Sunday, February 18, 2024

Life In February

Lovely life goes on here and February has included a visit from a good friend, Cork Poppers (which I hosted), and more! Valentine week started on Monday with a surprise delivery of flowers from a dear friend. They're so cheery and I loved them!

Rick made a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner. This is the first year I haven't written a poetry book for him about our past year. January just got out of control and I feel kind of sad about it, though I may pony up later in the year. But I did paint a valentine! So that helped assuage my conscience a wee bit.


He, on the other hand, served up steak on the grill, with potatoes and spinach salad. I brought leftover crab dip from Cork Poppers for an appetizer and what was left of the mini-cupcakes I took to a lunch and the heart-shaped macarons. And of course there was a wonderful bottle of wine!

He gave me Rachel Maddow's book "Prequel," which I've been eager to read. It's about the American's rise of fascism in the years leading up and through World War II. We made it through once. I hope we can again. It is truly wonderful when someone you love foregoes chocolates or flowers or jewelry for something you really want -- a topical, political book! He couldn't have chosen better!

Meanwhile, Lizzie was looking festive for the occasion in a cute ribbon collar that Corkie Cheryl made for her. Cheryl photographs all the animals at the humane society up for adoption and makes collars like this for them. I think Lizzie knew she looked pretty! She actually seemed to like it!


As I mentioned in the Cork Poppers post, my friend Suzanne came to visit from Canada, which is always a good time. 

We celebrated late Christmas, talked books a lot, hit a couple of favorite restaurants and saw the movie "American Fiction," which I really enjoyed. A good visit!


While I was at it painting Rick's Valentine, I did another piece for the Coloricombo challenge. In both cases (Rick's card and this pic) we had the theme of hearts and a limited palate of four chosen colors. The colors below were turquoise, a darker blue, tumeric and something she called guava, although it looked more like a mix of burnt sienna and white with a little pink in it.. (Rick's card had two pinks, "egg yolk," and burnt orange.) You can also use a light and dark neutral. (I used black and white here.)



I have finally decided on a mold contractor. They'll start next week. And I have to say I was rather proud of myself in that I got the ones I wanted most (but were most expensive) to drop about $1,700 from their price. I'm absolutely terrible at negotiating anything money related so that was a big deal for me. I couldn't help but think of the "Haggle" scene in "Life of Brian." I am only slightly better than Brian.

I don't envy them having to work around all things piled in the middle of the room, a leftover from having to do this when the insulation was installed. I'm looking forward to getting it back where it belongs -- and getting a lot tossed or donated.


Our unseasonably mild winter has brought some walks to the ditch. There's not a lot of visible wildlife action going on there. I did spot some ducks and a few geese.

And of course it's still winter-brown. But it was nice to get down there and check things out! Others were doing the same.

On occasion, we've even had sun! But not the day I was out and about. 


I saw the cataract surgeon and we've scheduled the first of the cataract  surgeries for early in March. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but hopefully night driving won't be so freaky after!


At (very) long last, I got my book off to the printer! It's a family history book, tracing my mom's side of the family back to the 1700s when they first came to America. I'm looking at both sides, finding the stories and incorporating the history of the time, along with what it was like dealing with the professions they had during the times they lived. When I did the research for it I learned that my ancestors were instrumental in settling the Waterloo area of Ontario, that my great grandfather was in the mental asylum and that I am very distantly related to Stephen Colbert. I'm getting 25 copies printed. I expect there to be some problems with the photos so the work isn't done but it's exciting to be at this stage at long last!


And finally, under pressure because I had to have it done before Cork Poppers, I finished the puzzle. Hooray. (And yes, there are two pieces missing. Looks like three, but I found one after the photo. I've been very careful so I'm sure they haven't been vacuumed and I even checked under the rug edges in case some furry being was playing.  I hate missing pieces! But it was very pretty. (And a lot harder than it looked!)

I leave you with a little bit of cuteness.

She knows she looks pretty! And she's happy to tell you so!

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roentare said...

The geese look so cute by the water. The tapestry and embroidery look fantastic too

eileeninmd said...

February is flying by, your flowers are so pretty.
I love the Valentine card you made for Rick and the Coloricombo challenge piece is pretty too. Nice captures of the geese and the reflection scene at the ditch. Lizzie is a cutie! Take care, enjoy your day and have a great week!

Ana Dunk said...

SomehowI must have missed it on how the mold issue started, but your homeowner's insurance policy should cover damage from mold. I worked in insurance for 15 years and it was standard coverage then. I also had mold damage in my rental unit from a leaking pipe in a wall and that was covered to the tune of over $12,000. Just a thought before you start handling it all yourself. Call your agent if you have not already. Sorry to be such a buttinski!

La Table De Nana said...

Everyone I know that has had cataract surgery..says..It's a miracle:)
Its funny I used to love the art of negotiation:)My husband is not a bargainer..which I like:) Have a great rest of month and yay on the great drop in price..:)

Tom said...

...good luck with your eye surgery, I had both eyes done a number of years ago. It's great to be able to see the light!

shoreacres said...

Even in its winter colors, the ditch looks nice. Being able to know a place in all its seasons is quite a treat. Of course, Lizzie looks good in all seasons; that collar is really cute. Is your cataract surgery being done by laser? That's the way mine was done: a shoebox sized machine, fifteen minutes, and done. It was painless as well as fast, and the results were remarkable. You'll love it.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

You sure crammed a lot into your days.

I can see why that puzzle is hard, looking closely you can see the shape of the pieces are not the norm.

When I wrote and had my family history books published I did the same things with adding cultural reference points. Such a large project and I'm sure your family will appreciate it. I, too, had a great-great-great grandfather in an mental asylum off and on, but he was a Civil War veteran who lived with a bullet in his head for many years. I'm jealous that you can claim Steven Colbert as a distant kin.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

How fun to have your friend come down for a late Christmas, I'm sure having the tree still up was a plus from that viewpoint. Glad you'll have the mold taken care of soon.

DVArtist said...

Wow! what a lovely post. Beautiful flowers, steak on the grill, friend from Canada and books. You will be absolutely amazed at the difference in your sight after surgery. It is truly eye opening. ha ha ha. Have a nice day.

Anvilcloud said...

Don't feel bad about VDay. We barely nodded at it in passing. I didn't even make my usual card. Your card, however, was fab, and I don't think anything else was required.

I like the puss'es collar. Although Lacey looks similar to her, I think a collar would render her apoplectic. 😁

Marilyn Miller said...

Love your Valentine's and that book gift from Rick is perfect. I have wanted to read it, but not sure I will be able to sleep when I do.
Lizzie is sooooo cute in her collar.
So glad you are getting the mold issue taken care of. Negotiating is difficult; so congratulations.
Loved that you had a walk to the ditch.
And your family book sounds like a lot of work, but so glad you stuck with it.

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

So many fun things in this post. I love the pink collar - she looks so cute. The flowers are gorgeous and so cheerful. I love the colors in the Valentine that you made for Rick. - so special...I love the idea of the family book- I keep thinking about doing one but never do... a lot of work... Have a great week!

Hena Tayeb said...

Your heart paintings are beautiful. WOnderful that Rick knows you so well. A steak dinner sounds perfect.
Love the puzzle.

gigi-hawaii said...

What a nice post! Love all your pictures. Your great grandfather was in a mental asylum? Wow! I wonder if it was humane back then. My roots in Hawaii go back to 1904, when my grandfathers immigrated to Hawaii. So, my ancestral history stops there. Because of the language barrier, I can't research my ancestral roots in Korea.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoy the sweet Lizzie pics, I’m sure she has to be a sweetheart! Looks like from the smiles you enjoyed your visit from your friend, always the best. Wishing you well with your surgery,

Sandra Cox said...

What a lovely Valentine's Day you and Rick shared. The meal sounds divine and the card purrfect. And those flowers from your friend. Wondrous.
Don't ya love Rachel Maddow. I miss her on MSNBC. Glad you found someone to deal with the mold.
Take special care.

Valerie-Jael said...

Lizie is always so cute! Glad you and Rick celebrated Valentine so nicely, and it must have been good having your friend there. Here the first snowdrops and other spring floowers are starting to bloom, as are some of the trees- The pieces you painted turned out great. Have a great week!

This N That said...

It looks as though you are having a good February.. I don't do that much in three months.. Corkie looks very pretty in her collar.. Your flowers are gorgeous. Beautiful colors! How sweet of Rick. Your paintings are lovely. That puzzle looks difficult. Too many solids.
I hope that the rest of your month is as much fun. Have a good week.

Red Rose Alley said...

aahh, Lizzie is cute in that Valentine collar. That's great news about your book, Jeanie! Like you, I love ancestry stuff, and knowing about each heritage that is a part of me. Yaaay, on finishing the puzzle. You did a great job on it. It's delightful, and something you could frame. Your weather sounds a bit like ours here, overcast days with some sunshine peeking through from time to time. I really like that Ditch photo with the family. The child's bright red coat really stands out against the brown hues of Winter. And your arrangement of flowers is so vibrant and pretty. Enjoy the rest of the February days, Jeanie.


Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Your heart artwork is pretty.
Lizzie does look rather pleased to be styling.
Outdoors, sun or no sun, is refreshing.
A family history is a treasure to have. I am sure many will greatly appreciate your hard work putting it together.

Carola Bartz said...

Good luck with the surgery, Jeanie, and I hope it will have the result you're hoping for. From what is written here in the comments it seems to be a good one. The book by Rachel Maddow sounds very interesting - I have no idea why so many American politicians seem to be eager to destroy democracy and act as Putin's poodles - shame on them, especially now after the news of Navalny's death. I almost don't recognize the country we came to more than 20 years ago.

Gill - That British Woman said...

love your artwork, you are very talented. Our daughter and son-in-law when to University in Waterloo. It's a very good university. Love the area.

Prims By The Water said...

Lizzie looked adorable. Grilled steak sounded wonderful. Cannot wait to et our grill out again for Summer. Janice

My name is Erika. said...

Lizzie is cuteness in her ribbons. And you've been busy, in fun at home ways. That's the best way to spend February, other than maybe escaping to your own tropical island-grin. And that was very sweet of Rick on Valentine's Day. And I just hate it when you can't find puzzle pieces. There must be a puzzle gnome who steals those pieces, I swear. Have a great new week. hugs-Erika

DeniseinVA said...

This was a super post Jeanie, for reading and looking at all these great photos. I wrote a long message and then my internet cut out and I lost it, so forgive me if it is shorter than I intended. The main thing I wanted to say was to wish you all the best with the cataract surgery. I know several people who have had it done and they got over it in no time, my sister-in-law included. I will be sending lots of good thoughts your way until I've heard you have had the surgery. Take good care of yourself and I'll be checking in to see how you are doing.

Karen said...

Lizzie is some cute!
I have to dicker with people doing work here too and I hate it. I almost got roped into a stupid furnace contract that was unreasonable.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm delighted when I receive books rather than candy or flowers. Then I know that the other person really, really knows me!

DUTA said...

My February is not such a good one. My roof is leaking. We have, usually, short , mild winters, so the buildings, especially roofs, are not very solid. not fit to an unexpectedly rainy February.

Your heart drawings are lovely; Lizzie, as usual, steals the show.
Good Luck with the mold project!

Pam Richardson said...

Hello Jeanie! Unexpected flowers a book, and a delicious dinner were perfect Valentine’s presents! I know that a mild winter in your area is rare, so happy you can visit the ditch! I had cataract surgery almost 4 years ago. I had such dread over it, but it was amazing the difference. I knew my vision was getting worse, but after the surgery and I could see brilliant colors again I was so thrilled that I had gone ahead with the surgery. The second day after I literally cried when seeing how beautiful the coloring of a bluebird that flew under where I was sitting on my patio. You will be happy with the outcome! Have a wonderful week!

Nancy said...

What a lovely bouquet. It was such a sweet gesture from a dear friend. And your kitty looks adorable in her new collar.
Your Valentine's sounded quite incredible. A dinner, wine, a fabulous book, and with Rick!
Prayers for you and cataract surgery. I hear it is fabulous once it's done.
And hooray for the mold being removed!
Enjoy your week, and I hope you can get to the ditch again this week.
Hugs, Nancy

Linda P said...

This is a varied post with lots of gorgeous photos. Thank you.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

WOW! You have been busy for sure!! Looks like you had a nice Valentine's Day!! I am always amazed at your artistic talents!! I am not on the mood for Spring yet with almost 10 inches of snow on the ground here even though a warm up is predicted for the middle of this week...Maybe when the snow is gone, I will be more in the mood to think about Spring and Easter decor...I hope to do St. Pat's day in my Den this week...Other than that, I have been busy going through drawers and closets and organizing and doing a bit of purging! Thanks so much for all your visits! I hope you are having a great week!!
Debbie- Dabble Blog

Sandra Cox said...

Lizzie looks very festive in her collar and that's a good way for the Humane Society critters to get some good pub.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

My goodness, Jeanie, you have a lot on your plate. It sounds like you are handling it all very well. Well done in getting the mold remediation price reduced! I hate haggling as well and I usually leave it up to my better half. Your Valentine card is lovely! And your dinner with Rick sounds delicious. I will keep you in my thoughts as you prepare for cataract surgery. I'm sure you will do splendid!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your Valentine's Day looked lovely! That book sounds interesting, KLOve your watercolors too!

I've had lots of eye surgery over the years and the cataract surgery was the easiest! I did see "halos" around lights for a bit at night but that eventually went away, I wore glasses since I was 7 years old, and having corrective lenses inserted in my eyes with the cataract surgery was like a miracle! No more waking up and putting on glasses first thing in the morning.

I hope the mold remediation goes well and I am glad the problem was found as it is a potential health hazard. I am also not a good price haggler...just not a skill I ever developed.

We have had snow once a week since the California Pacific atmospheric river storms have been traveling west this winter. It's good for us since Colorado snowmelt is the headwaters of many vital rivers. I am looking forward to is always late in arrival here.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Jeanie :=)
You received some beautiful gifts,....the flowers are beautiful, and Rick's present of the book and a cooked meal is rather special, but then so is you hand painted Valentine card. I love your tartan tablecloth and the colourful heart mat.I also love the photo you took of the geese, it's really lovely worthy of a frame with..the muted colours and composition it's stunning. Lizzie looks cute in her new collar. Jeanie I hope all goes well with your eye surgery when the time comes,...I'm also waiting to have cataracts removed.
All the best

Lowcarb team member said...

Pleased you had a lovely Valentines Day.
Lizzie was certainly looking festive, sweet photographs.

I'm sure your cataracts surgery will go well, friends of mine who have had it done have been so pleased with the outcome.

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Pamela said...

Lizzie is such a pretty girl! Your Valentine’s Day traditions are so sweet!

Mae Travels said...

What a great Valentine Day, and what fun with Cork Poppers! I hope your surgery goes well and ends up with better vision. Your recent photos look as though you have lost some weight, which I hope if correct is a good thing for you.
best, mae at

Barwitzki said...

Beautiful flowers - what a joy :-))
And visiting friends is particularly wonderful... cinema, chatting, restaurant, wine and good food. Nice.
Fantastic that you have created a book from your family that goes back to the 17th century... you will be very proud when you hold it in your hands...
a hug to you from Viola.
Love your hearts. said...

You've had a fun and busy month Jeanie! So sweet of your Valentine to cook for you and time with a special friend in invaluable! Lizzie does look pretty in her fancy collar. I'm impressed that you wrote a family history book, your family will treasure it. Your Valentine paintings are lovely~

Jim and Barb's Adventures said...

I think Lizzie did feel special in her red collar! With spring coming, it will not be long before those geese have a line of little goslings behind them!

R's Rue said...

So much goodness

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, this was such a great post. A little bit of everything. Your hair looks so pretty. Mine is finally getting more white in it and I am liking it better. Lizzie is too cute and I agree with her. Love your paintings. I haven't done anything for awhile and am itching to get back to it.. Love the book that Rick got you. I'm a great fan of Rachel..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

Rita said...

Love all your heart art! Beautiful flowers! And finishing the book--wow!

Glad you got to visit with your friend from Canada. Great pic of the two of you.

Kudos to you for haggling on the mold removal bid!!! I've never been brave enough to try that. LOVED the clip from Life of Brain, too.

Always enjoy your trips to the ditch...brown or green. ;)

I have been suddenly doing puzzles on my phone this past week. I think those apps have been in there for a few years--lol! Fun and feels like cheating because of how they click in when they are in the correct position and they are all upright, too.

Cataract surgery. I was so nervous before mine--both times, but not as scared the second time because I knew what was going to happen. They get you situated (drugged up) so you don't care what they are doing and you really can't see anything that's going on, anyways. The afterwards time when you have one eye done and not the other one was a trip--because you can see better out of one eye and your glasses don't work--lol! I had to pick up some of those cheap reading glasses to get by after both the surgeries until I could get my new prescription glasses. But it is all worth it in the end. :) :)

Happy what's left of Wednesday. ;)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Your Hearts Day dinner sounds very nice and we also ate at home. Patrick prepared a shrimp cocktail, roasted asparagus and beef tenderloin on our small indoor electric grill and we capped it off with a bottle of Pinot Noir. The heart card you made for Rick was lovely ands sure he appreciated it as well, Jeanie. Congrats on completing the family history. My maternal grandmother as also in a mental institution for a number of years, but my parents did not talk about it so I do not have many details.

Lorrie said...

Lots of good times going on. I hope your cataract surgery goes well. Love the paintings you do.

Iris Flavia said...

I love the hearts, pink and blue and YES to pressies you really want,Ingo is the same,aren't we so lucky??
Lizzie indeed looks so cute!
Sad we have not much data,so I cannot watch the movie, but I have The Bright Side right here now!
BIG congrats on the book, but why only 25 copies?
To Lizzie!

Sherry's Pickings said...

how lovely to have a friend visit. We don't usually do anything for valentine's as our anniversary is on the 1st of Feb but this year we went away for a few nights. So good to get away!

Sherry's Pickings said...

and good luck with your eye surgery. i still need spectacles but not all the time. The surgery itself is a breeze as they knock you out completely. Well, they do here anyway :)

Klaudia Zuberska said...

great report, I wish you all the best in the coming months!

Bonnie said...

Jeanie, Your flowers are beautiful! I love the cards you painted. You have been busy.
I'm sorry about your mold problem. I will be thinking of you as you go through this as well as your cataract surgery.
Writing a family history book is quite an accomplishment! Congratulations.

carol@The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, wishing you the best on your cataract surgery. I had mine done several years ago and it made such a huge difference. I feel for you on your missing puzzle pieces. If I don’t catch them right away, our little Sadie will destroy them. I’ve made a few replacement pieces using cardboard, exacto knife and printer. I know I wrote about what I did to make new pieces, but I can’t locate now!

Christine said...

Lovely photos and faces

Steve Reed said...

Great job on the heart paintings, and I love Lizzie's collar! She is a very pretty cat. I hope the book turns out well! I've thought of doing something like that for our family. I don't think my nieces know much about the generations that came before my parents.

Joanne said...

Both your watercolors are really lovely! It sounds like you have had a wonderful February. I hate it when I get to the end of a puzzle and have missing pieces... I always wonder where they went too since I don't move them at all while working on them and I don't vacuum nearby either but I never do find those missing pieces.

Fundy Blue said...

Love the photo of you and your friend, Jeanie, and Lizzie looks darling. In our house missing puzzle pieces were likely played with and lost or eaten by the cat. But surely cute Lizzie isn't responsible. Congratulations on getting your book off to the publisher! Well done! Maybe you can create a book of poetry by St. Patrick's Day. Have a great March!

Anonymous said...

This is Lisa. That puzzle looks hard with all the solid blocks of color! I hate it when pieces are missing. That has happened to me a few times and it really takes away from the feeling of being finished!

I am glad you had a great Valentine’s Day with Rick! We had a nice day, too, and got take out! The boys were so excited about the holiday so that made it extra fun.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Lizzie looks fabulous in that collar. Both my boys wear collars all the time, too.

Beautiful flowers. Loved seeing what was happening at the ditch. What an amazing puzzle.

I would have been by sooner, but my AT&T ISP was out much of yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Oh your Valentine dinner looks and sounds wonderful! I love the tartan tablecloth in those blues and greens too and I agree 100 percent about the Valentine gift.

crackercrumblife said...

Congrats on getting your book off to the printer! That has to feel so satisfying!

Your Valentines Day looks like it was a lot of fun, and the card you painted is beautiful.

roughterrain crane said...

Your photos of the river are stunning.

Danielle L Zecher said...

Lizzie looks so cute in her Valentine's collar! I don't think any of ours would cooperate with something like that. That's wonderful that your friend does the collars and photos for shelter pets! From what I understand, that can really help with getting them adopted.

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