Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Happy Birthday, Jimmy (my child of the 70s)! It was so good to see you this week -- we had a wonderful time. As always, the entire world celebrates your birthday in a big way.

On a less serious note, the final vote is in and cut-out cookies have won the poll, even without Christy voting more than once. I guess I should believe that since we (along with our friends and families) managed to eat over 300 of them this Christmas. The final cookie count was just shy of 1100 cookies baked (not counting chocolate pretzels, which everyone knows are NOT cookies).

The diets start now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This is for you, Crit!

Sorry, but you may only vote ONCE for the cookie of your choice. You can't stuff the ballot box like I know you always do for the All Star Game! You can always try logging in under an assumed name or from a different IP address...

In the meantime, think on these (308 cutouts -- so many it took 2 pictures to get them all in!):

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

In search of...

Anyone from my family can vouch for the fact that I'm fanatical about baking at Christmas!

For years I have searched for the perfect springerle recipe, which would produce fluffy, puffy masterpieces with crunchy tops (like the ones the German bakery used to make in Cincinnati). Each year I try a new recipe and each year I'm disappointed with the results.

Don't know what a springerle is? Here's a picture:
The goal is to have the design sharply cut on the top (like these) and the bottoms puffed out and soft & chewy (like the photo below).

I have high hopes for this year's candidate -- a recipe from a website called How much better could it get? I'll let you know how they turn out by the end of the week.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Roseanne Rosannandana

We're getting pretty handy lately!! Last week we replaced a pendant light AND an under-cabinet xenon light, both of which were (surprisingly) not hard to do. Then our dishwasher broke and we got a new one. Our friend Mark helped us take out the old one and showed us what to do to install the new one -- which we did ALL BY OURSELVES!! That's the good news.

We finished the install and turned the water back on. The new hose we'd just connected was great, but the hot water (which had just been working fine) started gushing water as soon as we opened it up! So now we have to call a plumber to fix the leak that developed for no reason at all!!

As the thought went through my head "Well, it just goes to show you -- it's always something! If it's not one thing, it's another", I thought of Roseanne Rosannadanna. . . Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Goodbye Uncle Lloyd

My uncle Lloyd died on Tuesday. I really loved him and I wish I could write better so that I could express how deeply sad I am at his passing and how much I'll miss him, even though we seldom spoke and saw each other every few years.

He was always (and always will be) larger than life to me. Having settled in the LA area after World War II, he would come to visit us in Cincinnati once a year when he came to the midwest for the Worldbook Convention in Chicago. It was always in the winter and we'd all go to the airport to pick him up. I remember how his wool overcoat (certainly only worn once a year for that trip to the land of the cold) felt on my cheek as I snuggled next to him in the back seat on the ride home. We would usually not even make out of Kentucky to come home before he and my dad would have a heated 'discussion' about some political or religious issue neither would ever back down on. Sometimes I think that confrontation was something they both looked forward to -- a verbal step back in time to being 'brothers' .

We'd go to Graeters and Lloyd would buy a pint of chocolate ice cream and ask for a spoon -- I'd just wait for the look on the cashier's face as the realization dawned that he was just going to sit and eat it all.

He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face (and great dimples)! He had a beautiful tenor voice and I'd love to hear him singing scales as he got ready in the morning -- that always made Uncle Lloyd's visits real.

He'd send us See's suckers every Christmas and I can never see them without thinking of him.

Lloyd was one of the most passionately caring people I've ever known and was actively involved in the community well into his old age, working on Habitat houses and volunteering at food pantries. He was a champion of 'everyman' and every time he visited we'd hear about the new things he was involved in and the problems in the country he saw and most wanted to be solved. I have to admit that I got my first taste of Liberal thinking from my uncle Lloyd!

In my adult years he's always sent us lovely, long Christmas notes in beautifully hand-made and lettered cards, always signing them 'Lloyd Henry'. Each New Year's Eve we'd call him to say hi and catch up. I'm really going to miss that card and phone call this year!

Though he lived in California, he knew everyone we did (a strange thing to a little girl). He looked so much like my grandmother and my dad, yet he lived in an exotic place where Santa wore shorts and my cousins could go to the beach on Christmas day. He was one of us, but not exactly. When he'd come to visit and he and my dad & Ningle would talk about the people they remembered and the 'old days', I'd get a rare glimpse of my dad as a child and our family as a larger unit. Because he looked so much like them, having him around in the last twenty years was like having Ning and my dad back again long after they had died. With his passing, I feel like my last link with them is gone and I know that something precious has slipped away forever.

He was the only person in my family to call me Annie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never forget

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the 'war to end all wars' was over.

This is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day. These days, WWII is becoming a dim memory, some people are even denying the Holocaust, and few people alive even remember WWI. Most people in America are totally unaware of the loss and suffering it caused worldwide, but especially in Europe. Last year, I quoted some great poetry about WWI, but this year I think I'll leave it to the images (don't worry -- no stacks of corpses) & numbers.

The United States suffered 57,476 casualties, Britain lost 703,000 and 1,663,000 were wounded.
Worldwide, both military & civilian, over 20,000,000 died and 21,000,000 were wounded.

We can't even imagine numbers like that and, God willing, won't ever have to again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember remember the fifth of November

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!
(Made known to millions of Americans in the movie V for Vendetta)

Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot
Words of "Remember Remember" refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

The Tradition begins...
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".

Credit to:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

If there was ever any doubt that a dog can truly become part of the family, check out my photographic proof. Aunt Cathy, get ready for Turner to line up with the kids at Thanksgiving for his squirt of whipped cream!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Have a Happy Mole Day!

Having missed 'Talk Like a Pirate Day', I vowed not to miss Mole Day! Mole is 6.02 x 10^23. I'm no math-head and I can barely understand what that means, except that it's a big number and mathematicians use it to calculate big things. Mole Day is (for obvious reasons) October 23 from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm -- that much I can understand.

To celebrate the occasion, here's a cheerful, geeky video for you:

Happy Mole Day to You!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Canning Applesauce

I just had to post something because I couldn't stand to have my most recent post be one for a handbag contest . . . it's just so shallow!

I spent the whole afternoon canning applesauce made from the apples off our own trees. Since the economy's been so volatile we've been half-joking about how we could live off our land (raise livestock in the barn, eat fish from the pond, plant the entire front acreage in garden) if we had to. I suppose if Obama decides to be 'fair' and re-distribute the wealth of everyone who he thinks has too much (everyone who makes more than the poverty level - not including himself, of course) and the entire economy collapses because all the businesses can't be productive any longer, we'll be okay! There -- that's as political as I'm going to get.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Walking the Bridge - Labor Day 2008

Well, I finally have put together all the pictures from our trip up north to walk the bridge. I'm still waiting on a few pictures, so some might be added later.

On Saturday we went across the bridge to St. Ignace and, as a birthday treat for me, Kally, Carla & Mark W's mom, Jean, decided to go up to Cedarville. We used to go there every summer and rent one of the cottages at Patrick's Landing in the Snows Channel (the Les Cheneaux Islands). That area ranks right up there with London and Hawaii as a favorite place for me! Anyway, visiting Patrick's again (and going to have a cookout at Mark W's parents' campground later on) made it one of the best days I've had in a long time. Patrick's hadn't changed much at all and the whole day brought back many really happy memories of wonderful vacations going there and then (at the campsite dinner) camping with my family. The pictures from Patrick's will really bring back memories for Cindy (make sure she sees them Christy -- I know I can't count on Don) but no one else will care about them at all. Thanks for looking anyway, though!

The rest of the pictures are from the ferry to Mackinac Island and walking the bridge on Monday.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wanna Fight?

The Brits can be strange people. I think the chicken will win...

Credit must be given where credit is due:
many thanks to Ham at London Daily Photo -- go see his original post.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Strange Days Indeed!

These are strange days! I never thought the day would come when I would:
  1. Intentionally watch a Hillary Clinton speech
  2. Applaud part of the Hillary Clinton speech (she DID do something historic for women in politics!)
  3. Feel moved by Bill Clinton's obvious pride in and affection for his wife
  4. Admire Hillary Clinton for her determination and class
  5. Believe that Hillary Clinton would have been the right candidate for the Democrats to nominate for either president (which should have been their first choice) or vice-president (which should have been their second choice)
  6. Feel bad for Hillary Clinton because, after garnering 1/2 of the Democratic votes, she's being discarded and forced into 'unity'
  7. Believe that Hillary Clinton should have stayed the course and NOT conceded
  8. Dislike another woman in politics more than Hillary Clinton (I'll leave my 2 or 3 readers to guess what woman that is)
  9. Publish a political post on my blog

Yet all of these things have come to pass. Strange days . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Roadtrip to visit Jim

As promised, here are the pictures from our recent roadtrip to go see young Jim in DC.
Click on the photo to link to the slideshow. If you want to see the captions for the photos, you'll need to click 'back to full album' on the slideshow page.

We started in Cleveland, going to Jacobs Field to see the Indians play (beat) the Tigers. Then we went on to DC. We stayed in a posh Westin in Embassy Row, right off of Dupont Circle and the Metro. Saturday was spent sight-seeing around Washington (you'll know where we went when you look at the pictures) and on Sunday we went to the Nationals new ballpark to see them play (beat) the Reds. We were in the second row right behind the Reds' dugout and had a GREAT time!

It was so good to see Jim and get to spend time with him. We had lots of lively and non-confrontational discussions, too. Thanks for showing us around, Jimmy!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I love Detroit (Part 2) or Where did they find an orange jumpsuit big enough for the big guy?

I know that I have a couple posts I should be working on -- like Christy's long-overdue HAPPY BIRTHDAY THAT ENDS IN A ZERO (August 1) and putting up our pictures from the trip to DC.

I can't pass up the newest development in the continuing story of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick: his first night in jail. Tomorrow he'll appeal the decision, but State Attorney General Mike Cox will probably charge him with a felony assault on an officer of the court.

The whole thing has become an embarrassment to the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan. He really should resign!

As to those other posts -- I'll catch up on them this weekend.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Well, since I had a current pic of Danny for his birthday last year and a toddler pic this year, I thought I'd reverse the process for Charlie. Look back here (under August 5) to see his toddler picture.

Happy Birthday, Charlie!! I'm so happy that you're loving your job and you're really feeling good about life right now. I'm also REALLY happy (and blessed) that you're back in Michigan!

I love you, Char!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Listening to: Wear Your Love Like Heaven - Donovan

Young Jim gave me his iPod, loaded with 800 songs, and I've been having such a good time playing with it. I've added a lot of my own and have been going through the ones already there to see if I like them or not. In the process, I've learned a few things:
  • iTunes is so much fun (and I think it could get expensive if I'm not careful)! I've downloaded lots of songs, including the essential Donovan collection and Quinn the Eskimo (the Kinks' version, not the Dylan one). I didn't know you could get that crusty old stuff on iTunes.

  • My newest favorites are Robert Plant & Alison Kraus -- I love Raising Sand (especially Please Read the Letter, Killing the Blues and Gone, Gone, Gone! I can't get over how beautifully their voices blend and I never would have expected it. I'm really in danger of listening until I'm sick of them.

  • In the end, most of my favorite music is the stuff I listened to in my teens and twenties. I've added some new artists I like very much, but Crosby, Stills & Nash (and all their bands before and after) and the Beatles are still the best! I also still like everything Dylan did, but he REALLY can't sing -- his Quinn the Eskimo is painful to listen to!

  • For the most part, everything Elvis Costello does sounds the same. I really only like 3 of his songs.

  • For some reason, most of the music I listen to lately makes me sad -- either because it's inherently so or because it reminds me of the passage of time. The saddest song for me in the entire collection is one of Jim's -- Iron & Wine's "Upward Over the Mountain." I don't think I'll ever listen to it again.

  • It's a funny thing that I'm just now getting an iPod, when the rest of the world is moving on to iPhones. We didn't get a laptop, either, until Charlie gave us his old one. It seems that I always depend on the kindness (and electronics) of family members!

Thanks for the iPod, Jim!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Danny!

I looked for a good grown-up picture of you, but couldn't top last year's! So here's my favorite little-Danny pic instead. Hope your birthday is a great one!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Finally -- an update

I haven't posted in over a month! I know that the three people who read my blog have been wondering where I've been, so I guess I'll just have to do a bunch of posts to catch up.

I'll start with some pictures from our trip to Florida (in April!) to go to Charlie's graduation from SDGA (San Diego Golf Academy). We had a great time -- the luncheon was lovely (at one of the Disney Resort hotels), we got to meet his friends and then in the evening we had dinner at Ruth's Chris with all the in-town family.
Charlie's graduating class
Charlie & friends after graduation
The graduate
Charlie, Jim & Don at dinner
Cousins at dinner

I got to spend some really quality time with Christy -- an entire day of just the two of us at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival and then another day with her and Lily hanging out and going to a wonderful fabric shop (sorry, no pictures from the shop).

Cockatiels made of flowers

We rented a convertible for the week and went to Cocoa Beach one day. We had perfect weather and even though we didn't stay long -- just long enough to have a drink out at the end of the pier, sitting in the sun & watching the surfers -- getting there & back was half the fun.

Convertible Unc

Cocoa Beach Pelican at Cocoa Beach
(You should have known I'd get a bird picture in somehow!)

We passed the Red Bug Lake exit every time we drove back to Altamonte Springs, so one day we went there just to hang out. We saw some big carp and some moorhens, but not a single red bug.

Red Bug Lake

Moorhens at Red Bug Lake
(I think they were nesting in the rushes to the right)

Anyway, that's it for the April trip to Florida -- more later on what's going on here in Michigan.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I love Detroit!

I haven't posted in such a long time and I could break my blog-silence by posting about the things that have kept me busy lately: Charlie's graduation & our trip to Florida, my garden & life's stuff (I'll get to that later). Instead, I'm choosing to post about...

Detroit's mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick! Here's a man who has "allegedly" been involved in bid-rigging, a sex/text messaging scandal & a secret whistle-blower lawsuit settlement (check out all the stories here) and because of Detroit's city statutes, the city council can't get rid of him. So...they finally passed a resolution to request Governor Granholm's removal of him as mayor. What happens next, you might ask???

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick VETOED the city council's resolution to request the governor to remove him from office! That should stop it. And, just 2 weeks ago, Mayor K. announced that from now on, all text messages on city-owned cellphones will be considered private. Hmm - a little late on that one.

All chuckles aside, this is really sad for Detroit...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Don!

Theme blogs are very popular and this seems to have inadvertently become a birthday blog! I hope it's just because we are related to so many people who have birthdays in the spring and that I can soon get back to the business of my very-interesting observations about the unimportant.

But before I do, Don has an important, ending-in-zero birthday today and I won't say how old he is, but it's amazing to think that we're all reaching such advanced ages. I remember when my parents turned as old as he is and I thought they were ancient! He's not over the hill, but is certainly standing on the summit. Hope your birthday is a happy one, little Donnie -- we love you & will see you soon!!!!
Anyway, I wanted to post this pic because it was taken at one of my favorite places (who can guess where?) If you can't guess, follow this link or this one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tahbee!

Since I've only been your auntie in recent years, I don't have any embarrassing old baby pictures of you to post . . . so I had to settle for one of the few (the only) picture I had of you where you were the only adult in it.

I'm so happy you're a part of our family! We love you and wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Early Easter

This is interesting, though pointless. . .

This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives, and only the most elderly of our population (95 years old or older) have ever seen it this early before. None of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so only those 95 or older were around for that!).

The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. No one alive today has seen it any earlier or will ever see it any earlier than this year, barring some Star Trek-like miracle of science that keeps us alive for centuries!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun

I've posted before about the joy of being the help desk at my work. Now I've come to find out that the problems and frustrations I face are nothing new at all . . .

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm tired of winter. Why is it that the shortest month, February, always feels like the longest one?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lily!

It's hard to believe Lily's a year old -- the time has flown by! Happy Birthday, little one!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Mentoring Website

Our mentoring program now has a website -- Check it out! The more hits we get, the higher we'll go on search engines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I voted

I voted today . . . which may not sound like a major thing. This year we had to sign a paper stating which ballot (R or D) we wanted and that information will be given to the party whose ballot was chosen. Many people didn't vote, either in protest of that loss of privacy or because both parties were upset with Michigan for moving the state's primary to January 15.

So I vacillated -- I won't ... I will ... I won't ... back and forth -- and in the end, I voted. I couldn't stand the idea of missing a presidential primary (it would have been the first national election I had skipped in over 30 years of voting)!

Does my vote matter? I doubt it. Do I care that the Republicans think I'm one of them? Absolutely! They'll find out, though, when they start spamming me. 11 months of political phone calls and junk mail are in my future -- imagine my delight!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year

Well, the crazyness that is Christmas (and especially Buehlermas that follows) is over. Though the trees are still up -- because I haven't had the energy to take all the decorations down and put them away -- I figured it was time for a recap of the highlights of the season.

Probably the best thing was having all the guys home for extended periods and in pretty relaxed moods. I know that they got bored, which was unavoidable because there isn't much to do here, but it meant so much to me to see them! And an added bonus was that we had *almost* 3 weeks without a fight . . . only one or two notable skirmishes and apologies were actually spoken (or attempted)! Considering how passionate we all are about our faith, politics & our own particular points of view, that was a Christmas Miracle.

Here are the rest of the high(low)lights, with some illustration:

* I had fun decorating this year. It was, perhaps, my best Christmas house ever. I really enjoyed having an extra week to get ready.

* I didn't bake enough kinds of cookies. There will be more next year.

* The divorce-gate (the piece of trash I dragged home -- actually, which I had 3 other people help me drag home -- and which was the evidence that I'd "gone too far" and which put Jim over the edge) was FINALLY up and even decorated in time for Christmas! Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of it until the snow day. The blob to the left of it is a lovely lighted grapevine tree that Kally made for me.

* We all had fun at Grandma's -- holidays have definitely improved now that the littlest little is in 4th grade. Cathy looked stronger and like she felt better than she did at Thanksgiving and that made me very happy.

* I got the stomach flu in the wee hours of Christmas morning and pretty much missed Christmas. I couldn't eat for 3 days, which probably was a good thing.

* Everyone, except Paul, made it here for Buehlersmas. We really missed him & I hope he reads this sometime to know that. It just wasn't complete without him. I felt like this Christmas was especially precious because last year neither he nor Christy & Tom could come and you never know how many more years we'll all be able to be together. It was such a blessing and I had a real sense of cherishing every moment.

* I got to spend time with Lily, which was great. She doesn't know me, except that I look vaguely like other people she does know, but it was fun anyway. She's a real sweetie & did very well, considering that she'd been away from home and living with non-stop stimulation for 3 weeks!

* Danny & Jim got to meet Lily for the first time, which was very cool!

* We had the best Bucket of Doom ever and a great pre-Bucket show. An unknown neighbor even yelled at us to "KNOCK IT OFF". Bethany got to bond with Christy, Tom and everyone else -- and survived!

* Young Jim was awarded his trophy as the winner of the 2007 UncFL. I know all his office mates at U of Maryland will be impressed when they see it.

* Gene fell on their second night here and broke her wrist and Jim and I made a 4:30 am run to the hospital with her. They couldn't set it -- just put a splint and wrap on it -- and she took it like a real trooper for the rest of the visit. She's amazing for 85!

* We all learned how to play Mexican Train Dominoes and it became the game of choice for the week. Gene did fine with that, too, one handed.

* On New Year's Day, we were welcomed with over a foot of snow. It was beautiful!

That's all, and that's enough. Happy New Year, everyone.
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