Monday, June 29, 2009

Wonderful Weekend . . .

We got to our friends' RV on Canyon Ferry Lake late Friday night and we had a wonderful late, late steak dinner with margaritas. They have a new 5th wheel home and they are really enjoying it. Saturday, we had to juggle the airshow and a trip to a good friend's memorial service about an hour further away. It all got done and enjoyed in every way possible. The memorial service was outdoors in the most beautiful mountain setting.

We came back to the lake and stayed overnight in a little guest house built by Bob's sister and her husband at their cabin. The lake picture is taken of the lake from the porch of the guest house. The second picture is another one I took as we enjoyed an early morning boat ride around the lake Sunday. We also saw these two yearling buck deer with velvet on their antlers as we came out to get on the boat.

When we got back to Bozeman, we had our birthday celebration for Stan and the last picture is of Weston enjoying some late night breakfast cereal while he waited for his clothes to get dry in the dryer. He wanted to water the plants on the back deck and then watered himself mostly so he was soaked.

It was a "just the best weekend".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Off for the weekend . . .

We are off for a short weekend. Tonight we are heading up to Canyon Ferry to have dinner with friends in their 5th wheel at a campground there. We want to check out all of the pros and cons of a 5th wheel vs a motorhome. After dinner, we will go on to stay at Bob's sister's cabin a bit futher up on the lake.

Tomorrow morning we will all go into the Helena Air Show and watch some of it. Bob's nephew is a Navy pilot and has flown at F-18 Superhornet up from his assignement in San Diego. Next week after he gets back, he will be assigned to the USS Nemitz for a 6 month tour supporting the troups in Afganistan.

We will leave the airshop a bit early so we can travel up to Lincoln, MT. (yes, that is where they found the Unibomber, but most people there are very, very normal.) It is about an hour to where we are going to join the family of a long time friend of Bob's who passed away about a month ago. The family is gathering for a memorial celebration. We will come back and stay at the lake again after dinner with Bob's family there.

A very busy weekend and one that is complicated by a car that is not working. We have a loaner, but it is a newer one. The LilyB has been in the garage three times this week while they are trying to fix the same problem - hmmm - good thing it is all under warranty work.

I baked two kinds of pan cookies this morning. I loved DearGina's blog and a few days ago she wrote about some of the learnings from her mom. One of them that has stuck with me is - "Never go anywhere empty handed". I love her blog. So, I have two big plates of cookies each for friends and family. I will post recipes if I get any "raves".

Sunday is Stan's birthday so we will have a dinner out here to celebrate that. Busy weekend - one of those very special times with old friends and family to share love and good memories.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gorgeous day . . .

After almost a month of cold, wet weather, today it was just gorgeous. There was rarely a cloud in the sky and the temp was about 74 and steady all day. It was one of those days that make you realize why Montana is "The Last Best Place". The pictures along the side are all explained in the next to last paragraph.

We had a busy day starting with a trip to the furniture store to order a daybed for Bob's new office. We also ordered the trundle that slides out and raises up as needed. This is the bedroom that Weston has claimed as "his room" and he now shares it with Grandpa so it is all good.

We then spent 2 hours at a local RV place to start our search for a used RV. We have done lots of reading and looking at pictures online of those on sale and we are pretty sure we want a good deal on a Class A or Class C rather than a 5th wheel or trailer. But who knows, we are just starting our search and hope to have a decision made in a month or so.

We did our Costco run and came home just in time for a quick supper and headed out again for a special celebration at our new Dinosaur Park. It was the "official" ribbon cutting ceremony and Stan, our son, said a few words of thanks as he has worked hard during the past couple years with the fund raising as have many others. The park was actually built over 5 days a couple weeks ago all by volunteers. It is part of a new 100 acre park that is just beginning. There is a outdoor amphitheater and several ponds already with trails. It is going to be wonderful and is within walking distance from Stan and Rainy's home. You can also see Weston on Grandpa's shoulders watching his Dad talk and then digging for dinosaur bones in one of the "sandpits" in the playground. Afterwards we all went to Cold Stone for ice cream. It is a good thing the rest of the meals today were light because the ice cream at Cold Stone is a whole day of WW points for sure. Weston road home with us and the watched us pull away from the curb.

As we got out of the car at home, the sun was going down and the backyard looked so serene in the beauty of the trees and grass with the sunset behind. It was a glorious day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just some stuff . . .

I participate with a group of art quilters here and we are having a meeting tomorrow night. We are trying to get more work done and shared at our meetings and less NQR visiting which has taken over in the past few meetings. So, we decided to set a challenge for each meeting for those who want to participate. The challenge for this month was to use red, white, and blue and no other restrictions, but the piece would meet the requirements of a quilt. Here is what I have done to this point. It is not trimmed as I am not sure what or how I want that. It will probably be close to 18' square. The wings are really white. The background is from short strip pieces of different reds cut with scissors and sewn together. I have really been into sewing strips together in random patterns and I can't seem to get enough red in my soul lately. I will load it and do a lot of quilting and some embellishing - but not until after tomorrow night so it will be a sharing "in progress" rather than completed.

Also - I love the "Grip-Lite" Clamps that I have - I use two sets so I have two clamps on each side. And then I broke one clamp. I didn't want to have to buy another whole set and I read on one of the lists that someone suggested the "OXO" clamps. I ordered two from Amazon for about 5 bucks and I am really impressed at how well they work in place of the other clamps. I sewed them to the elastic connected to the velcro strips. Works like a charm.

It has been very cool and rainy here for the past 3 days. Of course it makes everything green, but my flowers haven't grown a stitch since I planted them about three weeks ago. We don't have a very long growing season anyway so we really need some sunshine. Tomorrow it is supposed to dry out and warm up - it will be welcome.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to my Bob

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." ~ Anne Geddes

. . . and a Grandpa!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fun with Weston . . .

Weston was here for the day. We spent some fun time on the back deck with the water guns - we both got wet and then he enjoyed his favorite chocolate pudding. His little brother was at home so he really loved all of the attention. We also blew bubbles and he rode his trike around a lot on the sidewalks and the back deck. We also watched 2 movies - "Thomas the Train" and "Little Einsteins" and read 3 stories - one of them twice. We played and played inside and outside - it was great fun. Bob and I then took him out to supper at Dairy Queen where he entertained two little girls at the next table. He told them all about his Grandpa's Toyota and he also drove a Toyota and it would go very fast. Before he went home, he wanted to take us to the new Dinosaur Playground that has just been built at a new regional park near his house. It is a huge playground and he had to try everything. Then when we pulled up in front of his house to take him home, we had to park a few cars back from his front walk. He said, "Grandpa, I live in Bozeman, MT so could you please get a little closer."

There is nothing that raises ones spirits quite like enjoying the day through the eyes of a little boy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New lenses . . . new view

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." Maria Robinson

Sometimes you just need to see things through another set of lenses. When in Portland, I was talking with my son, Roy, about the constant need for trips to Missoula that I felt were necessary. It is a 450 mile round trip from Bozeman to Missoula. I felt I needed to help Mom and Dad with financial decisions, selling the house, nursing home care meetings, etc. Roy simply said, "Mom, they may not make the decisions you would make, but it is their lives and they have a right to make their own decisions about how to live and die."

I really knew that, but it seems in the thrash of the past year that has gotten lost in my weekly trips to Missoula. Maybe it was necessary through last fall when living arrangements for them both were so up in the air. And maybe it was even necessary through the time their house was sold. But, the reality of it is, the house is sold and their living arrangements are pretty stable. Mom is rested and is more than capable of running her own life and overseeing the care of her husband in a nursing home. They have been married for 68 years - granted it has been quite a contentious 68 years, but that is their choice. She can still drive, pay her own bills, take care of her own medical needs, live in a nice senior apartment, have friends, and plan trips with her sister or others. Heck, she is probably in a better place than I am.

So, today, I officially relenquish my role as the "manager" of their lives and hand it back to them. Of course I am just a phone call away if needed. And I will go visit every couple weeks or so as I can. I am just thankful I could help when I did and I am glad they can move along on their own again now for a while.

It is all good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Enjoying the memories of a good trip.

It is great to be home and have a day to get organized. We are not traveling anywhere again for a couple weeks.

So just how did we do with the list form "Meagan Monday" in Portland? Well we got the cookies made - a small batch. It is quite an interesting recipe - a little dough with a lot of M & M's and a lot of chocolate chips. It is Meagan's favorite as she really likes the chocolate . . . hmmm - wonder where she got that gene?

We also got to the Red Robin for lunch and did some shopping at Toys R Us. Both of those items got check off the list. We also got started with the flannel lounge pants and finished putting crystals on the little skirt and "Roxy" shirt. And, we did get to the park to play and to the backyard to play baseball. So - we had a busy Monday. It was a great time there. We missed a few things that we will do when she gets out this way in August. We can hardly wait for that visit

I am now letting Hoke (my IQ) drive Miss Daisy (my A1) and do some quilting for a friend in Colorado who makes and donates things for a holiday sale this fall as a benefit. That is about as much quilting as I can get done today. Tomorrow, it is off to Missoula for a "team meeting" at the nursing home for Dad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We are home . . .

Just a note - more tomorrow. We made it safely home this evening.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meagan Monday . . .

This is "Meagan Monday". She came back last night and today we have been "hanging out" doing all of the stuff we had planned to get done. Here is our list for today and I will enter our progress on my next post with some pics. We have to get every minute in with Meagan today.

1. Put bracelets together from kit.
2. Add crystals to shirt and skirt we bought last Friday night.
3. Go outside and play baseball in the backyard.
4. Go to Red Robin for lunch.
5. Go to Toys R Us to find the "light saber" for Weston and something for Meagan.
6. Find a pants pattern to make the flannel lounge pants for Meagan.
7. Make our favorite chocolate chip and M&M cookies
8. Watch "Kung Fu Panda" video
9. Go to neighborhood park to play more baseball
10. Go "out" for supper.

We are packing the car tonight after she heads to bed so we can start home early in the morning. It is a 13 hour drive - about 750 plus miles I think from Portland to Bozeman. We need to be back on Wednesday so we will drive it in one day - a long day. So probably no blogging tomorrow night.

See you back in Montana on Wednesday . . . it has been "the best" to spend time in Portland!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another busy day . . .

We started our day with a lot of talking, remembering and laughter. You know those kind of mornings where it is just good to be together and enjoy good coffee and memories. Meagan stayed over with her mom last night as they had a family christening and gathering. So today, it was just for Roy.

We decided it would be a good day to head out and get his graduation present. Bob and I decided we would get him a new television as the one he is using is an old one he borrowed from a friend. At first, Roy was hesitant to take the gift, felt it was too expensive, but we finally convinced him. We then had to go to several stores selling televisions, compare, sizes, prices, etc. Of course one trip to each store was not enough so we took several trips to each with a quick lunch in the middle of our considerations and then made a decision.

This is the one we brought home and he was very excited - it reminded me of when he was just a little guy. So, I found this picture of him from when he was about 6 months or so. It has been fun to see him so happy again as he has had some very tough times over these past few months.

Bob helped with the setup of the new set and we then settled in to watch the last NBA finals game. I am so excited that it is over for a few months. Don't get me wrong - I love to watch basketball, but even such a good thing can get old and these finals certainly drug on way too long for me. I think I will take a season off form NBA next year.

After the game, Meagan came back to spend tonight and tomorrow with us. We have big plans for lots of things to do. First, we want to do a little sewing. She helped me while I sewed new hems in her dad's pants. She loves my little sewing machine so I think I will have to see about getting her one of her own one of these days soon. Tomorrow we will do a little more sewing, make a little bracelet from a kit we bought, put some crystals on her new shirt, make her favorite cookies, and hit the park for a little baseball. So it should be a good day for pictures.

The last thing to share is my new Pfaff foot. It is a clear, quarter inch foot with the metal guide and I am so excited as I have wanted one and decided to just get it today. There is never enough time to do everything we want to get done while we are here. I need to get back sooner and stay a couple days longer. We are heading home early, early Tuesday morning.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great Day . . .

Just a short post to tell you that today was one of those that I will never forget. We went to the graduation ceremony for our son Roy. Roy graduated with his BA from Portland State University. It was the best of times. The photo shows how thrilled he is afterwards. Meagan was absolutely perfect for the long ceremony at the Rose Garden here in Portland.

An amazing day - a celebration dinner this evening - and the thrill of sharing in the joy of a job well done!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Meagan . . .

We arrived this afternoon. It is wonderful to see Roy and Meagan. We visited and then decided to get in the car and head out for supper and to do some shopping. Of course the first place Meagan had to take us is to "The Disney Store". It is in a shopping center and we decided to first go eat supper at "The Ram Pub". Bob and I had not eaten lunch so we were hungry and the food was great and necessary for us to have the strength to go shopping with a 5 year old.

After our supper, we went directly to the mall for our power shopping. You could just walk out of the restaurant and walk to the mall entrance. Meagan finished her milkshake on the way and she turned around with Grandpa Bob to make sure I was coming. Grandma is always a softy when it comes to shopping. The last time we were coming, Meagan told her Mom, "You know, Grandma Carol buys me whatever I want. What's up with that?" Who knows.

Right before we went in the door there was a small planter filled with pansies and they were the most gorgeous color so I had to stop and snap a picture of them because they didn't even look real. That was almost too much waiting for Meagan because "The Disney Store" was calling our names. After we bought our "pick three things" we then headed to Macy's so we could find a new shirt to put some crystals on. Meagan has on her shirt tonight that we put crystals on last year. I am amazed at how well the crystals have stayed on through many, many washings. Of course, we bought 2 shirts, a cute skirt and some jammies on sale.

Before leaving the mall, we always have to stop at the wishing well pond in front of Macy's to make our wishes and through in some pennies. Most of our wishes come true, but one of the pennies Meagan decided to save because it was going to be her special penny. It is so much fun to see her.

As we left the mall, it was raining and Meagan loved the rain. She tried to catch the rain drops on her tongue and then she just cuddled up and giggled. With that giggle came a smile that clearly showed the loss of her first tooth from last week. She is getting so grown up. What ever happened to my "baby girl" from just yesterday?

"Where are you going my little one, little one
Where are you going my baby, my own
Turn around and you're two
Turn around and you're four
Turn around and you're a young girl
Going out of the door"
Words and Music by Harry Belafonte, Alan Greene and Malvina Reynolds

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday travels . . .

We planned to leave Bozeman this morning about 11 for our 6 hour drive to Spokane, but sometimes life gets in the way on your way to do what you planned. We wanted to stop in Missoula for a quick visit with Mom and Dad. But that didn't happen. It is okay as I will get over there next week once I get home.

First, we got a phone call about the air conditioning not working in one of our business condos in town so that required Bob to head in to town - about 10 miles - to see if that could be remedied. He got it fixed and then by the time he came home I had found we had a visitor. This woodchuck was in the front driveway. Then when I went around to the back deck there was another one on the deck. This guy is pretty good sized - probably about the size of a large cat. We really don't need this one or the family, but we wanted to leave today so what to do? We will have to have them trapped and moved but not today so we turned on a radio really loud on the deck - hope that influences them to move on. I have heard it works for raccoons. We usually have them visit later in the summer.

We then loaded the car and backed out of the garage to see a small oil spot so Bob took the car into town to have "our mechanic" who changed the oil yesterday take a look. It was fine, but by that time it was after 1 pm. We finally got loaded, left Kassie at the doggie hotel and were on the road by 2. We had reservations at our favorite hotel in Spokane so motored right through Missoula. We gain an hour at the top of Lookout Pass when you leave Montana and head into Idaho. This picture shows what you see when you look back at the overpass just after crossing the border. We were heading in the direction to your right - into Idaho. It is a beautiful drive all the way from Bozeman to Spokane on I-90.

Once we got to Spokane, we checked in at Oxford Suites in Spokane Valley. It is a great hotel - very reasonable, very clean, spacious rooms and a wonderful complimentary cooked breakfast. They also have complimentary hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the evening (supper for us). We went down and relaxed over a glass of wine. Then I took a little walk around the grounds just as the sun went down. It is a very pretty area behind the hotel, but it must be a little dry. You can walk out on the deck below from the lounge area. When I looked up I saw this contrail in the sunset sky. I always wonder what the people on the plane are thinking as they fly across - in this case heading northeast - maybe toward Calgary - maybe from San Francisco.

I just had to take a picture of our car - the "LillyB". There is quite a discussion on MQP about whether or not you should name your cars - or your quilting machines. Of course, I named this black Blazer "LillyB" when I got her almost two years ago. The LillyB has her own personality and the name fits. The "B" was supposed to stand for Blazer, but when she sends emails (via OnStar) to Bob complaining about the air in her tires and such, the "B" now stands for another word. I do love her though. And, as you know, I named my A1 quilting machine, "Miss Daisy". I was always driving Miss Daisy - she is a great quilting machine. Then when I got my IQ, I named him Hoke so he could drive Miss Daisy. We have a new update for our IQ's and I can hardly wait to get home to play. I am so amazed at the wonderful things Zoltan envisions and creates for us.

Tomorrow we will get up early and head to Portland for the next part of our adventure. It is all good!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good day . . . even better tomorrow

It was a really good Wednesday. I had an epiphany regarding my struggle with my aging parents and how I can best help them from 200 miles away. Today I realized it is my work - my assignment if you will. It is what I am supposed to be doing and to learn to do it with dignity and honor to the best of my ability. Until I can do that, I will continue to have this lesson over and over. This has been a very freeing awareness. I can't really go into it, but will try to share more as the weeks go on.

I also finished the crib skirt for baby Walker. I made a bumper pad set for his crib based on the color scheme his mom designed before he was born. She is a decorator. She was using a different crib skirt, but it didn't look like what she envisioned so I had enough scraps left from the bumper pad to make one out of strips of fabric. I used every inch of what was left. When I took it over tonight, it fit. I like the strips of fabric better than a solid color. I will get some pictures next week to share. Here is the front part. I really had to patch to make the sides and the back is plane fabric as is the panel that goes over the springs.

I also did some planting of flowers today - finally. It has rained and been so cold that I just haven't had a chance to get out there. I always wait until "after Memorial Day" - and then this year the cold really hit. I use a type of petunia that fill the planters and don't require any dead heading. Each container will fill out and look just like the third picture which was taken a couple summers ago with Weston "smelling" them. I hope they look as good this year and they should.

I am starting to pack my sewing stuff for our trip to Portland. I want to make Meagan one of these simple, cut sundresses that I watched done a couple weeks ago on Martha Stewart. It was interesting as I never watch her show, but I am glad I did this one as I think this is such a cute idea. It is done with elastic thread in the bobbin and is very easy. I then ordered a book that also makes them out of vintage pillow cases. We are going to make one from the orange fabric with hearts and then if she likes it, we will go fabric shopping and pick her out another piece of fabric. I think they take about an hour to make.

We will go to Missoula tomorrow and visit both parents and then go on to Spokane for an overnight before heading to Portland early Friday morning. I am so excited about going as I haven't seen Roy or Meagan for 4 months and that seems like too long. It was a really good day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New day - new thoughts . . .

I am going to try to blog something every day - or not. It is my new challenge to myself. So I won't run around without a camera and will try to say a few words about each day.

This robin nest is right outside our kitchen door. In fact, we have stopped using that door while Mama and Papa are tending to the young. And we have had lots of rain and even a little snow so I stretched a piece of plastic over the cedar bush to keep the nest dry. They will be a week old tomorrow and then I think in another week they will be gone. In the second picture - the close up - you can see the feathers are starting to form. There are 4 babies in the nest. We watch and worry. And, I have to remind myself every so often that "they will make it or they won't" - it is not in my hands.

The last picture is what I saw out my front door when I put Kassie out. It has been cold, rainy and even a few snowflakes for the past several days. And then the sun came out and it was green as far as my eye could see. Those mountains in the distance - there are bigger ones behind those - are about 5 miles away. It is just that sight that makes me feel so blessed to live here.

I am off to my studio to do something creative - or not. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good week ahead . . .

After our wonderful evening with our kids here, we are now looking forward to our coming trip to Portland this week. Our son, Roy and his daughter, Meagan live there. We are going to celebrate Roy's graduation from Portland State University. We are so proud of him! He didn't want to finish college when he was the "traditional" age as he had lots of other good things to do like travel and be the drummer in a band. He went for a year in Colorado and a year in Sante Fe when we lived in Colorado after he was out of high school. He started again a few year ago in Portland. He was married, working full time, and he had a new baby, Meagan. Meagan is our first grandchild and she is 5 now. He said he didn't want her to ever be able to say, "but you never finished college". So, he started going at night to PSU. It has been quite a long haul for him as there have been a couple major road bumps along the way, but he has stuck with it. I am not sure I would have done that given the same circumstances.

The pictures are of Roy and Meagan from our last visit and a more recent picture of Meagan at her dance recital last weekend. I am so excited to get to see them again - and to get to spend time shopping with my Meagan. We try to get out there at least 3 times a year and it is not ever enough.