Wednesday, September 30, 2020

So long, September...

September's song is nearing its final chords. I can put away the back-to-school blues and focus on how blessed I am to be retired this particular year. Almost all the local schools have had days off, dropped schedules, angry complaints, controversies, frightened students and sad teachers... This will be a defining moment for us all.... it is this generation's legacy to navigate school through a pandemic...  No politics here..... just teacher thoughts. And some fun memories and contacts with students!

I once taught a young Freshman gentleman whose name shall remain secret. He managed to tom-fool around and just not do enough for my merciful D-. That was pretty hard to do because one of my better known qualities was my mercy. I was not overly abundant with the higher grades without due effort, but to me, there was only 4 points between each grade level UNTIL that unfortunate slush pit of the F, which had 59 points!!!! So... this kid went home after numerous teacher consultations with his very irritated and frazzled mama throughout the quarter. I envisioned his interactions with parents, and I really felt he would be quite sad and scolded.... I thought about him throughout the evening, and the next day he seemed quite ok... I guessed he had not confided his grade yet... Here was our conversation:

Me: Did you tell your parents?
Him: Yep
Me: What happened?
Him: We got ready really fast and drove to Kirksville 
Me: Why?
Him: They bought me a brand new three-wheeler (back when they were a legal "thing.")
Me: Why?
Him: Because I got an F in your English class! (Huge grin)
Me: What?
Him: Yeah. They bought me a top of the line three-wheeler because you "gave" me an F!
Me: (crickets) finally.... I don't really get it.
Him: Oh, see?  Let me explain it to ya! (because I was evidently too dumb to get it on my own)-----  They needed to get me something good so they would have something to ground me off of.... in case I don't pass next quarter.

I have never forgotten how I felt at that moment... his happiness... my well---- "aghast-ness."..... you can imagine. I never found out the end of that story because they decided to pull him out of our school and try his luck elsewhere....  But I often think of that concept when I reward myself with a temptation (such as the kit for that quilted chicken above) for not having sewn one darn thing on my sewing machine yet... lol

I have been trying to soothe my feathers and plan out my lists and gifts and projects for the upcoming holidays. I am one to usually get a large portion done by mid-November (I learned my procrastination lessons a long time ago!) I just am spinning my wheels. I don't really foresee any true get-togethers... I know the reason for the season is not gifts!!!  I think the true meaning of Christmas is the only part worth celebrating this year, actually...  If we had a bigger nucleus family, we would get together, but... it is really just the two of us... I dunno... got any ideas? I have a couple, but I want to hear better ones! lol

Heather, another former student, took this picture last night! Is it not dreamy? That is a moon worthy of chasing!

I often tell my kitty, "You are just too cute for school!" 
She told me back this morning: "I know."

I have had a pen pal from Germany since 1997... He is married now with a sweet family, and we currently just keep in touch on Facebook... He posted this amazing banquet of bears... These bears are gonna have tummy aches I would imagine, but... an apple a day rule means they will not be seeing a doctor all fall and winter!

My son and his grandfather made these jack-o-lanterns when he was in fourth grade! I think if it isn't ruined or stolen I have a picture up "home" of him with all 10 of them... His former fourth grade teacher (also my former student and friend) sent me this text today and reminded me of how fun that was... This is hers... 

Have a great final day of September... October will gleam green and gold with a hint of frost... Are you ready?

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

How I lost my marbles... and my iron... and other kooky tales

Photo of Pixels brand shower curtain

Once upon a time a slender young girl sat happily on the gray, navy and pink Oriental wool carpet at her grandparents' two-story farmhouse. While her wonderful gramma made something fabulous in her pink kitchen, this girl and her grandfather shot marbles... They were beautiful! One huge green marble was very clear but severely chipped. Deep inside it was some peppermint colored glass. My grandfather "whispered" that this pretty taw had been attacked by my mother as a little girl because she used a big ball-peen hammer to get to that candy! Now my grandfather was nearly perfect, but whispering was clearly not his forte, so in came my gramma Minnie and apologetic mother to weigh in with their stories...[ I just have to insert an observation here. I thought then and I still think it... my mother was kind of a bad child to do that, and... she had to have really been hard up for candy!!! ]

Flash forward to all my "adult" life when said marbles lived in a cardboard cylinder my mother as a teen had carefully colored with a Santa and sleigh--- little, whimsical reindeer...  About two years ago I ran across the empty cardboard cylinder, but... You guessed it. I had lost my marbles. I looked everywhere! I was pretty sure I had lost them for good...  Everyone agreed it was bound to happen!

photo from

Yesterday, in order to finish my cross stitch, I looked high and low for an iron. Mom had two, and I had two... All are  AWOL. I love to iron, and I used to enjoy ironing nearly every item I washed--- not the towels and washcloths although I think my gramma did that. I clearly remember watching her iron washcloths and tea towels with carefully mended holes in them.  I asked her why bother mending or ironing such worn out daily things... Her answer... "Gayla, you may be poor all your life, but don't be sloven." lol... Well, oh wise prophetess, yep... I think you are right... When my laundry sits in a basket a couple days not EVEN folded I think "Uh-huh... poor AND sloven!" So, I guess all the irons got sold or lost in the big up-do a couple summers ago, and mine from that other life were no doubt stolen and resold (sloven?) ......and Minnie Samantha's granddaughter never  even noticed... So last night I ordered a cheap one from Case closed...

photos from Pinterest 

Oh, and the other day while I was moving in a replacement microwave, I knocked off a cake plate and antique fruit jar lamp... I handily caught the green depression cake plate before it crashed, and the lamp MIRACULOUSLY did not break... Guess what was inside that old fruit jar???? My marbles!!! Rejoice! I found my marbles! (But how many times have I moved, dusted and foo-fooed  with that lamp? Did Mom put them in there? Or gulp! Did I? --------- I  never once noticed what was rattling in there at all..)      --- probably just too preoccupied with finding my... yep... I won't even go there.

My lamp!!! My marbles! 

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Autumn Soup... and other delights!

I love to make soup and even though my son says soup with a beard is not fun, he enjoys a nice bowl  "most of the time." I created this delicious soup using a family favorite, white chicken chili, as inspiration.

Autumn Harvest Keto Soup

Chop, slice, or chunk the following and slowly saute in 

1/2 c. butter:

2 small summer yellow squash or small zucchini
1 onion
1 c. mushrooms or small drained can
1 T. crushed garlic

While simmering add spices to taste (You can leave out anything you don't like. I added quite a bit because there are a lot of bland ingredients in here.):

Chili powder 
red pepper flakes 

Add 1 22 oz. pkg frozen chicken strips (or chicken diced and precooked. I used the precooked Kirkland strips from Aldi's)
1 carton (32 oz.) chicken broth
1 cup water

When all this is hot, add

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese (cubed)
1-2 cups cheese shredded (You could use Velveeta, but I used sharp cheddar -- about a cup)
as much or as little fresh spinach as you want. It totally disappears like Autumn magic. It is a Keto thing... 

I heated it until cheeses melted.  (If not on keto, I would have thickened it with a flour/water shake-up mixture.....and left out the spinach... lol)

We have had this two days, and we are not tired of it (which is great because it made a big cast iron pot full.)

I am adding the names to my Mayflower sampler... that is rather slow work! So I started a couple other Fall stitches... It is totally the new cross-stitcher wheel house to have a ton of starts and roam about from one project to another... They call these WIPs (works in progress) and very few modern stitchers do "monogamous stitching" (what my mom and grandmothers called "finishing up the first thing before you start another".) Woo hoo! The serial project starter has found a home here! 

I love this piece called Queen of Autumn

And I am now finished this one shown partially done--- but have to fully finish it by Thursday

I made my hat all black because my witches like it that way! I have about half of my Halloween decorations out. I know. Who was that woman who promised herself not to decorate as much since nobody is coming? (I don't know her either.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hello, Autumn... the Queen is in her Court

Yesterday was a beautiful day... I make a big deal about the first day of every season, but I must confess I make a production out of Autumn!!! 

You may recognize the pretty flowers from my cousin... all trimmed and festive with a few silken leaves... The pumpkin is from QVC several years ago. When these flowers fade, I will use it to house my huge order of Fall coffee. I couldn't go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but good old Amazon provideth...  96 cups of coffee for $32.  (33 cents a cup) That is a pretty cool price for K-cups. My son likes plain coffee in the morning, and I like plain (and really love flavored) in the afternoon and late night... So only on weekends do I make a whole pot...  Here is the link if you think it sounds fun

I welcomed the start of Fall with candles and tea... and new plans for crafting. Some of my friends have been confirmed with COVID-19, and some have been exposed recently. Our schools in the area have shut down to only distance learning for a couple of weeks. It is just quite depressing... According to the local news we are actually experiencing the first wave since we were practically untouched until recently. I think that translated to the realization that my son and I have sequestered since February... but really only needed to start in August... lol... Oh, well... as I used to say all the time, "Whatever!" My mother despised that exclamation for some reason!

I have a fun cross-stitch chart waiting her turn (she may nudge the Mayflower a bit!) And I ordered some pretty yarn for crochet projects (since I had none here stashed in multiple spots!!! ????? WHATEVER!)

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, September 21, 2020

A Teensy Look at Summer 2020

Whimsy and Hugs! Summer says goodbye today... Hello, Autumn! I really enjoy cooler weather and even the thoughts of Winter.

Thought it might be fun to revisit the "top ten" of the summer season.

Probably our biggest change has been starting the Keto way of eating. I don't really love it, but I have stayed faithful. My son has seen amazing recovery from his health issues and a wow! weight loss. I am pretty sure I have lost a little, but not sure how much since I didn't weigh...  At any rate, this way of eating/diet has been good for us as the sheltering in place and further staying in had been much too conducive to cooking and eating our way through the Pandemic...  Nobody is a poster child of health here, but we'll get better!

Summer and porch sitting are so compatible. We have a front porch that gets the coolest breezes and shades morning, noon, and night.  My daddy sat out there for hours, just watching the natural progress of the world. I always think of him when I am out there.... we have a wild kingdom at our windows... 

I really did not expect to spend so much time on this stitching! I may be all 66 days on the first third... (Full disclaimer: This is NOT mine... I am not this far!) However, I am indebted to this sampler for rekindling my enjoyment of cross stitching... I forgot how much I loved it!

No summer (or any season) recap is complete without a nod to our little ruler of the roost...  She helped me clean and organize my Studio where I made probably 100 cards and 25 notebooks and journals this summer... (I need to buy stock in glue!)

This is my son! He is soooo much fun to have around. We laugh and talk and play with the cat... Watching first one series and then another is our plan... Right now we have started Criminal Minds. It is really well-done, but hard to watch for the tender-hearted... I think it says a lot to read the main actor, Mandy Patinkon, quit after a couple seasons because the show's content was hurting his soul! I imagine a couple seasons at a time is all we will manage, too... My favorite series we have watched was The Mentalist. I had watched it in real time through the years, but my son hadn't seen it... We also adored Everbody Loves Raymond, Game of Thrones, (minus some of the last season), Goliath, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, Designated Survivor, Madame Secretary, Stranger Things, The Umbrella Academy, Fargo, Sneaky Pete, Ozark, The Witcher, and The Mandolorian.  We generally only watch one episode of something a  night... By day--- He works from home (computer programming) and generally keeps our spirits up...   

His birthday falls at the end of summer, and this year's gifts were a real treat to make. 

I am not sure it is appropriate to count decorating for Fall in my Summer Top Ten. It feels a bit like cheating! However... I really do enjoy seasonal changes in the house--- even just for myself. 

I finally made it through all the kitchen cabinets--- ordering, trying to match equipment with storage with uses... Organizing literature and papers seems easy to me, but I am quite weak organizing anything concrete... I failed with the laundry room yet another season... (unless today brings a miracle team like those Amish girls.) I don't even plan to work in there (Shocker! You don't see a picture of that room on this list, do ya?)

Summer's first week saw the arrival of the Grand Fairy of Kensington Gardens. my surprise birthday gift from my son. She makes me smile!

Summer has seemed quite strange without the usual visits from friends. We have had a couple porch picnics and lots of phone calls and cards. I learned the ropes of Zoom meetings with new friends and a Bible study... and I have been diligent to stay off the computer most of every day (Vertigo Awareness!)  while meeting with so many of you and your wonderful blogs at night. When I talk of you to my son or my friends here, I always say "I have a friend from--- insert your location here---... My blogging friends are a special part of my spirit! I appreciate you and your inspiration so much... 

Have a lovely ultimate day of Summer.... See you in the Fall!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

New Everything

I guess it is New Blogger and New Facebook. Wow! They weren't kidding that the old was going away.  Okay... I can just go with the flow ..... a good plan since the options are not there anyway...

I ordered some Mayflower stamps from the Post office online. Also picked up the Halloween Forever stamps. 

This is the final weekend of summer! Going to make spaghetti squash with that delicious Rao Sauce tomorrow! I am still determined to keep on with Keto since my son is having so much success... 

My mother put in all these beautiful stitches! Every fall we have this quilt out somewhere. It is really hard to use heirloom beautiful handwork, don't you think? However... I can't see my son hauling out much holiday decor or rotating quilts and handwork. He's the guy who thinks it is a-ok to put out a mat with holly and the words Season's Greetings for 365 days straight... because it didn't say which season.... and doesn't holly have to grow year round? He has a point I guess. 

Have a great weekend!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I'm not kidding anyone!

Good morning!  This is a little long so you might need coffee!!!

I just want you to know I am not above lying to myself. I make effort to be truthful to all my family and friends, but when it comes down to me? Ummm... not as much. So recently I resorted to a tiny bit of retail therapy under the guise of "possibly" getting in some early Christmas shopping.

Obviously photo is pre-keto! No popcorn either! 


Well, no. I am probably NOT giving any of my stash away... So farewell to the Santa aspect of my purchases! I want it all! lolol... Little greedy mice have to admit it when they are hogging the cheese! 
First, I did not spend a ton. Second, I supported some independent private artisans from Ebay and Etsy. Third, I think I deserved it... lol  

My first haul is the only one that has arrived so far! Those of you who have followed me for long remember how much joy I derived from tablescapes and little parties at my table. All through my years of caring and helping Mom I was always changing out our dishes, "ordering dishes," and having little parties. Boom! The pandemic screeched the brakes on that ---for sure! So I have been enjoying my old, old red table in the kitchen... just for me. We eat the only meal (I say "meal" loosely if you can call keto a meal. Is there a meal really without a potato? lol) in the living room watching a TV show...

So, I have been loving the old table I inherited from my great grandmother in the mornings with my journals or devotions, in the daylight with my cards, letters, (bills) and notes... and at night with candles and magical dreaming... Long story short... I decided to choose some cute center quilted table mats for sparkling up the seasons and days. I found a really reasonable and prolific seamstress on Ebay HERE  .... 

Welcome to my table, said the spider to the fly! 
These are a bit creased from the mail and the cabinet I use for storage,,, Each one is reversible so I got only half as many as it seems! 

Valentine or Summer

Early Autumn

Brrrr! January

Autumn or Summer. The pumpkin syrup gets a B/B+

Love little mug mats ... all yellow print on reverse

Thanksgiving November

Merry Christmas!

Any time!

Morning Riser!

But first, Coffee!

Summer harvest

 Country Fields

So... that's my stash... Ready for a table, a cabinet, a basket topper. Hope you enjoyed! 

Whimsy and Hugs!