Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shades of Purple and Pink

It is that time of year, when my driveway smells wonderful.  That's because it is Lilac Season.  The hedge was barely budded a few days ago, and now the flowers are almost fully bloomed.  I really love lilacs, and I am very grateful to whoever planted these bushes years and years ago.

There seems to be a lot of purple and pink in the neighborhood right now.  I'm not sure what these other flowers are, but we found them along our walk tonight.

They are all so beautiful!

Monday, April 17, 2017


We had a pretty easy winter around here, relatively speaking.  Even so, it is such a treat to see all the beautiful flowers blooming.  These tulips were growing in front of school today.  Beautiful red tulips, the sun was shining, and I even got my mower started for the first time this season.  In fact it started on the first pull.  What a wonderful day!  Mowing wasn't that much fun, but at least the mower started and everything else was good.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Dad

A few days ago I was cleaning out one of the file cabinets in my craft room.  I decided it was safe to get rid of tax returns and teaching contracts from eighteen years ago, along with warranties and instruction books from appliances I no longer own.  I did a lot of sorting, reading, and shredding.  At the bottom of the drawer under all that clutter, I discovered this photo.  It's my dad!

He was so incredibly young!  He joined the army to serve in World War II when he was only 17 years old.  In fact he wasn't legally old enough to join yet, so he lied about his age.  Anyone that knew my dad can tell you that he was an incredibly honest man, so he must have learned his lesson after that.  Dad was in the infantry and fought in the Philippines.  After World War II ended, he also spent time in Korea.

As I looked at this picture, I was kind of amazed by how much you can miss someone who has been gone for such a long time.  We lost him in 1986.  I found myself getting emotional as I shared the photo with my sister.  He was a wonderful loving father, and I am so grateful to have had him for the time that I did.  He is with us still, and I think about him often.  He has been a profound influence upon my life, and he helped me to be who I am today.  I love you, Dad!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Field Trip

My plans for today were changed, so I decided to go tour the Des Moines Art Center. I have been taking art classes there this year, but my classes were on Mondays, and the Art Center is closed on Mondays.  I have been touring the art center every year for seventeen years on field trips.  It was very nice to go without 50 to 60 fourth graders.  I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, and I didn't tell a single person not to touch the art.

As you can see from the photo, the building itself is a work of art.  I was grateful to have my own little field trip.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


What a difference a week makes!  A week ago I was at my sister's house and there were just a few crocus blooming, along with the beginning buds of some daffodils and hyacinth.  Now there are daffodils everywhere.

I just love this time of year!  That is one of the great things about living in a part of the country where winters can be cold and dreary.  Spring is such a time of beauty and hope for the seasons ahead.

I am really grateful to live where I do.  Every now and then, I need to remind myself of that.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kitchen Gadgets

I have a weakness for kitchen gadgets, and this is my newest one. It is an Air Fryer.   I have a couple friends who have talked about their air fryers.  Since I'm making confessions here, I also have to say that I am a QVC shopper.  The Air Fryer was The "Today's Special Value" about a week ago, so I decided to give it a try .  Tonight was the first time I have used it, and I have to say, I was impressed.

It was easy to use, and it only took about 20 minutes to "fry" my Corn Crisped  Boneless Chicken Legs and Thighs.  I usually do this recipe in the oven.  Doing it in the air fryer used only one tablespoon of olive oil, and it came out with a crispier crust than it does in the oven.  Dinner was yummy, and I'm excited to try some other recipes.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I finally got the greenhouse shelves set up and my tomato and pepper seeds started.  I usually do this by mid March, but this time I decided to order my seeds online instead of going to Menards or Lowes.  This was a big mistake!  I placed an order with Henry Fields on February 4th.  In spite of an email and two phone calls, I did not receive my order until last Friday.  I ordered all seeds.  No live plants!  It still took almost two full months to receive my order.  I won't do that again!

Thankfully I finally received them, I set up the shelves, and I started the seeds.  So even though I began this post by whining, I am grateful that things are getting going.  I am getting started with Roma Tomatoes, Centennial Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers and Sweet Peppers, along with Italian Parsley and some dill.  Some day soon it will dry out and warm up, and I will actually be able to work outside in the garden.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beginning Drawing

Today was my last drawing class.  Our assignment today was to bring our own still life to draw.  We also got to choose which medium to use.  I stuck with the pencils.  I decided to bring one of my baskets, yarn and a knitting project.  This is still a work in progress, but I am pleased to see how much I have learned since my Art for the Curious class last fall.

I plan to take another art class this summer.  This time I want to learn to work with pastels.  I am a person who loves color!  I am so grateful for this opportunity to explore new paths to creativity.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Michael's street in Madrid.

When I was a junior in high school, my dad spent a year in Viet Nam.  He was a social worker with American Red Cross, and was working as service to military installations.  He was stationed with the marines near the demilitarized zone, and later with the air force.  Besides daily letters, we used to make reel to reel tapes, which we would mail to him.  It took about three weeks for the tapes and letters to get to him.  He would record a message back to us, and it would be another three weeks before we got to hear his voice.  It was a very, very long year!

The park near Lisa's home in Minneapolis.

Technology has come a long way since those days.  My daughter, Lisa, lives in Minneapolis.  She has lived there for a long time.  We connect daily through text messaging and phone calls. Now that she has a smart phone, we are able to be part of each other's lives much more easily than even a few years ago.

Michael's neighborhood, and the hotel where I stayed for my visit.

This morning I spoke with my son, Michael, who lives in Madrid, Spain.  We talk daily, either through texting, voice clips, or phone calls.  When I talk to him, it sounds like he is right here in town.  We use Facebook Messenger, so it is also free.  Because I was fortunate to actually go to Spain at the beginning of this year, I can visualize where he is living, as well as hear his voice.

I am so grateful for the technology that makes this daily communication possible.  I understand why they want to live in these beautiful places, and the technology makes it much easier to have my adult children living so far away.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Spring has finally arrived.  The early spring flowers are beginning to bloom.  I don't have anything blooming at my house, but my sister does.

There is something so wonderful about seeing these bursts of color among the brown leaves and plants.

I do have green grass, and I am so grateful and excited to see that.

Even though I don't have any flowers blooming yet, I do have this beautiful new spinner.  I had to return the one I got a few weeks ago.  It fell apart in the wind.  This new one is from Plow and Hearth.  It is much larger, and stronger.  I have two other Plow and Hearth spinners, and they have stood up well.  I just feel happy when I look at them.

I also have this flowered plant spike.  It's currently in the house, but will soon be going out into the yard.  I have a big love of yard art.

Now it would be nice to see the sun once in a while.