I’m Baaaaack

After about 6 months of not posting, I hope I haven’t lost all of my followers.  It has been a busy time.  In November my oldest, Sara, broke her foot.  Not that big a deal, right?  Except she was 7 1/2 months pregnant, with a 8-year-old and a 5-year-old, she walks everywhere, it was her right foot and she would have to take off the boot to drive, and Evie (the 8 year old) had a lead in a community theater production.  So I spent a few days each week in Chicago to help with logistics until the play was done and school was out for Christmas.


December 29 our third grand child, Alexander Vernon, was born.

Alex birth


In January we visited my sister and brother-in-law (yes, Junior, the painting and floor refinishing dynamo) in Gulf Shores.

In February I started not one but two part time jobs.  I am now children’s education coordinator at my church, and circulation clerk at my local public library.  Although the learning curve was not bad on either, and I found that I get housework done more efficiently, not much else gets done.

So, Alex is now four months old, I’m in a rhythm for working, and things such as sewing, painting, gardening, and WRITING should get back on track.

Alex smile


Community Supported Agriculture

Last spring I bought a half-share in a local farm’s crop.  Each week I pick up a crate of fresh picked, all-but-the-paperwork, organic vegetables.  Friends on Facebook have seen me publish the pictures of my “haul” most weeks.  For those who haven’t, here are just a few:

week 8 week 17 week 13 week 10 week 1 week 3

It will probably go through the first week in November, coming to about $12.00 per week. The veggies have been wonderful, the farmer is great, picking them up is easy and only about 7 miles away.  I’m obviously not sorry I did it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again.  A friend picked up the share three times that I was gone.  If she wants to split a half with me, I may do that.  Otherwise, I think I’ll put the same amount of money in an envelope in May, and go each week to a farmers’ market.  (Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids is great.)

If it was such wonderful, why would I not buy a share again?  Because I don’t get a say in what is planted.  It was really heavy on the greens.  Almost every week had kale, those that didn’t had chard.  Usually there was Asian green, vitamin green, lettuce, bok choy, and/or cabbage as well.  I would have liked more zucchini and much more cucumbers.  I have cherry tomato plants at home, but it would have been nice to get enough tomatoes to can or freeze.  I did get really good at making quiche, which I made about 8 or 9 times.  Given almost any vegetables and some eggs, I can now throw together a quiche pretty easy.  I never tried a frittata, but I’m sure I could do that as well.


I also made Sara and Shane’s Burst Tomato Gallette 3 times:


Although some veggies ended up being composted because I just didn’t get to them, I’m sure I got my money’s worth, and learned about a lot of new vegetables I’d never used before.



Grandma Lois, Teddy Bear Grandma, Grandma Strack

grandma & ollie

Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 91st birthday.  I was afraid of her when I first met her; now I miss her so much.  She was the mother to me my own mother never was.  If anyone says I did too much for my kids, I say I had two examples.  I chose to follow hers.  She loved me as her own child as well.

In 2012, Sara and our niece Lisa decided we should have an 88th birthday party for her.  She used to always reverse the digits in her birthday, and this time she couldn’t.  She wasn’t feeling great, but it was so good for her to see all of her friends and family.  A month later she had surgery for colon cancer.  The prognosis was a year or two, but she would be comfortable.  A week later she developed sepsis and was gone.

When Ben and Tom visited her in the hospital, she told Ben that all of her nurses so far were married, but she was still looking for him.  Within days either way of losing her he met Jen.  Grandma would have loved her.  Each of the grandkids has a bear named for them.  Ben decided that “Gentle Ben” should have a place of honor at the wedding, with some flowers in front of him.  It was mentioned by Pastor Tommy, so everyone would know.  (Sorry, no one took a picture, and the pictures taken by the photographer aren’t available yet.  Here is a picture of the bear, though.)  Grandma was there with us on that beautiful day.


Happy birthday, Grandma.  We miss you.

Kitty rescue 2.0

The most recent family attempt at saving cats of the world, one kitty at a time, actually began about 3 years ago.  There was a cat outside, very friendly, that looked like a washed out version of our indoor cat.  A gray rather than black tortoise.


We noticed a fluffy gray and white kitten following her.  She would come up to the back door, he would sit 40 feet away in the weeds.  He was truly a feral cat.  Tom slowly coaxed him closer and closer, until you could reach down and pet him.

Ben was living at home, and had his own cat.  However, Ben and Tom decided they could bring him into the house, and he would be Ben’s cat.  After our past history with rescues, the first step was to take him to the vet to make sure he was healthy.  (Version 1.0 will be a later post, with that whole story.)  He was healthy, so we had him neutered (at C-Snip).  Unfortunately, just a few short weeks later my mother-in-law passed away, and the last time she got kittens my brother-in-law said someone had to promise to take them if anything happened to her.  We knew how much cats meant to her, and we expected her to live a long time, so of course we said we would take them.  Now we had 5 cats in the house!  Can you guess who named them by the names?  Mandu, F’lar, Zedd (named for Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander,)  Buffy, and Muffy.

We continued feeding Zedd’s mother, who we creatively named Mama.  We always meant to take her to C-snip, but never did. She had a litter just before we took Zedd in. She regularly had litters of kittens, which never survived.  One had from this group.  It was white and gray, and had what looked like a white cross on its back, so Tom called it Chrissy.


We wondered if Chrissy was a boy or girl, until the day I looked off the side of the deck and saw her with 4 kittens.

kittens cropped

One was very weak and didn’t live much longer, but there were still three.  We hadn’t seen Chrissy for several days, so we caught the kittens and put them in a cage with food and litter.  We were heading out of town for a few days, then would take them to be neutered and try to find homes for them.  Chrissy showed up after we left, and Ben caught her and put her in the cage with the kittens.


She had been gone because she was hurt, so when we took her to the vet, she needed surgery on her leg. Since anesthetic is the most expensive part, we had her spayed at the same time.

This meant 6 weeks in a cage to heal.


The kittens were pretty tame by then, but she didn’t really like us.  We found a home for one of the males,

Zuno cropped

then took the other two to C-snip.  Anna decided to take the little girl.


We let them out of the cage, but continued to feed Mama, Chrissy, and Lucius.  We did this for over a year, even brought them in (in a cage) for the coldest couple weeks of the winter of 2014.  By then, Mama, Chrissy, and Lucius were all about the same size.


Then, last fall, right after Labor Day, we never saw them again.  A neighbors dog, and us being gone for a couple days, must have been too much.  I wished we had taken Lucius in, but we didn’t think Chrissy would survive without him.

So which one reappears a few weeks ago?:  Chrissy!


Afraid of the neighbors dog, but showing up every day for food and petting.  So we’re back to the old dilemma–do we bring her in?  Ben moved away with F’lar, and one of Grandma’s girls (F’lar and Zedd did not get along.)  Can we handle 4 cats in the house, with two (Chrissy and Mandu) afraid of everything?

Update:  Mama showed up Monday, don’t know if she’ll stay.


A Rose by Any Other Name

I debated about what to title this blog.  The library blog I had was titled “Library Whispers,” which seemed quite appropriate.  Since I’m naturally reticent, it also seemed a good choice to keep the whispers part.  I did consider:


Although I often think the word “crap,” I rarely say it, so I wasn’t sure this was a good fit.  Tom has bought me personalized license plates in the past, “GOTBOOK” and “BOOKMOM,” but I plan to post on other topics besides reading and writing, so I don’t know if one of these would work either.  Any suggestions?