Monthly Archives: May 2009

Weekend fun

I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t think of our weekend as “fun” but for us, it was perfect….once we got Mother home from the hospital. The doc sprung her on Friday after supper — clearly, she was ready to leave. Got her settled in at home, and then walked to the Mennonite Home, to hitch a ride home with Fred. It was a full house, with his brother and sister and their spouses in town for the weekend.
My two terrific sisters-in-law, Cheryl and Mary, had brought me some gifts — a huge tub of fat, red strawberries and green grapes, and some fried green peas, sesame snacks and some candy. They made their usual pit stop at Shipshewana on the way from Chicago/Milwaukee, and thought of me. Wasn’t that great?
My Saturday mornings usually start with a stop at the farmer’s market, where I picked up more gerberas, rosemary, marjoram, lettuce, and eggs. Then we needed dirt, so went to Stratton’s for bulk soil (seems strange to buy dirt), and picked up a few more perennials and annuals. We spent the afternoon working on the garden — always thinking ahead to the wedding. It’s beginning to shape up now that we’ve tilled all the beds and things are beginning to bloom. I’m mourning my favorite periwinkle delphinium that has bloomed twice each summer for the past five years. It didn’t even come up this year! Now I have to search for another one…hard to replace such beauty.
In the middle of the afternoon, I went down to the creek for some quite and alone time. I took my camera along — a good thing, because I watched a family of 10 baby ducklings and the mama swim/waddle their way down the creek. Eventually, all 10 of them collapsed on a sunny spot and fell asleep. They were adorable. I wonder if they object when the mama tells them it’s time for a nap…just like our kids used to?
This is why others might think we’re boring. Our Saturday night routine involves a trip to Findlay, first to the library, then to Wilson’s for burgers (and the requisite sitting in the car to people-watch) and grocery shopping at Meijer. Back home to spend a few more hours with the in-law siblings on the patio, discussing wedding plans, gardens, and finally took a photo of the six of us. Can’t wait to get that posted!
Okay, here’s a switch: we slept in today…until 8:15! That’s such a strange feeling. We woke up by walking — saw two great blue herons, some vultures, and fed the ducks/geese. We came home and did more gardening, baked sourdough bread, took Mother for a walk around her complex, and now we’re ready to try the bread! What a great way to end the weekend!

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The value of vintage

Since my shoulder is so screwed up, I was beginning to think I’d never ride a bike again. But — thanks to my mom and her penchant for keeping everything — a 70-year-old bicycle came to the rescue. A few years ago my mom gave me the one thing I’d been hoping for — the bicycle her parents gave her on her 16th birthday. She’s now almost 87, which makes the bike more than 70. A few years earlier, she’d had a friend “renovate” the bike — he took it apart, cleaned it up, fixed things, painted it navy with a few white touches, and voila…it is perfect. Single speed, fat fat tires, cruiser brakes and a big, cushy seat. Riding it I feel like Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote. My basket isn’t like hers, though, and it doesn’t really match the bike because it’s not wicker. But it holds my stuff and allows me to ride to work again. How cool is that?
Okay…so more vintage stuff…THE wedding dress is an old prom dress of Grandma’s — beautiful, fragile, light peach chiffon. It’s exactly what Anne wants, so we’re doing some creative stuff with lace — dyeing it a darker version of the peach and sewing an insert into the back. It’ll take some time and patience, but we’ll get there.
Picked up more of Anne’s favorite dishes — plastic coated burlap design — wish I knew the name of that style…probably from the 60s. Also found little dishes in the colored aluminum that I collect. We LOVE prowling through antique shops and auctions. There’s nothing quite as fun as unearthing the perfect find.
I’m trying to figure out a backdrop (i.e. arbor) for the wedding. Fred and I are wondering whether we might be able to use the window we got from the town hall renovation. Fred thinks it has something to do with the alpha and omega since it was related to the Oddfellows. Anne would like that! Maybe we could prop it up (it’s huge) and drape chiffon over it. They could stand in front of it. It’s so much fun coming up with these unusual ideas for a wedding. All those couples spending $10,000 for the perfect “white” wedding don’t know what they’re missing out on. Except they’d probably think we were nuts.

Yard art

All of the yard art reappeared today…just seemed to be streaming out of the playhouse. Over the winter I forget about this fun stuff — gazing globe for the herb garden, a blue ceramic frog for Toady to hide in when he comes back for the summer, the antique tools, etc. As I walked out the back door, I heard Fred say something about our neighbor, Mitch, having a gift for us. We have one of the large pipes from our church’s previous organ and it usually stands sentry in the back yard. Turns out Mitch and Ann had two more in their basement and they decided we should have both of them. Now we have three lined up against the side of the playhouse — each a different height. They look really great. Lindsay joked that we now have our own neighborhood Freecycle. Of course, I told Mitch what Ann had begged me not to tell him — where to find another abandoned bicycle. We picked one up at the same spot about six months ago — only because it had a great set of LLBean panniers that I wanted. A little air in the tires and that bike runs just fine. Mitch’s eyes lit up at the thought!

Random thoughts

Some days it is just fun to reflect on the past 48 hours or so…it’s funny what comes to mind. Memorial Day weekend really started Friday night…
Mother fixed supper for us — classic Mother hot-weather food. It was terrific. Tuna salad with light yogurt dressing, fresh green beans, homemade Irish soda bread, fresh strawberries with her frozen peaches in orange juice, and homemade whoopie pies. She told us about making them with thin chocolate wafers long ago, so I begged her to make some for Anne’s wedding. (On Saturday, I found thin chocolate/mint wafers at Meijer.)
Mother keeps hearing us talk about Facebook, so I showed her my page and we set one up for her. So here she is at 86, with her own FB site and having a blast with it. Within less than 15 minutes, she already had two friend responses! Says it helps her keep up to date.

Saw baby ducks on our walk Saturday morning. So cute…the way they plop into the water and look like they’re just paddling furiously to stay close to mom and dad. Then one little guy has to veer to the right or left to look at something — reminds me of Lindsay at that age.
Hit the farmer’s market early with Lindsay — bought more Gerberas, some pansies, cherry tomato plants, green and red pepper plants, whole wheat sourdough bread (really sour!), lettuce, eggs. Then we scrounged around Deercreek Antiques and Groves antiques for some surprise things for Anne’s shower. Got some great finds, but can’t list them here just in case Anne is reading this.
Spent the afternoon planting some pennyroyal in the herb garden so we’re ready for mosquitos, peppers in the veg garden, and did some planning for more planting. That huge “rock garden”, which we transplanted from the Steiner homestead is going to be revised into a semi-circle with miniature sunflowers in the center — blooming just in time for the wedding, we hope. This rock garden is currently in the same state it was at Fred’s childhood home — looks like a pile of rocks to me, but to the Steiners it’s a garden. Hmmm…two years ago we hired a friend to load them on his flatbed trailer and trucked them over to our yard. Kitty likes to climb to the highest rock and survey her yard.
Late afternoon headed to Findlay for the weekly stop at the library, burgers at Wilson’s and groceries at Meijer. Came home and got to eavesdrop on Lindsay and her childhood buddy, Jennifer King, who just returned from several years teaching in Japan. Anne called from her balcony to tell us she was watching the fireworks at Kings Island — 5 miles away.

Fred and I walked alone this morning, and stopped at our favorite rock sitting area on the bank of the National. My buddy, the retired vet who feeds the squirrels, birds and ducks, stopped by to chat. He’s such a funny guy — the animals come right up to him for peanuts and corn — basically eat out of his hands.

Time to shower for church — finally feeling good enough after three months of being down and out!

Pack dog joins the morning walk

Wish we had a picture of today’s walk with Lindsay and the pack dog, Harvey. He wore his little red saddlebags filled with water bottles — cheerfully! He trotted along like he had a purpose for being with us, other than chasing squirrels and rabbits. The only thing missing was his buddy, Luna, Lindsay and Eric’s one-year-old looney Lab puppy who stayed in Kent with Eric.
Today we saw the great blue heron twice, some adult ducks and one junior high duck. It’s so funny to see those little guys plop into the water and paddle furiously to keep up with mom and pop.
We discovered a duck nest in the middle of the yarrow in the herb garden. There are three eggs, which explains why a mom and pop duck have been hanging out in our backyard for a week. They haven’t been around for a day or so, so we’re worried they’ve abandoned the nest. Lindsay suggested putting them in the aquarium with the heat lamp; Fred vetoed that idea. Poop on him — we may do it anyway. Wouldn’t it be fun to have three little ducks as pets. They could bond with Peaches, the ancient cat. She could teach them the ways of the cat world and they could teach her to fly.
What a great way to start the day! So now it’s time to get back to working…

A wedding for HOW MUCH?

Anne recently mentioned finding a book at her store on planning a wedding for less than $10,000. I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone would be pleased by the thought of planning a wedding for less than $10,000. Even if the economy wasn’t in its current state, I’d have a hard time spending anywhere close to $10,000 on a wedding — lovely or otherwise. So…now that we are planning a wedding, I’m thinking that the couples who are spending $10-20,000 on a wedding have been fooled into thinking certain things are necessary. Call me a spoilsport, cheap, or whatever, but is it really necessary to give a “favor” to each person attending? Don’t most of us attend a wedding because we’re happy for the couple and want to share a part of their special day? Aren’t weddings a time for us to give them something? But we did have a good idea of ordering pencils with their name and address on them to give to each person — those brightly colored “old-fashioned” ones.

Right now Fred and I are having fun tilling the gardens and planning what flowers to plant that will bloom in September. Yesterday we hit on the idea of miniature sunflowers since Anne loves them. Whatever is blooming on that day will make their way into her bouquet and the cake. We’re adding dahlias, cosmos, more butterfly bushes, more black-eyed Susans, and whatever else we can come up with. I consulted with a friend at the farmer’s market — she said to plan the gladiolus in June so they’ll be blooming later than usual. What a great idea!

Our challenge with this wedding is to plan some unusual things that will make it more enjoyable and unique, such as blankets with toys for the families with little kids who don’t like to sit in chairs. We’re saving by having an evening wedding with just a dessert reception, most of which will be prepared by family members. But we’ll buy Dietsch’s ice cream (pre-scooped in multi flavors). Saw a great cake idea with a small cake for the traditional cutting, surrounded by cupcakes for the guests.

This is going to be so much fun, just to have friends and family around to enjoy it with us.

Thriftiness (cheap) is genetic…

I didn’t appreciate the idea of being thrifty until I was an adult. I remember shopping with my mom…she would draw a picture of a dress I liked, then we would buy the material and she would magically produce an exact replica. I remember wishing that…just once…she’d let me buy the dress. That thought came back to haunt me yesterday when Anne, Alee, Fred and I were strolling the remnants of the arts and crafts show — rain had finally driven the vendors to give up the fight. Anne reminded us of the day that Joy Savage had spent a fortune on some scrunchies. Anne wanted some, but I guess I told her we could make them for much less and have lots more for the money. Of course, I instantly apologized for being cheap, but she assured me that she now appreciates that and has begun to think that same way. She also admitted that as soon as we’d gotten home, she had realized she really didn’t want the scrunchies anyway…What does this have to do with life now? Ah well… we’ve discovered that it is possible to plan a simple (i.e. thrifty) wedding that everyone will enjoy. Since at least 2/3 of the guests will be either Pannabeckers or Steiners, they’ll realize that RFP and NFS may not be in attendance, but their spirit will have infused the whole event….Today, the lessons of Grandma P’s inventiveness will be evident as Anne and I attempt to dye the lace to match the ancient peach chiffon dress…let’s just hope we’re as good as Grandma!

Started out with a bright, sunny day…walked to the National and scared a poor duck by trying unsuccessfully to skip a stone with my left hand. Darn shoulder screws up even my skipping record. ..Husband remarked during this walk that he’ll relax about 9 a.m. tomorrow once the A&C show gets underway. I doubt that — he’s so preoccupied right now, I could walk naked and he’d probably not notice. ..Child number 2 arrives tonight for the weekend and hopefully to get some wedding plans settled. We’re going to begin our challenge of dying the lace to match Grandma’s dress — not an easy project. Reminds me of her science project in 8th grade. If this one works as well, I’ll be thrilled! Then the challenge will be to alter Grandma’s dress without ruining the fragile chiffon. .. then we have to inspect the rain location — town hall top floor, choose a SMALL cake design, decide where to plant the gladiolus, settle on the rest of the food, search ETC for tiny flower vases, BEG Beth B to make some mints, and decide on the invitation wording. Details details…do they ever end? Just glad this is a simple wedding…in the meantime, we’re off to work then to Toledo for pre-op.

Hello world!

This is my first blog so bear with me. It’s a lot different than the type of writing I’m accustomed to doing — writing about other people is MUCH easier.

For almost 29 years, I’ve gotten up and run 4-5 miles long before Husband even cracks open an eye.  Suddenly, thanks to this crazy shoulder situation, I’m struggling to get up. He knows me all too well — he got out of bed, peered out the window, announced the rain had stopped and it was time for us to get started on our early morning walk. Sure, it had stopped…for two seconds. But I was up and not going to let him show me up; opted for the treadmills at the university gym which was — blessedly — empty except for us and the musty smell and ghosts of the athletes gone for the summer. Husband doesn’t like treadmills, or so he says, so he walked the perimeter of the gym while I challenged myself to see how far and fast I could go. …now, three hours later, the sun is peeking out…of course.