May we remember

Happy Memorial Day!  Memorial Day is usually a day to remember war and heroes.  We've chosen World on Fire on PBS as our Memorial Day war viewing.  It's a very different view of the war, a drama depicting Poland and England in the war.  We're enjoying it very much.

Last week was a blur of getting things done.  I ticked several things off a to-do list and ended up taking Friday off and spending it working around the house.  I love a list.  Sometimes I add things to my list after they're done, just so I can cross them off and get that feeling of accomplishment.  If I don't keep a list then the things I really want to do don't get done because I'm busy doing things that are more fun.  I did a lot of work outside and spent a good bit of time enjoying the garden. 

I love this view.  I round a curve in the path and this stretches out in front of me.  I'm so glad I put that stone path through the garden.  It splits the garden so I can use more medium height plants. 

We had a couple new daylilies bloom. 

The yellows are about done, but plenty of others are putting up scapes. 

My greenhouse is well constructed but it's aging and needs repairs.  We were thinking it would need a new roof because I couldn't see through it, but replacing that roof was not in my budget for this year.  I decided to give cleaning it a try so I bought a cheap mop in the grocery last week and on Friday, I pulled out a ladder and climbed up and started mopping my roof.  I'm sure all the neighbors got a good laugh about the old guy mopping a roof, but I'm pretty sure you'll see why it was worth it.  This is the before... 

And, this is the after...

I had to move plants around because some were going to be in spots that were too sunny under all that clean, including this very happy begonia.  This came from Linda's and I don't know very much about growing Begonias so we've struggled together.  But, I must be doing something right. 

I also did some fun cooking.  One night last week, Rob came home talking about cobbler.  I don't know why, but it was the subject of conversation at work.  That was all I needed and the next day, when I was in the grocery,  I bought enough blackberries to make a boy scout cobbler.  It was heavenly and I'm sure I ate way too much of it. 

And, speaking of unhealthy eating, everybody deserves a chili cheese dog once in a while, right?  I mean, isn't that what eating all those nuts and berries and salads is for?  A little splurge once in a while?

Y'all know we eat healthy most of the time, right?  If not, those are not typical things we eat.  But, we do love them once in a while.

Okay, last picture.  I'm up to 120 blocks completed and another 20 in progress.  I've pulled out several larger balls of yarn and am doing my best to keep up the variety, but there isn't much variety left in that bin of yarn scraps.  Anyway, I'm thinking I need 150 and I think I can manage that without it all looking green.  I also noticed that it doesn't look nearly as bright and cheerful in this picture as in real life.  That might have something to do with the green.  I can't help it.  Green is my favorite color...the more olive shaded the better.  Hopefully a little rearranging will help. 

And, just like that, the week was over.  On Saturday, we had a big shopping day and went to the garden center, Academy for walking shoes, and Michael's for yarn and sidewalk chalk.  It felt like a much bigger day than it probably was, but it was the first time I'd gone anywhere except the grocery or pharmacy since March 16.  Things that wouldn't have bothered me before, like people breaking long lines at the checkout made me very anxious because tempers are so on edge now and just asserting myself could end in who knows what conflict.  But, we got through it and most people were wearing masks.  Oh, and guess who was breaking line?  The ones that weren't wearing masks. 

And a special shout out...I had the best bag person at the grocery last week.  The trip before, I had to stand at the back of the car and re-bag all my groceries.  This time, I didn't have to move anything around.  And, when I was leaving, I thanked her for being so conscientious and made her blush.  She deserved it!


Last week, I watched body cam footage of an older woman refusing to accept a motor vehicle ticket.  She decided to evade the police, then fight back when he tried to arrest her, and ended up on the ground being tasered.  (What the **** people!?!?)  And, I felt a little bit sorry for her. 

It's easy to see what's going on.  trump is treated as being above the law, so his supporters think they are too.  They get away with threats and intimidation and brandishing firearms in public and feigned outrage and belligerence, all in a death wail to their insistence that they are superior to everyone else based on color or language or money or just old fashioned bigotry. 

We're watching the end of a way of life, and they're not going down without a fight.  Based on what we know of history, they're doomed to eventually submit to the passage of time and the changing people around them.  In my lifetime, I've seen time march on, bringing inevitable change with it.  And, no amount of screaming and gun waving and embarrassment has ever been able to stop it. 

So, on this Memorial Day, while celebrating the heroes of the past, I'm going to also celebrate time and change and the unsung heroes, including healthcare and service industry workers that are keeping the country going right now. 

Everybody have a great week!! 



May we be true

Another roller-coaster week of working from home.  It's starting to become routine and I will likely have trouble returning to the office.  It's so nice to be able to stick something in the over for dinner or start a load of laundry or water a plant that looks droopy during the middle of the day. 

We had huge thunderstorms a few days ago where we got 4.5" of rain at our house.  It washed all the sidewalk chalk off but the next day, there were fresh inspiring messages for me to find and read. 

On Monday, I was asked to create a personalized mask for a senior for graduation.  On Tuesday morning, I designed the mask and started trying it out on a scrap.  On Wed/Thur mornings, I made the first one and on Thursday night, finished a second for the proud Mom.  Graduation is tomorrow, so I don't have a picture of the graduate in one yet, so I modeled.  It has her name, the year and her school logo.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I don't have an embroidery machine.  The T was zigzagged with a regular foot, but the other letters are a narrow zigzag using a free motion foot.  I drew with a white ceramic pencil, then embroidered over it using a sheet of white printer paper as the stabilizer. 

I haven't been baking sweets since Syd left so I wouldn't just sit around and stress eat sweets.  It worked, but a man can only have so much willpower.  So, on Saturday, I pulled out Linda's mixer and made chocolate chip-pecan cookies. 

They're very good and I have probably eaten more than I should, but not as many as I could.

Sydney was supposed to take her hibiscus(es) with her when she went back home, but she was in such a rush that she didn't, so I'm still babysitting them.  These came off the same plant.  There were multiple salmon colored ones, but only the one red. 

This daylily came from my Mom.  It's called Peaches and I'm going to get a couple bloom scapes off of it this year.  . 

I'm still doing ditch work on the arc quilt   Over the weekend, I finished one section and am about 2/3 through a second and quilted for about 5.5 hours.  Slow, tedious work it is.  But, I've only got a few sections left and then I can start doing some fun free motion work in the black background.  Still not altogether sure what it will be, but it will be something. 

It's hard not to get discouraged.  I made some serious technical errors on the quilt that resulted in some of the problems I had assembling it but didn't recognize at the time.  When quilting, I'm not looking at the forest that is this quilt.  I'm looking at the crooked trees, up close.  And, it's hard to face them, but at this point, there's nothing to be done.  I'm NOT taking it apart and doing it again.  I keep reminding myself that I learned a LOT about making a quilt from the mistakes I made here.  And, I have a new appreciation for well written instructions. 

I went from 25 to 71 granny squares.  I think they look very cheerful set in that black background.  And, I can say that I have made a considerable dent in my bin of small balls of yarn.  I've also gone through a skein of black.  I'll have to decide how I'm going to buy more...I've bought yarn from Amazon before, so that might be my solution.  But, is there a way to buy yarn and support a small struggling business?  I'm going to spend a little time trying to figure that out. 

All in all, it's been a good week of gardening, crafting and baking while still working.  We had thunderstorms the other night just around bedtime and I lay in bed, watching the lightening flashes and listening to the thunder that felt just above us.  It started to hail and I thought about my garden and how rain was good, but maybe we could do without the hail.  Eventually, it quieted down and I drifted off to sleep, only to be woken later in the night when a follow-up came through, but after the thunder, I was off to dreamland again.  And surprisingly, the hail didn't do any damage to the garden. 


There's a culture war going on.  It's a battle between people that are angry and willing to do or say or intimidate or threaten or lie about anyone or anything to try to maintain what they see as their superiority over everyone that is not just like them and who believe they are empowered to hate by a god, I'm just not sure whether which god.  I've started to realize how the nazi party took over Germany and why Muslims kill non-believers.  Their leaders created hatred and superiority and told them to use threats and intimidation to force everyone in line.  And, end anyone that that refused. 

The power of good suffers setbacks and we're staring down the face of another setback and we can't let it happen. 

The culture war is going to have casualties.  It's going to split families and friendships.  We're all going to have to choose one side or the other and live our lives according to the beliefs that informed that choice.  Sitting on the sideline isn't going to be an option.  The best we can hope for is to keep relationship with our loved ones so that when this is over, we can join hands again and become one people; the citizens of the United Stated of America.  We have to get back to the good that built our country and remind ourselves (and one another) that hate and anger and greed don't get us anywhere except more hate and anger and greed.  And, nobody is stronger than the weakest among us. 

I listened to President Obama's speech to graduates from Saturday and I was reminded of what a real president sounds like.  Someone uplifting and inspiring who drew us close and helped us see the good things we could do.  We need more of that.  We need to end the culture war, then we'll need a time to heal as a nation.  Only then will we be able to move forward and embrace the good that we are capable of. 

I wait eagerly for that time. 

Til then, I crochet!



May we be strong...

Our neighbor has the right idea, but I'm afraid it might be a little premature. 

Almost there... but I'm afraid we may take some steps back because people got bored and decided to stop being safe.  My employer just let us know that we'd be working from home until at least September.  They've taken some big steps to keep the employees that need to be in the office safe and quite frankly, I'm okay staying home at least as long as the 25% capacity rule is in place.  There just aren't enough restrooms in the building to accommodate only allowing one person in at a time.

And, all this time at home has left me plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the garden...smell the roses, if you will.  Yesterday, I did a plant giveaway.  Rob took several plants to put in the front yard and I put the rest next to the street with a sign that gave the names and minimal growing information, like sun and propagation.  I even met a couple of the neighbors and took one into the back garden to show her the plant she had chosen in bloom. 

This is Jacobenia.  It's taken me a couple years to find the right amount of shade for this plant.  It doesn't tolerate much sun at all.  Its currently in the shadiest part of the greenhouse and blooming up a storm. 

This is this year's pride plant.  It's an Asiatic Lily that I bought in a markdown bag of bulbs at the end of the season last year.  I must have done something right because these have started to open, and just look at them.  Such a deep burgundy that they're almost purple.  And, lots more blooms to come. 

I planted Nasturtiums from seed this year in some empty spaces.  This is the first bloom.  Several of these are doing very well and I'm hoping for some good blooms to help fill in. 

The Echinacea is blooming.  I gave several of these away on Saturday.  And, seedlings just keep popping up. 

I planned this basket early this year, but when I explained it to Rob, he wanted more of a specimen plant in this vintage basket.  The basket sat empty and the plants I hand planted in 10 blue growers pots that fit perfectly in the basket continued to grow and fill in.  So, I put them in the basket and said I'd gladly take them out when we had a good enough specimen.  Til then, I think it's lovely.  There are four ferns, four Aztec grass and two variegated ivy. 

Yesterday, a neighbor hired a Mariachi band for Mother's Day to come over and sing for her Aunts and relatives.  The band was in Austin and it was live streamed to her family in West Texas. I only speak a little more Spanish than I did the last time they hired a band, but I was able to start picking out words that I knew and could follow along with many of the songs.  They all had great voices and were very talented with their instruments, but second from the right had a beautiful voice and sang a sad solo that mesmerized me.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a great break from being at home for the neighbors that attended. 

I swear I really am a quilter, and I'm making slow and steady progress on the arc quilt.  But that kind of ditch work requires time to very slowly warm up and most days, by time I've done that, my quilting time is over for the day with hardly anything accomplished.  So, I only pick it up when I have the time to really work on it.  I think I spent three hours Saturday morning and another couple yesterday, but because it's all ditch work, the only thing you can see is the mistakes where I got out of the ditch, so nothing to show. 
In the evenings, while we watch TV, I'm crocheting.  I finished a pink baby afghan that has a problem and I'm going to have to do some re-work, so not ready to show it.   But, I also started some granny squares for me.  I have a small tub of small balls of leftover yarn.  Scraps from multiple projects.  And, I'm using them to make a replica of the afghan Amy Farrah Fowler had in her apartment on The Big Bang Theory.  I didn't know until I started studying it that it was also the afghan from Roseanne and The Conners.  25 blocks in and I haven't made a dent in the tub of yarn. 

Sydney seems to be doing well.  She texted me yesterday to wish me a happy Man-Mom's Day.  I saw her one day last week when I took her some mail and she said they were currently cleaning up the store, but didn't have an expected re-open date.  I need them to re-open.  I need a new non-stick skillet and they always have the one I like at a good price. 


I'm over politics.  That's my statement for the day.  It's every man person for himself themselves out there.  Please take the steps you feel are important for your personal safety, because we can't count on the government to even give us reliable information.  Stay strong, stay diligent. 



May the fourth be with you...

Yeah, I went there.  So did our neighbor with the cool yard signs. 

I guess I'm settling into the new normal under stay-at-home.  The days are starting to be meaningful and they're stopped blurring all together.  I was looking at my photos to post today and was able to easily remember which pictures I took since last Monday. 

Last Tuesday was Rob's birthday.  I planned to wait til he went to work, then bake a carrot cake for his birthday and make his favorite dinner for that night as a surprise.  I even got Syd to participate. Then, I was watching TV that night and plotting how and what time I was going to do all that and still work, when I remembered that he works from home on Tuesdays.  So, we had a good laugh about that and the next morning, I got up early and baked. 

The best description of that cake is "sinfully delicious".  Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  So sweet it made my jaws hurt when I ate it.  But, that didn't stop me eating it.  I think he had a nice birthday, even if it was during lockdown and we didn't get to go anywhere to celebrate.

Yesterday, I decided to make an apple cake, but bake it in two loaf pans instead of a tube.  When I peeled and sliced the last three apples that I'd bought before we went into shelter-in-place, I ended up with enough to make two cakes, so I made four loaves.  One goes to Rob's co-worker's family and two went in the freezer and we'll eat the last one.  And, we've gotten hooked on homemade bread.  Even if I'm only using it for a sandwich or morning toast, it's so much better than store bought.  And, the more I make bread, the easier it gets.  I read a news article from a baker last week that was admonishing everyone to stop baking bread.  Her reason?  She was baking bread before us and we were using all the flour so she couldn't bake her bread.  First come, first served was her premise.  It didn't stop me from making more bread.

I always spend time walking in the garden, but now that I'm home all the time, it's gotten even easier to get up for a stretch, take the dogs out in the yard and just walk around, looking.  I'll pull a few weeds or dead head spent flowers and take pictures, then it's back to my desk.

We believe this Iris came from a grower near my parents.  We went there with them and Rob got stung by a bee (he's really allergic) and the grower gave him a plant to make up for it.  We think it was this, but we don't remember for sure. 

These were found blooming last Tuesday; skyflower, the first daylily of the year, blue salvia, and plumbago.  I spent several hours in the yard over the weekend.  It's constantly a new adventure and there's always something to do. 

This is a green daylily.  When my parents were really into daylilies, my Dad was collecting green ones.  He had two and shared one.  There's now a stand in the front yard and one in the back. 

Every day at lunch, I walk the dogs as some exercise.  Here we are, all geared up, waiting to hit the pavement.  Everyone in the neighborhood is still social distancing and we walk past neighbors all the time that are talking from 6' apart.  Everyone speaks and is friendly.  That's always good and welcome. 

Someone is writing on the sidewalks and here are some drawings I saw last week.  This person writes at the intersections of streets, so as we cross, we get to see one on the corner we're leaving and one on the corner we're walking to.  I'm even thinking of buying some sidewalk chalk and getting in on the act.  Not sure what I'd say, but I'm sure I can think of at least three uplifting things to write on the sidewalk in front of the house. 

 We moved Sydney home on Saturday.  I think she was ready, but it still made Rob and me sad to see her go (less sad about her taking that dirty laundry smell home with her).  She will go back to work this week.  They'll need to clear the warehouse, clean the store and sort food to get rid of any that has expired.  I think even she was a bit sad to be going.  She's been lucky that her store has continued to pay its full time workers through all this.  We listened to her talk about work and it sounds like she's got a pretty good gig going there.  I was glad to see that she has an appreciation for that. 

Last week, I got a negative comment on my post.  A reader told me off for getting upset and complaining that a hero grocery bagger that is exposing herself to danger for me, while I sit here in my lovely safe home didn't bag my groceries right.  She said she'd lost all respect for me and that my white privilege was showing.  White privilege is not something I'm proud of, but as I mused on it, I realized that no matter what I do, I have it easier because I'm white and male.  After I got over the way she said it, I was chastised and wanted to thank her for pointing it out because her very snarky comments hurt.  Also, if that's all it took to lose all respect for me, then she must not have had much respect to begin with.  Then, I realized she was a no-reply blogger.  I put myself out there every week, exposing my thoughts to the world and receiving feedback. And, she wouldn't even back her comments up with an email address.  I'm not saying that no reply readers shouldn't comment.  Several of my regular commenters are no reply readers.  But, no reply or not, don't come after me with snarky comments if you're not brave enough to have an actual conversation about it. 


I am appalled and angry about the sick people that the joke-president is firing up showing up at these protests with their guns.  Talk about white privilege.  I know they want to make us afraid that they'll kill us all with those big guns.  But, honestly, I'm not afraid of them.  If they want to show just exactly how stupid they are and take betsy devos' money to tromp around and shout like banshees, that's their problem.  I hope (okay, not much) that they don't get sick from being in such close quarters.  Because threatening governors and other officials, screaming in the face authority, that ain't what makes America great.  That's what makes America look stupid and disorganized and fragile to the rest of the world.  Showing division like that in a time of what even the orange toad in the white house calls a war is exactly what some dictator is looking for to come try to take us over.  Because if we can't stay focused now, then we won't be focused in a defense against invaders.

So I hope that anyone getting up in a cop's face and endangering them with their hate spittle gets arrested and serves time.  Because from what I hear, there's not much white privilege in prison. 
Everyone be well.  This will all get better when we take crazy toad out of power and show people that it doesn't have to be about their hate and anger.  Til then, maybe they'll find some spontaneous combustion.