Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Week That Was

 Valery has come and gone and I miss her so much. She's been gone from Ozark for about 10 hours and is now visiting Kevin and Rachel in Kansas City before returning to Sacramento tomorrow. She did an amazing amount of house work helping me to prepare my house for showing and hopefully, selling. But, we also took some time out for fun. She arrived on Saturday and I immediately put her to work helping me prepare to host a book club meeting on Monday night. We read The Art of Racing in the Rain and I gave Valery my copy to read before the meeting. It's a light book and a quick read, so she was able to finish it and participate in the discussion. It's a good group and we had a good discussion even if it wasn't a real meaty book. Nice women, good food, a beautiful evening, who could ask for more?

My friend Sue Walker mentioned a few weeks ago that kayaking was on her bucket list. She'd never tried it and wanted to give it a whirl. I told her my sister has done quite a bit of kayaking and would be coming to visit and I suggested that an outing with Ben, Logan and the two women might be fun. I volunteered to hold down the picnic table while they did their thing on the water. At the last minute, Sue's husband, John, decided he would also like to try kayaking. Problem is, the wind had come up and no kayaks were being rented. So, we had a picnic and observed wildlife at Lake Springfield. 
 Wild life included these turtle eggs by the side of the lake. Valery reports that they had disappeared by the next day. Valery's friend, Ron, interrupted his visit with his sister in Tennessee to drive over to Missouri and spend a couple of days with us. Naturally, I found a couple of chores to keep him busy.

This morning we went to the Farmer's Market in Springfield and I picked up a week's supply of vegetables from Sarah at Millsap Farm's booth.The produce was gorgeous, it was good to see Sarah again, and the market is really splendid. We tried to make it to Ozark's Thursday night market, but it was folding up just as we arrived, although I did manage did buy a couple dozen eggs.

 Here's a quilt I finished at long last. I wanted it quilted by a professional long arm quilter, but I had a tough time finding someone to do custom quilting for me. All the really good quilters have such long waiting lists that you never get to the top of the list unless you have an "in" with them. I finally found someone (Vickie Crowe) who had a list only about three months long and here's the result: 
The color in the picture of the whole quilt is more accurate, the bottom one is too yellow, but if you click on the bottom photo, you can see the quilting detail pretty well. I think she did a beautiful job.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bragging While Blogging (Brogging)

The pictures are appropriately blurred because that's how the past eleven years have seemed. In the top picture,  Logan receives his award for earning greater than a 4.0 grade point average and Ben receives a similar honor in the second photo. They use "weighted" grade point averages in our high school. Qualified kids can take honors classes in some subjects which are more challenging than the standard  and they can earn 5.0 grade points for an A. Hence, it is possible to have greater than a 4.0 GPA.

Amanda graduated (with honors) with a BSN this week. Now, I had nothing to do with this, she did it all on her own, but I am so pleased for her and am proud to be her honorary aunt. She literally worked her butt off for this achievement -- finishing many pounds lighter than she started. This gal has it all, beauty, brains, talent, big heart, and now a second bachelor's degree with a master's on the drawing board.
 Here's Andra Adams' gorgeous Tee Shirt quilt -- a gift for her son, Jesse. The shirts commemorated events in Jesse's high school career. Andra decided she wanted to have a quilt for Jesse, the only problem was she hadn't sewn since eighth grade home ec. We got together and she borrowed a wonderful 93-year old Singer sewing machine from her mother-in-law. A few shopping trips, a bit of planning, a couple of tips, and she was off and running. I think the result is spectacular. She's quite proud of herself, I am too, and son Jesse is delighted! Win, win, win!
Here's Andra cradling the quilt and showing a bit of the backside (of the quilt, silly).

BTW, this is my 400th post!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Art Give Away

"Musicians" by Boulanger -- an original litho with a certificate of authenticity on the back

"The Clyde with Dunbarton Bridge in the Background" (Scotland)  H.M. Culloch/ J.T. Willmore: an early print made in 1840. I purchased this in Bermuda and it is framed in Bermuda cedar.
"Rouen - Le Rue de l'Epicerie" by C.H. Nollet. A signed original etching with certificate of authenticity. Given to me by former son-in-law, Wes Paine. (Tom might want this -- we went to Rouen together and saw the cathedral from this perspective.)

"Pennsylvania Barn" by Sandra Philpot. Original Litho signed and numbered 5/50. Sandra is known to me.

"Paris, a Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte. This is a print purchased from a museum. the inset photos are of Galligan ancestors who bear a striking resemblance to the subjects of the painting -- a little family joke.

 Untitled orginal oil painting by Erla Blair
 Original oil painting by Erla Blair
California Street  San Francisco by Ralph (last name illegible), original signed water color, circa 1952.
Solar eclipse photo taken by Helen Millward near the Canary Islands

Time lapse photos of the moon taken by Helen Millward .

Let me know if you want any of these pictures, family has priority, but all welcome to speak for any. (The sun and moon photos might make good classroom art.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Different Reality

Amanda is graduating this week with a bachelor's degree in nursing and is receiving her RN pin. She's worked hard to accomplish this and I felt I wanted to give her a small gift in recognition of her achievement. So, after receiving an online invitation to her graduation and pinning, I went online to view her Amazon wish list. I decided to get her a book she wanted for her Kindle reader. I ordered it online, paid for it online with a debit card, and Amazon sent her an email letting her know that the gift had been purchased. Amanda downloaded the book onto her Kindle and sent me an online thank you. No paper, no stamps, no driving, nothing happened except a bunch of electrons moved around. It's weird.

I received a $100 gift card from CVS Pharmacy along with a letter saying they were sorry I fell at their store. I get my prescriptions filled there because that's where my insurance says I should, but I don't shop there, and really don't intend to. So, I decided to fritter away my "free" money. I walked the aisles of the store picking up hair doodads, body wash, computer paper, and a couple of new canes, hoping to stay close to $100. I felt like a winner when the tab came to $99.93. I told the checker to keep the change.

I went to deposit a check in the ATM at my bank. Something went awry with the machine which normally lets you insert a check with no envelope, magically reads the check, credits the account, and spits out a receipt. That didn't happen this time. The machine put a message on the screen saying they were unable to process or return the check. A "receipt" was then spit out that directed me to call a certain number and let them know what happened. I made the call and was told that they would issue me a temporary credit for the amount of the check, look into the matter and then send me a letter advising me of the outcome. Very strange.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Season Finale (the Edible Kind)

 Ben holds the award he received at this year's band banquet. It's a bit nicer, but not as funny as the award he received last year. This year he was recognized for serving as a section leader. Last year, he won a "Golden Plunger" award for having the reddest hair. Sadly, the plunger's paint has not held up too well and if it continues to wear away, the plunger may end up in the service for which it was designed. For now, the plunger occupies a place of honor on Ben's bookshelves while the medallion will join other medals, letters, pendants, badges, etc., on his lampshade.
And in other end-of-the-season food news, I picked up our last winter season CSA share Tuesday. In the three years we have been members of Millsap's CSA both their growing practices and our eating practices have improved. Curtis has tried countless varieties of veggies, done lots of research, and much networking during that time, and now produces beautiful organically grown, interesting vegetables. I, in turn, have experimented with preparing whatever is handed us and come up with some interesting food. Some of the "ordinary" vegetables become quite extraordinary when they are fresh from the farm. The difference between just-picked lettuce or spinach and the store's offerings is astounding. Hardly seems to be the same vegetable. I've been known to nibble on a fresh spinach leaf on the way home from the farm, but would never be tempted as I return from WalMart.

With a heavy heart I've decided not to renew our CSA membership. It's just too far to drive and its often complicated for me to show up Tuesday afternoons between 4 and 5. So, with the opening of the new year-round Farmer's Market on the south side of Springfield, and the participation in that market by the Millsaps, I'm now going to do my veggie shopping on Saturday mornings at 7:30, or on Thursday afternoons. I'm pleased that I will still have access to the same quality fresh goodies and that I'll have the opportunity to stay in touch with the Millsaps. I may even have to drive out to the farm from time to time just to see how their garden grows.