summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Saturday, April 29, 2023

day #3....oh my goodness.

I'm old.  Three days in a row of working all day long...I'm taking tomorrow off.  Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille joined us this fine rainy morning.  We got so much done, then they stopped at McDonalds on the way home.  Paul and I stopped at Aldi for seltzer, coffee cream, a package of chicken drums (89cents a pound, a huge package for five-something!)(they're marinating right now in Cornell Chicken sauce, for tomorrow).  

We brought the pups with us today.  They were so good, not sure they loved it though...they were unsure of where they were.  Kathryn stopped in and brought us coffees, then Sam and Grace visited, they live across the street.  Their friends from Virginia, their old next-door neighbors came to NY for the weekend, they stopped in to meet us, so nice.  The doggies were quite friendly with them right off the bat, which is nice. 

That side porch entrance, wow, it's getting there!

It had raw plywood walls and broken windows...

The floor looks so much better!

The front porch...the step boards will be replaced, the porch repainted.  I've been working on the railings.
The door...
Paul put new glass in looked awful.

We needed a stove vent, and no over-the-stove cabinets, so we bought this...
I think it looks nice...we're thinking of tile or something for behind the stove...
A closet door I was painting...yesterday and Thursday I painted doors outside, but today was rainy.
The messy "stuff" counter, with all of our drinks, Yetis, tools, paper towels, ect.  Paul is such a hard worker, and a good sport.  He's pretty excited that it's almost done.  He's been working full time on his regular job, and going up after work a few days, then on Saturdays and Sundays.  He took Thursday and Friday off this past week.
The cabinet doors are still here, I sanded, primed, painted them, soon they'll get new hardware and go back on.  

This brown place is the other house we own, Paul is there in the front mowing the lawn, this was before he picked up their garbage...these are the people who haven't paid rent in well over a year...but we still have to mow and pick up garbage, or we'll get fined by the city.   
Suri...'s been a busy few days.  Instead of focusing on my aching back and hands (holding that paint brush!), I'm working on being thankful that I can do what I can do.  I use a chair for whenever I paint anything lower, so I don't lean over, and to rest my knees...alternating standing and sitting as much as possible.  I'm still quite beat.  phew.  Physical labor is not my thing, although it is very rewarding and satisfying to see the changes.  Once, years ago, one of the girls said, "Imagine working."  I cannot remember the context, but it's been repeated frequently here through the years...imagine working.

I'm distracted...Miss Char is studying history, out loud...Camille is folding laundry.  Paul is here, the dogs are bye for now.


Thursday, April 27, 2023

chock full of tired...


The door...after much scraping and sanding...
The door....after two coats of primer...and I spray painted the handle and the lock with $2.99 primer/spray paint from Ollie's, it's especially for metal.   
I love the vintage-y look of that handle.  

We worked all day, which I realize is what some people do every day.  

The morning was breathtakingly beautiful...frost on the patio furniture!

We left quite early, and now we're tired...we stopped at the store on the way home for burger, a cantaloupe, two bags of apples, and four packages of cheese.  I cooked up burgers for, I am done. So done.  Paul took tomorrow off from REAL WORK too, so we'll go back and do some more work.  

Here are some random things:

Good paint is a joy to paint with, same with a good brush.  I bought a $2.49 brush from Ollie's, and nope. Nope and no thank you.  

I look hilarious in my Painting Clothes.  I have a big baggy pair of men's Adidas pants, they're comfy and have zipper pockets, and they have paint all over them.  There are a few different shirts I wear, and Also have painting shorts now.  And, my old old Birkenstocks are my Painting Shoes.  When it was snowy, I would wear my boots to the and I just wore them with socks.  So when we went to Lowe's for more trim, I looked...hilarious.  

Anyway. We're getting near the finish line, and I.can't.wait. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

a wonderful grandma day!


Rhys and Ruth, cousins...Rhys will be two in June, Ruth in August.
Grant and I put together this puzzle, which is over 4 feet tall...he's so big for five!
Grant, and his cousins Achilles and Rhys helped me put together this bunny was .89...yes, eighty-nine Aldi.  We put it together, then I let them eat it.  They ate the candy, and a few bites, then we threw it all away.
It sure was fun.  (Ruth was taking a nap)
Charlotte Claire is a nice auntie, she got out the waffle-town and helped them set up a road.
I was a nice grandma and took these two outside for a bit.

The tulips and the pear tree, so much prettiness.
Camille made:  macarons!  Vanilla with vanilla buttercream, her first, they came out pretty nice.  I didn't try any yet.  She also made blueberry muffins today, how is anyone supposed to lose any weight?  I don't ask them that, I just say no thank you, and act like I don't really want one.  They smell heavenly.  Now they're making barbecued chicken pizza with red onions and garlic...smells so good!  

Today was Camille's five week after surgery checkup at the ortho doctor.  She can wean from that heavy brace, and start physical therapy next week.  The knee quite swollen, hope more movement won't irritate it too much.  

We went to Aldi quick, and yay, two hanging flower baskets, some random groceries...then a quick stop into a little Mennonite store for coarse black pepper and coconut extract.  We got a beautiful pound of bacon, some Almond Joy bars, and some poppy seeds for those lemon muffins Camille is dreaming of.

There were grandchildren here all afternoon, it was wonderful.  Now they've all gone home, the three girls are doing school work, and ahh, here I sit.  I did hear back from the cardiologist today, via the internal medicine dr., I have sinus tachycardia.  The dr prescribed metoprolol, know me...I don't want to take it.  I am going to call to talk to the dr himself, and ask:  if I don't take it, will it cause me harm?  Because in my mind, there is risk and there is benefit, all meds have side-effects.  I don't mind suffering through the strange speeding up of my heart if it isn't damaging anything.  If taking the med will help to protect the heart, then I'll consider it.   I'm sure they love patients like me.  

Ah well...the girls are in fine form.  It's silliness galore in here.  "Your crappy, shaggy, faded slippers...", one just said to another...bye for now...

Monday, April 24, 2023

skipping pool....

 ...not really skipping, it's closed this morning, no life guard available. I had a good workout this morning anyway, a dog named Suri, our almost eleven year old Labrador, pooped...all over nice shag rug over in the play area.  Well. I started out optimistic, and I'll spare you the gory details, but I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't going to clean that rug has been rolled up and placed in the trash can.  It wasn't until I sat in my comfy chair with a steaming cup of coffee, and oh dear, is that?  oh no, it IS.  Now, I couldn't just ignore it and drink my coffee, although, shh, I did try...but nope, I had to get up and take care of it.  When I carried the rug out, the dogs wanted to go out, and what did Suri do?  She ate a bird.  (I know, blah and ugh, right?). I'll spare you the details of THAT too, but she would NOT DROP IT.   I don't know where it came from, or who was the culprit in catching it, but there are feathers all over out there.  

Such joy, having pets.

I told her she was never coming in the house again, but she didn't believe me, and she's snoring on the couch right now.  

Yesterday we had a curry/chili cook-off, or something like that.  Emily and Mariel invited us over, and made a vegetarian curry, a tikka masala, (oh with roasted sweet potatoes on the side too!), and another curry dish with a spicy oil to drizzle....they were so good.  I made a chili with no beans, to eat over rice, with lots of peppers and onions.  (it was pretty good, I added a jar of cilantro lime salsa to it).  Sam and Grace brought bakery half-moons, and we had a big bowl of Cadbury eggs...those yummy little candy coated Easter ones.  (What?!  They were 70% off at Target!!!)

Emily is such a good sport...she got the lawn mower out and turned it on for the boys...
Tennyson is 2 and a half, and he has a one track mind.  He wanted to go outside and see that lawn mower, that was all there was to it.  So, grandma brought him out, then Grant and Wulf joined, then Emily came out...she played t-ball with them after this...

Saturday, we worked hard up at the house. I finished up priming, and cracked into the trim paint.  It went on so nicely, it is a joy to paint with good paint. The house is so very old, and the original window framing is old, has character, and is getting another coat of paint.  The door....oh, the door...Paul wrestled with it for hours.  He used paint remover, which foamed up and removed lots of the paint, he scraped, he sanded...he bought a pane of glass for it...(these particular renters were evicted after not paying rent for months and months and months...there were four broken windows by the time they left....and they were staple addicts. They must've liked privacy, they stapled things on the insides AND outsides of the windows. Nails, tacks, staples, they loved them all.  It took going to court to finally get them out...they smoked in the house, we had to use oil based odor blocking primer to neutralize the smell, and the windows were coated with brown, can't imagine how their lungs look)

This was before, just a board, no had so many tack and nail holes...
It doesn't look lovely yet, needs more sanding, then some primer, and a few coats of paint, but it has glass!  I'll prime and paint that door handle too...we re-installed it to keep the house secure.

We have tons of loose ends left.  The cabinets are painted, the doors are still here, I put wood filler where the previous handles were, have to sand that off and add some paint...the hinges have to be spray painted, and all the new door handles installed, drawer pulls too.  There is the front porch to paint, some of the steps need to be replaced.  Light fixtures, some yard work, seems like we're almost done for SO long before we're actually done.  

Anyway.  This fine morning I've done a few loads of laundry, changed the couch covers, moved couch and cleaned under it...having grandchildren here all the time has made cleaning under the couch interesting again.  Blocks and cars and marbles and Nerf bullets...back in the day, there were lots of barrettes and Barbie shoes.

I washed a few windows, bleached the kitchen sink (iron water, the joys of living in the country), dusted and polished the coffee table, and puttered around putting things away.  I was gone so much of Friday, Saturday, yesterday....and yesterday before I left, I made a triple batch of naan bread (rise it in the oven, then flatten the pieces, add olive oil to the panini maker, sprinkle the pieces with garlic, salt, pepper, and voila, naan bread.  I also made a pan of rice, packed it up in a mini crock pot to bring to Em's, and made the chili stuff, put it in the crock pot...gathered up seltzers, cold brew and cream, I wasn't cleaning the house, is my long round-about point.)

This morning was the reckoning, ha.  I give many props and accolades to working women.  Especially moms!  I don't know how you ever get caught up.  My daughter Margaret, Wulf and Tennyson's mom, works from home full time, and takes care of those boys while she does it.  (plus she's 20-something weeks pregnant!).

Anyway. Now I'm having my break, and enjoying the heck out of this dark rainy day.  We have a metal roof, and it's insanely cozy with the rain hitting it.  

Tomorrow, Camille has a check up with the ortho surgeon, then we'll go "quickly" into Aldi, because it's half a block down from the medical center.  When you live 15+ miles from everything, when you're near a store for an appointment, run in.

When we get home tomorrow, Grace will be bringing the kids over for me to watch while she goes to an appointment.  Margaret might come here for the afternoon so she can work from here and the boys can play with their cousins.  

When I say there's never a dull moment, remind me that sometimes, like today, there IS a dull moment...and I enjoy it immensely.  

Saturday, April 22, 2023

another busy one...


I got to play with (babysit) Wulf and Tennyson for an hour or so in the afternoon.  Chasing a two year old around the playground is great fun, thankful I can still manage it.  Tennyson is very good about maintaining contact, he'll yell, "Grandma! Grandma!", whenever he can't see me from the climbing tower or whatever, it does sound more like Hamma, and it's adorable.  Wulf can swing all by himself, and told me he was taking a nap on the swing.
We worked on the house for a bit, takes so long to accomplish anything some days.  This is the floor of the little side porch:

I look at that and see the promise, cleaned up and painted a nice light gray...I'd love to do white, but...probably shouldn't.  The outer inner walls of this porch were raw plywood, and one of the windows is broken.  Darius helped Paul get a start on putting up a new wallboard, it will have all new trim, and a new pane of glass in the window.  

The new wallboard looks so much better.

A few weeks ago, Darius helping.  He's an actual carpenter, knows what he's doing.
This door that leads to the porch, we are reabilitating it, saving it, giving it a new lease on life.  I love it, love the old door handle...Paul filled in all the holes, and sanded it down.  We'll spray paint that original handle, and prime and paint the door...oh, and get new glass for it.  There is some satisfaction in seeing the results of hard work, transforming things.  It's not like the tv shows, and our budget is pretty slim.  
We want it neat and clean and livable, we want to give someone a nice home.  It's kind of discouraging though, one of the other places we fixed up so lovingly, and so perfectly, the renter just trashed.  He stopped paying rent, and left a mess behind.  It took us weeks to get it back in order.  We have three rental houses, one is rented, then this one, then one more in which the people have not paid in over a year.  We will probably never break even, due to unseen circumstances, way beyond our control, but we are trying to   at least get our heads above water.  

Life doesn't always go the way we think it should go, but what can you do about that?  We get to decide that part, how to move on, how to deal.  Holding grudges, having bitterness in your heart is a wretched way to live, and it won't be fun on that day of standing before God.  Life here is really such a vapor, but it's also a bountiful gift.  When you lift your head, and live with eternity in view, things aren't so heavy and important anymore, they're just trials...sent by a loving Father, who knows exactly what we need.  Let it go, forgive and forget, move on, bless the others, seek approval from only God, and you'll have such a happy life.    

Friday, April 21, 2023

thanking God for Friday....

 What a beautiful day, sunny and warm, like summer came back for a little visit.  Yesterday afternoon, we had some nice surprise sunshine.  We had gone to Kohl's, because I had $15 in Kohl's cash, which I had used to buy three towels, making them free, with the 30% off and all...but I didn't pick them up on time.  We decided to stop in just to see what they had.  Sonja found nice black shorts, and a sweatshirt.  I bought Declan a few things for his birthday (he's one year old!), and it was only $26.  

Anya, Elise, and son Benjamin and his wife Ashley are are their parents.  

Anyway, we also went into Target for chicken, seltzer, two $5 t-shirts for the girls, shampoo & conditioner, and some cleaning sprays.  (I love lavender Method, and it was 15% off).  A quick trip to the library, then home...ahh, home.  It was so warm and sunny on the deck, I changed into my sundress, put my feet up, and nice.
Sonja K. and Sunny.  Sonja has lots of work to do, graduation is next month!
Camille...she hasn't been sleeping well, with this giant Robot Leg, as she told Achilles it was.  It hurts a lot during the night, she's been much more active during the days, and it's still healing.  She didn't look very comfortable out there, but said she was fine.  

We are enjoying the new $75 furniture, we really are.  It's so comfy.  

I'm headed the pool in a few minutes, then I'm headed up to Oswego to watch Tennyson and Wulf for a bit.  Then I'll be working on the house we're fixing up, with Paul.  I need to give those cabinet ends a coat of paint, they've been primed. I need to pickup gallon of paint from the paint store, too, for the trim on the porch.   We have to clean and paint the porch boards too, not sure if I can do that with my wonky back...unless I sit down and scoot and paint.  oh dear.  Keep in shape, girls.  Do your push-ups and planks, keep that flexibility.

I'll be leaving in two minutes, so goodbye for now, and have a really nice day.  

Thursday, April 20, 2023

cloudy with a chance of...

meatballs.   Yesterday was Meatball Day.  A random chilly Wednesday, 35 degrees on the drive to the pool, full white-out snow on the way home, a good day for meatballs.  Grace was coming over with Grant and Ruth, because Sam had Wednesday night class.  Kathryn and Darius were coming over with Achilles and Rhys, and little Jamison, then Margaret came over with Wulf and Tennyson because Adrian was in class.  Then of course Paul and I, and Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille were here.  

Meatballs:  one giant package of 88% beef from Costco, almost seven pounds.  I always use bread crumbs, old-fashioned oats, crumbled crackers...a finely minced onion, lots of garlic powder, coarse pepper, salt, onion powder, onion flakes, four eggs.  It made 90 meatballs, I sent some home with Grace and Kathryn, there are still some for us too.  I cooked 2 pounds of pasta, and made a big pot of sauce, with jarred tomato /basil sauce, and crushed tomatoes, and a can of petite diced tomatoes, with some Italian seasoning.  

And, there were brownies...boxed brownies are pretty good, I used one box of Ghiardelli and one box of Duncan Hines, in a 13x9 pan, so they were really thick.  I didn't have any, but they were well-enjoyed.  (I didn't have enough canola oil (that stuff is vile anyway), so I used butter, that may have made them good.

Anyway.  We had a warm cozy dinner, lots of noise and running around, and lots of lively conversation.

Tennyson, bless his heart, thought these were real.  He really liked them, thought they were from outside.
I think it's because he went on a long walk with Grandpa and brought back some other wild flowers.  (Isn't he so cute?)
I got to rock Jamison a bit, and Ruth wanted to sit with me too.  She loves her baby cousin!
Auntie Sonja holding Jamison, with Rhys...

I never take enough pictures, but I also don't want to be so intrusive.  

This fine morning, this rainy dark chilly morning, Sonja, Camille, and I are going to Target. Sonja needs a few things, and we need to drop off our library books.  I don't mind getting out and about.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 80 something again, wow, I love it.  

Okay, did I miss something, or what?!  I read that in some western state, the debate is ongoing about whether to stock the boys' bathroom with feminine hygiene products. Is the world upside down?  I do have a few thoughts about the whole trans thing:

1.  I would still be nice to you, as a person, and respectful, your choices are not my business.

2.  I would hope that the people who love you and are close to you would counsel you, and suggest that you are what you are, and you need to work from there to find happiness...

It seems like in this world, nothing is taboo anymore and behavior has to be more and more outrageous, nothing is even scandalous anymore, except to old prudes like me.  When I was young, even people living together before marriage was an eyebrow raiser.  

Again, I don't want to judge anyone personally.  We each have enough of our own battles to fight, our own ducks to line up, our own sin to say no to.  But when young people think that everything's okay...not so wrong...that is rather alarming.  Just because everyone is doing something nowadays doesn't make it right. My mother used to say, "Lady Jane, if your friends stuck their heads into their toilets, are you going to do it too?"  

It seems to me that what the world is lacking is hope...hope in a better future, hope in a peaceful eternity, hope in God.  (Another South Korean pop-star has died, no foul play suspected, another suicide.  My girls are really really saddened by this. What a mess! )

Ah well, the girls are getting ready to go and here I sit, digressing on topics no one wants to think about.  Some things really are like The Emperor's New Clothes though...but enough for now...this old stick-in-the-mud has to go change into bye-bye clothes.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

I flunked Costco....

 Okay, I didn't blow the entire budget, but jeepers, they get you.  It's not my fault I found two pairs of shorts that actually fit me, for $7.99 each, and a nice Calvin Klein jacket for twenty bucks, in my very favorite color, a nice shade of green.  (I always thought blue was my favorite, but this is so nice)

And these made it into the cart:

Do not buy them.  Three pounds of irresistible bliss.

This picture made me laugh my head off, because they're just so cute.  They had a sample of something that had chocolate, a granola bar I think...they were waiting with me at a table, because why not get some lunch at Costco when the hot dog and drink are only $1.50?  (Rhys has the extra diaper-bag outfit on, because she had fallen asleep in the car seat and her bottle leaked all over the cuteness she was wearing.). Here's the sweet thing though:  Lots of older people seem to eat there in Costco, and they would smile at the kids.  This one old couple kept smiling at them, then the man came over and said how cute they were.  This man looked...not to be mean, but a little...scary.  He had a wandering eye, and he was very old.  But when he stood there and said hello to the kids, they gave him mega-watt smiles, full on joyous greetings, and just made his day.    It was so very sweet.

So was too much fun. I was rumpling through the piles of these cute skorts, only $9.99, looking for...xxl, there were only smalls and mediums...this nice little tiny lady who worked there came over to offer assistance, and to minimize the wreckage of her neat little piles, although I was being careful.  She asked me what size I was looking for.  I wanted to say, "What size do you THINK I'm looking for, look at me!"

I bought the dozen pack of croissants, and frozen pierogis, and a bag of chicken wings.  I bought a new swim trunk/shirt/sun hat set for Achilles, and one for Grant.  

Oh dang...gotta go, to water aerobics!!!! oops...late!