Entries to Win Afghan

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Book Drive for Mason County

We are all set up for tomorrow's event, the Book Drive for Mason County. Here are the centerpieces we made today. I have another commitment tomorrow, so you are hearing about this today. But that will give you a chance to participate if you are local.

blue and white Christmas centerpieces

Ludington Writers believes that we need to support readers or the writers will be out of business! So we are collecting new and gently used books for children. They will be given (by prior arrangement) to Head Start and COVE. The goal is somewhere around 200 books. Half that number have already come in. Donations also accepted to purchase books.

More decorating!

decorating for a Christmas event

Come to the Ludington Area Arts Center between 1 pm and 3:30 tomorrow for a chili lunch. Suggested donation for lunch is $2.50, and bring one or more books to donate.

Volunteers today were cleaning the gently used books that have been donated.

cleaning children's books

Then the books were arranged for display.

arranging children's books

We hope this will be a great way to help others put books in the hands of young readers with a little chili treat for those who donate. Books for children and young people up to about age 16 are acceptable. COVE often shelters families with children of all ages, although the books going to Head Start will be for preschoolers.

In other news: I wrote a half chapter, helped with this project, did more errands, did another volunteer task, and a little contract job. Now I'm trying to finish reading a book!

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Two Old Favorites

Today was non-stop full. But the best thing to share with you is cookies. They aren't all frosted because I ran out of powdered sugar, but I finished some of each kind. Have to take some to an event, so necessity is what prompted a baking flurry. We certainly don't need the calories here (although we will eat a lot of them to be sure). However, this will be the extent of my Christmas cookie baking, I'm pretty certain.

Christmas cookies

These are two of my old standby recipes that we all like. That said, I guess I've never put a picture of the wreath ones on the blog. The chocolate ones get made often, and you've seen them before, but not decorated with peppermint chunks.

So the good news is I'm done for today. The bad news is I have to get more sugar and finish the rest.

In other news: I wrote a chapter AND A HALF, did some volunteer tasks, did errands, went grocery shopping, and made these two kinds of cookies.

See Cookies and Cream
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Wednesday, November 28, 2018


I've heard the pitter-patter of little feet running across the roof most of the fall. But so far, the fixes to keep them out of the walls have been working.

These are the little red squirrel piggies who have forced us to give up feeding the birds. Nevertheless, they are cute, and I don't mind taking a picture when one appears on the deck. I think this generation's name will be Nano. (National No need for squirrels in the house year)

red squirrel

I think I've mentioned that we never used to have squirrels anywhere near the house. Now, they live in the white pines out front. Based on the last appearance of babies, named the DTs (Double and Triple Trouble), the one I saw today may be the fourth generation. Here's Double Trouble in 2016 as a youngster.

red squirrel

His/her mommy squirrel was Trouble. Picture from early 2016 demonstrating the origin of the name.

red squirrel

And Trouble's mother was Riley, the very first squirrel that showed up here in 2014.

red squirrel

Needless to say, I think the squirrels are here to stay.

In other news: I wrote a chapter, took a walk, spent some time on a volunteer task, and hope to write some more tonight. Although I have to say that will be a brain stretch. We'll see if I manage to do it. Couldn't get to sleep last night, so I may crash early.

See Trail Work Day
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Tuesday, November 27, 2018


I keep trying to get pictures of stark winter trees caught in lights. Finally got one that really pleases me tonight. A tiny bit of snow on the branches enhanced the effect.

stark winter tree in lights

Follow the link below for a much more poetic description of a similar setting.

Today was super busy, and I'm not quite done. Re-wrote a chapter and then wrote one more. Laundry. Bookwork. Got ready for writers' group and then attended. Still have to go through the feedback comments.

That is all, and that is enough.

See Cradle of Twilight
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Monday, November 26, 2018

I Felt Artsy

 A friend posted a picture on Facebook yesterday, done in pen and ink, that I liked a lot. In fact I liked it so much I more or less copied it with just a few tweaks. The original artist is Heather Victoria Held. Here is my version in colored pencil.

medallion with deer in oak twig frame

I was pleased with the results, but I wanted the vibrant colors of the original. My colored India inks dried up years ago. (I was kept in glorious art supplies by Mom and Granny through college, but the artsy side of me slipped somewhat after that, as did our budget for things like arts.)

And, I hate doing the same thing twice. So I decided to make my own medallion with a rabbit. Mixed media: colored pencil, markers, and pen. I'm actually pretty happy with this, surprisingly so. My rendition of things seldom meets the expectations I have in my head.

medallion with rabbit in radish frame

I have a couple more ideas. We'll see if I have any further interest. That's the problem with me and art. I'm a fickle practitioner. However, several artsy friends have been inspiring me lately, so who knows? (Valory, Linda, John, Ellen, Sue, Jennifer)

In other news: This is what 4-6 inches of predicted snow looks like here. No skiing yet!

green grass in November

And I wrote my monthly column for the newspaper. Thus ends another day.

See Betsy's Eggs are Celebrities
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Puzzle On the Fast Track

I finished the butterfly jigsaw puzzle today. This is definitely the fastest I've ever completed a 1000-piece puzzle. About 45 hours from when I started to finish. (Not continuous puzzling, of course)

butterfly jigsaw puzzle

Here are the last 330 pieces (roughly) going in. Click to see the animation.

I counted 32 butterflies of recognizable species, and 17 little purple ones that could be anything. Lots of flowers, birds, animals. And just for fun, some of the pieces were interesting shapes. Like an umbrella.

jigsaw puzzle piece shaped like an umbrella

Or a swan.

jigsaw puzzle piece shaped like a swan

And other things. But you get the idea.

This puzzle was a lot of fun. But I have to say that it is probably the easiest 1000-piece puzzle I've done, since I got it done so quickly, and I wasn't working on it more than I usually would if I declared it a puzzle day or two.

See Finding Happiness
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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Finding Happiness

There's a meme going around about all the things people pray for and how God answers. It's actually pretty good. Of course I can't remember the exact words, or even find it, but it ends with "I prayed for happiness, and God said, 'I gave you life. It's up to you to choose to be happy.'"

So that was my project for today. We took Steve to the airport in the middle of the night, and got home at 5:30 this morning. His visit was great but over too soon. I hope he comes back before another seven years pass. Started to read a book that is supposedly historical fiction. It's more like an historical soap opera. Not sure I can make myself finish that. Tired all day because of the long night.

So, I started a new puzzle. This was another gift from Loretta, but I hadn't done it yet. 1000 pieces, and those can take a long time. It's shaped like a butterfly.

jigsaw puzzle fox

The puzzle was the key to a quality day today. You can't really tell from the picture on the box if a puzzle will be easy or difficult. So much depends on the way the pieces are cut.

This puzzle is just about perfect with a nice picture and a challenge without being super difficult. I didn't really look at the picture closely before I started it, and I never look at it while doing the puzzle.

Lots of bright colors and flowers, and in addition to a LOT of monarch butterflies, there were little critters to find and build. I smiled every time I discovered one- usually eyes and nose, and then a few more pieces and I could tell what it was going to be.

A fox.

jigsaw puzzle blue butterfly

Mostly monarch butterflies, but a few different ones. A blue one just for me.

jigsaw puzzle blue butterfly

Two bears.

jigsaw puzzle bears

A red panda.

jigsaw puzzle red panda

Several deer.

jigsaw puzzle deer

Some I haven't been able to assemble enough to identify yet.

So, I'm enjoying life and working on being happy with the blessings I have been provided. Tomorrow I should feel human enough to get some things done again. And we all know I'm happiest when I'm accomplishing something.

And, if I see a copy of that prayer go by again, I'm going to grab it!

See How Can It Be Friday?
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Friday, November 23, 2018

How Can It Be Friday Already?

Doesn't everyone have balloons for early Christmas?

colorful balloons under a Christmas tree

We did finish the puzzle. Correction. I stayed up and finished the puzzle last night. I knew the guys were already past their tolerance level.

jigsaw puzzle of a capybara

We made waffles, which is kind of a special treat here. How did they turn out?

waffle iron

What do you think?

golden waffle

Yummy toppings and full tummies.

serving waffles

We leave for the airport in 6 hours. Steve is taking a nap. I think the party is over.

It's super nice to get a new family picture though.

family picture

See A Large Rodent Steals the Day
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Large Rodent Steals the Day

Steve mostly wants to chill out since this is the first he's had off work for a long time. Much to my surprise, he suggested we do a jig saw puzzle. (An activity I love, everyone else not so much.)

Anyway, he chose this one which I did once before in 2011. But I don't mind doing them more than once. This is as far as we got. The guys are tired of it already. Of course I'm going to try to complete it tonight so we don't have to pull it apart unfinished.

jig saw puzzle in progress

The large rodent? It's a picture of a capybara, the largest rodent in the world.

Not an earth-shattering kind of day. We are doing a good job of goofing off. That is all.

See Easter and Birthday
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Food and Fun

It's either Thanksmas or Christgiving here. At any rate, we did a relaxed family non-holiday today. First we went out to eat, which makes everyone happy. I don't cook. I don't struggle to try to make 4 people with extraordinarily different tastes happy. We avoided the restaurant crush tomorrow.

Then we came home and did a Christmas game. There were 8 loaded socks under the tree. We each started with 2.

gift exchange game

We rolled the dice and followed the directions (you know how it goes, keep yours, pass to left or right, steal a gift, etc).

gift exchange game

Finally everyone opened their socks and we had a few laughs. Most of the loot was just joke stuff. The mom had to blow up balloons and keep batting them at everyone and throw slime toys at the children. But some of the silly stuff ended up on the Christmas tree, and everyone was smiling.

gift exchange game

Then it was family game time. This is where it gets tricky, because it's hard find games that the four of us can enjoy together. But we did well this time, I think. We played really short versions of four different games with each of us choosing one game from our pile. That way no one had a chance to get too frustrated at something that wasn't going well. (And, no one picked Uno, which I hate. However, poor Omer had to suffer through Sorry, which he hates. However, see below for who won!)

Omer won at Waterworks.

playing Waterworks game

Omer won at Sorry. (Poor Steve went through two and a half rounds of the deck before he got a single man out of Start.)

playing Sorry game

We did Score Four with teams, and played two fast rounds. Josh and I won one round, and Steve and Omer won the other. (PS- I learned that this game is more fun with teams than single players)

playing Score Four game

Then we did Blockhead, and I won that one without a single strike against me.

playing Blockhead game

So, it was a most acceptable and happy non-holiday holiday at our house.

There is no other news. Since Omer and I worked till 3 in the morning, we both slept in.

See Arrived
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