Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holly and Heather's Excellent Adventure

The day after Christmas Heather arrived at Charlotte, NC airport, and I arrived at Philly airport. Both our planes were delayed an hour, due to the planes coming in late from snowy places. We met up in Minneapolis for our flight to Omaha. We barely made it- 2/3 of the passengers had boarded when we got to the gate! Minneapolis airport is huge!
The flight from Minneapolis to Omaha is only 48 minutes long, and the Omaha airport is small. Ben and his Dad, Randy, picked us up. The Midwest blizzard had just ended that morning, and the roads were pretty awful, but they got us to their house. You can see how deep their snow was! It was great to see Ben and Manda, meet Randy and Ben's sister Becca, and meet Polly again.
Monday Polly took me to 3 quilt shops, then we met up with the kids at a resturant called Heartlands. They had a display of a gingerbread village of Whoville (from the Grinch Stole Christmas).
We had a nice lunch that started out with a shared fondue appetizer. It was the first time I'd had fondue, ever. The menu was like a book, and it was so hard to choose!
To backtrack, Sunday was Manda and Ben's wedding shower. Polly's friend Pat and her daughter Kim were the hostesses. They have a wonderful finished basement. Because of the blizzard cleanup, only about a dozen people were able to get to the shower. We had delicious food, and Heather had saved her shower veil, so we put it on Manda.

They got lovely gifts, and a lot of gift cards. This is a bamboo cutting board. Ben's friend Kyle and Kyle's wife Danielle are on the couch with them. Kyle will be the Best Man at the wedding.
Ben's dad gave him a set of wrenches.
Polly and Randy gave them Hawaii honeymoon clothes!

Monday night we got a mini tour of Omaha, which seems like a nice city, and had dinner downtown at the Spaghetti Factory. Yesterday morning Heather and I flew home via Chicago. It was Heather's birthday, and she was eager to get home to Ed, Eddie and Julianna. A couple hours after we left, Becca flew out to Seattle to visit family and her boyfriend.

Last night Manda called me with wonderful news. Ben's family's family cat, Quincy, had been missing since November 1. He was an indoor/outdoor cat. They'd been searching, and checking with the Humane Society every couple of days. Last night they got a phone call.

Quincy had shown up at a lady's door, and she'd fed him, then taken him in at the first snow. Yesterday she decided to check with the humane society to see if anyone was looking for him. Luckily, he was chipped, so they wanded him and called Polly.

So Quincy is now home safe and sound, and has lost his outdoor privileges. Ben and Manda continue their visit til Saturday, then fly back to Houston and Kitten.

And the beat goes on!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

It's been a nice, quiet day. I met up with Mike, Donna, Michael and Jake at Mom's this morning for bagels and donuts and gifts. Came home to do laundry and pack for my trip tomorrow. Ralph is working- his last ER Christmas! Steph is going to Kate's for dinner, and when they heard I was alone, I was invited but declined. I enjoyed the quiet time too much to want to go out.

Heather and I both printed out our boarding passes. She flies out of Charlotte, I fly out of Philly, and we meet in Minneapolis and fly to Omaha. We hope. The Midwest is having a blizzard for Christmas! The blizzard should be ending around now, and hopefully they are better at cleanup than south jersey is! Rapid Rover picking me up at 0900 tomorrow morning.

The reason for our trip is that a friend of Polly's (Ben's mom) is giving a bridal/groom shower for Ben and Manda, and invited us. When I talked to Manda today, the house where the shower is being held didn't have power, which could be a problem!

It's warmish here, and raining. Not supposed to go below freezing tonight, which is good. I'm mostly packed, just have to throw in pj's and my pillow. I always get a slight case of pre-flight jitters.

So we'll see how it goes!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas Celebration

This year we had our Christmas on December 19, at Stephanie's apartment, in the blizzard. Luckily, Manda and Ben flew in the day before! Manda always closes her eyes to the flash!
Steph and her little family. Toast is in the foreground in her sweater and Whiskey is in his fleece. He was a rescue from Georgia (or so they tell us) and is not amused by the snow! Steph says he shakes his feet!
Heather and Ed brought their two little reindeer with them.
Of course I couldn't get them both to look at the camera at the same time! Too much going on! Steph's apartment has a real fireplace!
Amanda and Whiskey were cuddling.
Pop Pop Ralph amused the kids with a sock. Julie had these jingly things in her hair that were adorable!
Amanda gave Julianna butterfly wings, which she loved.
Ben was in the real Sherwood Forest this year, and brought back a Robin Hood hat and ruff for Eddie, so of course they had to have a sword fight!
Sisters and puppies!
Toast was either exhausted or bored, so she took a nap. What a position!
Mom Florence with two of her great-grandchildren. She has a total of 8, four girls and four boys, ranging from 13 down to 2.

It was a lovely day, in spite of the blizzard. We rarely celebrate Christmas on December 25, because of the nurses in the family. Those darned hospitals, they insist on being open 24/7! Heather is working Christmas Eve and Christmas night, and Ralph works Christmas day. This will be Ralph's last Christmas to work- he'll retire next September!

Ben and Manda flew out this morning. They were worried that they wouldn't be able to get to Omaha, where there is also a blizzard predicted. I just spoke to Manda, and it is overcast in Omaha at the moment, and they are getting ready to take off from Houston to Omaha. They'll be with Ben's family for a week.

Heather and Ed drove home yesterday to NC, where there is no snow, at least in their town.

Merry Christmas everyone, no matter how or when you celebrate!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowy Solstice

This is our end of the street, on a slightly rainy day. I took it from the front landing- the driveway is on the left, and the street goes up the hill, then slopes down and up again at the main road. We're 1/3 of a mile back from the main road.
This is the same view Saturday morning, when it had been snowing for several hours.
Also Saturday morning, looking to the right from the front landing. The road ends where that little piece of lattice is.
Our back deck on Saturday morning.
Our back deck on Sunday morning- the total was 20 inches of snow!
Our street is buried under there somewhere!
That's how deep it was on top of the railing!

So Mom is home and fine, but hasn't been out of the house since she was discharged. Brother John came up for a real short visit- last Saturday night til Tuesday morning. Then Heather and Ed and the kids got to the O'Flynn's on Thursday night, and Ben and Manda got here Friday around noon. They all went to a local bar for a concert Friday night. Late Friday night the snow started. And it snowed, and snowed, and snowed some more.

Presents and dinner were planned for Steph's apartment. She worked very hard cooking and decorating, and after many phone conversations, we decided to go for it.Mom Mary Jane said we were all nuts, and she wasn't going out in the blizzard. Mom Florence was more adventurous, and we picked her up. There was about 6 inches at that point, and the roads were not bad. We got behind some fool who was driving 8 MPH, and had to stay behind him for several miles. We got to Steph's around one, and Heather and Ed arrived shortly afterwards. We had a lovely get together, then headed back into the blizzard.

The roads were in lousy shape going home, and we weren't sure we'd make it up the hill to get into town. We could smell the tires, and hear them spinning, but we made it! We were afraid to try to get to Mom Florence's, so she stayed here all night. Yesterday, Sunday, Ralph used the snowblower to dig us out, and took Mom home in the truck and did both Mom's driveways. The rest of us stayed in all day.

We ventured out a while ago. Once you get off the side street, the roads are fine. We trekked off t the diner for lunch, then Steph, Ben and Manda went off to do a few errands. I'm hoping for more cleaning and melting tomorrow, so the family can come see Heather and Ed before they head back to NC on Wednesday, and Ben and Manda before they take off for Omaha on Thursday.

And tonight is The Longest Night! Melissa Etheridge has a cool song by that name on her Christmas CD. A Peaceful Solstice to all!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another quick update

My Mom came home from the hospital yesterday, and is delighted to be home and sleeping in her own bed! So far the sinus rhythm is maintaining.

My brother John gets in tonight (Saturday) for a short visit with Mom and us. He hasn't been up since last December, and had made these arrangements weeks ago.

I got my Christmas letter written, and half the cards addressed! Then I ran out of cards and have to get more.

After work, I laid down around 7 and fell asleep til after midnight! I'm almost ready to go back to bed- lots of things I have to do tomorrow and Sunday.

I had a dream that I was outside with Steph's dogs, and one of them was down a rabbit tunnel (is there such a thing?) and coming toward me, and behind her we could hear digging. As she emerged, we saw a skunk behind her. As it started to spray, I grabbed the dogs and ran into the house, where Steph was. Steph was looking for a screwdriver for a new friend. I know, it doesn't make any sense- that's why it was a dream!

Good night!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quick update.

Mom was cardioverted successfully today- she's back in normal sinus rhythm. She may come home tomorrow, on a med to keep the sinus rhythm.

We're supposed to get a storm tonight, but it should be all rain for us. We had a dusting of snow over the weekend, which looked pretty coming down.

Today is my son-in-law Ed's birthday. Happy Birthday!

And the beat goes on!


Thursday, December 3, 2009


We're not starting out the month real well. My mom was admitted to the hospital today with a fast and irregular heartrate. She's hoping to be home in a few days.

I can't believe Christmas is 3 weeks from tomorrow! How did that happen? I guess I haven't been paying enough attention. This weekend has to be shop weekend.

We have December birthdays! Ed's is on December 8, David's is the 19th, and Heather's is December 29. I have two friends who have daughters born the same week as Heather.

It rained very hard all night, but today was almost 60 and nice. Better that than snow!

And so it goes!
Holly (and I made sure I'm on my own blog this time!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Holiday

We had a wonderful meal at Mike and Donna's, then went to Kevin and Naureen's for dessert. By then, Ben and Manda had been up about a day and a half, so we didn'tstay long. Since their flight had been at 0600, and they had to be at the airport by o430 or so, and it's an hour or so from their apartments, they never really went tobed Wednesday night. We all lazed around on Friday, til they went to Steph's for the evening.
This is an Origami bag, made from a tutorial on the HGTV message boards. It's about 6 inches tall, and uses a focus fabric and a coordinating fabric. It was really easy to make.
]This is the bag with the drawstrings pulled. Ribbon can be used, but it gets slippery and the bag doesn't stay closed, they tell me. So I made the fabric drawstrings.
This is looking down into the bag. Manda gets this one, and it might be a camera bag. She and Ben put their orders in for smaller ones, to hold their dice for their role-playing games. They both pulled fabric for their bags. Ralph wants one for a camera bag, but doesn't care which fabric I use.
Monday morning we got up at 0445, for a 0530 Rapid Rover pickup. Ben and Manda are pretending to be awake.
Manda got her eyes open- Ben was still trying. It was such a nice visit, and the 4 days went by so fast! But they'll be back in 18 days for Christmas! And Heather and Ed, Eddie and Julianna will also be up. Heather has to work Christmas Eve, so they're leaving the 23rd, and Manda and Ben will head to Nebraska on the 24th. We'll do Christmas on the 2o, 21 or 22- we haven't decided yet.

And tomorrow is December 1!


This is so funny! I did this entire post, with pictures, and published it. Unfortunately, it showed up on Ben's blog! I was looking at it, trying to figure out why the format was different. Then I realized that it didn't say South Jersey Quilter across the top, but said Transmissions from the Outside! (That'll teach you to not log out, Ben!) Ralph had to cut and paste my words, and I had to redo the pix. It was so funny that I had to call Manda and tell her!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving is almost here!

I'm home from work, with four days off to look forward to! It'll be busy, with Thanksgiving, and Manda and Ben coming home. We're going to my brother Mike and sister in law Donna's for dinner, then off to nephew Kevin and niece in law Naureen's for dessert.

I'm most thankful for Ralph. Two years ago he had a sudden onset horrible headache, which turned out to be a benign brain tumor. The neurosurgeon removed the tumor thru his nose- he didn't even have to shave off his mustache! And he was home 48 hours postop! It was a scary time for all of us.

I'm thankful for the Moms, Mary Jane and Florence, who are always there for me. I'm thankful for my three beautiful daughters, who are all so different and yet so alike. I'm thankful for my wonderful son in law- I never worry about my daughter's safety or well being, because Ed is such terrific husband for her. I'm thankful for my future son in law. It's so hard to have Manda so far away, and I'm glad Ben is there for and with her. And both the guys are just great guys!

I'm thankful for my brothers and my brother in law. Thanks to the brothers, I have the best three sisters in law that a person can have!

I have plenty of nephews and nieces, and they're all wonderful! And friends, those that I see all the time, and those that wander in and out of my life. And granddogs- now there's 3 of them!

And of course, Eddie and Julianna! The cutest of the cute, the loviest of the lovies!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Suzy Homemaker on Speed

That's what I feel like today! Toast was curled up on the couch, staying out of the way and looking cute.
Before I got started with the cleaning, I went to Target to do some Christmas shopping, and get some cleaning supplies. Ralph, Toast and Miss Millie were relaxing together.
Millie gets very upset if you try to move when she is laying on you! I went through the fridge and tossed everything that was expired. Some of it was very expired! Then I scrubbed the shelves, and even the front of the fridge. I moved to the pantry closet, known as the Black Hole, and shelf by shelf, got rid of expired things. Same with the lazy susan cabinet. Scrubbed the stovetop, countertops, sinks, and microwave. Ralph did his part, taking out the trash and recycleables, and vaccuuming the kitchen floor. He even made dinner!
It's getting dark entirely too early these days, and we have another month til the Solstice! After our sloppy joe's dinner, I changed the sheets on our bed. I still have laundry to do, change and wash the sheets in the guest room, and both bathrooms to clean. And somewhere along the way I have to make a food shopping list and go shopping!

I managed to finish the snugglie's for Sam and Lou, and I have to deliver them this week. Can't have cold friends! This week we have full days Monday and Tuesday, and a half day on Wednesday, which is great. And Manda and Ben arrive Thanksgiving morning- the first time Manda has been home for Turkey Day since 1998!

And B101 has started playing Christmas music 24/7! I had the radio on all day while I was cleaning.

And so it goes!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Ides of November

They say time goes by faster as you get older. "They" are sure right! I can't believe it's mid-November already! And dark before 5 pm!

I've been a real bum today. Got up at 0630 and felt like I had the flu- warm, nausea, ick. Went back to bed til 0930, and felt much better. Took the dog out, fed the horde, checked the computer, and went back to bed!

I've got my second load of laundry on, and Toast is lounging on the couch. I just finished Linda Howard's new book, "Ice". It was short, more of a novelet, but I enjoyed it. I just started the new JD Robb, "Kindred in Death".

Yesterday I went to a new quilt shop, Atlantic County Quilts, in Hammonton. I was very impressed. Nice large, well lit space, a good sized classroom, pleasant people working there. They promise to offer lots of classes in varying skill levels, which is good. I bought two kits there, one for a wintery tablerunner, and one for a holiday/winter wallhanging.

I finished up the stack of criss cross coasters I've been working on. Some for each of the girls, and even some for me! I managed to get into the sewing room every night this week! Having off Wednesday for Veterans Day made it so much easier to get thru the week! This week is a full week for staff- the kids have a half day Wednesday. And next week we have school Monday, Tuesday, and a half day for all on Wednesday. I truly love November!

And the beat goes on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

We live in the land of the free, because of the brave.

There are a lot of Veterans in my family. Ralph's Dad, Rocco, was a Marine in WWII. Ed's Dad Ed was also a Marine, as was Sam's husband Lou. My grandfather, dad and Ralph were all Navy. My cousin George is retired Army. Jay's brother and Bonk are currently in the service and have been overseas. My friend Jean's son Jim is Navy SeaBees and has been overseas and is going again. One of our security officers at work, Mr. R. is Army Reserves.

My family has been fortunate that no one has been killed in action. One of our town's families had a 20 year old KIA early in this war. and the entire town mourned with them.

"If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you're reading this in English, thank a soldier."

To al the Veterans, thank you.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, Monday

Miss Millie wanted to have a quiet weekend curled up in a blanket on the floor. Toast couldn't figure out why Millie didn't want Toast to cuddle.
Steph and Whiskey came to visit. Whiskey wanted to investigate Miss Millie, and got smacked by her. She didn't want to be friendes.
Later, Toast snuggled in a blanket on the couch.
I finished Heather's table runner. It was a quilt as you go, and is reversible. This is the winter side. It's 22 x 44 inches.
Here's a closeup of the blocks on the winter side.
This is the fall side. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
Here's a closeup of the blocks of the ball side. Each block finished at 7 inches square. I used the pattern from Reversible Quilts by Sharon Pederson. One of the first quilts I made, Autumn Garden for my mom, is the same pattern, but with bigger blocks. And I made a queen sized one called Winter Forest for Steph from this pattern.

It was so nice having the 4 days off! I felt like I got a lot done, including taking a car load to Goodwill, of mostly Steph's discarded but still like new clothes and shoes. And this week we're off Wednesday for Veteran's Day.

Steph pointed out that there are only 2+ weeks til Thanksgiving, and Manda and Ben are coming for that long weekend, so the whole house has to be raked out- I mean cleaned. And before it can be cleaned, it has to be decluttered. That means Ralph has to take all his tools out of the dining room and put them away! Since he has the entire basement and garage to house said tools, I don't think that's unreasonable.

Toast is still here, and Steph and Whiskey are still getting to know each other. Steph's goal is to take Toast home the week after Thanksgiving.

And the beat goes on!


Friday, November 6, 2009

November is here!

Trying to take pictures of these two was so funny! Toast would sit real nice, but Whiskey wanted to help me or run around. This was the night that we babysat Whiskey. I think Toast was happy when he went home- he kept jumping on the couch and landing on her!
Little Mike graduated from Motorcycle Repair Institute in Orlando, and he's home. Of course there was a party, and Big Mike toasted him. Mikey says he's never leaving home again, which makes Jake very happy.
Grandmom Terri got him this great cake!
We're all happy that he's home, and Donna says she's never going to Florida again, til it's time to take her grandchildren to Disney.
This was my favorite quilt at the Berry Baskets quilt show. The card said the quilter got the pattern at a Western Washington Shop Hop, so I came home and googled "Sage Country Christmas Tree quilt" which gave me the designer's website. That led me to her distributors, so I called one, and the pattern is now on my kitchen table!
This is a kit that I bought. A center panel, with borders. I took a picture, so I know how to put it together.

We were off Tuesday for Elec. Day, so I celebrated and went to the dentist. We were off yesterday and today for NJEA Convention. Yesterday Steph and I went to Christmas Tree Shoppe and got some good buys, then to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Today I'm going to lunch with Ralph and his mom, then they're going to the movies and I'm coming home to quilt!

I have all the square made-18- for Heather's table runner. I have to square them up, and put the binding on. It's a quilt as you go, and is fall on one side, and winter on the other.

Novemeber birthdays! Kevin is 35 today! We also have Joseph turning 23, and sisters in law Donna and Morgan both have birthdays. And Manda and Ben got their plane tickets- they'll fly out of Houston at 0600 on Thanksgiving morning, and leave early Monday morning.

And the beat goes on!