Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out of Commission

That would be me… I am immobile…. resting…. and healing. On Monday or Tuesday I was tossing some toys for the dogs (at least that is what I think was the cause) and inadvertently, pulled, strained or tore a muscle in my back. goose

seagullsWhen I went to work on Wednesday…. things progressed rapidly downhill. By midafternoon, I knew something was wrong… but wrongly thinking I would work through it.

When I got up on Thursday morning, I could hardly walk and trying to find balance was excruciating. So I started with ice… and by Friday was using heat, and by Friday evening a bit looser and more mobile, but only to go the bathroom, reheat the rice bag or have a little water. Otherwise it was more time in the chair.


The good news is… today while stiff, walking is easier, but there is still some pain when I move just so- the wrong way. So once again I am sitting in ‘the chair’ with heat. So, for the time being I am down for the count.

Our trip home from the US had us stop overnight in London. DH has a friend from work that lives there, and they (Kevin and Heather O) insisted that we stay with them. They were the greatest hosts. They both had to work of course, but made us feel very welcome and expected. With Tube passes, cell phone and local maps.

hyde-park-fence-panelOn our first day we took a walk around Hyde Park and saw the fence panel (above), the goose and the seagulls. When we started out it was warm… but it soon turned cold!!!

Kevin also arranged for us to view the Key Ceremony at the Tower of London. It wasn’t your ordinary daytime tour. This was a night time tour and semi-private. Unfortunately it was typical ‘English’ weather, so we didn’t get to walk and listen to the guide, but we did get toat-the-tower visit the Tower Church, and get a up close and personal with a few of the relics and stones of some of the bodies that have been interred. After the history and the Key Ceremony we were invited to the Beefeaters Pub. *a little history* The Guards of the Tower are a special group from the English Military, and a few select are chosen to be Tower Yeoman Warders, it is a lifetime job and there are only 38 at any given time. After the Key Ceremony the real jewel of this tour is a visit to the Yeoman Warders Pub. Where we had a drink or two with the Warder that was our guide. The inside of the pub has been decorated in badges or shields from various forms of ‘guards’ or police from around the world. I saw several shields from the USA, (FDNY, FBI, , Secret Service and all the branches of the US Military).  The last couple of years the US Embassy and the Warders have a Whiffle Ball Tournament, this is the trophy from 2 years ago.


That is all I have… 2012 is waiting in the wings and will be here soon!!! Ok for me a little sooner than for (most) of  you…. Until later….

Happy New Year!!!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gifts and a Wish


It’s hard to believe but Christmas is here again. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!!!

Down here in South Africa, it doesn’t look or feel like Christmas!!!! Up until today it was sunny, with some big clouds floating and occasionally stacking up for a bit to produce a quick thunderstorm. But today, on Christmas Eve day, we have a dull gray sky that is spitting out a misty rain. The forecast is the same through Monday…. boo!!!

Our Christmas celebration is like last year very low key. This year I amimagesCALNMP66 cooking a turkey, (but the soup will wait until winter-July here). We both like the stuffing, mashed potatoes, a salad and gravy part of the meal, so we will have that along with the turkey. For dessert we are going to have apple crisp.

Our gifts this year- to our friends and gift xmasfamily (you are probably one or the other if you are reading this), was donations, in their name to the Heifer Project. We donated Hope Gift Baskets and Promise Gift Baskets, along with other smaller Gifts of rabbits, bees, geese, ducks and chickens.  I have also made a donation in the name of all my online friends- A flock of chickens, which will help a family and a community, with eggs, meat and fertilizer.

The driving force behind this choice, is the poverty we see daily. It is heartbreaking, and my husband tells me of some of the places he visits for work. And it is more of the same. One of the reasons we chose Heifer Project is that it is world wide and more of the ‘teach a man/woman to fish’ where they can see some real progress and benefits from their own two hands.If you haven’t heard of the Heifer Project before now… check it out.

DSC_3721I don’t know if you saw the previous post about the generator… well it’s out there working now!!! A power failure in the neighborhood… It might even be load shedding (this is when there isn’t enough power being produced to cover all the homes, so they cut some off).

In closing… I hope you all have a HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY, that Santa brought you a little something too.

Stay tuned for more later…. Postcards?


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home Leave

We’ve been home for a little more than a week now. Fortunately things smoothed out as the week came to a close. The generator is installed and the grass is repairing itself. We will probably never need it, the generator, but it’s here just in case.

I spent a little time in the sewing room. I found a cute purse pattern… well itbowtucks looked cute on the front of the pattern. I was looking for something I could carry the tablet in… when I wanted to take it with me. I used one of the fabrics my DH brought back from Rwanda. I think it is my favorite fabric of the bunch. The pattern is called Bow Tucks by Quilts Illustrated, lots of places online to get your very own.

The mail was good to me while I was gone too. I got a long awaitedpaisley Paisley block from the Sparkly Chickens Receivers Choice Swap. Jacqui’s interpretation of a paisley. I think it will go very well with the others. She also included some of her hand dyed fabrics… they are yummy. There are still one or two blocks outstanding… but no worries.

chickI also got a birthday chick from Cheryl, also a Sparkly Chick. She also included some Fat Quarters. I didn’t really notice until I took the picture, how well the 2 FQs play together….


I also received a book from a Pickle, (another Yahoo group I belong to). She went shopping at a book sale and when the book arrived it wasn’t her taste. I on the other hand love it. I have a replacement picked out to send, but I have to figure out the best way to send it…. it will take weeks… but by then it will really be a surprise!

While in the states I was able to meet up with my Bee Pals, as it was a regular meeting day. We met at noon, and Janel served us a delicious Salmon Chowder, sandwiches, salad and a Sorbet Bar for dessert. Another surprise was a member that used be with us came. What a delight it was to see Mary Alice. It was fun hearing all about what each one was doing, seeing what they were working on and showing what they had recently finished. I think I miss regularly meeting up with friends the most. I do get out but not regularly, there is just something about hearing and keeping up with the lives of friends in a really informal friendly setting. I also tried to meet up with Karen, who is both a Pickle and a Sparkly Chick, but she had just started a new job, and our time just didn’t match up. Maybe next time!!!

I also met up with a couple of others (Sue and Sarah, and Kim and Chris)… as well as visited some quilt shops. My favorites in the Chicagoland area, The Fabric Center in Morris, in Willowbrook, Pieceful Heart in Lisle, Prairie Stitches in Oswego, and a new one Gentler Times Stitching in Naperville, along with Erica's in South Bend, IN  I didn’t buy much…. some fat quarters, a couple of yards here and there, some patterns… and a notion or two. All of it is still in transit! I shipped 5 boxes back to South Africa.

I wish I could have visited everyone, but I was making 2-3 round trips from South Bend to Chicagoland every, week…. the drive is a little over 100 miles each way, plus tolls… and some of those days were LONG.

Thanksgiving was a great event. In 2002 we (me and DH ) started making the trek to South Bend for Thanksgiving. It would take us a full day in good weather, much longer in bad. This year we had 4 generations together and even some pictures.  Family come in from Virginia, Oregon, Illinois and Arizona. It was amazing to see everyone at the same time. My sister came up from Missouri to visit for a couple of days too. I haven’t seen her in nearly 4 years, which was a very long time for us. We spent one day in Amish Country and the other day shopping at some of our favorite places. IKEA, Cost Plus (our mom used to take us to the original store in San Francisco when we were kids), and an ethnic grocery Caputos for some fun and different foods. There were a couple of other stores too… Like Penzeys Spices -I gave her a gift certificate for her birthday, (she had to shop online) but thought a store would be a fun place to take her too. There are some spices in the boxes too.

I can’t believe how fast 3 weeks went by. I can’t believe how much I spent…. but it was all stuff we needed… or wanted …. or…..

As Always…. more later

PS…. 3 of the 4 boxes of goodies arrived today!!! I even got it all sorted and put away. The dogs are very happy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Home Again!

I’m home!!! There is so much to tell that I scarcely know where to begin….

Posting a blog from a tablet or any device with a virtual keyboard is NOT fun. As portable as the tablet was, it does have it’s limitations, so I found it less than optimum for posting to the blog. While the tablet has 2 cameras, they are not really built for taking pictures… I did snap a few on the way home and post them to Facebook, but it was a little unwieldy.

The 3 weeks we were gone was way to short in some respects and much to long in others. I did miss the dogs… Once we were home here… Saturday morning, we unpacked and collected the dogs from the kennel. They were as happy to see us as we were to see them. Things really went down hill after that!!! By Monday evening, if you were to have handed us plane tickets for home, we would have gladly gone!!!

While we were away, the power went out several times, twice were for 20 plus hours, which means everything in the refrigerator and freezers had to go.big-blue To top it off, another power outage over night from Saturday to Sunday morning, which meant no coffee -- another not so good thing. This will hopefully become a thing of the past, as we are FINALLY getting the compound generator installed. We’ve only been here a year and a half… It’s a monster of a thing and will reside in my back yard, and will be affectionately be called ‘big blue’. Hopefully we won’t every have to find out how loud it is.

On our visit back to the states we saw doctors, friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, nieces, nephews and a grandbaby!!!! grand-baby-DEH-0227

I’ll share a little more on all of that later. In the meantime, here is a ladybug.