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

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's a New Week

Monday morning and I'm sitting here watching the snow.  You can't tell in the photo, but it is coming down heavy.  2-4 inches the weather guy says.  Wonderful!  I love it.  It's so pretty.

...and the reason I ran up to Walmart yesterday.  I heard this was coming.

So today, I can stay inside, watch the snow falling, and wrap Christmas presents, fill the freezer bags with the finished spaghetti sauce, watch my Soap, do some laundry, cross stitch and in general, enjoy myself.

It occurred to me that I needed to get a small gift for Della.  I have no idea what toys she has and I sure can't afford to spend much.  As I walked along, there was a whole box of "Pet Toys".  $5.00.  I looked down into the box and lo and behold, a dog toy that looks similar to their real dog.  Nice and soft and cuddly and even squeaks--just as a dog toy should.

When I got home, I cut off the tag that designated it as a "dog toy" and wrapped it up for Della.  Sh-hh.  No one will know the difference.  I hope.

I do manage to have fun every time I go to Walmart.  I decided to plump up the gift to my boys, and get them a box of spaghetti and a can of Parmasan cheese, box it up along with the tag,
"Two quarts of home-made spaghetti sauce are waiting for you, in the red and white cooler on the front porch.  Don't forget to take it with you.  Love Gramma Judy", or Mom or Judy.

Do you know how much 6 cans of cheese and 6 small boxes of spaghetti costs?  Good Grief!!!

Then I went looking for a gift box that it would fit in.  None to be found.  In that aisle was an old guy hunting for the same thing--a simple gift box.  I know because he asked me if I knew where he might find one.  We both looked and all we came up with were mailing boxes.  Too deep, but the right length.  "Guess this will hafta work," he said.  
"Not what I wanted either, but guess it will work."
Then we both grabbed a roll of bubble wrap to stuff the boxes with.
"Geez!  Look at the price of that," he said.  "Newspaper would work better."
"Yeah, it would," I answered.  "But I don't get the paper anymore."
"Me neither," he replied.
"At that price, we probably could subscribe to the paper for a couple months and have all the stuffing we need." I said.

He nodded and chuckled.  "Have a nice day," he offered and off we went in different directions.

As I strolled over toward the Diet Pepsi area, an older guy in an electric cart came zooming around the corner and nearly smashed into my cart.  "Sorry," he said.  "First time I've used one of these dang things."  I smiled and went on my way.

The next aisle over, I got to help a tiny, little old lady get a bottle of salad dressing off a high shelf.  Then turned around and helped another short lady get a gallon of spring water off another high shelf.  Got one for myself too and we both wondered, "Why do they put heavy stuff so high up?"

As I turned to exit that aisle, the guy in the electric cart reappeared and nearly rammed into me.  "Sorry," he said and then kind of grimaced as he recognized me.
"Hey.  Did someone pay you to run me down?"
He let go with a huge laugh.  "No Ma'am."
We laughed and I went on up to the produce section.  

Wandered around a bit and then I saw him again.  He was headed straight towards me.  He glanced up and saw me, so I stopped dead in my tracks, then spun my cart around and pretended I was running away from him, as I headed, quickly toward the cashiers.  I could hear him laughing.

Yep.  I do have fun at the Walmart!

Thursday, December 7, 2017


I brag about how we never lose power, because our wires are buried underground in the park here.  Then...we've lost power twice in the last 3 weeks.
Someone ran into a utility pole both times, between here and Brighton.  Different utility pole, but nonetheless, wires came down and power shut off while repairs were made.  Only about 3 hours each time, but.........oh my.............three hours seems like a very long time to go without computer and/or TV.  

The weird thing was, I was reading blogs and making a comment when the power went and today....I can't remember whose blog I was in making my comment--or half comment.  LOL
I guess our 50+ degree weather is gone until next spring.  The wind turned, the temps dropped and today we got a skift of snow.  Looking ahead, Friday night and all day Saturday, we are to get 2-3" of snow.  All I can say is, YAY!!!!!!!!!  I do love it when the dead earth and gardens are covered by a nice thick layer of pure, glistening, white snow.  

I don't know why snow has anything to do with Christmas.  I don't remember seeing any piles of snow in any Nativity scene.  Probably because the whole time line of celebrating Christmas comes from the necessity of having it near the Winter Solstice.  Christians wanted a holiday to compete with the pagan holiday, so that's when we celebrate.

Actually, Baby Jesus was born sometime in either September or October.  About 6 months after John (the Baptist) was born, and he was born in March.  Plus, in December, in the area surrounding Bethlehem, shepherds are not tending their flocks outside, as it is too cold.  The census, the whole reason Mary and Joe went to Bethlehem, is not taken at that time of year.

Well--who cares.  We need a reason to celebrate with lights and happy decorations in the dark of winter, so it's good enough for me.
I started the second batch of spaghetti sauce this afternoon.  This one is going easier than the first.  I did simmer it in the stock pot for 4 hours and it did not stick to the bottom of the pot, but to thicken it, I am going to finish up with it in the Crock-Pot.  It is really nice and thick.

I cook a little bit of spaghetti and for supper each night, I put a bit of the sauce on it, from each batch,  to test taste.   So far it is very yummy.
It occurred to me that I have had my Christmas cards all done and ready to mail since the 1st week of December.  I thought I'd mail them around the 10th.  I looked at the calendar and realized--that is coming up this weekend!!!!  So, I'm sending them out tomorrow.  I have one for my granddaughter's mother-in-law, that I want to arrive on December 12th--when Hanukkah begins, as she is Jewish.

Then I also realized that I'd better get to wrapping presents too.  The dish cloths/scrubbies are all done and in their boxes.  Why not wrap them now and be all organized by Christmas time?

That meant I had to create and print out gift tag labels.  For some reason, I lost my file in my Documents that had gift tag labels and Christmas return labels that I had made years ago.

For some reason that File didn't make it onto my new hard drive?  How does that happen?  There are mysterious things that go on all around me--especially when it deals with computer things.  I've searched for two days for that File and it is no where to be found.  Oh well, I can create them and save them for next year.
I got my notice today from the Social Security Administration of our cost of living raise.  For some reason, I thought it was going to be 2.5%, but it is only 2%.  That's $20.00 for me, which isn't much, but since everything, including gasoline, is going up in price, it might help a little bit.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Having Fun

Well, I pulled a dumb thing.  Not the first time in my life.  LOL

When I started my spaghetti sauce making, and I follow the recipe very carefully, but I had a 3# package of ground beef, instead of the 2# the recipe calls for.  So...I figured, I'd just increase the rest of the ingredients.  Right?

5 hot Italian sausages for the little meat balls, instead of 3, another can of diced tomatoes, a little more tomato sauce and juice.

It all looked great, until I tried to stir the amount I had in my big stock pot.  It was so thick and heavy that I broke the wooden spoon!  Then, as the cooking progressed, I noticed it started to stick to the bottom of the "guaranteed non-stick" pot.

I halted all production and pondered.

I got out my Crock-Pot, a much smaller one than I used to have.  The one I gave to my sister as I would no longer need a Crock-Pot and then two months later, bought the smaller one, because I DID need a Crock-Pot.

Luckily, it held half the sauce, so it cooked on high for 5 hours, then I put it in the fridge to "meld" overnight, and cooked on low, 6 hours the next day to thicken.  Put it back in the fridge overnight because it was late in the day, and the next day, put it in the quart bags to freeze.

Then yesterday, I took out the other half, that had been in the fridge and put it in the Crock-Pot.

Instead of a two day process it has taken me 4 days, but you know what...........cooking it that way seemed to end up with a much thicker sauce that won't slide off the cooked spaghetti.  I hate spaghetti sauce that slides off and doesn't stay on the noodles.

I have decided to purposefully do the second batch the same way--as once again I find myself with a 3# package of ground beef.

It takes more time, but I have lots of time, so.........

Started and done:

With sadness, I mailed out the genealogy this morning.  I always feel a little sad when the genealogies are done, because I want to keep on searching, even though, by this time, (20-30 hours)I know I have found everything I am capable of finding, without traveling to the Country where the family originated from to find their ancestor's graves and other family members.  As usual, I held the mailing box and asked God to continue to bless the family, before I took it out to the mail box.

This was a fascinating genealogy.  I know, I say that about all of the ones I have done, but, this one really was.  The family immigrated here and when WWII came, 5 of the 6 sons enlisted in various armed services.  The Father was a serious citizen, a registered voter.  The other side of the family homesteaded in Oklahoma and had a nice farm, until the dust storms came.  Did they pack up and head back East?  Of course not!  They went on to California and worked in the migrant camps, picking vegetables and fruit for the farmers out there.  I even found photos of the great, great grandpa playing his fiddle at the dances the workers at the camp held.  In fact, the camp they lived in was the exact same one that John Steinbeck visited and wrote about in his novel, "The Grapes of Wrath".

It's amazing what can be found if one searches long and hard enough and follows every little hint of that person.  There are a lot of places to search and research and yes, it takes a lot of time reading and collecting facts and getting them in chronological order.  Printing out family group sheets and scanning all the reports I have found.

Then I get to put all I have found in their book; photos, census reports, stories of the family.  That is my favorite part, the writing of their book.  Making it understandable, like a story.

It does take a lot of time, but like I said above, time is what I have a lot of.
Now, I sit here with nothing to do, except smell spaghetti sauce cooking, cross-stitching and watching TV.  

I have to write!  I have always had to write.  In 5th grade I wrote my first children's story--about a hermit that lived in our woods.  I even drew a picture of him.  He looked like Cousin It---25 years before Cousin It was even invented.

I showed it to my teacher.  My teacher loved it and had me read it to the whole class.  I was failing basic math, but my story was an A+, although since it wasn't a required lesson, I got no credit for it.  HAH!

So...I have decided to take ALL of the children stories I have written, except the Hermit one, which I have forgotten and probably got thrown out,  and put them in a book form, and get a book, much like the genealogy books, printed and bound.

I used to have a Website with a whole lot of children's stories I had written.  Plus the 3 published children's books.  The Website is no more and the older grandchildren all have a copy of the 3 published books.  But...what about Evan, who is 6 and just learning to read?  What about Della, who is only 1 year old and likes stories read to her?

Aha--a whole knew generation to enjoy those stories.

This is what the book cover will look like--the cover photo on my old Website.
Gramma's Tales
Gramma Judy

This is the first story in it:

I had a Woozle, a very fine Woozle
And I asked him outside to play.
But I got a refusal from my fine Woozle
Inside for a snoozle he’d stay.

I found a stout rope put it over his moozle
Tugged and pulled him down the hallway.
When we got to the porch, he got scared of course
And dug in his claws to stay.

I pleaded and begged and tugged on the rope
I was going to have it my way.
But my Woozle was strong and he broke the rope
And promptly ran away.

So if you have a Woozle, a very fine Woozle
And he doesn’t want to play.
Then accept his refusal, let him be a Woozle
And snoozle inside all day.

That ought to peak their interest to read on.  
By the way, if you would like your genealogy done, just e-mail me and I will send you a brochure of what would be included and the prices.  I do a basic, no charge research first, just to make sure we have enough to make it worth your while, before I begin.  I promise I will do a good job for you.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Homemade spaghetti sauce from my little Italian friend.

(Frankie Jacobs-1978)
In large stock pot

2 # ground Round beef
3 Hot Italian sausage links--Johnsonville
          (slit skin, peel off and make small meatballs out of sausage.)
Cook ground beef in large skillet.  Drain well and put in stock pot
Cook sausage meat balls in skillet.  Drain well and put in stock pot

1 onion diced
1 green pepper diced
2 garlic buds, diced
Use real garlic and chop veggies in food grinder to save on hand dicing

4 regular size cans of  diced tomatoes (14.8 oz)
1 large can tomato sauce=28. oz
1 quart tomato juice=32 oz
2 Tbls. Oregano
2 Tbls. Sweet basil
2 Tbls. Italian seasoning
2 Tbls. Garlic powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 packet dry Spaghetti Sauce mix

Mix it all together well.

Cover and simmer for hours and hours J stirring occasionally—about 5-6 hours
Put in refrigerator over-night to meld.
Next day, uncover and simmer to thicken.
Can be frozen in quart freezer bags

Use for all Italian dishes

Makes a nice thick chunky sauce that is out of this world!!!!!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fa La La La Lah

...and so it begins.

The annual "Making of the Spaghetti Sauce" marathon.

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.