Friday, December 30, 2011

It is going to be quick . . .

It has been a glorious time since I last posted.

We had a wonderful "Christmas Gathering" Thursday before Christmas. It was an open house for friends, family and neighbors and we will do it again as it was a wonderful evening.

Christmas weekend was filled will good food, fun gifts, and lots of family love.

I am enjoying my new iPod. Weston was here yesterday and today and he is much better at "Angry Bird" than I could possibly be. Amazing as he is 6 and has never played it before. I have found some great quilting apps and really love one I downloaded for play cribbage. I love cribbage and Bob is not a card playing kind of guy.

Get ready for the New Year! We are heading to a neighborhood party tomorrow evening after we have dinner with Mom. Have a wonderful and safe New Years!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday again . . .

The roof is finished. Finally - no more pounding to replace the shingles. It is a shake shingle roof and it has been over 3 weeks. First they have to scrape off the old shingles - very noisy work. Then they have to staple a couple layers of stuff and then they nail down the shingles. Ahhhh - now it is quiet!

I have wanted to post the "before, middle, and done" pictures of the kitchen. This may be as close as I get. You can go back to here to see the "before and middle" pictures from last summer. We have ordered the new lights and the new stools but they are not in yet so we are waiting. Knowing me, however, I doubt I will ever take the time to clear the counters again.

It has been an interesting week here. We decided to have a Christmas Open House this coming Thursday evening so we are busy getting lots stuff done. It has been fun getting ready, but crazy work as well. I am going to get some of the appetizers from Costco and then make four or five as well. We are excited!

We have also decided that we are going to head to Palm Springs for our winter trip this year rather than Arizona. We found a really good deal on an RV lot at a very nice park in Palm Springs so we will be there in March for sure. We had planned to get away for longer than last year when we were gone 6 weeks, but we need to be flexible and see how things are going here with family stuff.

Mom came home on Monday and she has rebounded quickly from being tired from the trip. I am not totally sure why she decided to come home after only a week in Arizona with my sister rather than staying the month or more she originally planned. Who knows?

The first cute picture is Walker with his new friend, "Baby Bunny". He is so funny with his stuffed animals. Weston didn't ever have any interest in any special little stuffed animal friends. Walker has a whole zoo full. He has "Cow" (the most important one), and "Monkey" and "Wolf" and now "Baby Bunny" and those are just the ones here. Baby Bunny is usually in the arms of the big rabbit that covers the vacuum, but he spied it and decided he needed it in his flock when he is here. And here is Weston, getting all grown up. He is really enjoying kindergarten. Grandpa taught him how to draw the continuous 5 point star and he loved it. We bake and decorate sugar cookies each time he comes out.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday stuff . . .

I have been doing some work again with "Art and Stitch". It is digitizing software for creating designs for quilting machine robots and embroidery machines. The company owners and developers have free webinars every few months and the one last Sunday was about the combining of patterns from the library, adding pearls, and then some refined editing. I had our grandsons here and may have missed a few steps, but here is a project using what I learned that I finished last night. I will test it out on my IQ in a couple days.

Then my mom called from Arizona and she is coming back to cold Montana on Monday - not sure what the issues are but she assured me it is not a health issue. We will be glad to have her back for Christmas, but I know she was looking forward to a month of warmer weather and some good time with my sister her daughter, Mom's granddaughter. I hope everything is okay.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Off to Arizona . . .

Not me - but my mom. She flew out mid-day today to spend a couple months with my sister in Chandler. I know she will enjoy the much warmer weather and the family fun. I am hoping she might stay until the end of February when her great-granddaughter gets married, but she wasn't sure she wanted to be gone that long.

I took her out to the airport here and she went through security like a trooper. She had checked a bag and was carrying on her laptop, overnight bag and her purse.

Mom is 90 and moved over here from Missoula last summer. She had been living in a senior living facility with her own apartment. She wanted to live on her own again and so she bought a nice condo here. I think she is liking it okay, but I know the trip to AZ will be a treat for her. My sister is driving her and her granddaughter (sister's daughter) to Disney Land for a few days later in the week. They will have a good time.

She has good genes - hope I have inherited them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1 . . .

I ate lemon pie this evening for supper. It was my dad's favorite food in the world - not just his favorite dessert - but his favorite of all foods. Dad died two years ago tonight and I eat lemon pie each December 1 to honor his life, his humor, his wisdom, and his love. Thank you, Dad.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day of rest . . .

It has been a busy couple weeks - or maybe months - so today is a day of rest - and I mean absolute rest. A totally, lazy day of doing nothing - unless writing this counts and it doesn't.

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." - John Lubbock

My Christmas Cactus is blooming again - I love it when that time of year rolls around. It blooms heavy between now and Christmas and then keeps on until about the end of March. The original plant belonged to my grandmother whom I never knew as she passed long before I was born. Her plant was at my aunt's for years and one of my cousins started these over the years for all of the cousins who wanted one.

The new carpet is in. It is a very neutral light sand color pretty close to what shows here without any hint of pink. I have never lived in a house long enough to replace carpet before so I didn't realize just how much work it is to get ready. We packed up all three rooms - living room, dining room, and family room - and stored that stuff out of the way. The piano movers came to move the piano and then had to come back to move it back. The big stuff like couches, chairs, china closet (empty), etc were moved and put back by the carpet guys. All of the packed stuff isn't back yet - looks much better without all of that clutter so that inspires me to really get serious about thinning things out.

The old carpet was an off white berber and it has been 18 years since we had it installed. It was installed when I moved here from Denver before Bob and I got married. Bob had "bachelor remnants" that he used before Carol arrived on the scene. We loved the berber, but with this we are asking ourselves why we waited so long. That is a good sign. One thing for sure, if this carpet last 18 years, we will not be here when it is replaced.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick report . . .

What happened to this wonderful week? Here is a quick report of great events and I will add pictures later . . . too busy to capture all of the fun.

The carpeting was all installed by Tuesday end of day. It is much nicer than I had even thought possible. I haven't taken any pictures that were worthy of posting, but I will try to do that. The roofers worked through Wednesday - lots of pounding - but didn't work yesterday or today. That is good and bad - the quiet is good - the cold and snow might beat them to the finish line and that is bad.

Our turkey day was perfect. I roasted the turkey in the new gas oven on convection. Amazing. It was done perfectly - brown all over with a crispy outside and very moist inside. Normally I roast turkey in a bag so this was a first for me. We had lots of family here and a great day - of course we all ate too much - but what else should we do. There is so much to be thankful for and the best part was the blessing given by Weston who is 6. Perfect!

Today the garage doors were changed out and they look nice. My good friend, Betty, and I went to lunch (salad) and to a large craft show at the fairgrounds. I learned about "shirret" - a combination of crochet and shirred strips of upcycled wool that makes a gorgeous rug. I also saw some beautiful redone vintage jewelry. I only bought a couple things.

This morning, I realized I needed to cancel a wonderful workshop I had registered to take the end of January. It was for a two day retreat with the Art and Stitch developers at Sharon Schamber's studio in Payson, AZ. It is a long story, but it is not going to work out for me. They have a long wait list so it did not cause any problems - except to me. To "dry my tears" I ordered an iPad. More on that later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Crazy day . . .

The roofers are going full force now. They are shoveling off the old shake shingles and getting ready for the new ones. They should be done by the end of next week. Bob came out of one of the "throne rooms" today remembering that there is a skylight in there and they were taking the shingles off on that section. Oh, my - glad it wasn't me!

Then the piano movers came and moved my piano. They are good - and quick. It is now resting on its side in the "round room" in the bedroom part of the house. It will stay there - out of the way - until Wednesday morning.

The carpet layers came next with lots of carpet and pad and got started. The "old guy" bent over with the drill is my Bob adding some screws to the subfloor once they removed the old carpet and pad. He said he thought there was a couple places he wanted to tighten up. Bob built the house himself so he likes to make sure it is tight.

And then I had a great lunch with my good neighbor and friend in town. We had a lively discussion about everything - always good.

Also, I actually got in a bit of studio time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An "ah-ha" . . .

How is it that I can live so long and stay so stupid? Do you ever feel that way? I have an amazing "ah-ha" these past few days. It is about truth - what is a person's truth? Can truth be situational? Sometimes people are raised to say whatever is needed to survive . . . to fit the situation. I just now realized that no matter what anyone says (even a parent) it might be their truth at that time, but it doesn't have to be mine. I am the holder of my own truth. How did it take me this long to figure that out? I feel sad, but strong.

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." Albert Einstein

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegetable day . . .

It was a day to be a vegetable - cozy in the chair - fixing some computer stuff - reading - catching up on phone calls with friends and family. We had about 8 inches of new snow overnight.

I had hoped to be in the studio, but this is the day the roofing company started putting on the new shingles. They left ours go (with a nice financial incentive) until cold weather as we have shake shingles. It is a new roof thanks to the hail storm of June 2010. The insurance company and the roofing company negotiated most of the summer and then the roofing company wanted to get as many asphalt roofs done in warm weather as possible.

So today they started - now there was about 8 inches of new snow there, but they cleared all of that and even shoveled the decks afterwards. And then the pounding began - of course they started on the garage and my studio is on the second floor over the garage - way too noisy to get creative.

Tomorrow is the big football rivalry game - Montana State plays Montana - here and it is going to be a high of 18 degrees with wind chills below zero and more new snow. Not for me! My son is going with Bob in my place.

The picture is from Walker who was here yesterday. He has taken over my rocking chair and has his favorite Cow and Monkey with him, a package of fruit chews and is watching Little Einsteins - his favorite. He is 2 and a half, so independent and so much fun.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday evening . . .

We had a great day yesterday - a good visit with Bob's sister and hubby in Missoula before heading home. The roads weren't too bad and it was good to get home.

The guys came to put in the tile backsplash in the kitchen, back kitchen and little bathroom. Here is a picture of it in the back kitchen. It has a decorator inset in the main kitchen with some glass tile, but I will share more pictures once they come back and finish the grout and I get better pictures. The tile has a metallic glaze so it is hard to get a good picture.

I did get up to do some quilting. I am working on a wallhanging for a good friend and customer and enjoying the work. I have a wonderful quilt shop sample up next so I am anxious to get to it.

The little guys came out at noon and stayed until this evening and it was good to wee them. It had been a couple weeks since they have been here so it is always a fun time. Weston is mesmerized by spiders and today we found out that most spiders have 8 eyes. He is anxious to get back to his kindergarten class tomorrow to share that little tidbit.

Monday, November 14, 2011

On our way home . . .

We left at 6:30 this morning from the downtown area of Portland. So sad to leave - so sad to leave - those wonderful two people we love so much. It was a wonderful three days!

Of course there was rain - lots of it as we drove through the Columbia River Gorge. And then the rain stopped near The Dalles and the wind blew - hard - until Spokane. Then the wind stopped just east of Spokane and the snow began. We drove over Lookout Pass between Idaho and Montana and the roads were "somethin' else". Snow and ice covered the road, no chains were yet required for towing units as they climbed and the semi's were starting to stack up helter skelter on the road and off just like toy trucks. Whew - so glad we got through and then did the slip and slide down the Montana side of the pass.

We stopped here in Missoula for the night and then on toward home tomorrow after a quick visit with Bob's sister and hubby to see their new house.

I am anxious to get home - lots of ideas for creation.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cool and raining . . .

This morning there was almost some sunshine (just lighter cloud cover really), so I took out for a walk to capture some of the gorgeous colors right around where Roy lives. These pictures were taken right across the street from where Roy and Meagan live. I am so impressed with what Mother Nature does with color - knocks me over every time.

Then we went out to a great breakfast place called "Genie's". It was the best breakfast - I always like a traditional egg, potato, toast, bacon kind of breakfast. This was the best. The eggs were perfect and the bacon was thick and crisp with just a hint of chewy. The potatoes were red potato chunks from the oven and the toast was sprouted wheat. I loved every bite, but had to leave a little behind as it was way more than I could eat. If you are ever in Portland and want a fantastic breakfast place, try this one. Just get there before 10 on weekends if you don't want to wait too long. We didn't have to wait at 9:30, but when we left an hour later, the were lots and lots of folks waiting for a table. It is an easy, relaxed environment. This picture is of Roy and Meagan with Meagan being silly - she is a fun little girl with lots of creative spirit.

After breakfast we did some window shopping and actual shopping in the Sellwood area just south of where Roy lives. We really enjoyed this fun shop with pieces by various artists.

Later we went to the movie "Puss In Boots" - good flick. Meagan had already seen it, but wanted to be sure we saw it with her so she enjoyed it a second time.

Tomorrow morning we leave this beautiful city and head back to the snow country. It has been a short trip - but one of the best.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fun in Portland . . .

We have been in Portland, OR the past couple days. It has been a really quick trip to visit with our son, Roy and granddaughter, Meagan. Yesterday we took in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville. It was amazing! Of course the "Spruce Goose" is there, but that is just one of the wonderful planes - old and new - as well as space craft - beautifully displayed with excellent documentation. It was a great day.

Today we did a little shopping - Toys R Us, Globe Lighting and Ikea. And then we had to go to lunch out at one of Meagan's favorite places for her milkshake with jelly worms. Tomorrow it is a movie and another favorite meal out.

We have just one more day here and then we head for home. We took a couple days to get here - stopped in Missoula on our way for lunch with Bob's sister as it was her birthday and then we had a great dinner out with friends in Spokane where we spent the night.

The colors are gorgeous here - lots of leaves falling in all colors. It has rained almost continuously since we arrived.

It is always good to get away.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Beauty . . .

This is my beautiful granddaughter, Meagan. She is 7 and a half and is modeling her costume for a school report on Cleopatra. I think this is also going to be her Halloween costume. I sure do miss her, but we will see her in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I do like it . . .

I just thought I would share a picture of the "infamous granite". Here is a picture with some rather pathetic spinach salads I threw together, but I thought the red bowls and green were pretty on the granite. I love the movement of the dark pathways and the variation. After getting over the problems with getting it finally installed, it is a welcome, warm part of our kitchen and we are enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good News . . .

We had a really great day! After a stop at a local flooring store - more on that later - we headed off to Billings. It was a gorgeous day. Two years ago, Bob had a scare with carotid artery blockage that our doctors here felt required immediate surgery. They had determined one side had over 80% blockage. Once in Billings, several tests were done prior to surgery and it was determined the blockage was not quite at the "immediate surgery required" level. Based on numerous test, one was blocked to a little over 70% and the other slightly less. A drug treatment was prescribed with regular follow-ups and some education on what we needed to focus on for possible problems. We have had good news with each follow-up of no increase and today the blockage has shown to have actually decreased to 60% in the worst side and the other is better as well. The doctor was amazed and we were thrilled.

Before we left this morning, we stopped and ordered more goodies for the "kitchen remodel". We finally made our backsplash decision and ordered the tile. The picture here is of the accent tile we selected - it is granite, metal and glass and will be an accent band around the kitchen. This tile is 6" x 6" so each little square is just over half an inch. The accent band will be a strip that is 4 of these little squares high. The background tile will be the color of dark bronze - almost black. I will take some pictures of the almost finished kitchen when the backsplash is done. We have a few other decisions to make regarding lighting and counter stools but we are enjoying the kitchen so much now.

We have also decided to move forward with new carpet for this side of the house and ordered that today as well. Our house is made of 2 nine sided pods, connected with an atrium, and "this side" is where the kitchen, family room, living room, dining room, etc. are - the other side is where the bedrooms are. These decisions have not come quickly but we are enjoying the changes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Still thinking . . .

Since I heard that Steve Jobs had passed away, my mind keeps saying "thank you" for being so blessed in my own life. It was another time in my life when I worked at Apple - but a blessing for me that I was given.

Now I must find get back on the journey - - -

Here is a link to the first "Think Different" commercial made in 1997. Steve Jobs was doing the narration on this version. Enjoy . . .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

End of an era . . .

Twenty-five years ago I went to work for Apple - then known as Apple Computer, Inc. The next 15 years changed my life and each day I cherish those changes! Thank you Steve Jobs for your innovations and for the opportunity to believe that I could change the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Granite . . .

When I wrote last, we were going to look at the granite we selected to see how the templates created the week before would layout with the pattern in the granite. It has been an interesting three weeks. The fabricator (also part of the company where we purchased the cabinets, flooring, and granite) told us they could not put granite in our kitchen as we had thought and been told - the area was too large. Hmmm - the sales person was there and her offering was, "Would you like me to check into other options?"

So we did some figuring on our own - checked with a couple other granite places - and found out it certainly was possible. The two other places had granite that would have worked, but we still preferred our first choice. So, we called the original sales person back, explained what we had found out and asked to have the fabricator come out. Some of the issues belonged to that sales person - the wrong measurements and the wrong sinks ordered.

Finally, the fabricator agreed to come out and with lots of grumbling, agreed it was possible, but it would take his whole crew to get it into our kitchen. I know they put larger sections of granite in lots of houses so I don't know what the "real problem" was. I suspect there is a "back story" here of people not getting along within this company, but who knows really.

He finally agreed to have it done and installed last week. That didn't happen , so after a few phone calls with the owner, it came yesterday. It looks fine.

Now for the real learning here - today we did our food bank delivery of senior groceries for those who can't get out to purchase groceries and who couldn't afford them if they could get out. We have 16 people on our route. We always feel so blessed - blessed that we are able to get to know these people and blessed that we have what we have.

And - the granite issue seems small - pathetic really. The learning is sometimes painful - but always good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fast week . . .

I must be a weekly blogger - if reality is any measure.

Last week was the great Art and Stitch retreat in Salt Lake City. Theo and Loes van der Heijden from The Netherlands lead the instruction. They are the creators of Art and Stitch. It was two days packed full of amazing learning and wonderful people. We were at the HandiQuilter Education Center in North Salt Lake City.

I got home on Thursday afternoon. I drove up through West Yellowstone and then up the Gallatin Canyon. This is a picture of the road in front of me as I drove. I took this as I was driving and I can't believe it turned out as well as it did. The sky was just that blue and the road straight as an arrow.

When I got home, the cupboards were all in and the granite guy came out to make templates for cutting the granite. The kitchen is an odd shape and we are not sure the granite I selected will work. There is a large flowing vein through the slabs - we had to buy two. And even with two slabs, they may not be able to match with the necessary seam. So, we are going to go look at the slab with the templates placed tomorrow and then make a decision. Go with it or change to a granite with the same pattern throughout and no flowing veins. We will see.

"It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting."
Elizabeth Taylor

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amazing day . . .

It was just plain amazing. The class is wonderful and the people are so fun and interesting. Most have flown in here and are from all over the U.S. We learned so much and laughed so much. Great group - wonderful experience.

New friends forever I am certain.

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little bit of a drive . . .

I am in Salt Lake City tonight - well really it is Bountiful, but very close. I drove down today for two days of classes on "Art and Stitch" which is software for digitizing designs for my quilting robot - or for any quilting robot or embroidery machine.

Arrived about 6:30 and met some of the others as well as the software authors and instructors for the class.

This morning I really wondered what in the world I was thinking when I signed up for this in June. We are buried with things to do - but I just threw it all to the wind and here I am. I am going to enjoy the time away - and do some learning on lots of fronts.

"Wisdom is learning what to overlook." - William James

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ahh - 'tis Friday

I am not sure why Friday is such a wonderful day. I no longer work outside my home so any day can be the end of my work week - just any old day I decide. But just the word "Friday" carries a lot of good memories, huh?

The cabinets are being installed - it is a long process as the kitchen is not square or rectangular. There are no 90 degree corners as the house is a nine-sided structure with visible support beams the go to the center core. The cabinet installer is very experienced - at least if his years and tools are any measure. He said yesterday that this is the hardest install he has had in many, many years. Bob and I sat on the back porch last evening and thought about that. Bob built the house 40 years ago and he and his dad installed the first cabinets and they didn't think it was so bad. Bob said he guessed ignorance was bliss as those were the first and only cabinets he ever installed.

I came across this quote this morning: Love it!!

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. - Bob Moawad

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some thinking . . .

It has been a good couple days since our painting spree - the drive yesterday was relaxing. Today I spent the morning digging perennials out of Mom's flower beds (she wants something with less maintenance) with my daughter-in-law, Rainy and the little guys. Then we all went to lunch and Weston and Walker came out for the afternoon. It has been a "flying low and slow" kind of couple days.

My mind has been overwhelmed with this scripture lately. It is tempering my actions in every way. I love it in any version of the Bible, but I will share that from the King James version as that is the one I grew up with. I need to share . . .

Matthew 25:33-40

33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's happening . . .

Today the wood was put down Here are three pics to show the progress from right before it was taken apart to now.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A new "normal"

Just when you wonder how in the world you will get it all done, you get a cold and your body says, "rest". Then you realize some things don't have to get done and you just set out to really enjoy the blessings of life around.

We have worked for the past two weeks to get Mom moved from Missoula. Lots got done - from find a condo, buy the condo, move, and have her sleeping in her own bed - all in less than one month. That is a miracle!

The grass in the front of the house is down, raked and ready to be baled. The man who takes care of that for us every year had some problems of his own this year. He is okay. We can see the house again from the road. That is good!

The kitchen project is back on and is moving forward now after taking the two week hiatus. It is looking good and painting will get done after Bob and I get over these colds that came to give us some much needed rest. That is amazing!

Gus is waiting patiently for some time to take a little trip, but he is waiting as are we. It may be that our "few days away" will have to wait until September. That is okay!

I enjoyed a few hours in my studio. I got caught up with the "block of the month" online group. This block was a fun one. And, I did some work on my next show quilt and some work toward a new dream. That is heavenly!

It is all part of this brand new normal!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Precious Peepers . . .

Today I went to the eye doctor - a new eye doctor. I had a feeling in May that I needed to go to an opthomologist rather than my regular optometrist. I don't know why for sure. I trust my optometrist and have liked him since moving here from Colorado almost 18 years ago. But it seemed like I should do this. Today was the first appointment I could get so I went. There is a lot going on and I almost changed it last week.

But I went and really felt confident in this doctor. All was going smoothly - no problems and then he found a failry large tear in the retina of my left eye. He felt strongly that it should be repaired right away - today - so I hung around for a couple hours in his office until he had finished his other patients. He wanted me to call my husband, so I called Bob to come in, and had the laser surgery to repair the tear. Interesting.

No problems with continuing on with the plans for the week. I can see out of the eye 0kay - a little blurry, but the other eye is fine. No rough stuff for a week or so - can't ride horses or a 4 wheeler - which I don't get to do much anyway.

I am sure glad I had the little angel on my shoulder telling me to make this appointment and to keep it today. I am blessed - always have been.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A terrible blogger . . .

Who knows why I even keep trying - I have become a "bad blogger"! I hate to quit entirely thinking I might get going with it again. It is just that there is so much going on in our life right now - all good - that I don't have time to do this very well. So, if you are reading, "thank you" - I would love to hear from you if you have a minute.

It has been two weeks again since my last post. We had a wonderful week with Roy and Meagan here from Portland, OR. But that meant a lot of rearranging to make the "non-kitchen" in the back pantry area function for at least a little cooking. It worked fine, but we all agreed that we really will enjoy the "real" kitchen when it is put back together.

The picture is of Roy, Meagan and Mom when they left last Sunday. Roy and Meagan flew in and out of Missoula and used Mom's car to bring them all over here for the long week. My brother and wife from Seeley Lake also joined us for the 4th. We had a great celebration and a wonderful week. Meagan was enjoying her red cape as she got ready for the 200 mile car ride. The picture is a bit blurry - must have been before I had enough coffee. Mom moves over next week. I am in Missoula for a few days next week to help with the moving coordination stuff - well probably mostly moral support and driving her back here. Her condo closing is on Friday and then comes the fun of unpacking and arranging so she will enjoy her time.

More on the kitchen later . . .

Friday, July 1, 2011

My feet are touching the bottom . . .

I am back . . . I feel like I have been in the deep end of a pool and I have just been getting my head above water enough to gasp for air once in a while. It has been a very busy month. But, I think the hard part is behind us.

Bob . . . You know about our kitchen water and mold damage - well that is just a part of the story. Bob hadn't been feeling good at all - not since mid April when we returned from Arizona. He had tests done, several doc visits and numerous treatments for sinus infection - but nothing else could be found. Now it seems the symptoms have gone - maybe it is all of the work.

Kitchen . . . The kitchen demolition started about three weeks ago to remove all of the wet and mold. They removed everything and ran the fans and other machines 24 hours a day for 7 days. Then the electrician came to do the wiring changes and decided after 35 years the entire kithen should be rewired. The plumber came to do the plumbing changes for changing the location of the sink and the stove and to add gas to the kitchen. And while he was here, we thought, what the heck, just have him add gas to both fireplaces for inserts. Everything takes longer and leads to at least one more thing. The first picture is kind of how the kitchen looked just before the demolition except the refrigerator had already been moved around the corner to the dining room which is our makeshift kitchen for a couple months. The second picture show how it looks after everything is out - tile gone - cupboards gone - counter tops gone - wall board gone - some subfloor gone. Now we will start to put things back together. I am excited - I think.

Mom . . .
Then last week Mom decided it was time for her to really move to Bozeman so I went to get her from Missoula and brought her over here for a week. We found her a really nice condo that was being sold by three grown kids for their Dad who had just moved into assisted living. It is going to be really nice to have her close and I know we will get our mother/daughter mojo back which is a blessing for me. She will move toward the end of July after closing.

4th of July . . . This weekend, my son and granddaughter from Portland are coming to visit for the week. It is going to be a marvelous 4th of July and week. Lot of memories are just waiting to be made.

Question for you . . . No quilting going on. In fact, I have to go outside to get to my studio as it has been all sealed off with the demolition. The plastics are coming done tomorrow for the next week while everyone is here. We will clean things up and get by. The electric stove is now temporarily in the back area we call a "butler kitchen" where we had 220 already from a time when that area was a laundry room - it might stay there. It is a fairly new, smooth top, black Jennair. There is a sink there with countertop so it wouldn't just be sitting there, but would be built in. I am wondering if it is crazy to have two stoves. Most of the time when I cook for family or company gatherings I would love to have two ovens, but there is no room in the kitchen for a built in dual oven and I don't like the way the dual oven stoves have the big oven so low. I will have a new gas stove in the kitchen. Do you think it crazy to have two stoves?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taking a break . . .

I am going to take a blogging break for a while. I hope to see you later.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

nice day . . .

We had sunshine! The weather today was gorgeous!

We went to Billings and brought our Gus home. He has a new roof to repair the dents from the hail storm last summer. There were no leaks, but now he looks as good as new. We now want to head up to the lake in a couple weeks.

This is the picture from last August - the hail dents were not visible but they are all fixed now.

We had a wonderful call tonight from our Australian friends who are traveling the US with their sons in a motorhome. They will be on the road for a year. They are in Texas and are getting ready to go into Mexico with a church group to do some service work and will park their RV in the US while they are there. It was wonderful to have a good visit and catch up. They left here about a month ago.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some decisions made . . .

We got home Sunday evening late. After my heart breaking open at the cemetary, I didn't feel up to doing much visiting anywhere. It was such a shocking emotion to me - I thought I had shed all of the tears when Dad passed. We took Mom and my aunt back to Missoula, stopped in Helena to visit Bob's parents graves and headed home. We hit some snow on the passes but there was not snow here when we arrived home. Yesterday I went to the Memorial Day parade and then enjoyed a quiet day at home with a little sewing.

Today I made some decisions about the kitchen. Here is a picture that shows the cabinet, floor and wall colors I am aiming at and the granite here is right on with what I have selected. This picture (borrowed from some cabinet site) also shows the cabinet style similar to what I have selected. I love this look. I have to get a new dishwasher and microwave so will get stainless. I might keep my black stove for a couple years as it is good and it would save me some money for right now. I want gas and will have that line put in now for the time when I get a new range. The current black refrigerator works for now and I can put a stainless insert in the front as it has the edges to hold a wood cover. That might help me stay within my budget. We will just have to see. The insurance company will pay for the flooring and for the counters to be replaced with laminate as well as all of the tear out.

We also have a back area that we call a butler kitchen - it has some cupboards, more counter space and a large sink. How to do that has been a problem. It is kind of a long narrow room that you walk through when coming in from the garage. There is a small bathroom off from it and a large pantry closet also off that area. Well, that tile extends from the kitchen and will also come out as will the cupboards and counter. The tile out there is under the cupboards.

What to do with that area? There are only 3 cupboards - 2 lower and 1 upper - out there with a large open area under the counter. First I thought I might paint the cupboards there and use a laminate that resembles the granite I want. But I didn't like that idea and I don't want granite out there. Today I decided to order new cupboards for that area and use a charcoal laminate that has no granite look pattern - it will just look like laminate. I will keep the same sink with updated faucet. In the little bathroom, I will paint that little cabinet charcoal and hope for a little piece of leftover granite for that counter with a new vessel sink - if not then use the charcoal laminate with the same sink.

Done deal - decisions made - now to get the work done. The kitchen will not be torn out for 2 weeks. I hope to get the cabinets ordered by the end of this week as they will take about 8 weeks to arrive. I will post pictures of the progress - but for now I am excited! I will see how closely I come to this in the final implementation - let the fun begin. I will take lots of pictures - before - during - and after.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

traveling . . .

We left Bozeman about 7 this morning. Drove 200 miles northwest to Missoula and picked up Mom and her sister, my aunt. She never really seemed like an "aunt" as she is only a few years older than I am. Her mom was my Grandpa's second wife after my Grandma died. I didn't know my Grandma, she died long before I was born.

But anyway, we left Missoula and drove 200 miles west to Great Falls and on to Fort Benton. I took some flowers to put on my dad's grave. I had not been there since he was buried there over a year ago. I have missed him every day, but I was so thankful he not longer had to suffer the horrible pain and treatment in the nursing home. He deserved better, but he would not leave Missoula as he would not leave Mom and she would not leave Missoula. She could not live with him. He kept thinking he was "going home".

I think he is home now. I have not been able to stop crying since I saw his gravestone this afternoon. I loved him so much and I miss him.

It was a dark and rainy day. I am glad - I did not want sunshine today. Tonight we are in Great Falls - 40 miles from Fort Benton. Tomorrow we head back to Missoula, then Helena and then home. I wish I could go back to the cemetary alone and just lay on his grave and cry in the wind and rain. I don't want sunshine tomorrow either.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

busy, soggy times . . .

It has rained hard here all day - again. It is supposed to break for a bit tomorrow afternoon and then start again through the holiday weekend with much cooler temps.

This first picture is a cute one of Bob with Walker on his shoulders at Walker's birthday party on Sunday. He is such a cute little guy with a definite mind of his own. The second picture is of Weston at his graduation tonight from preschool - with a big bite of cookie in his mouth. He has attended a Christian preschool this year and as part of the program, they each recited a Bible verse that went with a letter from the alphabet. He spoke his out loud, definite and clear. Afterwards he got to the cookie/treat table before any of us and came away with a plate loaded with 3 cookies and this cupcake. Grandpa thought he was going to share, but no dice. Weston made short work of most of each of them.

The samples are from work done yesterday regarding selections for the kitchen. I am going to order new cupboards and they are taking measurements again tomorrow morning. The flooring will be wood and the two samples I favor are shown here with the one on the right being my favorite. It is kind of "loud" with lots of value differences, but I like the way it pulls all of the woods together. The cabinets selections will be one of the three small wood samples - I have decided on a shaker style door, but have three estimates coming so I will see which I like best. This is the only granite sample I like from the many I have looked at. We found one more today to consider but I need to find a sample to bring home. I am not 100% sure I am going to have granite countertops yet. There are many laminates I really like and we have a small kitchen, but a lot of countertop with a large peninsula. One thing for sure, it is going to be a summer without a kitchen. They will start the removal process on June 14th and from then on, we be "roughing it" until early August I suspect. The first decision is the cupboards.

My prayers and love go out to the families in Joplin, MO as they begin the hard road of recovering from this tragedy. I have spent some time there in the past when I was traveling and teaching. It is a lovely area with the most wonderful people.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birthdays . . .

Friday we went over to Missoula to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday. We took her to lunch and had a good long visit which we all enjoyed. We are going to have a larger celebration for her this summer, but I wanted to be sure to celebrate the day and I am so glad we went.

Today we had another birthday celebration - we went to help Walker celebrate his big 2 year old birthday. His Grandpa Ross and Grandma Yvonne from Portland were also there to help celebrate. The "Grandpa Ross" was my first husband and is Stan's dad. I am glad he and Yvonne were able to be there. I am also really glad that they have been happily married for all of these years - and I am very happy that I have not been married to him for all of these years.

But it is okay that we are now able to have a nice family evening - short and cordial - always appropriate - there were a lot of years that would not have been possible. Time is such an amazing leveler - or maybe we just forget as we get older. It was a difficult divorce - I was young, left to raise two little boys, had no job, no self-esteem, and lots of public humiliation. With God's grace and support, we all made it. I thank Him every day.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal and watched Walker open his gifts. I made him this quilt - nothing fancy, but he loves trains and needs a new soft blanket to cuddle so I hope this one will get worn out from use. I used minkee on the back and brought it around for the binding. The batting is bamboo and it is so soft. I love it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday . . .

Here it is Thursday - what happened to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday? It has been a busy week. Working to select items for the kitchen and getting in some sewing and some customer quilting. I finished a little quilt for Walker for his 2nd birthday party coming this Sunday. I will post a picture later.

Today we left fairly early to do our delivery for the senior grocery program for the Gallatin Food Bank. Bob and I do this once a month and our route is in Manhattan. We then met up with Rainy and the little boys for lunch and the boys came out with us for the afternoon and evening while Rainy got ready for a garage sale. Tonight I ran into the mall to find a little something to take to Mom. We are going over to Missoula tomorrow to celebrate her 90th birthday with her. We will have a party with family and friends in July.

I woke in the middle of the night wondering if I should select granite or laminate for counter tops. I went back and forth thinking of pros and cons. Then I thought, I wish I didn't have to do the delivery for senior groceries and I would go look again at some counter top examples in town and that might help me decide. Then it hit me. Delivering to seniors in need is soul work and if I am laying awake wondering about granite versus laminate counter top, my spirit needs some soul work. Sleep came very easily then.

We will leave early as it is 200 miles each way so I had best get my head on the pillow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another windy day . . .

This wind is endless - or so it seems. We rarely get wind in this valley so it is causing lots of damage with signs, trees, and electrical problems.

We had a very productive day - went out for breakfast first. Our kitchen is still out of commission so it was a nice change from the cold cereal we have been enjoying. More on the kitchen later in the week as we know more.

We worked on going through some stuff in the garage and started with a storage area. We are going to participate in a community garage sale on Saturday and we want to make a "workout" area in a room just off the garage. Bob also got the Corvette running - that might be some fun. It is a 1969 and he bought it new.

I got caught up this evening on the block of the month that I am working on in one of the longarm online groups. TV was pretty good and that always make the piecing go faster. I am using two different color groups. The first one is all batiks - reds, blacks, pinks, oranges with a pale blush batik for the background. The second set is made from a group of fabrics I have had for an eon - reproduction fabrics. We all started together in February and the churn dash is the block selected for this month. They are 12 inch blocks and I am hoping to get at least 9 of them done.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fast week .; . .

I am never sure how a week can go by so quickly.

Kitchen . . . The insurance will pay for returning the kitchen to the original status and that will mean new floors and probably new laminate counter tops if they can't get them out to remove the floor and wall section without having to cut them. We have had estimates on new cabinets, wood floor, and granite counter tops as well as tile like is there now and laminate. So we will see what we will decide. We will have the restoration company do the work to remove the water damaged areas and the mold as soon as possible - just had to wait for the insurance company decision. The mold area is totally taped off. Once we start the removal part, the kitchen will not be usable and if we order new cupboards we could be without a kitchen for two months.

The sickies . . . We had both little guys out here on Wednesday and they were both sick. Walker could not keep anything in and it came out both ends with gusto. I felt so sorry for the little guy as he just wanted to sit on Grandma's lap and snooze or cuddle. He was a sick little guy and here is is during one of his awake times on my lap. Weston was on the mend and doing better. But today, my big guy got it and he has been down all day - or should I say down until he has to make the bathroom dash. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am going to miss this one.

Quilting . . . I picked up a couple new customers this week and that will be fun. They are both beginners, but so nice and seem to be easy to please. I also put this little train quilt together this afternoon for Walker's 2nd birthday which is coming up soon. He is totally in love with trains and this was a panel. I thought I might find one of Thomas the Train, but this is the best I could do on short notice since i didn't know about the new train theme for the birthday party. The panel was an odd shape - long and narrow so I cut it apart and kind of framed each picture. The background is a polka dot. I have minkee for the backing. I need to get it loaded and quilted in the next day or so. I have some fun projects and quilts to quilt so time in my studio is lots of fun.

So - that is about it. Another busy week. A good one!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rain, rain, rain . . .

It has rained all day here. It started in the night and has not let up. It is supposed to rain most of tomorrow. The predictions are for sunshine the following 5 days and that is going to be grand. We sure can't complain considering all of the really bad weather and flooding some parts of the country are having.

I worked in my studio today and finished a table runner from Breakfast Club. It was the project from March when we were in Arizona. Have you ever made a simple block and nothing goes right? For some reason, every seam I sewed, I also "un-sewed" at least once. And that started from the very beginning. I am just glad it is done. I spotted another error today, the one pin-wheel, but it will stay. Normally, I would take it out, but this project has a mind of it's own and I declare "you win".

The next project is from April Breakfast Club and it will be a wall hanging. I don't like the pattern as it was presented, so I made a couple minor changes and I will like it better. That oriental print will be the border - or I may make it into a jacket and stash the whole project. I haven't liked any of the project patterns this year. Each month, we can decide to make placemats, a table runner, or a quilt of various sizeds using blocks presented. I enjoy sewing together with others in the group - it is a great group of ladies. And the breakfasts are fun, but the projects are not appealing to me at all. I am not sure what I will do about that as the year progresses. I signed up for the year, but I feel I am spending time piecing on projects I have no passion for completing. Not a good place to be, huh?

Now, I will get back to work on my customer quilting and work on these little projects in the evening or early morning hours. I had to do some maintenance on my longarm today and it is ready to roll in the morning.

Stay dry and warm.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day . . .

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my Mom with Meagan taken about 7 years ago. Mom will be 90 in a couple weeks. She and I have built some wonderful bridges these past couple weeks during her visit here and after her time back in Missoula. It is the best Mother's Day to have my heart filled with love for her again . . . it has been too long in returning. Lots of blessings on this Mother's Day.

And there is more . . . the first picture is of my son, Stan, and his two boys, Walker and Weston. This was taken at Easter when we were all together here. Of course, there is another wonderful mother who makes this family tick and that is Rainy. Happy Mother's Day.

The second picture is of my son, Roy, and Meagan and I took this picture when we were there at Christmas. Meagan is now 7 and has changed a bit since that photo above. Roy is a single dad who sometimes has to do the work of the mom as well. He works hard to be the best and he succeeds. Happy Mother's Day.

So, all of this is why I enjoy this day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wonderful day . . .

We had a great afternoon and evening. Walker was here this afternoon and then I picked up Weston from his Friday afternoon activity program of gymnastics, swimming and open play. He loves it.

This evening we went out to Three Forks to have dinner at Pompey's Grill which is the dining room in the newly remodeled Sacajawea Inn. It was a glorious dinner. It is owned by the same family that owns Wheat Montana. They really know how to work hard to create success. We met our friends Chuck and Carol there and enjoyed good conversation over dinner and then we went to their home for coffee and dessert. We are planning our first "summer" camping outing with them in June. They have a 5th wheel and we are thinking of a week at Canyon Ferry Lake.

New awareness . . .

A new awareness this morning - like a gentle breeze across my being. This quote is a good summary.

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." Larry Bird

Thank you, God, for the talent you have given me. I have set my goals for my fiber art and now I am off to do some development.

No excuses!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

more news. . .

Here is a picture of the area where the dishwasher was and the range is moved out as there was also water damage behind it. We were advised to tape off the area because there is mold. The dishwasher has been moved totally out of the kitchen. We will soon move the range out for storage until we get things fixed.

Today the insurance adjuster came to survey the kitchen situation. She assured us we do have mold coverage to a good limit in our policy and coverage for repairing water damage. That is good news. But she also said the company's decision to cover this depends on a clause that references if this was a recurring or ongoing problem. That means we should have known sooner that the water was leaking from the motor shaft/pump area of the dishwasher. Now that is pretty tough. How often do you pull out your dishwasher to see if it is leaking from the motor shaft/pump area in the back. We did not notice this until the wall on the backside showed the first signs of being wet and that was on Sunday when Bob then pulled out the dishwasher (not as easy as you might think) and called it in on Monday.

But, it could be interesting. An appraiser from a local restoration company also came while she was here. We had an appointment for Monday, but she called him and he came sooner. That is a good thing. He could determine where the areas were wet with a tool he used - including under the existing tile. In order to return the area to required standards of repair and restoration, his recommendation is to move out the lower cupboards on both sides which means to remove the counter top. The counter top is "l-shaper", large and done in one piece so it would have to be cut for removal. The subfloor is wet under the row of tile closest to the dishwasher and range opening. That means remove tile and since it can't be matched, it would mean removing all of the tile which is in the entire kitchen and through the back butler kitchen area. So this half of the kitchen would need to be removed to the subfloor to make sure the water damage is restored and the mold removed. Some areas of subfloor may need to be replaced. The area behind the dishwasher and range is a regular wall and the sheetrock on both sides will need to be removed and replaced. We should know by next week what the decisions will be. Until then - the plastic is in place and we have some thinking to do. And - no cooking.

Tomorrow our little grandson, Walker, comes to visit and it is safe. So we will enjoy our time with him. Life is interesting, huh?