title explained

Onward and upward! something that you say in order to encourage someone to forget an unpleasant experience or failure and to think about the future instead and move forward.

My e-mail: jjmiller6213@comcast.net

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

65 degrees today

Yard waste pick-up came by this morning, around 9:00.  The guy picked up my small bundle of sticks, by the string handle I had made, and they held together while he threw them into the back of the truck.  Done with all that until next spring.  Now all I have to do is pay the lawn mowing/leaf raking guy.  That may take two payments--half this month and half next.

I hung my evergreen, decorated wreath on the front door.  That may be the extent of my Christmas decorating this year.  I am just not in the mood.  Do you remember last year.  I posted a photo of the 452,000 boxes of decorations sitting all over my living room, as I was putting stuff out.  It takes me a week!  

My sister decorates 4 trees and this year, she bought three more, because they were on sale.  We will have our Christmas at her house this year, so I can get my fill of all the "pretties", without breaking my back.

No one ever comes to visit to see MY "pretties", plus, I spend Christmas Day alone, which is usually the day I put all the decorations away,  so.....

Maybe I will put my Thomas Kincaid lighted tree on my kitchen table and call it good.
The Christmas cards are done and in their envelopes, oh yes, and stamped.  I will mail them out around the 11th most probably.  Plus, I need to find 4 crisp and clean $10.00 bills to put in Jen's kids cards.  They will not be here for Christmas--for the 3rd year in a row. :-(

Monday, November 27, 2017


My Gosh!!!

I practically over dosed on sports over the weekend.  They even had games on Friday!!
College football games--even basketball games.  There was a basketball tournament that my Michigan State Spartans played in Friday, Saturday and Sunday---in Portland, Oregon.

Do you know how late those games came on back here?  10:30 the 1st night, Midnight the 2nd night and (not so bad) 8:30 last night.  I watched all of them and..............WE WON THE TOURNEY!!!

Saturday football--Michigan State beat Rutgers and Ohio State beat Michigan.  YAY!!!!!!  Auburn beat Bama!!!  Now that's done until the play-offs and then the Bowl games.

Then basketball starts in earnest and continues all winter until March Madness.

I have to admit, I got a little sick and tired of sitting there watching.

But I have that nice loooooooooong winter cross stitch project to keep me company.

Oh, BTW--I don't watch professional football or basketball--only College.
Today, I got my 452 thousand Christmas Cards created and done.  I have Hallmark Card software.  All during the year, I use it for making birthday cards.  I like it because I can personalize the cards with the person's name or put a small written text inside.

At Christmas time, I pick one card that I like and use that to send to friends.  Those that live away, I tuck in a little note.

Then, I find individual cards for family members--kids, grandkids, great grandkid.  I try and pick out cards that have a verse that is what that person is like, then I personalize it with their name.

I started doing this years ago to save money.  Every year, I sent out printed photo cards--they got a little pricey over the years. With these cards, I can insert a photo on the page.  

The printed Christmas cards I used to buy in boxes seemed expensive and we all know how much a birthday card can cost nowadays.

Seriously?  I probably don't save a thing on the Christmas cards, because I have to buy card stock and greeting card envelopes, but....you know how I love to write and create things on my computer, so the joy I get out of doing this, far outweighs the cost of a pack of card stock paper and a box of envelopes.

What was my father's favorite saying?  Oh yes.  "A fool and his money are soon parted."
50 degrees and sunny today and maybe up to 60 tomorrow.  The last yard waste pick-up tomorrow.  As a person that obeys the rules...  hence, my little bundle of branches are broken up in 4' lengths and tied securely with string.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Giving Thanks

An unusual Thanksgiving dinner at daughter Karen's house.

Unusual in that there were only 9 of us.  This made for what my sister Susan called the "perfect" Thanksgiving and daughter Pam agreed.  "It wasn't so crowded.  I could actually sit and talk to Karen,  without twenty other people wanting her attention."

Usually there is Karen and her Hubs Mark, Helene & Mike and baby, Susanna, Marcus and fiancee', Stephen and girlfriend, Maddie and boyfriend--and that is just the family--then there are Karen's in-laws, a raucous crowd of 8.

Yesterday: Karen and Mark.  Maddie and Stephen.  Susan, Chuck and her son Adam, Pammie and me.

I wasn't even tired from all the noise.  Usually I'm worn out.

They had just finished the fireplace at the "new" end of their living room.  Unlike most late 50 year old empty-nesters, who are ready to downsize, Karen and Mark are enlarging their house.  They are adding family.  A wedding last year and a new baby.  A wedding in June.  Perhaps an other wedding in 2020, which means more people added and more grand babies coming.  Considering this family is nearly ALL together each and every weekend..............they do everything together--even after their kids get married......they need a bigger living room.

Women in the kitchen

Men watching football

Susan, her son Adam and Chuck

Stephen, Karen, Mark, Maddie
It was lovely.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Glad that's over with

Not one bag fell apart!.

Since then, I have rolled up the garden hose and put it back in the shed.
Put the rocks back in the garden edging.
Broken up the branches in 4' lengths for yard waste pick-up next Tuesday--I just gotta tie them in a bundle.

After 2:00--I Gassed up the car--Good Grief, $2.69, went to the bank and to Walmart to get some groceries.

I also finished one genealogy pedigree today and have only 1 load left to do in the laundry.

If I have to, I can do anything.  I am strong.  I am invincible.  I AM WOMAN!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ready for tomorrow

I pulled the plastic tarp off the yard waste bags of leaves this morning.
We had 48 degrees with a nice wind and sun!!
Hopefully they dry out by Tuesday morning when the yard waste pick-up guys come.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

It goes on..........

My continuing dilemma with the yard waste bags-------I woke up Friday morning and checked the weather forecast.  Rain beginning at 3:00 and continuing through the night, with hard continual rain and wind gusts on Saturday.

After my Soap, I hied myself into Brighton and bought a 10 x 14' heavy plastic tarp.  I was in such an angry, frustrated state that I took that tarp and spent 20 minutes, quickly wrapping it over and around all the leaf bags.

I tucked some of it under the heavy bags, put rocks on the rest of the edges to hold them down.  Put the heavy branches and my heavy garden hose on top to help hold it down and then---parked my car close to them, to make a wind break.

When I was finished--I noticed that I had gone at this job with such resolve and determination, that although my back hurt, I was exhilarated in such a way that I said, "Don't tell me I can't still do things!!"  I felt like Rocky Balboa!!!

and rain it did and wind gusts we had, but that tarp stayed in place.  

Now, this morning we had a bit of snow, but--the rest of the day and tonight is suppose to be dry and Monday, the forecast is for 44 degrees and full sun.

I will whip that tarp off and let those bags dry out all day Monday and hopefully--early Tuesday when the yard waste guys come to pick-up...those bags will hold together, and they will be carted away and my dilemma will be over!
Saturday, I watched college football all day long--which gave me lots of time to work on the new cross stitch.  This one is the most difficult I have ever tackled.

On the pattern, there is no picture of what the finished product will look like.  

Other patterns look like this.  The squares have the symbol of the color floss to use, but at least, the shape of what it is going to look like is very apparent.

 Not this one, just row after row of dark to light browns and tans.  I found I could only do a ten stitch across by 10 rows down, or I'd get mixed up on the colors.  In that space of 100 tiny stitches might be over 15 shades of color used.  So for the last couple of weeks, I just kept stitching along--knowing what the final product would look like--eventually--from the cover photo on the pattern package, but not knowing when it was going to take shape.

Friday night, I noticed something was changing on the far right side.

AHA!  Disciples are appearing.  It's like a miracle!!! (Kidding).

and another one.........................

Now I see why color shade placement is so critical.  None of these figures are going to be outlined to give them definition.  It is going to be through color changes alone.  

Maybe--someday--if I live along enough, the finished product will appear.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Frustrating Dilemma

I had 8 yard waste bags of leaves that I had to haul out to the street.  I did that Monday and just about killed my back and shoulder for doing anything significant on Tuesday.  Well, guess what?  The Yard Waste company did not pick up the bags yesterday.  

It was suppose to rain all today, so last night, I went out and tried to lay a sheet of plastic on top of the bags to protect them.  I had a few fallen branches from my Maple trees that I laid across the top of the plastic.

When I woke up this morning, the plastic sheet was laying on the driveway, along with a couple of the branches.  Must have been a wind that blew them off.

So, I put the plastic back on, and sort of latticed the branches on top.

I called the office to see when the Yard Waste pick-up was going to be, they replied the next two Tuesday's in a row.  The Newsletter they sent out at the beginning of the month clearly stated, "Yard Waste pick-up will be EVERY Tuesday during the month of November."  

I didn't even argue, even though I was sitting and looking at the statement in the Newsletter.  Nothing I could do about the missed Tuesday and bringing it to their attention wouldn't have solved a thing.

I had just hung up the phone when my lawn mowing guy, or at this time of year, my leaf raking guy drove up. He comes every other Monday, but today is Wednesday.   Since it takes him more time to rake up leaves than it does for him to mow, I could see why he was days behind.

He was here 4 hours.  He did Dar's and Jackie's.  Their lots back up to the woods so he just blows them off the lawn and into the woods.

Then he started on mine and my neighbor's.  I told him about my frustration and said, "Now the bags you fill today will be in the rain until next Tuesday.  I can't seem to get the plastic sheet to stay on top to protect them."

He said, "Don't worry.  I'll figure out something."

So off I went to the Food Bank.  

When I got back, I noticed he was finished up with my lawn and working on my neighbor's AND using some of my bags for the neighbor's leaves.

While I realize that it is difficult to tell whose leaves are laying on whose lawn--it still kind of irritated me.  My neighbor makes a couple hundred thousand a year.  I get about $12K.  

Oh well, a stack of yard waste bags only cost about $1.98 at Walmart, so I can be generous.

He put all the bags he collected over on the end of my driveway.  That's okay, it will be easier for the Yard Waste company to pick them all up in one spot.

I notice he had put the plastic sheet back on as best he could.  But, where it had covered 8 bags, there were now 14 bags there and it wasn't covering the tops of all the bags.

So--as I watched it rain all day and know that we have two more rain days and maybe a rain/snow mix day from now until next Tuesday--I am wondering.

The bottoms of these paper bags are going to be wet.  When the Yard Waste people go to pick them up and throw those heavy, leaf laden, wet bags into the back of the garbage truck, are all the bottoms going to break and I will have leaves scattered all over my driveway?

And, if they do---guess whose responsibility it will be to clean them up?

And I have no Yard Waste bags left to use.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Where is she?

Well Kids...what can I say?

I cannot believe the last time I posted was Wednesday, last week.  But you know how I get when a genealogy is cooking.  I get so immersed in climbing up the branches that by day's end, I have no desire to write another word.

Thursday I had a great time at the Old School Gal Pals luncheon.  It was a cold, wet, dark, dismal day outside and when I came out from lunch, I just felt like driving right home.  I had planned on visiting my Little Sis, but by the time I would have driven to The Farm, with these new "clock" hours, it would have been almost time to head home.  Since it was so dreary and dark already, I figured I had better get on the road.  Good thing I did because it was after 4:00 when I got home and already getting too dark and wet to drive comfortably.

I parked the car and didn't go back outside until this afternoon!  I had to pick-up a prescription at Walmart and the cats were all out of food and I had no milk in the house, so..........I put on my coat and went shopping.

The girls on Thursday had yelled at me, "Where's your coat?"

I don't usually wear a winter coat until it gets into the 30's.  I was comfortable with just my sweater and jeans.  But today, it seemed colder feeling, so I put a fleece jacket on.  I hate to wear a heavy winter coat!!

When I got home, not only did I have to lug in groceries, but last Tuesday--right AFTER the yard waste people made their pick-up, my lawn mowing guy came and filled 8 yard waste bags stuffed with leaves.

I had to lug them out to the street for pick-up tomorrow morning-early.  I suppose just AFTER they make their pick-up, the lawn mowing guy will come again and fill up another 8 bags...that will have to sit and wait for a week!

He had stuffed those bags tight and full.  They were heavy and I could only drag one at a time.  By the time I was done, my shoulder and back were screaming.

Then I had to fill up the squirrel feeder and the bird feeder.  I feed the squirrels so they will stay away from the bird feeders.  Now the birds have taken to eating out of the squirrel feeder.  Especially the Blue Jays.  They will fly in and out as fast as can be, to pick peanuts from the squirrel feeder.  The only time they stay away is when the squirrels are sitting in the feeder eating.

(Yep--I had cute photos, but blogger won't let me upload them).
Have you ever vacuumed your entire living room only to discover, the suction was off?  Not one tiny piece of fuzz in the container.  I looked down and noticed on the hose, the red suction level thingie was wide open, allowing no suction to the vacuum head.  ARGGH!!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's a good day..........

Cool/cold, but the sun shines.

27 degrees when I woke up this morning.
Yesterday, Don the Lawn Mowing Man came by and for two hours, raked up every single leaf on me and my neighbors yards.  I have 8 yard waste bags stuffed.

This morning, when I looked out--it was raining leaves!  That freeze and a little breeze must have sent a signal to my Maple trees to shake off their leaves.  There is as much in the drive and on the lawn as there was yesterday morning when Don started.  LOL

The genealogy is coming along nicely.  I didn't get back as far as I wanted, because on the Paternal side, they are fairly recent immigrants--70 years.  The records I would have to access are from a country that is in much upheaval, so the records are inaccessible.  POOP!!  I need to learn how to hack archival records in foreign countries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot believe how fast time goes when I have my nose buried deep in genealogical research.  It is so interesting and I am skipping from one record to another, printing them out to scan later.  I heard the cuckoo clock tell me it was noon today and I looked up and couldn't believe it.

This afternoon, I ran up to Howell and got my yearly oil change.  Since I only drive about 2,500 miles a year, they told me once a year oil change would be enough.  The old oil wasn't even dirty!!  Got all the fluid tanks filled, the tires checked and inflated.  Got $7.00 off the price.

Then I bopped over to the next door car wash, ordered up the super-dooper, wash, under carriage and all that and got a $1.50 discount on that.

Drove on up to the bank to deposit a gift I received, and then home.  All in one hour.

I parked my car on the other side of the drive so that empty space could fill up with leaves.
Sorry--wanted to insert a photo, but blogger won't let me.

Tonight, Salmon patties for supper and then watch Survivor and cross stitch.

I got all my nylon net scrubbies and dish cloths done for my 13 people.  I could start my spaghetti sauce project now, but I think I will wait until after Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow--lunch with the Old School Gal Pals.  Forecast of snow squalls.  YIKES.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Time change--Life the same

I had a neat blog to post on Friday.  However blogger and I had a fight and he wouldn't let me post any photos and half the post was in a different font and color--quite on it's own.  After 90 minutes, I just gave up.

Nothing much happening around here anyway.

I woke up on my own--which is usually 9:00, but the clock said 8:00.  It made me smile.  At least today, I didn't feel like a lay-a-bed, lazy bum.  LOL.

I saw the ambulance go passed and sure enough, it stopped at Merle and Pearl's.  She had fallen again and because she is so heavy, Merle can't lift her, so they just call the ambulance people.  They don't get charged for it--I imagine their insurance company does however. I wonder how long they will let this 2-3 times a month calls be made.
Michigan State beat Penn State in the last few seconds with a field goal.  I never thought that would happened and had reconciled myself to Michigan State getting beat.  Penn State is like my second favorite BIG Ten college and the first of the season, I thought they would win it all.  They still may, as they will be in the playoffs.  

This Saturday we play Ohio State and there is no way we can win that one.  We have a true Freshman quarter back, but he has been doing great.

Sunday, my grand daughter Susanna, from Portland, OR, ran in the New York marathon.  Apparently there was a way to watch her run--Karen had texted the others kids on how to do that.  I was left out of that  message.  It's almost like the kids don't remember that those lovely smart phones that they text with can also be used to make phone calls.
The news from Sutherland, Texas just makes me sick.  It is a small town, just like my hometown of Byron--about 700 population.  I could just imagine some mad man walking into one of our two churches and blasting away.  Our sanctuaries are small--it's amazing that all the congregants weren't killed.

He was going after his mother-in-law who goes to church there, but happened not to go on Sunday.

Apparently the gun laws we have in place aren't being obeyed, as he had no license, had been court martialed and arrested for abuse.  The Air Force said they had "forgotten" to put him on the list to not to able to own a gun.  So when the "sellers" checked his background references, there was nothing there to keep him from buying.
I got a nice e-mail from a lady who wants her husband's genealogy done.  I am happy and excited!  You know how obsessed I get over doing a genealogy.  I spent 4 hours today digging.  I think it's going to be difficult, because a lot of the records I want come from "across the big water" and they are very difficult to get, but.......................dig I shall until I run into that brick wall.   Hopefully I can find some things to fill in the blank areas they have.
I did get my water heater drained--really good.  Still a bit of small pieces of lime and calcium in there, but not like before AND I got all the rust out of the bottom.   My sister Susan and her hubs, came down and put the plastic up on my back door for me.  This year, I didn't pack it with pink insulation, we just used a heavy duty plastic.  That way, I could leave my blinds partly open and the afternoon light still comes in through the plastic.
Tomorrow, I go back for my lung CAT scan--to check and see if there are any changes from when I had it done back in February.  This is a free one from Medicare that is available ONCE, to check for cancer, to ex smokers between the ages of 50 and 77.  Mine came back in February with notice of a tiny nodule in my lower right.  Because of that, I can get another one in six months.  Simple, takes about 10 minutes, no contrast.  I will be anxious to see if the nodule is still there, has grown, or has shrunk.  Sometimes they appear and six months later are gone.

Other than that and my lunch with the Old School Gal Pals on Thursday, my week is free and you  know where I'll be..............on this computer with my nose stuck in old census records, passenger lists, death notices and grave yards.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Let me first apologize to any of you born in November, but I really dislike this month....and February...I don't like that month either.

Maybe it's only "up north", but November is a dismal, gray, chilly, dying month.  February is a dismal, gray, chilly, dead month.

Perhaps this Delightful Koala bear will make the day brighter?

This photo strikes me as laughable because I can remember, when Karen was home schooling her 5 children, they were not allowed Trick or Treating.  The (Catholic) home school group  got together, each child dressed as a Saint--each child required to tell the history of the Saint they were dressed as, then they could have their All Hallows Eve party, and go to Mass the next morning for All Saints Day, attired in their saintly costumes.

Karen seems quite content now to allow her very first grandchild to take part in pagan festivities.  Ha HAH!
I am crocheting--a dish cloth and nylon net scrubbie for each of my "girls" for Christmas.  It is difficult nowadays to find the good kind of nylon net--the scratchier the better.  Prom dresses no longer have an under-skirt of the net.  Nylon Tulle is used, but...Nylon Tulle does not make a pot scrubber.

Apparently I was suffering my shaky hand syndrome when I took this photo.

I have 12 of these sets to make.  I try and remember what color their kitchen is so I can match the yarn for the dishcloth and scrubbie edging.  

I got the Nylon net at JoAnne's--4 yards--$7.20, but when I got to the counter to pay, it was on sale.  I got 4 yards for $5.00.

Last spring my sister had given me some cotton yarn (scrap) balls.  There usually is enough left in each ball to make a dishcloth.  Some were leftover cotton yarn balls from slippers I had crocheted for all the girls a couple of years ago.  

The dishcloths have nubbies on them, which help clean off the dishes.  The Nylon net scrubbies are wonderful--they scrub good and they won't hurt Teflon or best china.

It's a poor gift for sure, but I'm poor.  My girls are all so sweet that they will rave over their measley gift and act like it is the nicest gift they received.  

Last year I wasn't poor and got each one of them a Salt lamp--they loved them--still do.

Carpal tunnel rearing it's ugly head in my right hand makes for pain in crocheting the stiff, Nylon net scrubbies.  I make one a day, then go to my cross stitch, which causes pain in my left hand.  That way, I even out the pain.
I know--I am a weird person!
As for my "boys", their gift gets a bit more spendy.  I make each one two quarts of spaghetti sauce.  It takes two days to make one batch--about 6 quarts.

I have 7 boys, that equals 14 quarts.

Luckily, over the last few months, I have been able to hoard about 6 cans of diced tomatoes on each trip to the Food Bank.  I also found a package of frozen Johnsonville hot Italian Sausage, which I make small meat balls out of.  I will need to start looking for some lean ground round at the Food  Bank.  Then, I will only need to buy a couple more packages of Italian Sausage, green peppers, onions and tomato sauce.

It is a mini chunky sauce  and simmered for two days so it cooks down nice and thick.  We want no sauce sliding off the spaghetti.

I got the recipe 30 years ago from my tiny little Italian friend, Francine (Frankie) and it is superb!!!  My boys love it!  It is easy to please boys with gifts.
Then I will have to scare up $20.00 each for Jen's four kids--they won't be with us for Christmas (again) this year.

I don't have a clue what inexpensive little gift to get for Darling Della... and don't really know if I should even get started buying for her generation.  I'm sure there will be more "greats".

So, last year I spent about $500.00 for Christmas, this year it will be around $120.00.  I may have to cash in my "change" jar to get it, but....whatever works.
We are having Christmas Eve at The Farm (Susan's) this year.  Last year it was at Karen's on the day before Christmas Eve--and it upset me a bit.  This year it will be on the Eve--our traditional family Christmas gathering day.  It is now around noon because over the years, kids have places to go.  My son and his lady go to her Mom's, Christmas Eve afternoon to spend the night and Karen and her family always go to evening Mass with her hubs family--so we have had to adjust our celebration time.  We break around 4:00, which is okay--makes it easier for me to get home before dark.
What really matters is that we will all be together--except Jen's family--so we won't all be together--let's not think about that okay?  Let's just be grateful that most of us will be together and the tradition still carries on.

Personally? I want the Holidays like they were 60 years ago--which is stupid, because half the people from 60 years ago are dead!

Personally?  I really look ahead to New Year's Day, when the Holidays are over and I have managed to keep my complaints and grouchiness quiet and hidden while my smile is ever present, pasted on my face and my words are always loving and polite.

I can be such a fraud!  HAH!