Sunday, December 28, 2008

Odd happenings

This first photo is from Friday.  That group of turkeys came up closer to house.  I rarely get to see turkeys that close.  It was pretty cool.
On Saturday the weather got really warm.  When it wasn't raining and thundering it was foggy.
Most of the snow on the ground melted and many rivers are flooding.  The entire field behind us has standing water on it.  Today it got very windy and cold again.  
So, things have been a little odd around here.  Today was my last day of vacation and I am quite sad.  At least I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the new year.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

It' a Wonderful Life


and after...
Sassy loves to lay on the floor like this all the time.  The first photo was on Christmas Eve and the second is after all the gift opening at our place.  She loved having my family over because of all the extra attention she gets from them.  I loved having them over as well.  Thankfully the roads were OK for them.  It warmed up to above freezing and things were a little sloppy outside -- but they were safe.  We met for an early dinner along with Charlie's folks and an Aunt and Uncle.  After dinner we toured the beautiful lights in Frankenmuth and at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.  Gorgeous!  We got them checked into the hotel and then came back to my place for coffee/tea.  Grandma opened a Birthday gift -- I would be bummed if my Birthday landed around Christmas time.  I suppose she is used to it.  She is 88 years old now.  Happy Birthday Grandma!

I got up early on Christmas and starting making breakfast.  I made a pretty big breakfast and most of it turned out well.  After breakfast we opened gifts.  This is my husband, Charlie.  He is happy because he got his Celtic Women CD (we gave him a little crap for liking them, but then we listened to them all afternoon -- they do have nice voices).  
This is my Dad -- wearing one of my tie-dye creations that he got last Christmas.  He is a walking advertisement for my tie-dyes if I ever manage to start a business.  He loves them and he pulls off the look pretty well.  Perhaps it is the pony tail or a slight resemblance to Jerry Garcia (I have other photos that show that resemblance better).  Who knows.  

This is my big brother taking a nap after the gift giving.  I think the Celtic Women put him to sleep.  He is using a blanket that he got from Mom and Dad.  

I didn't get any really good photos of Mom.  I'm bummed too because I meant to take some photos of the brooches and ear rings I made her to go with the wrap/scarf I had gotten for her.  I am having her send me some photos though so I can share with you what I made.  I'm actually quite proud of them.  
My family stayed until mid afternoon.  Charlie and I then went to his parents house.  As soon as we got there the Christmas gift unwrapping ensued.  They do it completely different that my family does.  We open one gift at a time and wait to see what each person got before the next person gets one.  The in-laws rip into them with gusto.  5 kids and 8 adults were done in less than 5 minutes!  It is chaotic and crazy.  The kids were happy though.  Here is Melissa with a new doll...

Brianna got a book -- and some bunny-ears from her Dad (Charlie's brother).

Lesleigh was enthralled with her new "laptop".  

We had a nice dinner.  Most folks were already stuffed from all the snacking throughout the day.
I just feel so blessed this year.  We have so much compared to everyone else on the planet.  We can freely celebrate the birth of Christ with our families -- we have no lack of food or clean water.  We live in peace (at least within our borders) and safety.  We can afford to give gifts to the ones we love.  There are always going to be things I want to change in the world or in my own life, but for now I am content.  I hope that you are as blessed as we are and wish you peace and prosperity for the new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This will probably be my last blog before Christmas so I wanted to wish everyone who reads my blog a "Merry Christmas!!!".

I also wanted to add one photo for the day (because a blog posting just doesn't feel complete without a photo).  I was looking out our side window to check on the conditions of the driveway and I noticed a large flock of turkeys (Is a group of turkeys considered a flock?  A herd?  A school?  Does anybody know?).  I have been seeing this group of turkeys way back at the edge of the field but couldn't see how many there were.  I count almost two dozen in the photo!  "Back in the day" one would have made a nice Christmas dinner... Luckily for them, we are having quiche instead (my family likes to do a big Christmas brunch and then just nibble on cheese and crackers and sweets for the rest of the day).

Speaking of my family... I have to give them a call when I am done blogging.  We are trying to figure out if the roads are going to be OK for them to travel out here.  This is my first year hosting our Christmas gathering and I will be sad if it gets cancelled.  Charlie has already assured me that if they don't come this way that we will drive to them (he's a professional you know -- still scared me half to death last night driving to the grocery store ).  In either case, we are praying for safe travels.  

I would love to hear from any of my readers -- are you traveling this Christmas?  Are you going to see all your loved ones?  Oh, and what's for Christmas dinner?  
: )

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Here are a couple more photos -- finally got them to upload.  
Driving down our road.  It looks clear -- but it is pretty icy.
This is the front yard at night.  If you saw the snowmen on a previous post you'd know there are three of them.  The tiniest one is buried in snow.  : )

Let it Snow...

Just thought I would show off some of the snow that we got the other day.  I went out yesterday and took a few photos then finished off my Christmas shopping.  I am trying to upload some more photos but my internet connection isn't cooperating... so this is it for now.  
I think I did a pretty good job this year with the Christmas shopping.  I usually get carried away.  I really tried to cut back this year.  Next year I'd like to do even more in the line of homemade items.  
Charlie is having to drive through the nasty weather today.  We got another couple inches of snow and now it is blowing around and drifting.  He is South of here driving through an icy mess right now.  I spoke with my Mom earlier and she said that Grand Rapids got another 10 inches already today to go on top of their 10 inches from Friday.  It has definitely been a snowy end to Autumn.  By the way -- happy Winter Solstice!  
Today I have the Christmas radio station playing.  I alternate between cleaning and wrapping gifts.  Sassy is sleeping on the bed snuggled into the extra blankets I pulled out of storage.  I have no desire to go out at all -- I can pretend I am a stay-at-home wife and spend the day doing stay-at-home chores and make sure a hot supper is ready when Charlie makes it home.  It's a good day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eyes all a-glow.....

Sassy was trying to blend in under the Christmas tree I guess.  Her eyes are as bright as any Christmas lights when I use flash to take a photo of her.  I just had to share this photo -- I think she is too cute.  She has been hanging out under the tree since we put it up.  She really likes the tree skirt too -- she pretends there is some little critter under it and she attacks and pounces on it.  So naughty!
It snowed and snowed and snowed today.  It took me an hour to get to work.  We ended up with over a foot of snow.  It snowed 'til 4:30 or so and the roads were better on my way home.  
I am on vacation now until December 29th.  I am thrilled!  I will be posting more blogs this next week because I'll have more time -- and more interesting stuff to write about.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas spirit

I'm starting to feel the Christmas spirit finally.  I am usually done making/buying gifts by now.  I've fallen behind this year.  I have been sick for the last 3 weeks, so that hasn't helped the situation.  Charlie and I did manage to find a tree (fake, and fairly cheap -- but it does the job) and got that up and decorated.

It has been snowing here in Michigan -- and holy wah, it has been cold!!!  It sure looks pretty though.  

Our landlords have put up some decorations outdoors.  I thought these guys were cute and festive.

So, I have some Christmas shopping to do this next week.  I've got tons of cleaning to do to get ready for my family coming out for Christmas Eve -- not to mention figuring out Christmas baking and planning some meals.  I really like this time of year though -- so it will be fun.

I didn't get that job that I really wanted.  I didn't even get an interview.  I am trying not to let it bother me too much.  I am the type of person that believes things happen for a reason.  If this job wasn't meant to be then who am I to disagree?  There must be something better in store for me.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Num Yummy

Here is a photo of the cookies Charlie made.  They are num-yummy good!
On the other hand, my zucchini bread is not good.  Well, it doesn't stack up to my Grandma's zucchini bread.  It tastes wrong and I can't put my finger on it.  I think I'll stick to growing the zucchini for Grandma.

Work was difficult today because I still have quite a cough.  Luckily they let me go after 8 hours instead of keeping me the whole 10.  After this next week they are finally reducing our shifts to 45 hours per week.  I worked 58 hours all summer and 50 hours for the last couple of months.  45 will feel like a vacation after these past 5 months.  I also applied for that job opportunity I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  I think my resume' and application will be enough to get me an interview.  I just need to do well at the interview and pray for the best.  The position is more of a trainer/coaching position between two call centers.  It would be more challenging and interesting.  It would involve a bit of travel and utilize my creativity.  Oh, how I want this job!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving afternoon was spent at the in-laws home.  It didn't seem like a normal Thanksgiving day though.  I have been sick and was feeling particularly poorly yesterday.  I ate some mashed potatoes and some green bean casserole (my contribution to the meal) but couldn't really taste anything due to all the cough drops.  It was still a very nice visit with that side of my family.  It is nice to spend an afternoon with everyone. 
Today I got up and went to my chiropractor, took Charlie out for breakfast and then came back home and took a nap.  I finally got up some energy and made some zucchini bread this afternoon.  This was from some zucchini I had shredded and frozen from this summer.  It is my grandma's recipe and the first time I've tried making it.  At the same time Charlie decided he wanted some peanut butter blossom cookies.  He found a recipe, ran to the store and got his supplies, and made them (almost by himself).  I'm really quite impressed.  Now he is making his own dinner.  I should be sick more often I guess : )
Tomorrow I have to work.  I'm hoping I will feel better tomorrow.  We'd like to go see "Australia" in the theatre on Sunday.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It's snowing!

We missed out on the snow that the rest of the state has had so far, so this is our first real snow of the year.  I like snow -- until January 1st.  I like a white Christmas and I don't even mind a white Thanksgiving.  After that the stuff can just go away for all I care.  Unfortunately it sticks around until March, April or beyond (?!?).

So, in the mean time, my crafting instincts kick in.  It usually starts with figuring out some gifts for Christmas and then a mad rush to get it all put together in time.  Then I'll probably settle into a longer project for myself in January.  By February I am usually feeling cooped up and frustrated.  In March I start day-dreaming about what I can put in a garden and start ordering seeds.  By April I will have som
e shirts and fabric tied up to be dyed as soon as it gets warm enough.  Basically, I love the harvest season and getting ready to wait out the winter -- but towards the end of winter I am pulling my hair out and wondering why I don't live in the South (or Mali, or Brazil -- anywhere but here).  Once Spring hits I forget about how much I hate winter -- and the brilliance of Michigan sways my opinion once again.  

Here is a quick snapshot out the window here at my computer desk.  Sorry for the poor quality - it is shot through the screen and glass, plus the plastic that Charlie and I hung today.  Gotta save those pennies on the propane bill.

Thanks 29 Black Street

I have to send out a lot of love to 29 Black Street.  If you haven't been to her blog before, check it out.  She is on the list on the right side of my blog.  Even better yet, check out her Etsy store once you check out her blog.  She is a designer and has some beautiful photography there.

I won a drawing she had for one of her pieces of artwork from her Etsy shop.  How lucky is that?  I have always wanted to collect photography from other artists.  This will make a great addition to my small collection of photography (I probably have a dozen pieces between stuff I traded for while in college photo classes and a piece I picked up this summer up North).

Someday, I will figure out where to go to get some prints made myself.  I'd really just love to get back into a darkroom and make black and white prints someday.  Right now I only have my portfolio and the things I am scanning into the computer.  It takes a long time, but someday I will have a book. 

Alas, I have wandered off of the original topic.  Check out her blog -- go on, go look right now. 
Am I right?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A little knitting

This is a photo of a dish cloth that I made with some cotton yarn that I hand dyed.  I promised All the Pretty Flowers I would get it posted -- so here it is.  This is a mini project really.  I just picked up knitting again.  Previously I've completed a scarf or two, but never really learned much more than the basics.  Maybe someday I will take the time to really knit.  I do love fiber crafts, but I am more drawn toward dying fabrics and fibers than sewing and knitting (although weaving really appeals to me).  Anyway, I like the colors that I got on my first attempt and can't wait to do more. 
I'm curious who else has any projects that they are working on right now.  Let me know so.  I need inspiration.

what a nice gloomy day

It has been dreary all day - drizzly, drab, grey.  The skies must be clear now because I can see a big yellow moon out the back window.  I don't mind gloomy weather too much.  I was just happy to have the day off of work today. 
Charlie is on his way home from work right now.  I have a chicken/mushroom soup concoction in the crock pot and will be making some rice for it as well.  I'm not real sure what I'll be having yet - something that goes with rice I suppose.  It is sometimes difficult to figure out meals that will work for one omnivore and one herbivore.  I usually end up with way too much food sitting in the fridge afterwards.  Oh well.  I will certainly never complain about over-abundance... especially in today's world.  

Oh, and here are those ornaments that I got from Bronner's last weekend (see previous post).  I got the fish for Charlie - cause he likes to fish.  The pig one is for me -- I don't know why -- I was just drawn to it.  In the store Mom scolded me for putting it down after we laughed over how cute it is.  Well, I can't make Mom mad, so I bought it.  : )   Later I made her buy something she liked as well.  As much as I tell myself I want to get rid of a bunch of stuff and downsize and de-clutter I just can't seem to stop buying things.  I suppose it is a continual process of changing habits.  Anyway, I still think the pig is adorable and I don't regret getting it.  Now.... I just need a bigger Christmas tree... LOL.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween, etc.

It feels like a long time since my last blog.  Sorry.  Most of the time it feels like nothing new is happening around here.  Then, other times I have tried to blog but my internet was acting up.
Anyway, Autumn was beautiful -- but really short.  The leaves are basically all down and I saw snow today.  We had a beautiful frost the day before Halloween...

That same morning I took a few photos of the pigs.  They had frosty breath.  It turns out this was their last morning with us.  Later that day Dave was loading them up to go to slaughter.

The next day I got home from work and these little characters were at the house.  These are my two youngest nieces.  Lesleigh on the left (as some gal from High School Musical) and Melissa (a pokemon creature).  I didn't have any candy on hand because we don't usually get visitors on Halloween.  I gave them both an apple and $1.  Trick or Treat!

These two little creatures are the cutest puppies in the world.  Charlie's parents' dog just had pups and they are tiny and adorable.  The two girls above are taking the brown one shown below.  

Unfortunately, the calico kitten has not been seen for a couple of weeks.  I'm worried.  Dave said that he lost 3 chickens to a weasel a while back.  Could the weasel have found the kitty?  I don't know.  

Mom, Grandma and my Aunt Ruthann from California came to visit.  I took them shopping to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.  I got a couple of cute ornaments.  I will have to photograph them and post it later (perhaps on a day that I will see sunlight outside of work).

I have a job promotion prospect at work that I am so excited about!  I don't want to discuss it yet because they haven't even posted the opening.  Once it is posted and I have applied for it I will tell you more about it.  At this time, if you are the praying type, give me a hand here.  I could use all the prayers/intentions I can get for this new opportunity.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Still Waters Wellness

Still Waters Wellness is my Mother's business located in West Michigan.  She is a reflexologist and also does several other modalities that promote holistic wellness.  She has been helping people for years now but has just recently gotten her web site up and running.  Now we need to let people know about the site.  So, please take a moment and check out

If you know of anybody who is in the West Michigan area who is dealing with health problems or stress please let them know about her site.  If you know of someone who is not from the area please feel free to direct them to the site as well.  There is a lot of great information about what reflexology is all about.  Perhaps it will help them discover a natural way to heal themselves.

Oh, and I also have to brag that I helped with some of the photos on the website.  

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I noticed in my last post about the barn kitties that the calico was missing.  Today she was around and she is just too cute -- I had to add some photos of her too.  It looks like she has extra toes like her mama.  She needs a name.  If you have any suggestions or if you have a child that likes to name animals, feel free to give me some ideas.  The other two (I think they are male) need names too.  I should know by now not to name the barn cats because they don't hang around too long.  Then again, I can't call them all "kitty".

Last Sunday

Last Sunday Charlie and I went on a short road trip.  The weather was gorgeous and felt like summer.  We drove along Lake Huron to the East Tawas & Oscoda area.  The leaves are brilliant right now.  It was really nice being able to spend time with Charlie on such a pretty day.  I shot a few photos so I thought I would share...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Barn Cats

Ok, this is my final post for the day.  I think four are enough.  On my way out this morning I set out a scoop of cat food for the barn cats.  I stood real still and the little babies came out to get some food.  They are still quite skittish.  This one didn't seem to mind me though.  It gave a big stretch and proceeded to play for a while in the grass.  
His brother is the chunky one in the group and headed straight for the food.  "Grey" is their Uncle and was also up this morning to get some.  Grey is one of the friendlier ones and I am quite fond of him.
An after-breakfast drink from the bird bath.  He it too cute, don't you think?

And here is a photo of one of the babies after I set out some tuna salad that Charlie didn't want (it got outdated).  He put his head down in that tuna and ate and ate.  You could actually watch the kitten getting fat.  He needs to pack on some weight though before the snow starts flying.

Some Autumn Photos

Some seed pods.  I love my macro setting lately!

Some lawn art.  Aunt Mary loves her lawn art.  I happen to like this rooster and how it looks among the dying plants.

This is a sassafras tree across the street and over the train tracks from the house.  A couple of barn cats followed me over there and almost got hit by a car.

Can you guess where I went this morning.  Yup, the local farmer's market.  I bought some Kapow soap and some squash.  I love the texture on some of these squash.


I don't think I've ever really introduced Sassafras in this blog.  She is my beautiful blue eyed siamese mix cat.  She is 7 years old - give or take.  She is the only indoor cat I have.  She is a chunky cat - weighs over 15 pounds now.  She loves her cat nip and laying on her back in the middle of the living room.  She is terrified of strangers so most people don't ever get to see her.  I won custody of her after my first marriage failed.  Charlie sometimes pretends he doesn't like her -- but he spoils her just like I do.  
So, I came home from work on Monday and found her laying motionless on the bed.  She wouldn't purr and was breathing funny.  I was able to get her up but she was still acting very peculiar so I ended up taking her in to the emergency vet.  They checked her out and did some blood tests but the only thing that came up was elevated glucose.  I have a follow up appointment at our own vet (much cheaper than emergency care) to do some more blood work.  They think she may have diabetes.  They also said it is easy to control in cats with just a change in diet (to canned food only).  
The day after she was acting a bit better and by Wednesday you would never have known she had been acting like she was going to die - other than the patches of fur they shaved off to get the blood.  I'm just happy that it wasn't anything too serious.  

Here is another photo of that dahlia.  Sassy helped me with this photo shoot.  She made sure to get in the way and rub up against me.  She sniffed the flower and even tasted a petal or two.  She gave me her approval of the shot and then chilled out in the center of the room while I took a few photos.  

Catching up

I have several different things to write about today so I think I will do a couple of new posts.  I'm trying to catch up a bit.
Shortly after posting my last blog with the dahlia photo I was contacted by a friend from highschool -- Melissa.  She gave me the tragic news that our mutual friend Michelle had passed away the day before and that it was suicide.  I was absolutely shocked that Michelle was gone, but not as shocked about how she left us.  Michelle had always struggled with thoughts of suicide, for as long as I've know her.  I spent many afternoons after school on the phone with her trying to tell her the reasons to keep living.  We had lots of joyful times too though.  Melissa told me Michelle was bi-polar.  I had lost track of Michelle a few years ago and only recently had found her on facebook.  We were catching up with each other and even planning on getting together in November (Michelle, Melissa, Heidi and me - just like old times).  Now she is gone and we won't get that chance. 

 I was quite upset about it at first but it is starting to feel less painful now.  I am trying to focus on the good times we had together and not on the times we could have had in the future.  I'm trying not to beat myself up for the should haves and could haves (should have called her more, could have made more time for her, etc).  If Michelle only knew how much everybody loved her...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Aunt Mary gave me a beautiful dahlia out of the garden last night.  She was cutting them all because it was supposed to frost over last night.  I don't know if it actually did or not.  I got to sleep in 'til 6:30 AM today.  May not seem like much but it sure felt good.  I had to work a couple of hours today even though it is my day off.  After that I went to my chiropractor, then the laundromat, got an oil change for my car and went to the grocery store (phew!).  I'm home again and took a few photos of my dahlia.  I will have to explore the macro setting on my little point and shoot more in the future.  My first try with it didn't work out right - I had focusing issues.  This time it worked.  I like the results.  
So, I am looking to get a real camera within the next 6 months (hopefully).  I have a good Nikon that got me through all of my photography classes -- but it is a film camera.  Although I love film, I am lacking a darkroom.  Two years ago I got a Canon PowerShot A530.  All of the images on this blog have come from that camera - it does a nice job I think.  I'm just growing out of it.  I want a REAL digital camera -- with a couple good lenses.  Actually, I'd really love one of those medium format cameras with the option of film, digital or polaroid backs -- but now I'm dreaming.  So, any of my photo-taking readers have any suggestions for a good camera?  How about a good photo lab that will still process my black and white film or my medium format color film (shot with my Holga)?  I have a pile of film that needs to be developed by can't find a place around here that can do it.  I'll have to mail it somewhere I guess.  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Much needed change of scenery

Mom and I took a vacation together this past week and I'd like to share a bit about it.  We had a marvelous time!  We went to the Traverse City, Michigan area and stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast near Torch Lake.  Most of our time was spent cruising around in Mom's convertible.  The weather was awesome staying mostly sunny and in the mid 70's.  I even got a little suntan on my face -- not bad for late September.  

The first image is of a little dirt road we took.  We love exploring -- especially in Mom's convertible.  

We spent some time wading in Torch Lake at this little beach.  It is supposed to be the third most beautiful lake in the world (I wonder where the 1st and 2nd place lakes are).  It was nice, but Lake Michigan is still my favorite.

We drove out on Old Mission Peninsula (just North of Traverse City).  It is one the most scenic drives I have ever been on.  It is covered in apple and cherry orchards and numerous vineyards all over the rolling hills.  Beyond that you have a great view of the bay.  

We stopped at a few wineries and sampled plenty of amazing wines.  In fact, besides one piece of artwork that I couldn't pass up, the only things I bought on vacation were fancy foodstuffs.  I got 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of cherry port, a local cheese, chocolate covered dried cherries, pear preserves, pumpkin butter, and hot masala (indian spice) chocolate.
We did much more than that, but I think you get the idea of how pleasant and relaxing our vacation together was.  I'm so happy that Mom and I have such a good relationship with each other.