Saturday, January 31, 2009

Visions of Clones and Drones

The Boy Cousins Starwars Marathon Sleepover is three movies down and four to go. We had to include the animated Clone Wars movie. I am having a blast watching with five grandsons and hubby, too! Makes me think it should be a yearly event. Sounds like Jabba the Hutt voices coming from the other room. I hope the boys get a little sleep.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ready to launch. . .

I couldn't help it! I am very excited about hosting the Boy Cousin Starwar Marathon Sleepover tomorrow night!

This morning I thought I should make sure that we have Yoda Soda on hand. I stole this and other ideas from Nicole the mother of all party planners here and here. Yoda Soda doesn't stain, doesn't have caffeine and all five like it.

That was so much fun, that I couldn't help preparing a few packages of Wookiee Cookies.

And then Sith Sticks just sounded like a fun thing to have on hand.

That's when I began to wonder if this could get out of hand.

Still. . . Ewok Eggs looked so delicious and it is way too early for Easter. And then I spied some Yoda Yogos--oh, this could go on and on.

I decided that I had to quit and then I realized that Padme Pops were an absolute must. Impossible, absolutely impossible to watch a movie without some popcorn!

I am going to quit now--even though it would be good to have some Vader Veggies and surely there are some other galaxy fruits as well. Oh, no, milkduds! I just remembered milkduds!

I almost forgot another staple, Pizza the Hutt.

And yes, I do have the movies on hand—unless we decide to watch the newer ones. . . I am hoping for an out of this world galaxy experience with Grandpa, 5 boys, 7 movies, food, and a little sleep. What fun!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tutorial for My Sister

Okay, so here is one thing that I love about my sister, Donna. She thinks I know things. That is why she drove four hours on Tuesday to have me teach her computer stuff. Everything that we did she could have discovered on her own but it was fun to work it out together.

Now, if you stumbled on this blog, and you are not interested in the technicality of what we did, you are dismissed. Thanks for stopping by. I totally, totally understand.

Here was my tutorial agenda especially designed for Donna.
  • Shortcuts for copy, cut, and paste

  • How keep several windows open at one time while in Internet Explorer

  • Put several shortcuts on her desktop

  • Find free blog backgrounds

  • Install a new free background

  • Choose a free picture to put in the blog header

  • Learn how to follow and manage favorite blogs

  • Sign up and navigate Google Analytics

  • Sign up and begin exploring Facebook

  • Install Donna’s Netscape address book on Gmail
The hardest thing that we did was find a picture for Donna’s blog header. We found several sites for free pictures but none that really worked well. Finally we gave up and decided to take a photo of our own. However, we wanted Donna’s pictures to reflect her so we put together a setting that would work and we photographed. That was complicated because it was midday and by a bright window. We tried various options with the flash and without and finally decided that we had to cover the window—no small task in the snow, with a ladder and duct tape but persistence paid off. When we finally had a picture that would work, we needed to further personalize the picture so in Photoshop, we put a view from Donna’s farm in a new blank canvas. That was easy enough. We just put Donna’s photo of her yard as the first layer and then put the “booknook” picture as the next layer and erased the background blanket from the window.

Discovering how to put a border around the
picture and figuring out how to make the colors work with the background that we had installed was a challenge. For the correct colors, we did a “print screen” of her blog and put that in Photoshop and then used the “eyedropper tool” to get the brown and blue color from her background. Then we discarded the “print screen”.

I don’t know the correct way to add a border but this worked. We had to flatten the image and then change the canvas size, making it slightly larger. Then we could select the white around the edge and use the “paintbucket” to pour in the blue color.

(Click on the picture to go to Donna's blog.)

Both of our hubbys get concerned that we spend too much time on the computer. So on our evening phone conversations we were also able to give an honest report to that disconcerting question, “What did you do?” that I tend to interpet, "What did you do all day long while I worked hard to put bread on the table?" We ate our oatmeal breakfast, watched the birds, attended a Bible study, toured our new church, cooked assembled meals and ate at home, went to a car wash, watched a movie and of course, worked a little lot almost all of the time on our computers. What a happy visit from my sister, Donna.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On This Historic Day . . .

Today I had the privilege of spending a few hours with grandchildren because there was no school. First, we had a couple of Christmas gifts that needed to be exchanged. I planned to take the children bowling because even a grandma with a limp can still push a ball down the lane. And I will say, I kept up quite adequately. First though, I wanted them to watch the inauguration of our new President Obama with me. I hurried the boys along while shopping telling them that it was important to get home and turn on the TV.

It was moving to watch the whole inauguration program. Truly this was an historic day. I am proud that we have an African American President. It is the right time. I am proud of a country where the transfer of power is gracious. I was in awe of the whole schedule from starting out at St. John’s Church on Lafayette Square for a prayer service. We went in that little church on our Washington DC visit and now it all seemed so much more significant. I prayed that this President would hear God’s voice and be a person of integrity. I prayed for his safety and the safety of his family. The program, the special music, Michelle’s dress, the swearing in, the speech and the prayers were all well done and fascinating. It was stunning to observe the crowds of people!

It was incredible to hear about the moving-in process—not only for the Presidential family but for all of the staff. Imagine walking into the White House and calling it, “home”! What fun that the Bush daughters showed the Obama daughters their bedrooms and how to jump on the tall beds. (I know, that was on another day—not today.) I felt sadness and respect and gratefulness for former President Bush. I hope that history will treat him more kindly than the voices of these last months.

What fun for me to watch the ceremony with children. Of course, they cannot appreciate the significance of this day. But they did notice details . . . for a few brief moments we had President Bush, Former Vice President Chaney, Vice President Biden and President Elect Obama. Then the clock struck 12:00 and even though President Obama had not yet taken the oath of office, he officially became the president and then took the oath within a few minutes. They chuckled to see that even President Obama could get nervous and need his lines repeated during the oath. One child wondered why they use the word “swear”? Yes, and to them the speech seemed long, and they did not understand the appeal of Aretha Franklin. They noticed people that did not close their eyes during the prayer and wondered if we should stand when everyone was told to rise.

This is undeniably presumptuous, but I will say it anyhow. I hope someday as these children become parents and their children study about this significant day, at least one of them will draw on this memory and say, “Yes, I remember, I watched that inauguration with my Grandma.” Perhaps as an afterthought—or not, “. . . and then we went bowling”. . . our own inaugural party.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How a hero thinks. . .

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tired of Arial and Times New Roman?

If you love fonts and better still, free fonts, check out this blog that I accidently stumbled across yesterday. I had lots of fun looking through these sites and downloaded a bunch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And we are also going deaf!

Yesterday in church I leaned over and whispered to my hubby, "Do you smell fire?"

To which he replied, "Yes, it is a small choir."

Knocked the wind right out of my sails . . .

This is one of those things that I had to process. I just couldn’t write it out right away. It was two weeks ago on Sunday.

Let me just say, it was really icy out.

Remember, too, I did break my leg this summer and am beginning to walk with more confidence--I thought.

And did I mention that it was really icy—the parking lot, the sidewalks, everywhere ice!

I walked into the ladies washroom at church and was met by Peggy—4 years younger than me, I think.

She said, “I saw Bob [my hubby] walking in today [outfitted in his orange parking lot attendant vest] and thought, ‘Isn’t that nice of him to help that little old lady walk in and then I realized it was you.’”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More on trace it back . . .

In our Adult Community at church today we talked about the correlation of forgiveness and a right perspective on the providential care of our Lord. We particularly looked at the life of Joseph.

If we look back on our lives—in a sense trace it back, we can sometimes see God’s design in using even the ugly things in our lives to work his design into our lives. I appreciate these quotes from Ray Pritchard that relate to this topic.

On this side we do not see it. On this side we do not understand . . . If the story of Joseph teaches us anything it is that there are no unconnected events in life.

The world says, "Seeing is believing." If I see it, I will believe it. But that principle is reversed in the spiritual realm. God says, "Believing is seeing." We will see God's hand once we believe it is truly there.

Now, I can't always see it, even from a distance tracing my life back. I think that I still would have chosen it differently, some of the hurts . . . some of the really tough times. Still I was challenged about "no unconnected events." God used/is using them all.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Are You IT?

Nope, I have never been tagged. But I have a more popular sister, Donna, that was tagged. Not that I mind, mind you. Vicariously, I decided to do a geneology of Donna’s tag. And here are the fun things that I discovered.

Like the game Telephone, that we used to play during inside recess when I was in 4th grade, this tag lost some of its quirkiness after several generations. Even so, the random facts were fun to read and so I will list my favorite randomite from each list.

I liked reading Donna’s #4: “I like writing poems. Most of my real-time friends and family know this one. I write a poem every year for my Christmas letter. This year it was based on the "12 days of Christmas", reviewing the 12 months of the year.” She posted this on January 8, 2009. Her blog title is Donna’s Booknook.

Donna was tagged by 52 year old Cindy of Letters from Midlife. Cindy posted on January 7, 2009 that she used to be clinically deaf and was healed by her Grandma’s prayers.

She was tagged by Kristina who posted on January 5, 2009 that her second job was clearing logging slash and thistles at Mt. Rushmore when she was 15 years old. (Her first job only lasted 3 days.) That sounds so exotic since my 1st through at least 50th job was babysitting. Kristina’s blog title is Meadowlark Days and she lives somewhere in the US so I am going to guess Nebraska because of a favorite picture of a meadowlark that we have that we bought in the cornhusker state. But then again, I suppose S. Dakota is a better guess.

Kristina was tagged by Martha who posted on October 27, 2008. Hmmm yes, Kristina, it had been awhile ago. Martha says, “I am going to get some raw milk this week, I have to drive out of's like bootleg, can you believe it? $7 per gallon.” Her blog is called, The Scrumptious Life and she is from Ohio. I grew up on a farm in Ohio. There has got to be less than seven degrees of separation between us. My dad used to squirt raw milk to the cats for a treat while he was milking.

And Martha was tagged by Julie who posted on October 20, 2008. Julie admits, “I don't like chunks in fruit mixes. Fruit pies, jellies, jams, yogurt. I only like 'em smooth. Chunks make me want to gag.” And that reminds me of 11 of my 12 grandchildren. Julie’s husband is in the military on Active Duty. Her blog is We Are All Well Blessed. I want to bless her and her hubby and family. Thanks for your sacrifice!

Julie was tagged by Tiff who posts on The Boren Life. Oh boy, do I need more of someone like her in my life. On October 15th, she says, “I'm an organizational FREAK! My pantry is organized by food type, whether canned, boxed, etc.. and labeled accordingly. I won't even mention the ROY G. BIV action going on in my closet.” And get this, she is a mama of two sons. Wow! Hats off to Tiff.

Tiff was tagged by another mama of two boys, Courtney. Did I mention that I have two sons—although they are now full grown and papa’s in their own homes. And this is Courtney’s quirk that I totally am in compliance with, “I always fall asleep on my right side. Sometimes I think I'll change things up a bit and start out on my left side, but sleep NEVER comes to me unless I switch back over to my right side. I must have been that way in the womb.” Her post on Courtney and the Boys was posted also on October 15th. I am not surprised that Julie (above) was on her task so promptly. Oh, and also, Courtney was the first person that I ran across that posted the rules. So now I know. . .

Courtney was tagged by Jaysi of In Bird’s Nest. Jaysi from Arizona posted her quirkiness on October 14th. “I can only drink certain drinks from certain types of containers. Milk can only be consumed from a glass. Water needs to be in a plastic cup and preferably with a straw. Soda also only consumed from plastic. I don't drink much orange juice, but when I do it must be in a short juice glass. I know it is weird, but I swear it affects the taste!” That actually sounds perfectly normal to me.

Jaysi was tagged by AVT Coach not to be confused by ATV. I resonated with her 2nd quirky fact. She is afraid of cats. Oh yes, and she posted that list including the rules on October 3rd.

I decided to go 10 generations so lastly, AVT Coach (that is so hard to write!) was tagged by Miruspeg of Sydney, Austrailia! And I did not read very far—item #1 before I found common ground. “I normally lock the front door about 10 minutes before I leave the house via the back door. I have to say out loud 'I am locking the door' because if I don't I have to go back and check if I have locked it......obviously my attention span is shorter than 10 minutes!” Miruspeg posted her list on September 30, 2008 on Middle Age Ramblings.

Can’t help it. I have to go back one more. . . because that is as far as I can go. Miruspeg said that she was tagged from 8,608 miles away. Now how did she know that? I have no idea where Octomom lives. I do know that means that Octo has eight kids. You just can’t help but admire her especially when she says, “I hate, hate, hate being a foregone while I may be barefoot, homeschooling and pregnant in the kitchen, I'll be wearing an apple green push-up bra and listening to Billy Squier. Just sayin'.” She wrote this post on her blog titled, Octamom on September 30, 2008.

This is the extent of my sleuthing or as I prefer to think of it my social networking research. To quote my son who once wrote, “I am not nosy. I just like to know things.”

Monday, January 5, 2009

Remembering Kay

Catherine Collamore Gisel
September 30, 1919 - January 1, 2009

Recently, a cousin of mine, Lois emailed this note: “It's too bad we wait until after a person is gone to give them affirmation and say the nice things! When we were kids I used to hear the song -- in fact maybe mom sang it – ‘Give me the roses while I live’ and it ended with ‘useless the flowers that you give, after the soul has gone.’”

Fortunately, we have the joy of knowing that we expressed our love and appreciation to our stepmom. One week ago today, Kay seemed healthy, and was so happy to be celebrating Christmas with my family. Our family gave a memory book to our stepmom. It contained photos and letters telling of favorite times with Kay and things that we loved about her. Kay was so touched by the book and cried when she received it. We were happy that we took the time to write the letters and for Donna's creative endeavor to make it look beautiful. Three days later, Kay died suddenly of a massive stroke. Today was her funeral.

Funerals challenge me to live life better. They are reminders of what is really important.

Kay was a good wife for my dad. Married 19 years and 4 months, they had a special love. I stayed with Dad for a week in April 2008 while Kay went to visit her daughter. While there, I saw again how much my dad loved Kay. He told me that they never went to sleep without a good night kiss and prayer. I was with Dad and Kay for a several days this spring before Dad died. They were not able to sleep in the same room because of Dad’s illness but each night he would walk across the living room and I could hear them pray together and kiss before bed. It was very dear. They were sweet together. I remember one weekend in Chicago when Dad was 85 years old. He proudly carried Kay’s purse for the entire weekend because it was too heavy for her. They usually walked holding hands. Dad’s face lit up when Kay walked in the room. Dad often remarked that Kay was so pretty—and she was a beautiful person. Dad was proud of her.

Kay with the youngest two step great grands, Jacob and Madelyn Kay, named after Grandma Kay.

Kay wrote poems. Tonight, Bob was at church working as a volunteer. The house was quiet and I looked and found some of Kay’s poetry. Kay had a very sensitive, quiet, gentle spirit. I thought about Kay, her love for beauty, vacation times, her children, her grandchildren and her husband. She loved nature and appreciated being able to see and hear. She disliked the wind and cold days. She dreaded old age and the thought of going to a nursing home. Others’ pain brought Kay grief. Her poems were permeated with her faith in God. Her favorite season was Spring. She loved flowers and trees and birds and a dog named, Ruff.

Here are the titles of some of her poems: My Prayer, Spring—to Me, Where Beauty Lies, Linda, Plea to the Wind, A Trip to the Smokies, Vacation’s Over, Springtime in the Woods, A Green Cathedral, To a Cardinal, To My Husband, Counting My Blessings, Birthday Thoughts, Birthday Thoughts to Jerry, Portrait, An Unwelcome Guest, Ode To a Rocking Chair, Mother’s Day, My Baptism, Through My Windowpane, Spring Garden, Special Thoughts, A Winter Day, God’s Gifts, Frustration, Nursing Home Blues, Peace, Spring, To Robby, and To Ruff.

He is There

Each day,
He’s there beside me,
As I walk
The path of life;
Be there clouds or sunshine,
He is there
To urge me on.
When I fall or stumble
O’er the rocks of time,
He is there –
His arms extended
To soften all the blows.

When at night
I feel so weary
From the problems of the day;
And I kneel to thank Him
For all His blessedness;
He’s there –
To say “I love you,
Sleep now,
Rest in peace.”

by Catherine Collamore Gisel

Thursday, January 1, 2009