Thursday, June 23, 2011

Love these quiet mornings....

Another quiet morning sitting in my swing in my screened-in porch. I love watching the humming birds. These little creatures are sure thirsty this morning.

Jeannine called to say this was the girls' first day of summer school. They take swimming lessons three days a week and go to school one now. Jeannine said Maya pulled up a chair and got into closet, getting down clothes for her and Sofia (5 yr and 4 yr). They both got all dressed and were ready to go before Jeannine ever got out of bed. They were SO excited to go to school. I sure hope that excitement continues!!

Jeannine wasn't sure why Maya thought a ball cap was appropriate for the outfit, but Jeannine praised her and sure was not going to change a thing.

Here is a picture of one of Jeannine's bags she just made. I love the way she continued the large print into the top of the bag.

Maya took some fabric scraps left over from some of the bags Jeannine made and put together a couple bags of her own. Instead of making bags, Jeannine decided to frame them instead, and they now hang in their living room.
You can't really make out the detail, but she fashioned two little girls in the boat of the lower picture to represent her and Sofia. A budding little artist....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Productive Day

When I go out to sit in my porch swing, I always turn the ceiling fan on first. This morning, I had to get up and turn the fan off - I was chilly. What a difference a day makes!

This afternoon I cut out and sewed together a whole bunch of bag shells for Jeannine.

It was a good day to stay in and sew. This afternoon we had a severe thunderstorm - wind and torrential rain. It didn't last all that long, but boy was it noisy while it lasted!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Looking at clouds...

I sat on my porch swing this morning, sipping my coffee. It was facinating to watch the fluffy white clouds. When I looked at them, I could barely tell they were moving at all. However, when I would look away for 60 seconds, then look back at them, their whole character had changed. It is such a pleasant time - out here in the mornings.

I purchased two fat quarter packets at a local quilt show about 2 weeks ago. They were fabrics like Jeannine uses in her bags.
As I previewed this blog, it seems the above pictures are two different sizes. Hmmm....have no idea why. Both were taken with same iPhone. Oh, well....

I tried to sit down and put together combinations for the bag shells. I had a hard time doing it this time. Guess I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2nd Real Week of Retirement

This past week was much more structured - I function better that way. The week before was nice for a week, but don't want to spend the rest of my life just swinging on my porch swing.

Most of the week was spent going through boxes. I don't know what made me think I would need all the stuff I brought home from my office. I had already filled up two large garbage cans at the school before leaving my office. Now I'm continuing to fill garbage containers here at home. It took me the entire week to go through those boxes. Every time I tried to put something away upstairs, I would get distracted by something up there. I had to reorganize a lot of my storage area. Brought lots of old nursing books that I knew I no longer needed downstairs. It will take weeks to get rid of them - can't put them all in the trash at once because the trash haulers would not be able to lift the trash can!

I found a notebook of old faculty meetings minutes. Since they had students' name on them, I had to shred those. It took 3 hitches at that because after so long a time, the shredder would get too hot and shut down. Two large garbage bags later, that task was completed.

I've now got things enough under control that I'm going to allow myself to do some fun things this week to come. I'm going to get back to sewing. I have several bag-shells to make for Jeannine before the weekend, because Friday I'm taking the train to Greenville to celebrate my youngest granddaughter, Sofia's, 4th birthday. I'll stay the week and then ride back to B'ham with them when they come here for the 4th of July weekend. Guy will be back to batchin' it for the week. Since he's had a lot of practice at that, I think he'll do fine.

I spent some time with Mom this afternoon. I did her nails, took her a fresh white peach (SO delicious!!), and looked through an old picture album with her she made of a trip she and Dad took in 1979. They went to Seattle to visit my aunt Minnie and Uncle Bob. Minnie is my Dad's sister. She remarked about how close she and Minnie had always been - much more like sisters than sisters-in-law!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Real Retirement Has Started Now

I officially retired on May 31 of this year, but it has not felt like it until now. I don't know how many people have asked me, "How are you enjoying your retirement?" I've always had to answer, "I don't know,yet." In the past, I usually would go to Jeannine's between semesters and then return to work. So it really has felt like I was just on vacation.

Sunday I returned from my daughter's in Greenville, SC, where I had been for over a month. While there I helped her with her chidlren's bags she makes and enjoyed all of the granddaughters' events. It was a great time, and I was busy pretty much every minute. Well, I didn't set any alarm clocks, so I just got up when I pleased for the most part. One of the most fun things was the girls' dance recital on the 4th. The dress rehearsl was from 1-4 that afternoon. Below is Maya, the 5 yr old. She looks so teeny-tiny here in this picture. Actually, so IS very tiny for her age.
Here is Sofia, the 3-yr old.

Jeannine was one of the backstage moms which meant she was in charge of 20 3-4 year olds. She took water and snacks, and coloring books and crayons for them. She asked me to help with Sofia, so I immediately became a backstage mom, too. As it turned out, the other groups of small children were all placed in the one room - 36 girls ages 3-7. It was tutus, taps, and trips to the bathroom all afternoon. Actually it was pretty much CHAOS!! I don't know why they put them all in the same room or why all of them had to stay for the entire afternoon, but when it was over, we were all exhausted. And THAT wasn't even the real event. We all had to go home, pretty much just in time to eat a bite and come back. Jeannine had put Sofia down for her nap a little before lunch or she would not have even been able to participate. As it turned out, she did really well for the rehersal - just danced her little heart out. Of course Maya performed in her two dances like a little pro (for a 5-yr old anyway). When we got home from the rehearsal, Jeannine, Maya, and Sofia all lay down to try to get a little rest. Unfortunately Sofia was not able to get the MUCH needed sleep to get her through the evening, because out-of-town friends arrived. When we left to go back to the main event, not everyone was terrribly happy.
This costume had an itchy place around the arm hole, and even with a bandaid, it was not comfortable. Maya's was much more comfortable.
Here are some pictures of the room activity.
Jeannine felt like she was backstage at the show "Toddlers and Tiara's," which she absolutely depises! Maya was not particularly enjoying the makeup session.
Here is one of Maya's dances.
I haven't firgured out how to put clickable links into this place, but you can copy and paste the URL and see the dance.
Here is Sofia's dance.
This is Maya's other dance.

Monday I had so many things to do on my immediate bucket list. Get the house cleaned. I really cannot do any quilting until I get some cleaning done. When I vacated my work office, I just piled several boxes of "stuff" in my dining room. I didn't have time to do anything with it until I returned from SC. I also have boxes from my parents' place that I still need to put somewhere. What do you do with things like that? You can't get rid of them. Some things you just have to keep for sentimental reasons. But it all doesn't fit into one small cigar box. It is big box after big box.

Well, yesterday morning I pretty much just blew off. I sat on my porch swing in my screened-in porch and read the paper and my Bible and sipped my coffee. I'm such a slow starter in the morning. I wish I could jump out of bed early in the morning, and hit the ground running. UGH! I just can't do that! I wonder after all these years if I can reprogram my internal clock. The only reason I have even risen early in the mornings was because I HAD to. Now I don't HAVE to, but I don't want to waste all my mornings, either. Time is too precious to waste any of it.

Anyway, I also made out a grocery list while swinging, so in the afternoon, I went to the grocery store. I'm going to try to learn to cook healthier. Actually, I've pretty much got to learn to cook period since Guy is now living at home and driving to Tuscaloosa to work. It has been over a year and a half since we have lived together during the week. Cooking regular meals on a regular basis is a new adjustment for me. Can't say I don't have the time now. Cooking has not been one of my favorite things to do all of my life. I guess I don't mind the cooking as much as I do the "thinking it up." If I could have one or the other, I would choose a cook over a maid. But since I don't have either one, I guess I'll continue to do both.

I decided to try to cook some different things. I take this Everyday Cooking magazine, at it always has simple but different things to fix depending upon what is available for the season. I saw lots of recipes with lots of different greens. Greens are something I've never really eaten other than lettuce or cabbage, but they are so plentiful right now - kale, swiss chard, broccolini. I've never cooked any of those things. By the time I got through the produce section of the store, my cart was nearly full. The produce manager took one look at my cart and asked if I was a vegetarian. I told him no, I just retired and was going to try to do more cooking now. One thing I forgot is that Guy is on Coumadin, and greens are contraindicated for someone on that medication. Wouldn't you know it, after I bought a bunch. But when the evening meal was over, Guy said he really enjoyed something different.
I bought a Pampered Chef baking dish - paid an "arm and a leg" for it! But I was so impressed with what you could cook in the microwave with it. I put a whole chicken in it, put some cloves of garlic in the cavity, brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled on some Emerald's chicken rub. I microwaved it for just over 30 minutes, and it came out like one of those rotisserie chickens - fell off the bone. The vegetables were a bunch of the broccoline spead in a cooking sheet, sprinkled with garlic (from my Pamered Chef garlic press), drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper. I baked it 15 minutes, the covered it with canolli beans, diced tomatoes and almonds, and baked about 10 more minutes. It was very delicious - and healthy. When Guy came in from work, it smelled like a garlic factory in the kitchen! LOL But it sure tasted good.

Earlier in the afternoon, I made some cinnamon rolls from frozen bread dough - so simple! (So NOT healthy!) Oh, well....they sure were good too.
Every bite you put in your mouth doens't have to be healthy, does it?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

This past week, I found some rhubarb in Whole Foods, and Jeannine asked that I make a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I did, and it was a big hit! So much so that Jeannine wanted me to make another one for a school event. I posted a picture of the pie on my Facebook page, and I don't think I've ever recieved that many comments on any other post. Here is a picture of the half-eaten pie. It actually doesn't look very appetizing here. They couldn't wait for it to cool to eat it, so much of the remaining warm fruit ended up running out from under the crust.
I was so amazed that so many people had never heard of rhubarb or had never tasted it. I know when I moved to Alabama, I had a very hard time finding it fresh. It must be one of those things that needs the cooler weather of the north to grow.

Here is the recipe for the strawberry-rhubarb pie. For those of you who are not familiar with rhubarb, it looks like stalks of celery, only they are red. It is very tart and not something you would eat raw. Because of the tartness, it is usually combined with another fruit. The only thing I’ve combined it with is strawberries, but you could use blueberries or cherries.

1 ¼ c. sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 c. flour
2 c. strawberries, cut in chunks
2 c. rhubarb, cut in 1” pieces
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix sugar, salt, and flour; set aside. Stir together strawberries and rhubarb. Place half of fruit on bottom of unbaked pastry; sprinkle half of dry ingredients. Place other half of fruit and sprinkle rest of dry ingredients. Cut butter into slices and place over top of fruit. Top with pastry, brush with milk, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar. Cut holes to vent. Bake at 425 for 40-50 minutes.

Pastry for a 2-crust pie
Mix 1 ½ c. flour with 1 tsp salt. Cut in ½ c. Crisco. Sprinkle with 4 Tbsp cold water and mix.

Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Days in South Carolina

Well, the day at the strawberry patch was quite fun and yielded some very delicious fruit. I found my favorite strawberry cake with strawberry frosting on the internet - just like the recipe I remember baking before from the recipe I had at home. Yum! It was SO good!!!

I've been spending my days and nights sewing, sewing, sewing. Jeannine and I make a good team. I like to do the boring sewing of the Busy B Bags, and she like to do the creative work of appliqueing and embellishing. We pretty well got caught up with the orders she had, so yesterday she began pulling fabric from her drawers and put together mock-ups for 21 bags. Around supper time, I started cutting them out and finished by about 10:00. Here are some of the pictures of the mock-ups.
A I said that is just some of the bags. This afternoon, I sewed all the shells together, and when Jeannine comes back from her college friend's birthday party tomorrow, she will have her work all cut out for her.

A very cute and quaint consignment shop (which also sells new things) here has agreed to sell her bags in her shop. Jeannine is very excited about that!

Jeannine chose this very brightly colored fabric and an Amy Butler bag pattern. She doesn't "do" patterns, so I agreed to make it. Now you have to understand that I do NOT cuss - I don't even use slang, but this critter-of-a-bag nearly brought me to it!!
I know. The bag looks very simple. Well, there was this one step where the lining was being attached to the outer part at the side openings that nearly did me in. My eyes were watering and itching; I was sweating and had to remove my jacket. Up to that point, Jeannine was taking pictures of the steps, but when I got to that point and said, "This bag is a one-and-done!" she stopped the pictures and decided that wouldn't be one she would try on her own afterall. We ended up laughing and felt plum giddy as the late hours approached. I called it quits for the night. I did go back the next day and finish it. Now she totes it everywhere, luuuuuvs it, and gets great compliments on it!! I'm happy for her.

This afternoon I finally got to work on a little bit of handwork I brought with me. I think I'll get back to it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Been Doing Some Sewing

Before coming to Jeannine's, I sewed up some bags for her. I put the bag shells and the straps together, and then she does the customized applique and embellishments on them. Here are some of the shells.
This afternoon Jeannine finished this bag for an lady who ordered through her Etsy site. She ordered it for herself and specified the deminsions. Jeannine wasn't so sure of the size, but I suppose the lady had something specific in mind. After I took the picture, she added a few more embellishments.
Yesterday was picture day at the girls' dance studio. Below is Maya, 5.
Sofia is 3.
Today we went down town to Falls River park.
Tomorrow we'll be going with Maya on a field trip picking strawberries. Yum!

First Days of Retirement

It really doesn't seem like I'm retired yet. I often go visit my daughter, Jeannine, in SC between semesters. That's where I am right now, so it just feels like I'm on vacation. I even dreamed last night I was back to school. ARGH!

We spent the weekend in the mountains of North Carolina with Jeannine, Charles and the girls.

We rented a cabin on the Nantahala River.

It was relaxing watching those in kayaks and rubber rafts bouncing over the rapids of the river.

Guy did a little fly fishing, but no luck catching anything.
The girls got new bicycles and are learning to ride the trails.
Me? I just enjoyed watching everyone else do their thing.
We went into a little town, Bryson, Sunday morning on our way home to get some coffee. I took a picture of this stairway because I thought it was so interesting.
The girls met a little friend, Charlie, outside the coffee shop.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today was my last day at work. I've been so excited for this day to come and then, when I got there, it was kind of sad. :( I worked all last week to clean out my bookselves, my files, and my desk. Yesterday I loaded all my boxes in the car, so I could just enjoy today. A few lonely notebooks left to take out.

We had our final faculty meeting of the semester (more final for some of us than others!). Then they had a retirement luncheon. The nursing director of our campus, Suzann Dupree, came the same day I did, and we shared an office for a time. She also retired today.
For years I've made a quilt whenever a faculty member retired. So I couldn't let this one pass. I surprised Suzann with this.
I had started a project some time ago writing little sayings on fabric thinking someday I might use them. I took some of them along with some squares that faculty members wrote on, and put them together with orange and blue because Suzann is a MAJOR Auburn fan. (Thought it would have been better to work in crimson and white, myself!) But she was thrilled with it.
Here's the label.
The food was great, and the fellowship was even better. When it was all over, my last task was to turn in all my keys. After that, I went from office to office for the hugs and the tears. *sniff* Then I gathered by purse and walked out for the last time. Oh, yes, I'll go back to visit now and then, but it will never be the same. They will go one with their lives, and now I begin a new chapter in mine.
This is Richard along with Suzann and I. He was my "next door neighbor." I'll miss him a lot. He teaches med-surg students while I taught the same group of students maternity nursing. We had some fun times coordinating that clinical schedule!! Suzann's grandson was at the luncheon today and when Richard walked in he said, "Oh, look! There's Santa Claus!! :)
Here's Diann with us. She has been waiting a long time for me to retire so she could teach maternity nursing. Well, you got her now!! :)
Two more very special people. The one saying, "Cheese!" is Gena. I helped her in the physical assessment labs for several semesters. Anita is another med-surg instructor and a lovely lady (even if she is an Auburn fan, too!).

Going to spend some time with the grandkids over the next few days. Now I'll have more time to keep this thing up. So much has happened over the last week in our state. Will have to speak to that later.