Monday, May 18, 2015

A Walk In The Park


I try to take a little stroll every day. My sweet cat friends follow along. They walk with me like dogs! On rare ooccasions I can get ALL FIVE to hang out with me.  All have such unique personalities and there is usually some "clashing of views"


The older I get, the more I feel a closeness with Nature.  I appreciate these Spring days even more after such a cold Winter.  Everything is blooming and growing. The little veggie patch is in.  The sunflower and pumpkin seeds are scattered in random spots.  Two families of Barn Swallows have nested with us this year. One in the barn (of course) and one on the porch. They have taken over the abandoned Peewee nest from last year.
 
In my ongoing struggle with technology I am trying to "disconnect" a bit more,  In the past it was pen versus keyboard.  Now it is laptop versus phone.  Now matter how far technology advances and insists on making things "easier" for me, the more I find myself wanting to go backward.  The words and thoughts just don't seem to flow properly through the tiny light-up keyboard of my phone.  Even the laptop will never be as smooth as the pen, in my opinion.  As much as I would love to blog every day, I find myself returning more and more to my journal.  Yes, plain old paper and pen.
I should also be returning to some plain old needle and thread too!  There are half-finished projects scattered all over the place.  I just can't seem to settle on anything.
My American Girl doll clothes sale is running again this week at the gym.  I have a Christening gown to complete for my neighbor, and two friends from the gym want chairs recovered.  If only I could make a living with all this sewing!
Today is steamy and cloudy and full of mosquitoes.  A good day to pull out the "Idea Book"....my personal forerunner of Pinterest....and see what's next up in the world of cross-stitch, knitting and dolly fashions.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Visit

It seems like I have spent the month of April catching up, running in circles, starting things that are never finished and generally wasting time.  This always happens when one week out of the month is spent visiting my mother and father.  I was in New Jersey again 7-14 April.  It was one of the more pleasant trips in recent memory...on that new "sliding scale of  pleasantness" that I have had to create to maintain my sanity.  There was usual bickering between Mom and Dad as one refuses to yield even an inch to the others' maladies.
I plugged along in my usual way, attempting to ignore all of that and gauge my "success" by my daily accomplishments.  A lot did get done.  Windows cleaned, inside and out.  Curtains taken down and washed and put back up.  Mini blinds cleaned (and in some cases hidden away in order to prevent all windows from being sealed off like a morgue.)  I know it improves the overall mood of the house if it is more bright and open.  I can't imagine how they have not killed each other being cooped up in that house all Winter long!
 
 

 
The lovely Pepper has become even more friendly and at ease in her new home.  She loved the fact that I opened all the windows for her to observe the deer, squirrels, rabbits and various birds.  She has a very loud meow to begin with, but that chattering sound she makes at the wildlife is so interesting.  She has learned a few new "tricks" since Thanksgiving.
Jumping up on to the dining room table is her latest bit of entertainment.  She never mooches food or gets in your face.  She is just very curious and looking for attention (or to be the center of attention more likely)




 
 
She has also discovered the rocking chair in my brother's old room...mostly due to the fact that I finally cleared most surfaces of excess clothing, blankets, bags of yarn,, sheets, towels and whatever else was tossed there.  My father does his best to keep up with the housework, but things tend to end up in odd places.  Mom's Parkinson's Disease prevents her from doing cleaning, cooking, laundry etc.  All of the tasks a man in his 80's never did before and is not used to doing now.  But they plug along and do their best.  Luckily my brother lives close by.  He and my sister-in-law are a tremendous help to my parents.
 
 
 
Many a fine meal was cooked, much to my father's delight.  he is a man of few words, but he is always very complimentary of my culinary skills
 
 
 
There was even some delving into fields way beyond my talent or skill level.  Tiling is just such an adventure.  My goal was to replace 4 tiles that had fallen down.  They were gray and only one had survived. Home Depot only had black so I was behind the eight ball in terms of supplies as well as my lack of knowledge!  Well, 4 tiles turned into eight and 5 surrounding border pieces!!  The harder I tried to get the new tiles to stick, the more old ones fell off.  The original missing four were in a square, which would have led to a very inartistic arrangement of grey and black.  But thanks to the fact that some many others dislodged themselves during the process I was able to create a rather eye-pleasing mosaic,

 
 
 
When I spend a week in New Jersey it gives my brother and his family a week to escape.  And escape they did to do some university visits with my niece, followed by a short trip to Florida.  This gave me the chance to care for my old buddy Mel.  He is such a wild boy and I just love him!!



 
Pepper kept us entertained in the evenings.  And while I did help my mother finish 2 more knitting projects I didn't make a single cross-stitch, knit or purl myself!


 
So Spring has finally come.  By now this Magnolia in Mom and Dad's yard will be in full bloom.  I hope they've left those mini blinds off and the curtains open so they can see it.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Cat Collage!

The black boys Deuce, Coal, Roy and Simon.
 
 
All who have been at this house (some for just a little while) this past year. Mel, Roy, Deuce, Coal, GW, Houdini, Mocha, Simon and Jinxy.

 
 
The current residents: Roy, Simon, Mocha, Deuce, Coal and Mel.
 
I made a collage of just Roy, my special boy.

 
Poor Roy got left out of this collage (part of the reason he got his own, above).
Houdini, Mocha, Deuce, Simon, Mel, GW, Jinxy and Coal.

 
Just in case you haven't had enough cats.......Mel, Deuce, Mocha, Simon and Roy & Coal together.

 
 
...and the varieties of woodpeckers that come to my yard.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Importance of Being Modern

I've never liked very much being modern. I much prefer to live in an old fashion world with old fashioned things. But as I ponder the wonderousness of my new phone I wonder how modern I really can become.
I resisted for so many years getting a cell phone. Then when I finally got one 2 years ago, I managed to promptly lose it at the airport after only one month. Then a few weeks ago my cell phone carrier decided that I needed a mandatory upgrade. Those two words alone bring terror to my heart. Mandatory. Upgrade.
 It's taken me a full three weeks to figure out all the features of the phone, & I am sure there are many I still haven't found yet. Last night I was amazed to find that this phone has saved over 1500 of my old photos via Google Chrome.  I assume these are photos that I've posted somewhere on the internet. But it was a little scary seeing all of those faces and places come suddenly back onto the phone screen. A phone that I had just met apparently has known me for nearly a decade.  There it all was in bright living color. The family gatherings, the holidays, and sadly all those dearly departed pets.
 It is that time of year anyway. When I start to ponder things past and things future. Start to make plans for the garden, and the clean up after the "winter of our discontent". To see all these old friends and familiar sights was very comforting in the freezing cold.
But I think I'm far too attached to my new phone friend. So I put him down for a little bit to think about the present day. Christmas and New Years have long since passed and even Valentines Day has passed me by again very much unnoticed. So my creativity and crafting has now set its mind on Saint Patrick's Day.
I give you the green collection.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Can I?

Can I? Can I actually post to my blog through my new fancy phone? Can I actually post to my blog while speaking into my fancy phone? This is absolutely against everything I came to blogging for. It's driving the cats crazy. They can't understand why I'm talking into this little box while I'm' watching it type right on the screen. I'm not even going to attempt to post pictures. I'm going to press pause and wait and see what happens.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome Winter. Welcome New Friends


 
Today Winter arrives, and with it the influx of stray animals.  I feel so badly for them; abandoned at this time of year.  We have a huge barn and a shed converted into a "Man Cave.  Both have easy access via "cat doors" cut into the walls.  Both have either straw or furniture to keep the animals warm.  I have two large, heated water bowls and put out plenty of food.  Our regular outdoor visitor, the very shy grey and white cat still comes around every day.  Now two new ones have arrived.  A super friendly little black cat who I've named Simon. He's been around for about a week.  Male, relatively young and I think he is fixed.  The other cat I k new about before.  The same idiot former neighbors who abandoned a lovely donkey also left behind their Himalayan cat.   Jinxy is female, fixed and is about 6 years old.  They claim she was a barn cat who would not have gone with them when they moved to Florida.  Well "barn cat" makes every effort to get into my house.  She is very loving.  The first time I reached out to pet her she ran up my arm and perched on my shoulder, purring.

Our not-so-new guy Deuce is still the terror of the house.  The others just don't want to accept him as a friend, nor does he make much of an effort to be kind to them.  They have all become more tolerant of each other and will sleep on the bed all at the same time, separated by various parts of my body or stacks of blankets and pillows.

A selection of old friends here at the annual Gymnastics Team Christmas Party last weekend. After a crazy long Saturday at an equally crazy competition where I got to be a JUDGE and a COACH at various times during the day, we had our Team party on Sunday afternoon.

 
We are "officially" on break until 5 January, but somehow my boss managed to schedule a Staff Meeting for 5:30 pm tomorrow evening.  Yes, THREE DAYS before Christmas.  And it's a dinner at her house so SHE avoids going out and missing time with family and this also can be labeled as a "social event"  and therefore she doesn't have to pay us.  

 
Well, it really is a happy time of year for me when I can help out some animals in need.  Apparently Jinxy and Simon have met before and they share the space on the porch without incident.  If I could get the others to behave so well toward each other..... 


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lebanon Christmas Festival

I live in Clarksville, but I work in Lebanon.  It is a lovely lovey historic city in Warren County Ohio.  The central business district is a collection of lovely old buildings, some dating back to the 1700s.  The shops are filled with quilts and antiques and the first weekend of December the main street hosts the Horse Carriage Parade.


 
 
There is one parade in the afternoon and another in the evening,  The nighttime one has all the carriages, and even some of the horses, covered with lights!


 
 

There are horses of all breeds, shapes and sizes.  Even a few mules, donkeys and I actually saw a goat out there this year.
 

 

 
 
 


 

 


 

 
 
I hadn't been to the parade in many years, but the weather was relatively mild (38F) and I was feeling nostalgic. It was all so lovely and really put me in the Christmas mood. 
 
The tree made it's way out of the attic room for the first time in 4 years and is set up waiting for the lights to be put on.  I might not put up the ornaments this year though.  Our new addition, Deuce, is a bit too wild and curious and most of my ornaments are glass.
 
Wishing everyone peace and joy whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year!