Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday

Our black Friday was anything but black.  First of all, we had amazing weather.  Exceptionally warm for this time of year.  I had driven out with Dino to show her one of our favorite hiking spots, Cedar Bluffs.  Once Bradley arrived and the lovely weather was upon us, we were excited to hike.  Cedar Bluffs is about five minutes from our house and we hike it quite often.  If you are a regular reader, you've heard me mention it in the past. 
Dino and Bradley at the Bluffs
The trail runs alongside Clear Creek.  The trail is ever changing as to the level of the water.  Last Friday the water was unusually high, due to excessive rainfall.  There is a lot of rock scrambling.  Chelsea wanted to swim and Bradley threw in a ridiculously big branch for her to fetch.
Chelsea with a branch (log?) bigger than she is!
Once you are on top of the bluffs, you are about 75 feet up.  My stomach does a flip whenever anyone gets too near to the edge. 
Bradley and Dino on top of the bluffs

Doug, me and Chelsea on top of the bluffs
Often, Doug's family is with us for Thanksgiving.  Something I've always wanted to do is attend the lighting of the square called "Canopy of Lights."  It is a little cheesy, but a lot of fun.  Lots of families with little ones.  We sang Christmas carols.  In the article in the newspaper they said that Santa would shatter the darkness with a white-gloved hand.   We had a lot of fun with that.
Bradley excited about the shattering of the darkness by a white gloved hand

Dino and Bradley at Canopy of Lights

Doug and me at the Canopy of Lights
I love our square.  Every tree has tree is covered in lights and then strands of lights stretch from the courthouse across the streets.  It looks like Whoville.  Our black Friday was bright with no shopping in sight!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving visitors

My Thanksgiving holiday began by picking up my son's girlfriend, Dino, in Indianapolis.  She had been attending a conference in Chicago.  I drove up on Monday evening and picked her up.
Tuesday morning, she gathered eggs.  We have ten layers and apparently a couple had laid after Doug gathered the day before.  She found a dozen eggs. 

Dino gathered eggs!

Twelve eggs!
My son was coming in on Tuesday evening which gave Dino and I the whole day to get to know one another a little better.  I had previously only spent one evening with her when we celebrated my birthday in North Caroline (where they live) a year ago.
First, I took her to one of my favorite Bloomington restaurants, Malibu.  This is a restaurant where my son and I have shared many an evening. 
Dino at Malibu the day before her birthday
Originally, I had planned that Dino and I would hike at Brown County State Park which is one of the most popular parks in Indiana.  A torrential downpour would have meant muddy, slippery trails so we opted for a car tour of the park.
At Abe Martin Lodge in the pouring rain.
 Brown County State Park is in Nashville, IN.  Some call it "Little Nashville" with Nashville, TN being "Big Nashville."  We don't have mountains, but we have some fairly big hills. (Most of Indiana is flat until you head south.)
The hills of "Little Nashville"
On Tuesday evening, we headed back to Indianapolis to the airport.  My son flew in and we met up with his Dad.  His Dad took he and Dino for Wednesday and Thursday.
Until Thursday evening when we headed back to Indianapolis to meet my son's dad, Doug and I had a quiet Thanksgiving.  We had ham sandwiches for lunch and decided we must be the only people that didn't stuff ourselves. We built a fire and hung out.
Milo and Chelsea hang by the fire on Thanksgiving day
That night when we returned to the house, I had a birthday cake for Dino.  Although it slipped a bit, she loved it.  Her birthday was actually on Wednesday so I was able to celebrate the day before and after with her.
I baked a cake for Dino's birthday
We were all very happy to have them home for a couple of days with us.
Bradley and Tree

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Come ye thankful people come

"Fire bush" on our property
As the fire bushes blaze in the fall, so does my heart.  I love fall.  Love the warmth that is the opposite of the falling temperatures here in southern Indiana. 

Thanksgiving brings to mind the words of this old hymn:

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

On this Thanksgiving day I think of those that love me and give to me every day.  People who enrich my life.  If you are reading this, count yourself among those people. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Moments with Privet and Holly

Today I'm joining Suzanne over at Privet and Holly for Monday Moments.
In this season of gratitude, I want to write about a profound change that happened in this past year.  In March,  my granddaughter was born. 
Natalie's hand in Grandma's hand
Before I became a Grandma, I basically thought "all Grandmas are nuts."  You know, the way they go on and on about their grandchildren?  It doesn't matter if they have one or nineteen, the subject of grandchildren comes up and they talk on and on.  I would think to myself "yeah, yeah, yeah, crazy Grandma."  I remember a few years ago when one of my friends became a Grandma and she was so excited and actually wanted to be called "Grandma."  I thought first of all we are too young to be a Grandma, never mind actually be called  "Grandma."
Grandma's socks, Natalie's socks
Then baby Natalie was conceived and my whole world changed.  She turned me into an oooey, gooey marshmallow.  It is difficult to put into words.  First of all, she looks so very much like my daughter did.  I never thought I would hold a baby in my arms again and look into the face of a baby that looks just like my daughter did.  It never occurred to me.  Having a grandchild is something like having a child, only better.  Grandma gets to have all of the fun.   And the office of Grandma?  What an honor.  What an honor to be called "Grandma."  (That is what it is for now, unless Natalie comes up with something different.)  She is my pride and joy.  She lives back east.  I live in the midwest.  I try to see her once a month.  With the exception of one month (which about killed me) we've done well. 
I pass a billboard in our town which reads "celebrate your child's every accomplishment."  Immediately, I thought of Natalie.  First smile, holding a toy, sitting up, first tooth, up on hands and knees, standing.  Each accomplishment is celebrated. 
Baby Natalie and Grandma
Grandmas may be nuts, but oh the joy, the pride, the intense love that we feel for grandchildren.  I was blessed to have three grandmas in my life (maternal, paternal and great-grandma).  I was close to all three of them and especially close to one of them. 
This past summer my daughter turned twenty-nine.  I cried.  Doug said "oh, honey, you'll see her sent a card, she knows you love her."  I said "I'm not crying because of her- I'm crying because I hope I live to see Natalie turn twenty-nine!"  Life is precious, but grows more precious with each passing year.  Then you become a Grandma. 
This year I am thankful for my family and especially thankful for our newest member. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Perfect Sleep

"How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly and brings nothing but sweet dreams."
Stoker, Dracula
Perfect Sleeper
Everyone in my life knows that I have always had sleep issues.  Anyone who has ever gotten between me and a good night's sleep has (barely) lived to tell the tale.  I am happy and in a great mood when I get a full night's sleep.  When I don't, I am beyond grouchy.  Often, I just can't sleep.  It has nothing to do with another human being.  I toss.  I turn.  I get up and "prowl-" which means I tidy the kitchen.  I take dry clothes out of the dryer.  I fold the dry clothes.  I take wet clothes from the washer and put them into the dryer and get that started.  I put a load of dirty clothes into the washer and get that started.  When I can't think of anything else to do, I go back to bed.  This very often happens on a work night.  I try to avoid turning on the television or getting on the internet.
The mattress that we've been sleeping on was the one that I bought when I got divorced.  That was 1989.  It was a cheap mattress.   I bought the queen pillow top mattress and box springs and brass headboard with porcelain knobs for a small sum of money.  At the time it was heavenly.  Fast-forward to the past few years- frequently I had to get out of bed because my body was hurting.  I am a side sleeper.  Recently I thought my right shoulder socket was blown.  I couldn't begin to sleep on my right shoulder for the pain. 
A few months ago I began my campaign to redo the bedroom- paint the ceiling, get a new ceiling light, paint the walls and get some new inexpensive carpet.  (The bedroom is the only room in the house that still has carpet.)  In this house, in this relationship, I begin the campaign at least three to six months before I hope it happens.  It takes a while for me to convince him that my great idea is actually his great idea.  (There may be a few of you out there who know what I'm talking about.)  About a week before my birthday, (October 20) he announced that he was getting me a bed for my birthday.  Great.  I mean, really.  Great- we are getting a new bed.  The first night that we shopped for a new bed was on my birthday.  The evening of my birthday.  Which was pretty crappy in my opinion.  Which was great because we were finally shopping for a new bed even if it was in the rain and on my birthday.  That night we went to Sam's Club and HH Gregg and Big Lots.  Sam's Club had these fabulous Serta mattresses.  I could have went home with any that they had on the floor.  HH Gregg wants a million dollars for any mattress on their showroom floor and none of them were as nice as what Sam's Club had to offer.  Big Lots didn't have anything at all that appealed to me on any level.  After that he told me that since he could sleep on a rock, why don't I just go out and shop for a bed and let him know what I wanted?  I went to another local place- Pate's in Ellettsville.  The salesman was a southern gentleman that hailed from near Ashville, NC.  Their beds were nice.  I probably could have bought one there but in the end, despite the salesman saying he could work with us on the price, some of their beds were more expensive than Sam's Club.  And I told Doug that this was one time that I didn't want to buy local- that I wanted to go with the huge box store.  I said "who knows if the local place will be here if something goes wrong?  We can feel fairly secure in the fact that Sam's Club (after taking over the world) isn't going anywhere." 
So, I joined Sam's Club. I have always wanted to join Sam's Club.  He has always said "I'm not going to pay to shop somewhere!"  So, I paid for the membership- which he will enjoy especially when we get the cheapest price on gasoline in town with my membership card.  (Sorry to the WalMart haters out there-haters gonna hate- and by the way, I'm not too keen on WalMart, either.)
Now, I have a Serta Perfect Sleeper which is the official mattress of the National Sleep Foundation.  I can miraculously once again sleep on my right shoulder.  I can't tell when he gets out of bed.  It is fantabulous. 
And it is sky-high.  I am the princess and the pea.  Although all you can see from the photo is that it is higher than my washstand bedside table.  When I sit up to get out of this bed I have to take a little leap.  My feet don't touch the ground- just my toes.  I am five foot two.  I use my cell phone as my alarm clock and I always leave it on the floor beside the bed- I have to lean out of the bed to reach my phone. 
Paul Simon is playing B-town tonight.  The Punch Brothers are opening for him.  I would have loved to have been at this concert.  But as he says..."I got you a new bed."  The concert is sold out so we can listen to it on the radio.
This princess is happy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

National Aquarium and more

Last Thursday I was off, once again, to the east coast- Babyland, Maryland. 
My daughter is named for one of my best friends.  My friend lives in North Carolina.  She and her daughter drove from North Carolina to Maryland to be with all of us.  My friend's daughter is eight years old.  My granddaughter is eight months old.  My granddaughter has cousins that are one and four but she had never been around an eight year old.  She loved the eight year old and the eight year old loved her right back.  The baby giggled and smiled and imitated.  On Saturday we all went to the National Aquarium.  It was amazing.
National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD
The jellyfish were my favorite.  Drifting effortlessly through the water with tendrils streaming , they look harmless.  Such a beautiful creature inflicts dire pain- sometimes death.  Very near the jellyfish display a video ran with personal testimonies of those who met with the ugly side of a jellyfish. 
At eight months old my granddaughter is aware of all around her.  If she hears something behind her that she cannot see, she will turn her entire body in an effort to find out what is going on.  She will lean and reach when one of her moms is nearby.  She has this gimme-gimme motion that she does with her right hand.  She leaned toward the tanks filled with sharks, dolphins and jellyfish with her right hand waving gimme-gimme. 
Granddaughter showing her mommy the jellyfish

Can we play?
When we came out of the aquarium, dusk was falling.  I snapped this picture of the Christmas decorations.  I love how the cars are whizzing by.  A frenzy.  This is how I've been feeling- a weekend out of town followed by a full week of work- this next weekend I'll be down at Papertrix.  Next week my son and his girlfriend will come in from North Carolina to join us for Thanksgiving.  Thankfully, I will only work Monday and Wednesday.  I don't seem to be able to get the same amount of housework done as I once could.  In the past I could bust it out.  Now, I have to have a plan and do a little at a time.  Each night I tackle a room in a major way.  I've cleaned the guest room, the living room and the kitchen.  Tomorrow night I'll clean the family room and tidy our bedroom.  Then just before they arrive, I'll clean the bathrooms and give the whole thing house a quick gloss over.  I will clean it in a frenzy.
The photo below is my friend that my daughter is named for.  We've been friends for over thirty-five years.  How I love this woman.  How I have always aspired to be just like her when I grow up.  She is a beautiful, classy lady.  She has nothing but love in her heart.  She loves my children like family.  And now she loves my grand baby.  Some think we look like sisters.  I take that as a high compliment.
Life is kind of frenzied right now, but just like a jellyfish, I float.  Sometimes gracefully, sometimes frantically, but I float. 

**Thank you to the reader who contacted my editor to get a copy of my magazine article.  Whoever you are out there- that was nice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On being an office girl

I've been an office girl for twenty -two years now.  Who knew that being able to type really fast would be my claim to fame?  In high school, I learned to type on a manual typewriter.  That's right, a manual.  Do you know how hard you have to type to push down keys on a manual?  It made my pinkies very strong.  I think we typed on manuals for the first year.  Once my school went with  electric typewriters, my fingers really flew.  I still type very "hard."  Remember the scene from the movie Up in the Air when George Clooney asks Anna Kendrick "are you mad at your keyboard?"  I type like that.  Currently I sit in an open suite with three other ladies and it seems to me I type louder than anyone. 
For ten years I worked  inside sales for two different newspapers.  I wore a head set and took classified ads over the phone.  I can type as fast as you can talk.  (This talent comes in handy when taking notes for meetings.)   At one of the newspapers, the atmosphere was just like the t.v. show The Office. And at times, the atmosphere was something like Mad Men. The first newspaper I worked for was in my home town. The second newspaper, located a little further north, was in a slightly larger town. The town was still made up of blue collar, factory working people, but also home to a university. Therefore, the second newspaper fancied itself a little more cosmopolitan than the first.  In advertising  there were sometimes lunches which included alcohol.  You never knew who was involved with whom.  While I dressed professionally at the first newspaper, when working at the second newspaper, I had a closet filled with suits.  I wore suits, stockings and pumps nearly every day.  In those years, Kasper was my favorite suit brand.  I had one that was pink and navy.  Another Kasper suit was a soft pink.  I had matching pink pumps and wore white stockings.  Another suit had a red riding jacket with black velvet collar which I wore with a white sheer blouse and pants and skirt in hound's tooth.  My dry cleaning bill rivaled my children's day care bill.  
Then I went to work for Ball State University.  Working on my BS degree, I had paid out of pocket for two years.  Financially, this was killing me.  I wanted to work for the university for many reasons, but one was that they paid tuition for employees.  I took a chance and started working temp for the university.  At my second position, they made me an offer.  My boss there was the greatest guy.  It was a small office and although we had contact with everyone on campus, the dress code was much less stuffy than that of advertising.
 And now I work for Indiana University. At my first post here at IU, we worked with a man who greatly favored Roger Sterling.  My second post here at this university is with the law school.  College co-eds are wearing more than jeans and work-out clothing to class these days.  If you don't believe me, consult with Indiana University Alumna, Amy Levin's blog.    Here at the law school, it is quite common to see law students in suits.  The faculty and staff here dress professionally for meetings and presentations.  During breaks, (spring, summer, fall and Christmas) we dress down.  During summer break, about anything goes.  Today is a meeting day and I am wearing black pumps and stockings, (I'm old school enough that it is difficult to do the bare legged thing) black pants and shell with a short leopard print jacket and vintage Trifari jewelry.  (Originally mine, now considered vintage- a.k.a. "old."  Vintage is a much nicer word than old.)  I picked up the jacket at my favorite second-hand shop.  I prefer to purchase standard slacks in brown, black, navy and grey and go from there.  I rarely purchase anything that has to be dry-cleaned.  Because I am a Jackie fan, I believe pearls go with every thing.
I enjoy being on campus, observing what the students wear, seeing the cute male professors and noting what the female professors wear.  It keeps me in the game.  I enjoy dressing up and making a fashion statement.  I'm certain some days that statement is "ouch."
Overall, there are worse jobs than that of office girl.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wizard of Oz - famous deleted scenes

Remember the famous scene from Wizard of Oz where the lion sings If I were the King of the Forest?
Well, this morning, Milo decided to re-enact one of the deleted scenes from Wizard of Oz when the lion sings If I were the King of the Laundry.

I no more than put warm laundry straight from the dryer onto the kitchen table, than Milo is on top of it...all the way through the folding of the warm laundry, he is on it...checking it out, in charge.  Roar!

Not your mama's ham and cheese

One of the evils of Pinterest is that I see photos of yummy looking food.  This recipe is from  I'll give you the recipe but it is found here. 
The recipe says that it is better when you let it sit overnight, but we made it and baked them on the same night.  I also cut the recipe down for the two of us, but still made plenty.  Doug and I had them for dinner on the first night...I had one for breakfast the next morning (yes, breakfast) and Doug ate them at lunchtime.  And a gal friend and I had them another evening.  The recipe calls them The Best Ham Sandwiches Ever...I might also add...the most fattening.  But, they are delicious!
You make these sandwiches with
sweet hawaiian rolls (the recipe calls for the small dinner rolls but I used the small sub rolls)
virginia ham
swiss cheese
3/4 C. butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dried onions
poppy seeds

I baked in my 9x12 alumninum cake pan.  I put two slices of ham per sandwich and topped with sliced swiss cheese.  Then you top the cheese with the top of the roll.  Then you heat the butter, mustard, worcestershire and onions in a sauce pan and pour over the top of the sandwiches.  Then you sprinkle with poppy seeds. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Nom, nom, nom. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Big Oaks Trail and more

This past Sunday, Doug, Chelsea and I went out to hike near the reservoir.  We live near the reservoir.  Chelsea loves to hike.  I felt like meandering. We chose to hike Big Oaks trail.  It is named for this big oak.  There is a bench nearby if you just want to sit and consider this big oak.

When we reached this point on the trail Doug said "which way?"  I said "let Chelsea pick."  She went to the right.  The trail winds around in a loop.  We actually went off trail- which is easy to do in the fall when it is easier to see through the trees.  It is hard to get lost when you can see the lake. 
As you can see, the colors of the trees are beautiful this time of year in our area of Southern Indiana.

I gathered leaves and small geodes that are brain-like in appearance. It kills me that some people actually pay for geodes. They are everywhere. We wander areas around the lake that I call "geode gardens." We put geodes in and around our gardens and on our deck.  When they are cracked open they are sparkling with crystals on the inside. We live on the limestone belt.  There are rocks and fossils everywhere.  I paused to gather some crinoid stems.  They are fascinating and prolific along the lake shore.  Doug told me he used to have a jar filled with them.  I've always been kind of geeky and love finding fossils and looking at layers in rocks. 
I also found a downed pine tree and wished for a bag to gather pine cones.  Pine cones are excellent in the fire- they pop and put off a delicious fragrance.  But we didn't have a bag or a back pack.  (Note to self for the next time we hike this area.)  By the time we returned to Doug's truck, my pockets (and his), were filled with various sizes of geodes.  I had a pocket containing crinoid stems and my hands were filled with leaves ranging from pale yellow to orange, red and rich brown.  Nature's bounty. 
We wandered through this grove of seems at one point a road must have been cut a lovely wandering path.
As we were leaving the area I turned back to look at the lake and took this photograph...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love from a fellow Hoosier (At Heart)

Recently I posted some photos of some cards that I made.  Holly, over at Hoosier at Heart, and I have been friends for some time, now, but she didn't realize I enjoyed creating works of art.  She wrote me back that day and said "I'm going to send you some things..."
I arrived home from work one afternoon to find this box on my kitchen fun!  How exciting!  How nice!

Holly, how did you know that I LOVE candles...(pumpkin cream pie)...I LOVE pumpkin...LOVE candy corn...I was so touched...and then I noticed something that brought a tear to my eye...Holly's handwriting looks exactly like my Grandma's handwriting...(Grandma passed away in December of '06.)...
She also sent sleeves...I can ALWAYS use sleeves...(to put finished cards into...when you do a show, your cards are handled a LOT)...
Holly sent these little treat bags...would be good for trick-or-treat or any gift style...can't wait to dress up these babies...
light weight  card stock to paint, embellish...snazzle...(yes, snazzle is a word)...
This little jar with lots of brads...Holly, how did you know?  I was running low on brads...(hey, did you decorate this jar?)... is my fav...
If you can't read what Holly wrote on this gallon size says "misc. doohickeys, what nots & thing a ma bobs." Yup...Holly is a Hoosier...sounds like words I've heard from my mama's mouth my whole life long...(note to self to write a post on "Hoosierisms")...
LOOK, Look, look!  This is what was in that gallon size baggie...oooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh...*squealing*...
This is where Milo wanted to investigate and get in on the action...(for those of you who are local peeps in my life and may see my cat on my table...please note:  Milo is *never* on the table)...*snorts*...*rolls eyes*...yeah, right.  (Sometimes I make terrible jokes that Milo is going to die on the kitchen table...he is thirteen years old)...
And...a treat...a copy of Cardmaker's Idea  What a treat!

And...a birthday card...
Oh, my.  Holly, thank you sooooooooooooooo much!
Holly's blog is called "Hoosier at Heart" because she was born and raised in Indiana, but life has transplanted her to Arizona.  She is forever asking me about the weather...we email back and forth.  She is a Hoosier girlfriend, for sure.  Her gift will go on and on as I enjoy and play and create.
And...that is why they call it Hoosier Hospitality, folks. 

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