Monday, December 31, 2007

"Christmas With the Kids....."

Don and I drove to Michigan last Friday, picked my sister up in Benton Harbor, and continued on up to Patrick's in Manistee. Of course, it was the worst day to be driving, because of winter weather, which made it a much longer time to get up there........but we made it and had a great time! The drive home was a breeze with clear roads and fast moving traffic. :)

Pictured below from left to right are Don, Sean, myself, Patrick, and Julie, with "grand-dogs" Odie on the left and Morgan behind Julie. All 3 kids are wearing some of their knitted xmas hats on the boys and the cowl on Julie.
Sandy (my sister), who hates having her picture taken, took this shot.

Another family shot , minus Sandy, with Don behind the camera. Sandy was strategically positioned far away from the photo shoot, thus avoiding being photographed. :) Copper made it into this family photo.......

Copper and Odie after a long morning of watching us open presents........Morgan chose the crate where he had more peace and quiet......

Beanie, Julie's dog, had a comfortable spot on a chair for his nap........

After brunch and Sean gone back to Traverse City to go to work, we headed out to Dublin, MI, to do some "after xmas shopping". :) Sandy couldn't avoid this one. :)

More photos of our morning with the kids tomorrow.......

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"A few more pics......."

A few more photos from the Christmas gathering at Lonnie and Charlie's........

Don and "Betty Boop".....oops...I mean Jeanan.

Anna and Krista, a new neighbor from Anna's block (Krista's husband, Jacob, couldn't make the gathering). :)

Totally unrelated subject, but a neighborhood "chore", shows Rob, using our roof rake on the accumulating snow. The roof rake got quite a bit of use a few weeks ago.........

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"A Thank You and Neighborhood Gathering....."

First of all, I would like to thank Don for posting a blog entry with photos of my father, Keith, who passed away last week. He was just shy of 90 years old (February 14, 2008, would have marked 90), but had not been in good health for many years, the last of which, saw him somewhat confined to the house. He was a very quiet man who decided that he did not want any "fuss" after his passing, and chose not to have a funeral or a memorial, and of course, we respected his wishes. He remains a strong influence in my life.................

Also......a sincere 'Thank You!" for the many condolences that I have received.

On a happier note, Lonnie and Charlie hosted a small gathering of neighbors earlier in December. It was a casual and fun filled time, enjoyed by all.

Here is the hostess, Charlie, and myself........

Jeanan and Rob......

Rob again, opening his "White Elephant gift", with host, Lonnie, snickering behind his shoulder.......

Angela and "Mr. Blue Eyes", Andy.........

Mike and Anna.........

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Michael's father

This is Don, writing to let folks know that Michael's father passed away last night, two months short of his 90th birthday. Michael was able to get over to Michigan in time to spend the afternoon and evening with his sister at their father's hospital bedside. He was a kind and gracious man whose calm and steady presence will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Don went shopping downtown by himself on Saturday and took a few photos while walking State Street and surrounding area. He called me later and I met him for coffee at "Starbucks, On the Square".......(he wasn't carrying and large packages either!) :(

This is one of the photos he took while waiting for me to arrive. The Capitol building is beautiful, eh? :)

Inside the Capitol, the decorated Christmas tree stands tall. This photo was with a flash......
And this one was not.......(thus slightly out of focus), but I think it shows the beauty of the colored LED lights best.

Here is a photo of the dome in the Overture center. (Reminder: Click on the photo to enlarge it. You'll be able to see the lights and greens easier.)

Of course, our "routine weekend morning" included a soak in the hot tub....... :) It IS wonderful when it is freezing outside.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"More Snow Since Then....."

We've had a lot of snow so far this year....and it isn't even Winter yet! This is what it looked like in the middle of last week, but we've had more snow since then....maybe 4" or so. We have also had some beautiful sunny days as well.

Don worked on getting some of the snow off of the roof, using the roof rake on Sunday. I had used it earlier in the week but since we'd had more snow, he wanted to remove more in hopes that the potential "ice damning" on the edge of the roof, would melt. He also continued working on snow removal and shoveled the deck, too. How ambitious, eh? :)

This pile of snow is no longer there, nor are 3 of the chairs either. After raking the roof, he shoveled the deck, removing most of the snow and bringing in 2 chairs from the upper deck, and another from the lower deck (Thanks, Lonnie and Charlie for that one!), into the basement, where they will remain until needed in better weather. He left the 2 that we mainly use, in hopes for sitting outside on some warmer day. We'll make sure we remove snow from them all the time now. This is our first winter with the deck and we didn't think about what we wanted or what we needed to do.............we "think" we now know. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

"A Surprise For Those In North Dakota...."

Maniphone beat me to the punch with her sending me the chicken ornaments. I had knitted hats and felted ornaments for Simon and Henry, but hadn't gotten the beads sewn onto the ornaments when I received the package from them! As mentioned earlier, I WAS surprised and then figured I better get going and finish my gifts for them. :) I got them in the mail ASAP! LOL

All of these photos are taken by Maniphone. Thank you Maniphone!

This is one of the felted ornaments.........

Henry and his hat......

Simon in his......

Both boys with them on......

Possibly a "Dance for Snow"?

Simon has been taking art lessons, as you can see by the easel behind the boys. Maybe when he is older, they'll send him to Madison for a week of "art camp" with me? :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"The Tree IS Up!"

Not that this photo shows one of my new little chicken ornaments in its best light, but more to prove that I do have the tree up. :) It is nice sitting in the evening (and morning, too!) with the tree lights on, although I do have to have another lamp on if I want to actually see what I am knitting. :)

I'm almost completed with all of my Christmas presents.......I just have to finish what I am working on now, and that won't take too long.

Yesterday was gorgeous! Although still under freezing, there was some melting of the snow, due to the bright sunshine. Today should be about the same but with some flurries possible for tonight. IS December, so what can we expect? It does seem that we have lasting snow earlier, and more of it as well, than usual for what we've seen the past few years. There doesn't seem to be any doubt that we'll have a white Christmas, which I think is a good thing. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"A Calm Morning....."

We are in a calm weather pattern now......not one snowflake came down since yesterday afternoon!!! YEA! I do not have to shovel this morning!!

The roads were a mess when I went to pick Don up from work yesterday afternoon. Our little residential area hadn't seen a plow yet and so one had to drive in the 2 tracks that had been made by other cars. Once I got out on the main roads it was a little better, but still slow going. Things should be cleaned up this morning since they had all night to work without more coming down.

It will be nice to have a few days off from shoveling.......

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"The Ice Storm Missed us!"

Thankfully, the predicted ice storm (on it's way northeast from Oklahoma), of which we were on the fringe anyway, missed us. We did get about an inch of snow during the night, and it was lightly snowing this morning when I looked outside, but it looked like very wet snow coming down. Hopefully, we won't get too much of that either. :)

It seems that Winter is here to stay......

Monday, December 10, 2007

"A Surprise!"

Saturday, I received a surprise from North Dakota! Maniphone, Jonathan, Simon, and Henry, had gone to their local museum and saw these "Chicken Ornaments", which made them think of me! Obviously they did more than think of me......they purchased them, packaged them up, and shipped them to me for our tree (which I have yet to put up!). Pretty cool, eh? :) Thank you again, my friends!

We had snow again on Saturday night, but fortunately, it was only about 2" or so. Copper joined me out front while I cleared our driveway, steps, and deck. More is predicted for tonight, with the possibility of a "mix"......I hope it remains only snow and none of the sleet that made a similar mess last week.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Out and About...."

I finally have been outside and done something besides drive Don to work or pick him up.....I went grocery shopping in the minus degree cold. :) I was at the store before 7AM and home with the groceries put away by 8:30! Pretty good if I do say so myself. Shopping at Woodman's at that time of the morning was a GOOD thing! Not many shoppers....the obstacle course from the employees stocking shelves made it a bit hairy at times, but it all worked out. I may have to consider shopping early mornings all the time.....but doubt that it will happen, except if I were to drive Don in to work. Otherwise, I like to keep my mornings pretty slow. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"I'm Still Here.... :)"

I haven't posted anything the past few days because I haven't anything to write about. Both Don and I have been sick, so we've stayed home, not going anywhere, nor taking any photos. We're both on the mend now, but so far, I've nothing new to write about.

Friday, November 30, 2007


My son Patrick, received a surprising birthday gift from his girlfriend Julie. Yep, a 13 week old German Shorthair puppy, named Odie. :) Over the past few years, he has talked about wanting one of this breed, so when Julie heard about a family wanting to find Odie a good home, she jumped at the chance.

One of the nice things about having him be a bit older, is that he was already house trained (not sure if there have been accidents, though).

All of these photos were taken last weekend when Patrick and Julie went to her parents for the Thanksgiving weekend. I knew that they also had dogs, but didn't realize a couple of them were also German Shorthairs, too. These photos only show one, but there was another, older dog, in one of the photos. (I asked Don to do some cropping on the photos for me) Looks like Odie can tussle with the best of them, eh? :)

"Whew! That wore me out.....guess I'll take a little break."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

"Frustration.....then Satisfaction"

Yesterday was a bit frustrating. I had planned on replacing a low dresser with 3 tall wall units to gain more storage. I'd gone out Tuesday and bought 2 of them (having to order the 3rd), planning on putting them together yesterday morning. When going through the directions, I found that it was missing pieces and hardware. I opened and looked at the contents of the 2nd box.....same thing, so then I thought perhaps the units had been re-design and the directions updated, but I hadn't gotten the new version. I had to wait a couple of hours before the store opened....called them, and was told to pack up the boxes and bring them back and they would take a look at them (MAJOR frustration......those boxes were HEAVY!). Luckily, I had taken the pieces out carefully and was able to put everything back in pretty much the same order......AND had packing tape to close them up again. Long story short, their directions from the display unit in the store didn't match the ones I had. Upon hearing that, the manager offered to have the 2 units put together for me "at no charge", but would have to charge me to assemble the which I said thanks but no thanks and got my money back.
When arriving home, I decided to try using the old wardrobe (from the front room) I'd brought over from MI, switching it out with the low dresser. After moving them and sorting through clothes (Goodwill.... here I come!), I actually have some empty drawers! Things worked out for the best after all. AND, at no other cost for me than my time..........I am very satisfied with those turn of events. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Creative Cakes....."

Last month, the culinary school that Sean and Becky attend, was invited to hold a "Creative Cake Show" at a small college in Saginaw, MI. Many, many hours were filled with building and rebuilding fragile pieces before the cakes were ready for the show....and of course, some accidents happened to a few of the pieces as they were transported to the show......BUT......."The Show MUST Go On!" :)

Becky and Sean at school working on their cakes.....

Sean's "Old Mill". These are not just empty constructions like a gingerbread house.....they are true cakes that have chocolate sides, etc. If I remember correctly, Sean's cake was a spice cake. Each student had to make 2 easy and a more difficult one. This was his more difficult cake.

Sean's 2nd cake......the "easy" one. :) It has a fly fishing reel, fish hooks, bobber, and a net.....all made out of chocolate or some sort of sugar confection.

This is Becky's difficult cake. She said the bottle broke on the way to the show, so upon arriving she had to reconstruct it as best she could before displaying it.

Becky's "easy" you see the dog's hind end coming out of the leaves?

The hardest part for all of the students, was after the show as people came around and were allowed to taste the cutting into them or by just breaking off a piece and popping it into their mouths. :) I guess now is the time to have "future chefs" get used to the idea of people devouring their creations.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"A Visit!"

My son, Sean, and his girlfriend, Becky, came to visit us this past weekend. Sean has been to Madison a few times, but this was Becky's first time here, so naturally, being the tour guides that we are, we took them to the "hot spots" of our city. :)

We started , and did most of our looking around, at shops along Monroe Street. Our first stop was at Art Geko".

Then on to "Orange Tree". Both Sean and Becky are in culinary school in Traverse City, MI. Don and I bought Sean his "starter kit" of knives at "Orange Tree" a few years ago.

After leaving "Orange Tee", we stopped at "Barriques" for coffee and a snack. EVERYONE knows how hungry one gets while shopping! :) Becky also found a very cool "French press coffee mug" that she later went back and purchased. She works at a coffee shop in TC, but had seen nothing like the one she found here.

After "Barriques", we went across to "Trader Joe's" for a look around, then headed down the street to "Wine and Hops". Sean has begun brewing beer........ :)

With both Sean and Becky being vegetarians, they were interested in "Willy Street Co-op" as well. (MY son a vegetarian????!!!!) They also are into buying local produce if possible, so were curious as to what Madison has to offer.....unfortunately, it is too late in the season for the farmers market to be on the square. Hopefully, they will visit again in the markets "high season".

Our last stop was along the top of "Observation Drive". We were very lucky to have had such a beautiful day for photos. :)