Thursday, February 28, 2013

George Beverly Shea Is Honored

George Beverly Shea recently accepted a Lifetime Achievement award, at age 102.

His name may not be familiar, unless you're a fan of Christian music. Or follow Billy Graham's evangelistic work. ('Bev' has been a staff member with Graham since 1947.) What caught my ear, though, was his incredible range -- a deep baritone, he had one of the richest voices in the business. (Only Tennessee Ernie Ford could give him any competition.) He recalled, in a 2007 interview:

"One morning, there was a rap on my office door. I looked out and there was a tall young man with blond hair and we shook hands. He was 21 and I was 31. It was Billy Graham and he had traveled in from Wheaton College on a train just to say 'hello.' He said he listened to my morning hymn show called 'Hymns From The Chapel.' That's how we first got acquainted. I came into this work with Mr. Graham in 1947 after we had exchanged letters and talked on the phone. He said he wanted me to be his gospel singer. I thanked him but told him the only gospel singers I've ever heard about would sing a verse or two and stop and talk a while. 'Would I have to do that?' I asked him. He chuckled and said, 'I hope not.' With that, I said, 'Well, I'd like to come with you.' That was in November of 1947 and I've been with him ever since."

Sunday mornings, while we were getting ready for church, the Mama would often put on a George Beverly Shea record. I grew up to the smell of tube cinnamon rolls in the air, and the strains of "I'll Meet You in the Morning" or "The Love of God Is Greater Far:"

He was especially known for his rendition of "How Great Thou Art," though I prefer "I'd Rather Have Jesus," a song he helped write.

Learn more about George Beverly Shea here. An amazing man.Oh...and he's now 104.

Quilt con Winning Quilts

A brand-new quilt conference has started up in Austin, Texas: Quilt.con. This show has some elements of art quilts, some of simple scrappy quilting -- and a whole lot of Pinterest influence.

Some of the winning quilts are here, including the Viewer's Choice:

Overgrown by Alison Glass - quilted by Lisa Cipes

One of the winners in the Minimalist Design category:

2 + 2 by Collen Wooton. Gee, I like this piece.

And a beauty from the Use of Negative Space category:

Broken Diamonds by Kati Spencer

Some traditional influences, sure, but there's a refreshing clean look and line to these pieces. Beautiful.

For more on the show, including Quilt.con's sponsor, the Modern Quilt Guild, go here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Monday afternoon, I started to feel strange -- was it just tiredness, from schlepping the girlies home, and getting Dad's Third Birthday Supper ready?
     Maybe it was the upcoming storm. (Yes, we got another -- only 6" or so this time.)
Nope -- it was flu.

I spent yesterday feeling miserable, bundling up some business stuff and watching the snow come down.  Have Gun Will Travel was playing pretty much all afternoon. (Paladin just knows how to comfort. What a guy -- and some of the quirkier episodes are written by Gene Roddenberry of Star Trek fame.) How many Sixties tv shows can hold their own, after decades have passed? Not many -- but this is one.

After a long rest this morning, I feel some better. The fever and general achiness are down, but not gone yet. More snow clouds loom on the horizon. What's next? Maybe chicken soup...and more Paladin.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Covered In White

Cold, chilly snowflaky white, that is. We've been watching it come down...and down...and down. "Be careful what you wish for," I've reminded myself -- just a few weeks earlier, I was hoping we'd get snow. Lots of it. Ahem. 
    While we're digging ourselves out, you might find these online tidbits interesting:

The final Oscar winners list. Sure, I wanted Beasts of the Southern Wild to do better, but they were up against stiff competition. (Now, if we can go see Argo and Lincoln...)

Presidential food obsessions, from Barack Obama to Lincoln. (More prez food likes and dislikes here, if you're still going strong. A lot of these include drinks and food trivia.)

Yes, you too can make a tablecloth dress. Really. Potholes & Pantyhose has even included pattern pieces!  (Go here for more photos...)

A frugal buffet for twenty? Sure, if you're careful, and vary your ingredients. This one, via the Frugal Queen, sounds delicious. (Invite me over...please!)

Practical advice from a Hollywood personal trainer. 

What you would say to your younger self...what she said, from Say It, Rah-Shay

A studio apartment, five days and less than $300 -- and the result. Go here for the overall description, and here for the step-by-step process. Beautiful. 

And for those of us who are still surprised at the stupid things we're capable of:

Have a good week.

The First American Black Slave Owner...Was Black Himself!

I'd read before that in the early days of Jamestown, black slaves were brought in and sold...

According to Charles C. Mann, the author of 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, they continued to be used partly because of their heritage: thanks to their origin (mostly Africa), they were largely resistant to malaria -- one of the early colonists' great banes. (Not to mention mosquitoes. It's a fine book, by the way, like its predecessor, 1491 -- you should read it.)

I also knew that many of the first 'slaves' were actually indentured servants -- people who sold their time and effort for up to 7 years, in order to pay for their passage to the New World. Not only did individuals pledge themselves for this; they also indentured their families. And once they were freed, those people were given land, which they could use for their own. More family members, more land.
    (My own ancestor, Isaac Cumings, got to America this way, via the Sally Ann -- one of the ships which came not long after the Mayflower.)

Indentured servants came in all sorts of colors, white, black and 'yellow' (mulatto) alike. The first black 'slave' was actually an indentured servant whose master claimed he'd given his services for life. The master went to court to argue it...and won.

That master was black. Yes, the first American slaveowner was the same color as the man he enslaved. 

Makes you realize that people are people, the world around.

Read the full story here, thanks to Ben Kinchlow. 

Yes, We're Here (Under This Snowdrift)

We haven't had a good old-fashioned blizzard for months. Oops, scratch that -- it's coming down in droves. The wind's picked up. Snowplow hasn't been through all day. Church got cancelled -- only the second time in decades that it's happened.

One foot of snow...and still going on.

Luckily, the power's still on. The chickens are snug in their coop. (They even produced 6 eggs today.) The puppies and we are fine.

It will stop eventually...right?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wishing for Color...

Four inches of snow last night. Not enough to call school and keep the Brick home, snug in bed.

Just enough to please the dogs and bemuse our Georgia 'daughter,' Olivia, who's been staying here the past week. (I met her folks while teaching for the Georgia quilt guild last fall, and we became friends.) Olivia and I will go have sushi tonight with Daughter #1 -- then she (Olivia) heads south to the Springs and the Olympics training center. She'll be trying out for the Olympics volleyball team.

The chickens are fine, but crabby -- they're molting right now, so feathers are strewn more across the nests. They have three to choose from, but still insist on laying in the exact same nestbox. Sometimes there are three chickens in there, sitting on top of each other. One has gone "broody," and hangs out there for hours, trying to hatch eggs. (Ahem, lady. We have no rooster. Your hard work will not matter. Besides, I pulled the eggs out from underneath you some time back.)  Egg production's down because of molting. I have to be careful of our egg consumption, so our customers get the eggs they ordered.

I have plenty of work to do, but would really prefer to doodle around and look out the window instead. The dogs stay as close to to the heaters and fireplaces as they dare. (So do I, book and hot mug of tea in hand.)

Wishing for color...

Wishing for spring.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stayin' At La Veta

"I hope you're not afraid of ghosts," said the manager casually.

That was our introduction to the La Veta Inn this past weekend, a lovely old spot in (where else) La Veta, CO.
    (Some locals say "La Vee-ta," some say "La Vay-ta." Take your pick.)

The Brick just looked at him. "We've got you booked into Room #5 -- our most haunted room," the manager continued.  

This place really is a charmer: lots of old wood, gleaming tables and a vast amount of art everywhere. Each of the rooms upstairs features a different artist. Ours -- #5 -- showcased the work of Janey Waldrep. (The architecture piece, seen below, is just amazing.)

The original inn was built in 1876, but some of it burned in the Forties. And it's obviously gone through an extensive revamp, as well. We trudged down the hall to Room #5, right at the end (next to the stained-glass window), a corner room full of light.
     And it was freezing in there.

After we got the heater going, and admired the antique furniture (Eastlake?), we spent some time downstairs. Wood floors, a large-screen tv (and some smaller ones -- no tv upstairs in our room), and people enthusiastically playing chess and other games. Came back upstairs -- the Brick hesitated. "Did you hear that?" He'd heard creaking, as if someone was coming up the stairs behind him. (Mr. Engineer explained this by saying that the stairs were 'relaxing' from his weight. They never did it again during our visit.)

     I felt a bit uneasy the first night, but other than an odd feeling off and on, nothing happened.
    Except the room got really hot. (The heater was turned down low, but that didn't seem to matter.)

Beautiful room...was it really haunted? We're still not sure.
 Wonderful breakfasts -- great coffee. Wonderful food, period. We had an interesting talk with our waiter, who'd worked at the inn for 7-8 months. He said he'd not seen anything, but had heard stories about people who had. And one night, he'd been cleaning up in the dining room, and kept hearing voices and pots & pans clattering in the kitchen.
    Except there was no one there. 

Night #2 produced the same occasional uneasy feeling. (And I have no idea why, but I got the feeling that if there was someone there, that someone was female. Maybe Maisie? Madeline?) Nothing specific, though our bed wiggled a bit twice. But that could have been us, shifting around.
    And this time, it started out as freezing -- got really hot partway through the night -- then was chilly again by morning.
     Weird, huh. 

Some of the nicest people work at the Inn, and they go far out of their way to be helpful. The morning we checked out, the Inn was officially closed -- but that didn't stop the chef, who lived at the Inn, from offering to make us breakfast, anyways, before we left. I again asked the manager if he'd noticed any ghostly sightings. He said, "I haven't seen anything." I said, "So you haven't noticed..." He interrupted, "Oh, I've heard lots of things, including footsteps and voices. I just haven't seen them."

So did we notice some odd things? Yep. Was our room haunted? Whatever was happening, it wasn't interested in us. (The Brick, ever the engineer, would argue more for an old heating system.) My guess is that these flitting incidents are more "echoes" from the many people and staff that have passed through the Inn's welcoming doors.

 Take a closer look at the La Veta Inn here. If you'd rather not bump into ghostly friends, there are plenty of rooms that are 'clear,' incident-wise. (In fact, most of the happenings seem to have occurred downstairs after closing time, in the bar and kitchen.)  Some great reviews on Trip Advisor; more photos, too. 

     I'm not getting a cent in compensation for writing about the La Veta Inn -- it was just a beautiful, slightly quirky place with lots of history, friendly staff and outstanding food.
     We had a good time. You would, too. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Southern Colorado

I know. I've been quiet.

The Brick and I are wandering about points south for a few days, celebrating his birthday -- and getting the heck away from our regular schedule. It's been refreshing. We're at the La Veta Inn, an old hotel with a reputation for being haunted. (More on this in the next post. Update: click here for the full skinny.) All I know is that the coffee's too good for ghosts! 
    While we're sleeping in (and going out for appetizers and margaritas), you might find these Internet tidbits interesting:

Cookie dough frosting...oh my. (From the Girl Who Ate Everything. Seriously. That's what she calls her blog.)

Six grocery store items that do wayyyy more than they're slated for. (Thanks, Len Penzo.) Coke, vinegar, paper towels, WD-40, fabric softener'll be amazed at what you can do with these basic products!

Want to be a Viking? Our neck of the West is overrun with Civil War and fur trapper reenactors...but not these guys.

"My poorest friend is one of the richest people I know." So says Financial Samurai. I'm not totally sold on this guy's methods for living, but it does give one pause.

A dozen ways to save in college, thanks to The College Investor. (I hope our girlies are reading this.)

A safer way to make money loaning through Prosper, Lending Club and others. Peter @ shares his method. Running filters like this is a little convoluted to this lit major...but studied carefully, they make better sense than just going in there and guessing who will be the more responsible debtor. If you've wanted to try this, do it this way -- interest and return rates are much better.
   P.S. His "super simple" approach is here. A little easier to understand, but he says it doesn't produce quite as much income.

And what do you do when you can't get two bucks' horns to separate? Shoot them apart.

Hey, it worked! Have a great week.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Carbmaster Yogurt: A Review

Yogurt can make all the difference between stomach health -- and not.

The Brick (as well as Daughter #1) has struggled with digestion problems ever since he was little. He's tried all sorts of possibilities, but the easiest was a regular intake of yogurt. Its active cultures keep his stomach collywobbles down to a bare minimum. (And, considering how little I can get him to drink milk, I feel better knowing that he's ingesting a healthy slug of dairy products, too.)

He doesn't care for artificial sweeteners. He'd prefer his yogurt unmessed with.

Enter the Kroger Carbmaster line. 
     Not only can you get all sorts of flavors with Carbmaster, they have the added benefit of being low in sugar. The Brick has tried several flavors, and found them nice and creamy, without that nasty aftertaste you can sometimes get in yogurt.
     Kroger's Greek yogurt is more tart than its regular line -- perfect for taking sour cream's place on tacos or a nice crispy baked potato. I am not a 'sweet' girl, and really prefer this tart version for general eating purposes, as well.

 You can find full information, including calorie count, about Carbmaster here. What's not to like about less than 100 calories, plus vitamins and an 11% shot of your daily iron needs...not to mention minimal fat.

Disclosure: I did receive some discount coupons for this yogurt line. (It was sponsored by the BzzAgent program, which I've just started participating in.) But honestly, I'd write this anyways...this yogurt is just plain Good Stuff. If you prefer good basic yogurt with a creamy taste that's just right, sweetness-wise...this is the one to try.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writer's Life

I have been a writer pretty much since I could crawl.

Granted, it was probably mostly scrawls, but I honestly cannot remember a time when I wasn't reading -- the Mama says I was doing this by age two or so -- and trying to copy what I read.
     In school, I entered writing contests. Wrote for the school papers. Kept a diary. (I also kept up a prolific note-writing correspondence with the brother of a friend. He wasn't that exciting -- but his notes were.) 

The strange thing is that once your thoughts are 'in print' on the page or computer screen -- well, at least for me, they become something else. Although I still know technically they're 'me,' that person -- and her words -- are separate. Different to the point that she feels like another individual.

The huge bonus: that you can actually get paid for writing what you think! The first prize still looms in mind: a $5 or so check from the American Foreign Legion. This was at a time of 50 cents weekly allowances, and I still remember how rich I felt. Even the first advance I got -- for writing Hanky Panky -- pales in comparison to that fabulous wealth.

But living on your writing?

Lawrence Block did a piece on 'getting by on a writer's income.' It's surprisingly honest, from a guy who's managed to crack the blockbuster shell and extract the golden yolk. Yet Block warns that getting used to living at a higher standard is the real danger -- there will be lean years along with the prosperous ones.  " I won’t be poor, though, not so long as I’m able to recognize that being broke is a temporary thing, that it’s part of the business, and that it doesn’t have to interfere with either my writing or my living."

*It  won't always be wonderful. You may write a bestseller this year -- and get rejection after rejection two years from now. Maybe the economy's changed, or you're in the wrong market. (I shudder for newspaper reporters -- they're in a very uncertain field right now.) Maybe things are quiet because you need a rest, or a new approach. Maybe someone you love is in the hospital, or dying from cancer. Hunker down and keep working.

*Keep the bills paid. Got a big advance...a bonus...or an inheritance? Pay off your mortgage before you take that lavish cruise, or buy a new car. Clear away the credit cards. (And resolve to pay them off in full every month. No exceptions.) Put some aside for an emergency fund. Ok, now you can splurge on something.

*Can you do something else? Being able to cook, do carpentry, drive a bus or secretarial jobs will not only get you through hard times and barren periods; it will give you ideas for future books. My parents said that you should be able to do at least three things well -- that way, if there's no market for one or two, you've got something else to fall back on. They were right.

*Can you go into this with someone else? Stephen King said that he wouldn't have gotten far without his wife, novelist Tabitha King. Not only did she fish out his crumpled manuscript of  Carrie manuscript from the wastebasket, but she took on various jobs, including Dunkin' Donuts, to help out. Having a partner along for the ride is priceless. (Yes, I'm talking about my own husband, the Brick. His income has kept us going through many a lean period, and his love and support always. Does he read what I write? Not much...but he listens.)

Writing can be exciting. Boring. Intriguing. Irritating. But I do know that whatever happens, I will always be a writer.
     And that's fine with me.

Any number of things can happen to render a freelance writer insolvent, and if you stay in the game long enough, all of them will happen to you sooner or later. But the point of this piece is not that dire events will occur, but that you can survive them.  -- Lawrence Block

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Monday Stuff On the Way To Other Stuff: Getting A Fresh Grip on Life

It's a fresh new week...the Brick is (slowly) getting over a weekend bout of flu, and although I still have a ton of work to do, I feel like I'm getting a fresh start on things. Hopefully you feel the same way, too. While life goes on, you might enjoy: 

 99 Affordable date ideas, courtesy of Wisebread. Good for Valentine's Day! (This might help, too.)

Finding money to invest...even when you think you can't. Some good stuff via Get Rich Slowly.

Normally I don't put two posts from the same blog, but... Get Rich Slowly has this one, as well:
Keeping your kids money-savvy. Some very practical advice here!

'We spent no money on food in January.'  Free In Ten Years did it - wow. (They couldn't have done it without a pantry and planning, though.)

A coin rarities auction is gearing up, including George Walton's 1913 Liberty nickel.
These are amazingly rare - only 5 specimens have been found, so far. They were kept together in a proof set for decades, then broken up to sell to collectors. (Wikipedia has the story of all five.) In 2005, one nickel sold for $5 million. Yes, you read that right.

Building value in your finances in your twenties, an 'untraditional' approach. Actually, I'd call it a "not always listening to the so-called 'experts'" method. From Financial Samurai, and worth considering at any age.

Chris Kyle is killed. This sniper became famous. Turns out the kid wanted his new truck...

A bus driver is laid to rest, after trying to save his kids from a shooter. And he did...all but one. That boy was later rescued, after a weeklong standoff, and his abductor killed.
    I have a soft spot in my heart for these hardworking, little-recognized people. The Brick was a bus driver for years, and still works in the training and monitoring program for our county's school  transportation department.

A lady wakes up at her own funeral, has a heart attack from the shock, and dies again -- this time, permanently. You can hardly make these stories up -- they're so wacky.

Strom Thurmond's daughter, Essie Mae Washington, just died. Strom Thurmond's black daughter, that is.  Washington was the daughter of Thurmond and Carrie Butler.Thurmond was 22 and living in his family's home; Carrie, age 16, was the family maid. Thurmond, senator, governor and proud segregationist, never publicly acknowledged his daughter. But he did support her financially, and visited her regularly. To the end of her life, she seems to have kept her odd connection intact -- and with dignity. (She revealed the secret in 2003, after Thurmond's death: her story is here. No argument from the Thurmond family on this issue, by the way.)

"I don't believe he was a rascist at heart. And when times changed, he changed."
      Essie Mae Washington, of her father

    (Want to hear something equally strange? Al Sharpton's ancestors worked as slaves for Strom Thurmond's great-grandfather. Who would have thought that... )

Chinese Chicken Salad, from Southern Hospitality. Yum.

It's okay to fire someone for off-the-job marijuana use, even though marijuana use is technically now legal in Colorado. So says the Colorado Marijuana Task Force. (Can you feel the conflicting opinions whirling around in my state right now about this issue??)

Have a good week.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Celebrating Valentine's Day

The temperature's dropping by the minute...but the Brick has a crackling fire going. It's snug in here...and so romantic.
    Yep, romantic all right -- we've got a season each of NCIS and the Walking Dead to get through before next Thursday.
    And we both seem to be coming down with the flu. (tummy trouble and regular visits to the bathroom -- extra interesting!)

     The Brick is a wonderful guy -- really. And I know he loves me and the girls dearly. But sentiment? Romance? The Brick is an engineer by training and experience.
      *When he asked me to share his life, I was headed out the door to go to work. The Brick said, "Oh by the way...would you marry me?" In the same tone that said we'd meet for lunch. (I said yes, anyways!)
     * His first Christmas present was a five-pound box of chocolates. ("So you can share them with everybody're getting kind of fat, anyways.")
     * Another interesting present was a humidifier. (I got an awful lot of appliance presents until I put my foot down, and said no more.)

So I'm not expecting a lot on Thursday. But there will be a romantic present from me, a dinner by that same crackling fire (appetizers, crab, chocolate mousse and a bottle of wine--hopefully we'll be over the stomach cramps and runs by then), and I will continue to love this amazing man. Dearly.

* * * * * * * * *

In case you're still looking for reasonable ways to celebrate for your Valentine, though, stop by Northern Cheapskate for some great ideas on a budget. Or go to Mom On Timeout for some pretty roses - made from Hershey's Kisses! (Go here for instructions.)

Get Rich Slowly has some good ideas, too.

I've got some ideas of my own, as well:

*Your sweetie pie's favorite dessert -- in the case of the Brick, it's brownies, heavy on the chocolate and packed with nuts. (Yes, he'll get them.)

*A Valentine's Day card...sure, you can make one, but if time's short, try the dollar store. Another source, surprisingly reasonable: many thrift shops have a card section.

*A flowering plant or smaller arrangement, instead of roses. Pretty much every year the Brick has bought me roses for Valentine's Day, they've drooped and faded within a few days. I'd rather have flowers that hang around longer than that. A good choice: chrysanthemums, carnations or freesia. (More ideas here.)

     As for me, if the Brick comes up with a new video and a bar of dark chocolate studded with nuts...good enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Richard III is Back!

This is just an amazing story:

Richard III, Duke of Gloucester and the last of the Plantagenet kings, killed in battle in 1485, was found underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England. 

The earliest surviving portrait of Richard III, c.1520

   This is the much-hated king who began as Royal Protector for his nephews -- 12-year-old King Edward V, and his brother. The boys were kept in the Tower of London, and eventually disappeared -- more than one contemporary believed that Richard had them murdered. (Juvenile bones were found underneath a staircase in 1674. Could they have been the boys?)
   Richard only had two years as king, and was forced to put down several rebellions. He eventually was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field, and Henry, the first in a long line of Tudor monarchs (many of them Henrys, as well), succeeded him.
    And yes, Shakespeare wrote a play about him that made Richard out to be an evil villain. (Granted, the reigning monarch at the time was Elizabeth, Henry VIII's daughter.)

 His bones were actually discovered the first hour of the first day archeologists began searching, while the earthmover was still digging asphalt off the lot.  ("It's like Richard III wanted to be found," says one person.) Historians, including some in the Richard III Society, pinpointed the lot as the original site of Grey Friars church. (More on that in a minute.)

The skeleton found had a twisted spine, sypomatic of scoliosis -- Richard was known to have been bent over, making him several inches shorter than his real height of 5' 8". Sounds short to us, but that was considered tall in medieval England. Shakespeare's Richard is portrayed as everything from a hunchback to a man with a deformed shoulder to someone who just looks Not Very Nice. (Hmmm.)

Wounds on the skeleton were consistent with accounts saying that Richard had been killed on foot in close battle in Bosworth Field, then his body stripped and mutilated during a savage victory procession. (The winners of the battle, by the way, were French soldiers brought to England by Henry Tudor, who argued he should be King -- and basically proved it by force.)

The reconstruction of the skull's face showed a man remarkably similar to the best-known portrait of Richard, thought to have been copied from a painting done directly from him. (See portrait above)

And finally, the DNA was consistent with that of Michael Ibsen, a direct descendant of Richard's eldest sister, Anne of York.(The body was found in 2012, but they just confirmed the DNA connection recently.)


After its ignominious trip, one tradition had it that Richard's body was taken by monks at the Grey Friars church, and hastily buried with little pomp, but in a place of honor near the high altar. When the monastery was dissolved in 1530, legend had it that the church (and Richard's tomb) were razed, and Richard's bones thrown into the river. A mansion was built on the site of the church, with large gardens -- Sir Christopher Wren recorded visiting there in 1611, and seeing a large stone pillar inscribed, "Here lies Richard III, sometime king of England." Eventually, several buildings were built on the site, including a prep school used for, in turn, girls and boys. (Richard's body was found underneath the former playground, which had become a parking lot in recent years.) Today it's the offices for the city council. (More on all this here, in case you're interested.)
    Members of the Richard III Society have been campaigning for the expedition, but had trouble raising enough funds to begin. The body, by the way, was found, as near as the diggers can figure, in that exact spot, near the altar of the original church.
    Said the Brick, "When they demolished the church, why didn't they move the body?" Maybe people had forgotten...or were frightened.The reigning kings, after all, were still of Henry's line.

Now construction has begun for a new tomb, with a reinterment ceremony scheduled soon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A New Phrase For Your Vocabulary're welcome.

(Now see if you can get this silly beat out of your head!)

Monday (Ahem - Tuesday!) Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Home Edition

Finally back in Colorado -- after a long bus ride via Megabus in the early morning (4 - 6:30 a.m.), and getting stuck in the Chicago airport because of the icy, snowy weather. Nearly three hours after we were supposed to lift off, we finally did -- only to get to Denver, bone-dry and warm. And of course, the people in Chicago made all sorts of comments on how much skiing we'd be doing this season, etc. 
    All I can say is -- Ha.
Woke up way early this morning, wondering where the heck I was. My body has no idea what to do with the 2-hour difference between Michigan and Colorado time. While it's adapting, take a look at this goodies collected via the Internet:

Ten small projects that keep your house spiffy and cared for. (Thanks, Money Beagle.)

A surprisingly simple - and fast - way to clean that rubbed-in grime from vinyl floorsCourtesy of The Graphics Fairy's DYI column.  

Caryl Bryer Fallert got married! Now she's better known as Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry. See the full story here. Congratulations to you, Caryl and Ron.

Are all those buying-airfare myths true? Well, yes...and no. Donna Freedman explains the difference. 

Neighbor housing protests that made their point. In other words, be careful what you complain about -- because you may just get your wish.

A family that chose to live in a public toilet, so their son could get free education. Whoa, and we think we make sacrifices...

The 20-minute rule, as discovered by Crazy Aunt Purl.  This one could literally change your life.

Five easy tricks that will mprove your photos. Cleverly Inspired has some good ideas here.

Celebrities you didn't know were related to each other -- 24 of them!

And, of course, the Super Bowl's 2013 commercials. Got a big lump in my throat for the farmer one, thinking of my dad...and the Budweiser Clydesdale one was a weeper, too.

Have a great week.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

White Saturday

It's been snowing ever since we got into Michigan: sometimes just a few flakes drifting lazily down, sometimes whipping so heavily that a thick lace curtain hangs between the barn and garage. The Mama's snow-plowing cousin is on vacation in Florida, so we were very happy when a neighbor roared down on his ATV this morning to do the job.
    We were headed to Frankenmuth (Michigan's 'Christmas town') and the art museum...but the roads have been slick for days. (We did get to the Bruce Dice Mineralogical 'Museum' -- really, a collection -- at Calvin College. A beautiful wood-panelled room holds a wide assortment of gems and minerals, including one of only three known octopus fossils in the world. If you're in the Grand Rapids area, don't miss it. Only open M-W-F from 1:30-5:00 p.m.)

     Instead, The Mama and Daughter #2  helped me do up a sample quilt top: a 3-D Bow Tie, made easy with 4" squares. (This pattern will be in the upcoming Hanky Panky sequel, Hanky Panky with A Flourish. More on that soon.) 
     All that activity inspired Angel to make her own 'random' scrappy version, baby quilt sized, for a goddaughter. Much they're laying out squares. And the games begin.
     "No, no! You've got it wrong!"
    "But it's supposed to be this direction..." (A flurry of movement as squares fly up in the air. They take this 'placing randomly' stuff way more seriously than I do.)
    "Now you've got the same fabrics next to each other." (More square flurries, with matching snow outside)

    Every now and then, they'll appeal for my opinion -- then ignore it, and start arguing among themselves again. (You should have heard them the past few nights, playing Fill or Bust and accusing each other of messing with the dice. Now the score pad has "cheater" written next to each name!) 
    At least the arguing is good-natured; they're actually having a wonderful time. And I love seeing grandma and granddaughter play together. The Mama enjoys it very much, too.
    Muttering is coming from the next room, along with occasional staccato bursts from the sewing machine. They must be figuring it out -- yup. They buzz back to the squares, laid out for the quilt top, grab more and zip back to the sewing machine.
    The furnace kicks on with a rumble, and I can smell pork simmering for lunchtime barbecue. A car zooms by, skidding a bit as it goes. The stitched blocks are starting to pile up now; Angel hums to herself as she lays out more squares. A cachet of snow drifts down, tinkling against the window.
     Back to peace...for the moment, anyways.

    Can't wait to see how they act during the Superbowl.

P.S. I was just told, "We're not arguing - we're DISCUSSING!"