Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas with Mike from Minot

Hi Mary and Jeni,
Well Christmas was interesting. We tried to do a movie scenario where the plumbing goes on the fritz and ruins everything but I turned the water off and ignored the problem until after the food was consumed. It was hard though because everyone kept coming up to me and complaining about the drip. (Well it turned into a river) and I couldn't turn it off.
First the water was just coming out in a little stream. It started after Jonny did the dishes around 1:30. ( So it was HIS fault) We went under the sink and played with the turn off valves and it went away. But not for long. Pretty soon it was back again. Jon and I both played with the little turn off lever under the sink but as soon as we turned our back the water was back stronger than ever.

By 4:00 I decided to just turn off the water downstairs. Both boys and Dad looked at the faucets. Dad had the replacement inners but the faucets were so corroded ('gunky' is the technical term, according to Mike) that the only thing to do was replace them. Of course we weren't sure of that right away so we had our Christmas dinner. This is the 'adult table'. Mom and Dad and Chris and Deb got to sit there.

We had three different desserts. Jon had to explain the apricot sauce for the fruit pizza. There were options. That is his Chocolate Whiskey cake too and a couple of sweet potato pies that Deb made in the dark of the night.

We also played a hard fought game of Hand and Foot. (I won and annoyed Chris mightily).

During the game Jon went out and played with the faucet some more, but when I went out to look at it I just decided to call the plumber. I could see lots of corrosion, I mean gunk, under the faucets and thought it looked like it should be replaced.
So I called and got a plumber scheduled for between 11 and 2 on Friday. However at about 8 a.m. there was a phone call and I made Jim answer it (Poor Jim) and it was the plumbers saying they had a man in the area and could we take him early. That is when we met Mike. He came in the house and the first thing he said was "Who here is from North Dakota?" He is from Minot and came here in 1985.

After Mike was under the sink he said we should replace all the stuff under there because he would be out there to replace those within 6 months and it would be an extra 79.00 each trip. Dad came out of the bedroom about that time so I double checked with him and he sleepily agreed. We shall see if he remembers it later. We did everything Mike said and it looks very nice under the sink now and we don't have to use the drip pail anymore. I suppose I should get under there and scrub while everything is out. I suppose. Humph.
However, as Shakespeare says "All's well that ends well" so here is our ending. Nice eh?

My birthday flowers

Hi Mary and Jeni,

I promised to post my birthday flower photo so here it is. I also am sending a picture of my cake too so you can see how gorgeous it is. We got it a Woulettes again. Poor Jim forced to spend his money. But I think it was worth it.

The flowers were a surprise. I thought they were for Mom for Christmas and so I went over to Brown and Greene and they all yelled "Happy Birthday Nancy".

You guys are the greatest.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Whitefish Lake

Nancy! I looked at that quilt and said, "That looks like Whitefish Lake," and then I read your post. Yes, I do like it! That is one of my favorite scenes - the lake in winter. It's quiet, and icy blue and white, with all the subtle colors of winter. Here's the picture that I think of when I see that quilt...
...and some more we took that day. It was the morning of the day we got married.
Gee, I'm starting to feel all sentimental. This anniversary will be the first one that the Ol' Bear is on a cruise and we won't be together. Sigh. Oh well, what matters is that we're still having an anniversary, and we'll be thinking of each other on that day. Honestly, usually I'm the one that forgets. In fact, Christy and he have a running joke about if I'll remember or not! And no, I don't think you should cut anything off it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Landscape Quilting

Hi Mary,

Well we had a nice safe quick trip up home and back. Good roads. The only problem was when we came back we couldn't get online at all. So I spent some time with Earthlink and they got us online for an evening but Dad said they screwed up his computer. Oops!

So Dad fixed his computer and then we were offline again. So after some more time with Earthlink they promised to upgrade our router. Yes the new router is working wonderfully. It is a 'G' router and the old one was a 'B'. B for Bad and G for Good?

Anyway I can now upload a picture of the Landscape quilt that I made from the picture of you and Brian standing in front of Whitefish Lake on Jan 1 2000.

I haven't been able to finish it. I was going to make a traditional quilted binding and then I noticed that it would just about fit in my oversized standing picture frame if I just cut a little off of it. But I don't want to cut anything off of it. Meanwhile it is on my design wall waiting for me to finish me designing.

So, do you like it?



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Signs of Mary

Hi Mary,
This really started out as a question. Am I supposed to be saving this plate of seeds I found on top of the refrigerator? And also what seeds are they? Some
kind of pepper?

But it reminded me of all the little signs of four months of Mary.

Unfortunately the cleaners had destroyed the pile of leaves in the upstairs bathroom, but I was able to find a few more places you had left your spoor.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Music for Peace


Ben King's lyrics:
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me,
oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
Darlin', darlin', stand by me-e, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Catch and Release

Dear Mary and the obviously too fatty kitty,
Alice has started a new mouse control program which she calls 'catch and release'. She has released a mouse at her release site four times in the last three days. Yes, I did mean to say four times because last night she released two mice, one at four a.m. and one at seven a.m.
This is a picture of Alice at her catch and release site. Yes it is my bed. She is such a loving cat. Always giving me treats. However two treats in one night are too many treats.
Alice can not understand what happens to all the treats she brings me. According to her they should stay on the bed and play with her. Usually they immediately leap off the bed. Treat number two did this by running between Jim and me, up the bed and off the top or pillow end. Needless to say Alice followed and head butted the wall between us. For some reason this woke both Jim and myself.
(It was 4 a.m. again. Alice seems to like that time. She must be wide awake then. Jim and I are not.)
Treat number two then disappeared. Alice seemed sure he (or she) was still in the release area. Jim and I searched through all the bedclothes. No treat. Alice was insistent but we were a little sleepy and decided that there was no treat left on the bed and straightened up the bed and went back to sleep. Alice kept patrolling the release area. After a while I began to believe in her. I got up once more and pulled off the blankets. (Jim objected) I decided to search the bottom of the bed where the sheet was tucked under the mattress. Alice really liked this idea. I went along the bottom patting and smoothing until I came to the corner. The sheet was not tucked in past the corner and as I patted up to it something small and grey lept for freedom. Alice was in hot pursuit. Under the bed, thumpty thumpety thump thump thump. Over to the bookcase and under the chair. More thumping. It is quite invigorating for those of us who are sleep deprived.
I do not have a picture of any treats. Somehow I am not alert enough to grab my camera. This picture is post treat. Treat number four has been removed and Alice persists in looking for it in its last seen area. Four treats in 16 days in Minneapolis.
What next? I am sure I don't know but I will keep you informed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Missing Mary

This is Mary, Me and E. They make me feel tall!

Mary went home on Thursday. Rather she started home. Today is Saturday so she and the Fatty Kitty should be home today.
I wish we could have had more time together. I shouldn't be selfish as I have had more time with her and Jeni this year than for many years past. I guess we can thank Mom for giving us this time together. Probably not in her plans to do it this way, but it worked.
The last thing she did before putting Fatty Kitty in the car was to put the bike up on the car. Jim helped her. She is a little short for it but she has a step stool. It was cold and rainy so I stayed safely warm inside and took pictures. We have to put up something to entertain Skeeter!
Note the hula hoops in the back window of the car. She didn't even leave us one of them. Mom asked especially. I am not sure if she was planning on Hula-hooping herself or was just wondering if they were still littering the house.
Oh, Yeah, Mom and I did our arm and hand exercises yesterday. We only did 10 reps as it was her first time back with the stretchy thingy. But she did them all and said only a couple of them made her feel sore.
You know how she is.
I take it as a good sign for her arm anyway.

First Featherweight Quilt Top

I finished my quilt top made with Black and White fabrics. I used Cream and Black fabrics too. I wasn't fussy. I put in assorted aqua fabrics for some color and to match the many yards of flannel backing that I have. I knew the name as soon as I saw it laid out on the table at the quilt retreat.
A North Dakota Quilter Dreams of the Caribbean. Yup.
The first top completely made with my Featheweight machine. It is 84 x 108 at the moment but it will be a little smaller once Lois at Faye's Henhouse gets done quilting it with large meandering all-over Feathers.
That will be sometime in January.
I am having a wool batt put in and, with the flannel backing, that will make this a wonderful warm winter quilt. Good for dreaming of sandy beaches and tropical waters.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Hi Mary,
I got up late this morning after staying up till one a.m. last night watching the t.v. I am enjoying reading the blogs and came across this post by Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake.

It is how I feel. Hopeful and Ready to help any way I can to make this nation all it can be.
This is from the Huffington Post. Photo's of people voting all over the US. And the most touching were the older african/americans who made sure they voted. Getting out of their hospital beds, struggling over dirt in their walkers and making sure they got their vote in.

This is the highest percentage of voters since 1908. One hundred years. Fantastic.

I thought I would feel really excited and happy but instead I feel a little apprehensive. There is such a lot to do and the economy is so bad that you wonder what can possibly help. But if he closes Gitmo like he promised to do as soon as he was in power he will have a wonderful start right there.

I guess all I can do right now is wait and watch.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Hi there Mary,
There have been a couple of quilting milestones lately.

First, my friends and I made a quilt for out favorite waiter and college student Clayton. Clayton is our waiter most Tuesday nights. He is very rude to us when he serves us food and calls us OLD and generally gets in trouble at Paula's Diner every Tuesday night. He will be graduating from Mayville State this coming spring and so we felt it only right that we concoct a quilt for him.

So we interrogated some of his friends and acquaintances and found out alot about him. We then gathered fabric that reflected the stories we had heard and made it all into a quilt. We had money fabric for tips, and coffee fabric for the coffee addict in our group. We had deer fabric and cell phone fabric and baseball fabric for his Dad and food fabric since he is our waiter. We had almost as much fun finding fabric as quilting it. Below Deb is explaining to Clayton why we have deer in the quilt.

We hung it up in the local quilt show a couple weeks ago and someone, it is a small town, told Clayton that we had 'named a quilt after him'. He claims he was in the bar at the time and he told the person 'You are drunk'.

Anyway we made the presentation on Tuesday the 28th of October and he was quite surprised. We all got hugs.

The second quilting related thing is I used my (new to me) Singer Featherweight for the first time at a quilt retreat put on by Faye's Henhouse this last weekend. It was wonderful and I am so proud to have that nice machine for my very own. I will take it to the Park River quilt retreat next weekend too. Hopefully I will finish the black and white quilt top then.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Peace Garden in Minneapolis

Hi Nancy,
Have you ever been to the Minneapolis Peace Garden?
When you walk around this sculpture at the entrance,

you can read a poem, and you can read it in at least two different ways.  
There are probably more.

               Poem 1         or            Poem 2

       minds widen                      widen ideas
             ideas open                        

       ideas open                         open spirits

             spirits connect                 connect hearts

       spirits connect                    connect hearts

             hearts free                       free minds 

       hearts free                         free minds

             minds widen                     widen  ideas 

Love, Mary

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ben and Amandas' Wedding

Jim and I took Amtrak out to Portland for Ben and Amanda's Wedding. We had a great time and saw a lot of scenery. I will put the scenery up on Webshots eventually but here are people pictures. Some we already knew and some we just met.

We had a lovely time visiting with the family and getting to know Cannon Beach, Oregon. What a wonderful little town and what a fabulous beach.
But first, we landed in Portland, Oregon and got to wander around for awhile. We were sent to a neat little diner for a late breakfast and met Jim 'no last name' there. He told us how to get to Powells bookstore and suggested the Chinese Garden as a great place to visit. We went to Powells that day and saved the garden until we were on our way back.We three sisters had rented a house (Whispering Sands) from Haystack Lodgings and it was really nice. I would go there again. It was just half a block from the beach. It had an electric fireplace that kept the upstairs warm. We had our own kitchen so we could cook, a table perfect for Hand and Foot and free popcorn. What more could we ask for? Well, an iron and ironing board, and they provided that too.

So we bummed around for a day and then we had the rehersal dinner with Amanda and Ben's family on Friday night. There we met RUSS and Molly (shown with Jim). Russ is NOT named Jeff, or Geoff. Molly is one of the Bridesmaids. It was also Christy's birthday so she got a cake and a vase of the gorgeous floral decorations from the tables.
Finally, on Saturday, the wedding. Which was why we were all there to start with. Christy was the cutest groomswoman.
Ben and Amanda danced the first dance. This is a really loud video, you might want to turn the volumn down.

Then we all got a little crazy and we all danced. No pictures of that thank goodness. Did I mention there was unlimited wine?

Sunday we all slept in and I played a game of Hand and Foot with Dresdon (age 9). He beat me the sneaky guy.

Then we had a short late luncheon at Amanda's parents home in Cannon Beach. We got to talk to Martha and Jim. Martha was one of the Bridesmaids too and her Dad lives about 6 blocks away from our parents. We didn't get a picture of Martha and Jim. For some reason I didn't take my camera.

Paul and Liz and Dresdon left from the luncheon and the rest of us went back to Whispering Sands and packed to get ready to leave the next day. Jeni was really worried about the oatmeal and I had to tell her I would take it home. I lied. I needed room for yarn. Oatmeal can be bought anyplace but Noro's Kureyon is not always available in North Dakota.

On Monday, after an early breakfast with Mary, Brian and Jeni, back Jim and I went to Portland to finally check out the Chinese Gardens, superb,
and get back on the Amtrak for Grand Forks.

This is the Portland Station, but for some reason, Jim likes the Whitefish Station the best.

I wonder why that could be?