Saturday, July 4, 2020

Fourth of July Through the Years

Now that our boys and our grandchildren are grown we don't do much to celebrate Independence Day.  However, when they were young we always had a big family celebration.  Everyone would come over to our house and we would make homemade ice cream, have watermelon and barbecue something special to have for dinner along with homemade potatoe salad and lots of other goodies.  One of the highlights of the day was the fireworks.  There would be a few special daytime fireworks for the kids such as parachute rockets and poppers, all done safely by an adult.  When it got dark we lined up our outdoor chairs in the front yard to watch the nighttime fireworks.  Most of our neighbors also did fireworks so we all got to enjoy a shared neighborhood show. 


A two year old Annika testing the homemade ice crem
1998 - Annika testing out the homemade ice cream

2001 - Tom spraying the ribs with apple juice as they were being smoked

2003 - Gavin gets his first taste of barbecued ribs

2008 - Annika, her friend Becka and Gavin enjoy watermelon

2016 - Shish Kebabs on the grill
 
We don't do a big celebration any longer since it will just be Tom and myself here.  I do plan on having watermelon though as that is my holiday favorite!  We will also grill some steaks and have a nice dinner tonight.  Today is also a special day for my older brother, Charlie, as it is his 80th birthday!  Happy Birthday Charlie!

Happy Independence Day to all who celebrate it!



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Graduation!

Gavin and his girlfriend, Skye

My grandson, Gavin, graduated from high school this past Saturday.  Gavin and his older sister Annika were home schooled through a Home School Co-op.  During Gavin’s final two years of high school he also attended a Technical Career School majoring in automotive collision work.  He loves to work with his hands and also loves working with cars.  Gavin graduated with honors, is a member of the National Honor Society and is an Eagle Scout.  Due to his achievements at the Technical School he obtained a full-time job as soon as he finished all of his classes.  We are very proud of him and were so happy to be able to see him graduate! 


                                   My son Chris, daughter-in-law Kristi, grandson                                                         Gavin and granddaughter Annika. 

 

                              


 


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Birthdays and Graduations and Anniversaries, Oh My!


June has always been a busy month for our family and this year is no different, pandemic or not.  My daughter-in-law, Kristi, celebrated her birthday a couple of weeks ago.  For the first time in three months we went to their house in order to celebrate her birthday with them. 

Last night we celebrated my husband Tom’s birthday with the family.  His actual birthday is later this week but it is easier to get everyone together on weekends.  We went to his favorite barbecue restaurant and then came back to our house for cake.  This was the first time we actually went in a restaurant since early March.  I must say the restaurant did an excellent job of social distancing.  They even had employees in the parking lot telling you where to park and letting the waiters inside know that you had arrived.  We did not go in the restaurant until the table was ready and then they took us directly to our table.  There was a QR code on the table that you scanned with your phone and then you received the menu on your phone, thus doing away with physical menus, so nothing would be shared between people.  It seems like there is a whole new way of doing everything these days.  Tom did have a very nice birthday and we really enjoyed seeing our family again.  He actually gets a double celebration this weekend because tomorrow is Father’s Day here.

Tom's Birthday Gifts

Next weekend our grandson, Gavin, will be graduating from high school!  We were not sure if there would even be a ceremony due to the Covid restrictions.  However, many of the restrictions were lifted in our state last week.  His graduation will be held in a much larger auditorium than would normally be required in order for there to be socially distancing seating.  There are only seven tickets available per graduate and each family will sit together but be spaced from everyone else.  Gavin is our second and last grandchild and I can’t believe he is graduating already!  We are very proud of him!  

Then just two days after Gavin graduates my son and his wife, Chris and Kristi, will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.  Time does go fast!  My brother, Charlie, also has a birthday on July 4th but he lives out of the country and I have already mailed him something.  This is definitely a busy time of the year for us!

Tom and I have been very good about following all lockdown restrictions since they started last March.  We have only gone to the grocery store and have worn masks when there.  We have not spent time with family at all until this month.  Since many restrictions have been lifted, we are not breaking any this month but we are seeing family each weekend.  With the exception of the restaurant last night and the graduation next weekend we are not spending time around large groups of people and even those are guided by social distancing rules.  It is so strange that in these pandemic days there can be a concern about even being with your own family.  I am thankful we are able to see our family now while many of the restrictions have been lifted.  However since the state has opened up, we have seen a slow but steady rise in the number of cases of Covid and there has been some mention of the possibility of another lockdown.  I certainly hope that is not the case but if so, at least we have gotten to see family a bit now before we lockdown all over again if necessary.
 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

I Pray


I pray

For understanding and kindness among all people

That no one is harmed by weapons, words or anger

For equality and fairness for all

That people can disagree and still respect one another

For people to understand the concept and the joy of accepting, hearing and caring about those that are different from ourselves

That when we see a friend, we are grateful that we can all be uniquely different and still be friends

For when we are not able to do these things, we put ourselves in a box and we risk losing the goodness and love in our hearts as we risk becoming angry, bitter and lonely

Maybe this is unrealistic.  No one is perfect.  I just know this is how I attempt to live my life, and yes I make plenty of mistakes.





Sunday, May 31, 2020

Something Has to Change

When I started this blog I told myself I would avoid politics.  Period.  For the most part I have tried to do that, but there are things happening in my country now that make me feel I have to say something.  I don't know how I can change anything but I won't turn my back on it.  Please forgive me for expressing my feelings on this, but I feel I must.  Most people know about the man that was arrested and killed in custody.  This was not here in Kansas City but it could have been anywhere in this country.  The thing is, this is not the first time that has happened.  I'm not going into any details but this has to change and I do not know how.

Right now there are protests and riots in over thirty major cities in this country.  I believe in peaceful protests.  I do not believe in riots in which property is damaged and people are harmed.  There is a good reason for peaceful protests but unfortunately when the riots start it defeats the purpose of the protest.  I keep hearing there are two groups of protestors, peaceful and not peaceful.  I have seen on our local news casts the peaceful protestors attempting to stop the others from causing destruction.  One man was carrying a fire extinguisher and putting out fires started by others.  Some are trying to do this right but others are not.

I live about twenty miles outside of Kansas City and as I write this the riots are going on for the third night in a row.  The majority of the riots have taken place in the heart of our city, The Plaza area.  This is a place of beautiful Spanish architecture, fountains and old world charm.  The past three nights it has become a place full of tear gas, burning cars and huge crowds of protestors, police and the military.  Yesterday the governor declared a state of disaster for Missouri and called out the National Guard.  And this is going on in many cities all over our country now.


Kansas City Yesterday Afternoon

Kansas City Last Night

The frustration of all this is difficult to put into words.  Something has to change but I do not believe violence is going to change anything.  The mayor of Kansas City is trying desperately to get people together to talk and work on the problems.  I believe that can be a good start if handled properly.  Personally I wonder if they need to screen candidates for the police department better.  That is no place for racism.  There is no place anywhere for racism but especially not there.  I care about all people and I have always believed it is the person inside that matters, not their race, sex, religion, nationality or anything else.  I grew up in the southern part of our country in the 1950's and 1960's.  So yes, I have grown up around racism and I have seen riots most of my life.  My parents raised me to care about all people regardless of race.  I treat all people equally and have friends from many races and backgrounds.  The only way I know to help change things is in the way I reach out to others and in the way I vote.  I raised two boys and I didn't have to worry about the possibility that if they made a mistake and got arrested they might not come home alive.  A black Mother has these worries and it breaks my heart.       

“The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”

                                                                                 Martin Luther King Jr.

         

Saturday, May 23, 2020

An Early Morning Surprise



I received an early morning phone call from my oldest son, Chris, telling me there was something on my front porch.  This was a bit confusing to me because he does not live in the same suburban town as we do, so how could he know if something was on my porch.  I got off the phone, opened the front door and sure enough, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers propped up on the porch across from the door!  What a surprise and a wonderful way to start the weekend!

When I called Chris back he said he and Kristi (my daughter-in-law) had been to the City Market in Kansas City early this morning to shop for some fresh vegetables and had picked up those flowers for me.  They quietly dropped them off on the porch and then called me after they had driven away!  I sure love my family!   


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Beautiful Weather and A New Way to Shop

We have had a wonderfully cool and comfortable week.  The temperature has stayed in the 60s F most days and I love that.  It's been cool but not cold and all the birds are just singing their little heads off!  It was perfect weather Monday for me to cut the grass.  It normally wears me out mowing but when it is cool, I find it much easier.  The older I get the harder it is for me to handle the hot weather.  I know it's coming, in fact it is usually here by May but this year has been different and I love it!

We have discovered that shopping these days is certainly different with all the Covid precautions.  Up until this week the only shopping we have done has been for groceries.  In our area all the other stores opened this week but we learned it is not at all the same shopping now as it was pre-Covid.

Our printer went out on us and we thought it would be nice to support a local electronics business instead of just ordering one online.  We picked one out on the store's website and checked if it was in stock locally.  The website said it was indeed in stock so Tom drove down to the store to buy it.  When he went to the store's entrance (wearing a mask) he was told he had to have an appointment to come in and someone would escort him to whatever he wanted to buy.  They could not let him in then, but made him an appointment a couple of hours later.  Just to be safe he asked them to double check if they had that printer in stock.  It turns out they did not, so no appointment was needed.  He came home and we ordered it online.  I would say it might be good advice to call and check with any business before you go!  We should have done that and did not.  I know it must be quite difficult to try and operate any kind of a business right now and I do feel for them and understand they are trying to be safe.  There are many local regulations for businesses especially regarding how many can be in the store at one time. 

My dentist office opened up this week too and I have an appointment for my checkup next week.  I understand there are many precautions for any kind of a medical/dental visit right now.  I have already received two emails about the coming visit and then today they called me with instructions.  When I go I am to sit in my car and call them when I arrive.  They will tell me when I can go inside and of course I should wear a mask.  I have a feeling there will be much more once I go inside.  I would guess a temperature check and a list of questions to answer.  I am a little nervous about going to the dentist right now but I don't want to cancel my appointment as they are not easy to get.  I'm glad they are taking precautions but it is something for us to all get used to. 

Now that more businesses and services are beginning to open I have a feeling we are all going to have to learn a whole new way of shopping and doing most anything else in public.  I'm not complaining.  I'm glad they are being safe but there will be a learning curve for all these changes.  Has anyone else discovered many different ways of doing the everyday things we used to do?  Our world is certainly changing.


I didn't have any pictures today so added Sophie & Zeus baby pictures!
       

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Cloudy, Rainy Week

After some beautiful weather last week we have had a long string of dark, rainy days this week.  It is helping to make everything green so there is a bright side to it. 

I received this picture from my brother the other day.  It made me want to rearrange all my books into various sentences and phrases!  If you are really bored during this lockdown you could try this:




I resisted the temptation to play with my books and instead decided to make some cookies.  I like to bake but don't do it too often because I also like to eat what I bake!  Tom had been wanting some homemade cookies so I made a batch of oatmeal cookies.  I figured if we are going to take in extra calories it should contain something healthy - right?  In fact you might even say oatmeal cookies are a health food!  Okay, sort of healthy with all that oatmeal.


 

I did get a little sewing done this week.  I finished making a couple of masks for my youngest son, Sean.  He lives alone and, luckily, has been able to work from home since the pandemic started.  However, they are starting to open up some businesses here and some of them require masks for you to enter.

That is about all that has been going on around here recently.  These dark, rainy days seem to slow things down a bit but they are great for reading and napping.  Sophie and Zeus have taken full advantage of the napping side of things as you can see in this picture of Zeus.  He has his very own cat quilt and he loves to crawl under it for a nice long nap.



Zeus under his quilt


I promise you, our cats are not spoiled, much.  Everyone take care!



Friday, May 8, 2020

Spring, Birds and a Bit of a Rant...

I've always loved Spring despite the ups and downs we get with the weather here.  We've had sporadic sunny days and a good portion of rainy, stormy days as usual.  A few weeks ago we had our usual short Spring snowfall and tomorrow night we are supposed to get a hard freeze.  Overall, it has been nice and we have even started to welcome the Spring and Summer birds back.  I was finally able to get our hummingbird feeder out which always makes me happy.  I try to wait for any freezes to be past us before I put it out.  They must have been waiting because it was not out ten minutes before the hummingbirds started coming to it!  We have it hanging on our deck in front of the glass door so our cats can watch it.  Sophie, our female cat, loves those hummingbirds so much and talks to them whenever they show up.  I have not been able to get any hummingbird pictures yet but I did get a few pictures of some other birds.  These were taken with my phone so they are not the best quality of pictures.  I have tried to identify them but I could be wrong.  If I am incorrect, I welcome any identification anyone can offer ! 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Goldfinch

Goldfinch
 

This isolation is starting to wear on me as I am sure it is with others too.  Our state has started opening up in some areas but not yet in the county where I live.  We start phase one Monday so I guess we will see how it goes.  One thing I have noticed lately is that there now seems to be two kinds of people.  One kind wears masks when in public, stays home and tries to follow the recommendations of the CDC and the medical community.  The other kind seems to think the first kind of people have either imagined Covid-19 or they are blindly following scaremongers and the press.  This is extremely frustrating to me.  I do know you can not believe everything you hear on the news and there are always going to be people that make things sound worse than they are in reality.  But come on, there are over a million cases just in the U.S. and there are almost 10,000 cases in the state where I live.  If nothing else you should have respect for those that have died and for their families.  

Okay, that's my rant.  Thanks for listening.  I hope everyone is healthy and enjoying the improving weather and whatever beautiful birds and wildlife you have where you live.  If you've taken the time to read this - I appreciate you for being here.  
    
      

Monday, April 27, 2020

A Busier Week


For the most part things have been moving fairly slowly around here.  Last week did seem to be busier for a variety of reasons.  I finally made us some masks to wear when we buy groceries.  Since I make quilts, I have lots of fabric scraps to choose from for making masks and I wanted to make a special one for my husband, Tom.  He has always been a superhero fan having grown up on Marvel and DC comics.  Even today he never misses any of the movies about those popular characters.  So, I made him a mask from some Marvel characters fabric. 

                                                                                                                             
We were also busy getting my old Honda Civic cleaned up to loan to my granddaughter, Annika.  She was in a car accident recently when someone ran a stoplight and hit her and then drove off.  Luckily, she was okay although I know she had to be pretty sore as it totaled her car.  It makes me so mad that this was a hit and run accident!  I just don’t understand some people.  Annika is still working despite the pandemic and has to have a car to get to work and back home.  She was hoping to buy one and looked at several but could not find what she wanted that was also in her price range.  I have a very old Honda Civic that I had not been driving much since we usually use my husband’s Toyota.  Despite the age of the Honda it is still in good running condition.  I spent a little time getting it emptied out of my belongings and we cleaned it up inside and out for her.  She still wants to get a newer car but this will give her the time she needs to look for one and also save up a bit more money.  I was happy to know I could do something to help her out as she has had a run of bad luck recently.  My son Chris (Annika’s Dad) brought her out Sunday to pick up the car.  It was such a treat to get to spend a little time with them both as we had not seen any family since the pandemic started.  We stayed outside and followed social distancing because she has been around many people in her job.  But let me tell you, it sure was hard to not be able to give both her and my son a big hug!      
  
We finished the week off with another trip to the grocery store.  You know I always have hated buying groceries but I swear, since this pandemic started, I now hate that job even more than before!  It was our luck that just when we came out of the store with a cart full of groceries it started pouring rain.  By the time we got home and got everything in the house every bag was soaked. 

I’m glad last week is behind us now and because I’d like to end this on a happier note, I will leave you with a couple of pictures of my two sweet cats.  They each send you lots of purrs and cuddles.


Zeus

Sophie