Thursday, December 28, 2006

Red Lipstick

I don't understand the fashion of the last few years, to put a "nude-ish" color on your lips. I watch the "makeover" shows (e.g. "What Not to Wear?"), and they do a great job with the clothes and the makeup until...the lips. "We're going to put a light, transparent gloss on your lips." Which (in my humble opinion) makes them disappear into the rest of the face.

My own lips have a problem. They have almost no natural color (thus, "disappear" into my face without some assistance). So Lipstick has been my close and b*som friend since junior high. Oh, I tried the Frosty Glosses (they came in a bottle with a roll-on top)--they made my lips look swollen and colorless, kind of like a mutant jellyfish. I didn't even buy my senior photos because of this disastrous mistake.

I do very well with Color. Not frost, not "matte," just Cream. But there is Another Issue. Lipstick does not look the same on my lips as it does in the tube. If I see someone wearing a color I think would look good on me, I can't just go out and buy the same thing they are wearing. It is a long and arduous process to find a color that will replicate that "look" for me.

Violet, Forget-me-not, and I played a game one day. We each put on the same lipstick to see how it would look on us. I wish I had taken a photo--couldn't be more different. And I was the "winner" in the Looks Least Like the Color in the Tube division.

There are only a few colors that I can wear. I do mauve-y pink (I can also do Watermelon, but it has been years since I've found one I can wear), mocha, and Red. Ahh, Red. I can wear both the cranberry-blue kind, and the Tomato Red, 1940's kind. Not so many of us can carry that off. And there is something different about Red, as opposed to other colors. Call it Sassy. Call it Confident. Hey, you have to be confident to wear Red. Red says Look at Me.

I have always said that if stranded on a deserted island, I would need: 1. my Bible (of course), and 2. Red Lipstick. My list always stops there. I find it difficult to go on after talking about Red.

No doubt about it, Red is Fabulous. To see the Fabulous Power of Red, look down at Tuesday's post, at the Christmas Eve picture. Then ask yourself, don't you need some Red lipstick?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Red Shoes

About ten years ago, when Blackeyed Susan was three, I made her an Easter dress in a style that was then very popular--the bodice was white with navy polka dots; the skirt was navy with white polka dots, and it had a wide red ribbon sash. I picked up two pairs of shoes that spring--matching white and red patent leather Mary Janes.

When I finished the dress, I showed it to my 75-year old mother. She was always so ready to praise any sewing project I made. Then I pulled out The Red Shoes.

She gasped.

"Ohh!" she cried. "These are wonderful. I remember a pair of red shoes I had when I was a girl. Every girl needs a pair of red shoes. Red says Happy!"

Isn't she right? I currently own two pair of red shoes. One is an extremely useful pair of wine-red (cordovan) leather Mary Janes. I was lucky enough to get these $80 shoes for $29.00. I've had them for three years, and I wear them with both jumpers and pants. They are my *go to* shoes for winter.

My other pair is a pair of Naturalizer sandals. The store displayed them in black and brown. I tried on the brown pair, and had just about settled on them when the clerk said, "These also come in Red."

The word was electric. Little fireworks, complete with American flags, accompanied that little three-letter word. Of course, there was no decision to make then. Red it was.

If you don't own a pair of red shoes, you need to. If not this winter, get them in the spring. It will make a difference in your attitude!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I promised pictures of some of my crafty gifts. I realize that they are not as complicated and exquisite as many of the things I've seen around blogland in the last few weeks. But here they are, anyway.
I made six "useful" scarves for my five sons and one son-in-love:
For my five girls (daughters, daughter-in-love, and MacGuyver's lovely girlfriend), I made fun, funky scarves from fun yarns:
I made Sweet Pea a little lambkin from Mrs. Turkey Feathers site. I like the delicate colors.

For Blueberry, I made a dolly with red flannel pjs in a pillow-bed of his own. It's from a commercial pattern:

It's a two-faced doll--this is the "asleep" side:

Flannel pj pants for six, ready to go:

(I have made up to sixteen pairs in a season, but did scarves this year)
Christmas Eve picture, tho' the grandbabies have been long asleep at this time:

Christmas morning, and what do I find under my tree? but a 25-pound Blueberry with a green bow (my favorite color!):

Lots of noise, wrapping paper, and bows later, we stowed our treasures and five of our children made our way to the nursing home to see my Daddy:
The others plan to see him today or tomorrow.
This morning, Violet has made her way home, and MacGuyver and his lovely are making their way back to New York. Charming is back to work, and I am considering making my way to Wal-mart for the after-Christmas sale. I have avoided this the past two years, but now my wrapping paper stash is about exhausted. But Alvin (who got a Playstation II for Christmas) needs a memory card to save his games, and is pushing to get it TO-DAY.
We'll see. It's nice to not be partying today. This Christmas was four big days long, and Mommy is tired. The house is pretty quiet, and I Like It...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Surprise

We were so excited when we found out that MacGuyver was coming home for Christmas! He moved to NYC in June, to begin a big adventure. I have never gone six months without seeing one of my children before, so it was a Big Thing for Mommy. He was scheduled to come in tonight (Saturday) about 5 pm... ...but showed up Last Night about 7 pm!! Screams of joy, especially from little bro and sis Alvin Fernald and Blackeyed Susan! Me? I just couldn't get enough kissing!

Violet is in town now, too, for the holiday. All eight of my children and four grandbabes will be together for Christmas Eve and Day. There is no better present in the world, except for the One that started it all:

"Thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift."

Have a blessed, blessed Christmas holiday with your families!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Party Time

This weekend was Charming's family Christmas parties. Saturday night was our biannual shindig thrown by my dear mother-in-love. The theme was "Glitter." I loaned dear m-i-l the tiara that Forget-me-not wore at her wedding. It is "real" rhinestones:
You may notice that Mom is wearing a banner that says "Miss Cassopolis 1953." I decided that we needed to bring back the Glory Days, and made her a new banner. Miss Darl was a reluctant beauty queen--she is known as the jeans-wearin', goin' fishin', tool-totin' Grandma. Her mother asked her to enter the contest. She showed up for practice in jeans, and they sent her home to put on a skirt. (so-o-o 1953, isn't it?)She borrowed a formal for the event, and her comment is, "if I had known I would win, I'd have bought a new one myself!"
You may notice my daughter Violet on the right. (Charming's only brother is in the middle.) This party has always been for Darl's own children and spouses. When Violet was about 14, she asked Grandma when she would be old enough to come to the adult party--Grandma said, "never!" It is her one thing with her own children. So Violet (who had borrowed *my* rhinestones to wear in a wedding) took the opportunity to bring my "glitter" directly to the party, to see the mysterious happenings. We made her leave after appetizers....
but I did take the opportunity to get a fabulous photo of Violet with her Daddy.
A great time was had by all. Food, music, conversation--what it's all about. I made little recipe books of some family recipes hand-picked by Darl to give as gifts. Now we all have the recipes for some of the legendary dishes. Some of the recipes were really old, though, as you would expect. One recipe called for "a large lump of butter." Another called for "some cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt," and many of them had no instructions at all. Thank goodness I've been cooking for awhile, or I'd have been lost.
Sunday morning, Charming's dad and wife had a brunch for the entire family. I saw Violet again, and this time she was allowed to stay! I got to see my brand-new grand-niece. This new generation (of my grandchildren and grand-nieces and nephews) is going to be different of that of my children and their cousins. In that generation, only six of twenty-one are girls; 15 boys. The newest generation has nine so far, and it is 5 girls/4 boys already. Four of this generation were born this year--our family is growing!
After supper tonight, my grandkids are coming over to make cut-out cookies. I've just finished the dough, and put it in to chill. Then I'm off to take Alvin Fernald to finish shopping--I finished last week, and took Blackeyed Susan yesterday to finish hers. YEAH!! Then all I have to do is a grocery run, 'long about Friday. Oh yeah, there's All That Wrapping to Finish, Too.
Have a blessed day, doing whatever preparations you are doing today. May the Lord prepare our hearts as well, for this blessed celebration!

Monday, December 11, 2006

"No Peeking!"

I have been very, very busy, working on projects for Christmas presents. I so-so-so want to show them all to you! But alas, some of the recipients are my faithful blog-readers, so I cannot. Instead, for your viewing pleasure, I'll share some pics of a visit last week from my four favorite grandbabies.

Here is Sweet Pea, sitting beside Grandma:
Blackeyed Susan caught Junior Asparagus and Laura Carrot doing one of their favorite things, watching an episode of Veggies:
Then there is Blueberry. He's quite intellectual. You can tell this because he is such a "voracious" reader:
I am pretty excited about where I am at, with two weeks to go. I have to finish one knitting project, and do another small one. One more craft project, and pj pants for the babies, and I will be done!
Hope your week is fruitful, and blessed as we await the celebration of the birth of our Saviour!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Getting Back to It

This is the Monday after Thanksgiving, so of course we should be back to doing school here. I must admit, if we did we'd be "flying by the seat of our pants." I think I'll take a cue from Mrs. Copper's Wife, who extends her Thanksgiving break until tomorrow. We can take a "home ec" day--clean up the last of the *casual housekeeping* that happens over a holiday, take up the rest of the autumn decorations, and maybe drag up the Christmas things. We won't be getting a tree until later in the week--Charming is working a seven-day stretch over the holiday and won't be off until Wednesday.

Everybody is blogging about how they brought out the Christmas music this weekend. I take a lot of flak from my family because *I* start listening on September 1st. I started that tradition when I was a teenager, and put on the music while making gifts for my friends. The idea is that I am crafting or sewing while the music plays. But, as usual, I leave most of the gift-making for December, crunching it in-between all the other things that are going on...but, I do love the music!

Four weeks from today is Christmas Day, so I think one of the tasks I will set myself to do today is to list all of the things that need done. Maybe then I can organize them into "weeks," and check them off as I do them.

I am determined to take things slowly and enjoy the holiday. My normal modus operandi is to do all the things that *say Christmas* to me, and then about 9:30 Christmas morning, crash and burn. My Charming has been trying to help me avoid this for thirty years now. He has, so far, failed in his efforts.

Maybe I should listen to him this year.

All the Time in the World

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

From The Common Room.

I'd love to see Dorothy at Fine Distraction and Mrs. Plain and Simple take this!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Alvin Fernald!

Well, my baby turns twelve today. One of those bittersweet things where I tear up at the mention of the word "baby." But so excited for Alvin, because I remember turning twelve. You don't have to worry about where the food is coming from, and your Mom understands that you need plenty of it. You can style your own hair and choose your own clothes. Your bicycle will take you anywhere you need to go--to the corner grocery for a candy bar, or to the baseball diamond at the park.

Alvin is not a small dude. But then, he was 10 lbs. 5 1/2 oz. at birth. Charming thinks it's silly that I tack on that 1/2 oz. But he didn't have to birth the child. We called Alvin our Magnum Opus--our Great Work. I guess we decided to go out with a bang....

Alvin is hoping that Notre Dame will take note of his birthday and beat USC tonight. Until then, the day is his, and a beautiful day it will be. Sunny and 68 degrees.

Have a wonderful day, baby, while Mommy sits by with her box of kleenex....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Amen, sister

Queen Shenaynay, as she does so often, says it better than I could myself. Check out her Random Thanks post.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And now, for something A Little Different...

The Survey of the Equuschick by way of Mother Auma .
A little while back, the Equuschick published her Very Own Survey. (Here are Mama Squirrel's, Firefly's and Thicket Dweller's responses.)
*A- Favourite Animals: Chickens. I stayed up all one night in college to monitor a hatching horde.
*B- Favourite Bad Habit: (You know, that one that you like too much to even try to break. You like being addicted.) Napping. Love it, love it, love it.
*C- Favourite Cookie: Most anything, warm out of the oven.
D- Favourite Drink: Dr. Pepper.
*E-Favourite Egg Style: Over easy, on buttered toast, and at the first bite you need to s*ck out all the yolk.
*F- Five Favourite Fiction Books: (Having been driven nearly insane with surveys that limited your selection of favourite books to Exactly One of Any Kind, The Equuschick is broadening the topic. Still difficult, but not quite as miserable.) Ooh, difficult. Lost Horizon, Random Harvest, Mrs. Mike, anything Grace Livingston Hill, Miss Read. (another day I might choose others!)
*G-Favourite Gadget: Rotary cutter and mat for quilting.
*H- Favourite Hymn: It is Well with My Soul
I- Favourite Ice Cream- Swiss chocolate almond
J- Favourite Jam: (other than a bluegrass or folk music jam...) Elderberry
*K-Favourite Kid's Books: I think this is more difficult than the fiction question. (by no means an exhaustive list:) Winnie-the-Pooh, Beatrix Potter, Little House, Mike Mulligan, Caps for Sale (anything Captain Kangaroo used to read on his show...)
*L-Favourite Love Song- "Handpicked for Me, written by my Charming ("I could see it in your eyes, when I told you [that I loved you] there was no surprise"), "Beautiful" by Gordon Lightfoot, "How Can I Tell You" by Cat Stevens
*M-Favourite Memories: This would probably be never-ending if I actually answered completely. Just a few: sleeping on a train, Charming and I watching our two toddlers sleep beside us on mattresses one night before we moved, looking down the street where we live when it snows--looks exactly like "Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!", wrestling on my bed with Alvin Fernald when he was three--"Mommy, this is the best day of my LIFE!!", hugging Violet before she went to high school, realizing I had her home for only four more years, watching my four grandchilren's births, watching my children sing "Castle on a Cloud." on and on...maybe I'll make a regular post about "favorite memories..."
"N-Favourite Nonfiction Books: Hmm. The Bible. A Charlotte Mason Companion. For the Family's Sake. Flower books and Bird books. Quilt Books, always.
*O-Favourite Operatic Song: The Rabbit of Seville (Bugs Bunny.) Musical Hamlet (Gilligan's Island.)
P-Favourite Piece of Music at the moment: Handel's Messiah. Jackie Gleason Christmas.
Q-Quiet Spot: Watching Lake Michigan--I don't live there, but my father-in-law does.
R-Favourite Reading when you're sick: Grace Livingston Hill.
*S-Favourite Song that you want played at your funeral: (Obligatory weird question, sorry. It isn't a real survey if it doesn't have at least one very strange question.) Not sure at this point.
*T-Favourite Task: Probably laundry. Love to see the folded stuff go to their "homes."
*U- Favourite Ugly Animal: (Can you think of a better question for u?) Hippo. I don't know if it is my favorite, but it is the one I always think of when I ask God, "what were You thinking?"
*V-Favourite Vintage Book: The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot. It was my mother's sewing book (c. 1940's) and I read it cover-to-cover several times growing up.
*W-Favourite Writing of C.S Lewis: The Chronicles, tho' I love the non-fiction, too. He is just way-smarter than I.
*X-Favourite Word That Starts with X, Because The Equuschick Couldn't think of Any But xylophone: My son had a friend of Greek extraction whose name was Xrisanthi (pronouncing the X as in the name for Christ in Greek--Chi Ro--making the pronunciation Chris-on-thee).
Y-Favorite Yellow Wildflower: Honeysuckle.
*Z-Favourite Zoo: We have a fabulous zoo here--the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. It is too large to go through in one visit, with African, Australian, Rain Forest exhibits as well as normal zoo animals. I could never figure out, though, why it has no bears.

There you have it. Thank you, Equuschick, for something "a little different."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Charming and I were able to get away last weekend, for the first time in four years. Let me tell you, that is entirely too long to go without a long weekend away. We traveled to Louisville to help friends celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. So I missed blogging about Armistice Day, and other things I wanted to.

Before we left last week, I was able to finish Blackeyed Susan's hobo bag. She wanted it finished before she goes to two concerts in December:
I went a little crazy, putting together funky fabrics on the inside. But I didn't want to buy anything else new:
Alvin Fernald made cookies before we left, and wanted me to include this picture. It was such a big deal, because this batch made Exactly 60 Cookies, like the recipe indicated:
You've got to love the Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop.
A couple of months ago, I fell flat on both knees. They didn't hurt to begin with, but of course, I knew they would eventually. They were acting up for a couple of weeks now, so I went to the chiropractor. He said that I really didn't injure them, just "irritated" what was already going on. Which is, (sigh) The Beginnings of Arthritis. I knew I was in trouble when the first thing he asked me was my age. Blessedly, he has a supplement (think glucosamine) that helps regenerate cartilage tissue.
Since I didn't get to post on Saturday about Armistice Day (my father called it that long after "Veteran's Day" came into common usage), I read my daughter's entry (see Fine Distraction on my sidebar). I love how she thinks about WWI, and how most Americans don't consider its importance. I can still hear my father tell us every year, how the armistice was to commence "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month." Kind of like Election Day--"the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November"--so Election Day can never be November 1st.
Who makes up these things?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fun Voting

I'll walk to vote this morning, as I have for fourteen years. Gotta love it when the polling place is in a church a block away! I'll take Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald, as I have since they were old enough to walk with me. I want them to know that voting is important, and is a God-given privilege.

In 2000, the year that President Bush ran the first time, we had a unique situation. Don Quixote and Joe Hardy were living at home, not yet moved out on their own. Violet lived in an upstairs apartment of a house across the street from us. Johnny Tremain and Forget-me-not were at college, Johnny just seven blocks away, and Forget-me-not an hour away. But their "official residence" was still here at home. So for seven of us in the same family, we voted in the same precinct. So I gathered the troops and asked them if we could all walk over "as a family," and vote together. Forget' wasn't too happy--we had to drive down to get her the night before, and then get her back to campus for a nine o'clock class. Charming and Violet had to be to work at eight. MacGuyver (17) also had to be at school then. So this meant that we would troop on over to the church at six-thirty. A.M. (insert Groans and Complaints.)

I called the newspaper to send a reporter. I mean, they always had "man-on-the-street" articles on Election Day. He met us at the church, and asked us who we would vote for. I gave him my Mother's standard answer. This she gave us, unsolicited, every Election Day growing up. "Now, when I married your father, I promised to Obey him. But there is one thing that even he can't ask me to do. When I get into the voting booth, it is between Me and God. Alone. This is what it means to have the right to vote." I had already told my children this story...a "few" times, so they chuckled at the reporter's efforts to solicit our decisions.

After we voted (all ten of us went, even the three that couldn't vote--hey, they could be Patriotic as well!), we took pictures in the foyer of the church, and went home to begin our days, with Susan and Alvin and me driving Forget-me-not back to college, and McDonald's on the way home. A very, very special day that few families get to share.

Now we are scattered to the four winds, although Johnny and Lily live four blocks away, so they still vote at the church. My plan may have to change a little. Lily called to say she is bringing the littles over this morning (because it is raining), and Susan will watch them while we girls vote. Or maybe Susan and Alvin and the babes can walk with us, and we'll all go together. We'll have to see. Voting with Lily would be another Fun Voting Experience!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday, Monday

Only time for a short post this morning. I am taking Don Quixote to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to renew his expired photo ID. Our state has a new law that you must show a picture ID in order to vote. In typical Asperger's style, he finally noticed on Saturday that his ID was expired. The BMV is ordinarily closed on Mondays, but since tomorrow is Election Day...

I just made a trip there last week, as I had lost my license. Standing 35 minutes in line, and another 20 to finish my business--well, under an hour is considered doing well at the BMV. But I told Don that I wouldn't wait with him (told him to bring a book, I'm thinking two hours today). He can call me on the cellphone when he's done.

I finished a cool, hip, trendy bag for Blackeyed Susan this weekend. (picture will be added later.) I wasn't going to do it before Christmas, but she is going to two concerts (one out-of-town) in December, and likes to carry the camera/water bottle/cds to be autographed/etc. A purse just isn't big enough. I also finished tying one of the Princess quilts for the two grand-girlies. Just need the binding on that one, and tie and bind the other one. That's two Big projects done.

I'm reading The_No._1_Ladies_Detective_Agency by Alexander_McCall_Smith. It was recommended by a blogger somewhere, and my Violet said, Yes, by all means, it's great! I *thought* she said, "it's set in Botswana, but soon you'll forget it's set in Africa, because the story is so great." Well, you certainly can't forget it's set in Africa--the names, the food (fried worms as "treats"), getting a snake caught in your engine, and slicing it in two with the fan blades to get it loose--so maybe I heard her wrong. It *is* a good story, but I'm not sure I'll read the others. I'm way too "white bread"--and I say that unapologetically. I say, there's nothing wrong with lovin' my *own* subculture, right? And in so many ways, I take after my mother, who described herself as Not Adventurous. She hadn't ever eaten a TACO, for goodness' sake, until she was 80 years old. She didn't think she'd like it. One time Dad and Mother came for supper and I made tacos. I asked her how she liked them, and she said, Well, now I can say I have eaten them. I'm not Very Adventurous. (dot, dot, dot. Can I have a peanut-butter sandwich now?)

So I'm not an Adventurous reader. I like to read, but find myself in ruts. In fact, being a Not Adventurous person in any manner at all (like dear old Mum) there are a lot of ruts in my life. But hey, ruts are easy to run in. Dear Charming has all the adventure I'd ever desire in any one lifetime.

Turning a corner...
Yesterday at church, we had our "retired" pastor pray for tomorrow's elections. He prayed "Thy will be done," and I thought, "of course" His will will be done. The Scriptures say that He is in charge of who governs us, and that no one can govern us without His permission. I guess that explains the rest of Pastor Douglas's prayer: "Give us the leaders You desire us to have, so that we may learn what You want us to learn." That, my friends, could be "ouchy."

Remember to Vote tomorrow. It is important.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Mishmash Kind of Day

Here are a couple of things I've thrown together lately...Playing around with potholders for Forget-me-not, whose kitchen has a cherries theme:
A plain-ol' bag I made to carry needlework. I had been using a plain canvas one for a couple of years. I figured that someone who is somewhat crafty should do better than that:
THIS is my wonderful, gorgeous Tiffany-style lamp that my dear Charming bought me for our anniversary!
Blackeyed Susan was messing around. I can't do this anymore:
She is just a show-off...
But eventually, her antics did her in:
So much for what dancing can do for you. Don't you think Flexibility is overrated, though?

Other than that, we had a good schoolday, finishing science experiments with Susan, and finishing "rules for capitalization" with Alvin Fernald. He tried to stump Mom and Dad with some spelling words at the end of Spelling Power. I told him that *that* (level K) is where he should be at the end of eighth grade. I shouldn't have said anything--he had been pretty impressed with our Spelling Prowess.

Forget-me-not and Blueberry came over for coffee and Scrabble. 'Berry got his first bump-on-the-noggin over the weekend--just the beginning for almost-nine-months old, right? I played two games with Forget-me-not, and then two more with Joe Hardy. Love, love, love the Game.

Tomorrow I have to go to the license branch. I misplaced my checkbook with driver's license inside about a week ago. Time to get a replacement. Goody-goody--I *always* love getting my picture taken by that dem*n camera! Problem is, the photo on the one I lost was pretty good, considering....

I do love Ordinary Days! They used to be "ordinary," now they are "few and far between."


Monday, October 23, 2006

Thank you, Dr. Szegedy

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. I never knew much about it, so I looked it up.

My personal touchstone with the revolution was my first-year Chemistry teacher in high school. His name was Dr. Laszlo Szegedy. He was already in his 50's at the time. (interesting, to me at least, is the fact that at my high school, at the time I attended from 1969-1973, there were only two Ph.D.s teaching. One was a refugee from Hungary, the other a refugee from Cuba.)

I had trouble in chemistry when I got to college. There was only one Chem. class in my high school, so it wasn't an "honors" class--we had our share of goof-offs. Whenever the class-clown types didn't want to work, (or maybe they just wanted to mock the prof) one of them would raise his hand and ask Dr. Szegedy about his experience in escaping from Hungary. He would lay down his pointer, and tell us of his experiences. ( this happened often, thus my sketchy accumulation of chemistry knowledge.)I'm afraid I didn't appreciate his experience like I probably would now. I have no concept of how it was to live under Communism, and to feel that it was worth any risk for the chance at freedom. What awesome, awesome courage and faith it had to have taken.

So, maybe I didn't appreciate Dr. Szegedy (and Dr. Gladys Ruiz--Algebra I, from Cuba) enough. Or, not much at all. So I will honor him (and her) now. God's blessings to you both, if you are still alive, and to your memories, if you are not.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Look at Me Sparkle!

Your Dream Engagement Ring Has a Round Diamond!

A round diamond is classic and timeless, just like your style
Your diamond will always look with the times - and goes with everything
Of all diamonds, round diamonds show the most sparkle
They are often chosen by sweet, dependable women who make marriage their #1 priority.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How to Pull Off a $200 Wedding

[I sure don't know what happened to yesterday! It was our 31st wedding anniversary. Charming had to work, so I did school and laundry and errands and watched Blueberry so his Mommy could take his Daddy out to dinner for his birthday. I did everything "normally," except to blog!]

How To Have A $200 Wedding

1. make a muslin wedding dress. After all, it *is* 1975 and you *are* "long-haired hippie types." Wear baby's breath in your hair.
2. make your groom a muslin shirt and a suit made of muslin-colored twill a la James Taylor on the front of hisGorilla album.
3. don't forget to stay up until 1am the night before the wedding to finish the bow tie. This will assure your falling asleep at 8:15 on your wedding night.
4. carry a single red rose. Have your groom wear a single red rosebud in his lapel.
5. make your maid of honor's gown out of flowered muslin.
6. have the best man wear the blue velvet blazer that he already owns, and the black velvet bowtie that everybody already owned.
7. repeat #4 with pink roses for the attendants.
8. have a friend take photos for free, buying the film for you for a gift.
9. have your hippie friend play guitar and sing for the wedding--barefoot.

Now to the reception:
1. use a banquet room donated by a family friend who manages a hotel.
2. let the groom's mother buy the cake.
3. let the bride's mother get the napkins and nuts and mints and punch.
4. be sure to use your mother's silver candlesticks she received as a gift for her 25th wedding anniversary. Save them to use at your daughter's wedding.
5. cover the pool table in the banquet room with a paper tablecloth, and use it for the gift table.
6. get the bluegrass band the groom plays with to play at the reception. Be sure to trip over your dress and fall down during the "first dance." It makes a real impression on the guests.

Taking these steps will assure comments about "the most unusual wedding we've ever been to!" by your aunts and great-aunts. Tho' I'm still not sure if they meant that they liked it...

Now, I'm not implying that you could pull off a $200 wedding in this day and age. When our daughter got married two years ago, she had a "princess" theme. And the cost was way, way closer to $10,000. But at least I didn't have to buy silver candlesticks!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Rocky Balboa!

Actually, tomorrow (the 18th) is Rocky's birthday, but it is also our wedding anniversary. I didn't know if I would get a proper tribute made to my dear son-in-love, so I am doing it today.

Rocky is a wonderful man, husband, and father. It has been so fun to see him grow into fatherhood with Blueberry. He works hard so that Forget-me-not can stay home. He plays drums, guitar, and bass, one or the other every week at the Young Adult ministry at our church.
He is a licensed pastor, though at the moment he is working in the lay world at a wireless telephone company. He gets me the very best deals on my cellphone!!

If I had to choose one word to describe Rocky, it would be Passionate. (even tho' I think that word is over-used in Christian circles) He loves the Lord with all his heart, desiring to serve Him...passionately. He loves his wife and son...passionately. He has...passionate...opinions. You always know where you stand with him, which, as Martha says, is a "good thing." Most of all, Rocky desires to cut out the things in his life that are displeasing to the Father, and grow in the things that please Him. We love Rocky as one of our own.

Even though his mommy-in-love has never seen ANY of the Rocky movies, which, though he is too polite to say so, our Rocky thinks is disgraceful. Good thing he loves me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, MacGuyver!

Tomorrow is my son MacGuyver's 23rd birthday. I am supposed to be going out of town to a wedding, so I will post today.

MacGuyver moved away to New York City this summer. Here is Alvin Fernald, trying not-too-successfully to convince Mac that he should stay here:
Here is MacGuyver with his brothers, the night before he moved away:
(from left: Don Quixote, MacGuyver, Johnny Tremain, Joe Hardy, with Alvin in front)

I blogged about MacGuyver's home birth on my other blog this morning. It was a beautiful and God-filled experience.

MacGuyver was my baby for about ten years, until Blackeyed Susan came into our lives. There were the usual complaints about Mac getting extra privileges and such. I deny that, of course. But there is "something" about your "baby..."

Happy, happy birthday, my dear. You are loved very much.

Snow-time like the present

Yesterday, as in other parts of the country, we had a five-minute snowfall:
This is quite early for us--November 1st is a closer estimate for when our snow-time begins. There was just enough (if you scraped the snow off the cars) for Joe Hardy, Blackeyed Susan, and Alvin Fernald to have a snowball fight:
Note the golf-ball sized snowballs.

What you don't see is the shivering. It was 36 degrees outside at this point. The children made me make them hot chocolate afterwards. After all, it *is* a tradition after a snowball fight!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kilroy Was Here

Last week, I shared this picture with you of Alvin Fernald, painting hills in his room. He is working with a WWII theme. These hills are possibly in France, England, or one of the Japanese-held islands in the South Pacific. The time is 1943 or 1944:
Here they are, green and lush. There is no need to worry for Alvin's safety, because wherever the enemy is,
Kilroy has been there first!
If you are old enough, you learned about Kilroy in school:
If not, I'll be glad to share with you. Grab your "cuppa," and get comfy. Here is your History lesson for today:
Find the full story here.
This excerpt is from that website:
"The Legends of "Kilroy Was Here"

There was one person who led or participated in every combat, training or occupation operation during WWII and the Korean War. This person could always be depended on. GI's began to consider him the "super GI." He was one who always got there first or who was always there when they left. I am, of course, referring to Kilroy Was Here. Somehow, this simple graffiti captured the imagination of GI's everywhere they went. The scribbled cartoon face and words showed up everywhere - worldwide. Stories (some even true) abound.

Legend #1: This Legend of how "Kilroy was here" starts is with James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector during WWII. He chalked the words on bulkheads to show that he had been there and inspected the riveting in the newly constructed ship. To the troops in those ships, however, it was a complete mystery — all they knew for sure was that he had "been there first." As a joke, they began placing the graffiti wherever they (the US forces) landed or went, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

Kilroy became the US super-GI who always got there first — wherever GI's went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places. It was said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue of Liberty, the underside of the Arch de Triumphe, and scrawled in the dust on the moon. An outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Truman, Stalin, and Churchill who were there for the Potsdam conference. The first person to use it was Stalin. He emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?" "

Here is another website that adds this detail:

"Near the end of WWII, Adolf Hitler was paranoid as sin about one particular insurgent that seemed to get into everything secure in Nazi germany, he had his best men actively searching for this spy, and had ordered all his troops to shoot the menace. The "spy" Hitler was looking for was none other than kilroy. GI's in occupied territory and spies in the german army were vandalizing nazi bases and equipment with the little kilroy drawing, along with the words, "Killroy was here..." It wasn't meant as anything more than a prank, but by the last year of hitler's command, there was so much graffitti that he thought kilroy was able to get into any secure area, and feared for his life, thinking, "Kilroy is going to get me!" It's nice to think that a little bit of vandalism helped end World War II."

Our enemies have always complained about "Yankee ingenuity." My personal belief is that what we call "Yankee ingenuity" is a byproduct of freedom, the freedom given to us by God. Creativity thrives in freedom. Who had the idea to use Navajos as code-talkers to confuse the Nazis? So many, many examples could be given. The G.I.'s were heroes all over the world.

Alvin's grandfather (my Daddy) is a WWII vet. We will be putting his pilot picture on the wall, as well as a photo of my great-uncle in his WWI uniform, standing near some kind of torpedo-shaped weapon (sorry, my WWI knowledge is a tad thin). It will be fun to see Alvin add his own soldiers. He likes to put his full-sized G.I. Joes on the tops of the window woodwork. He also has about forty-eleven thousand of the little soldiers. Don't know what he will do with them....

This story is not over. A new generation of "Yankee ingenuity" has yet to "show their stuff."

God bless America!

Bits and Pieces

I finished the quilt tops for Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea last night:
(I only show one because, well, they are the same. I'm calling them "The Princess and the (Sweet) Pea."

One more: I know I brag on my grandbabies a lot, and you see more of Blueberry, because I see him almost every day. Here he is, discovering grass. Not too appalled, as some of mine were:

He actually enjoyed it, I think. In the background is the first quilt I ever "quilted," my Civil War four-patch.

Well, we are finally finishing Blackeyed Susan's room today--off the job for several days. Tomorrow I hope to post pics of hers and Alvin's room.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rest in Peace, Mama Reese

This past week, one of my sons' high school friend's mother passed away. She was only 56, which is sort of alarming to me in itself. She was the birth mother to 13 children, and everybody else's "mother," too.

Her children respected her and cared for her. I knew one of her boys, Walter, and a few of her other children by reputation. My son Joe Hardy and Walter used to talk about "government cheese," those five-pound blocks of American that came in a box that was the perfect size for a Barbie bed or refrigerator. If you have ever had "government cheese," I need say no more.

Being a "black mama," (I use that term with the utmost, UTMOST respect) she had influence in a greater community than I could ever have. On Joe Hardy's MySpace, there is a tribute going around with dozens, Dozens, DOZENS of names. Thirteen children will get you a passle of high-school kids who love you.

Charming works with Mrs. Reese's cousin. I understand the church was over-filled for the funeral--main floor, balcony, basement. Only heaven will tell of the real influence of Mrs. Janet Reese.

The verse in Proverbs 31 comes to mind: "her children rise up and call her blessed."

Only there are a lot more of us than just her children making that statement today.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Our Busy Weekend

Here is Alvin Fernald, working on his new look for his room. At first, he couldn't decide between an "army" theme, and keeping the blue he had, which he loved. So he designed a compromise scenario. He is keeping the blue for "sky," (as well as the cloud-fabric curtains), and painting green hills. The time is 1943 or 1944. The question is, are these hills in England, France, or some Japanese-held island in the South Pacific?
Blackeyed Susan's room was not so complicated. Here you see yellow primer (the room formerly known as "green:" The doors are from Alvin's room and closet.
I also worked on the Princess quilts. Here are some "plain" squares:
They will alternate with hourglass squares:
I made ten yellow squares with yo-yo flowers to be scattered among the others:
And how can you have a "princess" quilt without some frogs to kiss?
I know this is sideways, but couldn't get it right-side up. While we were painting, Blueberry came over with his mom, dressed in his Notre Dame outfit, and "football" shoes. They watched the game, and cheered on our team until we got cleaned up:

It's always too bad when you can't finish a project on Saturday. (tho' we didn't begin it until the afternoon, anyway) We are trying to get back to it today (Monday). Maybe more pictures tomorrow?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Just a Quickie

We have been busy this weekend, painting Alvin Fernald and Blackeyed Susan's rooms. I'm trying to remember to get photos "in process" to show you. Hopefully, I can post them tomorrow.

I am also beginning to put together Princess Quilts for Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea. Laura has a new shirt her Daddy bought her in Chicago a couple of weeks ago at some ESPN-themed store: You Can't Spell Princess Without ESPN. Gotta love the Dad/daughter/princess/sports thing...

Notre Dame beat Purdue yesterday. Last week I was gloating to some Purdue People friends of mine, about the fourth quarter rally of my Irish. They made fun of me. Dangerous thing to do, when the initials of *their* university are P.U. Yesterday's score:

ND 35
PU 21

Wake up the echoes, cheering her name.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More than I Bargained For

Charming and I will celebrate thirty-one years of marriage next month. This means, among other things, that the words "I didn't know that about you!!" don't come out of our mouths too often anymore. I know most of the stories about his childhood, and vice versa. We met at eighteen, so it is not so far in the future that we will have known each other twice as long as we "haven't."

The picture above is a well-known painting, "Portrait of a Young Girl Reading." I had a copy in my bedroom growing up. One summer, the grocery store was giving away a "painting a week"
with a $5 order. (think "$20 order" in today's money.) My mom got lots of "still lifes" for the living room and family room--I got the Girl.

The paintings came on cardboard, but imprinted to look like canvas. I never got a frame for mine, but set it up on my bookshelf. Eventually, the corners got bent, and all, so when I moved out, I threw the painting away.

Through the years, I thought I would like to get another copy. Finally, last week, I found one (FRAMED!!) at the thrift store for $5. I thought it would look good in our bedroom, along with the copy of Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" I found last fall. Read about that here.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Charming came home that night and saw the painting. His first words were, "Where did you find the picture of the Girl in the Yellow Dress? That was one of my favorite paintings growing up." He also said, "it was one of my first standards of feminine beauty."

Wow. To find that we both had a connection to something, but didn't share it "together." Like I said, this doesn't happen too often anymore. I've been kind of excited since then, like when we were dating, and everyday was an opportunity to find out something new.

Turning a corner...Charming worked until 1am last night. (I was in bed, of course.) When I got up about 1:30, I heard him downstairs, playing guitar and singing, worshipping the Lord.

Just another reason why I Love This Man.

Young Girl Reading courtesty of

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thank you

Notre Dame 40
Michigan State 37


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Fun Time

Happy news--a new Walmart opened this past Wednesday, much closer to my home than the one I've had to go to all these years. I did visit WM this week, tho' it was the "old" one, because the dry cleaner (which was my Real Errand) is close by that one.

I ventured out today to get gasoline, and Here It Is, Folks:
Now, you will notice that I could get it 5 cents cheaper by using a Walmart gift card. I considered going into the store to get one, but after seeing the, like, forty thousand cars in the parking lot, decided to just pay the Big Price. ( I ended up getting 18 gallons--that meant I spent 90 cents more than by using the card. I felt it was worth Not having the hassle of going in, to pay the 90 cents.)

Last night, I finished Lily's funky bag:

Her birthday was Thursday, so it was pretty timely. Here is a photo of the pockets inside:
I need to stop working on the bags for a little while. I still need to make one for Violet, and now Blackeyed Susan wants one, too. But I am making quilts for Laura Carrot and Sweet Pea, and I need to Get A Move On, little dogie....Laura's birthday is next month.

I'll post pictures of some of those Princess squares, hopefully next time.

I'm getting ready to have Junior Asparagus and Laura Carrot for a couple of hours. Johnny Tremain played in the Alumnae soccer game at his college, against the current team. They only had ten players (instead of eleven-plus-extras), so he played all ninety minutes. His tootsies are trashed. He did get an assist, and the game ended in a tie. Not bad for old guys, and Johnny doesn't play even casually anymore.

I am also watching Blueberry tonight. He's easy--bottle at 8 and then to bed. Then I'll pull out the Princess quilts and re-assess.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Okay, this is pathetic. Puh-thetic.

Two weeks ago, Charming and I dropped the children off at church and went to get something to eat, and to Be Alone. (yum) We decided to try a Chinese Buffet close to the church, which we had never visited before. The food was fine (ate too much), and then they brought us the check, avec fortune cookies.

Charming's was traditional, tho' I forget what it was. What is remember-able is the fact that my cookie was SANS fortune--none at all. That had never happened to me before. I decided that I was, indeed, UN-fortunate.

Fast forward to last evening. We decided (because we had grown kids and grands "just dropping by" till after 6:30) that we would take Blackeyed Susan and Alvin Fernald to same Chinese Buffet. We Ate Too Much, again, and then the little black tray was brought with four cookies.

I chose first, and read the fortune that I will share in a minute. Alvin's read: Your respect for others will be your ticket to success. Susan's read: A four-wheeled adventure will soon bring you happiness. Charming's: A happy and harmonious family is important to you.

Ready for mine? (drumroll, please): Work on improving your exercise routine.

Are you kidding? That is not a "fortune"!! Tho' it may be a good idea, it is not what I just filled my tummy to uncomfortable-ness for. Who told you, nebulous fortune-cookie company, that you could Stick Your Nose into my business?

Do you realize, since I chose first, that I only had a 25% chance of choosing that particular fortune from the tray?

This is so depressing. I'm going to go get a giganto Mocha with double Whipped Cream from Starbucks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hi, Lily, Hi Lo

Today is my dear, dear daughter-in-love Lily's birthday. I was looking for a photo to stick in here, but I don't know if I have any without her hubby and three children in it. (I do tend to take scads of photos of those dear babies!--I need to take care of that little issue.)

I wrote about Lily on My Other Blog (see sidebar) today, if you want to know some of the wonderful things about Lily. I just wanted to add a couple more things here:

Lily embraced the idea of being a wife, mother, and home-maker early on. She received a little resistance to "not using your college degree (in El. Ed), /wasting your education." She realizes that an education is more than just a way to have a career in the world. Education is for the person--to make the PERSON better. Of course, an elementary ed. degree is not wasted, for a mother of children (as I also told my daughter, who has a degree in psychology....)

Lily is much more organized than her mother-in-law, but she loves me, anyway. She is a true "daughter"--doing those things my own daughters do, when it comes to family events, routine, celebratory, or "crisis-type".

Lily wants to learn to knit and to sew. She has already done a cross-stitch project, and she is a madwoman when it comes to scrapbooking. She is enlarging her cooking repertoire, and is a master "garage-sailor." She is an advocate for more natural mothering (better food, limited vaccinations, natural family planning), and she has a heart for young mothers who live away from their natural mother/grandmother/aunt support group. She often will have scads of mothers and babies in her home for fellowship.

Happy birthday, Lily--we love you. You make us better people. Thanks for desiring to be a part of our Clan.

Time For Twittering: Provisions of Grace...

This is so great! Tam has a new blog at Provisions of Grace (see my sidebar). Read about it here: Time For Twittering: Provisions of Grace...

Provisions of Grace sells new and vintage sewing items. Right now (she's just beginning) she has several vintage sewing books, and some luscious fabric. I am *so* looking forward to her adding things to her site!!

She is having a little contest to christen her new business. (read about it at the link above) You can win a $30.00 gift certificate--yum, Yum, YUM!!!

Tam and I are blog-gy friends, and sisters-under-the-skin. We love each other, because we have so much in common! I am so thrilled for her opportunity to bless her household with an income, while doing the things she loves to do! Go give her a visit today!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bluebird Blogs

Bluebird Blogs is giving away free custom-designed blog templates to 2 lucky people!

Go and check out her wonderful work!!

Email her for a free chance, and if you post about the contest on your blog, you will get an extra 5 chances to win.

(so now I have six chances--Me, Me, Me, ME, ME, ME!!!! (was that six times??)

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Look of Autumn

I finally got my fall decorating done in my main rooms. Here is the centerpiece for the dining room table:
My china cabinet boasts a festive garland. The candlesticks keep it from falling off: Here is the front door. Note the very important pennant, without which it is not "really " autumn at our house:
I always put my autumn quilt front-and-center. I did this one completely by hand:
Okay, so now every window had to have a garland, or they looked naked:
Today, Johnny Tremain and Rocky Balboa went to a Cubs game in Chicago, so Lily and Forget-me-not came over with the children. Here are Blueberry and Sweet Pea just hangin' out:
Alvin Fernald has a class tomorrow to get certified in First Aid. It will be great for him, and he will qualify for a Royal Ranger merit as well. Lily and I are going to Jo-Ann's--they have a Saturday-only sale on flannels for $2.99--maybe I can get started on Christmas jammy-pants!

This weekend is our favorite festival of the year--the Johnny Appleseed festival. (he is buried in our town.) Yum--apple cider, apple dumplings, demos of spinning, soap-making, handmade musical instruments (and lots of music, too.) Opportunities to spend lots of cash. Fun, fun, fun!

Tonight, just Alvin and I are home. Maybe I'll cut some sewing-thing out, and maybe just begin to go through the giant stack of projects....