The Pacific Northwest

Portland, the Oregon coast, Olympia National Park, Victoria Vancouver, Seattle, ferry rides, Portland. What a wonderful 10 day excursion. In Portland, we took our first Uber ride and John is now it’s biggest fan. He understands why Kelly uses it when she goes out. We had no idea how to get to the Pearl District from our motel, so we called Uber and off we went. We could enjoy a few beers at some of the many breweries downtown and get home safely.

This was our first view of what as to come. Mt. Hood from the air.

We drove off to Depoe Bay to see the whales,and see them we did. They were “dating.” Some of the pairs swam close to the shore and showed off for us. Actually it was the male showing off for the female, but we didn’t take it personally… It’s difficult to get pictures of them actually fluking, but I’m glad we stopped because the next day on the way back, fog covered the area and no one was whale watching.

Our first view of the Pacific.

Then Newport and a walk along the beach. Beautiful, breezy, a bit of fog, and very cold water.

We traveled along the ocean and inland on Highway 101 on our way to Astoria. There we encountered a three mile long bridge across the mighty Columbia River, a maritime museum, and Bow Pickers. Bow Pickers is an old fishing boat, parked in a gravel lot, converted to a “food boat,” selling fish and chips. That’s all they sell besides a can of soda or water. Best fish and chips.

Next leg of the journey is Washington. Next post.


Two Bear, Two Friends

Look at this beautiful setting. It is Two Bear lake near Weyerhaeuser. Our friends John and Renae live there. We spent a day there a few weeks ago enjoying good weather and good company, although is took us a while to get there. Road construction is all I need to say. Everywhere you travel by state or county trunk between New Auburn and Bruce and over toward Chetek, all the culverts are being rebuilt. We were a half mile from our turn when we encountered a back hoe in the middle of the road. We had to turn around, go back, and come in from the opposite direction. Thirty miles and thirty minutes later, we arrived.

We took our paddle boards out on the lake just as the sun appeared from under the clouds. We talked over a few beers and wine and ate some delicious pork tenderloin. Two weeks later I spent another afternoon with Renae and her friend Doria at Stout Island. The day was chilly and rainy, but again, weather didn’t seem to dampen our joy.

And now the best part is John and Renae have rented a place in Palm Desert in January and February so we will be able to spend time together there, too. It’s always nice to have friends nearby.

When We Were Young

Class reunions put many people in a quandary. Do you want to go? Who do you want to see? My answers were “yes” and “everybody.” Fifty years is a long time. At 18 we were young and carefree and full of enthusiasm. We wondered where we would be in fifty years, knowing we were ready to set the world on fire. Awaiting us were college, marriage, families, careers–real life. That independence we had so longed for was ours. No more basketball games, no marching band, no forensics meets, no class plays or proms. Gone was Dad’s car, and gas, Mom’s meals, fresh laundry, and a warm bed. For a few years we could live off the family while attending college, but our fate was now up to us.

Turns out, we didn’t do so bad. We turned out to be successful teachers, nurses, business people, business owners, mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives. Add to that, grandparents and retirees, mostly. Adding fifty years to friendships formed while we are young changes very little. Sure, the pettiness is gone, but all those experiences we shared over twelve years held us together as we reminisced over food and drink.

My kids chose not to attend their thirty year class reunions; they see the friends they want to see. We live in their home town. Not me. I don’t get to see my high school friends often. I moved away and only get to see them every five years for a few hours. But it is so worth the time. We’ve changed, but when we get together it’s like graduation was just last week.


Forty+ Years of Vacation

This is vacation and has been for over forty years. These guys don’t look a day over 30, do they. Jen and Lisa were just a year old the first year and baby Kelly was 6 weeks old for her first year. Now they are all grown up with kids of their own. This was our first year in Hayward at Treelands Resort. We lived in duplexes with the cousins in adjoining ones so everyone could be together with the mature adults in their own place. It was quiet and relaxing although we didn’t sit on the water. The kids had a pool and lots of resort activities. We didn’t get to interact much with Hannah and Hailey; they were too busy with their cousins.

We found an island out in the flowage and boated out to it a few days. We swam in the backyard pool, and had an evening campfire. A couple of chilly days had us inside playing cards, reading, and napping. We all loved the new place and will be going back next year. Family is what is important here. When I mentioned to Kelly that this vacation is more for the second cousins now, she replied, “No, it’s still for us.” She’s right. It’s for all three generations.


Ready For Vacation…Quilt Top Finished

IMG_1328This is a scrap quilt. This is the history of quilting. Take all the good fabric from old, worn out clothes, cut it into squares, and sew them all together.  Our grandmothers did it because they had to; I do it because I like to. No, this isn’t worn out clothes, but it is all scrap fabric. The navy is left over from a quilt back and the green was a large, left-over piece of fabric. The strips were all saved pieces of fabrics from quilts-gone-by. I intend to find large enough pieces of batting to piece together, and I have some large pieces in mind to piece together for the back…a completely scrap quilt. The way quilts are supposed to be made.

… and I got the top sewn before leaving on vacation.


In My Sewing Room in June

IMG_1315I must admit, I got lots more sewing done in June than I ever expected. It seemed to have rained more days than it was sunny. My garden refused to grow without sun, as I waited 2 extra weeks for radishes and spinach. In fact, it took so long, I thought I planted them wrong. But that was not the case. Once the sun came out, my salad garden was great. But, yes, I sewed a few things. This little boy quilt is for Kelly’s friend. It’s such a great pattern. This fabric has little bees and bee hives, and some stripes, and a plaid…so fun.

Then on one of the blogs I read, the blogger started a scrap quilt-along. I organized my scraps a few weeks ago and knew I had to follow along. I really wanted to make something with just scraps, but I didn’t have a clue where to start. Crazy Mom Quilts blogger Amanda wrote a book called No Scrap Left Behind. This pattern is one of the quilts in the book.  It started with 1 – 2 inch strips, 5″ long. I just kept sewing them together until I could make a 4.5″ by 8.5″ block. I made 48, then sewed them together with 4.5″ blocks and 8.5″ blocks. The picture is of just the first half going up on my design wall. As of tonight, I have 3 rows left to sew. I must finish that before we go on vacation Saturday morning. That may not be too difficult…rain is in the forecast. But it’s predicted for AFTER my golf league tomorrow morning. Whew!


Happy Birthday, America, I said while listening to fireworks…

Yes it’s the 4th of July. It has been a month since my last post. Time flies in the summer around here. I am home in a quiet little neighborhood every day of the year except the Fourth of July. Really. You know…steady booms since dusk. I guess we just have to accept these things. Are we one of only a few who don’t go see or do fireworks today? We haven’t been to see fireworks since the kids were little. Crowds of people just aren’t John’s thing.

Since I’ve been here last, I’ve gotten a few things done. I’ve been golfing every week, but not well. (Can’t expect to if it’s only twice a week.) We’ve been rained out twice, and I’ve golfed with John only three times. We golfed today, and I have to admit, it was an excellent day. Beautiful weather, very few people on the course because most people are “at the lake.” I also golfed an 85, one of my best scores ever. 39 on the back which is excellent for me.

IMG_0397 On Sunday we rode up to the lake and visited with Dan, Kari, and the girls. I took the grandgirls berry picking. They weren’t really enthusiastic about it, but we had a good time and got some yummy berries. The season has just begun in Rice Lake, although it’s been in full swing in EC for two weeks. We were told that Sunday was the first good day for berries. Look at the size of those gems. They said the berries seemed to explode these last few days with the warm, sunny temps. The pie was great and we have lots left for strawberry sundaes.IMG_0394

Last Tuesday Renae and I went to Minneapolis to the Orpheum to see the 50th anniversary of Days of Future Past album by the Moody Blues.  I saw them 25 years ago for the 25th anniversary show. It’s very funny watching 60+somethings trying to rock to music that’s 50 years old. Enough said. Great concert. Visited with Kelly, stayed at The Hewing boutique hotel 3 blocks from Kelly’s, and had a wonderful time with a great friend. Days of Future Past is the only album I bought, and have, in vinyl, on tape, in cd, and digital forms. It’s exactly the same in all forms…

We are gearing up for our annual family vacation Up North. This year will be very different and we don’t know what to expect. No Iron River. We out-grew it. It’s off the Hayward Treelands Resort. We will all be together again, but I don’t get to be with my family. Boo. I will be bunking wth BIL and SIL and spouses. I promise to try to get along with them…

That will probably be what my next post is about. Can’t wait…


We Missed Spring

IMG_1294June is here; that means the peonies are in bloom.  These medium pink are always the first to show off.  In two or three days the white ones will come out, with the deep pink the last to show their faces.  They’re all in the same place with the same amount of light, but those deep colors just take a while longer. I have a bouquet in the house and we get whiffs of them every time we pass.

And just like that, summer has appeared.  Saturday was a full-fledged hot and humid day to get all my flowers potted. Eleven pots in the front yard and fifteen more in the back.  We are finally seeing some summer beauty and bounty as the garden is finally producing now that we have some heat. I think I should just let the pictures speak for themselves.

These are some of the pots out front that the walkers can enjoy.

Here’s the back yard and deck, from sunny to filtered sun where impatients grow profusely.

…and two of my gardens.  We are attempting to water our shade garden and raspberries with a drip system. It is going to take some getting used to the timing with some close watching. I also have to adjust the hose so everything gets the drink it needs. I will be cleaning up my perennial garden in the next few days, weeding it out and adding mulch. Those  pictures are for another day.

My veggie garden is ready to give us radishes, onions, and greens. Broccoli is wired off from the bunnies so they are growing nicely. This year I planted an heirloom tomato along with the usual better boy, early girl, Romas, and grape tomatoes.  Cukes are planted along the south side of the garage–nice and hot and sunny. Gladiolus and zinnias are there also so by August I should have lots of color there, with plenty of cut flowers for my house.

I’ve been waiting for this since March. It’s worth it.



Birthday Weekend

IMG_0316It started out on Saturday. I traveled to Kewaunee for a birthday gathering for my mother.  98 years. Hard to imagine but she’s doing fine. Her body doesn’t like movement, as her elbow, shoulder and finger joints refuse to move at times. But she gets around fine at her assisted living apartment, and wins most of the money at their sheepshead games–she’s the only one who can remember which cards are played.


Four of the siblings were there to celebrate with her. We gathered for the picture, but had to reposition ourselves so we stood in birth order. Totally Jim’s idea, but it works. Right to left is oldest to youngest in second picture. Oldest and youngest were unable to attend. Joanne, Lois (deceased), Elayne (deceased), Judy, me, Jim, Mari, Debbie. My mom was #2 of 6 and is the only one remaining in her family. But they produced lots of cousins for me: over 60. I know. Isn’t it great?

Then I had to return home so I could attend a party for Hailey. She turned 11 on Sunday. But first I had to make her birthday cake. Monster cookie icebox cake. She picked out the recipe, I made the cake. Cookie butter, cream cheese, whipped cream for the filling. Layered with chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chips, peanut butter cookies and m and m, caramel cookies and Heath pieces. More whipped cream on top. Yum.IMG_0326then she opened presents. I bought her a sun dress, shorts long enough to wear to school, and a summer top. Kelly got her nail polish and nail art, hair barrettes, and lip balm. She got lots of money, too, but presents are more fun to open.

I love Memorial Day weekend just for the birthdays. I got lots of family time with my mother, I stayed with my sister, Kelly spent 3 days with us and we saw the grandgirls and Dan and Kari. Couldn’t ask for better company.IMG_0372