Tuesday, December 29, 2020

One last Christmas Picture


The oldest of the little brown dogs - Lucy - lying in a dog bed at the front of the picture.  Lucy does a lot of sleeping these days but she seems to enjoy her life.  Loves her mealtime.

All the little brown dogs and their moms are gone again.  The house is way too quiet.  There were a few quilting and sewing lessons.  A last stop for pick up at the quilt shop on their way out of town.  For beverages at the coffee shop next door to the quilt shop.

So now I'm feeling grateful for texting to keep track of their trip as they go down the road.  And for my Wednesday Zoom meeting with friends to chirk me up tomorrow.

For yummy leftovers.  For not wearing a mask tonight.  (That was our agreement, that we would wear masks and socially distance.  And we did.)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Backyard Christmas


Yesterday afternoon was warm, 50 degrees, and we had our backyard Christmas.  So many lovely things, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Just as we gathered in the back yard the Bengals won, which was a nice start to a celebration.

Steph is a health care worker and got her first vaccine dose on Saturday.  I am so eager to get mine.

At first I was thinking in terms of a Christmas do-over next year, but have realized that this has been a special Christmas.  Folks have made adjustments.  The Grinch must be looking down from his mountain with amazement.

Sunday, December 27, 2020



I have been quilting, and quilting, the star quilt.  And quickly learning that the small free motion that I love on small quilts makes for a LOT of quilting on a larger one.  And this one is just lap size.  

It isn't helping that I've only been quilting in small increments because, you know, 'tis the season.

Because I'm a little lazy, I've been using prewound M bobbins with Superior thread but when I went to reorder they were out of stock.  I tried ordering from a different supplier, even though the new bobbin thread is a slightly lighter weight.  At first the bobbin thread broke but now it's seemed to have settled down.  I hated to change thread in the middle of a quilt, but no one will notice the difference on the back except for you and me, and the quilt isn't going to the quilt show.

My family arrived last night, an uneventful trip this time except for a delay as soon as they got on the interstate because of a seven-car accident.  I'm enjoying the three little brown dogs coming and going.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Ah, Christmas!

I had a Christmas photo I wanted to share with you, but pictures aren't sending from my phone.  Friends have been talking about AT&T troubles because of the explosion in Nashville, maybe that's it.  You may see it later but so far no luck again today.

Christmas Eve Zoom church service was lovely, then I called Sarah and Winnie to see where they were on their travels, coming my way.  I was hoping they were at least in Kentucky.  But they said they had had to turn back, the snow in the North Carolina mountains was so bad.  When they left home it was 52 degrees and raining and it didn't look like there would be problems.  It was a long and scary trip back home for them.  They will probably try again today.

In the meantime, they got good news about the Covid tests they were watching for.  No symptoms, just wanting to be sure they weren't bringing it.

Christmas morning was a lovely Zoom time of watching the grands open gifts.  To say that Zoom was a blessing to me and many families is surely an understatement.

I had salmon for dinner, didn't want to try to keep it for another day.  Green bean casserole with fresh green beans and mushrooms.  Sweet potato casserole with baked sweet potatoes.  Mashed potatoes from Steph, along with Chex Mix, we traded dishes on Thursday at our garage Christmas Eve.

Steph had a festive tablecloth and a little tree in the garage, door up.  Masks on and socially distant.  I gave the grands their gifts and enjoyed that time together.  I had renewed the zoo membership for the family and presented that with a wrapped sticker book of zoo animals.  Turned out that Nora really enjoyed the book, it was sort of like a jigsaw puzzle of stickers.

Like many other people, this will be a Christmas I will remember for its weirdness and its joy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Santa and Macy's


Seven years ago, I think.  Nora would have been nine, Aaron six.  We were at the downtown Cincinnati Macy's.  With the real Santa - every year the same Santa so he must have been the real one.  

There is no longer a downtown Macy's.  I heard rumors that Santa had relocated to a mall but that was never verified.

I can easily recall the joy of being in that downtown Macy's at Christmas time.  Riding the escalator, admiring the huge red and silver balls and other decorations.  And the perfume and make-up counters.  One year, I bough pajamas for my sister.  And, of course, waiting in the line to see Santa.

Even the skywalk between Macy's and Carew Tower is gone now  There is still the big tree on Fountain Square and ice skating on the square.  The big tree in the building across the street.  The selection of ice cream and bakery goodies at the downtown Graeter's.

An excellent memory:  one summer afternoon it was just Aaron and me, downtown.  He paused and looked up at the buildings and said, ""Oh, downtown's high."

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Slogging Along

Slogging.  That's the word I feel describes my days lately, and I don't even know if that's a word.  It feels like there's sticky mud on the bottom of my boots, hypothetically.

And so, my blog has been quiet.  I've felt like there is just nothing to say.  Nothing begs me for a picture.  My sewing machine has been quiet.  I spend too much computer time, news, Amazon emails, setting up my new laptop.

But, yesterday, for my family, there was Christmas Eve planning.  Sarah and Winnie are coming on the 23rd.  On Christmas Eve, the family will have a driveway Christmas Eve.  Cell phones charged and on speaker, in two different cars.  The pile of packages on the driveway.  Trash bags in each car, Chex Mix, I hope - I've been hinting mightily.

(When I make Chex Mix, I use twice the amount of cereal, nuts, pretzels, little oyster crackers to the regular amount of butter.  It tastes pretty good.  But then I taste Steph's, with the "correct" proportions, and it's incredible.  That concept probably describes why my cooking is relatively yucky.)

Anyway, the driveway celebration will be early in the afternoon.  Hopefully it will be warmer then.  There will be separate plans for later in the day. Nora works at Kroger from 3:30 - 6:30.  My church's Zoom Christmas Eve service at 6:30.  Steph's church's outdoor candlelight service at 7:00.

We'll exchange Christmas Eve dinner dishes for separate dinners.  Maybe Zoom in the evening.

In years to come, when we gather together in the evening and celebrate into the night, we'll always remember this Christmas Eve.  

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Advent


The third Sunday of Advent.  

Times goes on.  The tree is not decorated but I'm doing pretty well with gifts.  Not a thing wrapped though.

The washer is washing and I am grateful.  

I got a new - refurbished - laptop right around Thanksgiving.  This is the first blog on it.  I take things a piece at a time.  Figuring out Windows 10 (yes, I had Windows 7.)  Setting up my email.  Transferring my documents.  Downloading pictures where I can find them.  Getting into my blogger account with a new password.  

This laptop - I chose one that is super sturdy - I could, apparently, drop it and it would be fine.  It's like the ones in police cars or construction vans.  Really, I don't plan on treating it roughly, I just liked that it had a lot of memory and storage.  I keep my stuff for a long time so I always go for the memory and storage.  Knowing that what seems like a lot today will be minimal tomorrow.

I just got the tiniest usb flash drive.  Thumbnail size, meant to stay in the usb port permanently.  Big enough to store movies and able to download them quickly.  I won't download any movies, probably, but it should be great for easy file back-up.  Things like this delight me.

Thursday, December 10, 2020



Lights redo on my porch railing.  So much for green for compassion, half the lights went out.  Luckily, I have lots of lights in my light stash.

But, good news about the washer.  The belt had broken and a new one is on order.  It should be about a $20 fix.  The other components look good.

The weather should be warm again tomorrow and I'm planning on an early evening walk around the neighborhood.  Followed by the virtual Berea College Christmas music program.  So many times I sat in the audience waiting for the program to begin.  The venue was always packed.

My neighbor's daughter has Covid and the quarantine has begun.  There were a record number of cases state-wide today but the positivity rate is going down.  The governor compares it to a speeding train.  It takes time to stop it before it can be turned around.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

One on the Tree


One ornament on the tree.  A gift from Sarah and Winnie.

Friday is Nora's birthday and her mom is asking for little recordings of birthday greetings.  I remembered that when she was younger I would tell her that if all the grand girls in the world were lined up in a row and I had to choose one I would always choose her.  So, that is my recording, reminding her of that and telling her that I'd still always choose her.

I sent Nora a text asking what birthday dessert she would like me to drop off.  I haven't heard back yet, but I'm betting on Graeter's ice cream.  Or maybe sorbet.

My washer has a problem - it does not agitate and the water does not spin out.  The water drains, but since the washer doesn't spin there is water left in the clothes.  The tag on the lid says that it was made in Dublin, Ohio, and the date is 09/97.  Maybe today there will be a repair update.

It could be that it needs a replacement belt, that would be awesome.  Or, in my sleuthing I found out that it could also be another part which needs to be special ordered and which costs almost $500.  

Last year at this time I needed a new furnace so the thought of a new washer is barely a blip. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Second Sunday of Advent


Second Sunday of Advent.  I was able to set up the candles for Zoom church, read the poem, light the candles.  Not perfect but ok.

The lights are now on the tree.  But, some of the string of the new green outside lights are out.  Just part of the season, nothing unusual here.

My washer is not working, all of a sudden.  The agitator is not spinning and the water drains but does not spin out of the clothes.  It's a washer that came with the house.  I didn't really need a washer and dryer but put them in the contract as something that could be taken out in negotiation.  But the seller accepted all the offer so there was no negotiation.  When my original washer gave out I replaced it with this one.

I don't know whether this washer will be worth fixing, but my son-in-law will know.  He's very good at appliance repairWord on the street is that the new washers are not as good as the old ones.  Same with refrigerators.

Friday, December 4, 2020

I Will Light Candles

Church services have looked different for many months now and most likely will continue to look different for months to come.  During Advent, my part in the Zoom service is to light Advent candles and read a poem, starting with half of it the first week and adding a line each week to come.  I'll share that poem here.

I Will Light Candles This Christmas

By Howard Thurman
I will light candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

Last Sunday, the first week, I was nervous about my part because I have a new laptop with an external webcam and a touchscreen.  Until now, I had been joining Zoom on my phone.  With some help from Winnie with the set-up, it went fine and I feel good about doing it on my own this Sunday.

Last New Year's Eve, when I was making goals for the year, I chose learning new technology as one of my goals.  I had no idea that evening how that would actually come to pass.  None of us had an idea of what we would be learning, how we would been adjusting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Home Again


Home again.  I miss this little companion and the other two little brown dogs.  And the two people, of course.

That little brown dog - she will tolerate sitting with me, will even initiate it, as long as Sarah isn't around.  When Sarah comes, the dog makes it clear that Sarah is her person.

When I left home last week, it was late fall, almost late summer, really, I was wearing just a fleece outside quite comfortably.  And when I came back yesterday it was winter.  I saw the first snow of the season driving back over Jellico Mountain.  On the last day of November, so it was a nice long fall.

The drive back was wet and sometimes windy, but I didn't mind because the roads weren't slick.  I kept an eye on the temperature and it never went below 35 degrees.  Today, it's a little colder and there was just enough snow during the night to cover the grass.

My nice neighbor blew the snow off my car this morning.  I do plan on staying inside during the next few days, though it probably isn't necessary to quarantine.  Other than driving through Winter Lights and doing some curbside pick-ups, it was a relaxing stay-at-home visit.