Entries to Win Afghan

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April Handbells

Sunday we played handbells, but I hadn't had a chance yet to process the videos. Here we go!

First is This Is My Father's World. It's one of my favorite hymns. It would be better if there wasn't someone talking near the camera for half the song, but- sigh- I can't seem to make the world acquiesce to my wishes.

Second, we played a rather complex medley called Reflections of Peace. You should be able to hear themes from It Is Well With My Soul, Peace Like a River and Dona, Nobis, Pacem in it.

I like sharing these with you, but sorry it took a while. The actual editing to trim the ends and add a title goes really fast, but it takes quite a bit of time to convert the files from the format my camera records. Then the software creates a working file- more time. Then it takes time to save a good copy, and more time to upload to YouTube. I can do other things during all this wait time, but I do have to have the time to let all these pieces do their thing.

In other news: work, delivered books, knitting, a little writing.

See March Handbells
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

That's a Wrap (or 64)

My big project of today was making sandwich wraps to go with the cookies I made on Sunday. Tomorrow is the day I'm saying "thanks for the memories" to all the folks at work. This isn't enough to fill everyone up, but hopefully a few people will bring something else.

sandwich wraps

By the time I finished I made 7 different kinds. I'll cut them in smaller pieces tomorrow when they are served.

sandwich wraps

The first ones look like they have more stuff, but the wraps were smaller. I couldn't get whole wheat in the big size.

sandwich wraps

And here's the whole pile, cookies and wraps. Believe it or not, I got all the wraps in the fridge without having to leave out other things. That's a major victory with this smaller refrigerator.

sandwich wraps and cookies in plastic tubs

Now I just have to wash some trays to take and the dishes. Omer's going to help me put it all out and cut them into smaller pieces at the right time.

In other news: handbell practice, license tab for car, picked up the cases of books from UPS. That's all except for 64 wraps which included two trips to the store.

See Cookies
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Monday, April 16, 2018

More Cousin Jean- 1950 Style

You don't want to see more snow. Me neither. So here's some ancient history. This was prompted because Cousin Jean posted a picture on Facebook of a painting of an historic house in Farmingdale, Long Island, NY. It has been recently named an historic site, with a plaque, because the woman who lived there was an early suffragette. So Jean was talking about visiting there as a child.

Whoa! Suddenly I realized what house this was. I'd been there too, and you've seen one picture from there on this blog at Cousin Helen.

So I went into a flurry of scanning pictures, because my scanner now works right (hallelujah!). I posted a bunch of those pictures on FB. But on the other side of the same scrapbook page... Jean's family visited my family maybe a month before the Long Island trip. It was also almost exactly 68 years ago. That's scary.

I was just turning two and Jean was only a few months behind. I'm on the left and Jean is on the right.

cousins 1950

Everyone posed on the front steps of our house. I guess Mom took the picture. Left is Dad, Ray F. Leary holding me. Next is Granny- Emily M. Rowe, and beside her is Cousin Helen (sister to Jean's dad). Then we have Nan- Jean's mom, and her dad George Kilquist holding Jean. Nan is still alive.

family photo 1950

Next we have dads and daughters. Check out the car! 1940s something. Guesses or knowledge welcome.

cousins and fathers 1950

Girls with George. PS. I still have the wagon. I left the background intact because you can see our row of iris coming up and the dark peonies behind them leafing out. That was a nice flower garden come May. The fenceline beyond the flowers is beside the Lehigh Valley railroad tracks.

cousins 1950

Finally, the picture with the best clarity is of Jean's family. Helen, George, Nan and Jean.

family photo 1950

Fun times. I don't remember this day at all, but it sure looks like we were having a good time.

In other news: spent the whole day doing paperwork and bookkeeping and stuff like that.

See Jean Hall and Joan Hall
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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cookies and Cream (Sort of)


Lots of cookies to say thank you to my workmates on Wednesday. Yes, they are good. I tested. (One more piece of this project to do yet.)


Other than that, ugly weather- but it's the color of cream. Snow, hail, ice. Still waiting for spring. I guess the good news is that the fruit trees aren't blooming too soon. Maybe it will be a great fruit year!

snowy road

Last week at work coming up- don't expect me to cry. haha

Handbells this morning. Maybe videos tomorrow. Didn't get them processed yet.

See As Good As the Memories?
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Friday, April 13, 2018

Pea Soup and Hail

I haven't been doing a very good job of taking interesting pictures this week for the blog.

One thing I finished today was making split pea soup. It came out really good. Much to my surprise, I've never shared a picture of split pea soup here before, although it's one of my favorites, so at least this is a "new" (to the blog) idea.

split pea soup

What I wanted to share with you was a book club I met with. They had all read North Country Cache, and we talked about it, and writing and publishing stuff. It was a lot of fun, but I forgot to take even one picture.

The big local news is the weather. Today we've had wind, rain, hail, lightning and thunder. Tomorrow is supposed to be serious ice. But the most interesting thing I didn't see, so of course, didn't get any pictures.

At several places along the shoreline today there was a seiche. This is an event caused by wind or disturbance (could be seismic, but this wasn't) that results in a rapid change in water levels. The water must be partly enclosed, like in a harbor, bay, river mouth, etc so that a standing wave can form. There are pictures of the breakwall in Ludington completely submerged. There was damage in Manistee along the river, and the water level change was observed in Pentwater. I guess the change was as much as 20 feet in a few places. Pretty amazing.

When it happened, I was eating lunch with the book club, and we watched the sky turn black and then the hail begin. We had no idea the water was creeping up the street just a couple of blocks away!

Now it's thundering and lightning. Hope it's not glare ice when I have to come home from work. Next to last Friday night, coming up!

See Turkey Soup Fog
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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Classics and Questions

I'm having a bit of a tired week. Can't seem to get myself moving after work at all. Some weeks are like that.

But it means I did not get out and find anything interesting to take pictures of. Instead here's a picture of some books I'm reading my way through.

Boxcar Children books

These are the classic Boxcar Children series of children's books. So how come I never knew anything about them until a few months ago? The time frame is right. The series was begun in 1942. Some of the books were written after I would have been reading things for this age group, but the first four were in print when I was in grade school. The author is Gertrude Chandler Warner.

Since I read every children's mystery in the public and school libraries, most twice or more, I have to wonder why they didn't have these books. They're certainly totally wholesome- no questionable philosophies.

I know I would have liked them. They have light mystery and adventure and kids fending for themselves in a fairly realistic setting. Everything that appealed to me.

Now for questions from a different direction. Questions for me as an author. The four siblings are introduced in the series ranging in age from 15 down to 6. But the reading level seems to me to be barely third grade. It's about a step above Run, Spot, run. I'm not really saying this in a critical manner because they have stood the test of time. Kids seem to love them. Maybe the oldest brother, Henry, and sister, Jessie, provide a safety net for the adventures they find, since Violet (age 12) and Benny (age 6) probably couldn't be as independent as the foursome are together.

Next question. It feels a bit as if the author is talking down to kids in the story. Or maybe that's just the tone that was set in the 1942 book, and she needed to maintain it for the series. There's an awful lot of repetition of mundane dialog. I realize that appeals to small children, but it seems as if the target audience is older than that. So my question to myself is- what tone do my children's books have? And is it an appropriate one? The tone of the Dubois Files is certainly more mature than these. Kids reading them who are reporting back are liking the books. So, although different, I don't think I've missed the mark.

I don't need to feel that my interior illustrations are sub-par because they are amateur (me). The editions of the Boxcar Children that I'm reading have updated covers, but the original interior illustrations. Some of them aren't all that great.

Here's something I do have a slight issue with. It's not singling out this series, but is true of so many stories like this. The kids are able to take on so many adventures because their families have money. Of course, in the first Boxcar Children book, the siblings are homeless. But then they go to live with their grandfather who is rich. Nancy Drew's father was a lawyer and she never had a problem getting things she needed or getting help in a pinch. The Hardy Boys' father was a famous detective- although mostly absent- but as the series progressed the boys did more and more things that were out of reach of most of their readers. They went to foreign countries, went scuba diving, etc. I'm glad to tell you that except for some school field trips, or maybe summer camp or family vacations, the Dubois Files kids and their families are middle class at best and won't be needing passports or (probably) the FBI or expensive specialty gear.

Got one review of The Secret Cellar- five stars! Hooray! But it's going to take a lot more marketing work to get the general public to begin buying these, except from me personally. Have to break through that barrier.

Now I have three little computer tasks to do, but other than that, I'm going back to reading children's books for the rest of the day.

See Initial philosophy of the Dubois Files
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Puppy Fix Again

This was actually Monday, but I didn't want to overlook it. Got a puppy fix at work. This is Ally. 3 months. Likes to play! Got one picture in focus.

pit bull boxer mix puppy

Work today was much longer than usual for Wednesday because there were problems in the press room. And I had a long meeting this evening. Didn't really get anything else done.

See Way Overdue for a Puppy Fix
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Who Was More Surprised?

Need to get to bed, but here's a quickie post. Took a walk today and looked up to see this little lady looking right back at me. I think we are both ready for spring.

startled deer

In other news: writing, stuff, writing group, stuff, handbell practice, stuff, attempt at shopping. I can get neither the thread I want nor the zippers I need locally. Wal-Mart is the only place that even makes a serious attempt at catering to sewers. Sigh. Glad I didn't rip Gumby apart. I still need him.

See the Death of Gumby?
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Monday, April 9, 2018

The Death of Gumby?

Today should have been the death of an old friend, but it may only be retirement, we shall see. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm willing to wear things that are basically rags if I like them.

However, for serious use, the Gumby Suit is definitely gone. It doesn't owe me anything. I bought it from Camp-Mor about 27 years ago. Since it's all green, early on it was dubbed the Gumby Suit.

hiker on rocky trail in green nylon rain suit

When I bought this it had a coating that made it water-resistant. It was never truly waterproof, but it was pretty good. After the coating completely disappeared, I would spray it with silicone and that would make it fairly impermeable for a couple of wettings.

I don't like ponchos. Nothing really keeps me dry anyway because if something keeps the rain out it holds the sweat in and I get wet from the inside. Including Gore-Tex. I've never thought that was as wonderful as many people claim, and it's heavy. The Gumby Suit weighs, in total, 15.4 ounces. And it rolls up into two little packages like this.

nylon rain suit rolled into two small packets

One leg had a major blowout, which I mended. There are multiple snags, tears and small burn holes in it. It's not that I haven't been looking for a replacement. I've been hunting for something else for at least 8 years. Everything is too heavy and/or too big. So, I just kept mending this and limping along. If you put me in nylon, I'm really warm, so I use it as a top layer for winter hiking. This suit no longer does much against rain, but I've gotten by.

torn nylon rain suit

But the kicker to make me do something now is that the zipper on the main pocket has completely given up the ghost. That's just not going to work. So...

I had to make a decision. The deal is, there is a product called silnylon which is nylon impregnated with silicone that it absolutely waterproof. And it's very lightweight. It also has zero ability to breathe. When it was first developed there was a huge rush to make rain gear of it, and almost as quickly abandoned because of that lack of breatheability.

Other nylon products are going to have the same issues as the Gumby Suit- not really waterproof. I only wear the nylon if I'm out in either really cold or really wet. I've decided to go for the ability to stay dry from the outside. We'll see how big of an issue the breatheability is.

And, it can no longer be a Gumby suit, because the new one will be blue. It will also be even lighter in weight. That's a huge plus!

nylon rain suit with replacement fabric

Today I made a pattern for the new pants from the old pair. That's pretty easy with pants without taking the old garment apart. So, the pants are only retired. Not sure I'll be able to do that with the jacket (anorak style) because it's got more complex pieces, and it's easy to get things that don't fit right if you don't take the old garment apart.

Tomorrow I'll buy the zippers (hopefully), and make a decision about cutting up the jacket or trying to make a pattern without destruction. It's just so hard. When I actually find a product of any description that I REALLY like, I don't want to give it up, ever.

Here's what I got done today. Stay tuned.

 nylon rain suit pants cut out of fabric

In other news: Actually, I worked at the paper today because someone else wanted the day off. That and the above have consumed most of the time.

See Sewing and Breathing
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sewing and Breathing

For most of my life, those two activities were nearly synonymous. I was using Mom's machine at about age 4, and then sewed clothes for my stuffed animals, and beginning in 5th grade sewed my first skirt. From 6th grade on, I made almost all my own clothes.

For a long stretch in the middle of my life, I sewed for money. Today, I got my act together and sewed two pajama bottoms for me (why, yes, those are cute little sharks on the right hand pair) and did a pile of mending.


Why? Because in two weeks I'm leaving town, and I need a few things to wear that don't look like they came from the rag box. It's almost that bad. Actually, it is that bad. I'm willing to wear things around the house that are just short of indecent.

Anyway, it wasn't such a bad project because I have my old sewing machine working.

Singer model 248 Style-mate sewing machine

I packed up the fancy newer one, and returned this one to the place of honor in the primary sewing table. (which, incidentally, was a wedding present)

The only thing that was wrong with this one was that it needed a new belt. Simple, right? Not so much. This model seems to be something of an orphan step-child in the Singer line-up, although I've always loved it. It's hard to find parts for. But now that one does not have to inquire at store after store or make phone calls to people who may not really understand what you need, ie. one can search on line for the correct part, I was able to get the correct belt. On the first try, even.

I needed this machine last year when I got a little sewing job involving vinyl. Newer machine didn't like it. So I got busy and found that belt. Now it works just like it always did- fantastic!

How long have I had this machine? The original receipt was tucked into the original manual. This was a 1967 Christmas present to me my junior year in college, from my mom.

Singer model 248 Style-mate sewing machine receipt 1967

Total price with tax, $183.55. Pretty decent machine-- that was quite a bit of money back then. And well worth it. I couldn't even begin to guess how many miles and miles of seams it has sewed. I really wore out the one I bought after this. Sold it to someone who thought it worked well enough for her needs, but I never really liked that one either. Now I have my favorite back in place.

Singer model 248 Style-mate sewing machine receipt 1967

In other news: took a walk on which I did see a rabbit. Wrote a little bit. Did laundry.

For a brief look and laugh at my agonizing of a few years ago over whether to write or sew, the link below is interesting. At least I seem to finally have found some focus, but I do still need to sew myself out of the ragbox. One more major sewing project to do before my trip. Fabric should arrive tomorrow, so you can count on seeing progress reports about that.

See Inability to Focus
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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Remember that Lens?

Remember that little lens adapter I got for Christmas that I said came under the heading of things I try so you don't have to? I thought I'd give it one more chance to prove itself.

The advertisement shows a lovely picture of the veins on a leaf. It's supposed to magnify things 15x, so that would be really good for botany. Suckered me right into wanting it. It's that little transparent dot in the white case. The focus isn't great in this picture, but I didn't care enough to re-take it.

15x lens adapter for smart phone

Today I tried it on three plants. First was the spider plant leaf. Well, you can tell it has a stripe.

picture of leaf taken with 15x lens adapter for smart phone

Here's an aloe. Nice deep green tones and gradient. I have to say that if you want a nice organic graded background color, this might be just the ticket.

picture of leaf taken with 15x lens adapter for smart phone

To accomplish those pictures, it only fell out once and had to be located. I'd never dare take it outside even if it worked well.

Finally, I gave it a try on the snake plant, which has nice leaf patterns.

picture of snake plant leaf taken with smart phone

Again... nice gradient. Here's that same leaf also taken with the phone but without the lens adapter.

picture of leaf taken with 15x lens adapter for smart phone

Well, lesson learned (or not. I recently bought something else to try that there are lots of good comments about on Facebook. I can't get mine to work, and the company is not responding to emails. Sigh).

In other news: work was pretty bad last night. Got home really late (early), and slept till noon. Did research for the next chapter of North Country Quest, and played games. That's it.

See Christmas Day 2017
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