Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Birthday MOM!

If she were still living, my Mom would have been 81 years old today.  My mother passed 27 years ago next week on November 4th by the hands of the cancer monster at the age of 54.

A friend of mine, who recently lost her Mom, asked me if it gets easier as time goes by.
No, sorry it doesn’t, it just gets different.  You learn to cope with it better but there are still many days after all this time when you so desperately want to pick up the phone and call to chat or wish she was sitting on the porch with you watching the grandkids play.  You deal with it, but you still remember.
Mom cropped color

So, Happy Birthday Mom!
Have a dance with Jesus and celebrate that you’re in a better place!

We still miss you here though.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dilemmas and a Solution

Our television resides in the second floor family room bonus area of our home.   Yes, we are a one television family – freaks, I tell ya - Freaks!    

We’re not much for watching television anyway so it works out well that it’s stashed out of the main traffic areas of the home just fine.  In fact, other than a DVD or two for the grands, we’ve not even had the thing on since April.  As the long, dark winter evenings approach, we do like to watch a movie or two though.  We did the Netflix deal last winter, really enjoyed it and are planning on subscribing again this year.

Dilemma #1 – How to watch movies during those winter months.    Since the kids have moved out, we’ve been closing off the upstairs to save on heating cost.  Why heat it if we aren’t using it, right?  So to watch movies last winter we moved our old behemoth-non digital TV downstairs to the living room.  I just didn’t like it there.  No, let me rephrase that … I couldn’t stand it there!   Call me weird but I don’t like the television being the focal point and one of the first things you see when you walk in the house.

Dilemma #2 – We have one computer that DH & I share and now that DH has discovered music on YouTube and the History Channel online, that’s how he likes to relax at night.  However, there are many evenings I would also like to use the computer because we know I would never look at Facebook or blogs while I’m at work, right? [wink]  Regardless,  there are things I like to use the computer for when I get home at night too.   Not that we can’t share but we do kick each other out of the desk chair quite frequently or just stand behind the other one and sigh until they get sick of hearing it and hand it over.
I didn’t want to put out the money for a new smaller television and also didn’t especially care to buy another computer.   

Solution:  Out of the blue, all of my brain waves must have lined up and I remembered having an older PC(even with wireless internet capabilities) in a closet upstairs.  We still needed a monitor, keyboard, etc but it could work.  In conversation with my nephew, I found out he had a used small flat panel for sale so I snatched it up, purchased a wireless keyboard and mouse and wallah, a second computer with wireless internet and something we can play DVD’s on for less than $90.  Problem solved and it didn’t cost me a fortune either!  If we like the set-up we may eventually invest in a larger monitor but for now, it’s fine like this.

DH is giving it the maiden voyage tonight!
IMG_5100Our cat, Racer seems to be pretty interested in this new set up as well.  (Honestly, I think he was more interested in the ice cream DH was eating :) )

Happy Birthday Laurie!

No, not me silly.  :) 

We have another Laurie in the family, a daughter-in-law.  Laurie is married to our oldest son, Luke.  They live 3 hours south of us so we only see them a few times a year. 

Also, why I’m not showing you her birthday present yet I haven’t given it to her.  The present is done though – yahoo!  Luke might be stopping through here this weekend and it will go home with him then.  After that, I’ll show it.

Amanda's wedding (53)

In the meantime, join me in wishing Laurie a very happy day!  

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who knew???

I’m relatively new to quilting  but not incredibly new, so you’d think I would have known this.

The one part I’ve always not liked about the whole quilting deal is sewing down the binding.  It either seemed to take forever or I rushed through it and it looked like crap when it was done.

I don’t remember how I found this blog post over at ankastreasures.  In fact I don’t even remember searching for binding tips but somehow through some link somewhere, I stumbled acrossed it. 

I’m in love with her method!  It seems so much quicker.  I even went and bought straw needles to try which I am also in love with.  They glide so nicely through the fabric.  The worst part is the needle eye is really, really, really (did I sat really?)  tiny!   But with reading glasses in hand,  I will prevail!

Do I now like to sew binding?  Not really but it’s a whole lot more tolerable!

So thank you to Heather for your post and for introducing me to straw needles.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Dozen

I haven’t participated in Lid’s Random Dozen for awhile but thought it was about time I did once again, so here we go….

1. Do you prefer to read the book or see the movie?

Definitely read the book first and if I really like it then see the movie.

2. What is your favorite holiday and why?

Can I say I like a holiday season;  pretty much from Thanksgiving to New Years? I like the whole time.
Thanksgiving is such a nice time to be reflective of all the blessings we have been given plus that weekend holds a get together with high school friends that I typically haven’t seen all year and hopefully a tradition of family cookie baking.  Last year was the first round and it was oh, so much fun. 
I love all the preparation for Christmas, the decorating, the programs, the parties, pretty much everything other than the shopping. My favorite part of Christmas though is celebrating the birth of Jesus at our candlelight Christmas Eve service at church surrounded by my family. It just doesn't get any better than that. 
Where I work we get the week between Christmas and New Years off so it turns into a nice catch-up time. Although the last two years we’ve been in New Orleans doing mission work so no catch-up happened. This year we’re doing a project closer to home which I'm reallylooking forward to.
On New Years Day we have a get together with friends which we’ve missed doing the last couple of years since we were in NOLA. Maybe this year, since we'll be closer to home that can happen once again.

3. Which do you like better - the mountains or the beach?

I’ve hardly spent any time at the beach so I would have to say the mountains, the Appalachians to be specific. I love being in and around them.

4. If money were no consideration, what vehicle would you drive?

I’m a truck girl. A red crew cab, short box Chevy 4 wheel drive, with diamond plate running boards, bed rails & tool box. Is that too specific??  I'm just a girl who knows what she wants.

5. What is your favorite cold-weather beverage?

Bigelow decaf green tea with lemon – After a little episode a month ago I now have to drink decaf. Bummer!

6. How do you communicate most often with your friends: phone, email, text, face-to-face, or Facebook?

When I can’t be face-to-face it’s email, text and phone, in that order. After the phone rings all day at work, the phone is my enemy when I get home.

7. How do you receive your mail? Mailbox on the porch, at the end of the driveway, down the street, or post office box?

We live in the country with a mailbox at the end of our driveway.

8. Of the four basic personality types - sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric - which is your strongest? Which is your least evident? (See definitions below.)

I’m a cross between choleric(sounds like a disease) and phlegmatic (sounds like something that needs to be hacked up!). The least likely thing I am is Melancholic. however, I am married to one. It makes for an interesting marriage! ;)

9. What do you miss the most about being 20?

I don’t think there is much I miss about being 20 other than better health. Of course at this point in the year when I was 20, I was newly pregnant and sicker than sick. Yuk! I did get a beautiful little boy for enduring all of those yukky days though.

10. How long from the time you get up, does it take you to get ready to walk out the door in the morning?

Do you mean from when the alarm goes off of when I actually roll out of bed??? Yeah, I’m a snooze alarm girl much to DH’s dismay. My alarm goes off at 5am, I’m usually up by 5:15 and walk out the door to work by 6:40 (on a good day). It actually only takes me about 25 minutes to get ready, but I usually throw in laundry, check email, eat breakfast with DH, discuss the day, etc.

11. Who handles the car maintenance and pays the bills in your family?

DH handles all of the car maintenance unless it’s a bigger job or just plain something he doesn’t want to or have time to do then the students in the Auto Department where I work take care of it. There are definitely perks to my job.  
I pay the bills and handle the bookwork. I’ve tried to give DH the job but he doesn’t seem to want it. Go Figure!

12. For those in the US, how many states have you visited? For those outside the US, how many provinces/other countries have you visited?

I’ve been in 29 states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Arizona & of course, Illinois.

I’ve never been out of the country other than Canada and that was before you needed a passport to do so. In fact, I now have a passport but it has no stamps in it. Someday…

Now, go pop on over to 2nd Cup of Coffee and check out other responses.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last Sunday ride?

When it gets to be late October you never know what ride will be the last for the season.   Last year we rode into the first weekend of November.  We hope for more but the weather always dictates.

We left home this morning in 43 degree temps a little after 8:00 with many,many layers of clothing on.  I sort of felt like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story as he fell in the snow bank with his snowsuit on and couldn’t get back up. 

30 minutes later we met up with friends to ride an hour west to one of our satellite church campuses in Galena, IL. 

10-17-10 to Galena campus (2) It’s always fun to visit our other campuses and today was no exception…we were able to watch the Galena congregation acknowledge their campus pastor and youth pastor (a friend of ours) in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month plus they had a potluck dinner after church which they insisted we stay for.   A great service, great friends being honored and wonderful food.  Does it get any better than that?

A few sights along the way today…..

10-17-10 to Galena campus (4)

I know, again with the barn fetish. 10-17-10 to Galena campus (6) 

10-17-10 to Galena campus (8)

Most of the leaves are off the trees here now.  What a change in only a week. 10-17-10 to Galena campus (9)

Hopefully we’ll get in a few more rides yet before that yucky white shtuff starts to fly.


Fall Getaway – Part IV

Last post on our weekend – I swear!  How can someone stretch out 3 days to 4 posts anyway??? 

After leaving The Landing in Guttenberg, we headed south down The Great River Road to little Balltown, Iowa for breakfast at Breitbach’s

IMG_4863 Breitbach’s is the oldest bar in Iowa.  It was still in it’s original building until three years ago when they had a Christmas Eve fire.  They rebuilt opening 6 months later to a new and improved restaurant and bar.  However, 9 months after the first fire, the restaurant burned again.  They have prevailed and are now back up and running full speed ahead.

Just down the street from the restaurant is an overlook with an incredible view of three states, Iowa, Wisconsin & Illinois.

IMG_4865 Across the street from the overlook there was an even more incredible view in my opinion.  There was an art quilt shop.   Woot!   The shop owner, Susan, has a nice little shop in her garage called Balltown Ridge Quilts and was kind enough to let me take photos of her designs.  She said she started out making bed quilts and soon realized she wanted to use her quilting talents in a little different way.  She does a beautiful job!  What an inspiration!

IMG_4869IMG_4870 From Balltown, we wound our way around to Park Ridge Winery west of Dubuque, Iowa.  Park Ridge is a relatively new facility and while we were there, they were preparing for an evening wedding to be held next to the winery.   

IMG_4895 IMG_4909

What a beautiful spot for a wedding with views like this!

IMG_4902 We tried to take a short cut through Dubuque and ended up at the Julien Dubuque monument which also had a river overlook.  I guess our family has a history at stopping at river overlooks.  Joe related how he remembered as a kid doing that A LOT!  So what are you saying Joe??  huh??  got a problem with that??

This overlook had a telescope.  Nope no topless sunbathers on that boat! :)


Joe got the bright idea for us to stand down below and then take pictures through the telescope.  They turned out kinda cool.  Who woulda thought?

IMG_4927 One more winery stop.  Brush Creek Winery outside of Bellevue, Iowa was our favorite out of the two we stopped at.  Country friendly and very laid back. 

IMG_4941 From there we wound our way home through the Midwestern farm land.  I love old barns so it’s hard to resist taking pictures as we pass by .


 IMG_4988      IMG_4937 There you have it, our fall mini-vacation.   I don’t think the doctor knows it, but this little trip was just what he ordered!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Typical Saturday morning

Just sittin’ around watchin’ trains go by….

10-16-10 watchin the train

Fall Getaway – Part III

After heading back north to cross the river, we started down the Iowa side of the Mississippi.

Our first stop was at Pikes Peak State Park.  The overlook here is always so pretty.  This is the point where the Wisconsin River dumps into the Mississippi.  Water is high right now so it was harder to see the flow pattern.  IMG_4800

We moved on south to a quaint little river town, Guttenburg, Iowa.  Our hotel for the night was called The Landing.  What a nice place!  [Thanks Nancy for the recommendation!]


The Landing was originally built as a warehouse & later became a pearl button factory before renovations for the hotel.

I loved the old limestone walls inside and out. IMG_4819


We ordered out pizza from Joe’s Pizza just down the street and enjoyed supper on the hotel deck overlooking the river.  It was a beautiful night to be dining al fresco and no bugs either!


We didn’t see as much barge traffic as usual which I’m guessing again was due to the high water. 


I walked out on the deck the next morning before we left to watch the sunrise.  Stunning!  The colors of the sky changed by the minute.

IMG_4814 IMG_4821

As we were leaving Guttenberg, the hill across the highway was bright with color.


still more to come…


Fall Getaway – Part II

Where has the last week went?  I had every intention of getting this post done the very next day.  I’m just sayin’…[sigh]

We woke to a very chilly morning on Friday but as the previous morn, it warmed rather quickly.  


The trees wearing their fall colors were gorgeous!  Unfortunately these pictures aren’t doing them any justice.  With the sun so nice and bright the pictures look faded out.


Our first order of business for the day was to find an apple orchard.  There is a small town in Wisconsin called Gays Mills that is known for their many orchards.  Apple trees were everywhere.  We stopped at two orchards, Sunrise & Flemings.  We liked Sunrise Orchard the most but Flemings had the kind of apples that are DH’s favorite, so we had to stop there too.  :)  His favorite apple is called Mutsu or sometimes Crispin.  Not many orchards grow them.  Not sure why? 


Every place you looked were apples and more apples! Here they were bouncing off a conveyor belt and being sorted into big crates.  And to think I’m always careful not to bang apples around that I purchase in the store so they don’t bruise!  hmmm……

No trip to an orchard is complete without a fresh warm apple cider donut!  These were especially yummy!


After eating our fill of apples, donuts and various samples, we traveled further south down the river with the intent of taking the Cassville Ferry across to the Iowa side towards our hotel for the night. 

While eating a late lunch at this little hotel in Bagley, Wisconsin, we were told the ferry wasn’t running due to high water.  Bummer!  We were really looking forward to it.    IMG_4759 After leaving Bagley, we rode our favorite road in all of Wisconsin, even if it is gravel and not paved.  (Sorry, Joe – chips happen!)  It’s called Dugway Road.  Dugway Road runs off of County A south of Bagley and leads to Glen Haven.  It’s a great little drive directly along the river.  Bluffs are on one side and the railroad and river are on the other.  It’s not heavily traveled so it’s a nice leisurely ride.  Even the snakes were out enjoying the nice sunny day.  I lost count at how many we saw or ran over that were laying in the middle of the road.  Sorry no pictures of snakes!  We kept moving!    IMG_4777 IMG_4762IMG_4785

More to come… 


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mature Life Truths

This was sitting in my inbox when I came in to work this morning.  It made me smile so thought I should pass it along. 

There are many truths in this, that's for sure.  

  • I think part of a best friend's job is to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  • I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  • How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet anyway?
  • Map Quest really needs to start with # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my driveway.
  • I can't remember the last time I was only "kind of" tired.  
  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  • I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page document that I swear I did not make any changes.
  • I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer their call.  :) 
  • I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  • How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said.
  • I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front after there was a sign at least a mile back saying the two lanes merged in to one. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

And I will be back to post more weekend trip pics.  I haven't been home a darned night this week to have the time to do it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Getaway – Part I

We, DH & I and our son, Joe and his fiancĂ© Kristen,  took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having and “got out of dodge” on the motorcycles for a few days the end of last week. 

Our initial planned destination was southern Illinois but once we heard the “warm” forecast we headed north into  Wisconsin instead.    We didn’t have a real destination other than hotel rooms we had booked a couple of days prior for Thursday night and Friday night.  Normally, we don’t book rooms ahead but in the fall with all of the “leaf-lookers” rooms tend to fill quickly.

Even though the forecast was for nice, warm days (70’s – 80’s), the mornings were still very chilly (40’s – 50’s).  We left Thursday morning with many clothing layers and we were still cold for the first hour or two.  Although, once the sun was higher in the sky, those layers gradually started to be peeled off and were stuffed away for the day. 

The further north and closer to the river we got the more the trees were changing.  Some were even already bare.



We rode through Amish country near Ontario, WI and stopped at a wonderful bakery where Dan & Joe couldn’t agree on one item so we purchased both an Amish peach pie & german chocolate cake.  Remember we were on motorcycles?  And how does one carry a pie and cake on a motorcycle?  Very carefully!  Where there is a will there is a way. 


I loved seeing the corn shocks in the field next to their home.


Wisconsin has wonderful riding roads.  Lots of curves, hills and ridge tops to ride along.

IMG_4661 All of that riding made the boys tired.  :)  We stopped at a wayside for a snack (pie & cake – imagine that!) and the guys decided to stretch out for a few moments.  And just how comfortable is a blacktop and a parking block?  I guess it depends on how tired you are.  Any flat surface will do in a pinch!


Dinner Thursday night was at the Hungry Peddler in LaCrosse, WI.  The peddler came on recommendation from a customer of Joe’s.  Good recommendation!  The Peddler wasn’t anything fancy but was in an old building with tin ceilings and circa 1920’s ceiling fans plus the food was very good and plenty of it. IMG_4666 With our stomachs full from the Peddler, we cruised down along the river to our home for the night in Stoddard, WI, a little mom & pop style hotel called Safe Landing.  If you’re looking for a large soundproof room or frills, you won’t find it here, but the owner was very nice, the room was clean and it was reasonable.   We all shared a room so to further tell you how small the room was…when Joe was snoring I was easily able to stretch my leg between the beds and kick him so he’d roll over and stop.  :)  IMG_4680 After we got checked in, we had a little bit of daylight left so we took a ride down the river to an overlook to watch the sunset. 


We returned to the motel and while Kristen and I hung out in the room, the guys sat outside, read the local classified ads and plotted our course for the next day.


to be continued….