Monday, August 31, 2015

Considering Fall

What do you do to get ready for fall?  Do you adjust your mindset?  Do you enter the season reluctantly or with gusto?  

When the September calendar page is turned, do you think of your own school days? 
I used to until I spent so many additional years teaching middle school.  I still feel a happy lift when I see a school bus, but I am glad that I don't have to go to school anymore.  I DO associate fall with reading and writing and I noticed that students were sharper and more eager to work with words at the beginning of the school year than they were in the spring.

Maybe the poetic scenes of autumn compel us to hunker down with books, schedule our lives with an August-to-August planner, or take our thoughts to paper in the form of a daily journal.  Maybe we pour over seasonal recipes or buy a real magazine in order to stimulate our autumn jazz.

Something that matters to me as September begins is fabric.  When I was growing up, my mother, my sister, and I went to the fabric store to choose patterns and cloth for our back-to-school wardrobes.  Fabric stores used to cater to seamstresses more than crafters and we bought wool, calico, muslin, and corduroy.  I don't know how my mother managed all the school sewing before I learned to sew.  Even then she completed most of my dresses, skirts, blouses, and pants.  She even willingly sewed cheerleading skirts for the squad members who did not have sewing mothers.  Have you been to a fabric store lately?

Speaking of fibers and fabrics, do you refit your bed when there is a nip in the air?  One year we had a few cold days in September (this is common in Colorado) and even though I knew we still had some very warm days ahead, I went to a department store and bought new flannel sheets, a flannel duvet cover, and a flannel nightgown.  It was perfect for a few days, until the weather warmed up again and the percale sheets  had to be put back on the mattress. (Click on percale to find a place to get supreme sheets!  I just discovered Parachute!) 

We need a new bed.  Ours is too hard.  Even at the campy conference center in New Zealand, where the furniture was sparse and the mattress was covered in plastic, I slept better because it was soft.  We've always believed a firm mattress was best for our backs, but I do not have perfect posture after sleeping on a hard bed for so long.  We're going for soft.  No foam because it makes for disruptive rollovers and my husband shifts and changes position often.  No, I want a cushy mattress and lovely sheets.  Maybe that will be our Christmas gift to each other, a cozier bed.  Bedtime has served our marriage well.  Smile.  What do you change about your sleeping spot when the weather turns?

Finally, my fall mindset must include beverages.  Because we are long time coffee drinkers, I often forget to treat myself to a mug of hot chocolate.  If you haven't had any lately, make some over the stove.  Warm milk, cocoa powder, sugar or honey stirred together with a wooden spoon create a loving treat. Hot-spiced cider is delicious and it makes the house smell like Granny's.  Do you ever go to sleep at night and dream of your morning coffee?  I do.  I like a mild roast and prefer my coffee perked.  I am shopping for a new percolator.
I know I am NOT too busy when I find myself drinking a few cups of tea throughout the day. Fall brings perfect beverage weather.

It was hot yesterday.  Five granddaughters roared around in the backyard, using child-size garden tools to make the lovely display below.  Later, they gathered around the dining room table and ate burritos and melon.  They had room for cookies, too.  I don't think they are thinking about autumn's approach yet, but I believe their teamwork and the masterpiece they left for me to find reveals that they sense change is in the air.

Please share your fall feelings with me, your vision and your anticipation. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Granny at Home Again

 I returned from Kelli's house last night after five days of taking care of the girls while the parents went to Napa, California.  Kelli had the flu while she was away, but she was thankful that she could rest quietly in a cozy hotel bed.  She would look out the window and see a vineyard which isn't too shabby, right? Jenny and her girls came over one day and Auntie J braided Birdie's hair.  Fancy, huh?  I did a lot of hair combing, too.

Their eleven year old dog is dying and I tended to him, feeding him hotdogs and peanut butter sandwiches.  He was delighted to see Kelli and Bryan when they came in the door last night.  It's very sad when a precious pet comes to the end of their earthly days.  Sigh.
 The girls took turns sleeping with me.  I slept HARD (because I brought my own pillow this time) and each morning when I would make the bed, I'd longingly consider how many hours remained in the day until bedtime again.  The girls are excellent sleepers (something great to be good at, huh?) and were compliant at bedtime.  I know I chugged through a lot of long days when Bill and I were raising our kids but I admire and applaud all mothers.  It is the most noble pursuit, bar none.  
Miss Millie is at an adorable stage of life.  She has the cutest little laugh and an enchanting sense of humor to boot.  When her night of sleeping with granny came around she was happy to watch Barbie videos on my iPad.  I told her, "One more, Millie and then we'll turn it off."  She said, "And you have to turn off your phone and put it away, too."  Ha!
 Miss Bug is growing up.  She loves animals and children.  When she came home from her homeschool/at school day (once a week through the local school district) she held Millie tight.  She has a generous heart. She can't wait until she's old enough to babysit James.  
 Miss Bug and Millie both had dancing lessons.  This is another reason that I admire mothers.  There are so many places to go, things to do, and commitments to keep.  When our kids were growing up, I kept errands to a minimum, only doing the essentials, but even so there are SO many places to go.  The car becomes an extension of the house.  The girls didn't really like riding around in my car.  They noticed that it had a lot of bird poop on it.  Funny.
I sensed the moms at dance lessons were a little disheartened because school has been going for almost two weeks, the lessons and after school sports are in full swing and they are HOT (it's been very warm) and it is STILL August.  
 Birdie is eight years old and has opinions about things now.  I am glad she feels okay about disagreeing and telling people when she doesn't like something (certain foods, riding along to her sisters' dance lessons, wearing itchy clothes).  It's hard being the oldest child because one must experience all the developmental changes first and then it's semi-easier for the following family members.  I am SO thankful that I quit teaching and can watch the grands grow.  Had I waited until it was practical and reasonable to quit teaching I might have completely missed really walking alongside them.  I wish our Ft. Collins grands weren't so far away.  They have the most precious personalities and amazing talents, too.  I miss them.
I went directly to the zucchini bed this morning and my neighbor came out (in her nightgown) and helped me thin them.  It should have been done long ago.  She dug right in and yanked out four plants!  She's a good gardener.  

Here it is almost the very end of August and soon it'll be Labor Day.  I really don't think school should start until after that.  Do you think kids should return to school in August?  
How do you feel about all the presidential candidates and the ongoing rhetoric?  I do not like what they say about education.  It really grinds my gears.  I fear that there are very few honorable public servants these days.  Sad.

I'm sure you noticed that I whited-up my blog a bit.  I'm going to try to learn more about formatting and expand my blog horizons.  There is always a lot to learn.  It's fun messing around with all the options.

I am going to jump in the shower and carefully dry my hair and style it.  Call me super-shallow but five days of no hair dryer and bare-minimum grooming, looking like a haggle puss, made me crabby.  Ratty hair and a tired demeanor don't lend themselves to the fairy godmother image of myself that  I hold in my mind.  Just kidding, but do you look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Sheesh!  I'm not THAT tired, am I?"

Enough drivel. God be with you today, kind friend.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pretty House

 I try to avoid too much ice cream because it gives me a stomach ache, but I know there isn't anything like it in the way of an August dessert.  When I am with Kelli's girls for five days, we might have to venture out for nightly ice cream.  

Today we had a meeting with Bill's colleagues.  The band of travelers who live locally all met at our gracious friend's downtown loft.  I revel in their tales, the sharing of their hearts for people and their grasp of God's word.  I'm delighted that I am invited to join them.  The morning on the squishy sofa in T's living room was WONDERFUL!
She is a superb house-maker.  All of the homes she's lived in have her special stamp.  Don't you love this pot rack loaded with cozy copper?
 Her view of the city is astounding.  See?
 Her old pet!  SUCH a chatterbox!
 Just about the cutest tea kettle I've seen!
 Matching serving tray - LOVE!
 Isn't this a perfect table for very important people?  That's how she views all of the people in her life.  She cherishes them.  She constantly shares everything she has.  Everything is so beautiful at her house.  
How are you feeling about fall?  Are you looking forward to it or are you savoring the last weeks of summer? Have you been eating melons, zucchinis, fresh beans, and tomatoes?  I think rabbits are eating my cucumbers.  Boo.  
I mean to spend a few mornings wearing my gardening gloves, pulling out handfuls of wild and rangy weeds and other pushy plants.  Did you know that Tasha Tudor did NOT quit gardening when this time of year rolled around?  She pulled and planted, arranged and straightened.  Our garden here is teeny weeny in comparison, but I hope I have the verve to stay out there and tidy it all up.

I'm thinking about buying a new planner at the Back to School sales.  The one I used last year was impractical, too big and vague.  I think I need a printed month's calendar at the start of every month and the days of the week spread across two pages.  What kind of a planner do you like to use?
All this organized thinking has caused me to crave a cup of tea.  That's what I'll do next and then I'll make a vinaigrette for our cabbage salad.  
Thank you for dropping by! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Dirty Mirror and Completed Knitting

 Here's a bad photo.  I think I deserve a D- for cleaning the mirror.  You get the gist of the sweater I finally finished anyway!
Do you like the cowl?  I put posies from The Felted Flower Shop in the bumpy spots of my knitting.  
 I probably won't wear this sweater everyday but I do like the ribbons, impractical as they are!
Here I treat you to my spots and wrinkles AND a look at my pointy-head hat!
 I'm trying to break out of my uptight knitting attitude and expand my thinking to include . . . FUN.  I think this new book might help.

 I'll let you know how it goes.  The weather is cooler today and honestly, I'm less grumpy-frumpy.  I am tired of being hot.  I dozed off three times in between little doings because my allergies are bugging me.  I think when my allergies are acting up, I grind my teeth at night.  Alas, first world problems, right? 
On a sunshine-y note - look at the marigolds that grew from one package of seeds!  I'm so proud of them!
 I bought myself a box of chocolates because sometimes creamy chocolate feels so right.
Thank you for looking at my knitting.  It's fun to share.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good Places and Cute Faces

(my brother Dave and his wife Judy's beautiful country home)
 It took a few days to recover my oomph after getting up early to catch the plane home and then waking up in the night a lot the next night.  Bill and Brad came all the way from the Philippines so jet lag is a major factor, causing tossing and turning.  I'm a light sleeper.  Oh well!  I am so happy to be home with Bill and also happy to be back in grandkid territory.
Yay!  While I was in Washington I was able to see my Auntie!  She is on the left, my lovely mama is on the right. Aren't they BEAUTIFUL?  I love this photo of two light-bright faces.
 Auntie is making a bird quilt for my mom.  We love birds in this family.
 We had lunch at a big garden center.  Isn't this cute?  I knew you'd like it.
 The next day we were off for Guemes Island.  The little ferry is a big part of the fun.

 My mom said it well, "When you drive off the ferry and onto the island roads, you realize there is NO PLACE LIKE Guemes."  It is SO life-giving, so beautiful!

 When we were kids we visited this little log cabin often.  My uncle and aunt spent their vacation here.  He was a Lutheran pastor and they moved around quite frequently, but this was their true home-sweet-home.  They shared.
 I shot a few photos through the window.  Guess what?  It looks just the same!  What a relief!  I remember lying on the bed, reading Pollyanna.  I can almost hear the grownups chatting and the door opening and closing.
 I remember this small counter, the potluck meals, the suds and dishes in the sink, the wood stove used for ALL the cooking.
 This is the backyard where my uncle set up tent-bedrooms for my cousins.
 The view.  Gorgeous and lasting.  My brother Dave still spends a week at Guemes every summer.  It's his very favorite place to be and even though he couldn't pull crab pots this year (the surgery, remember?) he was still able to soak up the Guemes vibe.

 Before heading back to my mom's we took a tour around Anacortes.  Here is my grandparents' church.  My mom and dad met Jesus here.  They ALL did.  The whole family.  

My other grandma lived here, with my great grandmother.  I have many memories of this cute little storybook house.  Karol and I played on the stairs, stuck pinwheels in the front planter boxes, watched my grandma hang clothes on the line, ate tasty meals that always included bread and butter.  My grandma's kitchen drawers were always neat and tidy.  Her house was snug and lovely.  I'm so happy that we stopped by to take photos.

 We spent many Sunday afternoons here at my dad's parents' house.  Grandma and Grandpa were welcoming hosts.  It seems like there were always swarms of people and lots of food.

 We stopped to photograph my mom's high school home, too.  I loved knowing that my mother lived right there, with her widowed mother, my nice uncle, and the auntie pictured above.  

 Meanwhile at home the garden was harvested.
 You can see "the pickers" below.  Good girls!
 James is building quite a good relationship with his kitty.  Christie says that the kitty needs LOTS of attention!
 We all landed in Denver at the same time, so I was thrilled with grand hugs and a chance to take a photo of our precious Ft. Collins family!  
We are back to normal for a week.  Bill heads out again and I go to Kelli's to stay with the girls while their parents visit the wine country in California.  We'll have fun!
Samantha Rose starts kindergarten tomorrow afternoon.  I get to go, too!  Yay!
While I was using the restroom at the airport, my backpack fell off the door hook and landed on my head.  Yeah, my neck is a little sore from THAT! 
I'm drinking LOTS of water and trying to be a bit quiet so Bill can recover from the exhaustion of his trip AND jet lag again.
I have another finished object to show you soon.  That makes three!  I'll put them all on and take another selfie!  Ha!
I hope your August is warm and wonderful, sunny and full of harvested garden goodness.  I appreciate your visit, nice person.
Thanks for hanging in there for this long ramble!