Friday, December 30, 2016

FUN  WITH THE OLD, EVEN IN BLACK AND WHITE


Roy and I took a short back roads trip yesterday from our house to Mexico, Missouri and back.  Of course we stopped for a little shopping and lunch, but main idea of trip was to take photos of old buildings, especially old barns.  We also had some time to stop at the South Fork of the Salt River and walk along the beach area where people put in boats and kayaks, canoes.  I could see myself doing that, but right now I always have plenty to do.  Years ago I did do canoeing and enjoyed it.

The photography in black and white does capture the old structures in a special way.  



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Letter writing and Snail Mail


Just finishing typing several letters to people in my life that do not use their computers for facebook, or even email.  Actually there are people like that in my life yet and it is okay because I enjoy sending notes and letters.  How, you say, can I as I do email, facebook, blog!   I do enjoy it because I enjoy receiving letters and cards and notes in the mail.  It is like receiving something I can spend time with during lunch or savor after lunch like a good dessert.  I feel the same way about my wonderful "bella Grace" Magazine I receive quarterly.  It is good to savor these treasures as they are few and far between.

So I pile my letters and cards up in my desk in the study and frequently take a look at how the pile is, and head over to my desktop to type.  I used to make my living typing many moons ago and enjoy the craft.  The people receiving the letters often hand write back to me and that is also nice.  I do notes that way and cards, but when I am actually going to type a letter it will become three pages so is best typed.  I enjoy using different fonts for different people.

One of my friends likes cursive writing on the typed text so I always use this for her.  My cousin has eye issues so I make my font strong and larger.  Oh, this computer thing is so great. 

I encourage you to send notes to people, type or write a letter.  I know it may seem old fashioned, but, it really is okay to keep some of these old fashioned things going.  They have value I believe.  I know it brings a smile to me each time I get one in our country mail box.   Actually there is something to a nice large country mail box also.  I love my larger box that my postal person can put some packages in and not have to drive down our circular drive to get out and knock on my door.  Of course, by the time she gets down the drive and in front of the house my little dogs are letting me know someone is here.  Of course it is always good to see her for a few minutes.  Oh, that makes me think that I need to get my container of fudge/cookies put together for her Christmas gift to put in my country mail box for this special servant.  Yes, it is also old fashioned I suppose but it is also kind to remember the people who serve you all year long.

So write some notes, letters, cards and give your mail person a gift, your paper person if you have that at our house, or others.    Blessings.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Icy Winter Day


Although it is yet to become winter, here in NE MO it is wintery for sure.  We have a beautiful scene with ice covering tree branches, porches, fences and also the roads.  Any cars that go past our place are moving very slowly, some actually turn around in our driveway and head back from whence they came.  I don't blame them.  Our country county road heading around hills and curves makes for terrible travel in the ice or snow as it has no edges to turn off on, just steep ditches if you slid off.  I have seen many accidents and also a huge semi slid part way off the road some years ago and just hanging in the ditch.  So my thought is to stay in and stay home.  It is even hard to stand up and walk outside thus why drive!

It makes for a pretty scene but also a harsh one as if we get any wind, the electrical lines sometimes snap, branches of trees break and are lost from the pretty trees we live around.  I like the photos I can take, if I could stand up to take them.  I know this is silly, but I could put on my long zoom and take photos from the house but I don't think I will.

My little dogs are hard pressed to walk on this stuff and do not enjoy running in the backyard like they usually do.  They like the snow but not this ice.  So sorry for them when they have to go out.  I must say they do go out but only for short periods. 

The worst is to come tonight as we are to hit -2 degrees which is cold for our area of the world.  I am thankful for my warm cozy house.  I am thankful our furnace is in good care and is caring for us.  I am thankful for a stash of food, things to do and just comfortable indoor life for now.

As I will miss my walking today, I will read more, or spend some time quilting or knitting which are all very enjoyable.  I will nap with my little dogs and snuggle under a homemade quilt in my comfy recliner while watching some of my college class on dvd.  

There are always so many things to do in this country life, and is it not silly that just because I cannot safely travel out in my yard and surrounding country area, I miss it so much and sit and think of ways I could do it safely only to think how my doctor would sigh if I had to tell him my silly thoughts and plight of broken bones because of it.

So all who are tucked in in similar situations, take a nap and dream of a nice soft snowfall and walks in the country as I plan to do.

Friday, December 16, 2016

OUR COUNTRY:


In light of the turmoil with the election and after, our country is so astir with anxiety and fear.  Some people seem to believe it will all be okay, but they are blinded to the fact that things are changing or planning to change in a harsh way in our country, as it has changed in our campaign time for hatred and meanness.

It troubles me as I love my country.  It does not matter who you voted for, but it does matter that we now stand together to heal our country and also to be the watch dogs for keeping our democracy and liberties for all.

As a country person, rural America, I am not someone who follows blindly and I do not like to be pegged as one who would vote for someone like trump.  I did not.  I love my country and its freedoms, even to vote for who I want.  I do not want to be lumped into the group of women who voted for him either, because I did not.  I am a college educated white woman and a retired woman.

It is now that I look at the Off the Grid things and do not laugh as much at how hard people make it for themselves.  I also see that they are insulating themselves some when things may turn bad in our wonderful nation.

I am not someone to leave my country because of this horrible man and his ideas.  He does scare me and I do not believe we have all the checks in place to stop him from many things that he "will" do to harm our country and benefit himself.  It is just a shame.

In saying all of this, I am full of hope as I always am.  In the process, I will listen and watch and take measures to safeguard my style of life.  It may not be Off Grid, but it is rural living and I enjoy it.  I have thought about a wood furnace.  We have well water and we are not talking solar panels.  I had thought of a windmill at one time but we do not get sufficient flow in our hollow.  I have a stock pile of things usually and am pretty self sufficient but still rely on my internet and electricity.  We have a gas pipeline through our land and get reasonable rates for our heating, but can change to wood.  We also are looking at generators.  All the while my hope is in the fact that I am a survivor and I believe I can not leave my country and survive this time, maybe helping some others along the way.

Never give up on yourself, your country and your hope for a better future.

Monday, December 12, 2016

COUNTRY LIVING

Recently I joined a group on facebook called Off Grid and Homesteading.  Now I do not do either.  My grandparents did homestead years and years ago when they came from FRANCE to Canada and down into Wisconsin to a homestead.  It was amazing to recall that they built and lived in a two story square log house for years and years, raising nine children.  
But for me, country life is enough.  I do not believe I could do the off grid thing as I like my comforts.  I do try to conserve energy where I can and recycle and garden and can and make jams and jellies.  I bake, cook, sew, quilt, knit and crochet.  But off grid to me means generators, gas or kerosene lights, cold houses or way hot with the wood stoves.  I like my comforts but admire these who do the off grid and homesteading style of living even if they truely are not homesteading, just living country life at its roughest I suppose.

Now I did live in a camper for five months in Colorado and enjoyed the experience, but a camper with stove, oven, bathroom, shower, and furnace.  It was fun and my children have lots of fun memories.  

I glamped recently for three seasons but also had a nicer camper and comforts for my Daisy Mae Foxhound and myself.  At times we were the only ones at the Federal Reserve and it was very pleasant and enjoyable to watch nature and the quiet.

Living were I do on 2.5 acres with our farm 1/2 mile down the road offers me lots of outdoor time, plus garden and potato patch area and woods by the house and nature, coyotes, deer, eagles, many other birds and animals also.  I like country life and always will.  

When I come inside I like my three bedroom brick ranch style home and bathrooms and full basement that is also heated.  I like the furnace running and it is gas which we get a big break on because the pipeline runs through our land.  We have a hot tub in the basement and it is wonderful.  I have areas for my yoga, painting, quilting, and sewing and also knitting area for my circular sock knitting machine.  I enjoy bedrooms and nice dining and living room area.  Oh, favorite, of course is my kitchen.  Country decor and country kitchen for me to play and bake and enjoy.  Most of my company sits around the kitchen table to visit.  That is country life.  

Bless those who want more "roughing it". 

x

BAKING........YUMMY


Christmas time seems to be when many people make their special recipes.  I bake all year round and love to bake, considering it an art form when I take fresh bread, etc. from my oven.  But I also save a few cookie recipes for the holiday season.

My grandchildren especially ask if or when I am going to bake peppernuts or sugar cookies with piles of buttery frosting on them.  I was asked about fruit cake and scones and breads of every kind.  So my children generally don't ask because they know it will happen in due time.  In recent years I have been baking a double batch of one type of cookie and handing them out to all who request but then we eat the rest before I make more.  I have gotten away from having bowls and jars of cookies in my pantry simply because I am retired and can do it this way at this season of my life.

Today I am trying my new stove, a LG convection bake/roast and regular bake and also a proof oven for my breads (wonderful idea).  I have scones in the freezer for their needed 30 minutes before baking them.  These are dried cherry and almond with almond flavor plus some vanilla also.  They look yummy raw but will be better baked and I know I can wait.

I plan to also make windmill cookies again today.  They are so tasty.  Maybe I will get at the sugar cookies and the thumbprints next week and yes.....not last or least...I have to make fudge.  

Christmas time is a wonder for so many reasons so please enjoy it.  Bake just one thing special for the season.  It will taste so "seasonal".


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas Carols:


The Holiday season is upon us.  It can be marvelous or horrible, attitude and organization are a key.
My holidays are always joyful for me at least, I do not take responsibility to making others happy as they can only do that for themselves. 

No matter if I were all alone, I would bake, have gifts to give, and decorate.  I would play Christmas music and watch Christmas specials on television.  I would always read a Christmas novel by Debbie Macomber.  
I would even get out my Christmas sheet music and books and play away on my piano to enjoy my own merry music.

While listening and playing music I could not help but take a great look around my home.  Starting in the dining room and kitchen you could say that it is "Here Comes Santa Claus" as I have vintage santas all over both rooms.  In the living room I would have to call it "Away in The  Manger" as I collect manger sets and have about seven over the fireplace mantel, one on the television stand, and more on my antique blanket keeper.  Then the largest bathroom has angels so it would be "Angels We Have Heard on High".  One soft looking angel hangs from the window closure by a ribbon and is decorated with feathers.  So very pretty.  The smaller bathroom is filled with snowmen of every size and shape and would be "Frosty the Snowman" for sure.  The other rooms, bedrooms, study, and basement area are not decorated accept maybe with a pretty holiday pillow handmade of course by this country woman.

Now to add to all of that I would have to say that the kitchen, dining room and living room could also be called "Oh Christmas Tree" as they each have a tree in them.  The kitchen has a counter top antique tree with small ornaments and wooden decorative chain.  Very vintage looking and eclectic.  The dining room has a full size tree with lights and tinsel garland and antique tea spoon collect with red bows.  Really fits in with all the tea pots and cups decorating the shelves on three of the walls.  The living room has a large tree with vintage and homemade ornaments.  Some are so old, from my grandmother, that they have paper tops instead of metal.  I have collected ornaments from the many places I have traveled, so it is really a memory tree also.  

Now I encourage you to go around your house or one room if that is all you decorate.  I challenge you to think of a wonderful song for Christmas that you could connect to that room.  The last challenge....go ahead....belt it out as loud as you can and cherish the memories of it all.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and love.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Memories and Times Gone By....


Making up most of our lives are a wide range of memories.  They can be in the form of a passing thought, or be triggered by a picture, a conversation, or even an item in your possess.  

Many of those memories are all throughout my country eclectic home.  Everyday things, and then during holiday seasons when I am putting away and putting up decor.

With my collection of nativity sets there are many from other places I have traveled or family have purchased with or for me.  I enjoy each one, treasuring my times with them each year that I get them displayed for the holidays. 

One special nativity set is not the largest, most expensive, from a far land like Africa, or a special trip to an Native American PowWow in South Dakota.  This set is simply a small clear glass set of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and three wise men and they are set on a round small mirror.  The set goes so tidy away in its small box.  It is special because it was from my friend Wanda many years ago. 

Being new to the farming community which is hard to break into in rural Missouri...anywhere in Missouri is hard to break into.  I say this with experience of moving and living many places, all of which I was much more welcomed.  Anyway, not to side track too much....Wanda, about two years into my being here gave me this simple inexpensive set, probably from Dollar General or Big Lots, but elegant in it's own way.  I have always placed it somewhere as it always fits in a "somewhere" place.  

My two oldest grandchildren lived with us several times with their mother also.  They were always helpful to do Christmas decorating with me.  They also knew that this set was one they could play with if they were careful.  So one night when their mother had washed their stuffed animals they slept with, my grandson looked around for something to sleep with.  Because he liked this nativity set and knew he could play with it, he just picked up a piece and rushed down the hall to bed, saying, "I like the Virgin Mary."  Now to him it was nothing, but us adults looked at each other and had a good smile and laugh later.

To this day I recall that memory and cherish it.  I also especially this year cherish this simplest set the best this year because my friend, Wanda passed away October 30th.  In fact her husband, Bud, passed away October 1st and then she soon followed.  

Blessings of good memories from family and friends and adventures, words, stories and treasures of little simple things.

Please go around your house and see what memories you come up with of people and places and thoughts.   I know that all the times I moved in my first marriage, at times those special little things from friends near to me helped me through and I cannot say I was lonely , but just treasured the thoughts and was ready to make new memories where I was now placed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

SEASONS

The four seasons are wonderful to live with. I do not believe I would want to live somewhere that I did not have all.  Snow is predicted for this weekend here in NE Missouri.  I love the snow, having lived in Wisconsin and Colorado, and enjoying all the activities with snow.  However after living here for 27 years, I still wait for some "good" snow.  I enjoy the piles and the drifts even more now that I am retired. 

When I did not have lots of snow, I painted the windows with snowflakes or even made paper snowflakes.  I need some snow.  I like the feel of it falling on me when I take long walks in the new snow or first snow fall of the season.

There is spring with it's greening, and summer with its gardens, and fall with the pretty leaves and crispness of the air, but winter.  It is hard to explain but I really like winter.  I like the sweaters, the boots, the hot cocoa, and pots of tea while knitting or quilting.  I enjoy more down time to read and paint and draw.  Baking is extra special because we have those lovely holidays to cook for and bake for.  Decorating for the season is also a joy.  I can wear my coats and scarves and mittens I have made for myself.  I can have  the fireplace going.  Candles light the early darkened rooms.

With writing this, well, just maybe I could use more winter of all the seasons.  Maybe I should have moved to Alaska instead of staying in Missouri after all.  Just maybe heading to Canada because of the terrible things I see happening in our country is also a good idea.

Most of all I do think about these things but know I will stay in my rural home near our farm in rural NE Missouri because it has become home.  I am glad I can think of options but I love my place I have been put.  I also love my country and will stay and fight for it and stand up to negative things that our new era looks to bring upon us.  In my country home, I am tucked away and safe, but want it to stay that way also.  

Seasons are spring, summer, fall, and winter, but we also have seasons of our lives.
Enjoy each one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Learning Life Long

This 68 year old brain gets a work out and I do believe that it is good for me.  I like the challenge and also take some pride and accomplishment when I learn something new.

Recently I finished handquilting my handpieced Grandma's Flower Garden quilt and now started to do the binding.  I had to figure out how I was going to work with this jagged edge quilt.  So I am hand stitching it all around, folding the edges as I go. I did 28 edges of single hexagons but have lots more to do.  I have worked hard on this quilt and wanted to do the last part, binding also by hand but did not want to have to do front and back of quilt so figured out for myself how to do it.  My way and a learning process.

On one trip to Barnes and Nobles I purchased FRENCH Rosetta Stone.  It is a slow process but I try to work on it some each week.  What it really takes is doing it every day, but that does not happen for me.  It is slow and days I feel confuses, but at Thanksgiving I was able to say a few things to my family in FRENCH.  It all amazes me and why or why do we not teach our children in kindergarten to start speaking another language.  My challenge was that I believe we should be bi-lingual so if I believe that, well, I should be.

Baking bread is a learning process and through the years I baked because I likes homemade bread for my family.  These days it is the same, I like it, but I am into the special breads now.  I bake rye, pumpernickel, baguettes, artisans, soda, etc.  I learn each time something that I should do better the next time.  At Thanksgiving there were no canned rolls, or quick breads or purchased rolls warmed up.  It was my artisan fresh bread that I made that morning before putting the turkey in the oven.

Life is a process of learning so I encourage you to not give in to thinking you can not because you reach a certain age.  Just think of all the marvels of this world we live in, and get at learning.

I am off now to put my lesson on the television which is a college course I am doing from Great Courses.  They are reasonable in price and fun to do, so many topics.  I don't need the credits as I have my degrees, but I still feel I need the knowledge.

Go deeper in your thinking by keeping open to learn new things.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Regress:

The best laid plans of mine to keep current with my blog just is not working.  It seems that I have been in a bit of a slump with several things....my circular sock knitting machine, which I have had for one year now, and still make and take apart the socks as I am not liking the toes.  I admit I kept a few pair for myself but would not give others as gifts.  The answer is "just do it", however, that does not seem to be working.

Maybe my regression is because I become downhearted about things especially this time of year.  Maybe some would call it depression, but I really don't believe I am depressed as I get up and do things, just not all things I would like to do.  

Then there is health issues again with my heart rate going too high and jumping or doing an extra beat due to the PVC's.  This is the issue I quit work finally over, and chronic fatigue because of it.  Now I finally admit that I have fibermyolga which I fought with doctor a long time about.  He stated that it always does take me awhile and then I succumb to the fact and findings.  Well, I don't want to be one of these sit in a charge I hurt type people.  SO....I get up and get going even when tired.  

Example just this morning up at 6:00 and laundry in, coffee made, homemade doughnuts from  yesterday eaten, and cleaned the refrigerator which was on my list.  I also backed with fabric a nice picture that I did with wool art, also on my list to finish.  But really this early.  My plan is to get at things when I have the energy and then rest when I don't.  But while I rest, I read, knit, write, color, embroider.  Sometimes I actually take a needed nap.

Findings are that on days I feel sore, I stay in my pjs and accept it....with comfort.  Days I want to go to town, I will, but for shorter days, not pushing everything in one drive to town.  Hoping to accomplish that one.

Then I see in it all that people so affect me.  Holidays affect me because of the people in them.  My Thanksgiving was stressful because of son and daughter having issues and being hateful.  I set guide lines, but there was still and undercurrent of things going on.  So silly seeing they are 45 and 48, no way children, and both with several degrees, no way stupid:  well, maybe in their actions!

This affects my well being and after a good discussion with my husband, I realize that I can go on vacation and schedule my days so as not to wear out, and I come away feeling fine.  Issue is I don't take the problems with me, including the people any more.

Long blog to be made short or end is that I am still working out this life travel and I am 68.  It all amazes me.  But I am to take better care of me and enjoy my life.  Forward and upward I go, to challenge myself with my csm and to get and keep moving.  I know I can do this.  

My rest time is always so much better because of my little sweet dogs.
 Vincent, Maltese/poodle mix.
 Mr. Molesley, Italian Greyhound
Hemingway, Yorkie/ terrier mix.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Husband Clearing Out Stuff


It was a quiet morning as I backed biscotti and took a walk.  My husband, Roy, seemed to be lost at what to do as no one had shown up to go deer hunting.  He really enjoys being out and about with the people more than the hunting.  So he stayed in and read some, watched one of the sessions of his online college class on Native Americans.  Then, I heard him in the bedroom doing something vigorously in the closets...his closets....and he was, sorting things out and getting rid of things.

This was so good because I had not asked him to do this for several years now as he does not like doing it.  He gets negative often and does not like to get rid of things either.  But he decided things needed to go.  I checked on him and he was just seeming to have a grand time.

Next he headed downstairs where he had a rack of clothes hanging.  (Really did not see the reason, but he did not want to get rid of them.)  Some of the items were my old uniforms from years ago when I worked for the sheriff's department.  When I quit and moved forward to be a social worker, well, I quit, and hung up my uniforms with the medal items still on them.  I was done.  But that was in 1998.  Oh my, I must rethink that he does not get rid of things.  Actually I had hung them with his uniforms and forgot about all of them.

So after he asked for my help to fold and put clothes in bags to take to GoodWill, I was thrilled that we had two large bags to be out of the house.  It always make me think that the house is somehow "lighter".

I told him then that I was proud of his decided to free up some space in his closets and also the basement rack.  His reply:  "Well, that is less people have to got through when I die!"

Probably true, but it took the pleasure and positive feeling away.  I told you he was usually negative, but it got him to do a good thing so I am positive for both of us!


x

My Grand Plan:

Plans always to be home more and more and do more online shopping or less shopping all together.  So this week I have begun and am pleased with myself as this 68 year old so likes learning new things and challenging herself to change up things in life to keep fresh with the world.

I ordered some lovely things from King Flour Company, as I bake lots.  I like their flours and can purchase them in our local grocery store but special items are hard to find around my world.   I am not sure I saved funds but will enjoy the speciality baking I have planned ahead.  Breads are fun, and also ordered a cookie press for windmill cookies.

The other thing I did was uses my lovely Barnes and Nobles discount coupons sent in the mail today.  I used them online and not in the store, which is almost 2 hours either way I go.  When I do go, I spend more than I should plus the trip and lunch and other places I usually go shop at.  This way I purchased the two books I had wanted and used two coupons, one for 20% and one for 30%.  This is grand and I will have some lovely packages of books coming in the mail soon.  Besides baking, I love to read and read and read.

Today I also decided to order from Boxed....no membership shopping for grocery and household products.  Also has free shipping if you order over $75.00.  It amazed me that things were cheaper or the same, larger quantities but that is okay, and shipped to my door free in a few days.

Last week I received the package from Chewy.com for my dog order of foods, and such.  I did not do the auto re-order as I like keeping up with what I am doing myself.  These products are all good products and cheaper by far then what I pay here in northeast Missouri.  And shipping is free.  It came in one day.

So, fun to get things in the mail or FedX, etc.  I like being home and thinking this will be my new thing.....until.....well, I decide to do something else.  It is so good that we can change our ways and our mind.  

Being retired and able to still get excited about things like this is good.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

 Four wonderful reasons to stay home...my dear dog friends.  Maltese, Vincent, age six months.
 This is our last doxie after many during our life....Sophia, age 14.5  Little Miss White Face
 Meet Mr. Molesley, our Italian Greyhound.  He is 2.
And last, but actually my grandest friend of all, Hemingway, age 1.5 years.  He is so very happy.

So Much For That:::::::


Best laid plans were to do more regular blogging.  Also best laid plans were to stay home more.  I even stated to friends that I was planning to stay home until Black Friday which is a family thing for us.  Well, I needed to you see, as I have lots at home to study and do.  I paint, write, draw, knit, quilt, read, cook, bake, play with four lovely dogs, yoga, etc.  But......just last week, I went to Quincy three times.  Yes, three times.  It is about 45 miles from our home and the largest town nearest our farm.  

My reason to head to Quincy the first time was that I had trouble downloading the updates of the new Windows 10.  Anyway, I got to 99% and then it locked up my laptop.  I was also programming my fitbit and it would not let me finish after I did the app.  So Best Buy Geeks fixed this and I nicely said that I could do the fitbit at home.  Thanked them and left.  The next day I worked on trying to get it all downloaded for about two hours.  It did not work.  My husband and neighboring farmer came in and hinted that I needed their help, and my husband said he would simply do it a bit later.  That just made me want to work harder.  So my husband did try later and could not do it either.  A bit of me was happy because of his being arrogant, and a bit was sad because I could not get my fitbit going.  So up to Quincy I went the following day.  It was worked on for five hours and finally by trouble shooting it, they found, the bluetooth on my year old laptop did not work.  So I had to purchase a 20.00 item and then it was downloaded quickly.  Yeah to that.  Home we went and I could actually use the fitbit because the Best Buy Geek had it all downloaded and set up for me.

So you would think I had had enough of being gone....but Saturday was deer hunting around here, and all the people were going, but me, and I thought, I will head to Quincy again to a large seasonal craft show I had not been to for years.  I so enjoyed it and also some other shops and lunch out and grocery shopping.  Now home today and saying again, I have my fitbit working and meeting my challenges.  I have so much to do at home and feel I am falling behind on things.  I plan to stay home until Black Friday and my friend says,  "See you Tuesday at the Knitting Circle".  I know you will change your mind...I say no...but look about last week.

Part of me wants to stay home and away from people and part of me is full of so much to do here that I enjoy.  I need to find a balance.  Hoping my plan to at least stay home for the week works.  
 
"Best laid plans of mice and men they say", but here, the best laid plans for a country woman with many interests all of which are at home.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wisconsin Trip Pictures.......September 14-21, 2016

So happy to have a week in my home state.
Wow, it is so clean and neat compared to Missouri.
 Sturgeon Bay.  So nice.
 Wading in Green Bay water.  I love this peninsula.
 View from Rib Mountain State Park of Lake Wausau and area.
Oak Park  in Wausau.  So pretty.

x

Still Here........


It seems that time gets away from me, I am retired, and have lots of time, but use it all for my many things I am interested in doing.  But today I told myself that I needed to get back to my blog and actually do more of it, and make things better.  There is much to learn so I will have to work on it.  I know that people have fancy blogs, but mine is just simple.  However, I like to keep things simple.  Even if my style is eclectic in decor, and maybe even a little eccentric in dress at times, I like simple.  Really I do.  I like my schedule, especially very light and simple.  It does not speak to not getting anything done, but I see myself going less, and also committing less to groups, etc.  

For the going less, that means daily things.  I do not go at all at night.  Not that I could not, I just don't like to.  It is my time to watch some news programs, sit and knit, or other hand work, and hold my dogs, read.  I like being quiet so I also can sleep better.  During the day, well, I go less because.....I just have so much at home to do.  

I continue to enjoy my country life, walks, photography, my gardens, dogs, and hobbies such as the list goes on and one.  I still do my yoga in my basement set up area, and I still paint....but have not done much this summer as planned.

Traveling is the times I go away.  I like day trips.  I like three day trips.  Sometimes I even like going for a week.  Just last month, my daughter, Leslie, and I went for seven days to Wisconsin.  How lovely it was to spend that time with her....reliving memories of this wonderful state that I grew up in and she lived some parts of her life in it also. 

First we went to Door County Peninsula.  We had such a grand time in wineries, doing art, eating, shopping, walking by the water, photography, meeting people, bookstores, tea shops, and just all around fun.  We were even invited to a Writer's Night at the Holiday Hotel where we stayed.  It is song writers and it was so much fun to listen to new fresh voices and music.

Next we did some memory reliving in going to Birnamwood, WI where we lived for several years.  It is a little town, now 800, but only about 600 when we lived there.  We even visited the bakery and post office.  We headed to the great Nueske's which is famous for being honored with  having it's bacon (wild cherrywood smoked) the bacon of the White House.  

When we got to Wausau, my home town, well, there was much to do, parks, gardens, museums, islands, and more parks, plus Rib Mountain State Park.  We ate in a mine, and we visited some breweries, bookstores, yarn shop, and had a good visit with some of my friends who still live in the area.  I even went to see my parent's old house where I grew up and the people who own it now, invited me.  

So, my going can be one day or longer, but it usually is a trip going, not just going for busy time.  I have lots of fun times at home and I don't call them busy.  I have full days, but it is doing the things I so enjoy to do.

Right now as I type, dogs are at my feet, and one is on my lap.  They soothe my soul and keep me company in this country life which I love so much.  Because I love it all so much, I find it hard to find busy running even measuring up to my days at home.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer Days.....

Summer time is a great time in the country, which I probably have said before, but it does not hurt to say it over again, because, it simply....IS.

With enjoying the outdoors and the garden and the pool, I find myself staying home more, and making myself head to town for my knitting circle on Tuesday.  I take the time to eat lunch with friends, do the knitting circle and then do errands and grocery shopping.  Often, it is the only time I am in town until the next Tuesday.  

My friend, Hemingway does keep me company and I say he is my bff because he is.  He is loyal, kind, sweet, and understanding...plus he likes to keep me company, even swimming.  He loves the water.

Sewing Fun

Summer gets busy and I am outside much of the time.  Today my plan was to sew and I am pleased to say that my plans came through and I enjoyed it so very much.  I started with one simple little quilt block chicken, pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I made it red for a young lady I have known for years who has started an online bookshop.  She calls it The Red Hen BookShop.  Check it out and maybe help her out by purchasing a few things.  
Here seems to be the problem.  I got stuck on these simple and fun little things and I made a flock....like Hillary saying  "I takes a Village".  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

OH, I HAVE MY DAYS, and Concerns!


Is it only me, well I am hoping so, because it is no fun and pretty frustrating to think that I am the only functioning adult person in my family.  Really, if you are in this life, I will pray for you also as I pray for myself.  I do not believe I am that exceptional that I can think, tell the truth, manage stress and function with it, and be kind and caring, thinking of others feelings, realizing we are all people who make mistakes, and when I do, the I admit it and don't excuse it away or lie about it, I just admit it, and say I will do better.

Here is the thing,  when you admit that and try to do better, you may still fail from time to time, but I, for one, am so tired of people trying to blame others, make excuses (which are just lies), or totally look you in the face and lie.  This is my family, what they have become and it shames me to think that it keeps going on and on and one.

By example I do believe people learn, but what if they do not.  It does not seem my family has learned anything about my example. They have gone on to have their own, which is not so great, and, in fact, their children have learned from their examples.  Where did my children go array????

Example, simple things:  One afternoon plans are set to go berry picking at 9:00, they set the time, and we say it several times before they leave.  Then I send a message also, "See you at 9:00."  Not because I just could not help myself to text my family or message them....no, because I have come to know they need a remind.  They respond, yes, see you at 9:00.  Next morning it is 9:40 and I get a call.....aahh, I forgot did we say 9:30 or 10:00.  This person knows but tries to make an excuse.  I calmly say 9:00 and they say, oh, sorry, I forgot, and I will be right there.  Right there is of course 20 minutes later.  Now, I need to be calm, make a point, however.  So I get out of my berry picking clothing and get other clothes on for my day.  I water some plants, I pick the cucumbers and weed my little garden.  I even take some photos and play with my dogs.  I pick the berries in our patch by the shed.  They arrive.  Now my grandson tells me that he is sorry but he just did not recall what time I said.  "I said.".  Then his girlfriend backs him up by saying she did not recall either.  We have a discussion about this as they can see I am not ready to go berry picking with a skirt and nice top on and sandals.  I told them I had been ready and looking forward to it, but this situation of them always being late needs to spot.  If they had to go to work, they would have to get up and go... (both have lost jobs due to being late so I am trying to make a point).  My grandson says it is just so frustrating at home and they are not organized or on time every.  I told him not to blame it on others, as he is an adult now and can do better if he wants to.  Now that excuse did not work so he tries another, telling me that his mother did not come as the three dogs were gone so she had to stay home and look for them.  She had let them all out at once when they got up and knows better, but now they ran off.  Then he says, no, Sadie is back, the old blind doxie.  So my question is why did you not stay and help her, also knowing that the two of them do not get along well.  But really.  The real problem is they are not to let the dogs out all together as they do run.  One of their beagles ran with the other for a day and never did come back or was found.  The other really troubling issue for me is that one of the dogs that is gone is my friend/neighbor's dog, which they have had to care for as a summer job for my granddaughter (who this week was a camp and her mom was going to care for).  This dog is very important to my friend.  She is out of the country, and I told her that I thought they could do a good job of carrying for him.  He would be safe.  They were to be taking him out on a leash, not just running and not with the group.  I was quite upset as I was the one who said they would do okay and he would be safe.  Grandson says that his mom was just home cleaning the floor before going to look for them, but he came "berry picking".....really.  Now I told them to go berry picking and I would go help look for the dog. 

In it all I called my husband who was in town and he decided that he would come home the back way and check roads and ditches for the dogs.  I got to their house and no one was there.  Then there beagle came running to me, no collar one, and panting.  No sign of other dogs.  I called and called and walked some.  I got in the truck and headed down the road, calling my daughter in law about it.  No answer.  Then she calls back in about ten minutes, while I was looking elsewhere for the dog.  She says nothing about the dogs, but I do, and she says yes they were gone for some time, but the beagle came back and then Ben.  So she had him in the bathroom as he was wet and full of burrs.  I told her I had come to help look for him as I had told them that he would be safe there and I felt responsible.  She said that I could take him home to our house and take care of him and it would not bother her one bit.  (I had already told my husband that he was coming home with me, because this could happen again in another month of their care.)  So I jumped on that and said yes I would take him home with me.  When I got there she was talking about things a mile a minute and throwing his things together.  I asked for him  and she got him out of the bathroom, so I put him in the truck and some of his things.  She brought the rest out....still talking and excitable.  I give her a hug and head to the truck and she walks away with arms in arm saying,  "Yes, the important thing is to have a "dog" safe!".
What was that all about....like I caused any of this.  I did not have to have a discussion with her about taking the dog with me.  She brought it up and I said yes.

He is home here, with our 4 dogs and a nice fenced large backyard and dog door.  I was hoping this would work out for my granddaughter who is 14 and could earn some money and have fun with him.  Now I am the one at my home with an extra dog (which I don't mind as I would do that for my friend or neighbor), but I have an extra dog, family who are upset, and at me.  I feel badly that my granddaughter will be missing fun with him and learn responsibiltiy of caring for him and earning funds also.  I feel badly that her mother acted irresponsible.  In fact I learned that both she and my grandson were still sleeping when people were coming to go berry picking so they got up and dressed and dogs went out the door for morning time all together....because, they were not responsible enough to get up in the morning, be on time, do the things they should be doing.

Dysfunction wears me out and then bad feelings, hurt feelings to be mended.  I am tired of it and yet don't know what to do about it but stand up to it each and every time things happen like this.  If she would have taken responsibility and said it was her fault and thanks for coming to help and I should have leashed him and taken him out......but no....and now my granddaughter tells me by a message that it was her fault as she should have told her mother to be careful with him.   See any common sense or responsibilty here??????I don't, again, blame going to all the people who are not the blame.  Too much, too much, too much.

Hoping you see this example and work on your examples with your people.  I just get floored by these daily, weekly things.....is there hope???????

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Family Times:

It seemed that our family was getting a little "snarly" at each other.  In fact, it was hard for me to enjoy having them over all together.  After our Easter get to gether, I nicely let them all know that maybe it would be better to get together one on one.  I told them that I knew I would enjoy that more.  I do enjoy that more and love having those one on one talks.  It seems that after discussing with them about caring more and being more appreciative, and listening to others, and just plain being nice, well, they did listen and they did care.  They knew that I was not putting up with things anymore the way there had gotten to be.  It is also nice to know that when I speak, firmly, kindly, and with deep concern, things can happen and change.  It is nice people make an effort.  How wonderful it would be if the rest of the world would do this, but I do believe it starts in each home!

For our little corner of the world.....well, we had a great fireworks and meal and July 4th.  It was only a few times I had to move something out of danger of all the people, like my fig trees potted and placed on the back patio that they seemed to keep running into...and once said they could not swim today....really....it was 65.

Believing that at age 68, I am a better and smarter, and richer in detail and care about how my life is with relationships, I am thankful that things turned out this way.  I also just reunited with a long time friend, who was nasty to me during the time my husband was ill, two years ago, with cancer.  She lacked caring and understanding and even listening, but after my again and again and again trying to make this friendship reunite, I am so pleased that just this week we talked on the phone for almost an hour.  I left another card and message at her door, and this time, well, she called.  We actually talked about getting together, and I said when, and we planned to do something this Saturday.  It is amazing and I feel so blessed.

All of this is posted to let people know that sometimes it does work that relationships and families and friends can work and care enough to fix things.  At  times it takes you to speak out as to how it will work for you and for them.  You have to compromise and especially listen.  I am thankful to have those qualities.  There are people in your life that will work with you also.  Don't give up, keep trying and praying.  

Together we can start mending our little parts of the world.  I have enough faith and hope for both of us, so as I used to say to friends of mine.......you can borrow some of my "hope", I have plenty.


My Little Garden Grows


For years we had a very large garden, while I worked a full time job and had a daughter and her children live with us, or also had foster children, and horses and dogs.  You get the picture.  Work and more work.  I enjoyed the produce and canned and we ate lots and shared even more.  How those cucumbers grow so fast and so many I will never understand.  I also had a large potato patch, which is easy once planted and then you reap such great "spuds" from it.  I grow the red ones.  By July 4th, our guests are looking forward to sinking their teeth into my homemade, fresh red potato, Potato salad.  I always make enough to send some home with people who don't make it or have the red potatoes.  It is always a treat for the people in my knitting circle this time of year to have me plop down my knitting basket and my old striped metal bottomed folding basket (one like many stores used to have at the door for you to use instead of a cart).  I fill it up most days this time of the year with potatoes in zip locks plus other things like cucumbers, and herbs.  My group likes to see who gets what and then the next week, they will take home different things.  I am blessed to see them so delighted.

However, after I retired and actually had more time and energy, I cut my garden down, seeding in the whole large garden with grass....I always wonder why people have such big yards.  I really should rent out garden spots instead, but not sure I want to deal with that many people.  It is something I need to think about.  Oh, I am sorry, my mind went for a skip!   Well, I took the zinna flower bed, about 6 x 6 feet, around the flagpole and made it my "little garden".  I have 3 tomato plants, 4 cucumber plants, 4 pepper plants, and a whole corner of varied herbs.  It is easy and fun to care for, weed, water when needed and pick.  I really have been enjoying it.  I have to admit, this gardener did not give up her potato patch.  I now have three of the six rows of potatoes dug.  They are so so good.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Beautiful Blooms:
 I have several colors of Hollyhocks and enjoy them.
 Prickly Pear has grown lots this year and has more blooms then I have every seen on one plant before.  Love the color.  The Yucca is such a soft yellow which makes it elegant I feel.

BLOOMING AND P ICKING

It is hot in my part of the world, so today, when it is again almost 100, with expected and needed rain, I spent much of the day inside putting things back together in rooms I painted yesterday and early morning....meaning 5:00.  I get up early with my dogs.  But it is fun to be out on the patio with the birds singing morning songs and the hummers starting to fly past me.  I also get to see many beautiful sunrises.    To follow was this mornings:



Saturday, June 11, 2016

WE ARE HAVING A "HEAT WAVE"....not tropical because I live in Missouri.


It is June 11, 2016, and it was 100 degrees here today.  I actually realized I was a bit too tired and too hot this afternoon when I sat down in my porch swing to read and I felt shakey and dizzy.  Certainly at this age, 68, I should know better.  I enjoy being outdoors, but today I just overdid it.

To begin with, I was up at 4:00 A.M. as my husband and  grown son were leaving for their three week road trip...to the west coast, down California shoreline, and then back on Route 66.  I know it is a trip in a life time for them both.  I, should have taken my own advise, and gotten my husband out the door, and laid back down with our four little dogs.  However, they laid all around me in my recliner and I sat and read, and then knit some also.  At 7:00, I decided to watch some news on television and by 8:00 I was done with that, so went about my plans.

This time Roy is gone, I had also planned a long list of things for myself at home.  I got a trash bag, and went from one room to another and then in the basement and also the garage, clearing out little stuff.  Now our house is a neat and clean house, not clutter, but my thought is there is always something you can get rid of and I did, from some paper, to some unwanted things, and even took my kettles out of the cabinets in the kitchen.  I wanted to get rid of the teflon and get a set with ceramic which are better for you to cook in.
I had my eye on some at Bergners.  

After I did all of that, I started to get ready to head to town for a prescription.  I then headed to a further town, about 45 minutes away and hit Lowes for paint for the kitchen/dining room.  This is another plan while Roy is gone, to paint these rooms and see how long it takes him to notice they are a different color.  I went to Lowes, then to Bergners for my kettles, and then hurried over to get a few things at Hobby Lobby, and a few groceries at HyVee and also lunch from their deli to eat on the way home.  My first thought was to spend the day in Quincy just browsing, but I was tired, hot, and ready to head home.

That was all well and good, but when I got home, and things settled, I went for a walk, played with the dogs some in the shaded backyard, went swimming and laid on my mat in the pool for some time.  The heat was getting to me and I came in and got my nightgown on and just sat down in the porch swing when it hit me.  This silly woman just overdid and the day has already been a long one.  It was good, but I am beginning to see that maybe there is something seriously wrong with me....I got up to Quincy and was already ready to go home.  I did what I needed to do, but hurried about so to get back home to my dogs and my home life.  I enjoy my country life so much, the slow speed, the hobbies, the quiet.  I had had two days of people and should have stayed home today.  Something wrong...well, I change my mind on that one.  I think it is okay to like being home and having a quiet life.  I am glad I got enough groceries and things to do at home for some time.....and I should not have to head out again until next Saturday....I plan to skip my knitting circle on Tuesday.  The hermit life overcomes me at times.  But today I was a "hot hermit" and have learned better.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Reflections of my Retired Life:

This retirement is a good thing.  Even if I had hoped to work a few more years, I did not due to my health, and am glad for it.  I have had five years now of retirement as I am 68 and retired at 63.  It has been a nice journey, with thoughts, challenges and changes, but all lessons learned through it help me be the person I am.  The important thing is, even if I don't please everyone else, I am pleased with myself.  Many people can and don't ever say that, but I have learned that it is okay to like yourself.  It is not arrogant or selfish or evil.  It is a good thing.  

When I first retired, I was sick, and my heart was giving me problems.  I could hardly make it up the basement stairs and then they told me not to even try.  Years ago when being in an auto accident, they told me because of damage to arms and neck muscles, I would never knit or sew.  I worked at it and proved them a "good" wrong.  So I have knit since 12 and still knit for a total of 56 years, and I knit everyday also.  I also go up and down the stairs.  I do yoga, I swim, I walk, and I did camp for a few years after retirement.  I go on trips by myself, traveling by train and plane.  Life for this retired person is good.

People do invite me to many things.  I have tried some.  I did volunteering at the Humane Society and also was on the Friends of the Library and part of the book discussion group.  I belonged to a community group of women called the Centerrettes from Center, Missouri.  I also joined a knitting circle . I asked to volunteer at our little library to read to children or have a children's reading group.  The answer was no to anything suggested there so I soon realized I was not a welcome fit for the librarian.  It is a small community and a small library and I am still, after living in the area for 23 years, an outsider...."not from here" syndrome.  That is how it went with the local ladies' group also.  I volunteered my home, my talents, and gifts, and there was always something wrong with it.  So as time went on I begin to omit some of the things I was trying to do.  I quit the Centerrettes, but still have several good friends from it.  I did not go to the local little library any longer but just the library in Hannibal.  Eventually I quit the friends group as they had so many disagreements, and they were really not even associated with the national friends group.  I quit the book discussion group as they soon became just a session to argue.  There was only one other person besides me who turned in book suggestions for the next year's list.  We did have opportunity to do this, and many of our books were selected, but others complained that we had too much to say.  I got tired of grown people acting stupid, especially when they were not.  

Anyway, I found the same with going to yoga at the YMCA as the women spent the first 15 minutes of class talking about the management and how they had painted or changed our wonderful room.  Really, I did not need this either.  I can swim and do  yoga at home so am doing just that.  I missed the calm and meditation of what yoga is to be, but don't any longer.  My routine and time is greater and much more relaxed.

I still go to the Humane Society now and then but not weekly and this is a good thing.  They now have a full staff and good people so they do not need as many volunteers, but they are always happy when I stop down with food or just to pet animals or visit with them.  Now this is a good thing and it makes my heart happy as I have two wonderful dogs from there and my Daisy Mae Foxhound came from there also.

My knitting circle is interesting and I enjoy the woman.  I don't enjoy being in town for lots of hours as it is a day I also do errands and shopping, but doing so allows me to be home the other days, or having other days to go and do things with my husband.   I do have some struggles with some of the things one of the people says when I cannot be there, like tomorrow, I will not be there as I fell yesterday and plan to take it easy for a few days.  Plus, in the spring/summer months I have lots to do at home, so will save my good energy to do those things instead of running to town.  One person does not seem to understand and made a comment that when she heard about my fall, she figured as much that I would not be coming.  REALLY.  How about, hoping you are okay.  One of the good friends there is moving and I believe another will come visit and remain my friend even if I don't go.  The woman who made the comment is one that says she lives for her Tuesday.  I suppose I could understand that, but I live for each and every day I have.  I enjoy that time, but I enjoy my life.  I enjoy being home and I enjoy going when I want to.

Here lies the problem I believe.  I try different things, and if they do not work out too well, I can easily discontinue them as I am retired.  This is my time of life to enjoy myself.  When things become a hassle or stupid or selfish on others parts, I do not need to be involved.

Today I hurt from my fall in the garage, stupid as it was, it was a fall when I hit my head on the garage door that was not all the way up when I kept trying to walk throw it, while looking at my letters in hand instead of watching where I was going.  I was hit hard in the head, pushed back and hit the car with my hip, which then sent me to the concrete floor.  I landed flat and just laid there for a bit, with letters thrown all over the floor.  I got up and had to laugh at how well I bounced, but today I am sore and tired and glad nothing is broken.  I need to be home, do my things with my energy, time.

The bottom line is that this is my time, and I have only so much of it left and after giving and giving to others, I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  I do not think it is because I don't like being social because I do.  I enjoy travel and shopping and talking with people and having company, but I also like doing things when I want to .  If I belong to something and don't want to go to it that one week, then I don't and I won't because someone thinks I should.  It makes me turn away from the whole thing.  Maybe it is that I have so many things I like and want to do.  I have said before that I quilt, read, write, paint, embroider, sew, knit, and having a circular sock machine now also for knitting.  I read lots and love to cook and bake.  I garden and swim and do yoga and walk.  I have four beautiful dogs.  I enjoy taking day trips with my husband and by myself also.  We usually go somewhere for the day once a week.  He goes in to the Y three mornings a week plus a coffee club.  My garden and potato patch and flowerbeds call me this time of year as does walking in the woods and playing outside with my dogs.  I believe you are never too old to play outside.

With all this said, I feel a bit better.  I have concluded that I am "not a stick in the mud" (and I do like walking in the creek and mud), but I am jealous of my time. 

Here's to me....I read a book a few years ago called "Your Best Yes"....and it was learning to say no.  I am retired, I am not tired.  I am social on my terms after years of dealing with everyone else's problems.  I like to travel and I like to be home.  I am artistic and I also can just sit and think.  More people should actually.  So, look out world, this retired older woman knows who she is and what she wants, and it is not to be locked into making someone elses day they live for.....but my days I live for.

Now, I am going out to swim.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hemingway needed a Playmate:


Because my little Hemingway needed a playmate other then me, I headed back to the shelter just before Easter and met and adopted a little mini whippet, actually a whippet/chihuahua mix which they are calling a mini whippet as he looks more like a whippet.  He is smart and sweet and a good little two year old guy.  He was kept in a crate by owners most of his two years so had some things to learn and overcome, but now is doing well, just a little afraid of some things like hair brushes.  He is enjoying the big fenced in yard, sleeping on furniture, having treats, and sleeping in bed at night.  He loves playing with his friend, Hemingway.  They are grand friends already.  And, of course, he has not seem a crate at this house.

I named him Mr. Molesley after my favorite servant character from Downton Abbey, Mr. Molesley who often said, "I am feeling a little fragile today."  And our Mr. Molesley actually looks fragile but he is strong, a fast runner and a real go getter.

Update photos of my dogs:


Mr. Hemingway is a yorkie that I adopted a few days before Christmas in 2015.  He is now ten months old and such a sweet little guy.  It took me awhile to even think of getting another dog after losing my Daisy Mae Foxhound, but I finally decided that it was because of how wonderful she was that I wanted to have another dog friend.  I finally decided it was a compliment to her and not taking a thing away from my relationship with her.  I lost her in August of 2015.
 
Mr. Hemingway, to me, looks like Ernest Hemingway, with the grey,black, and tan streaked hair and the big round dark eyes and the bushy white beard, thus he became my Mr. Hemingway.  Of course, Ernest did not like his first name so people called him just Hemingway, and we call our little guy, just Hemingway.

COUNTRY LADY TO THE BIG CITY

Me, myself and I went to the big city of Chicago.  I do enjoy heading there by Amtrak from Quincy which is an hour from here and then a little over a four hour ride by train to Chicago.  So you put some time in to go just for a day, but I have done that many a time just to enjoy a few things plus the ride and head home.

This time I decided to take a three day vacation in this wonderful city.  I went by myself again, as I enjoy doing that more then with a group like I have done sometimes for a day trip.  Anyway, I got off the train and took a taxi to Hard Rock Hotel on N. Michigan, amongst the Magnificent Mile.  

My hotel room was on the 21 floor and was wonderful.  I had three large windows to view the buildings, especially pretty with all the night lights.  I was right by the Chicago river so very pretty and sparkly at night also.  I must say I took lots of photos and enjoyed just leaving the drapes open and going to sleep looking out at the lights.  This is very different from the country person I am.  I like it dark and only the lights of the moon and stars.

My first day I headed to the Art Institute as I wanted to see the great exhibit of Vincent van Gogh, with paintings from other museums on lone, some from Paris, which I had seen last fall.  They had a bedroom exhibit, with the three paintings of his bedroom, and even a bedroom set up to scale so you could walk and imagine how he lived and painted also as often he was painting from the spare room with the chimney in which was right by his room.  This was all in the yellow house in Arles, FRANCE (southern).  They had some special Monet also so took so much in.

After this I headed for a cold windy walk, about 1.5 miles to the Adler's Planetarium.  I was able to take in the sights and also the last showing of the night sky.  It was so enjoyable and educational.  It is all done digitally with computer now, no big machine turning in the middle of the room like years ago.  You can tell I have not visited a planetarium for years.

I headed to catch a taxi to the hotel and ate in the hotel's American cafe that evening.  The food was wonderful and service great, and it was a bit pricey.  However, it was vacation and only me, so I splurged for great steak.

My next day was to tour the wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park.  I enjoyed this tour so much more then I thought I would.  It was beautiful, educational, well done, and small groups in each tour.  I had to travel by taxi, my choice, as I did not trust I would get to where I was to be at 10:00 for the tour if I went by metro or bus.  I am not "that" big city savey.

After I finished the tour and buying out the gift shop, I headed by taxi back to Chicago city, and to North State to a wonderful Barnes and Nobles.  I ate there and then spent time looking and purchasing a few things.  I do enjoy field trips to bookstores where ever I travel.  

It was then back to the hotel to rest a bit and then get dressed up, wearing an outfit I had purchased in Paris by a locally known designer with three small shops in the Paris area.  I took another taxi to Hard Rock Cafe, and it was  a grand treat for this old hippie and liker of some of the rock and roll famous people.  I was excited to see things from the Beatles, and also Steve Tyler.
The food was wonderful, having a sampler platter and some soda.

The  next day I was scheduled for a shoreline tour by boat, but the weather was very cold, 30 and raining and the boat had an open upper deck and lower deck was open at window areas (no window glass in them), so I called and asked if they were going, as the water was also choppy.  They called a bit later and cancelled so I will be reimbursed for my ticket purchased online.

This left me to go walking, dressing in layers and heading out to go many blocks down Magnificient Mile to shop and then back on the other side, and going around some blocks also.  All this before heading to the station and going home, leaving at about 6:00 p.m. to get back about 10:30.

Roy picked me up, remarking my large suitcase was much heavier.  Little did he know how much I purchased.  I also took lots of photos and had such a wonderful time in just a simple three day trip by train to a state next door to mine.  

I do encourage all that can get out and see some of our great country to do so.  Time goes fast, please note that there are simple things that can bring you great joy.  You do not have to go far and you do not have to spend lots of funds.  You can camp, go for a day trip, stay in a more reasonable hotel, eat bag lunch.  I have traveled all sorts of ways.  This trip I did splurge on myself as I just felt a need to do so.  Next trip, maybe to see the fall colors in my home state of Wisconsin, I will take a cooler and drive the 10 hours and then stay in a Days Inn during the week days when it is about $45.00 a night.  Sounds good to me.  Seeing those northern fall leaves is so much brighter then the ones in Missouri, not that ours are not nice.....just like the hills and mountains of Wisconsin with so many different colors.

Get out and explore.