Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Getting Out of the Weeds

I looked at this poor little blog the other day and noticed how neglected it appears.  It's not much different than this year's vegetable garden.  Started with good intentions and then pushed aside. 

Not gone.  Not forgotten.  Just not a priority at the moment.  I'm not sure what is. 

From a distance, it doesn't look like much but weeds and grass.

Close up, however, there are a few things growing.  We managed to gather a few peppers and tomatoes recently, and wax beans early on.  We often say that it is a good thing that we don't live or die by how the garden does. 

That is how I've felt lately.  My mind, and thoughts, are in the weeds.  But posts are growing, bit by bit, on scraps of paper and Word documents here and there.  It's just a matter of knocking down what shouldn't be growing, like all that grass in the garden, and focus on what is good.

I recently saw a link for the Write 31 Days challenge.  Have you ever done that?  I'm not sure what category I'll fit into, but I think I am going to give it a try.

It certainly beats looking at all the weeds.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

First Photo: September 2016

At the beginning of summer, on a warm, no, hot day, I would often remark "I refuse to complain about the heat.  In just a few months we will be complaing that it is too cold."

I give in.  I'm waving the white flag.

I've had enough of the heat. of the humidity, of the scorching sun.

Bring on autumn's cooler temperature and softer light.  Give me oranges and yellow and reds decorating the trees.

I'm ready for the soft end of the year.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (August 2016) - Black & White

This month's theme, Black & White, intrigued me.  I initially thought about taking pictures of black and white items only, but that was easier said than done.  There was still too much color in the photos.  So, with Himself to the rescue, I used photos we took and then made b&w. 

I only did a couple of the photos below and found the process more complicated than I thought it would be.  Not that the acutal physical process was difficult, but deciding contrast and gradients, and shadows and highlights were far from black and white decisions!

I took this picture on our second trip in which we played tourist in our own hometown.  At first the original looked almost b&w, that is until you compare it to one that has been converted.  The gull posed for me for quite a while and was probably sorely disappointed when I didn't reward it with a treat.

It seems one of our all time favoriate places to photograph is the local county park.  It was once owned by a farmer who still owns the barn in the background.  The county harvests the grass for feed of animals at its other parks.  Himself took this on a beautiful, sunny day.  Changing this photo to b&w certainly changes its mood.  
One of my favorite places when I travel to the west coast for work is Portland's International Test Rose Gardens.  Oh the colors and the scents!  
Lunchtime?  Dinnertime?  He doesn't seem to care.  We seem to share that bench with a lot of critters.
Multanomah Falls, about a thirty minute drive east of Portland, is absolutely stunning.  In b&w this photo seems timeless to me.
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Material Girl

At the beginning of the month, I was in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area for work.  Since I was traveling by myself, my evenings were my own.  Yeah!  It's not that I don't like my coworkers, but going out to eat and sitting in a bar every night is just not my cup of tea.
I had received the monthly newsletter from my local quilt shop.  They are participating in the Row by Row Experience.  Quilt shops in the US, Canada, and Europe create patterns for a quilt rows and make them available for free in their shops.  The idea is that when you travel you should find the local shops and stop in for their patterns.  Once you've collected a few, you stitch them and put together in a quilt reminding you of your travels.
I had time to kill my last night before I hopped on the red-eye home, so I checked out one of the local stores.
Oh my!  I was in heaven! 
Fiddlesticks in Vancouver, Washington is my idea of the perfect quilt shop.  The owner, Cheran Bee, made an old workout facility into a cozy, artistic, delightful place for me to spends wads and wads of money.  She uses old, antique furniture to display both bolts of fabric for sale and quilts, showcasing what can be done with it all.
That wall of fabrics in the first photo below is all batiks, my favorite, and that wasn't all of it.  Did I mention I was in heaven?  'Cause I was. 
If you saw my basement, you know I don't need fabric.  But really, I just had to have those three purple and teal batiks.  Besides,  that's all the I could fit in my suitcase.  I'll save the rest for another trip!
'Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Sunday, August 14, 2016

TToT(17): Quick Takes Version

I know it is often said, but where is this month going?  We're almost halfway through it.  Considering I have spent two thirds of the month away from home, I guess I understand why it seems to be flying by.
one:  I'm home.  We attended the Chesterton Conference, spent a night at Sis's house and then I flew out to the west coast for work for the better part of a week.  It's good to be here.

two:  Thank you to all who kept our friend, K, in prayer.  The surgery went well and K is recovering.  God is good. 

three:  Sis and her family watched the Hairy Beast while we were at the conference.  It was good to know he was being well taken care of.

four:  The conference was awesome!  More about that in another post. 

five:  The conference was close, only a two hour drive.  After the drive two years ago, it was a welcome ride.
six:  My work trip went well.  All flights were on time, and even a bit early.  Other than the dweeb that made me toss out my face soap because it was more than three ounces, getting through security was a breeze.
seven:  A couple of weeks before all of this traveling, I found out that I won a local garden center's photo contest.  I now have a $40 gift card to spend on whatever I want at their place.  Decisions, decisions! 
eight:  Speaking of gardens (we were, weren't we?), the vegetable garden isn't doing well this year.  It's mostly due to a lack of attention, which is due to a lack of time, energy and interest.  Although that sounds bad, it means I won't be canning and freezing this year.  And that's good.
nine:  We're doing some re-landscaping in front of the house.  There were two Yews that had to be removed.  We dug out the first stump together.  One night I was bored, so I worked on the second one.  Two hours later, I had it out myself.  There was something oddly satisfying about that chore.
ten:  I either inherited or was given a lot of fabric.  I've been able to make use of some of it lately by sewing quilts.  I'm on my fourth one for the year.  Fun!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Can you spare a prayer?

This morning we received an email from a good friend of ours.

Prayers please...
 ...for K. He is having urgent lumbar surgery at P**** Hospital sometime today, as he lost his ability to walk yesterday.

We just had dinner with K & S on Saturday.  While K was hurting a lot with severe back pain, we had no idea it was this bad.  We had terrific conversations, as always, and left with the promise of seeing them again soon.

I know they would both appreciate your prayers.

St. Gemma Galgani, pray for K!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (July 2016) - Photographer’s Choice

AKA "Still Standing After All Those Fears"

Cleveland recently hosted the RNC.   For months we have been hearing how the event would be tumultuous, at best, and dangerous and destructive at worst.   It was none of that.   Although there was protesting, everything went well.

So well, that we thought about going down on the last afternoon.   Unfortunately, a few crises at work put an end to that.  Instead we went down the Saturday afterwards and played tourist.
I used to know the area well, but it has been quite a while since I visited.  It was ninety-five degrees the day we visited.  We wandered slowly, checking out the remnants of the convention.  Other than the banners and signs, not much was left.  The recent renovation to Public Square, new buildings scattered throughout, and sprucing up of old landmarks has the city looking great!
We enjoyed our time down there so much that a few days later I took a day off from work.  We repeated the trip, exploring areas we missed on that first day.  Those are pictures for another post. 
The "Q"
Terminal Tower
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
County Courthouse
Playhouse Square
Old Stone Church
Key Plaza and Cleveland Public Library
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Monday, August 1, 2016

First Photo: August 2016

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”  
 - Orthodoxy  GKC

I look at the cacophony of colors in the garden and say to God "Again!  Again!"  and am ever grateful that He does.  How could I ever possibly tire of such beauty? 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Happy Path

A few weeks I took a three day, online class for work.  The subject it covered was an IT documentation process called “Use Cases.”  And, yes, it was as boring as it sounds.

Use Cases detail the sequence of events that a person or system does to effect the desired outcome.   They are most often used in creating or modifying software, but really could be helpful for all sorts of processes.

Think about using an ATM.  Someone, somewhere probably wrote a use case for accessing it:
Customer inserts card
System reads card
System displays PIN prompt
Customer enters PIN
System validates PIN
System displays main menu

During the class the instructor talked about “the happy path”.  These are the steps, when executed, have no flaws or exceptions.  The machine was working properly and able to read the card.  The customer entered their PIN correctly.

For some reason that phrase, the happy path, really annoyed me.

Did I mention that the class was a bit boring?  While I was in this class, I had the Cavs victory parade streaming on my other monitor.  The Goodyear Blimp was there and several times the TV station cut to a view of the crowds from overhead.

One point three million people.  Celebrating.  Happy.

Then I knew what was so annoying about that phrase.

Since when does something go just so, absolutely perfectly?  In my life it doesn’t.  Go back to that ATM.  I’ve dropped the card.  Entered the PIN incorrectly.  Put the card into the machine upside down.  But, in the end, I got my cash.  And that's just a little thing.  What about the bigger ones?

I watched that parade.  There was no flawless path to victory.  LeBron came to Cleveland.  Then he left.  And then he came back.  Last year when the Cavs made it to the playoffs, and ultimately the finals,  injuries – a dislocated shoulder in one player and a busted kneecap in another – hampered their abilities.

It almost looked like this year was going to be a repeat of last when a major player had to sit out of one of the final games due to a concussion.  Not again.  But persistence, hard work and faith in their own abilities paid off.

Northeast Ohio held their collective breath the last two minutes of game seven.  That victory was fifty-two years in the making.

Don’t tell those one point three million people it wasn’t a Happy Path.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

TToT (16): June & July

Sneaking this one in just under the wire.  There's lots for which I am thankful since I last wrote, let's see if I can remember May, June and July so far!
one:  I'm so very glad nobody seems to mind if people pop in and out of this link-up.  I'm nothing if not inconsistent when it comes to writing these.
two:  If you somehow missed it, The Cleveland Cavaliers won the Championship!  That's the biggest thing in NE Ohio since I don't know when.  The last time a Cleveland team won a major sports title, I was just a few weeks old.  And, that my friends, was a long, long time ago. 
three:  I had a week off at the end of June for vacation.  It was one of those "stay-cations" and it was lovely!  I futzed in the gardens, played putt putt, hiked, and did a whole lot of nothing. 
four:  Christine mentioned last week that while she was in Ohio, we got to get together and visit another lovely lady, Melody and her family.  What a wonderful afternoon that was! 
five:  Sis and BIL have a pool in their backyard.  One of the days that we over there, it was a little too cold to swim.  But, that didn't stop up from dippin' our toes in and splashing around a it.
six:  We enjoyed a lot of hikes in our local county parks.  Jack liked going off-trail and into the stream.
seven: While on vacation, we pulled out the hammock.  We've been enjoying cold beverages, good books, naps, and the choir of birds while lounging on it.  We feel sorry for PWH.(**) 
eight:  The view from said hammock has been quite beautiful of late - blue skies and puffy white clouds.  It never gets old trying to figure out what the clouds look like.  Today we had, among other things, a dragon, a puppy and a baby. 
nine:  I have been reading a lot lately and have had many good books from which to choose.  Two I am currently reading, Divine Mercy for Moms and The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder,  I was given copies so that I could read and review them.  I'm a little behind, but soon.
ten:  I love a lazy Saturday or Sunday.  Between going to work and just doing normal errands, I sometimes feel like I'm always in the car.  Recently, I have been trying to make it a point to have "go nowhere days" and I love them!
Check out more goodness at one of these hosts:
 ** PWH - People Without Hammocks