The road ends, but the journey continues...

Category: Goofy goats, horses & other critters (Page 1 of 5)

October’s Almost Over

But before it slips away, I have two things to say...

coffeebean birthstone

#1 – October is my birth month, I hereby claim a dual birthstone – the traditional, beloved opal alongside the lowly, but highly charged coffee bean!

#2 – Boo! From me to you…

…and with a little help from my neighbors.

Family travels MMXX

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!

We’re back from our jaunt up to Michigan to visit our middle daughter and son-in-law. In fact, we’ve been there and back since Tuesday*.

But wait – I bet you didn’t even know we were away from our COVID cage nest. Surprise!

After some deliberation, we decided it was a reasonable risk worth pursuing – traveling during a narrow window of reduced regional COVID-19 surges and seasonal transitions**.

We packed up the 2003 Jeep Liberty and drove the 14-16 hrs straight through as we always do because we just like to drive. And because we’re all needy about seeing and being with Family.

Armed with my easy-to-reach ‘COVID’ box filled with sanitizer, wipes, paper towels, half can of precious Lysol Spray, all of our cloth masks plus a 5 pack of disposable gloves and the usual travel food box, duffles, pillows, and blanket, we were set to go. In addition, I carefully packed my Bernina, assorted notions, fabric scraps & batting bits and neatly nested all of that in with everything else.

Hubby secretly recorded us getting ready for our photo pose – notice Jude, the quilt eating kitty, sharing the couch with us

Say what? A sewing machine?

Often when we visit, I pack up Maddy to get a hands-on lesson at Elderly Instruments in Lansing with Neil Woodward but that wasn’t an option this time around due to COVID-19. Instead, I was on a sort of rescue mission – to repair as best as possible the three quilts kitty Jude chewed huge holes into since our last visit.

I’m happy to report that two of those quilts are 100% repaired. The third is ready for handstitching. Michelle is eager to begin repairs once I send her the appropriate fabric in sizes larger than I brought with me.

But of course, this trip was more than the sum of its seams…(groan).

Michelle Lilly Solorio, PhD 2020

We had a delayed in-house (pun intended) Family ‘hooding’ ceremony*** celebration, with Michelle gliding down the stairs of their 100 yr old home (there’s the punny connection) in full PhD regalia to the recorded traditional tune of ‘Pomp & Circumstance’.

We shared time around the Family table, spitting opinions (okay, too graphic for sure) between bites of fantastic food.

Took long walks, a Sunday Drive and spent plenty of time just ‘being’…

…Together…


*We drove off Thursday September 24th and returned on Tuesday September 29th

**Timing is indeed everything as both factors have since dramatically shifted.

***Official University ceremony postponed, now cancelled due to COVID-19.

Friendly Faces, Random Ramblings

Friendly faced buttons

Friendly Faces


How’s this for a cutie patootie picture – friendly faces – to greet you during the reading of my latest post?
Don’t know if anyone else noticed, but the little girl in the video featured in the previous post wore some fun glasses…and don’t ya know, but they reminded me of my ‘new’ glasses.
Say what? Do tell, Laura. (Oh, my goodness, those friendly faces also speak…)
Last October, I went to the eye doctor for a new prescription as it’d been almost 4 years since I’d had my eyes examined. While the frames were still functional, I decided to splurge on a new pair and use the almost 15-year-old ones as spares.
You’re nothing if not frugal, lady.
New Glasses

My new purple-y glasses, October 2019


Too true. But to continue…
Almost immediately my gaze fell upon a purple-y pair that weren’t in-your-face purple, but just the right combo of color, design and shape to give a ‘natural face lift’ to this just turned 65-year-old visage.
Shhhh! Now you gone and done it, everyone knows your age.
i-am-what-i-am-and-thats-all-that-i-am Popeye Quote

…and as Popeye says…


“Piffle!” (as Ma used to say)
And: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” (as Popeye says)
Okay, we get it, you feel comfortable in your own skin (no matter its state of sag or wrinkle)…can we just move on?
Sure, but for being ‘friendly faces’ you guys do exude a certain air of edginess. Just sayin’…
Scroll up to early November and that’s when I became obsessed with obtaining my “MERRY COFFEE” special edition free cup from Starbucks (even though I can’t stand their coffee!).
Morning Pages 11/7/2019

Morning Pages 11/7/2019

(Morning Pages transcription)
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
~5:45 AM eastern time
11/07/19

I set myself a goal for this morning and achieved it! Starbucks’ limited offer on a special free Red Cup marking the start of their holiday seasonal menu – The cups go fast & soooo – I decided to get there at store opening – Maybe even be 1st in line!

Well.

There was no line…but I got in at opening & was 1st customer of the day @ 5:03:01 AM! HA!
Walked out with a hot choco, cuppa java & lemon pound cake (for TWL) and My Red Cup!

Purple-y glasses, red cups, lemon yellow pound cake…is there a point to all of this?

You betchya, baby faces!

Merry Coffee cup on Christmas Day 2019

Me, my new glasses and my Merry Coffee Cup on the porch, Christmas Day 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

– A mini spur of the moment gratitude list –

T – Terry, the love of my life.
H – Home. Wherever we alight if we’re together, it’s home.
A – All Creatures Great and Small, the Lord God Loves Them All.
N – (Finding) Neverland – childhood is precious.
K – Kindness. A little goes a long way but why be chintzy?
S – Snow. On Thanksgiving. The best.
G – Grumpy family. It’s okay to get grumpy sometimes, that’s when the Family gets to show you (me) love when you’re (I’m) the grump.
I – Interest/engagement in the world outside (y)our personal realm makes for a fuller life.
V – Vistas. The views from the peak of our Family’s mountain are the ultimate 360-degree surround sound/visual. Thank you Ma & Dad for preserving its wildness.
I – Inspiration. Found in such vistas and meant to be shared via our (he)art.
N – (Mister Rogers’) Neighborhood – childhood is precious.
G – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

— How about you? Please feel free to add to this mini gratitude list below —

Ramblings in the manner of a NaNoWriMo word war

Been back from CO since Saturday the 4th
My folks’ house got listed Thursday the 2nd, then officially on the market on Friday the 3rd  with a Saturday the 4th Open House which yielded lots of foot traffic and 2 possible offers leading to an all cash offer on its 8th day on the market!
On the phone with my cousin a few days before returning to SC, I mentioned I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed…and then when we finally rolled into town a little after midnight, we discovered mice had been at play while we were away – leaving calling cards in that very bed…AIEEEEE!
All this after admitting to my baby cousin that ‘Home is where your bed is!’ (a major positive affirmation to where we are currently sojourning)…talk about a humbling re-entry into life back in the swamplands.

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch

MamaCass & Naomi on our front porch


Previously, leaving our little rental house in SC for any length of time, MamaCass stood guard on the porch; grabbing the critters, both rodent and insect, for snacks before they could saunter inside. Now that our beloved porch cat has a permanent home on the other side of town with a proper cat lady, we came home to an empty porch ‘non-greeting’.
And, with our little rental’s insides newly discovered by resident rodents.
Since our return, we’ve been busy de-mousing the premises and trying hard to not skimp on those necessary procedures even if we’re tired, sleepy and needing to clean and dry clothes/bedding/rags with a non-functioning dryer no less. Read: wash at the house then take it all to the laundromat to dry (new dryer installed Wednesday the 8th).
Really things are okay, just that this place that never ever felt like home is even less so without MamaCass on so many levels.
And on so many levels her life reflects our own since moving here:

  • Up and out after our 3 years between homes; her life of producing litters of kitties after kitties – rescued and put on a more healthy life path.
  • Trusting that where we are is where the Lord wants us regardless of it not being the best fit for our true needs/desires/way of life; her trusting us to give her a place of refuge on our porch, even though she wanted to come inside – a time of healing and reconnection, regrouping for what is next.
  • Giving support and caring for each other as a ‘purpose’ during the interim – our commitment to moving on only when our newest responsibility had a real home (our landlord forbids pets, so we could never formally adopt MamaCass, even though we captured her and got her snipped after her second litter appeared on our porch). She is a true South Carolina MamaCat and would not have done well moving with us across country when the opportunities for us opened up.

The fact that she’s finally got a forever home and moved on in her life gives me hope we are close to moving on with our own lives, too.
God’s speed, MamaCass – wish us luck!

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” Proverbs 12:10 NIV

The Manchester Bee

My Manc Bee Badge on my Proud2Bee block

My Manc Bee Badge on my Proud2Bee block


By now, my Manc Bee Badge is becoming a familiar sight to readers of this blog. I’ve alluded to the history and significance of the symbol, but never really wrote about it other than to link readers to its historical background.
In short, the worker bee is an emblem for Manchester, England symbolizing the city’s hard-working past. It was a hive of activity during the Industrial Revolution and workers were soon dubbed “busy bees”.
After the Manchester Arena bombing last year, it took on further significance as a public symbol of unity against terrorism.
northern manchester bee art russell meeham

Manchester Bee Mural, Koffee Pot Cafe – Russell Meeham, artist


 
 
The insects are an integral part of the city’s psyche: in representing its citizens’ character; in innumerable themed artworks scribbled and commissioned throughout its buildings and streets; and in a literal sense as a city devoted to urban beekeeping.
These bees are the gritty epitome of a warm, creative, yet down-to-earth community of over 2.5 million. Their history is not my history, but I strongly relate to this place. I’m not sure exactly why, but that fateful day’s event last year drew me in to this city and its people. And I can’t escape the connection I feel.
noma manc bee closeup

Manchester Bee, NOMA – A.Murray, photo (click on photo for related blog post)

“And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns…
And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create…
from: ‘This is the Place’ poem by Tony Walsh


words to the poem, “This is the Place” by Tony Walsh, as read in the video above

Kitty’s Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalms 34:8

Yes, you read that right, this second VBSC post brings Kitty to the table. Her human of choice is writer and yarn (he)artist, L. Marie, a native Chicagoan. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to write, submit manuscripts and encourage others pursuing the writer’s path.
Actually, she encourages others, period. Skilled in crochet and knitting, she often yarns-up gifts for those she feels need a little unexpected lift or surprise.
Case in point, a few days ago, I discovered the owl featured in the photos below roosting in our snail mail box. I’m sure Kitty is relieved that she has one less ‘friend’ she’s obliged to share brownies with, but I’m touched at the thoughtfulness of my blogger buddy.
However, ‘owlie’ does not yet have a name…heck, (s)he doesn’t even have a gender designation. Soooo…if any ideas come to mind, please mention suggestions in the comments below along with any other thoughts this post may inspire.  
UPDATE: L. Marie and I have decided that “Owlie” fits him just fine.

Don’t forget to take a peek at L.Marie’s blog and maybe try out the brownie recipe at the end of this, her guest post.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. Many thanks to Laura for inviting me to participate in her Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle. And thank you to Heather who wrote the original post that inspired Laura.

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .


Actually, Kitty, who is sitting here staring at me, feels she was the inspiration behind the sharing circle, because she’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Less crime, more altruism—that sort of thing. In fact, she thinks it should be renamed the Kitty and Friends Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle, since she coerced invited two friends to join her in a photo op.
Though she doesn’t consider me a friend (more like a slave, really) she expected me to do all of the brownie baking while she did all of the tasting.
When it comes to brownies, I’m not much of a baker. A year ago, I made a box recipe that was supposed to be kindergarten easy. But the brownies turned out dry and about half the height they were supposed to achieve after baking.
Picture 3

Ginger and her son, Johnny


 
My good friend Ginger makes great brownies. I’ve known Ginger for many years. Not only is a she a great wife, and mother to three offspring (two of whom are in college), she is also an administrative assistant at Covenant Classical School in Naperville, Illinois.
As if her life weren’t busy enough, Ginger also deals with Celiac disease. I’ll let her tell you about that.
 
 
 
Continue reading

Fun February Blues Busters

February – the shortest yet longest month of the year.

Put your headphones on, crank the volume up high, & be transported to a place beyond February!

First up: father, Jay Molina (guitar) and son, Andrew Molina (uke) playing a Beatles Medley

Next up: my teenage ‘chocolate chip cookie’ song

Let me explain. Ma made the best huge choco-chip cookies, heavy laden with chips and nuts and then would freeze her doubled batch in our downstairs freezer…which was across the rec room from my bedroom. Always on a diet, I denied myself such goodies when offered but around 12 midnight, after everyone was in bed, I’d sneak into Fraulien’s room (our German Shepherd who shared the laundry room with the freezer) and dig out a few. Listening to Denver’s then underground (at the time, it was quite subversive) KLZ-FM radio station, I placed those hard-as-rock gems on top of the speaker, patiently awaiting the time to enjoy their lusciousness. As they thawed to eating consistency, I ceremoniously placed chunks of cookie into my waiting mouth. Inevitably, this song played several times during the night, accompanying my sweet secret indulgence.

Last up: I looked out this morning and the sun was gone/Turned on some music to start my day/I lost myself in a familiar song/I closed my eyes and I slipped away/It’s more than a feeling…

Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle #1

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

Dizzy loves her brownies!

Dizzy loves her brownies!


One morning after baking a batch of my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’* I sat down in front of the computer with my cuppa joe in one hand and a bit of warm brownie in the other. Settling into my blog-reading I noticed over at dinosaursdonkeysandms that one of Dizzy’s suggestions for helping someone with anxiety was baking them brownies. (Dizzy’s favorite gluten-free recipe is here).
How serendipitous. Not that I was experiencing any sort of anxiety at that moment, but I got to thinking why not spread some brownie-induced happiness with Dizzy and her blogger friends? So in the comments, I offered a virtual brownie to any and all who needed one that day.
Dizzy always makes me smile, even when she’s cranky, which isn’t very often (and she and Heather have lots they could choose to be cranky about dealing with MS).
I credit her for inspiring me to begin my very own Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle (VBSC) series. Maybe knowing that will make Dizzy smile… Continue reading

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