Thursday, November 28, 2019


Thanksgiving. It brings so many things to mind, but most of all being grateful for what we have and for those who make our lives special. And I am grateful.

I am grateful, most of all, for Rick. Rick will drive the speed limit, curse vigorously at the potholes (and in Michigan that means a lot of cursing!), bemoans football on TV non-stop, has rabbit ears for his television set (he can get all the cable he needs -- and he doesn't need much -- at my house) and has a kitchen table stacked like the normal curve. And he's always right. Just ask him!

And none of that matters. (In fact, it gives some good fodder for teasing!)

Would anyone but Rick have befriended a schizophrenic man who "picked him up" at Panera, helping him with some of the mechanics of social services, sharing birthday lunches with him, occasionally having him for dinner and serving as his local emergency contact? His friend can be very trying, but that's what makes it special.

I've never seen a man love his grandchildren more than Rick does his toddler twosome. I'm sure some of you may argue with me on this and claim you and yours love their grands more. I will disagree. Not more. As much, I certainly hope so!

And no one could be supportive of me, especially when waiting for test results or when I'm missing my mom and dad, who will listen to me cry, understand how scared I might be and never, ever, let's me feel he will be anywhere but there for me. No matter what.

I am grateful for my family. I'm an only child. My cousins are more like siblings and we spent almost every summer together from the time I was 13 until I graduated from college. Our mothers died seven months apart. The first Thanksgiving without them would have been unbearable without each other.

More than 40 years have passed since that above photo was taken. Since then, the dads have left the picture but new faces have joined in, each and every one a treasure.

I am grateful for the friends who bless our lives and who come through when we so need their support. This photo was taken a number of years ago after Rick's serious cycling accident. On that Thanksgiving morning, we decided to host dinner for friends who weren't otherwise engaged. No planning, no party favors. Just food and friendship. It is possibly my favorite Thanksgiving. It's not a great photo, but the friendship more than makes up for it.

I am equally grateful for blog friends, whose visits and comments never fail to make me smile; whose blogs continually teach and inspire me and whose support over the years has been a touchstone. You are incredibly special to me.

I am grateful to have a home I love, a cat that makes it hairy and for whatever talent I may have been fortunate to have or acquire.

I am grateful to be able to say I feel safe. Safety is so very important in this world and so many can't experience it.

And I am grateful that despite a very rough year for Rick and me physically, we continue to soldier on. You'd never know he broke his leg. The jury is out on me, but I am always the optimist and hopefully not having to deal with anything worse than a routine colonoscopy for awhile.

I am grateful for the bounty that exists in my world. I know in many ways I am one of the lucky ones and I try to give it back and pay it forward. But I will never forget that I am very fortunate indeed.

And so, during this Thanksgiving season (if you are in the U.S.), harvest time elsewhere or the start of the busy season, whether it is "your" holiday or not, I hope you'll take time to relax and enjoy for a day or two or three.

After all, we're all going to be very tired and very busy, and very soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Life in the Pre-Busy Season!

I've been sneaking Christmas into the house before Thanksgiving. A woman's gotta do what a woman's gotta do! Mostly it's in the office, some wreaths, that sort of thing. The guest room is stuffed with holiday things, just waiting, waiting, waiting for me! (If you missed my last post with some vintage Thanksgiving postcard printables you can download for the holiday, check it out here.)

I am eagerly awaiting December 1. A dear friend sent me the Jacqie Lawson advent calendar of the Cotswolds, which I love with all my heart. One can do a few activities on the interactive calendar prior to December 1 but that's when you start opening the days. Last year there was this fun game that turned me into a nutcase, trying to get the most points as the animated skier made it down the hill to the tune of jolly holiday music. I can still hear those songs in my head! I wonder what they'll have this time around!

One of the things you can do is "design" your own wreaths or snowmen or decorate the trees in your "Cotswold cottage." It's highly addictive!

Lizzie's birds are back and she's loving them.

We've even seen the elusive blue jay. Usually I see him in the backyard, not at the feeder, so that's a treat!

Skippy the chipmunk is back, too. Well, it may be an entirely different chipmunk but they are all Skippy, like all the squirrels are Bushy. (Unless I'm at Rick's. Then they are Stuffy.)

Speaking of Bushy, I finished a couple of special order felties, one of Bushy and one of a cardinal. I call all the cardinals outside Mr. Bobby C. and Mrs. Bobby C. This is a mister.

And another Santa!

Finally, Lizzie had her annual check-up this year, along with her pedicure.

And she was a very good girl, once she couldn't see what was going on!

Thank you, Dr. Anne! And thanks to Rick for making this wonderful mushroom/chicken risotto, the perfect dinner after hitting the greens market!

I even beat him in Scrabble! This doesn't happen often!

Here's to a good week for one and all!

And, to a few minutes of peaceful backyard birding before the Thanksgiving mania sets in!

Sharing with:   Let's Keep In Touch      

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Thanksgiving Week Thoughts and Printables

This week, many of us in the United States will be welcoming friends and family to our homes for Thanksgiving Day. Those of us who don't will hopefully be celebrating the holiday at the home of a friend or family member (unless they'd just like to hang out and chill on their own -- and that's something for which to be thankful, too!)

What are your holiday traditions? Are certain foods must-haves? Are you navigating the vegan Thanksgiving with that of the carnivores? Do you wish that once the morning parades were over, the television would break for the next ten hours?

I've read a couple of great posts on the history of Thanksgiving, posts that provide food for thought. Mae of Mae Food says, "For this and other reasons, besides enjoying the cooking and consuming of a traditional turkey dinner with family next week, I will think about the real history of the "Pilgrims" and their relationship to the natives of Massachusetts." (To find out what "for this" is, check out her post!)

Anne Clare of The Naptime Author is doing a guest post trade on A Bit About Britain. (A Bit About Britain writer Mike Biles is over at Anne's, writing about the fascinating history of Bletchley Park, instrumental in helping the Allies win World War II.

In a fascinating post that outlines not only the history of Thanksgiving but how and why the Pilgrims got to Massachusetts in the first place, and why Thanksgiving skips around on the calendar, Anne says, "In the end, though, I think the one thing we all hope for—the one thing that we know we need to hold on to, even if sometimes we forget—is the spirit of the day that we see in those Pilgrims who’d suffered and struggled and still rejoiced. It’s a day to stop, and reflect, to look at the blessings around us and to Give Thanks."

I hope you click over and read both of those. (And Mike's too -- three of my favorite wonderful writers.)

The images in this post are from my vintage postcard collection (and who knows, maybe one or two I downloaded over the years.) I share them here so you can use them as you like. Here are some ideas:

  • Print them as place cards for your table
  • Print on cardstock and cut out the details. Post on small skewers or toothpicks for party picks or cupcake decorations.
  • Drop them into an email invitation or reminder to a friend who's coming for dinner (don't forget your pie!)
  • Copy and send to friends far away and remind them that you are thankful for their role in your life, even if they are far away on the day.

Good luck on your holiday preparations!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Little Overwhelmed

The house is a mess. Most of my art sale display (apart from the actual art) is still in the car. Just a little overwhelmed. I don't know what it is about November. I guess it's just uber-busy. The sale -- it's not a new thing. I know about it. Yet it creeps up on me. And then it's Thanksgiving and holiday decorating and shopping and wrapping and mailing. I love it all. I'm overwhelmed. I know. I said it before. It bears repeating.

The sale went very well and thanks for all your nice comments on the last post! Our venue, a fellow artist's home, was lovely and packed with all sorts of art. Calendars, cards, my felties, watercolors, prints, cute little cat bags, magnets, mittens, cat food bowls, scarves, and loads and loads of jewelry.

I want to give a special shout-out to blog readers who contacted me about special orders for cards and felties. Thank you for supporting a starving artist!

Well, not starving by any means. But I will be next week. On Friday, I took Rick for his colonoscopy; turnaround is fair play. I scheduled mine a couple of days before Thanksgiving because I may as well go-litely a few days before and maybe I'll break even over the holiday!

The day after the sale was a total waste. I got a flu shot on the way home Saturday and on Sunday had a fever of over 102. I'm supposed to go to the ER if I'm over 100.4 so after a chat with the doc, we determined it was indeed the flu shot and we must have been right because the next day I was fine. Still, I didn't need a wasted day.

Our cold weather has taken a brief turn for the better and while it is gloomy, it is not freezing or raining and this is a welcome break. The birds are bulking up and so is the squirrel. I made a wonderful stuffed dumpling squash recipe and put the squash seeds and guts out and Bushy was happy too!

I did get a nice surprise in the mail the other day. One of my Twitter pals had a drawing and I won this delightful Susan Branch holiday book! It arrived, wrapped so prettily, it was like a special treat.

I don't know if you follow Vivian Swift's blog, but if you do, you'll know she brought a rock home from the Orkney Islands and is sending it on a cross-country trip for a photo shoot in her readers' cities. I had the rock last month and Vivian has just posted its Michigan tour on her blog. If you feel so inclined, take a look!

This week finds me anticipating a visit to the annual Greens Market, where I intend to return ready to deck the halls. This is an annual trip for my friend Jan and me. A few years ago there was this wonderful gourd-woman there. I wish she would return.

For whatever reason, I get a little melancholy in November. I think about several wonderful friends who left this world too early. Not necessarily in November or December, like my dad, but still, who didn't have the opportunity to have another Thanksgiving or Christmas. The wheat in the photo below was given to me by my blog friend Diana during our last visit. It's quite powerful how those we meet through our blogs can touch our hearts and how deeply we feel the loss. I am grateful that Diana and so many others here were part of my life, if for all too short a time.

We will have our Thanksgiving with the kids the day after and both Rick and I are looking forward to time with our Toddler Twosome, their parents and their uncle. For Rick to have his two boys and two Grand Boys around really shows how the generations evolve.

Speaking of which, I had to share this photo of Rick and Cameron during his christening last week. I was at the sale and missed it, unfortunately, but oh, those smiles!

I'm trying to catch up with visiting all of you! Meanwhile, I hope you are having a good week as we enter the Busy Season.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Keeping My Head Above Water!

This week is my annual holiday art sale! I've been working like a crazy woman getting ready for it. More on that later! But first, the fun of a good friend's visit.

My friend Suzanne, from Canada, came for a few days. We did loads of shopping (well, she did -- I shopped for ideas and got more than a few!).

With our friends Mark and Jan, we went to one of our favorite (well, everyone but Rick's favorite) restaurant. It's always a huge mess but always so good and loads of fun!

We hit the movies ("Judy") and played games (don't we look like a fun group?).

Rick's sitting the grand-dog. There's a real love affair going on there!

And when Charlie the Dog sees any animal (but especially dogs) on TV, he goes ballistic. I haven't uploaded the movie yet, but you get the idea. So, we decided "Let's turn on Animal Planet" and we found a show called "Bad Dogs" -- which is about dogs (and some cats) being -- well, bad. I'm surprised Charlie didn't get laryngitis!

As soon as Suzanne left, I got back to the job of prepping for the show. This is the only one I do, so I want it to be good! I got a lot of cards priced and packaged ($2.50/3 for $6 for the small notecards). This is just a smattering of them.

The Christmas cards and cat card are among the new ones. Those are $4 --  they're 5x7.

These are some of the watercolors before they got framed.

And after! (Those are $40 framed; $30 matted)

And, I got hangers onto my felties so I'll have an ornament tree there this year.

Those I've priced at $10-15 (and one large bunny for $20).

I've also been filling a few mail orders -- or will be, once the show is over. (If you are interested, I have a pdf with the new things on them but if there's something in particular you might be interested in, I'm happy to email it to you. (But if you are a no-reply blogger, I don't have your address so let me know!)

We'll loaded in on yesterday. If you are in the mid-Michigan area and think you might come, let me know. I can send you directions. We're open Thursday and Friday, 11-7 and Saturday, 10-4. Hopefully most of the "white stuff" will be gone! In addition to my things, there is jewelry, soaps, calendars, lotions, knit items, other paintings, cat toys and much more!

I'll definitely be ready for a cuppa tea!

Meanwhile, I'll be working on keeping a smile on my face!

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