Friday, February 27, 2009

Digging Out

While some parts of the country are digging out from yet another big snowfall, I'm still digging out from under a mountain of old photographs. When my mother cleaned out her house (almost 5 years ago now), all her old photo albums ended up at my house. Since the first of the year I have been going through them...and my own albums...and trying to make organized sense out of all of them. Mom and I were both pretty good about keeping up with photos, but there are just so many! I have plans for several scrapbooks and albums but after 2 months of working on this project, I'm still just barely able to see a light at the end of the tunnel of sorting.

Mom was one of 13 children and she has lots of neat old family photos. I've been sidetracked in my task by taking time to e-mail some of these pictures back and forth to cousins and one of my aunts. It's been a lot of fun. This first picture is of my mom with her 7 sisters. Mom is the one on the right, seated on the ground. The second pic is of her brothers. She had 5 brothers, but one died when he was 21 years old. These are the 4 that survived to adulthood and that teased and tortured us when we were growing up. Some of my very favorite people.

Another batch of really great pictures are all the ones of my dad (and mom) when he was in the Army Air Corps during WWII. I'm going to make a special album with those. There are also pictures of my uncles in their uniforms. This picture is of my dad (he's top left) with some of his army buddies. I don't know why...but this picture always makes me think of the guys from the Wizard of Oz!

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Cheap Nanny

Did anybody else buy their kids Loc Bloc brand building blocks back in the 70s? They were the cheaper counterpart to Legos. Looked just the same and worked just the same. I'm glad they're one of the things I've kept over the years...because now the grandkids are enjoying them all over again. It's just funny to get the (original) boxes out and see the pictures of the little boys on the boxes with their long, shaggy, 70's-style hair cuts. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Project update

Two weeks ago I posted about having the bathroom torn up. I included a picture of what it looked like after the plumbers had come in and cut the old tub and shower unit (shown here) out and there was nothing but studs and insulation on that side. Then we took out the toilet (and, as usual, when I say "we" I mean Jerry), stripped the wallpaper and took up the tile floor. Emery was over one day shortly after that and went running in there to use the potty. He came out slowly with the funniest look on his face. He said, "I have to ask Grampa something!"

Last Saturday the tile guys came and did their magic. We decided to forgo a tub since we never use it anyway...and there is another one just around the corner. So the entire space is now a tiled shower. The floor tile matches and it all looks pretty good. They came back yesterday and did the grout work and finished up.

Next up will be the guy who is coming this afternoon to measure for the glass door. Today or tomorrow the plumber will come back and finish his part of the shower fixtures and install the new toilet.

Then it will be Jerry's turn again. To replace the light fixture and a new vent. He's also going to build in a shelf unit between the studs on one wall. Then it will be finished except for the painting which will come later when we're ready to paint the whole master bedroom/bathroom.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Here's Your Sign(s)

On a church:

"Come in for a faith lift." (Just try to say it without sounding like you have a lisp.)

On a plaque:

"God doesn't give us what we can handle.

God helps us handle what we are given."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who is That?

If you're like us, you get tons of return address labels in the mail...and you hardly ever mail anything. I usually just keep most of them for the grand kids to play with as stickers and don't always look closely at them. But the other day we got some interesting ones.

A few years ago my friend, Mellie, said that when they fill out information for places like the grocery store (to get a discount card), etc. her husband suggested that they alter the spelling of their name a little bit. Then if they start getting mail addressed that way, they would know the store had sold their information. I thought that was a good idea -- but I never remembered to do it.

So I was really surprised to see address labels that said, "Mr. Jo and Jerry Beth". Once in a while there will be a little different spelling, especially in my name...but this? I had to laugh. "Mr. Jo" (not Joe) is apparently married to a "Jerry" (I've seen the spelling of the female names as Jeri or Jerri) and there was a huge B for the last name of "Beth". It just tickled me. Must have been a slow day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Programming Update

This is a follow-up to Friday's post about the TNT movie of Ben Carson's story: Gifted Hands. I watched it just to see how bad it was. I loved it! One of the criticisms that the reviewer at USA Today had was that it focused on one event -- his successful separation of cranial conjoined twins -- rather than the incredible story of how he became who he is. But the story began with that accomplishment and then went back and told his story of overcoming early learning disabilities and his struggles with his temper and poverty to rise to the position he now holds. I thought Cuba Gooding, Jr. did a very good job and I was totally hooked on the story from start to finish.

Just goes to show you. Don't always listen to others -- make up your own mind about things!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Book/Movie Review

I don't make enough time to read. I don't know why. I have several books...some of them I've had for a long time...that I know will be wonderful. One such book that's been on my shelf for longer than I will admit is called, "Gifted Hands". It's a small book and one I should have read by now. I know the basics of the story; a young black man and his brother are raised by their mother in poverty in inner-city Detroit. His mother gets much of the credit for the way she sacrificed and raised her boys so that they would not become victims of the streets, but would have good lives. She taught them faith, hard work, and the value of reading. Thanks to her, Ben Carson overcame impossible odds -- educationally and environmentally -- to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 33!

I was happy to hear they had made a movie of his story...based on the book. I had intended this post to be a programming note to advise you to watch the show. It stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the title role. It will air tomorrow night (Saturday, February 7th) at 8:00 p.m. (my time) on TNT. I have be so excited. Then when I sat down to write this, I was Googling around looking for a picture to post and came across the USA Today review of the program. They say it's terrible! They say it is boring and Cuba's portrayal of the doctor is dull. They also said that the movie focuses on one event -- the separation of Siamese twins -- rather than on the amazing story of how this man got to be who he is.

So now I'm conflicted. Should I watch the movie just to see how bad it is? Or should I turn the TV off and read the book. I still recommend you find out this man's story...but I'll let you decide how you want to hear it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Quilt as Desired"

Last night at our regular Batty Babes' quilt group get-together we celebrated Pam's birthday. We always have extra fun at the birthday parties. She got lots of wonderful things, because we spoil each other quite a bit.

I've decided that I want to dig into my fabric stash this year and make a scrappy quilt top for each of the Babes for their birthdays. I chose the six-point star pattern above for Pam because I have a scrappy six-point star quilt that she's admitted to "coveting". The stars on this one are a little bigger than the ones on my quilt, but otherwise, they look pretty similar. I tried to use old looking fabrics in this one and even more solids that we usually use in quilts today. I was trying to make a new quilt that looked old. I like the way it turned out and so did Pam. On her card I wrote, "quilt as desired". Since I quilt almost all my quilts by hand, I would never have enough time to make each of the Babes a quilt. But since they are all quilters, I figured I would give them each a top and they could then quilt by hand or machine in any way they liked.
The next birthday isn't until July, but in the fall they come pretty close together so I'll have to be working on the piecing pretty steadily all year. I have a few others started and ideas for a few more. Sew much fun!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Do You See What I See?

We spent the weekend gutting the master bathroom. So....I guess at long last, we're really going to do the redecorating thing. On Friday, the plumbers came out and cut apart the fiberglass tub and shower unit and hauled it out, and they moved the drain and put in the new pipes. It just so happened that at that same time, there were somewhere between 12 and 20 (so it seemed, anyway) guys on top of the house ripping the roof replace it with a new one. It sounded like I was living in a war zone! But I usual.

After the plumbers had gone, I went in and stripped all the wallpaper. Boy...that was really good wallpaper. I don't know how many years it's been up there, but it wanted to stay even longer! Finally, after I got all that down I started prying the tile up off the floor. We're having new put in that will match the new, larger shower. Jerry wasn't sure it would come up the way we wanted, but I couldn't stand not trying it. It worked out pretty well.

Jessica came over as I was working on that part of the project and she said, "You're going to keep some of those pieces, right? At least this one. (She pointed with a toe.) You HAVE to keep this one!" I knew right away what she was talking about, but I just said, "What am I going to do with it?" She said, "I don't know. But you have to keep it."

You see...for 18 years I have spent a great deal of time sitting on my "throne" and pondering the floor tiles. If you used just a little imagination, you could see shapes in them. You Charlie Brown sees in the clouds. Jerry always thought I was nuts and couldn't see any of what I was trying to show him. But other people could see them. It was a little awkward to ask someone to come into your small (tub and toilet area) bathroom with you and look at the floor. But I did. The one particular tile Jess was referring to was, to us, the most obvious. When we look at it we see a horse...facing left, complete with bridle. You can clearly see his head and his back. You can't see his belly or legs because, standing in front of him, facing right, is a lamb! You can see that she's white and wooly and she has her head down. Her nose and legs are black. You can "clearly" see that, right???
Jess was right. I really need to keep that one. This barnyard duo have been friends of mine for a very long time.