Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day to all my military friends.  Thanks for serving in the past, present and future.

Today is a damp day.  We are expecting rain and it sure feels like we will get it.  I stopped at the credit union today and blocked paypal from putting through any charges.  Hopefully I did it in time so that more money won't be taken out for "service charges" to occur.

I entered into a fabric post card swap and here is the one I made.  I haven't made one before but it didn't turn out too bad.  The pictures colors are off a little bit because of the flash and overhead lights but you'll get the idea.

That isn't dirty snow that I used although it looks like it.  That is a white on white fabric.

Just got back from a Veterans Day service at NIU.   It was nice.  Didn't take any pictures but will scan in the program later.  They gave out yellow ribbons for people to wear....which I am.

I wonder if they will do something special next year since it will be 11-11-11.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10, 2010

It is official.  Today sucks.  Actually this whole week has sucked and it doesn't look like it will get better anytime soon.

Most of the problems are stemming from two unauthorized charges in paypal.  I contacted them and my credit union which is linked to the paypal but one of the charges had already gone through (59.99) and they had denied the other charge (99.99) and charged me $25 for NSF.  So this morning, inbetween calling appears I am in a catch-22 situation.  The credit union can put a block on the charges but in doing so, they would permanently block Paypal from using my account....even for those I *did* authorize.

Paypal can't do anything except investigate it, which they are doing but that doesn't mean they can stop the 99.99 from being submitted a second time.  If THAT happens, then either my bank will pay it (*I* don't have an extra $100) which means I will be short for other bills, or they will deny it (depending on if it comes in before or after auto deposit from paycheck) and I will be charged another $25.

Sigh.  Life sucks sometimes.

The weather today is at least nice.  It will be in the 60s again.  By Saturday night it will start to hit the colder weather again but not for now.

Catchya all up later.  It's noon and time to create a fabric postcard.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

Today is suppose to be a little warmer.  Up in the 60s for a bit which will be nice.  We also turned back the clocks one hour so that was good but I still don't feel like I've had any more sleep...probably because I don't think I have.  :)

I don't know how Laura is doing.  Hope she is doing ok.  It is hard waiting for people to let you in on stuff.  Mom had a good day yesterday though.  One of her best ones in a long time.  Had a good conversation with her and she ate all her breakfast.  She even saw four birds at the birdfeeder which was good.  She missed them.

I'm brain dead today so will type more later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

November 4, 2010

A chilly day today.  Started off around 30 degrees F although it feels like it should be 30.  The wind is coming from the West Northwest at 9 mph and there is a slight chance of rain for this afternoon.  We'll see how accurate the weather man is today.  He is predicting only a high of 45 which will probably be true since I have to go out with Tony tonight after work.  Besides our normal weekly get together, he needs to get mom some more lipstick.  It appears that she gave me her lipstick because she didn't like it and now she can't remember that and accused the laundry service at the nursing home of taking her lipstick.  She gave it to me on Sunday because she didn't like the shade.  She has never worn that shade before and it would be too pale on her. I'll go with Tony and pick some out for her.  Perhaps see if he can pick up two tubes and then I'll keep one for when this happens again.  :)

The governor race still hasn't been decided on.  It is too close a call for anybody to "give up".  I've heard that they are now waiting for all the ballots to come in from the soldiers, etc.  It might be a month before it is decided.

I am looking forward to the 17th which is my next day off.  I plan on doing a lot of stitching that day. I still have to get Dan's birthday present done.  Connie is helping me with it but I will have to do the applique work on it.  I will have to get my mind to start to shut off at night though if I am to get everything done by Christmas.  There are four wall hangings that I need to do.  It sucks having all these ideas and no money to get the fabric to do them with.  Oh well, that just makes me use my creative juices and find alternatives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010

Woke up about 40 minutes before work today.  I had a rough night.  My brain would NOT shut up and I refused to stay up to listen to it.  I think I will be tired all day today.  It's a dreary day out.  In the mid 30s and rainy.  Totally Fall Illinois weather.

I have now agreed to take over two swaps on the Quilting Board.  The coordinator has a dying mother in law and was listed as primary care giver so she is dealing with that right now.  I originally thought I had agreed to only take over one swap but she posted for both swaps.  In for a penny in for a pound.

One of the swaps is a secret pal swap.  I have been doing secret pal swaps for about 4 months so pretty much understand how that works.  The other one is for a Winter postcard swap.  I haven't made post cards before and will have to read up on that one.  It should be interesting.

The results from last night elections:

     Results not yet available     Democratic hold     Republican hold     Republican pickup  Our US Senate - Mark Kirk (R) - seat held by Obama14th Dist. US Rep - Randy Hultgren (R)Secretary of State - Jesse White (D)Ill. Atty. General - Lisa Madigan (D)
Governor's seat is really close at the time of printing for the paper on Wednesday morning.  Quinn leading with just 9000 votes.  
President Obama's senate seat went to Republicans
Another close race - DeKalb County State's Attorney - Clay Cambell won it over Sarah Gallagher Chami by a 54% to 46% count.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

November finally arrived which means that the holidays are now coming full steam ahead!

Back to work today so I have time to take a couple of minutes to catch up on the blog.  That's what 15 minute breaks are for correct?  :) 

I had a pretty good weekend.  Mom was pretty coherent so we had a good visit and she ate all her biscuits and gravy.  That is one of the things that we are working on...trying to get her to eat more food.  She didn't complain about much so it was a very enjoyable visit.  I also heard that my brother Kerm was able to get out over the weekend to spend some time with his family and might be able to go back home around the middle of the month.  It's been three months now since his surgery and he is finally walking with a cane and can go up steps. 

I was also able to have a delightful chat with a friend while he drove home from visiting friends and inbetween that I even got some quilting done.  This candle mat seems to be a little popular but I'm not sure if I'll make it again.

After I did the candle mat I found another pattern for a candle mat.  I had material for the second one also so I fused it and will hand applique stitches to keep it on.  After putting it on the material, I think this would make a nice little wall hanging.  If nothing else, perhaps for mom since a lot of wall hangings are too big for her wall in her room.  Of course her not having enough room is because she has a lot of things up on her wall.  LOL.

This week should be pretty good weather wise.  In the 50s during the day and low 30s at night.  I woke up to 30 degrees F and had to scrape windows before going to work but was hard to scrape.  It might help a little bit when we change time on the 7th.  Not sure yet on that. 

Time to get back to work.  :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ooctober 29, 2010

Can't believe that October is almost over with.  The weather is certainly trying to convince us.  I woke up to a chilly 35 degrees but at least no wind.  I even had to scrape windows!  Much to early for that.  Of course the good part is that it should help everybody who has allergies.

At least it is payday.  I will officially have a minuscule amount of money for  about 1 hour.  Then I will go broke again because I will be paying bills.  Such is my life.  I am starting to get excited though about making Christmas presents and working on Dan's birthday present.  I am thinking of making him some pillow cases to match the quilt that I will be making him.  I also have a coupon for JoAnne's which will fit in nicely with that plan.  I just have to remember not to go overboard on it.

It appears that they have an interested party in the brutal killing and burning of the NIU student.  He is in Louisiana and there is talk about extraditing him to Illinois. 

Elections are soon upon us.  The paper spotlighted two politicians.  one from democrat and one from republication.  Not much choices.  One has a platform of wanting to lower taxes and to form a task force with local law enforcement agencies to combat gang and gun violence in DeKalb.  Served in US Army until 1990.  Got a bachelors degree from SIU and law degree from NIU and been a practicing lawyer in DeKalb Co. for nearly 20 years. 

The other one believe that gang violence is incrasing in DeKalb County and wants to combat it by attempting to reach out to kids before gangs can.  Wants to facilitate a Juvenile Diversion Program which would rehabilitate jailed ofenders and return them to society.  This would combat overcrowding in jails, lower caseloads in courtrooms and give relief to taxpayers.  Got a law degree from Chicago Kent and has been a career prosectuor and an Assistant State's Attorney in Cook Co. 

I should point out that the position they are going for is State Attorney or in the states attorney office. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28, 2010

Today has settled down to be chilly.  43 degrees F, partly cloudy and with the wind (gusting up to 28 mph) it feels like around 35 degrees.  The high is only to be around 40 so we will have to see.  It should be the last day of high winds.  Last night a roof blew off of one of the apartment houses on Greenbrier.  A lot of students live there but it wasn't too bad.  Nobody hurt and only 15 people were affected.  Our Red Cross was there also and soon everybody was taken care of.  Some of the students just went home and started their weekend early and some were put up in a dorm room for the night.

I have to get a schedule figured out for getting Christmas presents done.  I have four to make for the office and then a couple of ones for friends.  It will be a busy time for me and, of course, I never have enough money to get it all done with.  Looks like another trip to the storage shed to look through fabric.  The four for the office I can use plain black for a lot of it (applique stuff) but I don't think I will have fabric for the backing, etc.  Today Connie is going to our local quilt shop at lunch and I invited myself to go with her.  LOL   She doesn't mind though.  She works only two buildings over so we are in the same area.  I will look at some fabric and see if anything grabs my eye.  I should leave my money at home though so I'm not TOO tempted.

I went to Tammy Tadd's with Connie at lunch today and picked up some fat quarters to get an idea of what color I want to put with the hearts that I'm doing.  While I was there I noticed their wool and felt work.  It looked VERY nice.  That is when I came to the realization that I would have to tear out or throw out my first heart that I had done for the 20 heart project.  I didn't like it.  Going there DID give me an idea though.  I thought about the thread that I had been using on the hearts and figured out that was why I didn't like them.  Then i walked past their display of embroidery floss and it dawned on me.  I could try and use that.  Couldn't wait to get home and try it.  I had to go out to eat dinner with my brother Tony first (chinese dinner -- yummm.  garlic chicken) but when I got home I found some gold embroidery floss and did one of the hearts with that.  I....LOVED...IT!  I found what I liked and immediately sat down to work on it.  I've posted here one of the hearts where the floss shows up better.  I'm still working on keeping everything even but I'm getting better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

September 27, 2010

Still have the high winds.  My bosses plane was delayed a VERY long time at the airport last night as he waited to fly out to Georgia.  Todays temp is starting at 49 degrees F.  The high wind warning is here until around 12:15 p.m.  Tomorrow it is suppose to dip down into 30s.  Guess this means fall is certainly here.

I have started a new project.  It is an applique project from my quilting board Applique Group.  All of us either know applique or want to know it.  This is to be 20 hearts for a wall hanging.  I have the  hearts roughly cut out and will trim them down probably during a lunch hour.  They will be appliqued on cream colored fabric.  We'll see how it goes.  I figure I need the help with appliqueing for some upcoming projects.

I decided that I wanted to do fall colors (and use up some fabric in my stash).  I think this will grow on me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010

It's a fall day for sure.  Overcast, 80% chance of rain and a tornado watch for most of the day.  Haven't lost electricity today so I should be fine.  It's something that we get used to here in this area.  We get a lot of watches but not always the Tornado which is fine by me.

I finished my wall hanging with the pumpkin and Connie hinted that she wanted it for Christmas.  I gave in and surprised her yesterday with it.  This was a good idea on her part because I wasn't sure what to do with it.  I like making things but don't have room to just "keep" them.

This is a picture that she took when she got back to her office yesterday.  She put it right up and plans on keeping it there until after Thanksgiving.  I gave it to her early so that she could still use it this year.  I will admit that even though my stitching wasn't even on it, it did turn out pretty cute.  Certainly looks better from a distance (grins).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

I figure the best way to catch up is not to.  There was too much happening to try and remember so I'll just start with today.  Today will be a cooler day.  The high is suppose to be around 53 degrees F.  The allergies aren't quite as bad today but I still have had to take an allergy pill.  Hopefully my last one for today.  On the bright side, my face hasn't swollen up like it did last year. 

The end of October is fast approaching and I have no idea where the time went.  I have not gotten as much accomplished as I had hoped but that is life.

Work is settling down now. We are headed into our busiest season.  Lyndon is on the road a lot which means he gets to pile on the work to keep me busy while he is gone.  I have just finished up an 810 piece mailing and I know that it won't be too long before we have to get ready for another one.  This is also the time of year when I need to kick myself to start on xmas presents.  I normally make items for my student helpers and graduate assistants.  Lyndon usually gets a gift certificate but one of these years I'll make him a quilt.  My original idea for him has to change since he has lost some of the pictures I was going to use in the quilt.  

My ideas for office xmas presents will entail a lot of applique work.  So does Dan's quilt so my little projects right now are to determine which method of applique I am better at and which I will like better.  I will have to stay in at lunch hours more to get some of these done which might not be a bad thing.  Since all of my work presents are going to African Americans, I want to do table runners (they can also be used for banners) which depict the symbols for Kwanzaa and/or the seven principles of Kwanzaa.  Wish me luck.

Today should be a

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 21, 2010

If I remember right, today would have been my dad's birthday.  It's been a long time since I've been without him so his birthday is somewhat hazy in my mind.  Still though, Happy Birthday Dad. 

Today is also  when Barbara Peters exhibit opens.  I'll have to go and try and see it.  She has different outfits from throughout the centuries on exhibit at NIU.  For those of you who might read this and don't know, Barbara Peters is NIU's first lady.  She is the wife to NIU's president.  Yeah, I know.  Whoopie Do.  Still though, the preview of the outfits looked nice.

Tomorrow Kerm will get to go home.  He will have to still have therapy and hopefully continue on with his progress.  He will have to wear his collar for at least 3 months but if he can go to therapy closer to home it will be good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 20, 2010

Ahhh, breakfast at work.  This time the birthday breakfast was a little different.  Two people brought in waffle makers so we had fresh waffles.  In addition to that there was a cheesy potato casserole, an egg casserole, fresh fruit, cupcakes, milk and cereal (cheerios), bacon and sausage.  Quite yummy all the way around.

I also bought a new coffee mug when I got back.  Couldn't resist it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

Family reunion day.  It is also the first day back for me to see mom.  I didn't see mom at breakfast since I had to run to Walmart to get the chicken for the reunion as well as macaroni salad.  That took care of what mom and I would bring.  I ran into Tony there picking up his stuff.  He always gets a sandwich tray and brings the soda and ice.  So I told him I'd meet him at mom's but I wasn't going to wait for him.  I had to give mom a couple of presents that I brought back for her.

I made it to the nursing home in good time and went into mom's room.  I figured I had a couple of minutes before going back to the car and getting the food out.  She was laying down and told me she was being punished.  Being over 90 and being punished was interesting so I asked her why.  She couldn't remember.  I asked a nurses aide who was coming into her room and it appeared that mom had tried to get in and out of her wheel chair by herself again.  That is when she is most vulnerable to falling so they don't want her to do it by herself.  Mom appeared to like the stuffed Northern Cardinal that I brought back for her from the Bird Refuge in Utah.  If you press it's stomach and back it will chirp.  I don't think she has enough strength to make it chirp but she also can't hear it chirp so that is a minor point.  I'm not sure if her hearing aids need new batteries or what.  She doesn't like anybody else to touch them besides Kerm and Kerm won't be seeing her for a bit.

I rolled mom down to the room which was reserved for us.  She couldn't remember being there before even though it was the same room as last year.  Her memory is fading fast and she does not have much interest in things lately.  Tony arrived shortly after that so there was somebody else to talk to.  MaryAnn, Ken and Betty Lou arrived about 10 minutes later.  It was a nice surprise to see Ken.  He doesn't come to our gatherings very often so that was a special treat.  No sooner had everybody said Hi to mom, then Matthew, Julie, and Gwen.

Notice that mom is actually smiling in that picture.  I also took a picture of Ken.  He was watching a slideshow of my pictures from Utah.  I had a nice conversation with him about Utah.  He had been to Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake.  A place one does not want to roll down the windows at.  :)

I think that everybody had a good time.  Mom got tired and didn't want to eat anything so I took her back to her room around 1:30.  She also had some of the food on a plate for when she wanted it later.  Just some cheese and fruit but it will be good.  I went back to the others after making sure she got to lay down.  I will see her on Wednesday again and back to the normal schedule.

I had plenty of left overs.  Chicken strips and fruit mostly.  We split up the food so everybody took some stuff home.  That means I won't have to cook for the next day or two.  Tomorrow is the September breakfast gathering at work so I don't need to eat breakfast before work.  I already have my contribution at work so I don't have to worry about it.  I am furnishing diet syrup for the waffles that might be made.  Normally I bring more but after the vacation it is all that I have.

It's time to stop writing and get to bed.  Until next time....

September 18, 2010

Saturday!  It's here!  No work, no worries about work.  That is the theme for the day.

I have my food ordered for tomorrow's family reunion so no worries on that.  I am getting the oil changed on my vehicle today.  I have a $10 off coupon for Bockman's so that will help. It came to a total close to $27 after they applied the $10 off.  I remember that I had walmart change the oil one time and it too was around $30 so I guess it is a toss up of which does it.  They also filled up the rest of the fluids as well as made sure I had the proper amount of air in the tires.  I know that the tires needed air and this way I didn't have to do anything.

While I was waiting for the oil to be changed, I worked a little bit on what I would be doing in the Traveller game at Mike's tonight.  It was good to have something to do since I'm not used to waiting.  I managed to map out what we had covered up to that point and where I wanted them to be by the end of the evening.  Didn't get that far since everybody was really tired and we spent a lot of time talking about my trip.  Still had a good time.  They finally made it to the Dog's Paw.  That was a bar run by a Vargr.  The PCs, or travellers as Mongoose Traveller and Richard like to call them, heard that somebody else was also looking for the same person they were.  It was proposed that they share information in order to find the woman.  They suspected that something was up since they are smart.  They got the Vargr owner, named Ralph (he never gave his last name or proper Vargr name), to admit that he too did not have intentions on hurting the woman.  He readily agreed since that was true.  HE didn't have any intention of hurting the woman.  His client, on the other hand, might be a different manner.   Ralph is neutral.  It shall be interesting to see where they go now with this information.  They called it an early night from gaming.  I think they wanted time to think about it.

That's about it.  Got back home and caught up on facebook as well as had a nice chat with Sally on IM.

Tomorrow is the reunion and I must get to bed.

September 17, 2010

Kerm's birthday today.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bro.

I managed to call him to find out how he is doing.  He will be coming back home on Monday for a trial run with his therapists so they can see how he fares.  If everything goes right, he should be coming home on Wednesday.

Lyndon is out of the office today so that will give me time to catch up on some of the stuff like Tuition Waivers.  It appears that most of my phone calls today was either about Fellowship stipend checks or tuition waivers.  Stipend checks will be issued but we have to wait for Financial Aide to enter them into the system so they can be cut.  The tuition waivers will be taken care of but everybody assumes they submitted the forms correctly and, of course, that isn't always true.  I will get caught up.  Just need a couple more days.

Tonight is my off night for gaming which is good since George's server is down.  If it isn't up by this coming Friday, I might be gaming via IM.  Have done it before but it's not always the best way.  The next time we play Salvage, it should be the inspection of the ship.  They will probably also have to carry on the mission in a different ship.  We'll see.

Also need to catch up on posting in the PBeMs.  Not sure if I'll get to that this weekend or not with everything else on my plate.

September 16, 2010

Today is the first day back at work.  Wow, time went quickly and now I get to face the consequences.  Two weeks of mail and phone messages.

Lyndon was also in the office today so that meant I didn't get much done.  I was constantly being interrupted with people asking me how my vacation was.  I didn't mind that though since I loved to talk about it.  :) 

I was more than ready to close the office doors and turn off the computer and get back home.  That was about it today....surviving the first day back from vacation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010

Pay bills, do laundry, check mail, get groceries....Yep, vacation is over.

Today was weird.  Getting used to Illinois again and having meals with friends.  Going to Bobbie's place to check up on my brother Kerm's progress....he's still recovering but managed to walk up 4 stairs.  I know he is in a lot of pain but it does show progress.  I did chuckle when Bobbie said that he needed a hair cut because he was starting to look a little shaggy.

I am spending the night catching up on the blog as well as watching TV.  There is a new Jimmy Smits show so I will watch that.  I won't write about America's Got Talent in case Shelley hasn't seen the finale yet.  :)

Today I bought a five cup coffee maker, a small (big enough for a sandwich) electric skillet and a new iron.  They all came in the same box and Walmart had them for $10.  I can always use another iron and the coffeemaker although I'm not sure on the mini skillet yet.  I'll see what I can use it for.

Oh...surprise surprise.  When I got up this morning I weighed myself and I had LOST weight while on vacation.  Totally shocking but I'll take it.  To celebrate I went to Great Clips and had them shampoo and trim my hair.  It somehow seemed like a good way to end the vacation.

Tomorrow is the first day back to work so I will be up to my eyeballs in emails and phone messages probably asking about tuition waivers.  That is usually what happens at this time of year. 

Until next time.....

September 14, 2010

Shel took me to the airport early.  I like the SLC airport.  it's small enough to find things easily.  I was glad that I arrived early.  I walked up to the check in counter and asked for help.  I've found it to be the easier way to get checked in.  The lady was very nice and accommodating but her supervisor stepped up afterward.  The look on her face said that she wondered why but he soon explained.  He had seen my NIU t-shirt and had gone to NIU for two years on a sport scholarship. They had discontinued that scholarship though so he had to finish at DePaul.  We had a nice chat about DeKalb and Sycamore.  He even said that he still comes out for a game each year. 

After that I went through security and had the person ahead of me AND behind me pulled over.  When they left the line, they also took my tray so I had to go and claim it.  They wanted to make sure that the tray was mine which was actually easy to do.  Not sure which convinced them more, the fact that I was wearing a NIU t-shirt and I had all my ID's , including my NIU ID, in there or the fact that I fit into the shoes whereas the two senior ladies didn't.  Either way it didn't take long and finally I was settled in the gate area.  At least I didn't have to move to different gates this time.  I was also happy to have my HP Mini charged up.  There wasn't an available outlet to plug it in.  While I waited, I did manage to check emails and text messages.  It took up my time nicely and soon I was boarding the plane.

There was some confusion on which seat to sit in since the plane was United Express and not as wide across as the regular ones.  That translates as some people had seats "f" and there wasn't any "f".  Eventually everybody found a seat.  Then, before taxiing it was noticed that we had empty seats towards the front of the plane so the flight attendant was asking eople if they would move forward more.  I was in 8D so I didn't move.  The person next to me stayed also and I had a nice chat with her.  She was flying out to PA but she had a couple of hours layover in Chicago.  The people in the seat behind me carried on a conversation about where the women was travelling to.  She was on her way back to Ireland and the man was asking questions about her visit.  Evidentally she had visited Yellowstone and his daughter lived in that area.  He jokingly said he should have asked her if she had Guiness in her carry on and her reply was "No Guiness, just whiskey".  :)

If I had to write down everything that I enjoyed while on vacation, I'd simply say.....EVERYTHING.  I really enjoyed listening to all the Gardner's play their musical instruments and see the girls artwork as well as watching them do their creative assignments from school.  I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Shel when she was quilting and her sewing section gave me a few ideas of how to change mine.  I enjoyed meeting Joe and also seeing Stephen's new iPAD.  I truly felt welcome and like part of the family which made it kind of sad to have to say good bye.  Of course this does not mean that we cannot keep in touch.  There is IM, Facebook and email and letters. Shel has a couple of projects she is doing which I am looking forward to seeing the end results. It was also fun to watch John GM a Traveller game in person.  It was totally cool to meet so many of my internet gaming and sewing friends, namely George, Michele and Sadee.

soo, as I write out this rough draft on the plane home (I'll type it up once I'm home), I come away from one of the best vacations I've ever had.  Thank you all who helped make it so...whether or not you contributed funds for the trip, contributed to the transportation, or approved me taking off of work. 

Now it is time to think about next years vacation.  I know it is a full year away but when you live paycheck to paycheck you have to think well in advance.  I've been to CA and met a gaming friend there and his wonderful family.  Now I've met my gaming friends in Utah.  That still leaves the Dakota's or Southern route in the US to visit.  I doubt I'd do two weeks but perhaps one might be doable.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today is the last day of vacation.  It has been a wonderful experience meeting friends, being lazy, and looking at beautiful scenery.  Of course I also was treated to music throughout the vacation.  If it wasn't the girls playing one of the many instruments that they are learning, it was John playing the hammered dulcimer.  LOVE the sound of that! 

Then there was the food.  Oh yeah - the food.  Shel is a good cook and between her and John grilling out, I over ate.  For those of you who know me--that is not new.  What is new is that I have only had soda three times in this two week period.  Just don't count how much coffee I have had.  I actually have been drinking mostly water.  It will be interesting to see how much water I drink once I'm back home. 

Sunday September 12, 2010

Before I talk about my Sunday, I want to mention Redmond Salt that Shel picked up for me.  According to a google search/website for them (this came from:

Millions of years ago, the salt in this pouch was part of a pristine sea...Long before the earth knew pollutants of any kind, a huge, ancient sea covered what is now North America.  Pure, natural salt was the main ingredient of this sea, and over millions of years, the water in the sea evaporated, leaving the salt in undisturbed deposits.  At some point during the earth's Jurassic era, a range of volcanoes erupted around the ancient sea bed, sealing salt with layers of thick volcanic ash, protecting these precious deposits against the pollution that man would eventually introduce into the environment.  Near the small town of Redmond, in south central Utah, we carefully extract this salt from the deep within the earth, and bring it to you in its pure, natural state-without additives, chemicals, or heat processing of any kind.  This is RealSalt® full of flavor and natural goodness - the way salt was meant to be savored!
The difference in Salt-
Did you know there is a vast difference in the quality and content of table salts on the market today?  Unlike most table salts, RealSalt is not bleached, kiln dried, heated, or altered with chemicals or pollutants.  RealSalt also has a full complement of beneficial trace minerals.  RealSalt comes to you in its natural form, with nothing added.  The result is a delicate "sweet salt" flavor that you may not have experienced before.
Sodium Chloride  98.32%
Calcium  .40%
Potassium  .12%
Sulphur  .11%
Magnesium  .10%
Iron  .06%
Phosphorus  .05%
Iodine  .002%
Manganese  .0015%
Copper  .001%
Zinc  .0006%
RealSalt also contains numerous other trace minerals in minute quantities


N ow on to my Sunday.  It is in italics because I am too tired to figure out how to get rid of them.  I might be able to fix this before most of you read it.  My Sunday started with allergies.  I woke up but it was almost as if I hadn't.  I had my allergy pills with me so I took some immediately but, of course, they can make me sleepy.

Meepers woke up before me so it was only us for about an hour when Em woke up around 9 a.m.  Meepers also was nice enough to make me scrambled eggs with turkey cubes in it.  I cut up some tomatoes to add to it and it was pretty good. 

I had "How to Train Your Dragon" on my mini so after breakfast we watched it.  Then, as a thank you for giving her a copy, Em drew me a picture from it.

Eventually everybody woke up but it appeared that we all were sleepy and suffering today.  John and Joe, who had stayed over since they gamed so late, were the last to wake up.  Food today was left overs and that was very nice so nobody had to work hard for it.

Today then was a stay at home, take naps, and eat leftover day.  Pretty good way to spend the day if you ask me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today was a busy day.  We went to the Farmer's Market which was very nice.  Their Farmer's Market is a combination of market and craft fair.  Since it was 9-11, they also had a remembrance ceremony and the Ogden Symphony was playing.  We went to that because Meepers violin teacher is in it.  It seems that they are trying to get the Symphony started up but when they couldn't get the proper funding, they just decided to do it on their own.  Hopefully by playing here it will bring awareness to their efforts and goal.

They also have painted horses on every street similar to the idea of NIU's huskie dogs.

 They also had nice picnic tables in the park area there.

 Saturday was a busy day since after we got home and had lunch, we called George and Michele over.  Since they were coming over as well as Shel giving Sadee a ride home from work, it was decided to have their Traveller game on Saturday if everybody could make it.  A quick call to Joe and taking Sadee home to pick up her character sheet sealed the deal.

Before the game though, Em had to work on her video for a class project.  She filmed various actions and then would put them in reverse.  She filmed writing with crayons on the wall and being caught by mom, her sister rolling on the bean bag, rolling marbles, and a couple of other things.  It's not done yet but it looks pretty good so far.

They tried to have a fire affect but it didn't work out right but it was fun watching John and Em trying to get it to turn out.

Don't worry.  Em didn't actually play with or light the matches.

It was fun to hear George (standing) and John ltalking about John's computer.

Then they started to work on it and Meepers took a break with helping Em film to check out what they were doing.

Gaming was fun and I played a brief but memorable spot appearance.  John had Honest Al being a person who the group was negotiating with for selling things they had salvaged from a downed Solomani ship.  When they returned with their haul, they had called Honest Al, if that really was his name, who was very tired and grumpy from being woken up in the middle of the night.  He yelled to his wife, Ethel, "Put a pot of coffee on Ethel" (or words to similar effect) when he heard what they wanted to sell him.  Before anybody could say anything, I piped up with "Get it yourself, I'm in bed."  Everybody burst out laughing at the voice I had used and it took them a bit to get back in game.  John said I "derailed his game" for a little bit but the worst part was that he couldn't give me any experience points for it since I was not "officially" in his game. Jo, who plays the most aggressive and 'blow them up' kind of doctor I have ever seen, as well as Stephen who plays one of the children of the Captain (Shel) was able to test out Battledress which they found when they looted...excuse me...salvaged some things off the ship.  There were huge dire wolves, over 10 feet long, that loved to attack things out in the open and it proved to be a good test for the battle dress.  Firing weapons on it didn't do satisfactory (ie, quick enough) damage but they found out that they could punch the wolves and flatten them out in a hurry.  The closest thing that I can relate to it goes back to the RPG called Rifts and SDC damage vs. MDC damage.  It was a fun night though and I think everybody had fun.

September 10, 2010

Cancelled my mIRC gaming for tonight.  Thought I might have gotten used to see George and Michele but then it turned out I won't see them until tomorrow (Saturday).  It was nice to have a day where we didn't do too much.  Well I didn't do too much to do.  John and Shel was busy picking up and taking children to and from school.  With one boy at the University, one girl in high school, and one girl in junior high, it keeps them busy.

I did manage to catch Dan online later in the evening and got some writing done with him.  That was a good ending to the day.

September 9, 2010

Started out a little cloudy today but warmed up nicely. Michele called and wanted to meet up. She couldn't meet up today but will meet her and George Saturday. That will be nice since I haven't met either one of them before.

My days are starting to run in together now. I get going on some activity or side tracked by watching what is going on in my friends household that I forget what I did on each day. Some of my days might be wrong but at least I am still putting down the events as best as I can. I am not good on keeping a blog so we'll see how long this keeps up. :)

Today I got a chance to visit Weber University. That is "Wee-ber" or "Wee-ver" University and not like how I would have pronounced it. Stephen is starting college so I was able to go with when he got his textbooks. He got a lot of them as a rental. This is something that the university bookstores are now starting to do. NIU started doing that this year also. In the case of Stephen's books it really paid off since it saved around $100. It's a great thing to be able to do. That happened earlier in the week but today Stephen brought home an iPAD.

Joy! Joy! New technology in the Gardner Household! There was much interest in the iPAD. I have to admit that it looks nice and would be totally fun to have one. I will have to double think on it now. I would like the storage on it to be greater as well as a USB port. It has a cable to it which can connect to a usb port but, since it is Apple, it has to be an Apple port, etc. It also only recognizes iTunes or CD's. Somewhat limiting but once again it IS Apple (as is iTunes). If you have an iPod it will sync up with that ok. There are many features that are nice though. I do enjoy the app which will allow you to get pdf's as well as the book apps.

September 8, 2010

I guess that there was a mini thunderstorm last night. It only lasted around 15-20 minutes and I slept through the entire thing. I guess that is typical here. Short bursts of rain and then it almost all dissipates before long.

It was a little cooler today which is good. Today was going to be a quilting day which I kinda guess it was. Shell and I talked about quilting and she ordered fabric from Keepsake Quilting for a project that she is wanting to do. They have a kitten called Socrates (Socs)out of various shades of grey. We did Gardiner's Sew and Quilt. I liked going and seeing the different fabrics and quilts they had there. I even managed to get out of there without buying anything. Wasn't I good? Of course it probably helped because by this point in time I had gone through all my vacation money. I did get to see some of that new bamboo batting that people are starting to talk about. I wonder how warm it actually is? I think it said that the shrinkage of it would be around 3%.

After that Shel took me to Hancock's. There we found some good greys for her to use. They had a GREAT fat quarter wall. It was all folded up nice and easy to see all the colors.

September 7, 2010

Today we went to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. We manage to see quite a few birds even if the bugs were out in full force. It is my understanding that the river usually was higher up and where it had lowered was dried up so much, you could see the salt that was left behind.

Some of the birds that we saw were:

Clarke's Grebe, adult and juvenile American White Pelicans, juvenile Double-crested Cormorants, adult and juvenile Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets,Little Blue Heron's (scruffy looking teenagers), White-faced Ibis, Canadian Goose, Gadwalls, Mallards, Virginia Rails, American Coots, American Avocets, Long-billed Curlews,California Gulls, White-throated Swifts, Red-winged Blackbirds.

Shel is around 5'2" so that will give you an idea of how large the bird model was

I have seen some of these back home in Illinois (black winged blackbirds, Canadian Goose, Mallards)but it was nice to go along the 12 mile auto drive with somebody who knew their birds. Since we were driving only around 5-10 mph, it took quite awhile to go throughout the whole route. I really appreciated them taking me there since it it took a bit to drive out to it also. I managed to pick up a nature CD as well as more post cards and book marks.

When we left, we ended up in Bringham City at an ice cream shoppe. Yummmmm. I had hand packed mint oreo single dip ice cream cone. It was suppose to be single dip but when it arrived it looked more like it was double dipped. On the other hand, it disappeared as fast as a single dip would (grins).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 6, 2010 - continued

Also on Antelope Island is a ranch. It is the Fielding Garr Ranch (1848-1981) and is open to the public for "A Timeline of History". While there I happened to see some things that reminded me of my grandparents place. One of the first things was the kitchen table. Another thing that I remember from my past is the washer.

There were a couple of sewing machines there but one of the brands I hadn't heard of before. There was a White but also one called Bel Air. I hadn't heard of the Bel Air one before.

The ranch was fun also because the girls were able to try their hand at roping. Not real cattle of course but mock up ones.

They had quite a bit of large sized grass, perhaps a type of prairie grass, and you could clearly see a path going through from the various animals coming unto the property for a drink of water. The tops of the grass looked like you could even perhaps use them as a duster (in days gone by).

They also had horses on the farm since you could pay for a horse ride around the property. About the only other animals that I saw were the chickens and rooster. From the amount of feathers that was removed from the chickens back, that rooster must be VERY happy.

On the way home, John took me to one of his local gaming stores. Hastur's Hobbies was a nice store. I managed to get some new dice in NIU's colors (red and black) as well as an Eldar Farseer figure and nurglings. They are so ugly they are cute (grins).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

With kids off of school and parents not having to work, it sounded like a day to be out doing something. We debated about going to Park City but instead ended up going to Antelope Island. I was TOTALLY glad that we did. We managed to spot lots of animals and the weather was great! So far the weather for my entire vacation has been great. I probably have just cursed myself weather-wise for the rest of my vacation by saying that.

To get there, we had to go across a causeway.

I took TONS of photo's from Antelope Island and we saw the following animals:

Mule deer, Bison, 2 coyotes, one lizard, a Kangaroo Rat, Orb weaver spiders hanging on their webs, a Sage Thrasher, several nests of fledgling barn swallows, lots of Avocets, Magpie, White-faced Ibis, California Gulls and Black-necked Stilts on Antelope Island today.

I think my favorite part of that was when we were seeing the Bison. There was this one Bison that was taking a dust bath (the flies were horrible that day as well as the next day). Since he was laying down, the cars had pulled over and people were getting out to take pictures. Shell did that for us. When he moved his hind legs to turn and twist, he made some of the people jump. He didn't get up then, but when we were on the way out, there was a Bison VERY close to the road that was scratching against some rocks and I think that he might have been the same one. Once again cars were stopping by to take pictures and only moved on when he looked like he was going to move.

I have no idea who the person is that I caught in my photo but I have to give a thank you to her since it helps show the size of the Bison.

September 5, 2010

Didn't really do much today. Most of the people had headaches so it was a quiet day of dealing with headaches and sleeping.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, that wasn't a bad day at all. Sometimes it is good to just have a day of rest.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 4, 2010

Today was a somewhat busy day. After wishing my friend Kim Bird a happy birthday, I went to listen to the jam session with the family.

Emily didn't play this time but John and Meagan did. There was a pretty good variety of instruments represented by the time the session ended. They had around 3-4 fiddles/violins, hammered dulcimer (that is what John is playing), penny whistle, guitars, and harmonicas. The group is called something like Old Time Fiddlers, and they go out to perform at various state fairs and other places. It was quite enjoyable to listen to them and the time went rapidly. This was a jam session so you also heard mistakes and restarts, etc.

Another nice thing about the group is that you have all ages represented.

September 3, 2010

My first full day with the Gardner's. John had decided to go to the store and get some groceries since grilling out sounded like a good idea. So he came back with a new kettle grill and veggies and chicken. The grill was assembled (thank you John) and put to use. John got carried away with the charcoal so we had plenty to grill chicken breasts for everyone (8 people since Joe and a friend were also over) and fish for the next day. He also brought home a pineapple which was cut up and we put a brown sugar/molasses mixture over it and then it too went on the grill. Yummmy indeed.

As can be seen from the picture, John has figured out how to achieve the flames.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vacation Time

I started this blog while waiting to board the plane. It was a great drive to the airport. Ev from work drove me there and Phyllis came with us. While the weather was somewhat rotten due to rain, the company was great. I didn't have any trouble getting checked in. I did my usual line of looking like I didn't know what I was doing and it really wasn't too far off the truth. I went up to somebody who had a united uniform on and calmly informed them that I hadn't flown before and where would I go. I figured most people are willing to tell others where to go.

So, at 10:48 a.m. I found myself all through check in thanks to the help of a female employee. She took my ticket and punched it into the computer, had some problems with it, corrected the problems and handed me my boarding pass all within 5 minutes. A quick check through security which took all of 3 minutes and I was on way to the gate. For anybody who will fly United, Gate B21 is clear on the other side of nowhere. If it gives you any idea, I checked through security around gate 3. I got my exercise getting to B21. It was clearly marked so that wasn't the problem. It just took me a bit to get there. THEN they changed gates on me. For the next 30 minutes the flight to Salt Lake City bounced between Gates 19 – 22. It changed a total of 4 times before it settled on gate 20. There was only a slight delay before boarding since the plane was arriving late. Eventually I got on the plane and waited for what seemed like forever before we were in the air. Taxing took a long time. Long enough for people to play musical seats. There were two couples who wanted to sit together but their tickets weren't tgogether. Once they found out that nobody was in the seats ahead of us, they moved there. That was good for me since it meant I didn't have anybody sitting next to me and I could spread out a bit more, etc.

So, here it is 1:43 p.m., I think I'm still in central time, and I'm looking out the window at flat clouds. Why is it that all the pretty fluffy clouds are usually only seen on take off? They are seen when we can't take out our cameras and take a pix. NOW I can see the flatlands of the clouds. Not much of an improvement. I went from flat cornfield land to flat cloud land. Looking out, it's like an extra light desert. I can imagine a wind sweeping through the clouds and moving them into little sand dunes...or cloud dunes.

Things got better though and soon I went from flatland clouds to semi fluffy clouds. THEN I started to see the land. I had reached the mountains. It wasn't long before the captain announced that we would be landing in Salt Lake City. From the air I could see the chiseled topped mountains leading down into the valleys. Most of the mountains were brownish but as we got closer you could start to see the patchwork landscaping. Periodic greens and reds interspersed by a river or road.

Despite the almost 45 degree banking that the plane took to approach the landing strip, the landing was smooth and going through scurity was a breeze. I noticed that John had called me to see if I had landed yet and soon we had figured out where each of us was. I recognized John right away because I had seen pictures of him once or twice before. It wasn't long before we were in the car and had started up a convesation. Not sure if it was just that we liked talking or that it was to cover up some nervousness or perhaps a bit of both? Either way it was a delightful drive. We went to The Pie, a pizza place which has great pizza. It took 20 minutes to bake so I snapped some pix and they are posted on my fotki site.

More on the vacation later.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HERE it is!

I know I haven't blogged in a little but I really DID have a good reason. I couldn't find or remember where I was blogging. You'd think that I would have bookmarked it when I created this wouldn't you? Oh well, that's life. I finally found it so I will start posting again.

The good news is......I am going on vacation to Utah soon. I am going to visit some great friends. I haven't seen them in person yet but I have communicated with them and their families for around seven years. It will be good to see them and spend time with them. Some of the places they were thinking of taking me are:

They all sound good plus there are plenty of hiking trails. I will be happy to collapse in their house and listen to their talented family play their musical instruments as well as get some crafting done.

As it happens, a second friend moved this summer close by so I will get to see two sets of gaming families in one visit. How lucky can a person be?

I will be posting when I get time. For now, this will catch you up.

Oh yeah, this time I also bookmarked where I am posting this. LOL.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Backtracking to 50

I just noticed that I should have started when I turned 50 or 51 since I entitled this as the second half of a century blog. I would have, but not much happened. My life pretty much kept to its own status quo and went on day after day. That is why I was bound to do something in the second half of my century of life.

So far it has been working out. In November, 2009 I bought a new sewing machine in order to pick up on my quilting and crafts. It wasn't a big sewing machine but what I could afford. I am happy with it. I might not be as happy if I had one of the super duper fantastic long arm quilting machines but this is fine with me for now. I bought a Singer Confidence (the line of sewing machine) Quilter. Sometimes I wonder why I chose that one. It was not the one I had walked into the store to buy. No salesperson came up to me to give me a sales shpeel. After thinking it over, I am sure I bought it because a) it was in my price range, b) I liked the "confidence" part and c) I liked putting the "confdence" with the "Quilter" part. I needed that little boost for my quilting. I have not yet been sorry that I bought it.

The next achievement that I wanted to do in the second half of life was to get my Bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University. I have been working there on and off for over 20 years and they paid for my education. Thanks to waiting for what seemed like forever, I received my Bachelor's of General Studies degree from NIU this May. I also achieved this without incurring any educational debt. That is a very good thing since there is enough debt hanging over me although not as much as when I first left my ex.

As a treat, I wanted to make sure I celebrated getting my degree. Years ago I wanted to go overseas and visit my European gaming and crafting friends. That was out of the question due to finances so instead I looked into going to visit some gaming and crafting friends in the United States. I had already met a friend and his family in California when I went out (my first time riding in an airplane) to a work conference. I guess my first time meeting non local gaming friends was at GenCon in 2003 though. That was my treat for leaving a doomed relationship. Up to now, all my meetings with my online gaming friends have been wonderful and I have grown because of it. Now I am scheduled to go to Utah (North Ogden) to visit friends. This is a great time because I have to sets of friends who live there AND I also found out that somebody from my Quilting Board lives about 15 minutes from there. I wonder if I can manage to meet up with everybody.

As usual, my train of thought blogging/journal style has me of topic a little bit. There is only one way I could afford this trip is due to my marvelous boss. Yes, I really DO have a wonderful boss. My graduation present from him was the air fare for this trip. The costs for the trip had gone up so I ended up having to put in $50 of my own money, but WOW, my gift certificate from him covered the rest. The other thanks I have to dish out is to John and his wife Shelley (and their kids) for putting me up while I stay in Utah for two weeks. I also have to thank George and Michele who moved there so I get a chance to see them also. Michele and Shel both to crafts and they all game. This should be fun. Now all I need to do is to not spend all my money before I go.

One of the women at work will be taking me to the airport...Thanks EV!... and I have already paid for that so I don't have to worry. That means that all of my transportation costs have been met. Not bad Bon!

Oh, a note for anybody who reads my blog. It is my blog which means if I don't feel like spell checking it, I won't. I will still try my best to make it readable but there will be days when I just ramble. I ramble quite well.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Countdown

July is almost over which means that I have a little over one month before I go on vacation. This will be my first vacation in....well I don't think that I have taken a vacation since I went to GenCon in 2003.

This time I will be going to Utah to meet up with some gaming friends. It's a good thing to meet up with friends. This trip I should be able to meet up with a couple of different friends. The scenery should be fantastic as well as the company. Hope to be able to get some walks in, listen to my friends talented family play their instruments, and to perhaps even get some crafting done. I hope to post some pictures when I go. I will be gone the first half of September but there is plenty of things to do before then.

More on this later.....time to sign off and get some things done for the trip. I'll report back later.