, pens, coasters, and taffy from one of the popular candy stores in town.

All in all it was a fun evening.  A good time was had by all.

The next morning we drove around our old hometown where we started our early married life.   The day before, we drove around the town where I grew up and David’s grandparents lived and where he lived when his parents moved to the Virgin Islands.

Past the little church where we were married 49 years ago.

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It really hasn’t changed all that much

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Before we went to the reunion, I wanted to drive by the library where I spent many happy hours and where I learned to love reading.  I loved going here where the smell of books was so strong I can still imagine it to this day.  The librarians were on a first name basis with my mother and me as we went there every two weeks without fail.   I would get a pile of books and felt rich for having them.

We drove through Glen Miller park in Richmond where we use to go to watch the fireworks, where there use to be a tiny zoo and the best playground when I was a kid.   There were even buffalo and a lion kept there for a time.   I always felt sorry for that lion because it really was not kept in a large enough cage. I have come to the conclusion some animals should never be caged.

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This house is in the park where people can have meetings or parties.  When I had our daughter, two good friends gave me a baby shower here.  It was so nice.   One of those friends I graduated with, but she wasn’t at the reunion.  I would have like to have seen her.

Also inside the park is a rose garden. It wasn’t there while I was growing up.

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When I first walked into the garden, the smell of roses was so strong, I had to stop for a minute and just inhale.  I wish I could send that smell to you. It was glorious.   Although the roses were not at their peak, they were still beautiful and smelled so good.

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So glad this woman championed this rose garden.

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A gazebo sat right in the middle of it all.  A place that would be perfect for weddings.

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With benches placed all around it  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be married here?  Especially when the roses are all blooming.

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There were still several beautiful roses blooming.

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There was a fountain there, but the water had been drained from it.

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Some very talented person carved this out of an old stump.

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Even the butterfly is carved from the stump.

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It was just amazing.  I hope the people in Richmond know what a little gem they have right in the  middle of their town.

We had to be on our way, so on toward home we drove.

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We were traveling state road 40 which goes through many little towns.  We saw this carving in someone’s yard.

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This one was also there.   You don’t see things like this on the interstate.

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Or things like this in someone’s back yard.   A place to sit outside. An upper and a lower space.  How neat is that?

One place I wanted to see was James Whitcomb Riley’s home in Greenfield.  I have always wanted to go through it, but it was closed on Sunday.

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Here are the hours if you ever wish to go.

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He lived in a pretty grand house for his day.

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A statue of him stands in front of the court house. When my mother was a child back in the 1920’s school children were asked to send in pennies to help raise this statue.  Children paid for this statue.  Riley was a poet who lived in Indiana.  I have read many of his poems, my favorite being Little Orphant Annie which I have memorized.  Ask me, and I can recite it to you.

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Yes, we Hoosiers do have a dialect.  And proud of it.

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I sat by a bronze statue of Mr. Riley.

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He was reading Little Orphant Annie.  Yes, he spelled it with a t.

We finished our weekend with an ice cream at the Cow Palace.  It was a nice weekend.

Here’s to school friends, roses and James Whitcomb Riley.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

State Fair!

Our state fair is the best state fair

Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.

Dollars to donuts our state fair

Is the best state fair in the state!

Rodgers and Hammerstein

David and I hadn’t been to our state fair for years so we decided we would go this year.  We also decided to take our grandboys.

We kept two of the boys Friday night and spent the day on Saturday with them.  The boys decided they wanted to make a quilt so I said, “Sure,” and so they did. I had a lot of two and a half inch squares cut, so I told them they could make a quilt with them, eight across and eight down and asked them many squares they would need.  Teaching them a little multiplication also. We needed sixty-four squares so they started sewing the squares together. I wish I had taken pictures.  One boy sewed and the other one ironed the pieces.  I had to teach iron safety also as he kept leaving the iron laid down on the ironing board.   By the end, they both were losing interest, but I kept them working and teaching them you don’t give up and quit. Finally we had it ready for quilting and they really liked doing that on the machine.  Had to teach them safety with a sewing machine also. I may have scared them a little about getting their fingers caught on the needle, but since I have sewed my fingers, I wanted them to be safe.

They ended up with a cute little quilt and we made a label with their names and ages and the year on it and I sewed it on the back of the quilt for them.  We wrapped the quilt up to give to their mother.

We took the boys to see the movie, “Nut Job 2” and it was very cute.  Then to the Dairy Queen for dinner and ice cream.  It was a full day.  To bed early that night as we were going to the state fair in the morning.

Bright and early the next morning we got up and got ready and drove to Indianapolis to pick up another grandboy.  Then on to the fair.

We parked the car and walked up a big ramp onto the fairgrounds.   The smells and noise of the fair hit us immediately.  I told the boys we were going to eat our way through the fair.  Their eyes lit up.   So this is what we ate that day. Caramel corn, corn dogs, cotton candy, hamburgers, Italian and polish sausages, elephant ears, donuts, ice cream, and candy from the general store.  Plus gallons of water, lemonade and root beer to wash it all down. I just want to say one thing. Cotton candy is much better fresh and on a stick than stuffed in a bag where it hardens.   Sad you can’t get it that way very often.

There are many buildings to go through at the fair. The first one was my very favorite.  Draft horses.

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They are just gorgeous animals.

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This guy liked to get near to us.  Had very different markings.

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I really believe this horse was posing with the boys. Look at those ears.

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I think they liked being this close to horses.   I could have stayed in this building all day, but we had to move on.

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I think maybe this horse was glad to see us go!

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We watched the sheep judging. A long time ago, I once showed a sheep at the county fair and won a blue ribbon.  I loved that little ram, but Daddy had to sell him because he was getting too aggressive with the other farm animals butting them and he tried to butt people, too.  There was a Disney movie in the fifties called, “So Dear to My Heart,” that involved a little boy and his pet sheep.  His grandmother didn’t want him to have the sheep because it was black and its wool was not worth anything, but the little boy loved him. He ended up showing the little sheep at the fair.  Burl Ives was in the movie as the boy’s uncle.   I saw that movie again a while back and it still made me happy.

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There was model car racing at the stadium.  The boys really liked that.

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Those little cars flew off the ramps and into the air and came down and kept going around and around the track.   The boys could have stayed there all day, but there was more to see.

To the pig barn. When I walked in it, it reminded me of the farm.  We raised pigs among other animals.

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This mama pig had the biggest litter for the year with thirteen piglets. Some were chowing down while the rest were snuggled up in a corner sleeping.

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In another pen the mama pig was snoozing and taking a rest from her brood who were all asleep.

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Ah, peace and quiet.  I could kind of relate to her.  When you are a mother, you catch your rest wherever you can because soon the kids wake up!

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Here’s her babies piled on top of one another.   So cute.

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Standing in front of the heaviest pig weighing in at over one thousand pounds.

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Just noticed his name is Boris.  Boris the boar.

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In the cattle barn. Once again I smelled the smells I remember from my daddy’s farm.  Fresh straw beds for the cattle.   The people who own these cows keep their pens very clean and they are constantly brushing, combing and bathing the cows they are going to show.

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Some cows would even pose with you!

Time to eat!

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Just starting on a day of gorging ourselves.

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Corn dogs are so good!    With lots of ketchup.

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Dave and his grandsons standing under a fan and mister to cool off. It got really hot that day.

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We watched baby ducks being hatched.  My mother and I hatched some ducks one time and they got attached to me and thought I was their mother and followed me all over.  I fed  a whole box of oatmeal once to them which made my mother very angry!   I was a problem child at times. Ha.

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The duck which is damp, just came out of the egg. As soon as they were hatched a woman picked them up and put them with the other ducklings.

There is so much to see and do at the fair and not enough time.  We watched a cooking show by a man trying to sell cookware. I have that cookware. I got snookered into buying it one time at a home show.  At that time, the salesman would actually come to your house and cook dinner for you and others you were to invite and then after you had eaten, he would try to sell the cookware. It really is wonderful cookware and I also got a food slicer which is industrial grade.  Funny thing is, I hardly ever use it and still use my mother’s old pots and cast iron skillet.  I think I need to get out that cookware and use it.  Walking down the aisles looking at all the things for sale, a man coaxed me into a chair and started putting stuff on my face before I knew what I was doing. He had beautiful brown eyes. I looked for David and he and the boys were walking on.  Help!  I cannot say no to a saleman, especially one who has beautiful brown eyes and was as determined as this one. He put some stuff under one eye to take out the puffiness. By that time the grandboys had come back and I asked them if my eyes looked different and they said, “Yeah!”   Oh, no.  The stuff sold for $299 which is not anywhere near what I spend for stuff to put on my face. I don’t really put much of anything on my face but some Oil of Olay and lipstick.   Help!  Just them David walked up and said “No,” and I breathed a sigh of relief and got up. The man shook my hand, but I kind of felt bad about the disappointment in his face that he didn’t make a sale.  See, I don’t like to hurt anyone.

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At the Pioneer village they had this vignette set up.  I have eaten in kitchens similar to this one.

There were different artisans making things to sell, women quilting and hooking rugs.  Some were grinding flour with an old gas powered grist mill  So much to see, we hardly scratched the surface.

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An exotic animals tent where the boys could hand feed and pet the animals. Except for the zebra. A big sign read, “DON’T FEED THE ZEBRA.”  So, we didn’t.

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Feed the grandboy!

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Three boys in a tractor tire.

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Mowing the lawn.  They kept saying we ought to get one of these to mow our tiny lawn.  One or two swipes and it would be done.  I don’t have much lawn.  Only garden.

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Virtual reality.  It was funny watching them turning their heads and looking down as if something were really there.

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We were all getting tired, so I sent David to get them all some fair taffy to take home to share and then we walked to the car. I really felt like I was walking on stumps by that time and my back was hurting so badly, I could not wait to sit down.  We took the boys to their homes and got home in the evening tired, buy happy for a fun weekend with our grandboys.  I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Here’s to fun times with grandboys and wonderful state fairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anniversary!

 

David and I are celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary this weekend.   The last couple of days we have been traveling, but today is supposed to be a day of rest.  We told each other even though we were home, we would not do any work. Which is why I have already done two loads of clothes and taken care of the chickens.  Ha!   There is no such thing as no work when I am at home unless I am sick and even then I do things.   The rest of the weekend we are going to be on the road again.

Thursday we left on a rainy day to drive to Athens, Ohio.  Just for a drive and  Ohio University is there so we figured there would be some neat things to see and do there.  We drove through rain almost the entire way. The route we chose was rather boring, so we got off it and onto another highway that was much more scenic.   But wouldn’t you know, we saw only one antique store and didn’t stop along the way.  Now I wish we had, because our whole trip we saw no antique stores that looked the slightest bit interesting.  We did stop at a little fabric store.  A man was standing in the door with rain pouring out of a gutter right over the door. But I was determined to go in so we sloshed through the rain and under the gutter into the little shop.  When we got inside, it looked like a building site with unfinished walls and ladders standing around. “We are remodeling,” the man told us.  There were a few quilts on the wall, a room with a quilting machine with a quilt in progress on it and nothing much else.  In another room there were about four shelves of fabric.  Or partial full shelves.  But among all the rather old fabric I found some Pamkitty fabric.  Really pretty and the price was right so I bought five yards of it for backing for a quilt.   So it wasn’t a total waste.  The man was really nice, but I could tell he was out of his element cutting and folding yards of fabric.  When he was trying to fold the fabric, he was more or less wadding it up and I just jumped right in there and showed him how to fold the fabric neatly.   Having had a quilt shop at one time, I have folded thousands of yards of fabric for people.  He seemed kind of relieved I did it.  It is his wife’s store and she is an RN and was at work, so he was being put to work for her.

He apologized profusely about the leaking gutter and I hope that’s on his fix it list because it will deter some people less determined than myself to enter his store when it’s raining.

On we drove through pounding rain.  Sometimes visibility was almost nil.    It made us remember one time when we were in New York and I wanted to go to this quilt shop miles away from where we were staying and we drove through much the same kind of rain storm.   And that quilt shop was rather a disappointment when we got there!   David has driven through rain, storm, hail, tornado and snow to get me to a quilt shop.  That’s part of the reason our marriage has lasted so long.  He’s a great husband.

We got to Athens later than we thought we would.  We found a little restaurant the lady at the motel where we were staying recommended and we were not disappointed.  A few days ago I got a craving for fish and we could not think of a single place in our town that served good fish except Red Lobster and we aren’t enamored of Red Lobster so we didn’t get fish.  This restaurant had grilled tilapia on a bed of rice pilaf and it was delicious!   Flaky and not fishy tasting and just the best fish I have tasted for a long while.  There is a restaurant on the river in Chattanooga, Tennessee that serves the best catfish, but it is only open certain days and we have only managed to hit it at the right day a couple of times while on our travels.

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See, it was still raining.

Not wanting to go back to the motel and spend the rest of the evening, we decided to go to a movie and we saw where the new Spider-Man was showing at the local theater.  When we got there, the sign outside showing all the movies said that Spider-Man didn’t start until the next day.  We chose another movie, but when we went inside we found that they were showing Spider-Man!  Yay!    So we bought tickets and popcorn and drinks and went inside. The theater was lit hardly at all and I couldn’t see one step in front of the other and we always sit at the very tip-top seats, if we can,  and we slowly walked up the steps. I couldn’t even see the seats it was so dark.   Finally got seated and the theater slowly filled up until it was filled to capacity.  I will tell you, the movie did not disappoint and was very exciting.  I will never look at the Washington monument the same ever again and don’t know if I would ever take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty now!  Ha.   They showed a preview of the new Jumanji  movie coming out and it looked hilarious and is on our list of movies to see.

Athens is a pretty little college town with houses built on hills.  I love old houses and the town was full of them, but because it was raining so hard the entire time we were there, I got very few pictures.   We drove around and looked at the sights.  There is an old asylum in town that you can go through, but it was not opened and we didn’t have the time anyway so we didn’t tour it.   There are walking trails all over and I would have loved to have walked them, but again, rain.

So early the next morning we got up and went in search of donuts.  We hardly ever eat donuts at home, but when we vacation we always look for donuts.  I know. They are fattening, full of sugar and down right bad for you, but we still love them once in a while.  We were going to go into a Kroger to get some when David spotted a real donut shop.  We went inside and they had lots of yummy looking donuts, but I got my usual, Boston crème and David got his usual, jelly filled and with my cup of coffee, we sat down to eat.  I was just finishing a bite when this couple sat down beside us.  Suddenly the most horrible smell hit my nose. Now David does not have a good sense of smell, but even his nose wrinkled up.  I whispered, “Where is that smell coming from?”  It was unlike any smell we both had ever smelled.  The couple sitting next to us looked perfectly clean and nice, but, the smell was definitely coming from them.  I gagged down the bite in my mouth and said, “Let’s leave,” so we gathered the rest of our food and drink and went to the car.  “What was that?” I asked.  “I don’t know, but it was the worst smell I have ever smelled,” replied David.  Take skunk smell and triple its strength and that is what that smell seemed like.  I really would have liked to know what that couple came in contact with.

We drove down the highway and found a nice rest stop with picnic tables and finished our donuts.   It was more fun that way anyway.

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I love to picnic and would eat more of our meals outside if I could.

So on we drove toward home taking a different route again and this route was wonderful.

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For a great deal of the way we had the road almost to ourselves. Through little towns where American flags waved on lamp posts.   Past old houses built along the Ohio River almost a century or more ago.

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I love old houses. I like to think of the people who lived there in long ago days.  I hope people will continue to preserve them because most of the houses built today are nothing compared to these old timers.  Built solidly to last and they have.  I don’t think a lot of the houses being built today will be around in another hundred years.

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This town was very interesting and full of history.  This tells of some Welsh travelers along the Ohio River whose women folk may have cut the boats loose when they landed because they were travel weary and wanted to settle some place. I like to think that is what really happened and that the menfolk were disgruntled that they lost their boats, but knew they had to stay in one place.  Good for those women!  They found a great place to settle.

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A monument to all the local men who had died in wars around the world.

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I’m not much for getting my picture taken, but David wanted a selfie of us, so here we are!

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Impatiens planted in planters and hanging baskets all over the town. It was all so pretty.

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An old G.C. Murphy store. Haven’t seen one of those in a long time.  They were sort of the precursor to Wal-mart.

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Barges carrying loads down the Ohio River.   David and I both think it would be fun to have  a houseboat and travel the rivers of our country.

We drove through more rain but it stopped for a little while and we decided to visit Ulysses Grant’s home and former school.  Ulysses Grant was a general for the Union army during the Civil War and became president of the United States several years afterward.

We went inside the house and there was a man standing in another room and I said, “Hello,” and he said he would be with us in a minute.  It sounded like he was talking to someone.  I looked at the visitor book and according to it, David and I were only the fifth and sixth persons who had visited that day.  While we waited, I snapped pictures.

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There is a name for this type of picture, but I cannot think what it is. It is cut from paper.

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A door that appears to go to the upstairs.  It was quite a nice home.  Rather extravagant for the day I would say.

Anyway, we waited and waited and the man kept talking and finally we decided to leave.  We drove over to the school house site.

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We didn’t go in and as we were running late and wanted to get home before dark.

David asked me as we were leaving Grant’s home, “Did you see that sign that said, no pictures?”  No, I didn’t.  Whoops.  You are looking at contraband photos of Grant’s home.

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I wonder if Grant was groomed to be a soldier?  I haven’t read a lot of history about him, but maybe I will now.   Here he is as a fine looking young lad.

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And how I remember him from history books. He always looked a little unkempt  to me.

So on we drove through Cincinnati where the rain was once again coming down in sheets and I turned on the radio and the announcer was telling how there were high winds, damaging hail and rain going through Cincinnati.  Well, of course it was. We were driving through!  We have driven through two tornadoes, countless rain storms, snow, sleet and hail.  Nothing stops us.  But I must say, it was rather harrowing and I know there were times David was driving on a wish and a prayer.  But we made it through and got home safely.

Before I go, I will mention the Fourth of July.  We gathered with a few friends at our church parking lot where we have front row seats to the fireworks across the street.   We are a group who like to play with fire.  Someone brought lanterns and the menfolk were lighting them while the womenfolk held them.

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Up and away.  There were lanterns going up from several parts of the city.  I think it ought to be a city wide challenge next year to see how many lanterns we can set adrift.   I must say, it was better than the fireworks show for me.

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The radio station that provided the music chose the most perfectly awful music to play for the fireworks.  Hardly patriotic and some were inappropriate for children to hear.   It kind of spoiled the fireworks for me.   I am hoping next year, since it is on our church’s grounds, that we play gospel music and real patriotic music for those to hear around us.    After all, we are to be a light in the darkness.

So David and I have two more days of celebrating our anniversary.  Hoping to get into some antique shops and we are going to places where the show “Good Bones,” is shot to look at some of the houses that have been renovated.  Two women formed a company and are taking one house at a time to redo, to revitalize certain parts of Indianapolis and they got their own show on HGTV. It’s become one of our favorites.  If I get pictures, I will share them.

Here’s to long marriages, traveling in the rain and the 4th of July.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip With My Fairy Godmother

A week ago last Sunday my fairy godmother, also known as Shannon, asked me if I would like to go to the Trump rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Although I had several things I had planned for that weekend, everything went out the window when I got the chance to see my president.

So, a week ago Friday we set out to drive the nine hours to Harrisburg. Through Ohio, a tip of West Virginian and through the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, which is dotted all over with charming little towns and farms.   We talked the whole way.

The first night it was dark when we got to our motel and drove up the hill to it, but we could not find the entrance. We found a restaurant.  We drove around and around in what seemed like a maze, and finally found the entrance to the motel.  We got our room and got ready for bed. I think we were asleep almost before our heads hit the pillows.  We saw the sign the next morning that directed us to the motel entrance.  We had missed it last night in the dark.

Next morning we were up bright and early, ate breakfast and continued on our drive.  We arrived at our motel, checked in and went to find the coliseum in which the rally was to be held.  We were parked a way in the Netherlands, despite the fact there were parking spaces much closer to the front door of the coliseum.  We got into a line that wove around the parking lot and out into the street.  It looked like about a mile long or longer.

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At one time the sky looked ominous, but it never rained.

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We talked to the people around us and everyone seemed very happy to be there.

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Of course there were Trump signs everywhere.

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And Trump vans.

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This is my fairy godmother, Shannon. Thank you for making one of my dreams come true.  See the parking lot?  We are walking from the Netherlands.  Probably about a half mile just to get to the line.

There was a band playing and all kinds of things for sale.  I bought a red hat. Shannon bought a pink one.

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There was a Trump impersonator who was really rather good.

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This lady was in front of us and wanted a picture with the impersonator.  He was being interviewed by a news show and she got to be on the interview.  Lucky lady!

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From the back he looks exactly like Trump.

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I don’t know what this guy was selling, but his whole spiel was about the nice cardboard he was using.  He made us laugh.

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Finally, after an hour and a half, we got to the door. Secret servicemen and women were checking everyone’s bags. I panicked for a second when I remembered I had eyebrow tweezers in my purse.  One time while in a line to go up the Washington monument in D.C.,  my purse was checked and the lady who was checking found my eyebrow tweezers and told me they were not allowed up in the monument and she took them.   I told the man who was checking my purse I had tweezers inside and he said, “Well, take them out.”  I was so nervous, but I found them and he said I could keep them, but my friend had a tiny knife that was on her keychain taken away.  She had forgotten all about it.  We walked through a metal detector and we were finally inside!

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When we first sat down this is what we saw.  People gathering around the stage.

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Every seat was getting filled. Don’t ever allow the media to say few people show up for these rallies.  I have been there.  They are packed.

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Even up in the peanut gallery or the nosebleed seats as some like to call them

All Americans were represented.  Men, women, children, teen-agers, all races and happy to be there.  Little girls dressed in red, white and blue with sequined red shoes.  Red, white and blue everywhere.  Americana at its best.

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The media was all set up. To report the truth, I hope.

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Everyone who wanted one was given a sign.

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Signs were everywhere.

Then the dignitaries began to arrive.  Excitement rose.

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Kellyann Conway, President Trump’s spokeswoman was autographing signs.

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Flags abounded everywhere.

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We were not supposed to bring our own signs, but some people got them in anyway.

A prayer was said, the pledge of allegiance recited and the national anthem was sung.

Then there were several speeches.

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Men in blue subdued an over zealous man.  Ha.

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Vice President, Mike Pence gave a speech and introduced the president.

Then the man himself appeared and pandemonium broke out.  You would have thought a rock star had appeared.

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People crowded toward the dais.

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Then President Trump began to speak. Without notes. Without a teleprompter.  Everyone listened carefully.  Then at the end he read a poem called, “The Snake.”  It’s about a kind woman who took in a poor, sickly snake and nursed it to health and then to thank her, it turned around and bit her. It’s kind of an analogy of people who we allow into our country and then proceed to bomb us and  terrorize us.  It’s happening all over the world where people don’t appreciate the country that allows them in,  Sad, but true.  President Trump wants to protect us from those people.

I know some of you do not like President Trump.  There have been several presidents I was not happy with, the last one being the worst one we have ever had, in my opinion, but he is our president and should be respected at least for the office he holds.   We are blessed to live in a country where we can vote in our leaders, unlike those countries with dictators who never get a say.  I have voted in every election since I was able to vote and will continue until the day I die. It’s a great privilege we have.  It’s actually not a right put in the Constitution.   So never take it for granted.  Someone may come along one day and want to take that right away.

Then all too soon it was over.

President Trump left.

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It was one of the best times I have ever had.

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Then we all filed back out into the night.  It was a long day, but worth every second of it.  I would do it again.   I have seen two presidents now. The other one was president Reagan who I saw in a motorcade in New Orleans one Summer day when we were vacationing there.

I hope you get to see a president some day. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Celebration

We had a lovely Easter this year.  The weather wasn’t, but the rest of the day was.  It poured rain Sunday morning right before we went to church. Then while in church, the sun came out. Our choir sang an amazing cantata which touched me deeply.  There were a lot of people in church. There were two baptisms and one little girl went forward to make a profession of faith. She is the pastor’s granddaughter, so I know it was a special time for him.

After church we rushed home where some family were already there waiting for us as church ran a little long. We had a delicious meal of ham, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, homemade rolls, corn, salad, potato salad, strawberries and for dessert, chocolate pie, banana cream pie and lemon meringue pie.   I hadn’t made pies in a long time, but these were a success and today there is only one piece left.

We visited for a while, but the children were excited about hunting Easter eggs so finally we told them it was time. There were about 200 eggs hidden, some with pieces of paper with dollar signs on them to turn in for dollar bills and some with smiley faces on them to turn in for candy.

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We made them pose for pictures which was like herding a bunch of cats.

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Could not keep their hands off each other.

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Finally, a picture we liked.  Although they still all were not looking at the camera.DSCN5090

A picture of our beautiful daughter. I have never written this on my blog, but she has MS.  She is the bravest woman I know how she handles this horrible disease. She works almost every day and raises her two boys.  I don’t know how she does it, but she took them to the zoo the other day without help.   She does have a little scooter that she runs around on and that helps.  If you have MS or know someone who suffers from it, you know it’s a very unpredictable disease and people who have it are in pain a lot of the time.  Anyway, I am proud of her and I pray every day for a cure for this horrible disease that affects so many people.  I thank God she has a husband who is very supportive of her and loves her and tries to make her life easier if she will let him!

Anyway, we finally let the kids go and they were all over the yard like a mouse on cheese and soon they were bringing their eggs up to be counted.  Everyone got some money and lots of candy.

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David was the banker. This is our granddaughter.  She asked me  how long she got to hunt Easter eggs before she was too old. I told her eighteen when she is an adult.  She will be eighteen next year. It broke her heart that she was getting too old to hunt Easter eggs.  It broke my heart, too, because she was just a baby yesterday.

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She got her money this year, though and was happy about it.

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Her brother, who I always tell him he looks like my dad, and his winnings.

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David and I saved dollars all year for this day and it’s worth the smiles.

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Smiles?

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Our oldest grandson. He’s about six feet tall and weighs one hundred and eighty-five pounds and is a tremendous athlete, lacrosse being his favorite sport.   He’s fifteen.

After all the eggs were counted, there were still five left with dollar signs in them that hadn’t been found so out they all went again and scoured the yard until they found them all. I know there is still an egg or two out there in the yard somewhere. Just recently I found one from last year.

It was a fun day and the weather became just gorgeous in the afternoon. The garden was at its perfection.  After everyone left to go home, it poured down rain again.

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Oh, I wish you could smell these lilacs.  They perfume the entire front garden. We cut several bouquets for us and  some for the kids to take home with them.

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This has certainly been a beautiful Spring.  It lasts such a short time so I take lots of pictures I can look at in the dead of Winter to remind me the garden will come back again next year.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter.  Bye.

 

 

 

Despite

Despite it is only five days before Christmas and despite I haven’t finished shopping yet and despite I haven’t wrapped any of my presents(David has almost all his done) and despite I haven’t decided what I want to feed the mob coming Sunday and despite the house needs a good cleaning and despite the henhouse really needs a clean out and despite I really need to go to the grocery to get enough food for Sunday and despite I really need to get a new hairdo(which will not happen before Christmas, now)  and despite I feel this sense of urgency, this is what I am doing instead.

I get up lazily every morning. That’s what you can do after you are retired after decades of working and raising children.  It’s been really cold here and getting out of my warm heated bed is so hard to do. I make coffee and pour some peppermint creamer in it and light the cedar candle.   After Christmas, I just may plan one day to spend in bed and read and sleep.   Like that will really happen.

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I all of a sudden decided today I needed to go through all the magazines I have collected through the years. Don’t judge me.  I have magazines from the 1970’s and still love looking through them. Magazines were much better years ago. A lot more reading in them and less ads and pictures.  Now they are all ads(mostly drug ads) and pictures with very little reading to do.  I remember when Good Housekeeping had several stories in them every month.  I don’t know why I felt this was something I needed to do, but I found satisfaction in it.  I find magazines that set me off on my love of antiques.  The décor in our house seems to have evolved through the years depending on what the magazines had in them.

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I have been knitting patchwork socks using the leftover yarn from all the socks I have been knitting.   Yes, I need to get this done immediately!

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Binding a Christmas quilt that still won’t be finished this Christmas.

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My Christmas Chickens quilt.  I still have some quilting to do on it.

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Feeding the birds. They eat all this in one day.

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Loving seeing these pretty boys in the shrubs.

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Watching this silliness on the bird feeder and laughing.

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Watching Longmire on Netflix and taking naps.  I am under all these quilts and blankets.

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Playing with these two.  I have a gun that shoots tennis balls and they would play chase the ball all day as long as I have treats for them.  See how alert they are?  I have treats in my hand.

 

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Going around the house snapping pictures of things that look Christmasy to me.

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And last but not least. I found a new blog by a woman who creates wonderful things out of fabric, paper mache, and found objects.  I will write about her blog sometime.  Anyway, she made these really cute little trees and provided a pattern and directions for them, so, of course, I had to stop everything I was doing to try to make a few of them.  I will show you after they are finished. They don’t look like much now, but trust me, they will look cute, I hope.  Her name is Ann Wood if you would like to check out her blog.  She has a pattern for hens on nests that I plan to get and make.    All this makes me so happy.

Of course none of this is what I should be doing, but I feel free and easy and probably won’t really get to work finishing up everything until Friday.  Christmas will come whether I get it all done or not.   I want to enjoy every single day.

Hope you find things that are making you happy too.  Bye.

 

 

One Season Following the Other

 

 

We did have Thanksgiving.   We really did.  It just came so quickly after Halloween and was quickly overtaken by the Christmas season.  I just want to slow everything down. Take one day at a time. Savor each moment.  Remember why we celebrate.  Spend time in prayer.  Go out into nature. Play with the dogs.   Knit.  Sit quietly and just be for a time.

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I was lazy this year and used paper plates and plastic glasses. My excuse was that then we would have time to spend time with family, play games and not be in the kitchen all afternoon.  We had ten to eat and way too much food.  I am going to have to rethink my portions and how many leftovers I want to have. The dogs and chickens got some special treats after Thanksgiving.  We really could not eat all the leftovers and it’s hard to freeze salads.  I still cook for twenty or thirty and there are never that many around our table.

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The boys modeled their turkey hat.

We played “Say Anything,” which is really a fun game for everyone.

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Gobble. Gobble.

Then it was time to decorate for Christmas.

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Out came the Christmas quilts and pillows.

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“Light” the fire.

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Set up the tree.  Every year it is fun to find the ornaments we have put up year after year.  I bought a couple of new ones this year, but most are decades old.

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I love our tree.  I don’t always enjoy putting it up and decorating it, but it is always worth it when it’s in all its glory.

Our town has a Festival of Lights every year. This year there was a Christmas village with vendors and games for children and a magician.

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We took our two youngest grandboys.

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First we took them to the indoor playground. It was packed with children. This is a climbing thing that all the kids seem to love.  It looks scary to me, but the children were climbing on it like little monkeys.   It’s a long way up there.

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The magician performed and made a little girl this hat from balloons.   He also pulled a scarf from my grandson’s sleeve. I asked him if he knew it was up there and he said, “No!”

Then we went outside and waited for the parade to start.

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The Cheer Guild was giving away cups of hot chocolate.  My grandsons enjoyed that.

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Santa made an appearance.

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Then the parade began.

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A vintage Coca Cola truck all decked out in lights.

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So many pretty, lighted floats.

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And what do you know?  Santa appeared again.  The end of the parade.  There were fireworks, but we were all hungry so we decided to drive out of town and get something to eat.  It took so long to get out of the parking lot we got to see some of the fireworks.

It was a fun night.  Only nineteen days until Christmas. I plan to enjoy and embrace every day.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun With the Grandboys

We took three of our grandsons to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis Friday.  We started early in the morning by taking them out to Steak and Shake to eat since the food in the museum is so expensive.  Then we drove clear to the top of the parking garage which was packed and parked our car.  It’s been a few years since we took one of our grandsons to the museum and it had changed a lot.

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Dinosaurs at the windows.  Oh, my.

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The Bat mobile was of special interest.  The boys kept saying they wish they could drive it.  Not sure that would be a good idea!

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There was an exhibit of replicas of Chinese statues that were found some years ago. The real statues were life size and so were the replicas. They also had some you could put together as a puzzle. The boys enjoyed this exhibit.  I could have stayed there a little longer and read more about them, but with three boys it’s go, go, go.

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Someone had placed sun glasses on this one.

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What I love about the museum is that it is truly kid friendly and children can climb on most of the exhibits.  As you can see, our grandson thought this was fun.

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Is there a resemblance here?

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There was a Hot Wheels exhibit and cars to climb in.

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Handsome lad.  “Grandma,” he asked me. “Do you think I am handsome because I have red hair?”   “I just think you are handsome,” I replied.  All my grandsons are handsome, but I am not at all prejudiced.  And I do love red hair.

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Dressing up was part of the fun.

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From race car driver to king in one day.

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There was merry-go-round riding.

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David got to be a kid again.  I was taking pictures and then a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was in line for the ride. I looked behind me and there was a long line of people.  Oops.  “Just watching.”  I said.

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More race cars to climb in.

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There is a magnificent Chihuly chandelier hanging right in the middle of the museum.  The last time we were here they were just putting it together.

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Leftover pieces were put in the floor.

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Me standing on Chihuly!

On the floor below this there was a rotating couch people could sit on and look up and see the beautiful colors.

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Looking up at Chihuly.

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This is what you saw from below. I was entranced by this.

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An exhibit about Anne Frank where I would have liked to spend more time, but boys.  Go, go, go. This picture of Anne was made up of hundreds of photos of people.  Her story still saddens me.

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There was a maze where, really, I was afraid I would never get out of.  I kept the boys in my sight at all times.  They knew where they were going.

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There was an exhibit and show about the space capsule that Gus Grissom, the second man in space,  flew in..  The capsule was lost at sea for thirty-eight years.   Thankfully, they were able to save Mr. Grissom, but he later died in a fire in a space capsule.  It was very interesting, and the fact I  remember when this happened made it even more interesting to me. I was twelve years old at the time and space travel was new and exciting.

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There was a train exhibit.

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Pretending to buy and sell train tickets. David and I are going on a train trip this year. Can’t wait.

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Okay, I hate my picture being taken, but David stalked me and got one that doesn’t make me look too horrible.  I won’t delete this one, David. Ha. And who is that woman photo bombing me?  And why do I look so contemplative?

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So I took another picture of my sweetie.  So, is this sign describing the bear or David?  Hmmmmm.

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The boys got all excited about Spiderman and tried to point him out to me.  I could not see him and they kept saying, “There, Grandma!”  Finally saw him and took his picture.  There was so much more we saw and a lot we didn’t get to see.  I would go back again.

It was a fun day.  We stopped at the gift shop and let the boys buy some things and then the museum was closed and we left. When we got back to the car, there were very few cars in the parking garage and the upper deck was empty except for our car.

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It had been raining all day and the sun was coming out again.

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A perfect ending to a perfect day.  Hope the boys had as much fun as David and I did.

Here’s to Grandboys and museums. Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halcyon Days and Sock Love

David and I celebrated our forty-eight wedding anniversary this past week.  We decided to take a whole week from weekend to weekend to celebrate.   It’s been a long week.  We wanted to go antiquing, but most of the antique stores we went to were either closed or more like junk sales than antiques.   We wanted to go to a Daylily farm and it rained cats and dogs on us.  In fact, it rained almost the entire week.  We did manage to get to Olive Garden for dinner which was very good.   But it was still all good.  When you have been married to the same man for almost your entire life, you don’t expect fireworks all the time, but we did do fireworks one night in our driveway with some old firecrackers and bottle rockets.  There were people shooting off fireworks all around us.  Some people don’t like this time of year because of all the fireworks, but I love it.  We have had a lot of fireworks in our marriage.  Some good.  Some bad.  As we looked back on our life together, we both feel it’s been a pretty good life.  When I said, “I do,”  I meant it and still do.

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We did get to Streamcliff Farm again and had lunch with our older son and his friend.  I managed not to buy any flowers this time, but I was tempted.  I don’t know what they feed their plants, but all the flowers are huge.

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We couldn’t get over how big these begonias were.

After lunch, we went back to the daylily farm, it wasn’t raining, and yes, I bought some daylilies.

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It’s called New Creation Day Lilies and do they ever have a lot of daylilies.  You picked the ones you wanted and they dug them for you right then.

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The first day we went there, it was raining, as I said. This lady was out in a garden picking off the dead blooms.  She had a bucket full.

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This handsome fellow strutted around crowing and keeping his hens in a row.

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There were several roosters and they were all crowing up a storm.  I love hearing roosters crow.  When we went to the Virgin Islands, chickens roamed all over and you could hear the roosters crowing.  It was such a pleasant sound to me.  It sounds like country.

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The day lilies were gorgeous.

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I brought one of these home with me.  Along with four others.

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We drove through storms during our drives.

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We laugh because we have driven through so many storms in our lives and made it out alive to tell about it.

What’s life without a few storms along the way?

It wasn’t all play however.  Our rhubarb just keeps on growing and we keep on picking it.  I have made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam.

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The first batch was eaten up almost instantly.  We had company and there was a teen-age boy who really, really liked this.  We went through a couple of jars at that meal.

We have been trying to trap a groundhog that has made its home under our front porch.  This is what we have caught thus far.

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Several bunnies that we let loose back into the yard.

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And this.

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He/she was not a happy camper.  Don’t know whether it’s a male or female and I’m not going to check.

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His/her day was not going as planned. David took it over to the woods across the street from us. Hope it doesn’t find its way back.

Still haven’t caught a groundhog though.

But we do have a lot of these and this one is becoming a sort of pet.  Coming to eat under our bird feeders every evening.

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Peter Rabbit and Farmer MacGregor is no where to be seen.   You’re safe with us, Peter.

Remember when I went to see Susan Branch at a book signing in Cincinnati?  Her husband was handing out seeds from their wisteria vine that grows at their house.  I planted the seeds and now I have two of these.

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I am hoping they will grow and produce flowers one day.

Okay, I can’t get away without writing about socks.  My fingers have been flying and socks have been coming off the needles in record speeds!

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All different sizes. That little sock.  That’s my daughter’s size. She has very tiny feet.  In fact, her next pair I have to make a little bit smaller.  She wears children’s socks.  She certainly doesn’t take after me in that respect.

I peruse yarn webpages like I use to fabric pages. My quilting has been laid by the wayside for a time.   I cannot stop knitting socks.

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I keep buying yarn.

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I really, really like these yarns I got the other day.  All variegated and different shades of color.

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I have knit one sock from this and I absolutely love it.

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I’ve got me a lot of sock loving happening in my future.    Yippee!  I never thought I would ever get the hang of knitting socks, but now that I have, it’s really very simple.  Of course, anything is once you know how to do it!

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Speaking of gardens.  My garden is not doing too shabby.  These are some daylilies I have had for years and divided and planted all over the yard.   I got the first ones at a grocery store.

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I love my Summer garden.   Every year it surprises me.  When Winter gets here, I will think I will never see this again and then, it happens like a miracle every single year.

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I wish my mother could see my garden.  She loved her garden too.  Perhaps she can see it, but then, she’s in the most beautiful garden imaginable as I type.

I will leave you with a picture of what I call the “Screaming Tree.”  When the doctor’s house next door to us was torn down, they also took out deadwood out of an old tree and just left its carcass.

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Every time we pass it I think it looks like it’s screaming.  As if it cannot believe they tore down that beautiful, old house.

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What do you think?  Bye.