Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friends on Earth


I made pasties this week.
This is one of two that I took with me to my godparents on Thursday.  Patsy's mom, Florrie (Florida, named for a mine in  England or maybe Africa, not the US state) used to love a pasty with an egg in it and my grandmother would make one for her as Florrie aged and suffered from Alzheimer/Dementia.  I just wanted my godparents to have something good to eat, not just that junk that sits on a shelf forever and only gets nuked. Plus it's been beyond cold and a pasty is always a great thing to eat on such days.  I made us 2 yesterday.

But on Tuesday at the RS midweek meeting we had a Thanksgiving Gala...which brought out 13 brave ladies because it was subzero...and very dark.  I was asked to be the speaker for the night, talking about's history, how I got started, what and why I knit.  I agreed but had no guess as to why I was asked to talk on this topic but the ladies were very receptive and kind.

We had begun the evening by singing the hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth..which includes this 3rd verse:

For the joy of human love, Brother, sister, parent child
Friends on earth, and Friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

I sat on the side and marveled that as often as I had sung this hymn, I had missed that one line.  OR perhaps it's because that night my grandma and mom were very near.

I had rheumatic fever when I was about in first grade and spent most days in bed. To wile away my time, my mom provided me with crafts to do and then with my grandma, they taught me how to knit.  So I owe a lot to them.  Not just for entertaining me but for giving me the start of skills that I could be grateful for all these years later.

Knitting provides a sort of yoga/zen experience. When I knit I am in the moment, life slows down, I think of all the nameless knitters before the Industrial Revolution who sat and learned and provided protection from weather and clothing.  It satisfies my need to create and provide beauty.  I recognize the need for repentance and understand it better. When I err in knitting I also need to take even more time to take out each stitch til I get back to the correct one and then with life.  When I err it takes longer to get back the 'land' I've lost.

These are few of the things I showed off (and truly, it was nice to be allowed to show what I was taught and explain what I continued to learn).  Hats, scarves, gloves, afghans and of course the wonderful Baby Mary Jane baby shoes that I've made for everyone since I was 8 years old.  

I taught about being a picker or a thrower (I am a thrower), and showed the pin I got when I learned to do the Portugese style from a now-gone knitting shop in Avon.

So as we head closer to Thanksgiving I am so grateful for my FRIENDS above, who gave me all I am!  I am grateful for you, my readers.  I don't keep track on who read or leave comments online, but there are those who drop me a note personally.  I love that connection.  We are all stitches, knitted together through family, experiences, organizations, and sometimes, just as ships passing in the night.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Edwardian Tea

Yesterday I was asked to play piano while the Elyria Women's Club had their tea.  It was held in the Monteith Hall
It is the former home of an ardent abolitionist, the Rev. John Monteith....and it is run and nurtured by this women's club.  The Rev. Monteith turned it into a station for the underground railroad.  It was built about 1835 (on the dark side, he was instrumental in establishing the University of Michigan...OH-IO).  A tunnel in the basement led to the Black River and allowed slaves to escape to Canada by way of Lake Erie.

This was overhead in the room the tea was served.  The woodwork is exquisite, especially the floors which had to be replaced when a radiator upstairs burst and destroyed that room, this room..including the ceiling, floor and walls.  So now that the renovations are completed, it's an amazing room.

Many of the Ladies from the Hickories (Lorain County Historical Society) are involved with this group...I am not.  Elyria with its one way streets still baffles me and let's face it...I am busy enough. But it was so nice to be asked to play the background music.  The tables were set so prettily and each table had it's own china tea pot, filled with boiling water.  Each setting had a white bag filled with various teas...and even one herbal tea so I could have something warm to drink...and I needed it.  It was a cold day and the house is cold.

We dined on Savory Sandwiches (chicken salad on croissant, egg salad on wheat, beef, provolone and pesto spirals and cucumber delights), Cranberry Orange and Peaches 'n Cream scones served with Devonshire Cream.  Pastries were salted Caramel mini Cheesecakes, Chocolate Amaretto Bars, Banana Bars with Lemon Cream Frosting and Frosted Sugar Cookies in the shape of pumpkins that were decorated as well.

And the thing I have noticed at all the teas is that the women who come truly are ladies. They do not have to PIG OUT, eating everything up and demanding more.  Each plate is set with one of each of the sandwiches. The dessert plate had enough and the ladies do not feel the need to grab from another table.

It is an event that honors a long ago time.  Not a church meal where the children knock over adults to get to the common table, filling their plates with so much food and don't clean their plates...while parents look the other way.  This is a time when ladies come dressed as ladies, some with fascinators if not real hats.  They sit and chat and sip their teas.  It is all so lovely and I am grateful to be a part of it.

A funny moment that I have to add because I realize the world of women today have lost the niceness of wearing slips.  A young voice student performed 5 songs.  Her voice was lovely and she was very accomplished.  She was as thin as a reed and very pretty.  She sang standing in front of a window in a knit skirt...with no slip on and with the sun that came through, even on such a grey day, we saw more than we wanted least I did.  Reminded me of when Diana was engaged to Charles and was still working in the children's school and was caught by the same sunlight dilemma. That never happened again!  What's the problem with wearing a slip?

My newest favorite herbal tea is Twinings' Honeybush, Mandarin and Orange. So gentle and soothing.  Think I'll go online and order some....that way I don't need to have a variety box and hate the rest.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Today was a super day.  Oddly I had  forgotten to keep my appointment to get my hair trimmed yesterday but Marian let me come very early this morning so she could fit me in.  I learned I have a particular swirl at the crown of my head and that's why, now that my hair is so short, I cannot get it to lie flat...I need to keep the hair curled in the direction of the swirl. Also, grey/silver/white hair needs a higher setting on the curling iron because old hair is coarser.  That means my 20+ year old curling iron needs to be replaced.

I had a grand time at BBW afterwards. I had gone in for the season lip refresher...the one from aroma therapy with Eucalyptus and Speriment and discovered quite a sale.  Love when the BBW woman offers me a bag...of course I am going to fill a bag if she gives me one.  Plus I had coupons.

Then I headed to JCP because I had more coupons only to discover another huge sale and came home with 2 new sweaters.  I thought fat people didn't get cold?!  I am always cold.

Today was the Grand Open House for an Alpaca Farm in Grafton. We had originally met the owners at a Frostville Market in N. Olmsted a year ago but always missed their open house. When I visited with Pam yesterday at her work, for her birthday, I asked her to think about going with me.  Today she agreed so off we went. These animals are SO soft.

 This little baby is Ranger.  He was very interested in us until we didn't give him a bottle, then he was disgusted and walked off.  Ranger is bottle fed and has recently been downsized to only 2 bottles a day.    He was just so soft and so inquisitive.

 They have a small barn filled with things made out of alpaca fur/wool.  They even had something called Alpaca Tea in burlap bags which really is only alpaca poo which is a great manure.  You soak this bag and all in 5 gallons of water and then use the water for indoor and outdoor plants.  Gave them to Ken and to Robert...for next spring.  Robert of course wants to go back and see if he can just buy manure for the gardens next year.

Then we decided to hit Olive Garden to celebrate Pam's 62nd birthday.  We went early so missed the crowd and had a great time.  The thing with OG and Pam/me is that altho we love the food we never make it home without having to stop and find a bathroom.  When the server came to take our orders I asked her if OG washed their salad greens in a FruitFresh type solution that might have MSG in it. She said, 'no'.  I gently explained why I was asking and she smiled, shaking her heads and said, "the MSG is in the dressing."  Mind you, it didn't stop us from eating the salad but now we know.

It is always good to have a Saturday that is relaxing and spent with the best of friends.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Robert's surgery

Friday, Robert had hernia surgery...a second one this year.  The first was in March and the recovery was easy.  This didn't go so well, at least the recovery but there is a reason.

Here he is really still out of it.  Could barely open his eyes and talked funny.  Had to pee every 10 minutes but attempting to imitate Rob, he'd say POOOOOP in a quiet voice, eyes closed.  The O2 strip on his forehead had to be placed there because when it was on his finger, he kept tapping the finger to some unheard rhythm and it wouldn't record correctly.

  I got him home and resting but by Saturday he was determined that he could attend the Broadway Series show of Newsies.  I didn't think it was a good idea because in order for us to buy the Broadway Series we have balcony seats.  Playhouse Square is vintage and historic theaters...meaning no elevators. We did take the elevator in the parking garage but there are a lot of steps and a lot of people he had to jostle through.  But the show was worth it, I guess.
 A huge newspaper/banner was set up so that you could have your picture taken.  It's a bit dark but you can see that we were all ready for fun.  Below is Robert with Kitty Buchan and Daphne Fredricks who attend the shows with us.

 I had promised Robert...who loves weird hats, that if they had a newsies cap I would buy him one...they did.
When Cara saw this picture she sent me the one below with Kipp and Peter in their newsies caps and ready to fire their slingshots.  Straight out of Newsies, I entitled their picture BROOKLYN! who came to the aid of the newsies in a rather exciting scene in the movie.  Love it boys, and you!

The next day, Sunday, was Lakewood Ward's Primary Sacrament Meeting Program and I wanted to see Henry.  Robert could not get out of bed at all so I went alone.  It was an adorable program and Henry, in all his innocence and joy, sang his heart out.  He was easily heard and so happy to be singing.  In one song the parents joined the Primary and sang two of the verses.  You could see Henry turn to see his parents, Hank on one side, Marissa on the other.  Such a perfect moment.

 Hank is on the far right with the dark glasses.  Marissa is on the left, 2nd one in wearing dark blue.  Henry has turned to look at his dad.

 The best part was as you entered the chapel there was this display of the families and the temples made out of sugar cubes or marshmallows by the kids.

 A large temple was created brick by brick throughout the presentation, with Moroni being added last.

The whole event was delightful for me but being able to sit with my grands was fun too,, especially when Marissa and Hank went up to sing.  I got Oskar to stay with me and had Simon on my lap.  Perfect day.
  I was very sorry Robert had to miss this but the M2T2s came to dinner at 5:30 and stayed to chat/play.  So Robert wasn't so left out...but he is so tired!  Now to learn to do nothing but repair.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Oskar turns 2

Hooray...Oskar is 2!  We were invited to have dinner at M2T2s home.  Oskar is different than Henry, quieter and a bit slower to get going but he's so amazingly handsome and his ways are so cute.

 Halloween is huge at M2T2's home and so Oskar asked for a skull cake.  I'm thinking from the looks of this he might have had second thoughts.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Time to return home

Soon we had to leave...or so we thought. We were scheduled to leave on Saturday, Nov 1 at 10:30. We boarded the plan and taxied out.  Then stopped. I figured we were waiting out turn.  Not so. Some problem with the instruments and we had to return to the gate AND get off the plane...FOR HOURS.  People were so not happy.  Robert and I were just grateful we had Jordan/Hillary's home to return to if needed (and it was) and that Robert was retired and we wouldn't be missing any work.

We switched our tickets to leave on Monday since we were tired of waiting for 6+ hours.  As we went to get our luggage and await Hillary to pick us up, another passenger told us that the flight was totally cancelled!  Jordan managed to switch us to Sunday flight without any additional fees because it had been cancelled and not just delayed.  We went to dinner and then to a park to play with the kids.  It was a relaxed evening and delightful unexpected times together.  I just felt bad for Hillary who had just cleaned the house for the the coming of their best friends, the Eves.  But she was so gracious and said we could just spend the winter with them.

Sunday we returned to the airport, boarded the 8am flight and again, were asked to get off.  This time the plane had hydraulic problems. Our gate had 2 guards that stood near to be sure nothing got out of hand.  The passengers WERE IRATE!  Some people were losing work time, three others had tickets for the Browns' game that afternoon and that was not going to happen.

When the 10am flight from Cleveland arrived, 5 more security guards were called to guard that gate and those passengers because our passengers were demanding to be put on that 10:30 flight back to Cleveland and bump off those passengers which was not going to happen!  This is what we saw until 3:30

Bored people just staring out the window at the plane that supposedly, hopefully was being repaired. One woman was calling Joe Pagonakis from WEWS, the consumer advocate.  Others called Carl Monday.  Some called and screamed at Frontier airlines.  What really infuriated the passengers was that all the people who showed up at the gate were NOT employees of Frontier, only the airport, and could answer no question.

But at about 3:30 we were boarded and actually got off the ground.  I prayed all the way home!  Hank picked us up and had dinner ready for us to eat when we got home which was so welcome.  Frontier offered no real food which would have cost anyway.

But it was a great vacation and we loved being with the Florida family who treated us so well.  Later we learned that Frontier had given us $600 in vouchers to fly again with them.  So it looks like we will one day joyfully return to long as NHB stays down there!

But it is wonderful to come home and enjoy the season of Fall....wonderful grey skies, sun and chill.  Plus the wonderful mums!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween without Coats

So Halloween dawned bright (of course) and warm.  Lily's preschool had a sort of Trunk or Treat event in the morning without the cars. We just circled the parking lot area and the kids came out in their costumes and gave out candy.  These wee ones were so tiny and a bit shy.

This is all of Lily's class only. There were quite a few classes at this preschool and what was really nice is that normally they wear uniforms.  I am all for uniforms.

 This was the pumpkin was carved the night before...

 Lily is quite the craft girl and so we made special things for the dinner table...little cups for oyster crackers.  More on her skills in another post.
 Can you see me?  I'm hiding amidst the orange colors of NHB's front yard...and yes, still the ad man for Got Candy.  I cannot tell you how amazed and impressed I with the costumes on kids and adults alike.  Mostly around here we get bums and crazed zombies.  Down in NHB's community you got real costumes.  Adults were totally dressed and many offered special treats for jello shots and no I didn't partake...but there were also wings and veggies.  I am not sure who had the most fun...the kids with the candies or the adults with their beverages which they carried with them as they walked with their kids.  Some even in lovely fluted glassware, some in cans.  Yes, I do know why they were having so much fun.  Here's a sample.

 After we were done walking we settled in at Jordan/Hillary's home and passed out candies.

 Here are the kids, having just been 'made up' by their mom.
 I was told to slow down, I was going too fast and not being part of the family.  No one down there ran from house to house. They just ambled along like they had all the time in the world.  I think I prefer it better up north here where we ran from house to house...all excited for the moment, in the dark and often, yes, in the damp.  Perhaps we ran for warmth.  Perhaps because it was just part of the fun.  Life is different in the south, I guess.  I still say "run for it!"

But back at home, M2T2 had a wonderful Halloween, especially the Trunk or Treat in Lakewood Ward.  Marissa did an outstanding job with the costumes which they also wore to get candy on Halloween. In case you don't understand, Simon was exhausted and needed Marissa to hold up his head for the pictures.

Oskar was The Doctor (from Dr. Who), Henry was a Dalek, and little Simon was in the Tardis.  So I guess that leaves Marissa as The Companion.   Oskar got the honor of being The Doctor because of his close resemblance to Matt Smith  .  Now Oskar will want to be the Doctor every Sunday.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

this n that

Our time was winding down and Jordan and Hillary made sure we saw as much as we possibly could without too much tiring out of the kiddies. But these 3 little ones were so good at doing all we did.

One day we went to Pine Island for ice cream and to visit their library.  I am always up for visiting a library.
 This is the Great Licks Ice Cream Shop...excellent ice cream.  Out back was this eagle posed at the top of the pole for the longest time.
  Marius seemed to enjoy the library as well.

  One night we watched the kiddies so Jordan and Hillary could go to dinner alone as well as do a little shopping.  Hillary is very good at shopping the sales and ends up with great steals and deals.  I think they went to the Bonefish Grill.  We ate at one when we were with the Kennedy's in FL last year.

 This is a site often seen...Rob cuddling with his dad while computering.  Rob is amazing...he is so technologically inquisitive.  Robert is sure he's going to end up at MIT with some saving device that wee Rob will have developed.

Here I am with Miss Lily as we craft.  I'm telling you, Lily can craft anything.  She's very methodical about how to begin and how to proceed.  She creates new concepts, not just follows what is on the picture. That part is so me.  No inventiveness in my bones!
 And boy can she paint. One afternoon Robert joined her for some art he is with his wonderful dog that his former b-i-l taught him to draw when he was about 10.  It's only dog he draws actually altho Robert is quite the artist.  I hope once he relaxes enough after retirement that he might pick up the brushes again.

Robert and Rob enjoyed some cleaning up time together...using the spray was a big thing for Rob.  The men were very good at cleaning up and Jordan was so kind to mention how much easier it was for him to clean up with extra adult hands...meaning mostly his dad altho I did help if I wasn't needed to play with the grands which of course if my first priority.

One night we had popcorn made this the above contraption which I bought after we returned.  I am not a popcorn lover unless it's in the theaters.  Robert likes to eat those horrible microwave packets that have caused cancer in the people who work at these production plants.  This allows you to pop corn in the microwave but with oil and seasoning. Easy clean up too.
Now we come to my favorite part. After years and years of NOT having a smart phone, Jordan finally needed one for work.  He got one for himself and one for Hillary.  Iphone 6.  Now you know how I love all things computer so the iPhone (thanks Jacob for my first one ever as well as my iPad) is just a marvel to me.  It was fun to see Jordan open his and get it set up...certain he was that when he used his finger scan to start that it would set off Skynet...the self aware artificial  intelligence system featured in the Terminator movies, with the goal of exterminating the whole human race.  So far we are still here!

Jordan has despised how the smart phones have captivated the human users to the point of not interacting with other humans.  I get it.  I agree with is.  Just as with our land line at home, we don't answer any phone if we are involved with dinner or guests.  But these things are so convenient.  Once I knew Jordan was playing with his phone and saw Hillary signal to him that it was time to put it down and talk with us.  I smiled at her and was laughing hysterically inside my head because I would have been exactly the same.  First time with a smart phone was heavenly.  So amazing, this form of communication!  I am sure when the Savior comes again, and when the entire world sees him at the same time, some sort of technology like this is going to be involved. But for now, I'm just glad to be able to face time with them as I do with M2T2 or Skype with Barretts or Christensens.  Hoping some time that the Kennedy's lives slow down enough that we can facetime with them.

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