Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Questions from Sunday Brunch were late getting posted this week, so I'm late answering them.

1. Indoor or outdoor weddings?

Only very brave and daring people plan outdoor weddings in Michigan. I've never attended on outdoor wedding.

2. How many weddings have you been in?
Only two. And one of those was when I was the witness for sister Doris when she married John at the courthouse.

3. When you were married (or if there is a wedding in your future), what type of wedding did or would you have?
Wedding picture from 1965When I married the father of my children in 1965, it was a very traditional church wedding. That marriage lasted ten years.

During that season of my life, I had the entire crown of my hair bleached out platinum. For my wedding, I had a rinse put on it so my hair color wouldn't look dated in future years. How funny that I never though about the entire hairstyle looking dated.

I worked in a high fashion beauty shop and we were heavily into backcombing and hairspray. The hair you see in this picture was not meant to move. And it didn't.

Second and forever husband Bob and I were married in 1975 at the courthouse by a magistrate. We each had a friend stand up with us and only my two children attended.

I thought it was important for the kids to be there so they would know for sure that Bob and I were truly married. Heather was seven and John was five. Neither one remembers the occasion. There were no other guests and, unfortunately, no pictures.

We wore matching home sewn flannel shirts in a gold and brown plaid. Bob wore blue jeans and I wore a gold corduroy mini skirt.

We celebrate our twenty-ninth anniversary on September 18.

4. Have you caught the bouquet or garter?

5. Tell us about a funny, scary or memorable wedding moment.
Mother used to work for a very conservative Dutch lawyer named Ron. For most of my high school years, I babysat for Ron's three little children.

Ron and his wife attended my wedding and in the reception line he gave me a big kiss on the cheek. Then he blushed and blurted out, "I just kissed the babysitter!"

Do you have a funny wedding story to tell?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

eMail It
See the little letter with the arrow in it just before the Comments line at the bottom of the post?

If you click on it, it gives you the opportunity to email a link to whatever I wrote to someone you think might enjoy it.

Blogger is enhancing its blogging features at a pretty quick pace. I'm looking forward to adding some of the other enhancements to my blog soon. First I need to update my template. I'm using an old Blogger template that doesn't have everything it needs in it to handle all the new Blogger capabilities.

My nephew Mike's Blogger weblog uses one of the newer templates. Monette isn't able to display it with her Mac, so I'm a little hesitate to make hasty changes. I will make sure I can backtrack when I do add new things.

NEXT BLOG May Ruin Your Day
If you want an awful experience, play with the new Blogger NEXT BLOG button on the upper right of the screen. It will take you to a randomly selected Blogger blog.

The intent is that you will be able to find wonderful new Blogger blogs to read. The reality is that you will see some really awful blogs and maybe get a virus.

Melodee of Go Ahead: Read My Mind reported that when she used the NEXT BLOG button a virus started to download itself on her computer. She was rescued by her virus software, but she isn't going to try the NEXT BLOG button again.

I played with NEXT BLOG a few nights ago - before reading about Melodee's experience. I didn't get a virus, but I didn't see anything worth reading either. There sure are a lot of very bad blogs out there. Bad writing, bad grammar, and bad content.

Do you have a good blog to recommend?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Dog Days of Summer
Last night as Pappy and I were leaving doggy school, there was a four month old Papillon puppy waiting for the next class. How wiggly. How cute. How snuggly.

We have three dogs. We do not need a puppy.

This morning as I was coming out of my sleepy stupor I briefly thought it would be fun to look at Papillon puppies on the internet. Bad idea!

Every September I start looking for something different, something to add a little excitement and interest to my life. That's how we ended up with three dogs. Fortunately, as I sipped my cup of coffee, sanity reigned. I realized that this September unrest is an annual cycle and it will pass.

September 2001 I started looking at small breeds on the internet intent on getting my first lap dog.

Sunny was born around September 1. Her mother and two of her siblings were found along side the road, taken to the pound, and ended up at a foster home in Big Rapids.

I found her on Petfinder, a wonderful site where you can search for any type and breed of pet in any geographic area. (Warning: Lots of sad pictures. Soft hearted people will end up with a new family member if they visit Petfinder.)

My search was for "terrier". Sunny came up as a papillon terrier mix. In reality, she is much more mixed than two breeds, but she did look like Jack Russell and papillon mix with some poodle for curls. I was smitten, sent in the application, and waited.

Fifteen families applied for Sunny. Fortunately, because she was so small, her foster mother thought she needed to live with a older couple, so we were selected.

Late October 2001, we became the parents of a unique and wonderful two pound mutt puppy to go with Glory, our five year old lab mix. I named her Sunshine because she brought sunshine into our lives. I had forgotten how much work it is to have a new puppy. It turned out to be the perfect cure for my September ennui.

Around the first of September, 2002, I went out to Petfinder just to see if there were any Papillons for adoption in the area. We had never had three dogs at the same time, and I was sure I didn't want three dogs. Just looking.

And there was Pappy, looking back at me. I briefly considered what life might be like with three dogs, said a little prayer, sent the link to DH Bob, and promptly forgot about the sad little dog in the picture.

That evening I was sitting on the couch, Bob was online, and I heard him say,

"We have to get him."
"This little Papillon. We have to get him."

The adoption of Pappy took almost two months. It required a seven page application, references, and a home inspection. Really.

Late November, Monette and I drove a round trip of 500 miles to pick up Pappy. He was in much worse shape than I had been told, both emotionally and physically. A dog who has been abused or abandoned always comes with "issues" and needs plenty of work and attention. Another canine project and cure for my September ennui.

September 2003 life was exciting enough without getting another dog. I was anxiously waiting to lose my job and it was just about September when I learned my January termination date.

This September it is not going to be another dog. I think I'll just give lots of love to the three dogs we have and wait out the September blahs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Sunny Still Leary of Chair
Sunny in the new kitchen chair Sunny has a hard time with change. She is not sure why we have new scary chairs in our house. She is still very cautious around them.

This chair has been in our house for two weeks now. It replaced a chair that Sunny loved to sit in. For this picture I picked her up and placed her in the new chair. She stayed long enough for the picture, but she prefers the older furniture that she knows is safe.

Pappy Knows What a Chair is For
Pappy in the new living room chairPappy, on the other hand, checked out the new chairs shortly after they arrived and decided they were benign. A few days later, he hopped up in this one and claimed it for one of his favorite snoozing places.

The Blahs
WOW. It's Wednesday already and I haven't posted since Sunday.

That's because I've been feeling creaky and cranky this week. Everything I've written sounded like whining, and I didn't want to publish it. It was obvious when I read my writing that I have nothing legitimate to whine about. I just seem to be in a bad mood for no good reason.

Actually, I have many things to be thankful for and, in general, things are all OK. But boring. Maybe it's post-company let down.

The summer is almost over. I always feel like September is the time for a new start. But I'm not starting anything new.

There is a French word for what I'm feeling: ennui, a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction.

Ennui is a good thing. My ennui makes me look at my life and find things that need changing and other things that need to be eliminated. On a more positive note, my ennui has me looking for something new to add to my life to make it more meaningful and interesting.

Are you starting something new this fall?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Making Waves for CIC
CIC vest and socks with Making Waves pattern For each sock in the Six Sock Knitalong I've challenged myself to do a corresponding vest and toddler pair of socks to send to CIC.

For August and September the knitalong is using the Making Waves stitch pattern which turned out to be perfect for CIC.

The vest is based on the What's In My Pocket Vest Pattern, size 2, 72 stitches around. It was knit with a bulky blue Lopi wool on size 10.5 needles. The Making Waves stitch pattern is in the center 24 stitches of the front and back.

The Making Waves pattern stitch pulls in, so for the socks, I cast on 28 stitches for the ribbing and increased to 32 for the waves pattern. They are knit from a turquoise Cascade 220 wool on size 5 needles.

The Making Waves socks I'm knitting myself for the knitalong have been on hold for the last few weeks while I work on a project I can't share. I expect to get back to them by the end of the month and finish them early in September.

What is a Coastal Disjunct?
From the Michigan Nature Association website:

"A coastal plain in Michigan? Yes. What is a coastal plain disjunct plant? It is one that is separated or disjoined from its usual location, the coastal plain along the Atlantic Ocean. Certain counties in southwest Michigan have marshes with such plants."

Cicada hatching at Hamilton Township Coastal DisjunctOn this beautiful August afternoon I took a guided walk through the Hamilton Township Coastal Disjunct.

I heard about the coastal disjunct field trip while on a Kalamazoo Nature Center field trip. I thought it sounded like something an amateur naturalist shouldn't miss.

I especially wanted to know how the coastal plants ended up in Michigan.

The answer? Nobody knows. According to our guide, there are some theories but none of them have been proven. He didn't think any of them made sense and he didn't tell us what they were.

We came across this cicada hanging from a shelf fungus and shedding its skin. It brought out more cameras than any plant we saw.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Family Fun Day
Kimmy and John on the PhotosaurusTuesday was "Family Fun Day" with Uncle John and Aunt Anne visiting from Idaho. We spent the day at the Binder Park Zoo. What a wonderful memorable day we had together.

The last time eight year old Kimmy saw her Uncle John and Aunt Anne in person, she was only two years old. It didn't seem to matter. John and Kimmy took up like they'd been playing with each other for her entire childhood.

Kimmy and Uncle John having fun in the old jeep at the zooThis old Jeep is parked in the Wild Africa area of the Binder Park Zoo. The kids love to get in it and pretend they're driving.

Uncle John, the passenger, wishes Kimmy would watch where she is going. Heather, outside the window, is enjoying a good laugh over Kimmy's driving. In about six more years, Heather won't think Kimmy's driving is so funny.

Kimmy had her face painted at the zoo compliments of her Uncle John. Yes, that is a spider in the middle of her forehead. Those are spider webs on her cheeks. She liked the paint job, but it itched so much she decided to wash it off before we went out to dinner.

Family fun day dinner at ApplebeesAfter the zoo visit, Monette treated us to dinner at Applebee's. The waitress was so nice. Taking our picture was her idea and she even shut the blinds so it would turn out.

It was a day I want to remember for the rest of my life - to have my children together and enjoying each other's company. Because we live so far apart, these are indeed rare and precious moments.

Going around the table left to right:

  • Me - Monette's daughter. Heather and John's mother. Kimmy's grandma.
  • Heather - Monette's granddaughter. My daughter. John's sister. Kimmy's mother.
  • Kimmy - Monette's great-granddaughter. My granddaughter. Heather's daughter. John and Anne's niece.
  • Anne - John's wife. My daughter-in-law. Mother-to-be of my second grandchild.
  • Monette - My mother. Heather and John's grandmother. Kimmy's great-grandmother.
  • John - Monette's grandson. My son. Heather's brother. Anne's husband. Kimmy's uncle. Father-to-be of my second grandchild.

Kimmy and Grandma in matching teeshirtsTuesday night is kid's night at Applebee's. Kimmy got dinner for free plus she got a balloon and a red flower painted on her cheek. It was the perfect ending to a day that was as perfect as a day can be.

Kimmy and I didn't plan to dress alike. She knew I had a shirt like hers and she thought I might wear it, so she wore hers. She was pleased to know that I'd thought the same way.

This is so special. It makes it even sweeter because I know the time is coming soon when she will not want to be dressing like her grandma.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning we are meeting for breakfast before John and Anne drive off across the state to the Detroit Airport. It's going to be a sad good-by for all of us.

Monday, August 16, 2004

My Baby is Going to be a Daddy
Son Johns baby pictureThis is my son John when he was nine months old. He's over thirty now and here on a visit with his wife Anne.

Remember back on July 30 when I posted about finding two four-leaf clovers?

I wrote that even with the clover I still wasn't expecting the good fortune that came my way when I learned that son John and daughter-in-law Anne were coming to visit the middle of August.

Well after we greeted each other and settled in for a chat, John asked what good luck I got from the second clover. A rather strange question. I couldn't think of anything better than his and Anne's visit from Idaho, so I told him I didn't know.

That was the right answer! He told me the second clover worth of good luck is due to make me a grandmother around April 4 in Idaho.

What a surprise! But a very welcome surprise.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

School Days
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

Marshall High School Class of 1963! I'll be swinging down Memory Lane to answer these questions.

1. Did you like or dislike high school?

Neither. High school was what I was supposed to be doing, so I did it.

Even though I didn't think much about not liking it while it was happening, life was better after high school.

2. Walk to school, ride the bus or catch a ride with someone?
We lived in the country my freshman year, so I rode the bus. I don't remember exactly when it was we moved to town, but by my junior year we lived close to the school and I walked.

Marshall was a small town. Many days I walked home for lunch and back to school again.

3. What was your favorite subject?
Math. I loved the beauty of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

For the last two years of high school my math teacher was Miss Ruth Ann Erskine. She taught me how to think and she taught me that some things require patience.

4. When it came to doing homework, did you do it right away, wait 'til the last minute or just do it whenever you felt like it?
I did it before it was due.

Sometimes I was doing it at the last minute, but it was always handed in on time.

5. Would you go to your high school reunion?
I attended my ten year class reunion. No one had changed much and there was a lot of pot smoking which I didn't participate in. I'm sure that later reunions were more interesting, but I never went back. My introverted self was much happier staying home.

I think I really must attend our 50 year reunion in 2013 - Lord willing that I'm still alive and able.

What did you think of high school?

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Arrival of the Tall People

John and Anne next to their rental car Friday the 13th was a great day for me. My son John and his wife Anne arrived in SW Michigan from their home in Idaho. They are here for John's sixteen year high school reunion and a family visit.

It's been over five years since we've seen each other in person. That was the wedding in Las Vegas, Anne's home town. John and I keep in pretty close touch with blogs and email so I didn't realize how much I missed his presence.

Now I know I have to fight the inertia that keeps me in Michigan and learn to take that plane to Post Falls Idaho. I never want to go five years without seeing my son again.

Anne and I don't know each other very well, but I know her well enough to say I'm a very fortunate mother to have my son married to such a fine woman. They make a perfect couple and it makes me smile to see them together.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Gotcha with My Headrest
We got a new chair today and the little dogs are afraid of it. Sunny scuttles by it like it's going to reach out and grab her. Pappy is a little braver. After looking it over from afar, he finally went over and sniffed it out.

It's very comfy. I wish I could sit in it with my laptop but the little dogs wouldn't know what to do. I normally sit on the loveseat. Pappy sits on the back of it over my shoulder and Sunny snuggles up next to my left side. This obviously won't work if I'm sitting in a chair.

I will be able to sit in it when I don't have my laptop on my lap because then I can have the dogs on my lap - provided Sunny gets over being afraid of the chair.

Is That an Iceberg?
Last night was the doggy school picnic on a dog friendly beach at Lake Michigan. It couldn't have been colder. I heard we set records yesterday for the lowest temperatures ever in August. August is usually unbearably hot and humid in Michigan.

It was about 60 degrees (F) and very windy. I wore a sweatshirt covered by a fleece jacket with a nylon jacket on top. That kept me warm except for my hands.

Sunny was the lucky dog who got to go with me. She had never been to the beach before and she loved romping in the sand. We're going to have to go back when/if it warms up.

Here Kitty Kitty
Here's a link to a site with adorable kitten pictures. Everytime you click on the button, a new one pops up. Too cute.

Random Kitten Generator

Now I want to find one with random puppy pictures.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Need an Avatar?
Here's something fun - an Avatar Maker. Lots of options for making just the image you want.

An avatar is a graphical representation that represents you on the internet. It can look like you, a completely different person, an object, or an animal.

I selected the options to match my actual appearance. Here is the result:

My avatar from Avatar Maker

Don't I look like a friendly granny? How about leaving me a comment?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Another This and That
Questions from Sunday Brunch.

1. How do you like your eggs?

Over easy. That way I know for sure that they're done.

2. What do you collect?
I'm not a collector. I do have bins and bins of yarn waiting to be knit up. Does that count?

3. Do you carry a purse, backpack or briefcase on a regular basis? If yes, does it contain only the essentials or a whole lot of everything?
My purse is rather largish, but I keep it pretty cleaned out and only carry the essentials. That usually includes a pair of socks I'm knitting. What's more essential than having some knitting to pick up when there's time?

4. When is the last time you've read a book, put together a puzzle, built something or did something crafty?
I just finished The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. Not great literature but a very pleasant little read. The story line revolves around four very different women who meet and bond in a knitting group.

Something crafty? Is this a good excuse to show you my latest completed knitting project? Yes!

Rose colored CIC vest knit in Sailor's Rib pattern
Yarn Forward, an online yarn shop, had bulky Lopi on sale for half price. I bought a large amount in bright and pretty colors to make CIC vests. Then, instead of working on either of the pair of socks I have started, I spent the last two days knitting the first little vest. After all, I just had to find out if I was going to like knitting with the Lopi yarn. I do.

These little vests knit up very quickly. Even quicker than a pair of toddler CIC socks. They are only seventy-two stitches around, knit with bulky yarn on size 10.5 needles. That gives about three stitches an inch and four rows an inch.

I've never timed one from start to finish, but I know I can knit one in two days just sitting down occasionally and knitting for a short time.

5. What was the highlight of your weekend?
So far there hasn't been a highlight - but it's not over yet.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Rest of the Story
Thanks for all the comments, emails, sympathy, and advice on my last post.

Now I think it's time I tell you why I attend the church that I attend - the preaching and teaching is excellent.

Once the music part of the service is over, we take our Bibles and get a detailed lesson on a section of the contents.

Our senior pastor was an attorney in Scotland for ten years before being called by God to preach the Word. He is a graduate of Edinburgh University, Scotland. He earned a Master of Theology degree and his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary.

He is an intelligent man with a powerful love of the Lord and a strong feeling for the Word of God. His sermons are well organized and delivered with enthusiasm. This summer he is preaching a detailed series on the book of Ruth with numerous lessons and applications for my life.

Many people, myself included, take notes on his sermons so we can go back to the passage during the week to absorb it at a slower pace.

There are some theological points where I believe differently than this church, so I have never become an official member. But I have been a faithful attendee since the Lord led me there ten years ago. Rare is the service where I'm not blessed by the message.

I feel very strongly that the Lord wants me in that church right now - but not forever. Periodically I pray about going somewhere else and the Holy Spirit tells me to stay put for now and keep learning. So that's what I do.

Tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will be sitting in church with the proper spirit of worship.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bobbleheads for Jesus
It all started about five years ago when my church hired a Minister of Worship and Music.

Until then there was an organ prelude, lots of the old hymns that I love, a choir that could be heard, and very excellent Christmas and Easter special music programs directed by talented people from the congregation. I loved the music. It played an important role in my worship.

Now we have an orchestra, chorus chants where the same words are repeated over and over, and a choir that can't be heard because the new sound system is drowning out the vocals with the amplified accompaniment.

Occasionally the Minister of Worship and Music gets to give the sermon. Then we all learn that we are to worship with our heart and mind on the Lord. Therefore, if we are critical of the worship service - especially the music - it is because we are not worshiping in the proper spirit.

This summer they let the Minister of Worship and Music preach a five week series on worship. Must be I'm not the only one who needs a musical attitude adjustment. I didn't hear any of it. I skipped church for five weeks, the most weeks in a row I've missed since I started going ten years ago.

I should have gone, because the challenge of keeping the spirit of worship has once again been kicked up a notch.

The latest new thing introduced in my church may be the last straw for me.

Picture this: The Minister of Worship and Music stands on the platform with several other song leaders called a Praise Team. As He talks to the congregation or gives a scripture reading, he has the Praise Team stare at him in total fascination and nod their heads up and down in approval.

I am so embarrassed for these people and my church! I can not maintain a spirit of worship while the Praise Team is looking like idiot Christian bobbleheads.

For some reason the Lord has really put this heavy on my mind, and I don't know what He wants me to do about it.

Would love to hear your thoughts - even if you think I'm overreacting.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Six Sock Knitalong - Sock 2
Progress picture for Making Waves socksMaking Waves is the second sock pattern in the Six Sock Knitalong. We have August and September to complete the pair.

A progress picture is required, so here it is!

Progress from this point on is going to be slow. August is turning into a busy month plus I'm knitting a CIC vest, a pair of CIC socks, and another pair of socks for a different knitalong.

The socks are being knit with a Regia 4 ply yarn called Line Steps Color in blue. The needles are two 24" Addi Turbo circulars, size US #1.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Bald faced hornet nestThis scary looking bald-faced hornet nest is a few feet above the ground in a bush at the edge of the lawn.

Bob spotted it when he was mowing and made a point of showing it to me so I wouldn't accidently reach into this shrub.

We like to leave nature in peace whenever possible, so we're not going to do anything to get rid of it. When the frost comes this fall, the hornets will all die except the queen. We just need to keep away from it for a few months.