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Archive for November, 2011

Looking NW toward city hall and Talmadge Memorial Bridge

I love Savannah—so much rich history; so many things to do and see. I have always felt a connection because I spent quite a bit of time here through the years. My father was born here; my grandmother (Lillian) and my grandfather lived here; and, even before that, my great-grandfather (Lillian’s father) shopped here. There is just something about this place. After not visiting for quite a while, we went for a very brief trip Saturday. I had promised a visit to my dad’s first cousin but since it was a last minute decision to go I had not called ahead—next time!

Propes Hall

If you have never been to Savannah, you might want to check it out. The city sits just west of the mouth of the Savannah River, the same river that lies a few miles away from us today. Established in 1733, Savannah has ample colonial history predating the American Revolution. The area is especially beautiful in spring when the Azaleas are in bloom. Plants seem to exude romance on every corner and square and if not romance, the feeling of value and worth is certainly present. I’ll have to write more about Savannah, perhaps later. If one can have a love affair with a city, Savannah would be mine (except that it is hotter and more humid than where we live).

We strolled down River Street Saturday afternoon to see some of the shops and the market that lies along the river. This district was restored and revitalized in the 1970s and has helped the city to thrive. Then, we stopped at the Boar’s Head for a late lunch. It is probably my favorite place to eat on River Street, but I could spend several posts just talking about the food in Savannah-past and present.

These are some of the sights from our trip.

Tour boat

Handmade baskets at the market

I wanted to see the boat parade that night but we opted to trek out to Tybee—to the beach (Tybee Island).

Boats setting up for parade

Pier

The sun was setting as we drove out across the marshlands and every time I go, I remember my childhood as we would drive out to the beach—so much excitement—memories with family—anticipation. It’s about 15 miles through marsh and islands and there is so much to see along the way. Sorry, there are no photos of the trip out there but here is one of the pier. It was darker that it appears in this photo, but this is looking northward where you can see the large cargo ships coming and going into port.

While at the beach, I like to collect a few shells (or pieces) though Savannah/Tybee is no Sanibel.

We wrapped up our trip by stopping by the mall on the way out of town. It was sad to say goodbye, but we had to get back that night. It was fun to get away. Maybe we will take another trip soon, but next time we have to visit friends and relatives. If someone were to ask me what I liked the best about Savannah, I could not answer except for the feeling I get when I am there.

Happy Gardening!

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For the first time in several years I did not awake at 2 am or earlier trying to beat the crazies (yes, I know I have been one). When our girls were young, my Christmas shopping was complete by the close of business Labor Day all except for the little things like Christmas candy and such that at the time were not put out until just before Thanksgiving (now it is before Halloween). The first time I dared to Black Friday shop (and I mean when the doors open) was to get our first cordless phone from all places but Walmart. The crowds were nothing like today’s crowds (or last night’s crowds), but Hubby thought I had lost my mind. That was all we bought and I was so proud that we actually got what we went for.

Neither my husband nor I like crowds. I know why I don’t… Back in one of my previous lives I worked for an eating establishment at the mall—with an outside entrance. The day after Thanksgiving was usually our biggest sales day of the year. There were years where I worked almost 40 hours in two days. Yep, and it wasn’t just sitting around-it was hard work. It was insane! But…I was so much younger.

In more recent years my hubby, the girls, and I would get up and stand in line for electronic items—Christmas for the family. Target was the store of choice except last year everything we wanted was already taken, so we headed to Staples. We I  always had a plan—knew exactly what we needed wanted and each person had a cheat sheet with their particular item they were in charge of. It was fun bonding time, but this year we slept in for several reasons…one, the stores opened earlier with some not opening til 5 or 6 AM–I refused to stay up all night. Two, our pre-Christmas funds are really low nonexistent (the piggy has been broken due to my computer dying and the car murder crash). And, lastly, I did not think there was much of an offering that I would stand in line for. Well, not all of us stayed home this year. My youngest went with a friend to WM last night and then to Target. I hear that she got ruffled and tussled at WM. It is all insane!

While there is so much focus on purchases this holiday season, I would like to ask that we be more attuned to giving of and from the heart that costs us little to nothing out of our pockets.

Happy Gardening and may your holidays be filled with fun and good cheer now and throughout the year!

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Traditional or other?

This is usually the time when I start getting excited about Thanksgiving dinner which is not really dinner in our house-not usually. Sometimes it is served as lunch anywhere around 11-ish to 3-ish or is truly dinner around 6-ish. I am not excited because it is too hot, way too HOT—yeah, that broken record is back on.  I had hoped the hot weather was behind us at least for this year but we have been in the 80s with a degree shy of record heat, again.  It didn’t make me feel better to learn that our winter forecast is for warmer than usual temps through February—I guess someone thought this was news?

For our Thanksgiving meal, we sometimes have the traditional ham or turkey or both. One year, we had two (2) turkeys AND a ham. I bought a cooked turkey from Mr Sam’s. I also baked a ham with my pineapple-brown sugar topping, but I guess my mother-in-law didn’t think that was enough as she brought an Indiana bird with her for me to cook, too. We opened the ice chest from her trip and yes, there it was…another Tom Turkey. SURPRISE!!!! She also brought 5 or 6 mouths to feed in addition to our small crew. People laugh, but I like it when we barbeque ribs on the grill for our meal because I don’t have to spend all of the time in the kitchen. Going non-traditional is just fine. Who said traditional meant turkey? My family growing up did ham for T-giving and turkey for Christmas. Today, we still have die-hards who love my dressing and sweet potato casserole—I’m one of those, too, but I can do it any old way…with ham or turkey or both or neither.

So, what’s on our menu this year…

  • Turkeya nice plump juicy Butterball cooked in a cooking bag…no stuffing except for onions 🙂
  • Cornbread dressinga recipe passed down from my mother
  • Sweet potato casserolea local recipe I began making about 20 years ago
  • Mashed potatoesfor those who do not like sweet potatoes (Hubby)
  • Baby lima beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Fruitnot yet decided
  • Saladnot yet decided…maybe a fruit salad?
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Rollsprobably not my yummy Frigidaire (yeast) rolls 😦
  • Pies

We have never had issues with turkey leftovers and I have wondered why there is so much ado about them. We absolutely love turkey so we usually have it twice the day it is cooked with enough for maybe 2-3 meals afterwards depending on the size of the bird. I love this type of turkey on a sandwich, too.

So, do you have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and if you cook a turkey, do you stuff your bird with stuffing or something else?

Hope everyone’s plans are working out for this Thanksgiving! I know I am so blessed to live to see another Thanksgiving and am thankful that we can provide a nice meal for our family when so many cannot.

Happy Gardening!

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My hubby and I probably go to Sam’s Club about once a month-maybe more during the holidays. I don’t like giving the Waltons a good chunk of my money, but I like to go to Sam’s at this time of year and here is why. Sam’s has all sorts of special inventory, and I could not believe what I saw last weekend (and bought). Just by chance a great big bottle (by my standards) of McCormick’s pure vanilla extract—a 16 oz bottle – came into my view. I checked the price and saw that it was a little over $6. I had to check again to see if it was pure vanilla extract and if it was the real McCormick’s and not some off brand say like McCormack’s. I checked two more times, and it was 16 ounces. I don’t like buying something I don’t really need, but I try to buy things on sale that I know we need and will use. Some people call me cheap but I like to think I am “spend-thrifty.”I have a 1 oz-bottle of McCormick’s real vanilla extract that I purchased for about $3-4 not long ago, so the Sam’s price was a “steal” in my opinion. Yeah, I know that the reason the price is so high everywhere else is probably because it is sold for so cheap at Sam’s and that other place I dislike to shop—you know, WM.

Almond extract, same size bottle, was double the price. Christmas is the only time of year that I use almond extract and that is when I make sugar cookies. They are the melt in the mouth kind, but they take the most time to prepare. I considered getting a bottle, but I could not talk myself into getting it since there was so much of it. I feel like it would be a waist, or else I would have to make lots of sugar cookies – not in my plans.

One of the things I wanted to get this trip was a 50 lb bag of long grain rice. Yes, 50 lbs. When we unloaded the car, I felt like we were going back to the days on the farm. I’m not trying to stock up, but I want to use this in a project for Christmas or even after. Dreamz Happen Quiltz made a posting about rice bag feet warmers a while back and I was hooked—more on that later. I thought I would make one for each member of the family, some for my in-laws and family, and some for friends. I bought material for this project the other week when printed flannel was on sale. The store was nice enough to send me a 25% off coupon off everything with a few exceptions but it included sale items. How could I not take advantage? Now that I have the rice, I am committed. And, if I don’t make the rice bags, my family may just commit me to the loony bin because I have nowhere to store a great big bag of rice. I just could not pass on the rice at less than $20 for the bag—50 pound bag…

So, how did everything measure up?

Pure vanilla – 43 cents an ounce. That is good considering it would normally be about $3 or more per ounce.

Rice – about 40 cents a pound. I’m not sure what the going rate is but I guess it would be somewhere around $2 per pound—just guessing.

Flannel (for rice bag covers; not purchased as Sam’s) – about $2.25 per yard. The regular price was over $6 per yard.

Not so bad for things we needed.

Costco just built a store here and opened this week. We are still discussing a membership. While I was visiting their website the other day I discovered that Costco sells caskets – of all things. I knew they sold designer wedding dresses and diamond rings, but caskets? Really? It’s not like the average Joe can embalm and all so I am at a loss. On this thought, I was 16 when I picked out my first casket-I still remember. Then I don’t know if I had a say in the one when I was 21, but I have picked out 2 more since and said I was done (thinking I will be the next to go). And, did you know that you can get a casket spray of roses from Costco? I thought I would share because you just never know. 🙂

Happy Gardening and may your day be brighter than when you first arrived!

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Simon News

Just because I have not been blogging about Simon does not mean that he has been any less of an interest in our lives. He is ever present. Remember how Simon would tear into his catfood bags? Well, I curtailed this by putting his food into an old cereal container (came with cereal from a wholesale club) as soon I got home. I think it is appropriate with Tony the Tiger plus his dry food plate is a dark orange.  Well, I was not feeling well last night so see what was waiting for me this morning…

See that big hole? He even tore through the plastic bag it was in and I reuse my plastic bags.

I had a time trying to get these photos taken because Simon kept pushing the container around. I have seen him attempt to pick the container up with both paws—I kid you not!

Simon had been enjoying his mornings looking out his storm doors. In the utility room which houses our washer, dryer, freezer, water heater, tools and such (I used to sew in there at one point in time), I had a storage tub Simon would sit on in front of the opened door. It was part of our every morning ritual. If it was cool or warm enough, I would open the top part of the screen on the storm door and put the tub in front of the door. He likes liked to hear his friends as well as see them. That time has come to an end because even though I have the water heater blocked off (it does not have its own enclosure), Simon has his unique way of climbing and/or tunneling to get to the water heater. It is gas, so I don’t want him around it for everyone’s safety.

Simon has become much more vocal the past month or so. And, he is louder when he sees birds and does that thing with his jaws. I think he really wants to communicate with us. He has been sleeping upstairs more but not on the bed. And, he has been sleeping with his main human more. He still has not learned the meaning of ‘NO,’ but some humans never learn it so why should I expect so much from  a cat? There have been more things going on like Simon standing on his 2 back feet to get to the top shelf of the Welch dresser, but who wants to bring up bad things now?

Note:  I could not get a good photo of him today, but he has put on more weight and seems to be healthier. That’s a good thing!

Until next time…Happy Scratching!

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Saying goodbye to Oz

image from AP via WSB-TV

My heart is saddened to learn that Karl Slover has passed away. Maybe you have seen this news or know who he was but in case not…  Karl Slover was one of the ‘Munchkins’ from the movie version of the Wizard of Oz. In fact, he played the part of one of the trumpeters. When you see his photo, you have to remember him from the movie. If not the shortest, he was one of the shortest. I think it is amazing that he has lived this long in such good health.

Over the years, I would see write-ups and news clips about his appearances in the area. In fact, he was here just last summer for a special event. I never went to see him as I would find out after the events had passed, but it did my heart good to know that these individuals-the last surviving ‘Munchkins, Karl especially-found a way to make their mark after the film.

As another personality is gone from our grasp, the door is quickly closing on an era that even pre-dates me. How very sad to know that life seems to be slipping away for so many. It is like water draining in the bathtub—it seems to speed up the closer it gets to the end. Below are links to two articles about Karl Slover, born Karl Kosiczky. Thanks for blessing our world, Mr Slover. Way to go and so long.

On his death and life.

On his visit last year.

So, who is your favorite character or actor from the Wizard of Oz? Do you have one?

Happy Gardening!

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Years ago, I had a friend who lived across the street from us. She and her family had moved into the neighborhood not long after we moved in. Our girls played together but she and I were closer than our children were. She was very family oriented and liked to collect things that gave her home that warm and friendly feel, so I designed this quilt hanging for her—I love this material.

This was not a difficult project, but I chose to use plaid for the lettering (I see those eyes roll). It took extra time to match up the pieces, and I wanted it to look just right. It was machined pieced and hand quilted with a heart motif on the border. It was about 14 inches wide and about 46 inches long (just guessing). This is a terrible photo and my apologies, but it was scanned from a photo taken years ago.

This was my second quilted wall hanging I made after I was married. Anything I quilted before is lost to memory with no photos. I designed it and was very pleased with it except for the time it took to piece together the letters. I have often thought I would repeat this project but never have—not even for me.

As for the friend, she has moved on years ago. We kept in contact for years but sadly have since lost touch. I miss her, but life goes on.

Happy Gardening and may you find the time to WELCOME new friends into your life!

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Dolls (& Bears)

Back when I was young, I remember my mom sewing doll clothes for the Salvation Army. She would sew and dress dolls that were given to needy children at Christmas. I began that same project when my kids were little—not long after my mom passed away. I think it was a way to fight through the depression I was going through at the time. Every spring I would pick up my ‘naked’ dolls, and then I sewed clothes during the year returning them all dressed and “doodied up” about Thanksgiving. I did this for several years. Then, the Salvation Army started carrying bears, so I did half dolls and half bears. I really enjoyed doing this because it was a lot like making costumes and it was a way for me to remember my mother.

I designed patterns for dolls and bears. Each one was unique. Some of the clothes were mid-length skirts with blouses, some were saris, some long skirts, some pants… No two outfits were alike. Even if the patters were the same, the cloth I used wasn’t.  I really liked the hats, kerchiefs, and other coverings, too. As I sewed, I often thought of the girl who would receive each one, what their situation was and how a doll might help them. I tried to give each doll and bear its own personality. I hope they brought hope to the eyes of the children who received them. I tried to take photos every year, but I was only able to find a few years so far – no bears, but I have not gotten to the big stash of photos yet.

Happy Gardening and may all of your creations make someone happy!

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Jack-o'-lantern and Bee

I have not always been a quilter or even a seamstress, but when I was young, I was always crafting something.  I loved to design and create plans, and then I enjoyed seeing those plans come to life. I was not a fan of investing a lot of time in any one thing, so a lot of tedious hand sewing is something I tried to steer clear of. I did not get bitten with the sewing bug until my college days. My mother bought me a sewing machine when I moved away from home—an electric one. I wonder if she knew how much of a gift she gave me, but I wish I had taken my Singer treadle one with me, too. I enrolled in a sewing tips course while I was working on my master’s degree though I could already sew. Our teacher taught us how to make things she sold in shows and exhibits. She shared with us abundant tricks of the trade. The variety of things I made helped to spark my creative talent in sewing and kept alive a spirit in other things, too. I owe this lady so much.

Ghost and Clown

I have been going through some of our early photos with the girls and found some things I want to share. I only hope they will forgive me. I love making costumes. The thought of becoming someone else is magical to me, and  I still enjoy creating my own patterns. I don’t go for the scary or the occult at Halloween, but we have allowed our children to trick-or-treat because it has been a good way to get out and visit with our neighbors. We moved into our house before my youngest could walk so she stayed home her first year. Her costume was a fuzzy one piece outfit (with hood). I sewed ears on it along with a small tail. I could not find a photo of her in it, but she basically spent the night crawling back and forth on the front porch while I sat outside giving out candy.

The jack-o’-lantern costume was used by my oldest for 2 years since I made it a little big. The above photo was taken on the second go-round. The bee or yellow jacket is my youngest daughter. I hated that I had to buy fairy wings to use, but I painted them and they worked just fine.

Lil' Miss Muffet

There have been many costumes over the years but these are a few of the earlier ones…–Ghost (a story here) and Clown(multi-colored mop hair)—Little Miss Muffet (complete with spider)—Little Red Riding Hood—50s Era outfit (poodle skirt)—and Pink Bunny Rabbit. The ghost looks more like a zombie (which I’m totally against). I didn’t want her sight to be obstructed. I wasn’t very happy how this one turned out. The rabbit outfit (below) was made from one-piece pj’s that I cut the feet out and added a big white tail.

Lil' Red Riding Hood

Some that are not here are a Hershey Bar, Pikachu (I was very proud of that one), a raccoon, a kitty, a witch, an 80s pop star, and others I don’t remember. Perhaps I will show some of them when I get to those photos. By the way, these are not digital ones, so they do not show up as well.

50's Era and Bunny

About the poodle skirt:  It was made from material that had little white sheep on it. After purchasing it, I put it on my sewing machine which at the time was in our bedroom, and one night after the lights were off I looked over to see all of these glowing spots. It scared me so bad! Each sheep glowed after being exposed to light, so I thought it would be good for a costume.

I want to include pieces of these costumes (or scraps) in the memory quilts, but I have to find some of the costumes that have been packed away. The trick now is to keep everything together until I can start on the quilts. I had planned to have the tops finished by now, but with all of the things that have happened this year I am glad that we are doing as well as we are.

There are more things to come as I take a trip back in time. And, if you are wondering what the bunny is doing over there in the photo, that is my youngest. She would dance and sing all of the time. She got caught in the action. Did you check out that bunny tail?

Take care and Happy Gardening!

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TEC-9 from wikipedia

Happy Halloween just a bit late. Well, it wasn’t too happy for a lady when a 10 year-old boy pulled a gun on her after she jokingly said she was going to take some of his candy. It turned out the gun was reported to be a Tec-9 (info here). This is not a good weapon.

His brother who was with him was also reported to be 10 years old and was also said to be carrying a gun but did not reveal it at the time – only said he had one. This gun was reportedly used in a “drive-through” robbery of a pawn shop—someone literally drove through the store. The saving grace for the lady was that the clips were not in the guns but the boys were carrying them. This is local but happened across the river.

Then this past week, two teenagers (one girl and one boy) were arrested at a local high school for a murder plot. The girl reportedly wanted another girl killed because she “hated her.” The parents gave excuses…the adoptive mom of the girl says she has always been picked on. I feel for her if that is the case but we do not go around plotting to kill people who pick on us. The parents of the boy say he is Autistic (Asperger’s) and just agrees with everything—says yes. In the past, the people with connections, money, and/or power would get their children off somehow. In fact there was a struggle with the police and the school board/system who would decide what warrants criminal procedures under the law. The schools wanted to keep the law out of the schools (like this can be or should be done). This event happened in our county and not in the big city of A where my hubby works and where most criminal activity takes place. Is there something in the water?

Then there was a group of “kids” (I think there were two 17 year olds, a 15 year old, and an 11 year old) who reportedly invaded a home about 2 weeks ago. They said they were acting under orders of  another 17 year old and were ordered to kill the father if he came downstairs…. Luckily, this had a better ending than you would expect, but again, this one happened not far away in the same county that we live. The mother of the 11 year old boy did not sound like she was making excuses for her child the way I heard it which is more that I can say for the other kids in the murder plot. All have had brushes with the law before and I think most came from the big city of A. Sad cases. We expect this to happen in the county where my hubby works—not here.

I’m just going to mention these in passing…a clerk at a gas station just down the street was flashed twice over the weekend. Why and why go back? And, a Walmart greeter was robbed last week or the week before when he tried to help someone who said they needed money. As he reached in the car to get more money because he only had some change in his pocket, the woman took his wallet. You can tell the holidays are upon us.

Finally, I am really upset about how people view things. People were thanking a local TV station of how they handled JD’s funeral on the station’s FB comment section. It was there that I found a threat made toward all of the law enforcement in the city of A. I am still shaken. This person was upset because there was something about JD on the TV again, something about the budget and not having enough officers (which is all true). This person was saying that (not quoting except for quotation marks) the city did not need to hire more ‘police’ “to kill us because that’s all yall do anyway.” Then the person griped about the news not spending time on more important things…and then said that if it [not exactly sure what it means in this sentence] keeps on… “we gonna start fightin back I feel all yall police in [place withheld] need to go to sleep and never wake up.” Yeah. There is a lot of trash talk around and it appalls me.

No one thing can be blamed for these happenings, but I can tell you what contributes…the lack of parental involvement in the lives of our kids (and young adults); video shooting games and those that cause harm to others; weapons that kids can get a hold of; assault guns that should not be on the streets (public); social networking that has given rise to gang activity; peer pressure; and such of this nature. Perhaps no one thing is to blame but a mixture much like that of a Halloween brew is a big problem. To me, it boils down to a lack of respect for others. After all, it is what and how we think that matters. I want to encourage all of us to continue to try to make a difference, but be careful out there!!!! You never know what is waiting around the corner.

Happy Gardening!

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