Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm Baaaack!

Yes, I'm finally back from Des Moines and the PEO convention. It was a wonderful experience and I plan to do it again next year! There were 3 of us from Ottumwa and we were so excited about the convention that the drive home was over before we even knew it - we were so busy talking about what we could do to get our chapters motivated! We've got some good ideas so we're hoping to BE the program for our reciprocity meeting in October. You PEO friends, be sure to ask me what all happened in the business meeting - several changes are coming.

My little robins are all gone. I'm sad, but happy for them. I heard mama outside today scolding one of them, so I went around the corner and he/she flew!! He couldn't get clear up in the tree yet, but he flew! He's the only one I've found so far; I hope the cats in the neighborhood didn't get the others. I'll be looking better tomorrow (if it's not raining)!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just Pondering...

Some days are pondering days, and today is one of them. Don't get me wrong, I've been busy, but I was doing things that allowed me to ponder! Bob, Ann and I went to the cemeteries today to pick up the flowers - I wonder why there are boundary markers on the "Allison" plot where my grandma & grandpa are buried. I'm sure it's because Donnie will be buried down there too, but he was cremated, so it won't take a very big spot for him. While we were at the cemetery I noticed some baby robins - one of which had ventured from the nest. I think ours will probably leave about tomorrow - their nest is so full I just wonder how they keep from falling out! I took this picture yesterday - this is just one of them and there are 4 in that little nest. Today they're pretty active, so by tomorrow I figure they'll be out. I think I'm going to miss them.

I've been sewing this afternoon - putting the strips on the sweatshirt. Wish it was done for tomorrow, but like I said, this isn't a quick job! Tomorrow I leave at 6:00 AM to go to Des Moines for the P.E.O. convention. Yes, I said I LEAVE at 6:00 AM! I hope the meetings are interesting so I don't fall asleep! It should be fun. More later...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busy Thursday!

Today has just been a fun day! I've been in my sewing room most of the day, trying to make a jacket with a sweatshirt base. It's one of those where you take a bunch of fat quarters, cut them into varying sized strips, mix them up and sew them back together. Then you cut them apart again and sew them onto your sweatshirt base. Unfortunately, it's not one of those quick projects. It takes a little time to cut up 15 fat quarters, then sew them back together, then cut them again! But the fabrics I'm using are beautiful batiks, so it hasn't been monotonous work at least! I should have started earlier because it would have been nice to have this jacket ready to take with me to the P.E.O. convention this weekend...oh well, would-a, could-a, should-a! Hopefully I'll have it done next week when we go to Indiana for the weekend. That's my goal anyway.

I've also been on Photoshop today resizing about 400 pictures that I took at Kaylee's graduation party. For some reason (I'm sure I did it!) my camera takes pictures that are 45x34" so I have to resize all of the pictures or else it takes forever to upload them to where the family can see them all at once. I could probably read my manual to see how to reset that size feature! Meantime, I'll resize every picture I take. I wish there was a way to resize a group of pictures - that would be a whole lot easier!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fun Day at the Bird Feeder!

Yes, it was a great day at the bird feeder! Some people get excited about such little things! I love the daily visitors I have at my bird station - some days are more fun than others. Today I had a pair of cardinals - the first time I've been able to get a picture of them. There was also one of the most beautiful gold finches and several house finches, as well as Mr. Oriole! But, imagine my expression, if you will, when I discovered this visitor today! It's no wonder we're having to fill the sunflower seed feeder almost daily!! Dave's going to try to fix it to where he can't climb the pole.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Robin Watch

Our baby robins are 1 week old today so I had Dave get a picture of them. They've really changed! From everything I read, they will be out of the next by this time on about Friday or Saturday. The fledglings only stay in the nest about 12 days. I'll try to get another picture before they're gone. I think there are 4 beaks here - Dave things only 3, but I believe the triangular object on the right is another beak. I know that the adult birds are constantly flying in and out with bugs and worms for the little critters! I hope they make it to adulthood! It'll be hard for me to watch them get in trouble before they learn to fly. More later...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graduation Time

Sundays are for rest and relaxation - that's why I took a wonderful nap this afternoon! Sure hope I can sleep tonight!!

Yesterday we went to Waverly and back (3 hours each way) for my great-niece's graduation party. Today was her graduation. I hope it went well for her. She is such a nice girl! This picture is of her, her cousin (another of my great-nieces), and her grandpa (my brother!)
It was a fun party. She was surrounded by her favorite things. Her favorite colors are green and black, so everything was decorated around that theme. Her balloons were those colors, as were all the paper products and even her dress!
These are the graduation cards I made this year. I made four of them - two for Ottumwa High School that aren't shown here. Kaylee's is the black and gold one. I think they're really cool. More later...

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Glad Today Is Over

Today was my favorite aunt's funeral. It was a lovely funeral, as funerals go. A bunch of my cousins were there, along with their children and their children's other words it was a pretty good family reunion. Unfortunately there were tears too, because we will miss Aunt Sammy and her wonderful sense of humor and sparkling eyes! She was just so nice! Prior to the funeral, Bob and I actually got most of the graves decorated. Obviously we couldn't decorate Aunt Sammy and Uncle Bill's so I had to go back to the cemetery after the post-funeral get-together and decorate those graves. We really thought we were going to have "Murphy's Law Take 2" today. When we got to the cemetery they hadn't dug the grave yet, so sure enough, as we were decorating mom and dad's gravesite, here came the backhoe to dig! He assured us, however, that we wouldn't cause any problems for him. Anyway that job's done - the only thing we didn't get done is visit Aunt Helen (the 102-year-old). We'll go over on Tuesday and visit her.

Tomorrow I'll be in Waverly so probably won't get to blog. More later...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Murphy's Law

Yesterday was one of those days when Murphy's Law was in effect! Bob and I went to the Batavia cemetery to decorate graves. This cemetery is always mowed beautifully...not yesterday! Oh, it was mowed okay, but there was grass everywhere! We had to move mowed grass just to get our flowers put out! Anyway, we got it done so we headed to Libertyville to do the rest. We got there and it hadn't been mowed at all. Since it wasn't too bad, we decided we'd go ahead and decorate. We got the flowers put on mom and dad's tombstone and on Uncle Bert's and were starting to do the other Allisons came the mowers! So we debated about what to do and decided we didn't want grass in all of our flowers, so we picked up all of the flowers we'd already put out, packed them back in the car and went into Libertyville. Bob decided he'd stop and get a haircut so I walked to my aunt's house and visited with her until he was done. After that we came back to Ottumwa, with me thinking that we would put the flowers on the graves tonight prior to Aunt Sammy's visitation. Silly me! Bob called and left me a message that we would decorate the graves after Aunt Sammy's funeral on Friday since we'll be at the cemetery anyway! Whatever!

Dave called me a little while ago to tell me that he had asked for Saturday off so that he could go with me to Waverly for Kaylee's graduation party. Bob's grandchildren feel a little like my own grandchildren, so I was really happy that he decided to ask for the day off. As it turns out, it looks like rain for the next 4 days so they probably won't have to work anyway. All that stewing over nothing! More later...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm So Excited!!

Wasn't DWTS absolutely great last night? My sorority group went to dinner at the new Honey Creek Resort near Moravia, Iowa. We didn't dream we'd get back in time to see the final dance, but we did! She performed just beautifully and set the bar for the others!! I hate it that this season is over - they had some wonderful dancers!

Now back to reality. My brother and I are going to the cemetery to decorate the graves today because this weekend is going to be chaotic to say the least. My great niece, Kaylee, graduates from Waverly-Shell Rock HS this Sunday and her graduation party is Saturday. It's about a 3-hour drive from where we live. Then, one of my aunts passed away last night, so I'm sure that funeral will be later this week - probably Friday. She was a wonderful aunt - everyone's favorite! She always had a smile and a hug and always said, I love you, when we visited her! She was 93 or 94 - I can't remember for sure which.

Oops, here's my brother now - more later...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Forgot!

I forgot to tell you the biggest news of the day yesterday! We have babies! The baby robins are here - exactly 12 days after all 4 eggs appeared. As of yesterday afternoon about 5:30 we only had 3 - the 4th egg hadn't hatched. I'm anxious to get a picture today to see if all 4 of them are hatched, or if she had one dud! Dave took this picture - he said he tapped on the nest so that one of them opened his/her mouth! Aren't they ugly!?! Dave is so funny! Poor mama and papa robin are in for a busy day today - I'm about ready to go out to mow, which means that they will fly off the nest everytime I bring the mower around to the front of the house. I just hope they don't peck me now that there are babies in the nest.

Tonight is my last Beta Sigma Phi meeting of the year. To celebrate, we're all going to Lake Rathbun to the new destination park for dinner. We're leaving at 4:30, so I'd better get a move on and get that lawn mowed. It takes me about an hour and a half! Actually, I'd better head to the pharmacy to get myself some more allergy pills, because I'm down to my last one and when I mow, I need them!

I finished a good book last night. Bryan and Deanna got me The Girls From Ames for Mother's Day. It's the story of 11 girls from Ames, Iowa, who have maintained a friendship for 40+ years. It was such a good read! It reminded me a lot of the group of 13 of us who have remained friends since junior high - that's a little more than 40 years! Too bad we didn't come up with the idea first. Our book could have been named The Gang of '66! Anyway, it's worth a read if you're a woman with women friends. I've got to get going, so more later...

Monday, May 18, 2009

DWTS was awesome tonight!

Dancing With The Stars was absolutely awesome tonight. I thought Shawn and Mark outdid themselves in the freestyle and I don't think she should have been penalized for being young in the Paso Doble! She was absolutely perfect, just didn't quite show the emotion of the others. Tomorrow night should be exciting!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Toy Drive" Sunday

Yesterday just flew by - I don't have any idea why either! I thought everything was going well, and the next thing I knew the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race was over and it was way past my bedtime! Needless to say, I didn't get to blog yesterday.
This morning was Worship through Music Sunday at church. The Chancel Choir sang 4 songs and the bell choirs had 3 or 4 songs, plus the youth choir had a couple of songs. It was a beautiful service, but it went a little longer than I expected. We were to meet up with a group of classic car owners and go on a toy drive. Actually, the toy-drive part of the day was that in order to go on this cruise, we were to furnish a new toy to be donated to either the S. Iowa or N. Missouri Red Cross to give to children when they are in crisis. Cool idea, right?! Well, I think that "toy drive" also means that we get to drive OUR toys! But I digress from my original thought - sorry! Anyway, we were to meet them at 11:00 and leave for Osky (to arrive there at 11:30). Since church was running late, I sneaked out of the choir loft with about 25 minutes left in the service! Hopefully not too many people missed me! Since I had my own car at church, I raced home to get my camera and Dave took the '56 and went to the starting point. I then parked my car in the Great Prairie AEA parking lot and got into the '56. As luck would have it, we didn't leave Ottumwa until about 11:30 - I could have stayed for the rest of the service! Regardless, we eventually took off - I think we had 16 cars from Ottumwa. We were led on back roads to Oskaloosa where we gained another car, and then on to Pella where we acquired 2 more vehicles for a total of 19 cars cruising to Pleasant Hill to eat a mid-afternoon lunch at the 5 & Diner. Unfortunately for all of us, it started sprinkling on us about midway from Pella to Pleasant Hill. By the time we arrived at the 5 & Diner it was coming down a little harder than a sprinkle! You must understand that a lot of these cars have never seen rain - they are only driven on dry, sunshiny days! But that didn't deter us - we just keep on going! We had a wonderful lunch at the 5 & Diner and then we were free to come home on our own. Well, normally we would opt to take all back roads home, but today since it was still rainy, we decided to just come home on the 4-lane. So we did - and we decided to take the Dahlonega Road exit at Ottumwa because that was closer to home. We got home just a little bit ago and we opened the garage door to go into the house and I looked at Dave and said, "Honey, we forgot my car - it's still out north!" If we had taken the original Ottumwa exit we'd have driven right by my car, but no - we went clear home and then had to go back out to get my Buick!! We decided that we were all candidates for early-onset Alzheimers! Oh well - it could have been worse!
Here's a picture of just some of the cars on the cruise - the picture was taken in-between rains so I didn't get all 19 of the cars.

On another note, I have this "rule" that the furnace doesn't get turned on after May 1st in the spring or before November 1st in the fall. When we walked into the house after having been gone all day, the thermostat was reading 64 degrees! Needless to say, the furnace is now running and here it is May 17th! Later...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wouldn't You Know It!

Today is my monthly P.E.O. meeting and it's our spring luncheon, plus we have a guest speaker, plus we have an initiation! Sounds like it may last longer than an hour!! I think I'm ready for it though. Last month was our first initiation, so this month I should be an old pro at doing the right thing - ha!! Sometimes I feel pretty inadequate as their leader, but since this is only my second meeting as President, I know I'll get more comfortable as time goes on.
You might be wondering about the title of this post: Here I am gone for about 2-3 hours today and Dave took the day off! I would have loved to have spent the day with him, but as it is, I'll spend this evening with him. He took the day off because it was raining this morning and there's nothing they can do at the plant today. Oh well, tomorrow is supposed to be a pretty day and there's a car cruise scheduled for Sunday, so I guess we'll have plenty of "we" time this weekend! More later...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What a day!

I got so much done today! I have been trying to organize closets, so with a little help from Dave last night, we got all the batting moved to one location. Today, I moved all my quilting books AND alphabetized them by author! That wasn't an easy chore! So as of this moment, I have about 3/4 of my closet for clothes - what a novel thought! I've still got a few things that I need to go through, but they're on shelves in my closet and not really in the way. I was able to move the shelving unit out and to put my shoe caddy in! I also typed up and sent the Evangelism minutes to our committee members and typed up a cheat sheet for our P.E.O. meeting tomorrow morning.

This afternoon I went outside to mow. I was afraid that it was going to be too wet, but it only proved to be wet in a couple of places. Then I came inside and made a chicken casserole and put it in the oven. Dave just called and he's heading home, so I timed that just right! More later...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rainy Days and Wednesdays!

Whew, I breathed a big sigh of relief last night when Ty Murray got eliminated from Dancing With The Stars. He has so many fans that I was afraid he'd be retained while one of the top three (IMHO) got eliminated. I'm glad that didn't happen. I think this year's final will be spectacular - all three of the "stars" left are doing a wonderful job! I'm pretty sure that Shawn will end up 3rd, Melissa 2nd and Gilles first. That's not the way my heart wants it to go, but my brain says that Shawn just isn't old enough to have the experiences to draw on for her to "portray" the dance character she's trying to portray. Does that make sense? It does to me, and since this is my blog, that's the way it'll be!! (lol)

Yesterday was a very good day - I got lots done around the house. I'm trying to organize closets in our spare bedrooms so that I can move stuff from my closet and just use my closet for my clothes - what a novel idea! In so doing, I'm also getting bags ready for the Salvation Army. Half of my closet is taken up with quilting books, magazines, patterns, etc. I'm just not willing to part with any of these at this time! Anyway, I'm determined to get things organized around here! I guess it's that nesting instinct that comes in the spring! I have a luncheon today with about 5 ladies. We're going to the new Indian Hills diner to eat. I toured the new culinary arts facilities at IHCC, but I haven't been out to the new dining room, so I'm looking forward to lunch. After lunch, I'll get busy again on the closets. In the meantime, I've got a birthday card to make for one of my best friends and I've got to reconcile my checking account. How about that for a morning of contrasts - some fun, some not so fun!!! Have a great "wet" Wednesday! Hopefully it'll quit raining so I can put some new grape jelly out for the orioles - rain tends to dilute and wash away any jelly in their dish!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Today's a Bird Day!

I have to tell you, I am so excited about this guy (and his mate too!) I have always been fascinated with Orioles and I've tried for years to get orioles to come to our house to eat. Until this year, I've never been successful. Isn't he pretty? I wish I could get a picture of his mate, but she's much more elusive than he is. She doesn't feed very long - I'm assuming she's on a nest somewhere, but I haven't yet figured out where. It seems this guy LOVES grape jelly! We put some out when I first spotted him and he comes back several times a day for more jelly. He's even told a friend or two also, because I've got pictures of a totally different male oriole eating the jelly too! What fun!

This is what's in the nest at my back door (on my wreath!) Mama robin stays put most of the day and today I've noticed papa robin bringing food to her. There aren't any babies yet - probably by early next week we'll hear little chirps! We've noticed that she's starting to scold us if we're out in "her" yard!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Busy, Busy Saturday!

Whew! We made it through that busy weekend in flying colors! The Lethal Luau was a success - the food was wonderful, everyone dressed so appropriately - we had a hula dancer, a bathing beauty, a golf pro, a surfboarder, an Hawaiian Chief, a tourist, a wealthy yacht-owner, and a beach bum! This is a picture of the Cofers and us doing our hosting thing! Muu-muu's are NOT flattering!
We had a good Sunday! We had a baptism at church Sunday for little baby Isabella. The song we sang was called "You Are Loved", which was a very emotional song. I, however, started crying when Isabella first came up front because her daddy's lip was quivering! Well, this unleashed a fountain in my eyes and nose! It's very hard to sing when you're crying. I hope I didn't look too bad up there! After church, I still couldn't stop crying! Dave and I went to lunch, got a call from Jami wishing me Happy Mother's Day (Bryan and Deanna were here on Saturday), then decided to take a nap. I slept for about 4.5 hours! Got up, did a couple of things around the house, and then sat down to watch Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. And, can you believe it, I then went to bed and right to sleep! I must have been sleep-deprived because I slept until 7:15 this morning!! No excuses today about being tired! I have a bunch of errands to run today and then hopefully I'll get to read some of the new book that Bryan and Deanna got me, "The Girls from Ames," a story of women and a 40-year friendship. Too bad the girls of '66 didn't get together and write this book! More later...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ponderings of the day

My husband kind of upset me today. I had planned my day in advance, which I do almost nightly. My day was going to be to go to see Aunt Helen and then come home and mow if it wasn't too wet. So this morning, DH said to me, "If you're so inclined, you could mow the yard." Well, I don't like that! To me that was an insult - I'm sure he didn't mean it that way, but that's what I think when he starts saying things like "If you're so inclined..." Well, I went to Fairfield to see Aunt Helen and then I came home and mowed, but tonight when he gets home, I guess I'd better tell him that I don't like that phrase. He can just say something like, "I put gas in the lawnmower in case you get a chance to mow." Doesn't that sound nicer? It's terrible when that's the only fault he has - just his choice of phrases!!

I thought I'd share some of my abstract nature art today. This is bark from a tree that I thought looked a lot like a lava field might. My instructor really liked it.
This one is a leaf from a rhododendron which I love the texture of. I cropped this one after I had completed the class.

Here is a picture of a daffodil center very close and personal. I like it a lot. I think the colors in it are pretty cool.I cropped and manipulated this one in photoshop CS2 after my class was over. I used auto color and this is what it came out like. This is a picture of the bright purple rhododendron that is in the corners of the leaf picture. Look how transparent that flower is. It almost looks like it has silica on it. That's all for today. Dave and I are taking the 56 Chevy out to a cruise tonight. Anyway he plans to be home in time for it - it starts at 6:00. Tomorrow, Bryan and Deanna are coming here and tomorrow night is the Hawaiian luau murder mystery so I may not get to blog tomorrow. See ya!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


When I looked outside this morning, I was sure excited! There was a pair of goldfinches at the birdfeeder! I stood and watched them for a couple of seconds and, all of a sudden, there was an oriole there too! Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera, the oriole had flown away. So, my first errand of the day was to go to Walmart and buy an oriole feeder. One of the guys Dave works with said if we want to attract orioles we should get a jar lid and fill it with grape jelly and mount it on a post. I now have the grape jelly! All I need is a post to mount it on.
When I went outside to hang the oriole feeder, I scared away a purple finch too. This bird-feeding station is starting to be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Already?

It can't possibly be Wednesday already, can it? I've been so busy this week - in fact, the month of May is a very busy one! We need to go to Indiana to see Dave's family, but I keep telling Dave that we have to get thru May first! Yesterday was another shopping trip with Sudi - this one not quite so productive. Today was a massage and tonight is choir practice. This weekend we have a car cruise at the Country Club and a murder mystery Hawaiian luau! How about that for diverse activities?
See the lovely robin's nest that Mr. & Mrs. Robin built on my wreath? I have this wreath just outside the main door of our home. They didn't take that into consideration, I don't think. Well, anyway, I just couldn't tear it down because they worked so hard on it! Saturday there were no eggs in it. yesterday there were 3, and just now when I looked, there are 4! I read that they usually lay 4 eggs and that incubation is around 12 days, and doesn't start until all the eggs are in the 12 days from now (about May 18th) we can expect little baby robins! I'll try to get a picture of the eggs - the ones I have are blurry! They are the most beautiful blue!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Productive Day

I got so much accomplished today that even I can't believe it! I got my desk cleared off, as well as the floor around my desk. I got laundry done. I painted the two register covers so now they're ready to go back up. I searched the internet for my brother's stolen golf clubs (to no avail). I finished my final exam for my photography course and even made a cake for a funeral tomorrow at church! Now I'm ready to go to my recliner and watch Dancing With The Stars. Hopefully no one calls or comes over, because I'm not answering either the phone or the doorbell!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Road Trip Sunday

What a glorious day! We went to church today and our choir got an ovation after our anthem! That never happens. We sang "Morning Has Broken" composed by Shawn Kirchner - a totally different rendition than I'd ever heard. It was beautiful and very moving! After church we went with our friends, Craig & Sue, on a little road trip. We like to take the old cars and just drive to wherever the road may lead us. Today we drove thru Richland, Ollie, Harper, and even Rubio! Sue had packed a picnic lunch, so we stopped in Richland at the park to eat. This is a picture of our two cars parked by the picnic area. We always have so much fun just riding around enjoying the countryside!
After our road trip we had a Vintage Cruisers' car club meeting in the Ottumwa park. It must have been a great day to be out as we had 24 people at our meeting. Following the meeting the members cleaned up along a 2-mile stretch of highway that we've adopted. After they were done, Craig and Dave returned to our house where we'd ordered pizza. They just left about a half-hour ago! What a fun day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beautiful day for planting!

What a gorgeous day! Yesterday was one of those gray days, but it was fun nevertheless! Scott came and finished painting the bedroom - yeah!! We love it. All we have left to do is paint the 2 register vents and then it is complete - that'll be a tomorrow project. Yesterday, Sue and I went to their other farm and took pictures. That was also fun. The first thing we saw when we pulled in was this squirrel. He just sat there while I took his picture.

I guess he was busy eating that nut and wasn't about to quit just because I was taking his picture! We took some pictures of the flowers while we were there. This is one of the red bushes at the farm...beautiful blooms.

This one is of some grape hyacinths - aren't they cute? All the time we were there it was sprinkling...but we continued to take pictures! Our moms didn't ever tell us to come in out of the rain I guess! It was fun - thanks, Sue!

This morning Dave and I got up early to go to a plant sale at HyVee Drugstore. We got 9 perennials, plus 2 peonies, and a flat of annuals, as well as 40 bags of mulch. Then we went to breakfast! Today was also a stamping day at Juliene's! Kathy demo'd several cards using one of the new stamp sets and it's embossing folder. Beautiful cards! When I got home Dave had already planted the peonies and spread the mulch in all of the perennial beds. After Dave took a short nap, together we planted the other 9 perennials and put together 8 pots of annuals. Then he mowed and the hacienda looks beautiful! He's such a good man!