Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last Week of May

Friday May 29, 2015
Tonight was my niece, Ashley's Confirmation. She was one of about 150 students getting confirmed that day. Because of the size of the group, they were split up into two sessions, and hers was the evening ceremony at 7:30pm. Unfortunately, the Bishop, who usually conducts the ceremony, was ill with the flu, so it was left to Fr. Bob and Fr. Haddad (along with two deacons), to do the honors. Even without the Bishop, there was still a lot of pomp and circumstance as the Knights of Columbus, in their regal robes and garments, led the procession of confirmandi, and stood at attention at the end of the mass while the priests and deacons led the newly confirmed students out.

I think Fr. Bob enjoyed doing the ceremony as he happily wielded the microphone and asked the nervous students questions before confirming them. Among other things, he asked, "Why did God create you?" I was kind of hoping for one of those silly answers, like the kind of thing you might have heard on Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Instead, he got a straight-from-the-textbook answer from a Hermione Granger wannabe. Ashley escaped having to give an answer since she was seated on one of the outside edges, and she's also not a St. Brendan student, so I think she was much relieved.

At any rate, the ceremony went off without a hitch. All were present sans Mike and Carter who had a baseball game. As expected, the mass lasted around an hour. Afterwards, Ashley got her picture taken with Fr. Bob and the family was invited back to Karen and Mike's for cake and ice cream.

Here's a few pictures from the evening:

Saturday May 30, 2015
Saturday Andrew and I went to the annual WCBE yard sale held on the lawn of the Fort Hayes campus, which consists of a school for the arts, amongst other buildings. Not sure what the rest of them are used for these days, besides one for the radio station obviously. The sale didn't end up being that big. It took less than an hour to look through everything and we ended up buying 3 CDs, a dvd, a book, and a couple ceramic items (a plate and a plant pot).

The fun part was the blast from the past for both of us as we spent longer lingering over old electronic equipment than looking through the boxes of junk further down. Andrew's favorite item was an old dark room timer that he debated buying. For me it was an old plastic reel (they also came in metal, which is what I usually used) - that you used to wind your negatives around before putting the reel in a light proof developing tank . I think they may have had one or two of those there too. If only I had an extra 24 hours every day to have a dark room (our ensuite bathroom) I would have bought up all the equipment, but sadly, I think those days are past for me. Andrew also enjoyed seeing all the outdated computer equipment including a double floppy drive on one of the computers. I think we both left there feeling a little sad and a little old! 

Here are some pics I took of the various items:

Today I planted my tomato seedlings which were ready to be put into the ground. Some definitely seemed hardier than others, so I suppose it will be survival of the fittest. I also checked on my Mouse Melon - one of which seems to be really thriving, and two others hanging on, but the rest have already died off. I planted some green pepper seeds in my bamboo planter and seem to have little sprouts coming up. Today I planted some radish seeds in a pot, so we'll see how those do (though I know they can go straight into the ground). Here are some pictures, including our first strawberry of the season (too bad my other plants don't thrive like the strawberry). We also have a healthy crop of mint. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it.

Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday May 19, 2015
I brought home a couple stale Krispy Kreme donuts from work and decided to make my own version of Tom + Chee's Fancy Grilled Cheese Donuts. More specifically, I tried to recreate the Strawberry Lemonade dessert. I didn't have any candied lemon, so I substituted lemon juice and used plain mascarpone cheese instead of the lemon version (I still don't know where you can buy flavored mascarpone cheese). Otherwise, I had the fresh (more or less) strawberries and mozzarella cheese, so I went to town! My only fault in making them was accidentally burning the donuts a little bit while frying them in butter - too high a heat setting and me more worried about taking pictures than taking care of my delicate creation. I've learned my lesson and will be more careful if I ever attempt to do this again in the future. Here is a photo of my lovely dessert:
Friday May 22, 2015
OUCH ouch ouch....
Friday afternoon I had my periodic (every 8 weeks) orthodontist appointment. As per usual they changed my wires, but this time put in nice big strong ones that are apparently square, instead of round, and quite heavy duty. Hence, the next half a dozen or so meals were excruciating to eat due to soreness in my mouth. Hence, I had a right old pout this weekend, and rightly so!

In addition, the orthodontist (at least it was the cute one, Dr. Cook) gave me new rubber bands to wear this summer - except this time it's only one band that I wear on the left side that needs to be in for 12 hours overnight. It's called a Quail band and is stretched in the formation of a triangle, which feels kind of weird, but isn't particularly painful. I am just annoyed because this means I now have to be more aware of the time and when I stop eating so I have time to brush my teeth and put in the band to make the deadline. So far I have only made that deadline twice in the last five days, so it's going to be difficult. I think I used to put my bands in straight after work so I could earn extra time, but not sure I want to bother since it's only one band this time. On the plus side, I guess this will keep me from snacking, and it's certainly one less thing to do before bed, so I should have no excuse for not getting to bed on time.

Selfie after brushing teeth and being in pain, Friday p.m.
Sunday May 24, 2015
Still having a bad weekend (teeth sore, lots of sweaty, back breaking yard work, too long a morning spent at a  nursing home/apt. complex for a church function, etc.) so I split a bottle of wine with my husband, which definitely cheered me up (and it was good wine too!). Don't worry, I'm  not an alchy (sp?), but definitely like to partake of an adult beverage or two every now and again.

After dinner, while still trying to make a reasonable deadline for getting my teeth brushed, I decided to make little (drunken) cheesecakes using leftover Neufchatel cream cheese and a pot of yogurt. I added some whipped cream, sour cream, and milk, in addition to a couple tablespoons of sugar. I forgot the vanilla and eggs. The eggs, especially would have helped as a binding agent. I crushed graham crackers and a few bran flakes (mixed with melted butter) to make the little crusts and sprayed a cupcake pan before adding the crust and fillings. They were quite tasty, if not a little crumbly getting them out of the pan. I would definitely make them again, but remember to add eggs and perhaps find a better way to keep the graham cracker crust intact. Here's a photo of them once I removed them from the pan.

Monday May 25, 2015
Today my husband and I took a break from our house and yard work and went to see "Ex Machina" at a local cinema. I can see why my husband wanted to see it since he, himself, is a computer programmer and the film is about a brilliant young programmer hired to test the AI (artificial intelligence) of a sexy, female robot created by the CEO of a fictional company called Blue Book.

My husband was a bit dubious about the way the keycards functioned in the house, but otherwise thought it was enjoyable. It was certainly thought-provoking and had me thinking of Hal from "2001 Space Odyssey" and perhaps the computer in "Wargames." It made me wonder what we would have thought of this movie had it been released back in the 80s (a bit like "Weird Science" I think). I especially loved the unexpected ending. It was one of those times where you say to yourself, "I did not see that coming!"

Either way, it was nice to get out of the windy, pollen-filled air and sit in a mildly air conditioned room for a couple hours!

Here's a photo of the movie poster:
Have a good week everyone!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wednesday May 13, 2015
Tonight was week 4 and my last New Wave Watercolor class. This week we put some paint on our paper, then collaged over it a bit (though you can still see some of the color peeking through). We did this in another of Amy’s classes and it’s always my favorite thing to do. Here’s my creation this week:
I am hoping to glue it to some heavy cardboard and then display it somewhere.

Saturday May 16, 2015
Today was my husband, Andrew’s 41st B-day. It was a warm day with temperatures in the mid 70s, but mostly cloudy and quite wet at times! Hence, we nixed plans to stop at the Cox Arboretum in Dayton, and instead just went shopping and then drove back to Hilliard.

Our outing of the day was to Wise Choice British Foods, Gifts & Candies located south of us in Huber Heights. We had been there once before many years ago, and remembered they have a pretty good selection of British goods, at least as far as food and drink goes.

Before we went into Wise Choice, Andrew and I spotted an interesting store a couple doors down that seemed to be a combo antiques/dvds/PC & video game store with a little arcade in the back. As usual, Andrew took a quick look around at this video game museum cum dvd store, etc. and left empty handed. Meanwhile, I was scanning dvd titles as fast as I could and sent Andrew next door until I could get to the end of the alphabet. I ended up buying 4 dvds as they had a special deal – buy three and get the fourth free. I came away with two I had seen (best grab – “Pirate Radio”), and two I haven’t. One of them is called “Cinema Paradiso” and seems to be like a sequel to the original movie that came out in 1988. Should be an interesting watch, I hope.


Andrew is next door and filling his basket with tons of goodies. Just for the record, I only added a couple things – a package of McVities Cheddars and a tin of Heinz Pudding that we need to make sure we use before the expiration date at the end of this year. Even if I have to mark our calendar, I’ll make sure the pudding doesn’t go to waste! [I also grabbed a keychain of a union jack-printed high top tennis shoe or trainer as it’s called in the UK].

We both had a chat with Harry, the longtime owner of the store. Harry makes a point of chatting with all his customers, ex-pats or not, so it’s always an enjoyable experience doing business with him. In fact, we even got a 10% discount since we drove all the way in from Columbus (which is about an hour’s drive).

Once we arrived back in Hilliard we each had a sandwich from Which Wich located off of Rome Hilliard Rd. in the southern end of Hilliard (that we rarely visit these days).

After I got home from church and Andrew back from badminton, I made him dinner (raviolis with a recipe for the sauce) and gave him his last present (that I had forgotten to give him earlier) – a kerosene lantern for when we have power outages or just want a little mood lighting : )

The evening’s entertainment consisted of watching most of one of our favorite Japanese films, “Linda, Linda, Linda,” before stopping for the night when Andrew’s brother, Paul, called from Australia.

All in all I hope Andrew thought it was a good birthday.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wednesday May 6, 2015
Tonight was the third night of my weekly art class. We had a full house, which was nice. Turns out Nadya wasn't away playing with the tiger trio - she was sick! Poor Nadya. Hope you feel better soon!
Here's what I made in class this week:

We experimented using an Elegant Rollerball Calligraphy pen followed by various amounts of water and paint and other media. Hence, pens that boast 'no bleed' weren't what we wanted to use for our experiment. Now I need to get my own pen, so I plan to stop by Joann Fabrics next week and pick one up since they seem the most economical there.

Sunday May 9, 2015
Andrew took down our old fence that once surrounded a hot tub, but has been standing alone for the last year or so after we got rid of the hot tub. Since we're supposed to have a pergola built sometime this summer, the old fence had to be dismantled. Unfortunately, the posts aren't coming down without a fight, which is probably why we'll leave the remainder to our contractor. Here are some photos of the progress.

Other projects...

Our seedlings are looking quite healthy and should go into the ground shortly.
Also, I met with my artist friend, Zach, who has been commissioned to make us a t-shirt quilt using something like 20+ years (about 3 boxes) of t-shirts that I've been holding onto for this exact project. I knew it was something I wouldn't want to undertake (though Zach said he plans to teach a class in it in the autumn), and I had earmarked the proceeds from selling my grandma's diamond ring. By the end of summer (if not sooner), it should be a reality, so I'm excited, and a bit nervous, but I'm sure it will be fabulous. I don't have pictures yet to show you since it's still very early days, but I am confident Zach will create a work of art (he won an award on another quilt he once made).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mid Spring Update

Wednesday April 29, 2015

Second week of my New Wave Watercolor class. Nadia was missing. We figure she had important business at the zoo - maybe a cuddle session with the new tiger triplets! (can't wait for them to go on view to the public).

Amy brought me a nice dark green fleece pullover that is too small for her. It barely fits me, but should be fine over a t-shirt (once we're in t-shirt weather again) as long as I only wash it on cold!

Here's what I made this week:

Amy said the trees looked "very Hallmark; well done!" Now I just need to work on my verse for the inside of the card!

Friday May 1, 2015

Today I went to Ty Ginger Asian Bistro for lunch with my coworkers after one of them forgot her lunch and invited the rest of us out. It was a gorgeous day, so we got a nice little break from the usual grind (though I later tossed out my tuna sandwich).

After work I bought a really cute moto white blazer after seeing a coworker in one. Hers was from Macy's and mine is from JC Penney, but it was the closest I could find. I was also pleased to have a $10 off coupon as the item cost more than $25. I've already worn the blazer once and am quite happy with it. I also purchased one from E-bay that is the same brand as my coworker's, but in a different size and color.

Later in the evening I went to see the movie, "Wild," with Reese Witherspoon. It's both sad and equally inspiring, especially as it's based on a true story. I really admire Cheryl Strayed's courage and stamina. I told my husband I doubt I could do anything like that as I think I'm just way too small (lightweight) to carry a backpack that weighs at least half of what I do. Cheryl got a lesson in light packing by the caretaker at Kennedy Meadows as he went through her bag one item at a time starting with her stick of deodorant. "How's that working out for you?" he asked. "I stink, I really stink," was Cheryl's response. He eventually got her pack down to a manageable amount of weight which helped her on the rest of her journey. One tip the caretaker used that I've heard Rick Steves recommend is, if you're going to carry a travel guidebook, gradually tear out the pages you don't need to save yourself a few ounces. We never do that, but we have left books behind for other travelers.

Saturday May 2, 2015
Today was the day of Carter's First Communion. Carter is my sister's youngest who will be nine next month in June. Today he, along with perhaps 100 other second graders, made his First Holy Communion, so now he can join his big sister and brother when they go up to receive the body and blood each week during mass.

I was grateful it wasn't like commencement where they announce the name of each child and present them with their certificate. Otherwise we probably would have been there for twice as long.

After the ceremony we took a few pictures in the gathering space by the banner with the names of all the kids, and then we looked at the wall of photos of the children. Carter was also patient enough for a quick pic or two with Father Bob, so that was nice.

Once pictures were done, Carter was quite happy to remove his clip-on tie. It was only then that we noticed he had incorrectly buttoned his shirt, but it was cute that he wanted to get dressed all by himself. I'm sure he'll eventually get the hang of it.

The winner for most appropriate present goes to my mom who bought him My First Communion Missal and a roll of Certs, since grandma always has a roll of Certs in her purse for fresh breath during mass (grandpa also carries a roll in his pocket). I thought that was so poignant and I never would have thought of it.

I bought him a Lego rosary, though I'm not sure how familiar he is with what a rosary is.  Either way, Carter soon got to work snapping all the legoes together, so I think he liked it. Thank you BareSockcrafts.

Here's a few photos from the day:

 Way to go Carter!!!

Monday May 4, 2015
"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. We're finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming. Four dead in Ohio."
-- Neil Young, "Four Dead in Ohio"

This song was playing on the radio when I got into my car this morning, which couldn't have been more appropriate. It's a song I've gotten to know well ever since I was a student at Kent State back in the early 90s. It's played every year to commemorate the anniversary.

Although I'm always aware of the anniversary (you can't hardly call yourself an alumnus and not have this drilled into you when you're a student there), I don't always observe it in any special way. The last time I was on campus for it was in 1995 when Mary Ann Vecchio, the "mystery girl" in the photo shrieking over the body of Jeffrey Miller, came forward to share her story. Apparently that was the first time she ever met John Filo, the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who shot the iconic photo.

Last night my husband and I watched a previously recorded PBS special called, "The Day the 60s Died," which is mostly about the events leading up to the protest at Kent State, and how what happened influenced other universities around America, including Jackson State where two students were killed and over a dozen injured during a similar protest.

I thought the special was interesting and I learned a few things I didn't know before. I didn't know that President Nixon once visited the Lincoln Memorial during a sleepless night following the Kent State shootings. His speech writer, Pat Buchanan, said Nixon always thought the Lincoln Memorial was beautiful. According to one of his female aides, when people saw him there, "their eyes were big as saucers." I also didn't know that one of the National Guard cadets died on May 4th too. That fact wasn't in the special. I just read it in today's

Although I am sentimental and sympathetic, the older I get, the more I wonder how it all started and how things got so quickly out of hand. I also sometimes wonder if perhaps the students didn't misdirect their anger, though burning down the ROTC building seemed an appropriate action. I guess I need to reread James Michener's book about Kent State. His account of things is probably as reputable as anyone else's.

Allison, Sandy, Bill & Jeffrey, your legacy lives on....