Friday, November 30, 2007


A few years ago I was taking part in a Christmas gift exchange at the school where I worked. One of the neat things that I got from the teacher who drew my name was a small Christmas cactus. Boy, did that take me back! I hadn't thought about it in years, but Jerry's mom had a huge one that stood on a pedestal. It was always amazing to me when it bloomed. I thanked the teacher for the sweet memory of my mother-in-law that the gift evoked and I took it home to die. (I do not have a green thumb) Cacti are pretty sturdy, so this poor little thing lost one part of itself, but hung on and managed to survive somehow. Last year it actually had a bloom or two on it for the holidays. So I decided to surprise the girls by getting one for each of them. They really were surprised because they don't even remember Grandma Mary's! Turns out my friend, Melisa, is somewhat of an expert on these things. She told me she takes hers outside for the summer. Just puts them in some filtered sunlight and pretty much ignores them. If we're going through a really dry spell, she might give them an occasional drink. Hey, I can ignore things! Then she said around time-change weekend she brings them in the house and puts them in a room that doesn't get much artificial light at night. I did that this year, and my sweet beauty isn't even waiting for Christmas to bloom it's little heart out. Jerry and I are amazed every day to see the blooms. It's like watching slow motion fireworks!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Not Quite Helpful

Yesterday I picked Savannah up from school at noon. I had told her she could come over one day this week and help me finish decorating the tree. She was all excited about it, but her enthusiams for the task at hand didn't last very long. After a while she started having her "collections". She would take certain ornaments, or groups of ornaments, and play with them off to the side. Once they were part of her collection, I was not to take them to hang on the tree. She amuses herself very well and was off in her own little imaginary world from time to time. But she also got busy with the lighting. Grandpa showed her the neat remote control he got for turning the tree lights off and that we don't have to crawl over the packages and under the tree to plug and unplug. So she would turn the room light off to see how the tree looked lit in the dark...ooooohhhhh--aaaahhhhh...then she would turn the room light on and the tree off. Every once in a while I'd be hanging an ornament and all the lights would go off!

So then I tried to re-engage her help with decorating the downstairs bathroom. I hang a garland around the big mirror and decorate it with miniature things. Again, I lost several items to her collections and I'll have to finish that job today. But she discovered Grandpa's magnetic screwdriver laying there and found out it would pick up ornament hooks. That fascinated her for quite a while. Again she was off in a world of her own imagining and she kept softly saying "Screw. Screw. Screw. Screw." in a sing-song voice. As I was reaching up to work with the garland, suddenly there was a screwdriver poked into my side and she said, "Screw you, Nanny."

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Feast

We had our feast yesterday...and I do not use the term lightly. I made a big turkey that turned out very moist and I made the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and my mom's cranberry relish recipe. I also tried a couple of new things that didn't turn out half bad: a chocolate, carmel, pecan cheesecake and twice baked sweet potatoes. Yum. Jodi brought the green bean casserole -- because it isn't a holiday meal without the green bean casserole. Jessica called a good ol' down home southern cook she knows in North Carolina to get her recipe for candied yams. She also brought the Blue Willow version of cranberry relish because the kids don't like the celery in mine. She also brought me a beautiful bouquet of fresh fall flowers! :) Jeremy's mom brought her moist and wonderful dressing as well as warm bread pudding with lemon sauce...and a glazed carrot cake. Even Savannah had something to "bring to the table". Her mom had gotten her some Disney character place cards and she wrote our names on them and chose the seating arrangements. She filled them all out herself and only needed help in spelling Jessica's name. She's writing very well!

After eating and cleaning up, we were treated to the musical stylings of Nana York on the piano. She plays beautifully and it's wonderful to hear music coming from that big piece of furniture that usually just sits in the living room. Savannah wanted to dance to the songs she was playing and so, of course then, did Emery (the mimic). But he just spun round and round in circles until he fell down. He thought it was hilarious. (He was right)

Then it was time for the new tradition...the painting of the ornaments. It was a quick, fun project and I now have some more new and interesting ornaments on my tree. I still have some of the ones my kids painted when they were little, so this is fun for me. When we went downstairs to hang them on the tree, the little ones were jumping up and down, saying, "I want to do it...I want to do it." So we let them hang them all. Trouble is, they can only reach up so far...and apparently Emery (his are on the right) could only reach one branch! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back to Work

I've been lolling around in "holiday mode" for the past two days, but today I need to get busy. See, while for most of you Thanksgiving dinner is a fond memory triggered by a step onto the scale or the sight of leftovers in the refrigerator, we have not had ours yet. Today I need to clean the house and make pies and cranberry relish because our family Thanksgiving dinner is tomorrow.

We've had our family dinner the Sunday following the traditional Thanksgiving Thursday for the past several years. Thanksgiving is a big, busy day at the Blue Willow Inn and Jessica usually has to work. She's been there enough years now that she could pull rank and get the day off, but it's just easier if she works it. Also, that keeps Jodi and Jeremy and their family from having to eat two big dinners in the same day and keep an eye on the clock so that nobody gets upset. By Sunday, they're all ready to eat another feast and we can enjoy leisurely time together as a family.

This year I'm going to start a new tradition. Given the ages of the grandchildren now, and my fondness for arts and crafts, I decided that after dinner -- when we're all stuffed with stuffing, etc. -- we'd sit around and paint Christmas ornaments. Jerry and I put the tree up the other day and there is nothing on it but lights. Everyone will get to hang their own ornament wherever they want to on the tree and those will be the first decorations up this year! :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Funny

The Duck and the Lawyer:
A big city lawyer went duck hunting in rural Nebraska. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence.
As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing. The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."
The old farmer replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."
The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the United States and if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own."
The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes in Nebraska. We settle small disagreements like this with the"Three Kick Rule."
The lawyer asked, "What is the "Three Kick Rule?"
The farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up."
The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom.
The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel-toed work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees! His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was on all fours when the farmer's third kick to his rear end sent him face-first into a fresh cow pie.
The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Okay, you old fart. Now it's my turn."
The old farmer smiled and said, "Nah, I give up. You can have the duck."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

Wow. Thanks giving. Where do we start? In my side bar, under "about me" I list mostly my relationships. I am, of course, very thankful for each of these people and what they mean to my life. I try to say "thank you" every morning for them. It's also easy to remember to be thankful for my health and theirs, the fact that I -- and each of them -- have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear. But there are so many, many things that we take for granted. Yes, we have plenty of food to eat...and plenty of it to choose from. But even people in other parts of the world who aren't starving or even living in poverty would be absolutely blown away by what we see when we walk into one of our nice, big, modern grocery stores. The same goes for our department stores, convenience stores, etc. And it's hard to remember to give thanks that we live in a country where we have such a wide range of churches, temples and other places of worship...where we are perfectly free to choose one and enter and worship with other free people. What a priviledge that is! Certainly our country isn't perfect. Nothing in life is, or ever will be, perfect. But living in the United States of America in this day and age is certainly something that we can all be very thankful for. And the fact that I have done absolutely nothing to merit any of this...that I was just born and it was all pretty much dropped in my enough to bring me to my knees when I say "thank you, God".

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Answered Prayers

If you ever look at the list of names on my prayer list, and I hope you do, you have seen Kendra as needing prayers for the safe and speedy arrival of Caroline Ruth. Well...I'm glad to report that those prayers have been answered. Caroline Ruth Collins came into this world on Tuesday, November 13th at 4:11 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. and she was 21 inches long. Mommy, Daddy, Nana Bassett, big sister Hannah, etc. have all been too busy seeing to her every need to write the details and send pictures until now. Isn't she beautiful? Kendra's name will come off the prayer list now, but let's thank God for this healthy new child and keep and her family in our hearts.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Keeping the Sabbath

The Lord said we need to rest every once in a while. He thought once a week was a good idea. He should know -- He made us. When you're retired (or at least semi-retired) it's hard to tell sometimes when you're working and when you're resting, because you generally get a lot of time/days to do whatever you want. Years ago I heard a definition of "work" that I always liked: "Work is what you have to do when you'd rather be doing something else." According to that definition, you can see where the line starts to blur in retirement. But most of the time when I'm at home, I work on things that need to be done...or should be done. Even in my sewing room. I normally work on projects that just need to get done already (!) or things that are gifts and have a deadline date, etc. The way I define my day of rest, then, is to allow myself to work on whatever other thing I want. Sometimes I'll see a quilt in a magazine or a book and I'm very intrigued by it and want to try it right away! Well, it's not on the long list of things to get done, but it excites and inspires me. So I allow myself the luxury of Sundays in the sewing room to work on whatever I long as it doesn't have a deadline, or even a special purspose for that matter. Just something that fascinates me.

Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon down there doing just that. A while ago, Melisa got a Quilt Sampler magazine in the shop and on the cover was this quilt. It's called "Prairie Vine". I'm always drawn to scrap quilts and I fell in love with this one instantly. I brought the magazine home with me and right away I started picking through my scraps. In my version, I have only rarely used the same fabric more than once. When I had time at the machine I would start piecing the blocks, but when I was sitting in front of the TV, outside, or even in and airplane going to Las Vegas, a bus going to the Hoover Dam, and a bathroom (! Just ask Amelia), I began forming the 140 leaves it will take to applique around the border.

I just finished piecing the inside portion yesterday afternoon in time for dinner. Not in time to make it, you understand, just in time to come up and eat it after Jerry had made it (bless his heart...and it was wonderful). So here is the center of mine. I still have to add the outer border, then applique the vine and all those little leaves. I have over 100 of them ready to go.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Funny

My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jesus Bring the Rain

One of my new favorite Christian songs is, "Jesus Bring the Rain". In the song, rain represents the trials and hardships of life. The message is that if pain and struggles are what it takes to bring God the glory, then we willingly say, "bring it on". In Georgia, however, we are saying, "Jesus bring the rain....please!" Yesterday our governor amassed a diverse group of people on the steps of the capitol to pray for much-needed rain in the Atlanta and surrounding areas. We have a prediction of 60% chance of rain for tonight, and 40% chance tomorrow morning. That would truly be a Godsend!

This is a picture of the lake behind Jodi and Jeremy's house. All of the red clay you see is usually well under water. This pictures was taken a couple of months ago, so it's much worse now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Walk in the Park

A couple of weeks ago I had a great idea ( happens). I thought that on a beautiful fall day Grandpa and I should take the grand kids to Hard Labor Creek State Park in nearby Rutledge, Ga. We could hike the trail, come back and have a picnic lunch on a blanket (maybe I could find a quilt somewhere) and then play on the nice, new playground for a while.

Well, we did just that and had a great time. "Hiking" was never like this, though. We had to stop along the way to pick up and then throw many sticks, rocks, etc....we collected especially large and/or colorful leaves...every fallen tree was to be used as a balance beam...every rock of any size was to be scaled like it was a great mountain...every tree that could be reached needed to be climbed...and some strange trees made good "horses". The small river that runs through the park -- now barely a creek thanks to the ongoing drought -- was inspected closely for frogs and/or minnows and such (didn't find either) and leaf "boats" were floated in it.

We had a really great time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ten Digit Trouble

Emery has long been fascinated with how things work. His little hands were busy at a very early age with things that twist, turn, fit together, etc. His newest interest is in things that pump and spray.

On Saturday while Jerry, Jodi and I lingered over breakfast and visited at the kitchen table, the kids were playing in the basement. Pretty soon Savannah came upstairs and said, "Nanny...Emery sprayed his car." I went downstairs to find a puddle on Pledge on the seat of his little riding toy. As I wiped it off (I never even clean my own car...but now his is nice and shiny) I asked her what else he had sprayed. She said, "The TV., the books..." Didn't seem like any real damage, but I'll have to be careful where I leave the cleaning supplies now!

On Sunday we were at their house to celebrate Jeremy's birthday. Again, as the adults visited upstairs, the kids were playing downstairs in their play room. I took some crayons and paper down there to help Savannah make a birthday card for daddy. I told the kids to come to the kitchen table and we'd make cards for Daddy. Emery said, "I need to wash my hands." I said okay, but when I followed him into the bathroom I saw that he'd already been "washing" his hands. There was a puddle of liquid soap (from the pump dispenser) on the toilet seat and he'd been smearing around in it like it was finger paint. There was also some on the vanity and just a little running down the side by the toilet paper.

"I sorry, Nanny. I sorry." He sounded so sincere. So I cleaned it up as best I could but that involved using the towel. When I took the towel upstairs and told Jodi why it was going in the laundry room, she sighed and said he was so quick to apologize because he had just gotten in trouble for doing the same thing in the upstairs bathroom! A little while later, Jessica caught him doing the same thing in the master bathroom.

So even though there seems to be SOME remorse, he just can't help himself. He's a serial pumper! I don't know if there's a 12-step program for that or how old he'd need to be to get into one.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Big Sleep(over)

Jeremy had plans to go quail hunting this Friday and Saturday at the Burnt Pine Lodge in Newburn, Ga. Since he had to be up at 3:30 each morning (I would have to have a white-hot hate for a bird to get up at 3:30 in the morning just to kill him...but that's just me) and wouldn't be getting home till well after dark, they decided to spend the night at our house. The rooms at the lodge were all taken (apparently a lot of people hate these little creatures) and it would be closer for him to come and go from our house than from theirs. I thought it was a great plan. It's fun to have a house full once in a while.

I got Savannah a sleeping bag for Christmas last year and I keep telling her that she and I need to have a slumber party in our sleeping bags one night. You know, fall asleep on the living room floor while watching a movie! :) It just so happened that Wizard of Oz was on TV last night and she had never seen it. So while Jodi and Jeremy settled in downstairs, Emery was tucked into the air mattress beside our bed and Jerry was in that room with him, Savannah and I camped out in the living room and Roxie was tucked away in the computer room. Seemed like a great plan.

At about 1:30 a.m., Savannah got up and started going down the hall. I followed her and said, "Where are you going?"...thinking she needed to go to the bathroom. She went into the guest room and said, "I'm going to sleep in here". It did look more comfortable than the floor, so I joined her. I got up to use the bathroom about 10 minutes to 4:00. I hadn't heard Jeremy leave, and I was afraid his alarm hadn't gone off. So I checked outside and yep, he was gone. The cool, fresh, wee-hours-of-the-morning air was quite invigorating, though, so I was pretty much awake for a while. Good thing, because not too long after that I saw Emery walking down the hall (looking like Linus...because he's always dragging his blankie, too). I got up just in time as he was about to go into the computer room. I don't know which one would have been more surprised and scared...him or Roxie. I got him and took him downstairs to get into bed with mommy. Grandpa had been right behind me, so we each went back to bed. A few minutes later I heard the basement door...then I heard it again. (Jodi was coming up to get some children's Motrin because E had an earache.) Next thing I knew it was almost 7:00 a.m. and Savannah was getting up for the day. She entertained herself by writing invitations to a party (one of her favorite pastimes) and slipping them under everybody's doors.

I should have remembered from years past, though, that any time you hear the phrase "slumber party" it has not much to do with getting any "slumber".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Check it Out

Jodi's post from yesterday was hilarious. I tried to copy it here, but like I said...I don't know what I'm doing most of the time. So just go over to her blog and check it out. It's worth the trip! Go to and read "The Story of Peat and Repeat".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Cat Tale

"She's in a better place now" Jerry said, trying to console me, as he knelt tenderly beside her, his hand resting gently on her as he felt her heartbeat weaken and then stop. I was hysterical. Missy, our sweet cat of 18 years was behind the car as I was backing out to go to work. Ironically, I had been nagging at him the past year or two about slowing down when he pulled into the garage. Missy had gotten to the point that she couldn't see or hear very well any more and she moved very slowly. Sweet Missy and her somewhat goofy brother, Lucifer, moved here with us from Illinois over 17 years ago. He was quite freaked out by the whole experience, but she adapted very well to her new home and surroundings. She was always adaptable about everything. She was a great example of how to live a peaceful, trusting and simple life. She was very affectionate and her favorite thing was to curl up with someone and let them stroke her to their heart's content (that's good for lowering your blood pressure, you know). But if everyone was too busy, then she would just amuse herself by stalking birds or squirrels, napping in the sun, or drinking out of the garden fountain. Our girls were teenagers when Missy was born, so she never had to deal with toddlers...until the grand kids came along. Even though she was already over 13 years old when Savannah started pulling and tugging on her, she never hissed or scratched or even ran and hid from them. With her sweet patience she taught them how to be gentle with animals.

"She's in a better place now". His words cut through my trauma. As an old cat, she was showing definite signs of a life wearing down. Her once wonderfully soft and glossy fur now had clumps in it where she couldn't keep herself well groomed any more. Like I said, her vision and hearing were very much impaired. She was awfully thin, although she ate well and never seemed in pain. But "she's in a better place"? I have a lot of faith: faith like a mustard seed, faith to move a mountain, faith of my fathers...but when it comes to believing that dogs and cats go to heaven? Well, I'm just not sure. I have read accounts by people who have had near death experiences and have "crossed over" and then came back to tell us about it. I find some of their stories to be compelling and comforting and I like to believe them. Some of them say that they were with a favorite pet that had died long ago. If the very special and much loved pets get to be with us in eternity, then I will surely see Missy again.

Lord, please help me to live my life like Missy lived hers; accepting and adjusting to every change, finding peace and comfort in the things and people around me, and always trusting that my Master will meet my every need.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Late to Bed...Early to Rise

Okay so it's 4:20 in the morning. I guess I've always been somewhat aware that there are TWO 4:20s in each day, but I'm usually blissfully unaware of the AM one. But I was awakened about 3:15 this morning by a light on in the bathroom and Jerry getting dressed! I said, "Where are you going?" (or something like that). He said he had to go check the hoses. We had our first freeze warning of the season for last night and he hadn't remembered (until 3:15 in the morning!) to turn off the outside water faucets. Georgia folks and fellow drought sufferers don't panic and turn us in...he hasn't been using the outside water, but they were just left turned on. So he and the dog had to go see to that chore. After a little while, I got up to see where he was and he was watching TV. I said, "Aren't you coming back to bed?" (or something like that). He said yes and pretty soon he was back in bed...cold feet and all. A little while later he was up again. Now he said he had to go check on the pool pump. It was running, but it didn't "sound right". Well after all this I was wide awake and try as I might for the next hour or so, sleep just wasn't coming back. So I'm up for the day now. We're going to have Emery today, so I'm thinking that after lunch and after I read "Sleepy Head Bear" (his very favorite nap-time book), I may just curl up with him and join him for a nap. Doesn't that sound (and look) inviting?
Oh, and just so you I write this Jerry and Roxy (the dog) are snuggled up in the bed. I, on the other hand, am headed to my sewing room!
PS: Since we're meeting Emery for breakfast at IHOP this morning, I told Jerry when I went to bed last night, "Don't let me sleep past 8:00 in the morning." I guess I should just have used the alarm clock.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Work in Progress

Here are my girls, Jodi and Jessica. Aren't they cute? They're also sweet, kind, supportive and wonderful young Christian women. Their father and I are very proud of them both. They are also both bloggers. So a few months ago (has it really been that long?) they were at our house and while I played with the grandkids in the other room, they were in the computer room. Pretty soon they said, "Hey, mom. Come and look at something." The "something" I saw was that they had set up a blog for me! I guess that because I'm a frequent commenter on both of their sites, they think I have something to say. :)

So I've had a blog and had no idea what to do first. The other day I finally got brave enough to type something. But their blogs are SO creative and gorgeous and I don't even know how to transfer stuff in and around. I managed this picture, but the process wasn't pretty. (There has to be an easier way) So I need to play around now and figure out what I'm doing.

They said they just chose "Work in Progress" as a working title and I could retitle it to whatever I wanted. I think the title is terrific! My life, after all, is a work in progress. Also, I am an avid (read: compulsive, addicted, rabid) quilter and always have MANY quilting works in progress going at any given time.

So I'll stick with the title and just keep plugging at this slowly and try to feel my way to a better blog. Feel free to check in from time to time to see if I'm making any progress.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Here's Your Sign...

While driving in the country yesterday, we passed a small church with this sign that I liked:

J esus
O thers
Y ourself

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Foamie Fun

I've always liked arts and crafts...all kinds. One of my favorite new playthings is Faomies. Those brightly colored, peel and stick foam shapes that you can use on (almost) anything.

A short time ago I got a bucket of Halloween Foamies...ghosts, pumpkins, houses, bats, crescent moons, trees, etc. and some large foam rectangles. I took them over to Jodi's house and the girls, the grandkids and I had fun making Foamie scenes on placemats.

A few days later I saw something on the floormat of the car. When I picked it up, I found it was one of the little Foamie bats. He must have escaped from the bucket of leftover shapes, or flown off one of the placemats. At any rate, I picked him up and stuck him on the car -- right under the radio. I don't think Jerry has noticed yet, but now we're driving a "bat mobile". :)