Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 11-23-18

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1. Great Thanksgiving day with family on Mike's side.  Our spread was as good as all the others I've seen pictured.

2. Time with some sweet little great-nieces who aren't sure what to think of me, but sure did enjoy the stickers and tablets I brought for them.  Here they are watching their daddy shoot skeet.

3. Anytime we are at my brother-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, shooting skeet is always part of the afternoon activities.  We haven't been there for several years, so we all enjoyed being out on the field either shooting or watching.

4. A two-day work week!!

5. I did NOT get out on Black Friday.  One of the things that I am grateful for, is that I neither need nor want anything that requires getting out in that mess!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all American readers - also the Canadian ones even though their celebration was earlier.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 11-9-18

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1. Autumn decorations on the mantle!  First year we've had a mantle; therefore, the first year we've had decorations.  

2. I am doing something new this weekend - participating in a craft fair.  Not really me; not really something I have time to pursue, but a church nearby is having one this weekend and I decided to participate.  I've visited it in the past, and it's in a big gym with lots of atmosphere, so it should be something enjoyable and relaxing.  I've enjoyed getting some things ready for it.

3. My parents gave us the shepherd's hook from their back yard, so now I have more feeders than ever outside the kitchen windows.  Makes me happy.  This little shot is of a female purple finch that has been visiting.  We have lots of house finches, but purple finches are much less common.

4. Productive week at school.  Exhausted by the time I get home, but the paper grading has been under control lately.  That's a bigger deal than one may think.

5. This is a funny.  The teacher across the hall took this as proof why 7th graders need us.  :-)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 10-19-18

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 1. The house is coming along!!  We can actually live in it again.  :-)  We still have a lot of pictures to hang, but slowly we are getting it done.  Mike's shoulder and my recent (again) back problems make it difficult to do too much at one time, but progress of any kind makes me happy.

This will be the study/extra room/man cave when it is done.
 2. This is the second week in a row I've had a day of no teaching.  Last week we had a day off due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Michael that was passing through.  It turned out to be a bust - a delayed opening would have been just as good.  By 10:00 everything had passed through and we had sunny skies!!  Today was a teacher work day, to finish up first nine weeks grades and get anything done that was needed.

3. Very happy students.  (Most of them were here today anyway for an extended day of play practice.)  Our boys won their quarterfinal soccer match yesterday, which ensures that they are going to the state tournament next weekend, for the first time in ten years.  Our girls play their volleyball quarterfinal on Monday (at a school that you, Barbara, are very familiar with.)  :-)  It will be really special if both our boys' soccer and girls' volleyball teams would both get to go to the state tournament at the same time.

4. I've been doing a lot of crochet, in preparation for a craft show next month.  I've never done anything like that but have kind of gotten the bug to try participating in one.  And it is very relaxing to work on small projects in the evenings.  


5. Last week we were contacted by a family member - would we like tickets to the Carolina football game?  With a great parking spot?  Well, I really shouldn't have gone due to lower back issues.  But I did.  And we did have a nice time getting out of town.  The only thing that wasn't great was - the team didn't get a win.  Oh well.  We take what we can get.  :-)  And we are very thankful for our family member's kind gift.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 9-28-18

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1. First big thing:  I wasn't going to be able to post anything today due to being at our annual regional Christian school convention in Myrtle Beach SC.  However, it was canceled a week ago due to floodwaters reaching that area.  Now, usually I do enjoy going to the convention, and I'm saddened that the reason it is canceled is due to the hardships of the flooding.  But this year, with all the home renovations and several other things going on, it was a wonderful break to be home for 2 1/2 days more than usual.  We can't really try to have school after all, because parents have made plans, looking forward to this break.  So we just got it off!

2. The wood floors are DONE in the entire house.  At left is a picture from a couple of weeks ago, and at right is from exactly a week ago today.  Carpeting in the den was completed on Wednesday.  It is so nice to have the floors done in the entire house. We are slowly getting furniture moved back in place.  It's a little difficult when Mike has shoulder issues and I have lower back/knee issues.  But piece by piece we are getting everything back to where it belongs.

3. Furniture was delivered today.  I don't want to post a picture yet - not till everything is right.  But here is a sneak peek, actually taken at the furniture store a couple of weeks ago.  The ottoman matches everything else in the den, so can be moved around from piece to piece.  The lady sitting there looks very comfortable.  :-)

4. This one makes me sad, but it is still sweet.  This is the recliner that we got 30 years ago this week, when I was in the last months of pregnancy with our first child.  It's on the loading dock of our local rescue mission's thrift store.  I remember we didn't have two nickels to rub together, but we scraped together enough to get it on a $300 / 3 month same as cash deal, and we thought we were royalty.  I survived two pregnancies and reared two children with this chair.  It's survived a lot of tears, a lot of roughhousing, a lot of reading, a lot of everything.  But it was time to let it go.  There is still some good living left in that chair, and I hope someone else appreciates it as much as we did.

5. Thankful for safety when a tornado touched down north of our town last night.  We were leaving Home Depot and saw the cloud and the funnel.  It could have been very bad, but fortunately little damage occurred.  

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 9/14/18

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It's been awhile since I've done one of these.  The start of the school year can really keep me busy.  

1. We are doing renovations in our house - thus have been living with our bed in the den.  That and our two recliners are the only places in the house to sit right now.  Oh, and there is one stool at the kitchen counter, and two places at the kitchen table.  And that is it.  Bedrooms - completely empty.  "Big Room" - full of stuff.  Oh, and I guess I can count the bathrooms too.  Anyway, I am thankful for at least a few places to sit.

 2. Great progress being made on the wood flooring.  The installers should finish at the first of the week.  That makes for another weekend of sleeping in the den. . .but by next week maybe we will have a bed in the bedroom again.  :-)  The pic is of the entryway, partially done.  I've learned a lot about how wood flooring is installed.

3. This picture was in another post, but here are my newly painted kitchen cabinets. They were finished at the end of the week.  I am LOVING them.  This is the first time I have ever had a really nice kitchen.  It makes wanting to work neatly in it so much easier.

4. Thankful that our son and his wife have been willing to come over every weekend to move the furniture that needs to be moved at that time.  Mike's other shoulder is giving him trouble, so he can't move it right now.

5. It appears that Florence will just give us a lot of rain.  Of course, it's too soon to know the exact track, and those forecasts are notoriously fickle at the end, but right now cities just 30 miles away are slated to get much more.   We shall see.  Very thankful for a warm and dry house when major storms like this are coming. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Kitchen Before and After

The top picture was taken in April 2017.  The tile and wall painting got done back then, before all our surgeries set the project back for close to a year.

This picture was taken yesterday, September 8, 2018, after the cabinets were painted.
Right now we are living in the den and the "big room," because the wood flooring installers come tomorrow.  Then the furniture will be moved out of the den; it will be painted, and then new carpet will be installed.

Exciting times - that we are ready to have over with.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 7-27-18

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1. Due to several reasons, not the least of which I am giving a workshop during our inservice week at school, I have gone in several days this week to get a good bit of my room ready.  I made a new bulletin board which unfortunately did not get photographed.  I also put up this one, a classic, which reminds me fondly of the days when I would hand my creative daughter $50 and say "Go fix up my classroom."  This is one of her beauties.  It's one that can be recycled from time to time because the kids love it.  I'm glad to have gotten a lot of the classroom work done and also to have this opportunity to smile at past memories.

2. Rib is doing better.  I've not had to use narcotic pain reliever for two nights now.  I'm still sleeping in a chair for most of the night.  I will forever now have empathy for someone who has a broken rib.

3. Due to rib situation, classroom work, and preparation of this workshop, as well as other things, I am splurging and have hired a former student to help me clean my house this afternoon.  She is working as I write this.  Nothing makes me happier to have a clean house that I didn't do.  :-)

4. Still thinking about the fond memories of our beach vacation.

5. My sister was in town, having taken our folks for to a reunion in Indiana, and so I was able to spend some time with her.  She's safely back in Dallas now, after a not-so-fun plane connection issue. 

And that's my approaching-end-of-summer week.  It's always good to mix productiveness and rest.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 7/20/18

Beach Version 2018
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1. We spent July 7-14 in a house at Pawley's Island, SC.  The opportunity came up rather quickly.  We just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, to breathe different air for a few days.  I was scanning the internet when a sale popped up for this property.  A cancellation had occurred and the owner was offering a 20% discount to re-rent it.  We snapped it up and had a great week in a creek/marsh-front house, only a few houses from the north point of the island - easy to either boat or walk to the point, from which we could see marsh on the left and ocean to the right.  
View from walkway to the dock
View from our back deck down to our dock
2. Both our children and their spouses, as well as Mike's sister and husband, spent the first couple of days with us.  Brother-in-law then left his boat with us for the week - a great treat that led to some good fishing opportunities.  Our daughter-in-law proved to be the best fisherman in the group - she caught enough for us to have flounder for supper one evening.  We really enjoyed using the boat.

Daughter and daughter-in-law both love fishing.

Mike catching a flounder - having a good time even if it did have to be thrown back.
Flounder, fries, hushpuppies, corn, and slaw.  Great beach meal!
3. Wonderful opportunities to observe birds - the best in years.  We constantly saw shorebirds from our house - several kinds of herons and egrets, other shorebirds, songbirds, and more.  We also took several trips to Huntington Beach State Park, about six miles from our rental, which is known for premier birding on the U.S. east coast.  

Great Blue Heron on a sandbar as seen from the boat.
Little Blue Heron (immature) at Huntington Beach State Park.
I call this one "Praise Jesus!"  :-)  It's an anhinga, and they like to
dry their wings out this way.
A marsh hen (Clapper Rail) as seen in our back yard.  These are very secretive
birds, but this one peaked out often looking for food before scurrying back
into the marsh.  We got many good looks at this bird that is usually heard
rather than seen.  We also got good looks at. . .
. . .three Clapper Rail chicks who sometimes came out with their mother,
but always hurried back into the cover of the marsh.

Roseate Spoonbills.  Lifers for us.  For some reason there is a large invasion of these
into the Carolinas this year.  Note that the end of the bill looks just like a spoon.
Black-crowned night heron, another secretive bird.  Mike spotted it first.
Another lifer on our lists.
Painted bunting, singing its heart out from the top of a tree.
 I believe it is an immature due to the yellow wash on its breast.
An adult male bird would be solid red in that area.
Mixed flock at Huntington Beach State Park.  I call this picture "Church Potluck."
Tri-Colored heron in the marsh behind our rental.
4. After family left, we had a few days to ourselves, and then dear friends came for a couple of nights.  So it was a great vacation, save for one thing. . .

5. A diagnosis.  On Sunday of the vacation, I "face-planted" onto the dock while getting out of the boat.  It was a really hard fall, and rather awkward with the whole family looking on in horror thinking Mom has killed herself.  I had pain in the chest area for the rest of the week, but for the most part it was mild and only affected me with certain movements and bending over.  It seemed to be healing over the course of four or five days, and by the time we got home I didn't even feel it, and forgot about it, until about three days ago.  This Tuesday the pain came back with a vengeance, incapacitating and much worse than during the vacation.  Went to the dr. yesterday - I have a broken fifth rib, not displaced, which means it's not nearly as serious as it could be.  Dr. said I probably bruised it last week, and then some normal movement caused it to crack this week.  So I am learning how to deal with the pain of a broken rib.  BUT - it still goes on FFF because I am relieved to know what is wrong and that it can be managed with rest, ice, and some pain medication.

Thank you for putting up with all my bird pictures!!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 7-6-18

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1. Fourth of July festivities - Our church had a really nice cookout/service/fireworks on the evening of Tuesday the 3rd.  Probably 250 people or so were there, and it was a great evening of fellowship.  On the Fourth, our son cooked steaks at my folks' house for all of us as well as my daughter-in-law's sister and husband.  It was a good holiday!

2. I have collected Cherry Ames books for years - not so much lately, but nevertheless a collection I am glad to have.  At a thrift store recently, I picked up this gem.  First edition, hardback, excellent condition, dust jacket in good shape for being over 60 years old (1955).  Oh, and it cost me 75 cents.  :-)
3. I just finished baking eight pans of chocolate chip cookies.  :-)  With this heat I squeezed 20 cookies on each pan, which means they don't look quite as pretty, but they taste the same.  I had to bake five dozen for Vacation Bible School next week, and baked more for several other people.  And I used my brand-new KitchenAid mixer for the first time.  Wow!!  My sister said there was a learning curve, and she was right.  But it's worth it.  Once the ingredients are in, they practically mix themselves.  I will really enjoy this.

4. Lots of rain means our new sod is looking good!

5. Loving these summer months and enjoying the rest they include.  I will have more to say about that in a future week.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Two Pioneer Books

We have been without internet/phone/TV for NINE days.  Our router blew out in a thunderstorm Saturday night a week ago.  Supposedly AT&T "overnights" a new router/modem when these things happen.  Yes, they overnighted it - mailed on a Friday and we received on a Monday morning - but the entire process didn't start until after six days after we called.  And of course we received the run-around every time we called.  IF, that is, we could understand the service representative.

Anyway, the up side was - I did a lot more reading than usual.  Which was a good thing.  Two of the books I read were pioneer books.  Giants In The Earth was recommended on Good Reads as a good fictional example of non-varnished pioneer life.  It is a thick book - 453 pages - and translated from Norwegian.  Several families went way out into Nebraska and fought their way against the land, the weather, the grasshoppers, and the loneliness.  And yes, it is a non-varnished account, but hard to put down.   It's primarily the story of OlĂ© and his wife Beret, but the other families figure in as well.  Life was hard.  They were unsure of their religion as well, which made life even harder.  Beret fought crippling depression.  As the book progressed, things got better, but I found the ending to be strangely unsatisfying.

Over the weekend I read O Pioneers, the classic by Willa Cather.  I'd not read any of her novels - just a short story each year in 11th grade English, but felt a connection because two years ago, when we went to Grand Manan for our puffin cruise, the place where we stayed for two nights was her summer haunt for many years.  She actually built her own summer place on this property.

View from our duplex on Grand Manan.  Cather built her own home off to the right of this photo (not visible  - hidden in the woods from all the other cabins).)
O Pioneers is the story of Alexandra, a strong female protagonist, who inherits the family farm to manage.  Her brothers are not as capable as she, although she is careful to include them in the decisions and the eventual splitting of the property.  She is able to do much better with her share than they are with theirs.  A younger brother is spoiled by Alexandra.  It's another novel that gives a realistic picture of Nebraska pioneer life.  Part of the plot does involve an affair; it's not gratuitous and it's not graphic.  But it's there.  I feel like I have a better understanding now of Cather and her work.