Cali Kids Arrive!

IMG_0149Everyone was excited to greet Paul, Laura & Hannah at the airport. IMG_0146.jpg They knew it would be cold, but it was still a shock to them.  The sun was shining but it didn’t offer any warmth.

Sara recommended a late lunch at the Farmer’s Gastropub.  Good idea!  Delicious and healthy food.  The lunch crowd had eaten and were back at work, so we got a large table in one of their private dining rooms.  Lots of laughing and joking until the food arrived.  Then silence as we all chowed down.  Matt, Zane & Sara went to pick up Jax afterwards and we all gathered at our house.  I was unable to find a big pot roast, so I got 2 smaller ones and put them in the crockpot with lots of potatoes, carrots and onions.  There was a sliver of carrot, a bit of fatty meat and some juice left over.  My mom fixed her raspberry, applesauce & jello “salad” which also got devoured.  The highlight of the meal was IMG_0160.jpgSara’s “watermelon cake” that she makes every year for Laura’s birthday.  It has a watermelon base with straberries, blueberries, kiwi and pineapple all arranged like a cake.  In spite of the big meal we just finished, everyone had room for a big piece of the birthday cake. We all stayed up past our bedtimes, laughing and talking.  It was a good first day of our Thanksmas holiday.



The North Wind Doth Blow

Cold, windy and gray.  Winter weather has returned.  The Cali kids may experience some snow while they are here.  Wednesday when they arrive it’s supposed to be sunny and 47 degrees.  Only 30’s for the high after that.  Rain is in the forecast for our outdoor photo shoot, but I’m hoping the rain holds off until afterwards.

There may be a slight snafu with Dennis’ 2nd visit to the urgent care clinic for his shoulder.  Our supplementary insurance is questioning the visit and the clinic hasn’t filed medicare yet.  What really bothered me was the price of the visit–almost $500.  Dennis can’t get in to see his “new” local doctor until mid January.  Many problems with current medical system but I refuse to discuss.  I have no reality based solution on how to fix it.

I’ve been using Google and my phone to get around Springfield.  One of the roads I regulary use is State Road AB.  Google person calls it “A flat”.  And it sounds like she is stuttering when she says to turn on State Road E (eeee) E (eee) East.  Other than these peculiarities, the voice gets me around quite well.

This afternoon was spent in my craft area sewing.  I made Jax & Zane each a Minecraft pillow case.  I have fabric to also make them small lap quilts, but that won’t be for Thanksmas (Dec 8).  It might be for actual Christmas or maybe birthdays, in January and February. thumbnail_IMG_1546I’m going to get a larger cutting mat (maybe 36″) before I tackle that job.  My current one is only 18″ which means I have to fold fabric twice to cut across the full width of the fabric (44-45″).  The quilt will just consist of strips of fabric (in different widths) of the Minecraft print, the green and black/white hash pattern seen in pillow, plus a gray and a yellow/gold print.  All straight seams and straight machine quilting.  I can see it in my head…hopefully it will look the same when finished.



Caught on Camera

We ate lunch with friends at the Senior Center in St. James on Wednesday.  Later that afternoon one of our group discovered our table had its photo taken and posted on their Facebook page.  Dennis and I didn’t bother to change from our work clothes and we look homeless.  I assume that was the look they were going for…even the homeless can afford to eat here.  It was a good meal and we had a great time catching up on each of our lives, and made plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve with them.

While we were in St. James we got our house listed.  It will be just a photo of the outside and the square feet and number of rooms saying “coming soon”.  Dennis and I need a bit more time before we have photos taken and people walking through the house.  The #1 task will be to paint over the pepto bismol pink paint in Hannah’s old room.  The Realtor said that room was too much for most people.  Cleaning  and then rubbing down the woodwork with lemon oil will also be on the urgent To Do list.

The cold continued until Thursday.  It was pleasant as we headed back to Willard.  It was foggy out this morning but for a brief time around noon the sun was shining and it was pleasant to be outside.  Since then it has clouded up and is getting windy.  Thunderstorms are predicted later, as the cold front moves in.

Today I braved the crowds and went Thanksmas shopping.  It took almost all day and 2 gifts are in fabric form.  They will require “some assembly”…as in cutting and sewing.  The rest will just need wrapped.  The Cali kids arrive on Wednesday so I need to focus on this gift project. And finish decorating the upstairs.  It’s a good thing I’m retired because I don’t have time for a job!

Shades of Cold


Last night Dennis and I got the Christmas tree up.  It’s my parents tree and although not new, it is in great shape.  Of course teenagers also never put this one up or took it down.  It was wonderful not use zip ties or hot glue to get all the branches to stay where they belonged.  It also fluffed without dropping half the “needles”.  We will let in acclimate for a few days before we decorate it.  This means we hope it will become less tempting for Orange to climb as he gets used to it being in the living room.  Since we’ll be in St. James working on the house the next few days and he’ll be home alone,  we’d rather him knock it over without lights and ornaments.  Assuming he knocks the tree over.   I’m not sure what the odds are of it still standing when we get back.

Monday we saw some sunshine but the wind would almost knock you over.  I’m not sure the temperature got above 25 degrees.  I went to Aldi’s after lunch and had trouble pushing the empty cart back up to the store.  Today is cold but supposed to reach the 30’s.  No sun but the wind is not blowing.  My mind feels colder without the sun.   I hope we warm back up to “normal” November weather soon.



Food, Friends and Kin

Our first Thanksgiving in Willard was a success.  About 1/2 through the cooking, the turkey breast was looking for brown than golden so I pulled it out and flipped it upside down for the rest of the time.  It turned out fine.  The turkey was moist and tasted great.  All the sides were wonderful.  Everyone chatted a while after eating, then we had pie.  No one went home hungry.

We had a wonderful evening with Patty & Bob.  Bob is a historian and has done a lot of research on the Arkansas Ozarks.  He’s expanded his studies to include Springfield and the surrounding area.  I have new authors and books to read.  Patty told us about their recent trips out to Seattle and also to southern Arkansas.  We talked about growing up in small towns (as we all did) and how much our perspective of the world has changed since our horizons have expanded.

Friday was chilly and rainy.  Bob & Patty headed home and we headed to Salem.  We drove the truck, pulling the trailer.  It was a long trip.  When we got there we loaded up the “extra couch and 2 chairs” from their living room and took them to a storage unit in Mountain Home for Mary.  She’s in the process of moving and looking forward to having them in her new place…when she finds it.  I know the hard work she & family & friends have already done, and how much more there is to do.  All my sympathy and no envy there.

Saturday we celebrated the descendents of Dr. Weathers (my mom’s side of the family) at my cousin Kerry’s house in Searcy.  There weren’t as many of us there this year.  In fact, instead of filling the front porch, there were only 4 of us from “my” generation. 46521120_10102350517281772_4690008320482738176_n

Kerry, me, Ernie, Jami.  Still the oldest and shortest.  We may have been fewer in numbers, but we had just as many (or more) laughs and childhood stories.

Today we got up (back in Salem) and loaded the trailer with the huge hide-a-bed couch, large (perfect to curl up and read) chair, the gigantic rolltop desk from the basement into the trailer.  Lots of measuring and tipping furniture at weird angles to get it out of the house.  Things always come in easier than they leave.  We also brought back paintings and photos still hanging on the walls and dishes still in the cabinets.  It was a full load by the time we were on the road.  It was also 60 degrees and drizzling.  It was 33 degrees and sleeting by the time we got it all unloaded here in Willard.  I was glad to come inside and not have to go back outside again tonight.  We ate our emergency cans of Ravioli for supper.  It goes well with a dry red wine.


Frosty Crows

It was just 27 degrees but the sun was coming up.  It shimmered off the frost and feathers of the crows monopolizing the ground feeder.  Later I looked out the window and was happy to see the cardinals and assorted smaller birds had retaken the feeders.

The official guest count for our Thanksgiving is 9.  Things seem to be progressing smoothly.  The official litter box hiding end table arrived.  Dennis put it together and the cat has acknowledged its existence–and the litterbox inside.  It’s not a great piece of furniture, but it functions.  Right now that is enough.

Yesterday I went to the Park Central Square library station for their letter writing session.  I was the only one.  So I wrote a letter, browsed the books, checked out 3 and headed home.  I’ve been on the waiting list for the Kindle version of Lincoln in the Bardos and found it in hardback, so I checked it out.  It was the first time I’d seen A Girls Guide to Missiles  at the library, so I checked it out too.  The real treasure was Barracoon, written by Zora Neale Hurston but just now being published.  Hurston is one of my favorite writers and Their Eyes Were Watching God in the top ten of my favorite books.  I don’t know why it wasn’t published when she wrote it, but I can’t wait to read it.  It is her nonfiction account/interview of a man who was on the last slave ship.

I’ve also reconnected with Spotifiy (the free version with commercials)on my computer.  I’m currently listening to Maria Muldaur.  It’s fun to listen to old friends and check out some new ones. And the price is right!


Being Thankful

We had several sunny days with above average temperatures.  I am so grateful for those days.  Yesterday was in the 30’s and drizzly.  Today is starting out the same, but there is hope for some sunshine and temperatures reaching 40 this afternoon.

Saturday I went to Aldi’s and got our turkey.  They had Butterball turkeys for 87c/lb.  Unfortunately they were all either < 12 lbs or >19 lbs.  I found one 11.76 pounds and bought it.  I’m a fan of leftover turkey but I wasn’t sure some of those huge turkeys would fit in my oven.  I stopped by Lucky’s Market next and got fresh green beans (88c/lb) (not a fan of the traditional green bean casserole) and sweet potatos for 28c/lb.  I aleady have Yukon Gold potatoes for the regular mashed potatoes.  Tuesday I’ll pick up the makings for a salad.  My mom is making her wonderful fresh cranberry sauce and the dressing.  My friend Patty is bringing pie and fruit compote.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but no one should go hungry.

I finished The Legend of Albino Farm by Steve Yates.  I recommend it.  Based in on a local legend, the story is twisted inside out.   None of the alleged events happened and there are no ghosts, but because of the stories, the locals feel the right to trespass and vandalize the property, terrorizing the rightful owners.  I also enjoyed the local references to actual places.  The last surviving heir to the farm went to Stephens College, where Hannah got her degree.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m attending a “workshop” at one of the library stations.  It’s showing people that snail mail and letter writing is not a lost/dead art.  They provide the stamps and stationary–even things to personalize your own stationary.  I’m excited to check this out.

Yesterday I focused on the guest bedroom and have it ready for guests.  All non-essential bedroom “stuff” has been removed, everything dusted and polished.  Unless they open the closet.  That’s still a little scary.  Today I clear off the dining table.  Somehow it became a magnet for all kinds of papers and objects that might be useful/needed but don’t have a permanent home.  The living room and kitchen are in pretty good shape, so not much work has to be done there.  A little sweeping, mopping and dusting will take care of them.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I absolutely LOVE not having carpet.