Thursday, December 1, 2016

Wasn't it just December 1st, 2015?  Someone please, stop the clock!!

December is usually a tough month for me; depression has a tendency to hit harder, and there are so many more things that need to be done.  I'm trying to look at 'brighter' things, and I'm looking forward to my aunt visiting in January for R2C.  

Does your area get snow at this time of year?  In the 44 years I've lived in this part of the country, we've had snow once.  I forget the date, but it wasn't for Christmas.  Still, it was a real treat to be able to watch the flakes fall, see it stick, and even play in the small amount we had.  Nick was much younger and I had him make a miniature snowman, so he could at least experience once during his childhood.  I think it was all of about 6" high.  We only had about an inch or two, but what a treat.

˛°_██_*˚°。°/ \*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★*˚°。°*。°*★
˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/♫.♫\*˛.*˛_Π_____*˚°。*。°**˚°。°*。°*★
.°( . • . ) ˛°./• '♫ ' •\.˛*./______/~\*˚°。°*。°*°* ˚°*★
*(...'•'.. ) *˛╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田|門|╬╬╬╬╬*˚°。°*。°* 

The above set of characters may not translate perfectly, but it's a cute scene of a house, snowman, tree, picket fence and falling snow mixed with hearts, stars and musical notes.  Whomever created it (I cut & pasted) was pretty smart.  Enjoy. 

Monday, November 28, 2016


Do you dislike going to the dentist as much as I?  

Many years ago I had a wonderful dentist, but in the late 1990s he had back surgery and found it too painful to continue working so sold his practice.  I'd gone to him for probably 15 years or more.  I didn't care for the new dentist-owner, and wanted to find one closer to home so switched to one nearby that a friend referred me to.

She was alright but after a couple years I needed a root canal and she was a bit aggressive and managed to break the tip of one of the tools deep into the canal...after extensive efforts by her and another specialist she referred me to, neither were able to extract the tip of the tool so it is entombed in my tooth's canal forever.  This ordeal was very off-putting and little or no discounts/compensation were ever given for having to endure the consequences, pain, and time involved in the process.  I know things can happen, but this was very traumatic.

I think I went back to her just once after that and was just not feeling the love, so decided to change dentists.  I was referred by an old acquaintance (reconnected on Facebook) who would travel over an hour to get to her dentist in my area because she felt he was the best.  Ironically, his office is in the same building, diagonally one door away from the lady dentist.  I have been very happy with him.  He is patient, uses far more of the latest & greatest tools, etc.  He explains exactly what he's doing all during the process.  And he plays 1960s music over the speaker system.  I'm just afraid he'll retire and I'll have to find yet another dentist.  He's just a couple years younger than I am.

Today's visit was my bi-annual cleaning, x-rays and general check-up.  I had been in a couple months ago for a replacement filling that went very well.  This time, it seems that a very old crown should be replaced.  Not that the crown itself is failing, but given its age (it was put on by that first dentist back in the late 1970s or early 1980s and had popped off once since then needing to be reseated) there's a gap at the edge of the crown where it covers the remaining part of the tooth at the gum, and he thinks it would be best to replace it with one that sits much lower to the gum, so that will be done on Wednesday morning.  

What's bothering me at this point is less about replacing the crown - I know they don't last forever but why are they so blasted expensive??   I have insurance that covers just over half but the half out of my pocket is almost as much as what we pay for a year's worth of property insurance.  And property insurance is due in a couple weeks...and Christmas is's the costliest time of year.  

As I was driving home, I was thinking how nice it would be to just be able to go to the dentist and have my two cleanings per year and be told "all is well, see you in six months".  Maybe I'm just at the age where dentists, doctors and insurance companies get more of my money than anyone else :/

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day - A Tribute to My Grandfather

Veterans Day marks the anniversary of the end of the first World War, but celebrates and honors all U.S. Soldiers' service.  Originally known as Armistice Day, in 1954 it was renamed as Veterans Day and is a federal holiday with no mail services and government and banks closed. 

My grandfather was in France before the end of the Great War, a name it was also known by.  He was the eldest son of Norwegian immigrants who were living in Wisconsin.  His younger brother remained on the farm to help their father.  He also had two sisters.  During the war, while serving as a machine gunner with the American Expeditionary Forces in France at St. Aignan and the Argonne Forest, he became one of many victims of mustard gas and was hospitalized for some time prior to his return home.  
Dressed in gas-mask and military garb.
I don't know where, nor when the above photo was taken.  It may have been taken while still in the States, or it may have been taken where stationed in France, but it is my grandfather during WWI.

904 Casual Co formed at St.Aignan, France - Camp Hill, VA Feb 23, 1919_closeup
The 904th photo was taken just after his return from France.  This is a cropped portion of the original photo.  My grandfather is the very short man in the back.  The other men are unidentified.  

I'm guessing the portrait photo was taken sometime after the war, but before he married in 1927.  I think I inherited his ears, and his cheeks...high-boned, and hollow - very evident when I was young and thin though not so much now. 
Grandpa and his catch.
This is how I remember Grandpa.  He and Grandma lived in a small, but quaint little cottage on the Oregon coast from the time I was young until his passing.  He loved to fish for salmon, and loved to eat it too!  He enjoyed his lapidary hobby and made, and gifted, a lot of jewelry items from agates and stones he found on the beach as well as those purchased raw which he tumbled or polished himself.  I have some of his jewelry and a bolo tie or two.

I remember he loved ice cream too, and gladiolas.  He loved my Grandmother, his sons, his grandchildren, and family and friends in general.  He loved the Lord too...even if he could be a bit legalistic at times-he did NOT like playing cards!  He was loving and affectionate.  He was kind and gentle, yet firm.  I know of no one who ever had a bad word to say about him.  

He had only an 8th-grade education yet worked in the county assessor's office.   Degrees weren't necessary back then.  He had beautiful penmanship.  He started me on my genealogical journey when I was but yet a teenager.  I inherited his genealogy work, but it took a couple decades before having time and resources to further the work on it. 

His life was, in my opinion, far too short.  I was only 17 when he passed on Christmas Eve.  I had seen him just a few weeks before that but I wasn't feeling well (in my young troubled life I had chosen to partake in things I should not have the night before) , so it wasn't the best of visits.  It haunted me for a long, long time.  I would dream, close to nightmares, at night that he was out under the oak trees near our house.  It's been 46 years and I still regret the choice I made back then.  But, I know I will see my grandparents again one day, and that brings me comfort.  Grandpa, I miss you!! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Off A Roll

Had to say that...OFF a roll, as in I'm no longer 'on a roll'.  I had managed to get a number of posts up on consecutive days on Webs of Thread, but the last few days have been off-kilter.  Do you have days like that?  

I have been tired, as all get out.  And grumpy, but maintaining control of my mouth!  And just not feeling very 'connected'.  I'm not sick.  In fact, I've recently been to the doctor for a complete physical with the usual blood work tests, a carotid ultrasound, even an MRI for the vertigo.  All is normal, or close enough to it that there are no concerns.  Yesterday was so bad that I took two naps and could easily have spent the entire afternoon and evening in bed.

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday...and I didn't get her card in the mail until yesterday.  I couldn't call her because her phone bit the dust, and she doesn't have a land line.  I did send her a message on Facebook chat.
This little cutie entered this world in the wee hours of the morning on election day in 1981.  She was eager to get here, arriving five weeks early.  Thankfully, she was perfectly healthy aside from a wee bit of jaundice.  Her dad and I had to take her to the local hospital everyday for nearly a week to have a blood sample taken from her heel.  She was born at 5-lbs and was at 4-lb. 8-oz when we took her home.  Her length was only 17".  She didn't take long to catch up in all things and was walking before a year, and talking very well even earlier than many her age.  She's now half-way to 70 ;p  and she lives too far away (along with her husband and my two grandbabies).  I miss her, and them.

This week was also the Costco run (a monthly task) and a trip to WalMart and I visited with my friends Panda and Renee.  Renee is doing better from her health scare over a month ago.  

I'm looking forward to this election year being over.  I'm not happy with either candidate, and I'm not happy with how politicians in general have nothing to offer aside from scathing attacks on their opponents.  It's really shameful...and they have no shame.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

September is Gone, and October is Well on its Way

Does that sound like a familiar theme?  My blogging lately has been very much on the back burner.  As has my quilting which is why there have been no posts on Webs of Threads either.  Just what have I been doing? 

Genealogy.  Have I mentioned that back around the early part of the year I purchased the Legacy 8 Deluxe genealogy software, and am re-entering everything manually as opposed to creating a Gedcom file and transferring the records?   There were reasons for my madness, but it would take too long to explain, but trust me, re-doing manually is far better.  It also gives me fresh eyes to review the content, and do further research in areas that need it, and there are many so it's going slowly.  I can also verify and annotate my sources better.

One side of my family hails from Norway; from a little fishing village known as Helgeroa.  Way back in the mid- to later 1800s, a few of them, independent of each other, left Norway.  Some came here to the States, and others went to Australia.  My grandfather wrote out a genealogy with short biographies of some of the older known ancestors, based on what he remembered his parents telling him, some very old photos he had, and by communication with descendant relatives in Norway and Australia of those earlier emigrants from Norway.  The difficulty is that Grandpa didn't have the very specific connections of just who was connected to whom - in other words, who the common ancestor was that we're all connected to, nor do the contacts I have in Norway and Australia.  

I feel strongly that I have the connecting family, but no solid sources to validate it.  In the early 1800s, there was a man named Ola Anderson Bua and his wife Maria Elizabeth or Anne Marie (not sure which is accurate if either).  They had children, obviously.  It would seem at least three sisters and a brother if I'm correct.  

My inherited records include photos of persons identified by name and as "cousin of Ole" or "... of C.N." No link to parent, so it wasn't known if they were cousins from their mothers' or fathers' sides.  In a search at Ancestry, I located a researcher who has the exact picture of one individual...aha, at last, a little bit more of a connection through that researcher's wife's mother who was the niece of one of the pictured 'cousin'.  I'm still not seeing "same names" in their tree though but the connection is there in the Ancestry DNA records - so we are related.

Norway used the patronymic naming system up until about 1923 when they were forced by law to choose a single family name, at which time they had the options of choosing a farm name instead.  This all complicates research, which I can only do via the English!  There are a few good sites with info, but compared to what I can access here in the states for state-side residents, it's minimal.  Many names also had variant spellings depending on who wrote them down.   In this one family the surnames went from Nilssen in Norway where he was the son of Nils, to Nilsen, then to Nelson, and his youngest brother opted to go with a farm name of Aske rather than Nilssen or its variants.  It seems far too many males were Ole/Ola, Nils/Nels, Anders/Andreas, Martha/Marthea/Marta, Anne/Anna, Kisten/Kistine/Kirstine.  Let's not forget the names with their special letters, Ærling, Øyvind, Åsmund.  Ahhhh, such fun.  Actually, it is, though often frustrating.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August is Gone

The past couple of weeks have rushed past me again.

Today I'm cleaning my freezer and taking inventory of the freezers and my pantry.  Marty (as well as myself) has gained weight and is pushing to trim down, so knowing what we have again will help me in menu planning.  I've gotten away from keeping up on this since my Mom passed and I was gone so much, but I really need to get back on the ball with it.

As I type, the garage freezer, a small chest type, has been emptied into ice chests, a large pan of hot water has been placed on a dry towel in the bottom, and the ice will be loosening up so that I can clean it.  Thankfully it doesn't build up a lot of ice, but some does develop near the top and that annoys me, so at least once a year (usually June) I try to empty and clean it and re-inventory - obviously I'm behind!  I'm sure I'll find things that need to be pitched.  

After that one is done, I'll move to the refrigerator and it's freezer (a side-by-side).  I know there's a lot in there that will need to be pitched.  Mostly produce that I've ignored, ewww.  It'll go straight to the compost bin.

In the past two weeks, I've been pulled out of my laziness (oh sluggard I can be!) to help a couple dear friends.  One (Panda) had an out-patient procedure and needed a driver and I was more than happy to help.  She treated me to lunch at a yummy little cafe where they served a huge portion of breakfast foods - she'd been talking about their biscuits and gravy all morning, so I had to have them.  They came with hashbrowns, three eggs, and two strips of bacon...I brought half home and enjoyed it the next day.

A couple of days later, I received a text from my quilting Padawan (student).  At 42, she was in the hospital having had a minor heart attack known as SCAD (you can click the acronym to find out about it).  She spent the better part of a week in the hospital before going home, then thought maybe there was further problem and a couple days later spent another night in the ER though that appeared to be more related to anxiety.  It's a very scary thing at such a young age (any age really) to experience this, and she has three young children.  She is now getting lots of rest and people are signed up to bring meals for the next couple weeks as well as coming over to help her through the days helping with housework and her homeschooling.  I will be going over next week for a couple days of 10-2 time blocks, so that has spurred me to get some of my own chores taken care of first.  Please keep my friend in prayer.  She is known as Renee here on my blog.  I love this young woman as if she were a daughter, and she is a sister in Christ as well and has a strong faith, but even in strength of faith and knowing Who is in control of all things, fear of the unknown (future health-related issues) can weigh us down.

Nick is rapidly approaching his 18th birthday.  Now that he has a part-time job and has received his first paycheck, along with tips, he has been pestering me to get to the bank so he can open a checking account.  After having to put off for over a week for various reasons, we accomplished the task yesterday.  He has had a savings account (of the CUGMA type) since he was very young.  I only learned yesterday that because it was that type, he could not access it even though it was in his name - I was the only one who could.  So we switched it to a joint savings account and opened a joint checking for him.  This gives him a debit card too - which I find frightening, I'm so old-school.  His checking account is online only, so no physical checks at this time.  He has no bills to pay, so it makes sense to not pay for check-printing.  I haven't used an ATM since before Nick was born, so we were both given a lesson on how to use it.  It's not that hard.  I did learn that you can deposit cash through the ATM. Nick had more than 21 $1 bills in his wallet (from the tips) so wanted to get rid of them.  Cool beans! and who knew? Not this old gal, lol.

Back to the freezer.  I'll be glad when our temps drop.  It was 107 on Tuesday and 101 still yesterday.  I'm so very much looking forward to winter.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Scanning Along

Over the weekend, I received a chat message from my brother Eugene.  He lives along the Texas gulf area.  He let me know my brother Dean's lung cancer had returned and he would not be seeking further treatment.  I don't know the current status after his doctor appointment on Tuesday where he planned to ask 'how long?'.

Sadly, our family is one that has always had a lot of issues and strife.  Dean "disowned" me after my Mom passed away due to a misunderstanding of a request I made on behalf of my Dad, and no attempts to rectify it have worked.  I pray for him and leave it at that.

Eugene asked about the photos that had been separated by sibling and when he was going to get "his" and also asked about Dean's.  I told him I had taken Dean's to my aunt last April and she gave them to him, but he was not happy with what he got.  I guess he had expectations of more, but at this time, the siblings are only getting the childhood photos in which they alone are in, and any photos of their offspring.  Before sending those, I am scanning them.  In fact, I scanned most of them after my trip north a year ago.  My plan was to send them their own pictures in addition to a thumb drive containing all the family photos - including any I've acquired from other family members over the years.

When I scanned them, I did so at 200 dpi.  As I prepared to package up Eugene's photos, I realized that maybe 200 dpi was not adequate, so I set to re-scanning all of his photos at 600 dpi, which is better should any larger reprints be made from the scans.  Now, to get them packaged up and sent to him.

Going forward, the question will be whether to re-scan ALL the family photos.  This small segment took me the better part of three days.  It could take weeks to re-do the entire family set, and I no longer have the originals of Dean to re-scan.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Shades of Summer

Today, I thought I'd share just a few shots of our summer.  I haven't carried my camera with me much, only my cell phone, so most pix are from that, and unedited.  "Summer" was short this year from a school standpoint; barely over two months.  Nick started back on the 11th, and today he started his very first, paying job.  He's a bus boy/cleaner at a local franchise of a nationally (?) known restaurant. 
Smoke & fire.
Shortly before leaving to head north, we had a fire not so far away.  Smoke could be seen from our back yard. There was another very bad fire a bit further away while we were gone. 
Lake near Shasta
From a bridge while Nick was driving; this being up in the Mt. Shasta area.  For late July/early August, despite being "in a drought", the lake level is much higher than in recent years.  My personal thoughts, but no proof to back it up, are that the pictures frequently shown via social media of this area with barely any water in it are somewhat staged.  The lake is, I believe, a man-made lake having been created by use of a dam.  There has been a major interstate bridge being built at this location for the last several years.  To work on / create the footings and base structure, water needs to be low or non-existent.  To me, that's a convenient opportunity for certain special interest groups to make their points on water shortages, global warming, what-have-you.  I'm leaning on the side that a great amount of water was drained from this lake to accommodate the construction of the new bridge and now that it's almost finished, and with a good snowfall this past winter, the water level is back to "normal".  It's even higher than levels of decades ago when I've traveled through here at this time of year.
Bright tanker trucks
This has fascinated me for the past several years with my trips to Oregon.  I love these shiny, brightly colored tanker trucks.  I've wanted to get a photo of them since I first saw them but there's no convenient place to pull over to get a shot.  On this day, Nick was driving and traffic for some reason was very slow.  This is around the Black Butte area of Shasta, just north I think. Please excuse the intrusive antenna running right through the middle of the pic - I was just happy to be able to get the picture!
  Nick in the aircraft.
We were in Tillamook one day, my aunt, Nick and I.  This is the inside of this 'guppy' Erickson crane aircraft that's sitting there at the Air Museum.  The building that currently houses the museum (which will be moved to Madras, OR within the next year) was built during WWII as a blimp hangar.  There were two such buildings, but one burned in 1992.
The exterior of that aircraft - 'guppy' face, lol.

The Tillamook Cheese Factory
When I was growing up, a field trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory took place during my elementary years.  I'm not sure why I wasn't on that trip, but I wasn't and I was always curious about it.  In the past couple years, I've been there just for the ice cream, but this year with Nick along, I wanted to see what was there.  They now have a self-guided tour with huge windows that look down on the factory processes and kiosks that have photos and explanations.  This image shows giganto blocks of cheese rumbling in along a conveyor belt to where the woman is (just left of center).  She is manning a station where the cheese, as it moves left, passes through cutting "wires" and after that, she then pushes the block away from her which causes the block to go through another set of wires thus creating rectangular blocks of cheese, I'm guessing 2 - 4 pound blocks after cutting and she places those separately onto the curving conveyor belt that goes to the next step.  The trimmings go into the bin on the cart to her left, which when full is placed onto the conveyor shown towards the bottom of the image.  I didn't read the kiosk info so I don't know what happens to those trimmings.  Maybe pet food or dried and shredded/ground to powder?  Another window area looked down upon the smaller blocks going into the plastic wrappers.  This particular cheese wasn't being encased in the more well-known orange Tillamook Cheese wrapper though.
My graduating class of 1971 had it's 45-year picnic reunion.  My sister is on the right in the hot pink, and the gent on the left in black, was my high school sweetheart.  His hair is longer than mine!  The lady barely visible behind him in white, is the home-town gal who keeps us all together and has for the last 45 years.  We have a picnic gathering on every 5-year anniversary, and a bigger event held over three days on our 10-year level anniversaries.  I've missed a few over the years.  One of the classmates and her husband, own the property the picnic is held on and it is a wonderful, park-like setting next to a creek with some well-planned features - it's their own private 'park' they've created and I'm thankful they welcome the whole class (or those who actually attend) for the reunions.  Being a small town, our graduating class only had around 70 students.  We've lost eight or nine of the guys already and that of course, is very sad.  Others, though they live within just 20 miles, have never shown up for a reunion.  That too is very sad.  We had a wonderful time.  One of the classmates, and the old boyfriend - his best friend, even during school years, would run Dory fishing boats out of Pacific City as commercial fishermen.  They had gone out on the two days prior to the reunion and caught crab and other fish, bringing both as their food contribution.  The crab was cooked and cleaned.  Towards the end of the day, he told us he didn't want to take any of it home with him, and had brought gallon-size zip-top bags for anyone to take home any amount of crab they wished.  My sister and I filled three bags, still leaving a LOT (we nearly the last to leave), to take back to my aunt's where we stayed.  My aunt, and Nick, were in 7th Heaven that night enjoying the crab.  In fact, we enjoyed it for several more days!
My dad.
 Nick and I visited my dad.  He'd had his back surgery in May.  I didn't think he looked as well this time as he had in April.  He's very unhappy.  As I knew beforehand and tried to tell him, his plans in moving to this location didn't go as he thought they would.  He is wanting to move back to the town where he and my Mom lived, but now has no place to go, and probably can't afford to move back if he could even find a rental apartment.  He should not live alone regardless of his thoughts that he can care for himself (he can't).  Medically, he's a non-compliant patient, so his back is not healing as well as it should...and he's 83.
Nick the mad painter.
OK, well Nick wasn't mad, but he does look a bit devious in this image.  When my uncle had deteriorated to the point he could no longer maneuver the stairs, my aunt had their bedroom moved down to the guest room.  Now that he's gone, she wants to be back upstairs, but wanted to clean, paint, and refloor beforehand.  The younger set were given the task (with some $$ incentives) to repaint.  They had a blast.  My aunt supervised, and I peaked in now and then.  The blue is now a very soft yellow.
Even Bo got in on the act.  He had his own "brush".  Well, sort of, he likes to wag his tail - even against the freshly painted wall.  This black lab was trying to bring out his golden retriever genes.  He weighs 125 pounds.  His full sister is golden retriever in appearance and only weighs about 75 pounds.  They get to play together frequently as she lives right next door with my cousin and family, and the respective fenced back yards have a connecting gate.  
My cousin's son has been in 4-H for several years.  He had a pretty mellow sheep this year.  Stewy was a market lamb destined for 'the table'.  This was at the Yamhill County Fair.  In this class, he placed last because he hadn't cleaned the shavings off his sheep's belly and legs.  It was a showmanship class.  He was in another class in which he received a blue ribbon.  While there, I wandered over to the horse barns and took in the familiar (and missed) smells of horses, leather and manure.  I got to pet many a soft equine muzzle and became quite melancholy.  I had horses in my childhood, and showed at this very fair while in 4-H.  When you go to the fair to view the animal shows, one goes early and only pays parking and leaves when the show is over.  The second day of showing, I chose to drive separately as I wanted to take in some of the horse shows and my aunt planned to leave right after the sheep show.  I sat in the bleachers of the arena and reminisced with great joy of my own years there.  Before that though, as we walked up to the sheep arena, there was a lady holding a beautiful saddled Arabian.  I walked up and conversed with her.  She allowed me to get more of my 'horse fix' by petting him and even hugging his neck.  Nothing like the feel and smell of a horse.  No, I didn't ask to ride - though it was tempting.  It's been 10 years or more since I've been on the back of a horse.

Is that an eruption?
We had a traffic construction stop at a good place for a shot of Mt. Shasta.  The clouds make it look like she's erupting.
Nick showing off his work cap.
Nick needs a hair cut.  That poufy hair looks cute under that cap.
Dressed for work.
About 40 minutes before he had to start work.  His 'uniform' as required.  Just one more step of realizing that my baby will eventually be out and on his own.  Makes me sad.  In the meantime, he has another year of school, and maybe he'll even stay here with us as he looks into his college years.  He wants to take a year off.  I'm recommending he doesn't for a number of reasons.  Even if he continues with only one or two classes a semester, it'll be easier than taking that year off entirely, for him to return when he decides his career direction. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Oh, Honey!

It's probably time I start looking for recipes to use up my honey supply.  My last purchase of honey was from Costco, and given the events of the last two and a half years, that purchase was most likely made before February 2014!  Honey never spoils.  But it does darken...and crystallize. Being one who hates wasting anything still good, I set about to return it to liquid honey.

Crystallized jug of honey.
Once it crystallizes, it is impossible to get out of that plastic jug with the very narrow spout.  I wasn't comfortable putting the jug directly into a pan over a flame, so used the steamer pan.
Dirty steamer pan with hard-water evaporation line.
The steamer pan didn't provide much depth, but I'd hoped it would still work.  It didn't help much.
Partially liquefied.
You may be able to see in the above photo, there's a lower level that appears to have liquefied while the upper portion is still very much crystallized.  I tried to stick a long-bladed sharp knife in through the spout but that proved fruitless.  All I could get out was that little bit in the jar.
Ready to cut.
 The solution!  Said sharp knife is very good at slicing through that plastic.
The top of the jug and the knife!
Crystallized honey.
The honey was very crystallized.  I dug out large spoon and scooped it into a pan.

I set the pan of crystallized honey on the diffuser over a low flame, keeping it uncovered as I didn't want any water from steam to drip into it.  I discovered burner flame doesn't show up in photos.  Weird, huh?
After quite awhile, and stirring to make sure all the crystals had dissolved, and letting it cool off, I took some pint jars and their lids, sterilized them and poured the now liquid honey into them.  Now, even if the honey should crystallize again, which it likely will, it will be easy to get out of the jars to be used.  I would also feel more comfortable setting a glass jar directly into a pan of water than the plastic jug, or it can go into the microwave to liquefy.

Does anyone else find it odd that liquid is spelled with two i's, but liquefy, changes the second into an e ?  The English language!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

Hah! No, I'm not really wandering anywhere outside of my own house, at least not yet.

Having spent several weeks in the wet land up north back in April, I haven't been looking forward to going back up as much as I normally would.  It's more the aspect of the drive, and the time away from home, than being around family up there.  I'd love to be around them more.  

There are a lot of timing issues that came up that needed to be worked around.  Some of the items that came up, yes, I could pass off and let Marty handle, but I've already missed a lot of those things in the past couple years.  They have to do with Nick's school year and now Senior pictures, and picking up his registration packet and getting registered for this year.  This is the last time I'll be helping much with any part of his high school education - throughout the year that is - and I'm tired of missing it.  

In light of that, my trip north will be for only two weeks, which also means once again, I'll miss seeing some of the folks up there that I haven't seen much of during the last couple years events.  Back in April, I decided not to go to quilt camp this year; maybe I'll resume next year, or maybe I'll go up and be part of the one they have in spring, though it's shorter than the one that takes place during the same time as the Sisters Quilt Show.  

Nick will travel north with me this time - the first time since summer of 2013.  He hasn't found a summer job and doesn't appear to be giving that a 100% effort.  He can help me drive, which already is making me feel better about that long drive.  This may be his last opportunity for a very long time to see his relatives he used to see every summer.

We're planning to leave around 7/21 and be back home about 8/5.  He starts school on 8/11, which is even earlier than last year.  It seems the summers get shorter and shorter for the kids - perhaps not a bad thing given local child labor laws/regulations and the difficulty even at 17 of finding a summer job.  

In other in-home wanderings, it's the endless household chores (I'm still a slacker).  The last couple days have required dealing with ants.  Nick cleaned out and rearranged his bedroom, leaving me to figure out what to do with all the stuff he no longer wants and which is still right in the areas of the house where he left them.  I'm more "emotionally" attached to his stuff than he is (good for him/bad for me).  I've still been working on genealogy, but for two or three days have been side-tracked with sorting through pictures attempting to cull out what I don't want - I've saved them ALL including duplicates over the decades, from a lot of singles activities at church, vacations and other outings.  I'd like to pass some of them on to some of the folks in the photos, but I've no idea where they live any more having lost touch over the years.  Many aren't on social media.  

That's the news from here.  Not much exciting, but that's my normal....and it's ok :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Heat Wave

Our area is expecting an unusually hot heat wave over the next few days.  By Monday, our temps are expected to reach 109º F.  After that, the 10-day forecast is nothing less than 95º for any given day.  I'm guessing it won't be much cooler now until October or November.  I hope I'm wrong.

Marty left this morning by car, headed to Arizona.  He'll spend tonight at his 90-year old dad's (he'd been evacuated for a day due to a wild fire in his area), then Sunday afternoon he'll head to Phoenix for a 3-day business trip and drive home on Thursday.  The highs in Phoenix for the next 5-10 days are all in the 110s+.  How do people live in Phoenix?  Certainly not without air-conditioning.  

I'm thinking I might look for a retirement home on the coast of Oregon!  I stand the heat less and less as I add on the years, and weight.  I was recently reading some old letters written by my grandmother.  She lived on the Oregon coast because she couldn't tolerate the heat.  I was chuckling as I read what she wrote, more than once, that it was too warm that day....and it had reached only 74º.  I don't think I'm that bad yet, but I'm getting there.

If you're in a hot zone, stay safe, cool and hydrated!  If you're in a cool zone wishing for heat...head to the southwest - we have plenty to spare!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


15 June: Marty and I are marking 20 years of marriage.  20 years!!! Those years have flown by SO very fast.  

I'm very bad at figuring out gifts, and we've not done much more than go out to dinner to celebrate in past years.  

I was thinking I could come up with something 'small' that I could get 20 of that Marty would like, but for the life of me, aside from flowers, or candy bars, my ideas have hit a brick wall.  I went out today and at least got a card.  He never mentions things he needs, or likes, and his only hobby is photography - now digital, so no getting canisters of film.  He has a plethora of lens filters - replacing as he damages them.  So, I guess it'll once again be 'just a card'.  He's not at all sentimental, so the card will end up in the trash in a short time.

After walking through Party City - thought maybe 20 balloons but nixed that idea - I discovered, that "20" must not be that big of a deal in the world of anniversaries.  A fair amount of stuff for 25, and all the decade levels beyond that, but nada for 20.

On our 13th, we went to a mountain resort town about four hours away for an overnight trip.  That's the last, and only, time we celebrated away from home.  Our anniversary hits mid-week and Marty's working and he's leaving Saturday and will visit his dad in Arizona in advance of a work-related trip to Phoenix Monday through Wednesday.  
Lee, Marty and my daughter Victoria

Friday, June 10, 2016

Work, Work, Work

The work of keeping a home never ends.  In my book, that's not a good thing.  I've often thought that I should have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth in order to have plenty of hired help - especially for housekeeping and yard work.  I could probably bring in a housekeeping agency once or twice a month, but I'd have to clean before letting them in, {grin}.
A couple days ago, Nick and I were talking while we were in the car, and I almost started a lecture on him and his dad and their lack of consideration in helping out and actually adding to my work load by that inconsideration.  He's out of school for the summer, and has yet to find a summer job (I'm not holding my breath).  I was telling him how it would really help me, both physically and emotionally/mentally, if they'd just be more attentive to things, like when they spill something...clean it up, or even if they think a chore is my job, they can help, clean the litter box, pick up a broom and sweep the floor, grab the vacuum cleaner, empty the dishwasher.  Small things add up!  I've covered the laundry issue here before, so won't belabor it again, but I told him it would be nice if they'd get their dirty laundry to the washer on a daily basis.  

After this conversation, I picked up a good-sized white board, at Nick's suggestion, wrote a list of things on it that could be done daily, or any time.  No comments, no action :/

Here's what HAS happened though.  Nick decided to start making more space in his room.  He says, "I don't want it to be so cluttered.".  His room is bigger than my Creation Station.  He has a double bed, his corner desk for his computers/monitors which doesn't sit in the corner because he built a huge 'box' to house his tower which is liquid-cooled but very noisy, so this was his creative attempt to cut the noise and include additional fans to cool it all contained within a sound-proofing wooden 'box'.  He has a dresser and an old oak student desk, along with a side table/dresser that resides in his closet, plus a myriad of 'just stuff'.
He started emptying part of the closet.  His plan is to move the side table/dresser out and put his bigger dresser in.  It'll fit, but he has to clear the space.  I told him that anything he absolutely, positively did not want now or think he'd want in the future, to set out into the hallway and I'd determine what to do with it.  Last week, he packed up his bowling trophies and stored them up in the garage 'attic' space.
These are a few items that had been floating around in his room.  He hadn't even unwrapped that pyramid puzzle from the plastic.  He had another box with three of those wooden puzzles he'd never opened either.  Maybe I'll re-gift them to my almost 6-year old grandson.
 Oh my, will you look at the dust in that bin that he kept his Hot Wheels track in!  He had has a bunch of the H.W. special sets which at one time, I cleaned up and put away in their respective boxes making sure all the parts were still there, then sealed them up.  He still has those in his closet.  I think he should keep the extra track with them if he plans to keep them.
And then there was laundry, and pillows...uh, THOSE pillows are going in the trash!  Time to replace them anyway.
And more laundry!  He hasn't finished in his room, more will likely come out for me to decide where it goes.  Dust is easily an inch thick, especially in the closet.  Before he can finish, I need to re-clear the space in the guest room for the oak desk, so guess where I'll be for the next however long...yep, the guest room.

Another part of our conversation, back in the car, was how I noticed something about myself and my own not-so-great cleaning habits (or lack thereof).  When I was an employee, I had someone for the most part telling me what to do - though some was self-starter stuff - and I had deadlines.  I knew what had to be done, and by when.  I was disciplined.  I had a start time and an end time.  I got a paycheck and annual reviews, read that as 'accolades for a job well-done' meriting a wage increase.  At home, neither of my guys have any expectations other than dinner and clean clothes.  There are occasional thank yous but they're few and far between, and over the years my cleaning habits have declined.  In our early years, at one point when I was apologizing to Marty about not keeping up with some of the housework (I was still working at the time, and before Nick came along), his comment to me was "you keep it cleaner than I would"...ok well then.  You know how that encouraged my self-discipline, hah!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Time Keeps Moving Along

It's been well over a month again since my last update.  What have I been doing in all that time?  Well, nothing exciting, that's for sure, and that's why there have been no posts!  And there's still been nothing of importance to really write about, but I thought I'd at least check in so you'd know I didn't kick the bucket or something!

I did get out to dinner with a couple of lady friends last night.  That was a pleasant couple of hours with pleasant company and good food.  I had had breakfast with one of them a month or so ago, but the other I hadn't seen since March so it was nice to catch up again.

Hubs and I will be "celebrating" our 20th anniversary next week.  Neither of us has mentioned it, so expect it'll come and go like every one of the last 19...just another day. 

Nick finished his junior year of high school, so we now have an official high school senior in the house.  He says he's looking for a summer job...we'll see how that goes.  He stays up late and then sleeps until noon.  

A mama hummingbird (the 2nd one) hatched babies a few days ago.  Sadly, today I noticed she wasn't gathering bugs in the air in the back yard like usual and hadn't come back to the nest, though she was at the feeder once.  I also noticed an ant trail on the branch to the nest - it's right outside my kitchen window!  I took a stool out and pulled the branch down a bit - it sits about 6' high - and no babies anymore - so something happened since late yesterday.  The first mama to build and use this nest was very skittish & I'd had to put a curtain over the window so she wouldn't fly away every time she saw activity in the kitchen.  That one's hatchlings seem to have suffered a similar fate while I was away in April.  This was a different mama - different markings - and she wasn't skittish at all.  At times, she would hover right outside the window and watch me. She also never flew off the nest when I went out to refill the feeder even though I'd walk right past the bush the nest is in.  Maybe in the days ahead it'll be "third times a charm" and we'll get chicks that survive to adulthood.

I've worked on my genealogy quite a bit over the last few weeks.  I switched to Legacy8 software from Family Tree Maker, and am going through a huge learning curve - not as easy as when I was younger.  I am getting there though, and in all fairness to myself, this software is so much more powerful which is what is making all the different elements a learning challenge.  An interesting tidbit I uncovered in my research was that the second wife of my paternal uncle, was in the same orphanage as my step-dad was at the same time - they were enumerated on the same page.  My step-dad had a different surname at that time, as did the aunt.  I asked him if he recalled her name, but he didn't, and while I still send Christmas cards to her, she never responds.  Neither she, nor my step-dad were truly orphans, but this was back in 1940 when an orphanage aka children's home was available to parents who for whatever reason were no longer, or temporarily unable, to care for their children.  She was there with two siblings.  I don't know how long they were there, but my step-dad was there for five years until a biological aunt adopted him...yet his bio-parents were both still living.

My dad had his lower back surgery.  Sounds like it went well, but he wasn't happy that they made him stay in the hospital for a couple extra days because he's so non-compliant.  Additionally, he spent a week or more at rehab/care facility for the same reason and so that he'd be forced-compliant.  He seems to be more inclined to comply now - I don't think he wants to be back in that same position again.  He'll be 83 in August and has never been compliant with much of anything in his life.

There's not been much else of interest lately.  For my quilting world activities - or lack thereof, I'll put a brief post over on Webs of Thread.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Home Again

I was away for just over three weeks.  It's good to be home!  Internet access was limited at my aunt's so I haven't kept up with you all here in blog-land.  In between laundry & house-cleaning over the next couple days, I will start peeking in and seeing what everyone's been up to, and think about/prepare a post or two myself.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Uncle

For the last nine days, I've been here in the Northwest with my family, the family of my beloved aunt who I go to quilt camp with.  Her husband, my uncle, have been married for just under 51 years.  He's ten years older than she.

He came home under hospice care on April 6th, the same day I made the long drive.  His doctors said he likely would not survive a week.  As we know, only God knows the exact day and time.  It's a difficult thing to watch someone go through the dying process.  It's hard to see them suffer, even when you know they're so drugged on morphine and other drugs they likely aren't feeling much.  It's hard watching the closest of his family members as they begin to mourn, knowing that time is limited, knowing that no longer will they hear his voice, or see his smile except where videos or photos reflect them.  They have memories, but they miss the one they love.  It's a difficult thing.

We're facing the end.  We hoped that timing elements might have been different.  The passing will be close to his grandson's 13th birthday.  The same day, his son is taking a very important work-related test that he can't postpone.  The son, my cousin, has been here nearly the entire time, holding his father's hand, often with tears of loss in his eyes at the impending reality.  He and his father have been best friends.  They are very much alike.  

A neighbor who was a hospice nurse many years ago, and who is one of those wonderful neighbors one dreams of having, is here, a calming influence, a knowledge resource, and a compassionate friend, holding his hand also.  My aunt is on his other side holding onto him but assuring him it's okay to 'go on ahead'.  Their two daughters are here working jigsaw puzzles, two granddaughters are busying themselves on their electronic devices, the son is sleeping knowing his father would want him to go ahead with the test when daylight arrives.  And the big, overly-plump half-lab, half-retreiver is sacked out on the floor.

It's "11:55" p.m.  he is gone. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Holding Pattern

I'm in a bit of a holding pattern again, at least for a day or so.  I have a lot to do and I'll be busy, but it looks like I'll be hitting the road again - I just don't know exactly when.

I'll be headed north, but this time not for my dad, though I may visit him.  My uncle, the husband of my beloved aunt, the both of whom I stay with when I go north, has reached the point where his days are few.  He was taken to the hospital Saturday night with breathing difficulty.  My aunt had been saying for days that he was having more trouble breathing and getting up and down, but they had been carrying on as usual after he rallied a bit from using oxygen for awhile.  It was a different story upon going to bed Saturday night, so she took him to the emergency room.  His lungs were filling with fluid and an x-ray revealed a dark area behind his lung(s) - but unsure if it is pneumonia or what.  Up in the air is when he'll be able to go home on hospice care and what exactly that will entail.  The hospital (or insurance) there has a maximum "in hospital hospice care", then they have the patient transported home on hospice and on "comfort care".  They have a meeting with the Dr. today, so they will be better informed as to what's what with him and his care and the expectations.

In the time since I was last in Oregon, my aunt & I chat daily, his memory issues (he has dementia far more advanced than my dad's) have worsened and his overall health declined.  He also has congestive heart failure and another issue that's been treated for a number of years.  He is 83 and has led a long, good life.  He's a good man.  He has a unique, hearty laugh and upbeat spirit, though in recent years that laugh has not been as robust as when he was young and healthy.  His example gave me a love for crossword puzzles.  He has always been loving and welcoming of my visits.  He and my aunt have had 52 years together.  He is 10 years older than she.  They have three great children, my cousins, and six sweet grandchildren.  Some of their kids & grands live right next door, others a mile away and the furthest no more than 20 miles away.  

My cousins have been great with helping their mom & dad, but they need to get back to work, so my aunt has expressed her desire in my coming up to help and appreciation for me to do so.  

Please, if you think of it, pray for my aunt and my cousins as my uncle heads into his final days, and for him.  Also for me as I'll be driving, probably within a couple days.  I'll know more later today, but I have much to do, so I'd best get to it!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Files, Files, Files...a genealogy post

When I last posted, I had shown the file cabinets, and then transitioned to Webs of Thread for the cutting 'table' aspect atop those file cabinets.  I've not done any sewing, but am slowly working on genealogy organization.  

I'm not going to show any pictures, only because they're as boring as the plain written word.  I've alphabetized, in the drawers, all my boxes of genealogy, except for my step-father's.  I haven't yet decided if I want to incorporate his, or keep them separate or just stuffed in a box in a closet.  It might be necessary to get yet another cabinet as I have my husband's lines that aren't filed but at this point those are minimal.  

With the files, I'll be using a 4-color code system for my lines. Blue for my paternal g'father, green for my paternal g'mother, red for my maternal g'father, and yellow for my maternal g'mother.   Today I went to both Michael's, hoping to find some good colored stickers, minimal success, and Staples where I found colored hanging folders, and top-colored labels.  Also some colored hearts (instead of stars) to designate the individuals within those colored files who are my direct lines. 

Michael's had photo boxes on sale at $2 apiece so I picked up five of them.  Photos are included in this organizational effort.  Some photos go with my genealogy records and some are my own personal ones.  I've pretty much decided that I will be disposing of a whole lot of personal photos.  I figure that as mobile as life is today, and with social media, my descendants will have no interest in dozens of photos of locations from my singles days.  They mean something only to me holding my memories of the activities and the people in them.  Pictures with family members are another story, but even many of them need to be culled.  Who needs blurry pictures, or pictures where you can hardly make out who's who?  Digital photos are another animal altogether.  I also shot slides for several years, so will have to deal with those.

I suppose one could say I'm at that age, where I'm ready to rid myself of excess, rather than continually gather, and that which I keep needs to be organized and labeled where applicable so that my descendants will know why I kept it in the first place or how I came to have it.  Eventually, even with that, these things could still end up in a dump, or an antique store, or in a box in an attic or basement until the day the Lord returns to create the new heavens and new earth and then it'll all be gone and no thought ever again given to it.  It's all just "stuff of earth" with no heavenly value.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

File Cabinet Update

Here we go.  I was so excited these came early.  They were scheduled for between Friday and next Wednesday!  The delivery man brought them into the house - should have taken a pic of them still in the boxes, but I was too anxious to find a box-cutter and see how they looked.  But first, since they were a minimum of two days early, I had to clear out and sweep up the space.  

I then opened each box, and carried them, one at a time, up the stairs.  They aren't heavy, about 20 lbs. each.  Once upstairs and in the room, I had to screw the handles on - easy peasy.

Cleaned, empty space
That empty space sure makes it look like there is a lot of room.  Very deceptive.
one cabinet
The front of the cabinet is at the 30" from the wall mark - that's the depth of the table-top.  Notice the empty space behind.  That 12" space will be utterly wasted.  Keep this in mind.
two cabinets
It's beginning to look good.  That 12" floor space loss is still gnawing on me though.
handle and screws
The only assembly required was putting the handles on.  I had to find a Phillips head screwdriver.
three cabinets
Can you envision a work surface yet?  What I have come to realize, is they just might be a smidgen too high.  The cabinets measure 35.5 (more like 35.75) and the table-top will add another inch.  I won't have any back problems, but the top of my shoulder may grouse if I have to do a lot of cutting.  I could get a 1" - 1.5" thick board to stand on when cutting, which would really make it ideal.  I am not complaining.  Slightly too high is better then bending over with the back problems I've already experienced in recent years.
four cabinets
All four in place and handles attached.  There were no dents in any of them, and I also avoided adding any dents :)  Carrying them up the stairs though sure showed me how out of shape I am.  Especially the first two, but then I kind of got used to it.

Now, keeping in mind that 12" space behind the cabinets?  I'm going to recommend you go to my Webs of Threads site, because that actually deals with my quilting.  See you over there.
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