Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today is the day to reflect and be thankful for all we have to be grateful for. Health and family are at the top of my list.

I spent the day cleaning... the dining room table did get cleared off and set.

The smells of a 23lb turkey and all the trimmings filled the air.

Football games played on the tv all day and after dinner.

And while the craziness of Black Friday went on around the country, and my daughters went off to work, we stayed home with our 2 year old grandson eating leftovers and watching Scooby Doo!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Changing Seasons

It's that time of year when we go from cool clear mornings to the heat of summer and back to cool fall nights with some frosts thrown in to warn us winter is just around the corner. This year's crazy weather has our trees all confused. A flowering cherry tree is supposed to bloom in the Spring... not the Fall!

The cool nights have been changing the tree colors around here and by the time we got back from California many of them were on the ground. We rake them up and put them through the wood-chipper reducing them down to a fine mulch that gets turned into the garden soil to break down and "fertilize" the garden for next year.

While the guys are outside cleaning up... I'm inside doing laundry and cleaning the infamous dining room table. Around here we have no office to dump bills, paperwork and miscellaneous on, so, to the dining room table has become the dump site for everything I just don't have time to deal with immediately. About once a month I dig through and get the bills paid and start sorting and putting things where they belong, but like laundry it's a thankless endless job that I am easily distracted away from. But the holidays are just around the corner... with big sit down family dinners so I must and am making progress. The table will be cleared and set so we can all enjoy the holidays together.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery

It is November and it is Bonnie Hunter Mystery Time. About this time each year, when Bonnie is done with her travelling classes she offers a free mystery pattern on her blog for everyone to follow.

I am still waiting for my rulers to arrive (an early Christmas present from hubby)... so I haven't started cutting yet... which means I'm still thinking and re-thinking my fabrics... especially since Bonnie's extra post about which colors are most promnient

Red is her prominent color... not my favorite... so my prominent color will be purple!
black is her second color... mine will be that blue/purple
blue is her accent color... mine will be that pink/orange floral
whites are her neutral.... you guessed it... my neutral will be that yellow print

And of course, I don't have enough of any of these to make her size quilt, so I will be making only half the number of blocks she requires...

But, since I'm still waiting on the rulers to arrive, I keep pulling in different fabrics and changing my mind...

those rulers better arrive soon!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Palm Desert

We arrived in Ontario,CA, picked up the rental car and proceeded out of the airport to the I10 to make our way out into the desert. The directions I had, unfortunately, did not include which direction to go on the I10...east or west. Using deductive reasoning I decided that if I went east I would soon hit the ocean, so I had to go west to get to the desert. It was a couple exits down the highway before I realized the fault in my reasoning... I was on the west coast now and my thinking was backwards! Mom and I had a good laugh over that one! Thank goodness for U-turns.

I am fascinated by the mountains out here. They are very different from the lush green mountains of Tennessee. They are huge rocky formations jutting out of flat sandy/rocky ground and as the sun moves across the sky they change in color and shape as the shadows cast by the sun's position changes. I caught a sunrise one morning and my pictures just don't do it justice.

It has been 90-110 degrees out here, but the heat is very different from Tennessee. It is so very dry I feel like I'm shriveling up like a prune. I am never without a glass or bottle of water nearby.

My uncle has made arrangements for us to stay at the Marriot Palm Desert Villas. First class all the way! The buildings weave in and around the golf course, so every room as a gorgeous view! Mom's room has a small kitchenette and private bath and is really a small single suite. Through the adjoining door, our suite has a full kitchen, dining area, living room with pullout couch for Matthew and a bedroom suite for me that includes a jacuzzi tub! There are 3! TVs for us to watch... although we usually end up on the couch watching the one together...old habits die hard!

Uncle Tom and Aunt Polly live in one of the many gated communities here, where the houses all look the same to me... cream colored adobe with rust-colored tile roof or a peachy colored adobe with green roof. We can walk out his back door onto the patio and then step onto the golf course fairway. The lush green fairways are a stark comparison to the surrounding sandy/rocky ground not watered by sprinkler systems.

There is little room for a vegetable garden like ours at home, but they do have an orange, grapefruit, lemon and apricot tree as well as potted roses and ornamental cactus plants surrounding the house. Everything is kept lush and green by sprinkler systems... you must be careful to heed the warning click and get out of the way as the sprinklers pop up and turn on automatically at undetermined times, spraying their life-giving water everywhere!

It is considered winter here now (at 110 degrees!!??) and there will be little to no rain until Spring when I'm told the wild flowers bloom out of the sandy ground and make an awesome display. I may have to arrange a visit next year to see for myself!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Honor Flight

On the way home from California we had a layover in Phoenix which unfortunately included a delay due to "mechanical problems"

But that delay turned out to be quite fortunate! We were able to witness the return home of WWII veterans who were on an Honor Flight trip to DC to see the memorial constructed in their honor. The picture is too fuzzy here to read, so check out their website:
You can probably find one in your state too!

I had heard about this group on Nashville radio and was under the impression that this was all done by volunteer pilots and planes and in small groups. Apparently I was mistaken. Southwest Airlines ia a big sponsor of this and offere major discounts to companions and family members travelling with each veteran.

When the plane lands and taxi's up to the gate... water cannons are shot over the plane by Southwest employees as their show of support for these great men and women who served our country well.

We witnessed a group of 30 returning home to AZ. They were the last to deplane and many of the other passengers came off smiling and cheering. They had quite a party going on in the back of the plane.

It was really nice to see so many people in the terminal stop to greet and cheer on these brave men and women! The veterans really seemed to enjoy it.

This guys face seems to say it all!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cheddar on the Plane

For my trip to California, I made a little kit for Cheddar Bowties to take along for busy work on the plane. We had the "front seat" of the plane where there was plenty of leg room from Mom in her brace, but that meant that there were no tray tables to work on. :<(

I pulled off quite the juggling act, balancing everything on my lap while making bowties. It got really challenging when drinks and snacks were handed out!

I managed to make several bowties while Matthew and Mom did Word-Search puzzles

I had quite a bit of time to work on this during evenings, doctor appointments and hospital visits and completed 39 blocks! Here's my progress so far... all by hand!

Since these blocks only measure 3inches... I have a lot more blocks to make to turn this into a quilt!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

California Bound

My uncle has been fighting bone cancer for years and is now asking family to come visit as he is unable to travel. I have been a busy whirlwind of activity unpacking, laundry and repacking so that within 24 hours after returning from my reunion in New York and a birthday party in Maryland I am packed and ready to fly to California with Matthew and Mom.

After packing, we went out for a Chinese dinner and here is my fortune.
I know, it's blurry... couldn't get the camera to focus in on it but it says "Measure your cloth ten times, you can cut it but once". How perfect!

So after dinner I spent a couple hours cutting fabric and preparing a kit for the cheddar challenge. I won't be doing it as a leader/ender project as it will be too challenging to lug the sewing machine to California for a week.

My squares are cut and have a spool of thread, thimble and ONE sewing needle... I even stopped at the dollar store for kindergarten blunt-ended scissor to take on the plane. I am going to attempt to sew these bow ties by hand. As I normally do most of my stitching by machine, this will be a challenge of a different kind.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A short time ago Mom got a phone call from an "old" friend of hers who was passing through town on her way south for the winter. Her bridesmaid, Maureen (and her husband, Jim)wanted to meet for lunch if she was available. Mom agreed, but she wanted me to come along too. I had no idea who they were, so Mom started telling stories and we went digging through boxes looking for pictures. Picture taking and developing was expensive back then and the only picture we could find was at Mom's wedding. I took a picture of a picture and cropped it here so you could see these two beautiful women in 1952.

Fast forward to 2011 and here we are at Olive Garden enjoying a wonderful lunch of soup and salad! Oh, they have exchanged letters and pictures over the years and have gotten together once or twice. But there is nothing better than sitting down with your best friend talking and reminiscing.

They exchanged stories and tales, trials and tribulations and way to soon it was time to leave.

One last picture together as they walk out the door. Of course, they'll still keep in touch and maybe get to visit next year during next year's trek north to visit grandchildren. Or maybe, this winter, I'll take Mom and Matthew and drive south for a warm winter break!

Now I'm off to dig through boxes in my closet and find my high school yearbook! I recently received an invitation to my 35th reunion.... homecoming game and an Octoberfest Feast!