Monday, February 25, 2019

The Birds, the Wind and a Monkee.

All the springtime I can muster right now.

 Whenever we get to share time with our baby grand we have fun.  Started the day with breakfast at Penny's pretend restaurant Schrammy's.  Penny made up the name years ago.  She always liked to pretend to be a waitress and take our orders.  We recently remembered Schrammy's and it's still fun.  This time I was the cook.  Penny woke up saying, remember that time you made me a big breakfast with bacon and hash browns...  Luckily I had everything on hand.  Grandpa enjoyed the menu too.   I had my oatmeal.  Like Bert from Bert and Ernie, I like mine plain, with a little salt. (Just because I was under the weather with a head cold.)

 I had the sewing machine up, working on some service projects.  I knew that Penny was just the right age to get a sewing lesson.  She really took to sewing, must be in her DNA.  First we sewed a pillow for her American Girl Doll.  I worked the foot petal and she guided the fabric.

Penny asked if I had stuffing, and of course I did. 
 She was very proud of her first finished sewing project.

The she eyed the bags of pillowcases, and started to work on those.  Penny sewed 7 pillowcases and unfurled them.  I think this is the start of something.  Penny said, all I need is a sewing machine.  I told her this WAS her sewing machine, since Kristen borrowed it to me when my machine wasn't working.  Penny loved sewing. It was a proud moment for both of us.

 We braved the rain and cold for a trip to our favorite nursery to see some owls and a beautiful kestrel.  The show was run by a local rescue.  We attended last year and this year Penny picked the first row to get a good look.  Then, Penny came back a row to sit with us when the 
Great Horned Owl looked at her.

This guy was big and not too happy.

This little guy was sweet not scary.

 We shopped the nursery after the show. 
Penny and Grandpa both thought we need this
 rocker on our deck at home. 

Since our girl is into technology,
 I was so happy when she pulled out the toys and pretended.

As the wind outside gusted to almost 60 mph, we were cozy and snug.  
A big pot of soup on the stove, and a great weekend with our  girl.

On the way home with Mom and Dad, she lost the tooth that had been hanging by a thread all weekend.

Now about that Monkee.  Peter Tork, died last week after a long illness.  I was saddened by his passing, a part of my youth I enjoy remembering.  A wall full of posters of the Monkees decorated my early teen bedroom.  My Dad made a special trip to a music store downtown to buy me a tambourine, just like Davy played in the group.  All the albums, the TV show and the songs.  I have a few favorite songs from the guys on my itunes and a few CDs since I have no turntable.  Not that the records would play...we used to stack pennies on the tone arm so the records wouldn't skip.  I'd bring my record player out to the front porch.  A long extension cord coming from the second floor so we could listen to Monkee music with our friends.  

We recently saw Michael Nesmith at a concert in Chicago.  Mike mostly played his own music, but at the end when he played a song from the old days, everyone sang along.  Now Kris and Doug enjoy the Monkees and Penny is a fan too.  She even went to see Micky and Mike with her Mom and Dad. That's how we ended up seeing Mike in concert.  Kris was so sorry that I wasn't at the concert with Mike and Micky, she kept on saying, Mom should be here.  When after quadruple bypass surgery Mike went back on the road, Kris and Doug bought us tickets and that's the concert we saw together.   Another memory, so sweet.  I remember that girl I was then in the sixties, she's still in me.  Still loving music, cute boys (now I have one) and knee high fringed boots like Peter wore.  RIP Peter.

One last thing, did everyone love the duet by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper on the Oscars last night?  I've been listening to the soundtrack for weeks, but haven't seen the movie yet.  It was so romantic.  This morning I played Shallow for my hubby as he showered.  The foolishness he puts up with.  Anyway I am a fool for love and romance, and that performance last night was priceless.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 18, 2019

Will you still need me, when I'm 64?

Like a broken record, we had MORE snow.  It's so beautiful, especially in the sunshine. We had a thirty day stretch that every day we had either rain or snow, or everything in between. Still I'm a winter girl.  Nothing is as beautiful to me as the combination of sunshine and snow.
It was Valentine's week which also is my birthday week.

 My dearest really surprised me with this metal dress form.  When we go to sales and thrifts, I am always on the lookout for a dress form.  The reason, this dress.  It's a Jessica McClintock, Gunne Sax.  All the rage in the 70's.  When this giant box arrived I could not imagine what my sweetheart ordered.  Then, he said it was for me!  As soon as I realized what it was, I let hubby handle the construction as I ran upstairs to get THE DRESS!  It was a perfect fit!  Do you have that one dress, that special dress you felt beautiful in, that really was YOU?  Well, that's what I thought about this dress.
 I didn't have a photo of me in it.  Even my BFF Sue looked in her vast archives of our youth and couldn't find one.  I posted the photo of the dress to Facebook and my oldest niece Michele posted this pic. How groovy were we?!  Circa 1975.  I have no recollection of the place or the occasion, and my niece doesn't know.  It was a great surprise in a birthday filled with fun and wonderful surprises.

Just for comparison, we still look exactly the same...a least to each other.
That's true love!

 Penny and Aunt Elizabeth frosted and decorated the cupcakes Penny and I baked.
We celebrated all the February family birthdays.  Son Jonathan and son in law Doug and I share this birthday month.

Penny picked the menu.  We were going to order out, then Penny suggested lasagna, so that's what we had with coleslaw that was requested by my dearest and our darling daughter Kristen, meatballs for Jon and my brother Greg.  Cupcakes and magnum bars for dessert.  (Penny's favorite.)  Everyone ate except our dear Mom to be Charlotte.  Tomatoes do not agree with her right now, but Charlotte and the girls enjoyed dessert. (The babies are especially active when Charlotte has a treat!)

 I had some flour sack towels I silk screened for the girls. I got so many visits, cards and beautiful gifts. I had a very happy birthday.  Showered with hugs, kisses and love, my favorite gifts.

"Friends are forever, you might lose them but you'll never forget them."

Last week I lost a friend, a Guild Sister, our Angel Adeline.
Adeline was our oldest member.  We shared our Polish heritage and shared memories of some really happy times. 

Adeline and Ed on their wedding day.
A beautiful couple, together forever.

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes.  A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or a lifetime, is certain for those, who are friends."
-Richard Bach

 I recently found this pillow at the thrift.  About 20 inches square, down filled.

I love a bargain! Kris has a new sofa and rug for their living room.  
The sofa is navy and the rug is mostly orange.
She loved the pillow. 

 Back to reality.  The bed is already stripped and made with fresh sheets and pillowcases.  The first load laundry should be done.  Valentine decorations to be put away and springtime pops of color to replace the red.  So grateful for...everything! Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 11, 2019

Love in the Cold Winter

 This week had been cold and windy, snowy and cold, melting and freezing, then snowing again.  I might have the order wrong, but we experienced Winter in a big way this week in Chicagoland. Never shrinking violets when it comes to cold, we ventured to the Batavia Fine Arts Center to enjoy a Valentine Concert with our old pal Jim Brickman. 

 My handsome Valentine, here dressed in layers.  You never know when you order tickets months in advance what you'll be facing as far as temps go.  We were prepared.

 Such a nice place they have in Batavia.  A intimate space, with roomy seats and stacked so there is never anyone in your line of sight.  My dearest said Batavia wasn't far...but on a Friday night, cold and dark roads and unfamiliar terrain, I was happy when we reached our destination.  What followed was a romantic three hour concert.

 We have been fans of Mr. Brickman for almost 25 years and also have been fortunate to have enjoyed his music in person on several occasions.  In fact the most romantic concert we ever shared at Ravinia, our favorite venue, was Jim Brickman.  That night we snuggled on a blanket, and my face actually hurt from smiling big the entire time.

This time was equally sweet.  Jim played so many of my favorites, but especially Rainbow Connection, the song from the Muppet Movie, and his signature Angel Eyes.
If you are not familiar with his music, please check him out.  Beautiful, calming melodies, many originals, and he covers songs from films, Disney and songs of yesteryear. 

 Then a visit from our girl.  I put her to work on cleanup after making cupcakes together.

  We made a batch of triple chocolate cupcakes.  Penny said they were the best she ever ate.

 I have to add, she ate one still warm, with the mini chocolate chips still melted.  
This girl and her Mama love chocolate.

 I also bought Valentine cookie dough so we made those too.  She liked the grid on the parchment paper.  Penny said it was like player checkers putting the dough on the squares two inches apart.

 Sunday breakfast at Mount Crumpet.

 "Earth as cold as iron, water like a stone."

 No skaters because of our freezing and thawing all week.  

 Then, we headed to Lake Geneva to see if there were any sculptures left from the Winter Festival.
Sadly, the sculptures were just mounds of ice.

 Penny had never seen the Geneva Lake frozen.  She was thrilled by the cars and people on the ice.

 So beautiful, even on a very cold and gloomy day.

The Ice Castle was still open, though we were not prepared 
for a long walk, and wait to see inside.
Penny was fine with not getting out of the car this time.
Thank goodness, neither did Grandma or Grandpa. We were fine in the warmth of the car.

We had a great visit, the mandatory pan of ziti, and enjoyed the Red Carpet pre show of the Grammy's and the Grammy Show.  Penny knew so many of the artists and loved so many of their songs.  I asked how she knew all these artists.  Penny said she had all the songs on her Spotify playlist.  Who knew?!

Penny saw Dolly Parton and was intrigued.  So,  just to prove I was coolish, I told Penny about the Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus' connection. (If you don't know, Dolly is Miley's Godmother!)  Penny has a Hannah Montana guitar, Miley's character on a Disney Show from years back, so she knew about Miley.)  Anyway, I played the song Jolene, first as Dolly sings it, then as Miley performs it.  Penny really liked it and thought she could sing it as well.  Penny loves to sing and has a lovely voice. Score one for Grandma! 

It will be a week of love around here. Valentine's Day, always one of my favorite holidays and my birthday.  I'll be 64 years old.  I asked my dearest, Will you still need me. will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four? He said, YES!

Happy Valentine's Day My Friends.

Thank you for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, February 4, 2019

A 70 Degree Swing!

From WGN in Chicago...
"The polar vortex brought dangerous sub-zero temperatures, and some of the coldest weather the Chicago area has seen in decades.  Since then, the city has seen a 71-degree turnaround in temperature from Wednesday's minus 25 to Sunday's 46.  In 72 hours, the steam sweeping over a rock solid Lake Michigan is gone , and there are cracks in the ice."

Oh what a week we had here in Chicagoland.  
All the while I was preparing for Charlotte's and Jon's Baby Shower.

 It's a tradition starting with my Mom to make these baby cakes.  
Made with tiny diapers and receiving blankets, and tiny sock roses.

I die cut all the tendrils.
The ruffle is actually a baby tutu.  Buying a pair of them for the twins was so much fun.  Imagining those tiny girls wearing them made me, and everyone who saw them smile.

It's a tradition.

 Dear SIL Elizabeth and I arranged these centerpieces.
I spent a little over fifty dollars and we made six arrangements with flowers to spare.
With the weather so cold, things just stopped for a couple of days.  It was everything done in the last minute for this shower.

 They turned out so beautiful.  The theme was Two Peas in a Pod.  I bought beautiful packages of pea seeds.  We displayed one package in each arrangement.  Elizabeth and I have been collecting these milk glass pedestals for years.  We actually first used them for Kristen's baby shower almost seven years ago.  This time they went home with some special ladies.  

 One arrangement from the back.

 Here's my girl in front of all the gifts.  She was so excited to be included with this group of ladies.
She carried on conversations about yoga, how she has to work on her landings while she is trying to do a cartwheel.  Food, she loves caviar too.  She is not your typical 6 year old. She especially enjoyed the fancy bathrooms, just like a hotels, she said.  

 The stars of the show Charlotte and Jon. They were just back from a checkup and scans of the girls.
All is well, and the girls are growing and gaining weigh. 
We are all so excited for these two to be parents.
The are both so kind, sweet and funny.
They have accomplished so much,
 overcoming some tough times. 
 They've made their home in Indiana, not too far away.  
They are so loved. 

 My beautiful SIL's Elizabeth and Mindy. Penny popped in.

Here my niece Michele, my first baby who will be 50 this year!
My other sweet SIL Lynette and newlywed niece Amy.
Photo bombed by Grandma Roseann, our hostess with the most est.

These were the favors.  The amazing cookies are from Nic's Custom Cookies.
You can find her on her facebook page.

Now here's a little drama.  With the polar vortex closing down Chicago, the airport and the post office, I was afraid that the cookies would not arrive in time.  I photo copied a pea seed packet and had purchased the green sixlet candies, so I made, "just in case" favors.
The cookies were to arrive Friday, but there was still no mail service.  We had a routing number, but the cookies were not showing up on the USPS site.  I waited in line at the PO.  People were not happy, and some crabby people preceded me in line. I went up to the counter and the gentleman tried to help, but there was no information and no cookies.  I really felt bad for the poor guy.  Don't blame the messenger, right.  I went to bed Friday thinking it was too bad, and that we would have 40 beautiful cookies we would have to eat ourselves, when they finally showed up.  Then a mini miracle.  My dearest was checking on line, and checking.  He said, Sorry Hon, they are at the distribution center... Then an hour later, They are at our PO but won't be delivered till 8:00 tonight.  I was at the PO at 8:30 when they opened Saturday morning.  There was already a line of anxious people.  The same gentleman that helped me Friday was at the window.  I showed him the screen save of the notice that the cookies were there.  Bingo, Bango, we had our cookies, with just minutes to spare before we had to leave for Indiana, and the noon shower. I wanted to yell as he brought the big box of cookies to me. I would have hugged that postal worker had there not been a dutch door between us.  Those cookies were a big hit, beautiful and delicious.  Nic packed them so well, each individually wrapped.  I highly recommend her cookie co.  They were little works of art. 

The shower was a great success.  Many friends and family traveled to attend.  Roseann, Charlotte's Mom chose a beautiful venue, with excellent food.  It was a combined effort for our kids.
Those little girls have everything they need, especially family and friends who will love and guide them though out their lives. 

 Yesterday would have been my Mom's 100th birthday.  Here she is with Dad and Jon Jon, Kristen and Michele. Time has passed since she died, but there is still a hole in my heart that only my Mom can fill.  I've lived longer without her, I was just 30 when she died.  This month I'll be 64, just a year younger than when she left us.  I am so happy that Jon and Charlotte choose her name Irene for one of the girls that will be born this spring.  It will keep Mom's memory alive for another generation.  I'll make sure that all my granddaughters know about their great grandma Irene.  I talk to Penny about her all the time.

When we were stuck inside, I found my Mom's old knitting bag.  It had wooden handles and was in my closet for forever.  Kristen and Doug just purchased a new sofa.  It's blue velvet.  Penny adores cats.  I decided I would try to take apart and wash the bag and see what would happen.  It turned our beautiful.  I had a pillow form that fit it and sewed up a pillow for Kris' new sofa.  I told Kris my Mom was clairvoyant.  She saw in the future Kristen's blue velvet sofa and Penny's love of cats.  Both Kris and Penny love the pillow and the history of Great Grandma's knitting bag.

  Thank you for dropping by and for your kind comments.  
Mostly, for your friendship, it means so much to me.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny