Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Test Picture Post

My previous program for reducing the size of pictures to make them blog worthy does not work on Windows 8.1.

Fortunately the updated Canon software I use to edit my photos will reduce their size. Just needed time to play around with it a while and this post is hopefully the proof that I finally got it right.

As always, readers can double click on blog photos to see more detail.

Windows 8.1 and I are slowly becoming friends. It's different, for sure. The learning curve has been a time suck, and so have many other things I'm/we're working on getting done.

My new laptop is much faster and the display screen much sharper, so I can make and correct mistakes quicker. That's nice. The new laptop and I are friends and almost in love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Laptop Learning Curve

A little over a week ago my step-son Jeff arrived with a new laptop for me.

It was not a surprise. It was purchased with my approval and my money. I so appreciate that he went shopping for me, because he knows what he's doing in a computer store and I don't.

He helped me with the initial set-up, did all the file transfers, and installed some of the software that I use. I probably could have done this, but he did it much faster and with 100% less muttering and groaning.

Thank you, Jeff!!

I now have a touchscreen, Windows 8.1, and a new version of photo managing software. They are all requiring a learning curve when I'm not distracted by personalizing the laptop so I am functional and happy. It's like getting a new puppy - one forgets how much time this takes.

Also, I need to mention that I have a new car, a new house, and a new marriage which all require a learning curve.

It's all good, especially the new marriage. I wouldn't give any of it back. I am so glad to be retired so I have time for all this learning.

Why am I writing this?
  • A diary for me of this time period.
  • An excuse for not blogging.
  • A declaration that I will be blogging again when I get done figuring out how to do it Windows 8.1 style.
P.S. I just spent over an hour trying to add a picture to this blog post. There will be no picture today.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Snapshot of My Life on May 30, 2015

Weather in SW Michigan ...
It's a nice, rainy late spring day. Temperature in the low seventies.

Tuesday we bought our contribution to the exterior of the condo, two hanging baskets. The rest is and will be maintained by landscapers. I'm still getting used to that, but my body appreciates it.


Really? ...
Today I got a text message from son John asking if I'd like to come to Idaho the week before Labor Day to 'babysit' granddaughter Sydney. Haven't bought the plane tickets yet, but I'm pretty sure the answer is YES!!!!

What We've Been Doing...
We've been working on merging household stuff, arranging and organizing the condo, buying things we need, and getting rid of things that we don't need and can bear to give up.

Does that sound like the same thing we were doing six months ago? It is. And it's likely we will be doing it six months in the future. Getting married when you're seventy plus is not like getting married when you're young.

The encouraging news is that we are happy with what we've done and we work well together.

New at Our House ...
We finally hung this beautiful needlepoint stitched by new daughter/Jay's daughter Joni. Her work is meticulous - tiny, perfect stitches. I can feel the love crafted into it, her love for her Heavenly Father and her love for her earthly father.

It's hanging in the heart of the house. The front hallway is to the right and the great room is to the left and to the front.



I am procrastinating ...
Buying a new laptop. The one I have is wimpy, which was OK when I bought it and lived in the country with whimy wi-fi. Now it's frustratingly slow and I've been ready to replace it for six months. What I haven't been ready to do is to take the time to set up a new laptop.

Jay's answer to almost all my problems is a trip, usually to Cincinnati. The middle of June we're going to Cincinnati because they have a Microsoft store there. We will be returning with something new and different - a fast laptop with Windows 8 touchscreen.

Seen anything good on Facebook lately? ...
Granddaughter Sydney's new braces.


Giving thanks for ...
Having a laundry room near the bedroom and master closet. I have always had laundry in the basement. Now there is hardly a load of wash that happens when I don't mentally appreciate the luxury of same floor laundry.

A few plans for the next few days
Sister Doris and her husband John from Virginia will be here Monday for brunch in Kalamazoo and dinner at Schuler's in Marshall.

Mid week I pick up a new pair of glasses. After that I will no longer be able to pass off pictures of a younger me because the glasses will be out of date.

And ...
The new condo they're finishing across the circle from us is going to be in the Parade of Homes starting June 12. It will be interesting to see how much traffic that brings to our quiet court.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My New Ride

Monday Jay and I picked up my new ride at the Subaru dealership, breaking my thirty-five year tradition of Toyota loyalty.

She's a 2015 Subaru Legacy all wheel drive sedan in Carbide Gray, a medium dark gray with strong blue overtones. I love the color, and so far I love the car.

She's not officially named yet, but I'm leaning toward calling her Smokey.


Smokey replaces a fifteen year old Camry, my Y2K car.

I loved my old Camry. Until a month ago I planned on replacing her with another Camry and considered that a no-brainer decision.

In fact, I was just waiting for the 2015 Camry to be available because I didn't like last year's Camry taillights (picture below). They looked like someone chopped a hole in them to insert the 'Camry' name. I figured the hole would get filled in by 2015.


And the hole did get filled in. I like the 2015 Camry from the rear. But the huge grill they put on the front (picture below) is very much not me.


The more I tried to appreciate the front of the 2015 Camry (picture above), the more I realized it wasn't going to happen.

Then my old Camry developed a CLUNK. It was the kind of CLUNK that I knew fixing would cost more money than the car was worth. Car shopping got serious. Since I wasn't over the 2015 Camry grill yet, I did what any woman would do - - I whined to my husband.

Husband Jay was very helpful. He pointed out that when we open the door from the house to the garage we are staring directly at the front grill of my car. He was too nice to say that he didn't want to hear about that Camry grill every time we opened the door, but I'm sure he was thinking it.

He also mentioned that I have friends driving Subarus who love them and Subarus have all wheel drive for Michigan winters.

We took a Subaru Legacy test drive and I was sold.

The Subaru picture (below) was taken from our doorway to the garage. Every time I go out that door, which is often, I appreciate the wisdom and kindness of my husband.


Smokey and Porky (Jay's Explorer) are happy together in the garage.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Monday Was a BIG Day

Monday morning I turned in the keys to Mom's apartment. That means it was empty and reasonably clean, one of the biggest tasks I have done in years. Considering all the things I've done in the last few years, that makes it a very big task indeed.


I did have plenty of help, all of it younger and stronger than me with the exception of Jay who is stronger but not younger. Ultimately the responsibility was mine and there were many days when I wondered how I was ever going to get it done. It's a huge relief to have it finished.


The timing wasn't planned, but it worked out perfectly that I was ready to do something happy and exciting on Monday afternoon. I bought a 2015 Subaru Legacy all wheel drive sedan to replace my 2000 Camry.

Before I went to the dealership Monday, I had the exact model, options, and color picked out. The salesman looked up the list of Legacys due to arrive and found an exact match except for one additional option, the remote start.

It's due to arrive in Kalamazoo the week after next.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Snapshot of My Life on May 2, 2015

Weather in SW Michigan ...
It's springtime!

The village grass has been mowed for the first time. Not our grass. Our grass is just sprouting. But everyone else's grass looks great.

A new house/condo is going up across Chuck's Circle. Chuck is our neighbor. He was first to build on this circle and he named the circle after himself.


Really? ...
While I was writing this blogpost we had a 4.0 earthquake in Kalamazoo.

It was my first, and hopefully last, real earthquake. What surprised me most was the noise. Didn't realize earthquakes came with so much noise.

It was scary and I didn't like it. Now I have new appreciation for the places that get big ones. Yikes.

Something from the kitchen ...
We brought some (legally purchased) cacti and succulents back from Arizona. No, we don't know how to care for them but we do have a book.

Number one rule for the cacti: Don't pick them up bare handed. Those spikes are super strong and they want your body.


I am creating...
These socks have been on the needles and ignored for a long, long time. This week I knit on them and they're almost ready to get a heel.

The yarn is Opal Graffiti. The pattern is my basic sixty stitch sock with k5p1 ribbing, and the socks are for me.


I have been procrastinating ...
I've been thinking about buying a new car for the past five years. There has always been a reason it wasn't the perfect time. That, combined with the fact I hate car shopping, have kept my fifteen year old Camry in service.

The Camry still runs great but the underbody is suffering from fifteen Michigan winters and it has developed a worrisome, clunking noise. I do not want to spend anymore money on this car.

Yesterday we visited the Subaru dealer and test drove a Legacy sedan. It's possible my thirty-five year Toyota brand loyalty is going to end soon.

Special thanks to husband Jay who dragged me out to the dealership when I would have been happy to procrastinate a few more days. He keeps me doing what needs to be done and I am grateful.

Just want to say ...
Last Sunday after church we stopped for lunch and saw the man who married us, Pastor Bruce. He asked if we are still happy.

Just in case anyone else is wondering, we are still happy.


Something new for me ...
Condo living is amazing. Last week a professional window washer came and washed the windows. They look cleaner than I have ever been able to get a window, and I didn't have to do it.

The landscapers showed up and put fresh mulch in the garden, and the sprinkler people showed up and set the timing on the sprinkers. We do not mind giving up these tasks.


A few plans for the next few days
Next week is going to be the end of cleaning out Mom's apartment and turning in the keys.

Then I'm going to schedule some lunches with friends I haven't had much time for recently so we can laugh together and catch up.

And I may possibly buy a new car.

Giving thanks for ...
Everything mentioned above and the final item below. Minus the earthquake. Although the earthquake did make Saturday more interesting.

And ...
Daughter Heather and long time partner Jason got married yesterday. Jason has been a member of the family for years, but now it's official. He can't get away from us. Love him and I'm very happy about this.




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mom's Ashes and Wedding Dress

Last week I was so blessed and thankful to have my brother Dave come to Kalamazoo from Oregon to help sort out Mother's personal things.

Wednesday evening it was cold, windy and snowing. With two outdoor jobs to complete, Dave needed a coat. Our first stop was at the mall. I told him he would never find a winter coat in April, but I was wrong. He found a great, warm $200 coat for $23 in Macy's and it fit.

Second stop was at Lowes for a torch, fatwood, and some kindling. Then on our way to Marshall, Michigan for some sentimental tasks.

Mom pre-planned her cremation, but wouldn't give me a wish for the disposition of her ashes. She said we could sprinkle them where ever we felt they should go.

Dave and I sprinkled Mom's ashes on Dad's grave.


Next stop was more complicated. We had Mom's wedding dress and a few other very personal things we wanted to burn. But where?

We ended up at a park along the river. It had everything we needed, especially a screen to put over the flame because it was very windy.

Dave started the fire with a Bernzomatic Torch, the torch our grandfather, Mom's father, helped design when he was a consultant to the Turner Corporation in 1965.


One moment I'll never forget is when we realized we needed to stir the flame and separate the layers of the gown. I looked down on the ground and there was a long tongs looking back at me like it had fallen from the sky.


Dave and I think Mom would have enjoyed the spectacle of us together burning the dress in the cold, wind, and snow.