Atticus Update

It's been almost a month since this handsome gentleman showed up on our porch.  That story is here .

His name is Mr. Atticus Darcy - but of course we call him Atticus.  

Or Buddy.  Who knows why we do that!

He's gained 8 pounds even though he runs around playing fetch like his very life depends on it!  

He loves raw eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, squash, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe & apples.  

Did I ever mention the vet thinks he 5-6 months old?  

It's hard to imagine anyone dumping this sweetheart of a dog.  Like one of my friends said, "They're missing out".

My 91 year old mama says he looks like a good, ol country dog!

WE are glad Atticus found us . . .

very glad indeed.

Knee Deep in June - Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my husband who so greatly loves his children and grandchildren.  
He would do almost anything for them and prays for them daily.

My children and grandchildren gave me this hammock for Mother's Day.
Hubby got it hung up yesterday. . . .
just in time for Father's Day!

Funny how that turned out, huh?

"Tell you what I like the best --
         'Long about knee-deep in June,
      'Bout the time strawberries melts
   On the vine, -- some afternoon
Like to jes' git out and rest,
       And not work at nothin' else!"
James Whitcomb Riley

Happy Father's Day to you, Honey.
You are the BEST!

Holy Words

Mother's Day 2012. . . . late edition!

Well, it's taken me long enough, but here are a few shots from Mother's Day 2012.  We had a great dinner here at the Cozy Little Cabin.  We also celebrated Amanda's birthday which was earlier in the week.  She was born on Mother's Day and it has become a tradition for us to eat Rib Eye steaks!  So that's what we had this year: Grilled Rib-eyes, shrimp, baked potato, carrot raisin salad and Lemon Tarts.  But alas, I don't recall us singing Happy Birthday to Amanda . . . but we DID sing it on Thursday when we went out to eat!  
Christiy (who is like a daughter to me) Me, & the best daughter a mother could want, Amanda

What a blessing to have my 90 year old mom celebrate with us.  

My husband, Murray.  Amanda's husband, David.  And Christiy's husband, Tim.

But without a doubt, her favorite of all who were here, is my husband.  He can do no wrong!!!!!
I guess that's a good thing and much better than her not liking him.
See how tickled she it?  She adores him!

Until later,


Well, it looks as if the dog may be staying with us!  Yay!  At least that's what WE say.  The cat, on the other hand, is quite displeased.

Now realize, since we haven't yet taken him to the vet for a checkup, the dog hasn't come into the house.  Still, the cat is annoyed he is out on the porch.  So annoyed she hopped up on top of the refrigerator.  The only other time she's done that is when we've had a house filled with people!

Anyway - we've been trying to decide what to call the dog.  Buster was our first thought, then Atticus (from To Kill a Mockingbird), then Mr. Darcy.  

Hubby thought to put them all together and call him B.A.D - but that idea didn't last long.  We held a contest on Facebook and Atticus was the clear winner.  But we did as one friend suggested and called him, to see what he would respond to.

And that, my dear friends, was Mr. Darcy!  The only name he came running to!  So we have a very redneck looking dog who thinks he is a British Gentleman!  

And no, we didn't tell him Mr. Darcy's first name is Fitzwilliam!

Another Dog for Us?

In October our Golden Retriever, Shiloh, died.  I don't know if I ever wrote about it but will need to because his burial was quite memorable.  

He was a big, old goofy dog who dearly loved children.  We rescued him from a family who could no longer take care of him and we gave him a good home. . . . but in his heart of hearts he was a family dog who needed a bigger family, one with kids! 

He was so very, very good-natured and would let toddlers and children pull on him and fall on him and he loved every minute of it.  I NEVER saw him bare his teeth or heard him growl.  Because he was so good-natured, he made a lousy watchdog.  One time the FedEx man  opened the screen-door, came inside and set the heavy packages in the living room and Shiloh didn't even lift his head!  A LOUSY watchdog indeed!

In the last 7 months we've never discussed getting another dog.  No, not even one time.  

Then this happened!
This morning this face was waiting for me on the porch. 

 A stray.  Right here.  On my porch.  We've had lots of strays show up at this place since we moved  here almost 2 1/2 years ago.   We live in an isolated rural area, and it's a regular thing for people (bad people) to dump dogs near us.  

And as I've written before, I sure do wish there was at least one day a year where the DOGS drove the trucks and they got to dump people out in the road.  No explanation.  No food.  No nothing . . . . just dump the people in the middle of nowhere!  

Anyway - please don't get mad at me - but since we are regular victims of other folks' bad behavior - we chase away strays dogs as we CANNOT keep all that show up.  So we throw firecrackers toward them (not on them) to chase them away.  We don't shoot them with BB guns. . . . 
we just set off some firecrackers.  
And they run away.  Every time.  

But not this time. . . . he's still here.  He wags his tail when he sees me.  He made himself comfortable at the work site in the yard and he hasn't done any digging.  He does, however, jump on me when I go out.  I guess it would too much to expect a stray to show up with good manners!

However, he did run off with one of my Sloggers, but when I yelled at him he dropped it.  That's good, right?

And get this - he even made it up the STEEP backdoor steps when he heard me in the kitchen.  And brought an old yellow and green dog toy with him!  Doesn't it sound like something from a movie?  

Best of all, he BARKED at my husband when he came home for lunch!  Yay!  He wasn't at all aggressive - just loud.  Just the way I like it!  I don't want an attack dog - just one that will let me know when there's someone here.

So, I've taken photos of him. 
 I've now blogged about him.  
And hubby and I call him Buster.

What are the odds we've got ourselves another dog?????

I'll keep you updated,


Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friends

While it's true I enjoy costume jewelry, I am not a big fan of fine jewelry.  Diamonds are not my favorite, although I am fond of emeralds and really do like turquoise.  The jewelry my children give and make for me are the ones I wear...not the few fancy pieces I do own.

There have been years where my husband has given me a truckload of compost.  Or manure.  Or gravel.  
This year I got gravel and sand.  

You must realize I'm a HUGE fan of gravel paths and wrote about them 2 years ago when my husband put down a path in the side yard.  So many of ancient gardens have gravel paths. . . they last almost forever.  

What do they say about diamonds?  Oh yeah - they're a girl's best friend.  And a diamond is forever.

Well let me tell you -this year my honey gave me the kind of diamonds this girl likes!  This path is perfect!  Just perfect!  

Gravel + sand + manual labor = the perfect gift for me!

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my blogging friends 
who embrace all the different aspects of motherhood. 

And Happy Mother's Day to all my blogging friends, 
who may not have children, 
but they too embrace motherhood 
and have a mother's heart.

Happy Mother's Day to those who embrace children 
with great love and dedication.

May you be blessed.  
And continue being a blessing.

50 Years Ago

2012 is the 50th anniversary of the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird.  I was 12 years old then and the movie made a huge impression on me.  When desegregation came to my Texas high-school in 1964, I was ready to accept the goodness of people who merely appeared to be different from myself and I was not disappointed.  Calvin Grant, Regina Grant and their cousins were the kindest, most honorable folks.  Calvin and I were in the same grade and we rode the same bus home from school and we struck up a friendship that most likely never would have developed if not for integration.

When my husband was stationed  at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, we lived in apartments that had mostly African American families.  In fact, we were the only White couple!  And guess what - we were invited to join the apartment's bowling league; which we did.  And we had fun.  And we continued to learn that the amount of pigment in a person's skin does not make them different in the areas that really count: honesty, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness - in other words: Character.

The amount of pigment has nothing at all to do with one's character.

Back to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Supposedly the final courtroom speech by Gregory Peck was done in one take.  In one take.  I find that amazing, considering we have politicians who can't speak a single sentence without a teleprompter!

Gregory Peck will always be Atticus Finch to me.
The final courtroom scene.  Filmed in one take!

Another literary work that impressed me as a 12 year old was Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

According Wikipedia, "The book documented detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically."  Hmmm - some things haven't changed so very much in the last 50 years, huh?

My parents came from relatively poor farming families and did things in the old ways, which means I grew up eating organic food from our gardens, and ate beef we bought from their friends who raised their own meat in rural central Texas.  Mama baked bread, pies & cookies and we seldom ate out or ate any processed foods.  There is only one I can remember: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the blue box!  I'll have to ask my 90 year old mom why that is the one thing she didn't make from scratch!

Because of my upbringing and Silent Spring, I've had an interest in doing things "natural".  Of course not always - but a lot of my decisions as an adult were grounded in those childhood influences.  

So, there you have them - two things from my twelfth year of life that made a huge impact on me.

Which childhood books and movies have affected your life?  I'd really like to know. . . there may be important works I'm not familiar with.  And there's always room to grow.  Even when 62!

Have a great weekend.


Simplicity in the Kitchen

My most resent post was about finding a great, SIMPLE  custard recipe, via the internet.  The one before that was a post about a SIMPLE, albeit rustic apple pie recipe.

Today's post is in that same vein. . . SIMPLE!  

Sorry there is no pic of the easily peeled yellow squash!  

What you see here are two of my favorite kitchen gadgets!  The first is a Swiss made vegetable peeler.  While at the local fair last year, there was a man selling them and since my daughter has one and loves it, I bought one, too.  The peeler works like a charm - peeling is so very, very simple and it's like the proverbial hot knife cutting through soft butter!  And did you see the price?  Less than $8. . . a real bargain for a real simple utensil!

My cousin, a real foodie (she's been a personal chef), recommended this type of cutting mat.  As you can tell, it's really thin and it rolls up so it's easy to get the food off the mat and into the skillet or plate, etc. You wet the bottom of it to keep it from sliding around the counter top.  They come three to a pack - and have different food symbols on them so there is no concern about cross contaminating: fish/seafood; beef/chicken; fruit/veggies. I bought mine from Amazon for a fair price, but these pretty pastel ones are only $3.15 for a pack of three at, who are great folks to deal with!

A simple cutting mat that takes up no cabinet space - which is perfect for Cozy Little Cabin's cozy little kitchen!  ;)

So there you have it - one day a simple apples pie recipe, the next a simple custard dessert.  And day three my favorite SIMPLE kitchen gadgets.  

What are some of your favorite SIMPLE recipes, gadgets, etc.?

Until next time


Strawberries & Custard

I love a bargain. . . so when strawberries were $1.75 a pint, I bought THREE of them.  Remember, it's just my hubby and me, so I was going to have to either freeze some of the berries, or find some recipes to use them up before they spoiled.  

Actually, freezing was never a real option because we recently received FREE  venison and the freezer is pretty full.  I'm not complaining - the venison is the very BEST I've ever eaten - I just needed to find a way to use up the bargain strawberries before they went bad.

I used some in smoothies and added a few to salads, but was still looking around the internet for some recipes.   I found a lot for pies and cobblers, but since I'd just recently baked a little apple pie, I wanted something lighter and fresher.

That's when I found the perfect recipe from Rhonda over at "Down to Earth, a Blog About Simple Living".  Rhonda lives in Australia with her husband of 30 years and as the title of her blog says, writes about the simple life.  I was THRILLED when she recently posted a recipe for homemade custard.  That's exactly what I wanted - layers of custard and strawberries - light and fresh!

The recipe calls for cornstarch and after I made the custard someone commented on her blog that US cornstarch is different from what she uses and it was suggested to use arrowroot instead.  I have to say Murray and I thought it was just fine with the cornstarch, but next time will make the substitution and make our comparisons.  

We don't use much dairy as I have a real aversion to conventional milk (at least in the US)  and instead use Almond or Coconut Milk.  But since I had an opened carton of Mimic Creme, I used that instead.  It's a wonderful substitute made with almonds and cashews.  The addition of a farm fresh egg, sugar and Mexican vanilla resulted in a wonderful custard. 

Just what I was hungry for - a light & refreshing dessert!

Don't you love it when you finally figure out what you're REALLY hungry for?  Hop on over to Rhonda's blog for some more yummy recipes and inspiration about living a simpler life

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

Having been raised by Depression Era parents, I grew up not wasting food!  Mama always had a way to use leftovers, etc.  She could get several good meals from one good-sized chicken!  And so can I!

Anyway - since I'm getting 3# of organic Fuji apples tomorrow (and only 83 cents per pound!) I knew I better do something with the 2 1/2 apples I had in the refrigerator.   I found this very quick and easy Rustic Apple Pie recipe from Sprinkle Bakes.  

Quick and easy - don't you just love those kinds of recipes?  

There were no measurements given . . . just general instructions to toss cut and peeled  apples with some cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Put into pie-crust lined cast iron skillet, fold over extra dough, dot with a bit of butter and bake in 350 degree oven until done.  I don't think it could get any quicker or easier!  From the time I started cutting and peeling apples to putting it into the oven, was just less than 15 minutes!

Anyway - the author used 2 little mini skillets, but since I have only one, I used an 8 inch skillet instead.  Below is what it looked like with 2 1/2 fairly large apples.  Yes, it would have made a nicer pie with another apple - but we use what we have and make it work!  And my husband, who gets to come for lunch, was thrilled and had no complaints at all!

And I admit hers looka prettier with the course sugar sprinkled on top. . . . but I forgot and we enjoyed it without!   

You can use store-bought pie dough or use Sprinkle Bakes recipe.  Below is a favorite recipe I've used for years.  You make up a big batch of it and keep it in the freezer and it's ready when you want to bake a pie, saving yourself the time it takes to measure the ingredients and mix with the shortening.  It comes from the Make-A-Mix cookbook by Karine Eliason, which is filled with tons of homemade mixes.  Hmmmm - maybe I should started posting about some of our favorite recipes from it - one being Chicken Enchiladas.  

Below is the link to the book at Amazon.  Click on "look inside" and do a search for page 51 or Freezer Pie Crust recipe to see how versatile it is. . . . 

These apples are not burned - they are just coated with a lot of cinnamon and a little bit nutmeg.

Until next time - BON APPETIT!

Saturday's Activities

We spent Saturday at the Republican County Convention.  Well, I spent the morning there - my husband stayed for the whole thing.  Me?  I went home early, did some laundry and then picked up my friend's three kids.  She's been having some serious health concerns, so I took her kiddos off her hands for a few hours by taking them to a fun afternoon or running, playing and fishing!

It was a great ending to a very, super, crazy busy week!  And the best part of it all?  I was so tired, that I slept until 10:45 A.M.   I slept for almost 12  hours. . . . a true rarity for me!

One of Amanda's Three Half Men
With One of His Catches
Fishing is boring, unless you catch an actual fish, 
and then it is disgusting.
Dave Barry

One of Amanda's Three Half Men & My Friend's Youngest Daughter
Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers. Herbert Hoover

Young & Old Playing Together - Glad They're Not "Age-ists" ;)

Our Friend's House and Reflection at Sunset

The Fire From Across the Pond

Buzz: Don't worry, Woody. In just a few hours you'll be sitting around a campfire with Andy making delicious hot Schmoes. 
Woody: They're called "S'mores", Buzz. 

Immigration Injustice

Newlyweds. . . originally uploaded by Vera*Smith.
My Texas son and his Norwegian bride. . . when life was easier!  

Below is the English translation of a note Mira wrote about their first year of marriage.

If you have any ideas how to keep them together in Norway, please let me know!  
Their desire is to be able to travel back and forth between the U.S. and Norway., but when they're ready to travel, not because the government wants you out of the country!
Mira's note "2011"
The time is near 6 in the morning, and I still can't sleep.

I'm usually good at focusing on being in the present, but it is getting harder and harder. This is going to be long reading, I knew it when I decided to write.

This is our history in 2011-2012.

March 14, 2011 Kevin and I were married. We had not been together very long, just one year, but we were so sure that it should be us. We have something special together, something I have never found any other man. I have never doubted, not a moment, that this is my husband. My life partner.

As newlyweds, we wanted to visit family and friends in the United States, and then take a honeymoon along the coast of Norway. In April, we landed at Gardermoen, in good spirits and had the world to our feet. Together we could do anything! The plan was to figure out the rules to get Kevin in a job and I would work hard to get a final report on an insomnia/fatigue syndrome I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

But first, honeymoon!

Kevin is a handyman, but the big passion is juggling. He has juggled since he was 6 years old and has broad experience as both teacher and artist. There are basically balls in the air that made his living. We had heard about different places it could be possible to get a job as a juggler, or teach juggling, but he is not picky, and had been fine to settle for driving forklift in a warehouse as well.

I got support money from NAV [social services], but was very tired of not getting through on the matter. NAV sent me to the doctor, the doctor sent me back to NAV, and back and forth it went for several years. In the meantime, I worked part time at a stressful job, and in the end I could not take it anymore. In agreement with NAV I traveled to Arizona to get some sunshine, and to just get away from it all for a little while. There I met Kevin.

We started out spending a bit of time with my parents at Kapp. There were some things that had to be arranged, like adding Kevin under my insurance policy before we went on. And we thought it would be fun to celebrate 17th May there (Norwegian national holiday). A good chance for Kevin to get to know my family and my culture. He was immediately recognized as in-law and well-liked by everyone.

17Th May we were working at Gjøvik Gård, Kevin juggled, and I painted the Norwegian flag on anyone who wanted it. It was an active day with lots of people who wondered what kind of odd couple we were. In the corner of my eye I saw that Kevin lost his juggling-balls a little too often, but it looked like it was part of his show.

Afterwards, he mentioned that he did not juggle too well that day. We had noticed it a few weeks earlier, but waved it away that it was probably jetleg from the flight.

A few days after this Kevin helped Harald lay roof-tiles on the shed. Kevin told me there was something odd about his eyesight, especially when he looked up and wondered if he needed new glasses. We noticed that he looked a bit uneven. And he became more uneven and unsteady, in the end he could not smile or have any form of expression on the left side of the face. Mum was worried that it was a stroke, and we ordered a doctor's appointment.

Doctor's appointment ended with immediate admission to Lillehammer hospital.

Hospital stay was tough.
Kevin went through a lot of tests, but especially the spinal tap was rough. He could not walk down a corridor without going into the wall since he only walked in circles to the left and never more than 5 meters [less than 20 feet] before he got tired and had to sit down. Mostly, he was out of his head, and I could not keep a normal conversation with him even if he was awake. We spent our honeymoon at the hospital motel where I took care of Kevin. I brought food, and sometimes I even had to feed him.
After one and a half weeks he was diagnosed.

Relapse-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The doctor explained: It is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. It leaves scars on the brain that cause transient and/or permanent disabilities throughout the body. The patient may also have cognitive disorder, which means that the brain is not functioning properly. Some are confused and get personality shifts for shorter or longer periods, especially if they are not aware that it can happen. Some have few symptoms, others may end up as 100% disabled, where the spouse receives full-time job as a nurse.
Meanwhile as she explained, I sat staring at the table. It was a nice table. Shiny and polished with a small table cloth. I could see a knothole in the wood, and a small mark in the finish after a drop of water that had dried up there. I remember wondering who had spilled a small drop of water on the table.

The doctor got a phone call and had to run.

I looked at Kevin. He had red eyes and the tears ran down his cheeks. He stared at the wall, I stared at him.

So we sat there.
Kevin was not a juggler anymore and too ill to take another job.
I did not have regular income and my own condition was not diagnosed. Our only home was a small motor home built in 1986.

New problems emerged. Someone had to pay the hospital bill which amounted to 25 000kr. Kevin is not from an EU country so it was not a foregone conclusion that he gets medical care covered.
Then the bank called and said the insurance was not valid because he is not a member of the State.

The summer of 2011 was a nightmare in a paradise.
I extended my loan and bought a caravan which was parked on the shore of Stensveen. Then we had a little larger place. Kevin's medication did not help and he had to start using a crutch. He kept walking in circles to the left long after he was discharged, and when we hugged each other while we walked, it was to conceal the fact that I had to support him. He stopped wearing shirts, and began with sweaters, buttons where too difficult to handle.

An application for family reunification and residence permit on medical grounds was sent to the UDI [immigration control] with papers from the doctor that Kevin's treatment must be completed before he can go anywhere.

We also got strict instructions that Kevin can not take a job or leave the country for the 6-8 months it takes to process the case.

Then I got sick. A fever of nearly 40 [104 F] and could not retain fluids. This is the time we got the bill for another 25 000kr for Kevin's hospital stay. The application for postponement was sent and it was postponed until February of 2012.

It was now the good news came. Maya wanted to move to find the forest and would have us. We are so fond of Maya and feel we work well together. Kevin had just gotten a cortisone treatment and felt better. We decided to help Maya prepare the apartment for moving. A few days after we arrived in Sandnes, I got sick again and this time the fever rises to over 40. Now I am the one being in the hospital. It was a powerful antibiotic treatment for kidney inflammation that saved me. I spent the entire week I was going to help a Maya in the hospital.
Without painkillers.

Finally we moved to Finnskogen. We made friends, join the local theatre and I traveld back and forth to Kapp to go through psychological treatment to be forwarded to a sleep specialist.

Hospital bills are in order, we owe no money, thank goodness! And I got an appointment at Bergen Sleep Center. Then I have to cancel my appontment at Bergen Sleep Center. I was placed in the private section, I can't afford to pay for travel to and from Bergen, plus therapy, plus accommodation. I can't even afford new pants!
I restart again and the psychologist, who makes a new application to the Bergen that I must be on official department. Why should it take so much time just to start giving me a diagnosis?

Kevin's old medicine did not work, so he got tested on a new one that works much better. He can go more than 100 meters without getting tired, he staggers less and can even juggle a bit again!

Kevin, Maya and I established ourselves well in the woods, I'm looking for work I can do when my diagnoses is done. And Kevin wants a part time job when he gets a residence permit (i.e. is allowed to), he is tired of everyone having to take care of him and live on my rehabilitation money. He will also contribute financially to pay back a little to everyone who has helped him. Buying clothes, food, take me out to dinner, pay taxes!

We talk a lot about starting up our own business when all paperwork is in order so we can work together from home, get our personal economy stable, and just settle down.

That is when we get a letter from UDI.
Refusal of temporary residence permit and family reunification.
He must either file a complaint, or leave the country within 24 april 2012.

Refusal of family reunion because I do not earn enough money. I have to earn 225000kr a year to be allowed to live my life with my husband in my homeland.

Refusal of temporary residence permit because Kevin is not sick enough. MS is not considered a serious enough disease to provide a residence on human grounds. Although his central nervous system will be broken down without medication, medication he will not get in his home country.

We received the letter on March 28. I was completely put out, although I suspect that this was how it would be. It took me two days to “wake up” after the news. Two days where I could not focus on anything. I was completely apathetic. Then I was reminded that it's Easter, everything is closing! Lawyers will not work in this Easter more than others, we might lose a week where we can work with a complaint.

If we move abroad I have to start over again with a medical report, and I'll be honest, this year has taken awful lot of my energy. I do not know if I can start on something like that again if I quit now ...

This turned out to be a long read, congratulations to all of you who have read the whole thing!
We have met so many nice and positive helpers on our way, from some financial support, paperwork, used and new clothes, shoulders to cry on, warm hugs and words. Thanks to you all! I am so glad to have so many wonderful friends on my team. I hope it works out and Immigration is changing the rules so it is possible to be with those you love where the love and not economic terms are deciding if you should stay together.

The time is almost 8, I should try to sleep a bit.

This is not a unique story, please share as more people are becoming aware of the immigration system.


Kitchen Kat, originally uploaded by Vera*Smith.

I know I've been gone for a while. Holidays & a birthday, and graduation gift-making, and taxes have taken their toll on me.

Oh - taxes; oh how they make me sigh.

And I've had some business meetings; thankfully they are fun!

And there is my mom's declining health (vision).  No fun for either of us.

Oh - and lots of other stuff keeps getting in the way of blogging.

But I had to post this photo of my son's cat, Moragan. She never and I mean 
gets on the kitchen counters. But here she was this morning -
 waiting for me.

I finally figured out why. The tax documentation and all sorts of papers are on her favorite bench in the dining room.
 I think she was letting me know it's time to de-clutter!

Anyway - I've been too busy - making trips to out-of-the-way places, etc.

 I most assuredly agree with Socrates:
Beware the barrenness of a busy life


We have had an early Spring this year.  Azaleas are blooming, promising to ruin the Azalea Trail in April as they shall be all bloomed-out!  But who can fuss about lovely weather like we're having, including plenty of rain last week.

Above are the hyacinths that decided to bloom once the rains came.  In the far background are the camellias.  There are also pink oxalis and purple irises; not nearly as many flowers as we had at the old house - but enough to make me smile



Earlier this year, we made a trip back to Houston to attend the wedding of a dear, dear friend of ours. It was extra special because our son-in-law married them! How cool is that?

Mr. & Mrs.

To make it even better - we got to spend some time catching up with old friends.

Daughter & Her Daddy
Dancing Together

Daughter & Her Hubby

Anytime I get to spend time with family and friends is a good time!
In this case, it was a great time!



Another thing that kept me from blogging is that I made a quilt for my cousin's granddaughter, Ava.

Most people these days belong to Facebook and so do I. What I especially like about it, is to connect and reconnect with friends. Once again I'm in touch with high-school friends, friends from the city I grew up in and relatives. Two cousins that I'm especially glad to have reconnected with are Bill (owner of Thunder Graphics) and Nancy. Bill is my age and Nancy is a little bit younger.

When we were kids, Bill would throw June Bugs down the back of my shirt. Strangely enough - I adore all sorts of bugs and insects

When we were teens we would go out the night before trash day and hang out the windows of his car and each grab a metal garbage can. He'd step on the gas and then quickly slam on the brakes and we'd let loose of the cans and oh what a noisy clatter they made! It sounded like a wreck had occurred and house lights would come on and he would speed off. That's the total of my vandalism ways! I think Bill and I may be the reason they stopped making metal garbage cans and switched to plastic! ;)

Anyway - they both live near the Texas Gulf Coast and Murray and I jumped at the chance to visit them when, via Facebook, I got an invitation to Nancy's granddaughter's first birthday party. And what a great reason to make a baby quilt! Oh what fun I had!
Directions for the quilt are here

Three generations of beauties!

My Aunt, who will soon be 90 (doesn't she have gorgeous skin?),y
and her only great granddaughter.

Cousin Bill and my hubby.
Since we were on the Coast, we just HAD to stop and buy some shrimp and fish.
Thank you Bill for taking us to a great place!

My cousins were gracious and we had a great time. I hope we get together again.

Oh, and here is my current project! Aren't the fabrics yummy!?


It's been quite a while since I've posted anything. Of course I recovered quickly and completely since my last entry. Although I must admit I enjoyed my time with Colin Firth!

I'm not feeling so very talkative today so I'll just post some photos of what's been going on since December! They are not in any particular order. . . . just a quick catch-up!

First off - I've been doing lots of snuggling with Kevin's cat, Morigan. Last year Kevin and his wife Mira went to Norway, Mira's home. They had return flights for September, but because of some health issues, they are still in Norway and it looks like they'll be there for quite a while. I am so very thankful for Skype!

Anyway - we don't mind at all, being grandparents to Morigan. She is the sweetest of all cats and hubby and I both love her!

As you know, we live out in the country, surrounded by pastures on two sides and woods on the other two. One morning I was talking to my daughter Amanda , when I saw a steer at the my front door! He looked as if he were contemplating climbing up onto the porch! I almost yelled to Amanda, "I gotta' go - there's a cow at the door"! I tried to take a photo through the open blinds, but it didn't turn out too well.

I then opened the front door and he started to leave, but did turn and pose for me! Then off he went to knock some stuff over in an open shed and then turn over the burn barrel. Thankfully we hadn't recently burned anything so there were no hot coals to worry about.

He is a stubborn one, this #405. Later in the day I needed to go into town, and he was in the middle of the road, contesting me to get by him! He would NOT budge! I'd creep a little closer and he bend his head downward, threatening me with those little horns of his. . . which by the way, could scratch up a vehicle. Fortunately for everyone, the owner of the cattle has repaired all the fences. For now. Cattle have a way of finding/making an escape!

I've been practicing with PicMonkey I was a big fan of picnik, but since they'll no longer be available this April, I've been looking for something else to use. I have Photoshop Elements, but it's on the desktop, not on my laptop, and I would much rather lounge while editing photos.

The sunflowers were edited using HDR effect. I don't think I'll be using it often, since it distorts the photo too much for my liking, even though it does give a bit of an artsy look.

OK - that's it for a while. I'll be posting more often. . . . although I'm not NEARLY as faithful as my daughter!