Friday, September 17, 2010

Goodbye Good Boy

For anyone still checking this blog, I just wanted to share that Kipper died today. He survived surgery for an intestinal blockage that was caused by him eating a wash cloth but it had done too much damage. I'll miss my best friend and companion for the last 12 1/2 years so very much. Katie

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Goodbye to Harper

We know that
our senior citizen dogs will not be with us forever but we can't imagine how our lives will be without them. Libby and her DH are living through the sadness of the death of their dear Harper.

These are pictures of my dear old guy Kipper. He will be 12 years old in a couple months. Whenever Libby wrote about Harper, I related to Kipper doing the same things whether it was keeping the squirrels out of her yard, snoozing under a bush, riding in the car, going for walks or playing in the snow. Both dogs were saves from shelters when they were puppies.

Harper will be missed by her family and by many blog friends.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 17, 2010


These are some pictures I recently took at the aquarium in Tampa, Florida. It is a wonderful place.

Obviously the first picture is a sea horse. Is the second one a water plant? Nope. It too is a sea horse. The third picture makes that a little clearer. Click on the pictures.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elsie the Cow

Does anyone else remember Elsie the Cow?

She was the famous mascot for the Borden Company. During my childhood she was the most recognizable product logo in the United States and Canada.

When I was a kid, my family lived in the small town of Elsie, Michigan. There were many diary herds in the area and I believed, erroneously, my town was the home of Elsie the Cow.

Elsie's husband was Elmer and he later went to Borden's chemical division to be the mascot for Elmer's glue.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Makes A Good Day?
Eat fruit from my cereal bowl.
See sun shining in my window.
Watch a doggie's wagging tail.
Listen to Golden Oldies music.
Receive a call from a loved one.
Laugh and laugh with my friend.
Find a magazine in my mailbox.
Feel the good soil of my garden.
Create with my sewing machine.
Smell the air after a rain shower.
Expand my horizon with words.
Smile from a memory once lost.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Cold Is It?

I know it is very cold is most of our country and I know what that means in my home state of Michigan. But it is interesting what very cold weather means in Florida. What am I talking about? Last night it was 27 degrees for five hours in mid Florida - between Tampa and Orlando. That broke the local records. Abnormal cold weather has been here for over ten days, which makes everything worse.

I know the cold weather with ice and snow is hard on the cattle and other animals in the north. The cattle here in Florida are doing fine but other animals are having trouble. (Did you know that cattle is the second largest business in Florida? It is second behind tourism and larger than the citrus business.) Florida has fisheries. Some are private businesses to produce fish for aquariums. One place has some indoor tanks and moved at least some of their fish to them. Another place did not have indoor tanks and ninety percent of the business was lost. I know zoos in the north make plans every year for their cold sensitive animals. Florida does too. Some of the animals are taken inside and some have heating put into their outdoor homes.

The wild animals are having problems.

The manatee begin to suffer health problems when the water gets under 60 degrees. They are coming in mass from the gulf into rivers and outlets what are warmed by springs or waste water warmed by manufacturing. The areal pictures show the manatee are massed together in these places. People are being asked to stay away from the masses of manatees so they won't be frightened and swim into cold water. One manatee missed the route to warmer water and ended up in a ditch. They have rescue people who picked her up and took her to warmer water.

Cold blooded animals such as the alligators, turtles, and snakes are having trouble. (Did you know that alligators don't feed until they are at a certain temperature?) One of the latest warnings is that the rats are trying to move into buildings to get warm too.

While up north the crops are now gone or dormant, many of them are in peak here in Florida. Florida provides most of the vegetables and fruits in the U.S. during the winter. Where I live in Florida, there are many fields of strawberries. They picked all they could and then ran sprinklers to cover the plants with ice. This actually causes them to stay warm. They have had to use the sprinklers for so many days that the green berries have been damaged. So far they have saved the plants. They have also sprayed the lower branches of the citrus trees and so far that crop is doing good. The vegetables have all been very damaged. The strawberry and citrus producers have water spraying systems but the lettuce, tomatoes and all the other vegetables don't generally have any protection and will have to be replanted.

I just learned about another effect of all the watering to protect crops. The ground is being so saturated that sink holes are causing both road and home damage. Sink holes are always a problem in many areas of Florida and home owners buy riders to their insurance for them, but the watering is increasing the problem.

Airplanes are being delayed in major airports such as Tampa because they are covered with ice in the morning. The Tampa airport has no de-iceing equipment. The planes must wait until mother nature melts the ice on the planes.

While in Michigan we use natural or propane gas to heat many of out homes, electricity is the major source here. They have used record amounts during the last two weeks. All the stores are sold out of space heaters. Some schools are having problems. There is a backup to get service on heating units that are not working. They have put a hold on turning off any one's electricity for unpaid bills until the cold lets up. It is expected to last another week and there is a possibility of snow during the weekend. The last time that happened here was 1967 but they think sleet and freezing rain will be more likely.

They have opened their emergency shelters for the homeless. At least three persons living in tents or other make-shift structures have died. They have also already used up their budgets for the emergency shelters.

Including mine, many mobile homes here are very poorly insulated. I don't have a roof over or additional insulation or new siding. Double pane windows are about unknown in Florida. I have a good heating/cooling unit and it has been running a lot. I sure don't look forward to seeing my next electric bill. I prefer to have my home cool and keep the thermostat at 60. Lots of soups, tea, clothes and quilts. Kipper is grown out medium long and has a nice coat for this weather. Many of the little dogs that live near us have sweaters to wear.

I suppose I find all this so interesting because it is such a contrast to winter in Michigan. What are the biggest problems from the cold weather in your area?

Monday, January 04, 2010


I've been reading books lately. Although I read many types of books, I love historical novels. While spending time sitting with my friend Shirley while she slept, I began reading the John Jakes trilogy North and South. I had read them many years ago but I also like to reread books I especially like. Mr. Jakes is really good with a story but is also so careful with the accuracy of time and place in his books. I do appreciate that.

My DD1 gave me a book for Christmas that has become my favorite ever book. It is titled The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is now in paperback. The dog Enzo tells about his life with his human family. It is so well written. Mr. Stein sure knows dogs. And he knows about car racing, although I have to take the word of others for this. It is the weaving of these two together that makes a most thoughtful, heartfelt story. This is the only book that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it again, so I did and I know I'll read it many more times. I'm not sure if someone who hasn't lived with a canine friend or doesn't have my philosophy of life would love it as I do, but if you get a chance, give it a try. I'd love to hear if you like it as much as I do.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Hot Chocolate

Well, I hard copied all the files I have. Some are very complete, even with pictures. Some are just notes with ideas to write about. Some were written 10 years ago and some have been scanned into a document. Some have already been printed in one of my Life Story Books.

I can do some writing directly on the computer but to organize, I need to use actual pieces of paper. Now I'm trying to decide if I should put them in a box for now or punch holes and put them into a notebook. I also have zip bags full of recipes so maybe I should put both a notebook and the loose stuff in a box.

It is cold here in Florida. Well not snow, ice and all that cold. But cold enough to water the strawberries and other ground crops and open shelters for the homeless. Even though I know how it works, it still looks funny to see the sprinklers putting water on the crops so it will freeze and protect them.

For breakfast this morning, I had hot chocolate and toast. This was a favorite of mine as a child. I would butter the toast and add strawberry jam. Then I would dunk it into the hot chocolate.

Now I make hot chocolate from dark cocoa. My favorite is a Saco product which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa. I have always preferred the dark kind. How great that now they say this dark chocolate is good for our health. Now I use Splenda rather than sugar. I mix the two with a small amount of water. Then I add milk and heat in the microwave. I like to use a large Pyrex cup. The final touch is to add a dash of vanilla. I have discovered that WalMart here in Florida is selling Watkins vanilla. It is very good and reasonable in price. If I have it, which I did today, I add whipped cream.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

Has it really been four months since I posted? Life just got in the way.

I spent much time with my dear friend Shirley. She fought brain cancer for 18 months and died on November 29, 2009. Kipper and I are now in FL. I've been giving myself much leeway as I grieve my friend.

I finally feel like thinking about a project. I made a mental list and that may have been a mistake because now I don't know where to start. I still have not finished my genealogy stories I have been writing but most of that material is in MI. I have started stories about my DH, who died 11 years ago, and would like to get back to writing those memories. And I have started stories about food. Yes, there are recipes but also stories about them. I also have stories about pets that I'd like to put together. I already have about 40 miscellaneous stories and would like to get them organized and added to. Then there are sewing projects. I've really been in a dry spell. I did some red work as it was easy to carry with me. My sewing machine here in FL is not working properly and if I'm going to quilt, I need to replace it. And I have books I want to read.

Should I do a little of each or .....? Prioritization and procrastination have always been my roadblocks.

This blog was primarily to be about quilting. Maybe I need a different one now.

Lots of questions and no answers just now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sewing Room Mess

I know I've been gone for way too long. I've been spending a lot of time with my friend Shirley who has brain cancer. And been very lazy about doing any sewing.

So how did my sewing room get so messed up? I pulled out lots of containers and today I filled four boxes for the Iraqi Bundles of Love. Looks like I could have filled a lot more. I got them all packed and into the mail. The four boxes weighed 32 1/2 pounds. They sure seemed to weigh more than that. Of course the weight didn't matter because the postage was a flat rate. I really filled each box as full as I could get it. I had the first one all taped up when I thought of something else I wanted to include - a picture of myself. So three of the bundles have my picture and one of my sewing. I really like the idea of this being a women to women project even if it uses a marvelous man to accomplish it. Art and all his military helpers are just the greatest and I'm sure they will try to get the bundles directly into the hands of the women. I hope they can somehow get some of them to the Kurdish women too.

While it is so true that we are now a world community, we also have local communities. Mine here in Michigan is still hurting so very much. As so many people move away to find jobs, it is believed that the city of Flint will soon have half the population that it had at its peak. Currently, Flint has a 25% unemployment rate. There are so many boarded up homes and businesses. People have been donating
back-packs filled with school supplies. It is hard but we are a determined people. We built the auto capital of the world and now we will start all over to build something else.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Show and Tell

Recently I spent three weeks at my DD's in PA. I had a lot of sitting around time so I got three books read and three redwork pictures made. I like these kitty scenes. By the way, my DGG who was in the hospital is doing very well now.
Click on pics to see them better.

After I got home, I put together some very old blocks (maybe late 1930's). They were in an old trunk that belonged to my grandmother. These 8 blocks were made but not put together. I really liked how they went with each other into this pattern. I added a backing by hand and gave it to my Aunt for her 85th birthday.

After our cooler than normal weather, we are now having hot weather. It went from the 70's to over 90. Strange. I got my little flower garden in front of my house cleaned up and the pond started. After a recent storm, the turtle is not spurting water. Oh, me.

Most recent unemployment rate for MI is 14.1 Still highest in the nation. Good news yesterday was they are going to open an auto plant and GE bringing in something too. But these won't help for months. Very hard times here yet.

Good news on the family front. My 25 year old DGS has gotten his first full time job. After finishing his masters degree, he worked three part-time jobs last year. One of them is now full time. He has been living in a room with kitchen privileges but is now looking for an apartment. He is in the Boston area.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Again

For the last three weeks I've been visiting my DD1 and her family in PA. My DGD was in the hospital and I went to try to help. At least I could let the dog out. My DD and her husband needed to keep working so I tried to be of some help. My DGD is home now and doing well. Kipper went with me and enjoyed visiting with his old doggy friend Lady. She is a year younger then Kipper - 10 years old - but she seams so much older. She has arthritis and is deaf. I wonder why some dogs age faster than others do. They also had a cat. Kipper was good with her although he stole cat food and gained weight. I did to. Gained weight - not ate the cat's food. Not we are back to out regular diets and hope to take a few pounds off.

The first picture is the pile of mail I picked up at the post office today. I have no idea how the picture turned up side down. Almost all my bills are on autopay so this is mostly junk, but I must go through it.

The other pictures are of a jeans quilt that I made and gave my daughter a few years ago. I don't think I took a picture of it then so I took some while visiting. It was interesting to make but ended up being heavy. I guess that also means it is warm. The red plaid seen in the last picture is what is on the back. I collected jeans and some are those my DGD wore.

While out today, I also make a stop at the grocery store. Prices in PA are so much higher than here in MI, or even in FL. A box of pudding mix that costs 89 cents here was $1.39 and that was at a major grocery store. Gas is now $3 a gallon here.

Michigan is hurting so much from the economy mess. Our last official unemployment rate was 13.5% but it is expected to reach 20%. It is so sad to see all the stores closed and houses abandoned.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Thanks to Tonya at Lazy Girl I actually sewed something. I've been in a slump for some time now and this challenge was just what I needed. Tonya asked for people to make letters for sounds of Halloween. We will send them to her for her to make a quilt. The first pic is the correct color. I don't know what happened to the second pic but it really is the same color as the first one. Click on the top one to see the different prints I used. Tonya wanted different font styles used and I decided I didn't like the R in OR so I replaced the one in the top pic with the one in the bottom pic. I have left the words for Tonya to make into whatever shape block will work best. It will be so much fun to see the end quilt.

Spring is finally here in my part of MI. It is still on the cold side with a heavy frost this morning. The tulips are shivering a little.

A week ago I remembered to go block off the top to my propane tank so the robins couldn't make a nest in it. I was too late. Not only was there a nest but eggs too. They are so blue. Now I won't disturb the nest until the babies are gone. Last year they died so I hope they make it this year. I'm glad I won't need a gas refill until they are gown.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Look what I just brought home from the grocery store! I stopped to buy some cottage cheese and found some great looking produce at very good prices. Those tomatoes smell so good. They are definitely vine ripened and were $1 per pound. The broccoli heads were the same price and the corn was 19 cents per ear. The pineapple was $2.

For lunch I had a huge salad. In my refrigerator I already had some field greens, carrots, celery, radishes and carrots. I also added grated cheese. mmm good. What is your favorite salad dressing? Mine is fresh lemon juice and Splenda.

What will I make with my goodies? veggable soup? BLTs? goloush? peanut butter and pineapple sandwich? baked sweet potatoes? or maybe boil them and then "candy" them with Splenda pancake syrup and butter? I do enjoy food.

I went to a dermatologist today and got a "sun spot" taken off my cheek. This is the second time and it was quite large. Three weeks ago I had two moles removed. Those spots are healing nicely. No chance of cancer in either one.

I stopped at the drug store on the way home. I got some large bandaids for my face. The only ones my skin will tolerate are the flexible ones. I forgot to take one with me to the doctor. I also picked up my refills on my prescriptions. There were three of them and the bill was $436.79. This is the same price as it would be if I sent away for them. Yes, I have insurance. That was just my copay. Unfortunately, none of the drugs have generic forms. That was a three month supply anyway. I also have another one that I didn't get today. And I'm actually healthy. Just arthritis, bladder spasms, gastric reflux and diabetes. Well, that may not sound like I'm so healthy but with these drugs, everything is well under control. So maybe I shouldn't complain.

On the way home it started raining again. We have had major huge rain storms in the last two weeks and I have water standing all around my home. My windshield wipper is torn up. How come I can't remember to get it fixed when it is't raining? I have two dehumidifers running in my basement and am constantly listening to make sure my sump pump is running. I had to put Kipper in the basement shower three times yesterday to get his feet and legs clean. He has a fenced in yard to run in and there is lots of water and mud. The last time he went out, I put him on a leash and just let him get on a bit of grass.

I've actually gotten into my sewing room and will make a quilty blog soon.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival

Today is the last day to get into Amy's (Park City Girl) Quilt Show. What a great idea.

I have so many favorite quilts but chose to enter "What's In A Name?" I made questions and the answers were the names on the quilt. I still usually refer to it as my space quilt.

It was made for a challenge to commemorate 50 years in space. I used my version of Tonya's letters and really enjoyed doing it. I hand quilted the stars which gave it just the right finishing touch.

Soon after I finished it, Astronaut Barbara Morgan went into space. She was a teacher and then became an astronaut. I really admired her. She was very pleased to receive it and donated it to Idaho State Historical Museum in Boise, where it now hangs. She dedicated it to teachers and students everywhere.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April in MI

I've been busy getting ready to come back to MI from FL and then busy getting things done here. You know, things like doctor to get my labs done and Rx refilled, dentist to get teeth cleaned, dermatologist to get a couple moles taken off my face and tax person to get that done. Lots of other small errands with delays. In the five months I've been gone, the laboratory where I usually get my blood work done has closed and many businesses are on four day weeks to try to save energy. Things are very difficult here with 12 percent unemployment, which is highest in the country. I do notice that the grocery prices are lower here than in FL and both places are lower than in many other parts of the country.

Last week Mother Nature send me a taste of winter. Most of our weather comes from the west but this came directly from the north. The left side of the tree faces north. It only lasted one day but the temperatures have continued to be cold.

Winters here are hard on roads and other things. The cement holding my clothes pole down has heaved. Notice the water in the field now the snow has melted.

Joyce on J's Quilting Blog has a picture of her muddy road. Oh, this brought back memories. My road has been black topped for years now but for many years we were the last house before cars got stuck in the mess. Everyone came to my house to call for help. Those were the days before cell phones. I kept calling the county to get them to close the road - put up a sign to warn people. They hated to do that because then they would have to do something about fixing the road. The school bus couldn't make it either and we had mud emergency routes with places the children had to go to to get on the buses. Winter is very hard on our roads here in MI and the pot holes are terrible. People send pictures to the weather person on TV to see who has the worst pot hole. Recently I was driving on a paved road where they had put up a sign saying "Rough Road Ahead". That meant the top layer of the road was all broken up and there are places with major pot holes so drive about 20 mph and good luck.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 16, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery March 15, 2009
Click to enlarge these.

The weather was perfect. Dusk was falling. It was 7:43 and there it was. I live 90 miles from Kennedy Space Center. Actually you could view it from much further away than I am.

The first picture has no telephoto. The rest have some. It was easily seen. The sun was very low in the sky and it colored the vapor trail a beautiful pink.

I was surprised that I could see the separation. See the third picture. And how long I could see the shuttle after it separated. See the light dot in the last picture.

If you haven't done so, google the launch and see some wonderful close up pictures. I have visited the launch pad and and area where the press took those pictures.

If you are ever able, visit Kennedy Space Center.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strawberry Pie

Yes, this pie is as good as it looks. And it has no sugar added.

Now is the strawberry season here in Florida. You can buy them at the strawberry farm, farmer's market or grocery store. I bought a half flat.

I live in a senior mobile home park here in Florida. We have pot luck dinners each month. Most of our residents are natives of another state. Some are snow-birds, like I am, and some are now year-rounders. Each pot luck is put on by the people from a state or combination of states. We set up the tables and clean up afterwards. We also prepare the meat and desert. Each person pays $2.50 to cover the costs involved. This week the residents from Michigan put on a chicken dinner. We made homemade cakes for general desert and strawberry pies for the diabetic residents. I made two and they were good. Actually I made three - two for the dinner and a third for me. I had to eat a piece to make sure it was okay before taking to the dinner, right? I also gave pieces to some people who couldn't attend. One is a lady and her husband who were about my age fifteen years ago when my dad lived here. They were so kind to him and I'm so happy to do a little pay back now. My closest neighbors, who watch out for my home when I'm north, also each got a piece, as did another friend who just got home from the hospital.

Here's the recipe. It is so simple.

Bake and cool pie crusts. See my April 17, 2007 post for a no-fail recipe.

For each pie:

Wash, hull and slice 4 cups of strawberries. Put in baked, cooled pie crust.
In a sauce pan mix 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of Splenda and a large box (or 2 small boxes) of sugar-free strawberry jello. Bring to a full boil to thicken. Pour over strawberries. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in refrigerator.

If desired, top with whipped cream before serving.

You can make a sugar version by substituting sugar and regular jello.

Hope you can buy some fresh strawberries and make this one. If not keep this recipe handy until your part of the country has some.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I give Kipper a bath every month. It is a major process. I have a shower here in Florida that is bath tub size but has glass doors that go to the floor. I keep a bath seat in this shower. So I take off all my clothes and sit on this seat while Kipper stands in the rest of the shower. That's right, there is no photo. "S" Kipper likes to get bathed and is very good but his fur makes him hard to get wet. The shower head comes down and we run water, add oatmeal shampoo and scrub. First one area than another. I wash his head last and use no-tears baby shampoo there. Kipper is very good about not shaking but it is hard when I spray water on his head. When done, I drape a towel over him and he shakes. I dry him a little and then he takes over and uses his big tongue to dry himself. I know many dogs roll to dry themselves, but Kipper only rubs his head on the rug. He drys very quickly.

After he is out, I clean the shower and then the rest of the bathroom. Finally I take a shower myself. Three tasks done.

Next I brush Kipper's teeth with his electric toothbrush. He loves this. Then I check his ears. With his perky ears he never has any problems. Finally I file his nails with a battery-powered file. Some of his nails are white and it is easy to see where to cut but many of his nails are black and it is very hard. Even if I cut them, they also need filed, so now I just skip the cutting. Kipper does not like having anything done with his nails, so we have a system where he hides his head behind my back as I work on each paw. Out of sight, out of mind? Anyway, it works. The last step to this long process is to give him a little brushing and launder the towels.

Kipper's last haircut was a couple months ago. For this current hot Florida weather, he needs cut again but I think he'll need some fur for the Michigan weather when we head back at the end of this month. Since his last haircut, he has areas where his hair and fur has not grown back. They are mostly along his back. They are hard to see in the pictures but you can see the color change in the last one. They don't bother him. There is a little dandruff-like flaking. He has been scratching his head a lot lately. I know it is his spring allergy. He gets it every year here in Florida and also in the fall in Michigan. So, yesterday I took Kipper to his Florida doctor. I like him very much. He thinks the alopecia areas are not indicative of any disease. Kipper has no signs of hypothyroidism. He already gets Omega oils in his dog food. The vet gave him a shot for his allergy. It usually works in a few hours but he is still scratching his head today. I sure hope it gives him some relief soon.
Posted by Picasa


Aren't these beautiful? No they aren't in my yard here in Florida but in a friend's. We took several days of hard frost (and more than once) this year so many of plants have been cut back. These came from bulbs.

Posted by Picasa