Saturday, September 22, 2018


Hi everyone!  I know all of you have just been devastated that I haven't posted in over a month.  Perhaps I should have said that I needed to take a break, which I've never done in eleven years, but it was so much better to torment myself everyday with thoughts that I was acting like a sloth and had no discipline. 

 I've heard stirrings that a lot of ladies have given up writing blog posts and instead use Instagram.  I've been doing Instagram for a little over two years and I think this might be true in a lot of people, but not for me.  It's important to do what we like and what we have time for.  I still love to write and weave little stories about my mundane life, so I'll never give up the blog.  I know I've said it before, I do feel its important to post on a regular basis.  Some do it to be dependable to their readers, and because they feature ads and depend on their blogging for income, much like a business.  So--when I'm lying in bed at night, thinking of the mountain of life happenings I want to bring you up on, it turns into one looming project that nags at me.  Realistically, I'm not making any money on my blog as I do with writing news columns.  But that's just a little twinge of excuse-making sometimes,  I want to write as I've been doing all my life.  And now I do it for a living, with teeth clenching deadlines, its overwhelming but definitely not uncommon and I roll with it.  Enough said.

  One other thing: for awhile just recently, we were commenting on blogs, and after, we filled in our name, email address, and website.  Then you could check a box saying, "Please save my information for further comments."  All of a sudden that stopped.  Now whenever I post a comment, I have to fill in those spaces and its a time sucker.  What happened?

When you go for a stretch of non-blogging, seasons change whether you realize it or not.  I use my photos as a guide to write, and I gasped when I realized I hadn't even finished telling you about the end of summer (or August), and now we are getting ready for fall.  We had a lot of great times at the lake, of course.  Emily and Mike come up quite a bit with Madelyn; she loves the beach and water, the large amount of open space inside the cottage where she can run and do whatever she can't do at home.  The last time we were there we had some rainy days and so Mad and I made cupcakes together.  I know every Grandma likes to brag, ahem...but I was really surprised how focused she was on mixing the batter, and later, carefully frosting and adding sprinkles.  She spends a lot of time coloring, drawing, painting and putting stickers on paper.  Its a good way to get that eye/hand coordination.  I thought I'd be sweeping sprinkles up for days but she didn't even get any off the plate.  But I'm not a bragger.  ;-D

Since I'm also a lazy photographer, I don't have much to offer from my summer gardens.  The Husband has completely taken over the big perennial garden we started at the lake a few years ago.  After my back surgery in April, I was in no shape to weed or even plant anything new.  He has totally claimed it as his.  On afternoons after he's finished fussing over it, he pulls up a lawn chair, pops open a beer, and just sits there looking at it.  Sheet.  He can have it.  I'm thinking of a raised bed for veggies and flowers next spring.  I'll ask The Beach Boys to dig it out when they are doing their water and beach cleanup.  Hee hee.  I will not be out-maneuvered by someone who doesn't even know what compost is.  Notice my photo bomber, Milo above.  My sedum is getting huge, the plants are like bushes. 

I had to mention that we met up with my blogger friend Cindy, who no longer blogs, and her hubby Dan right here in Chicago.  Since they are in Western Wisconsin, we've always met some place halfway, and believe me, there is not much between Chicago and Black River Falls, WI.  But it was Cindy's birthday and she wanted to spend a few days in Chi Town.  So we had a fun time hanging out in Millennial Park, one of the places they hadn't been.  And they covered a lot of ground in three days.  Temps were in the mid nineties and we were dripping wet.  We finally ducked into one of our favorite restaurants, Paisano's on State St., for some great Italian food, and then wandered over to Macy's, which held a lot of childhood memory for Cindy. When it was Marshall Field's of course.  Dan had never been to Chicago, and The Husband wasted no time in playing tour guide.  Big eye roll here.  I admit, he knows everything about Chicago: its history, layout, architecture, and every shortcut you can imagine to avoid a traffic jam.  Anyway, it was a fun time and I hope we can get together before Christmas.  Can you imagine taking a gamble to meet a blogger who was a total stranger, and become the best of friends while meeting once a year for ten years?  Life is full of the strange but true.  And the rewards of taking a leap of faith.  Love ya, sista!

Just wondering what this is growing along my fence.  Weedy but pretty.

I have a twenty-five year old jade plant a the lakehouse.  It took a little tumble which actually was a good thing; it had grown bigger in a way that made it off balance and I wasn't sure if I wanted to mess with it.  So some very large pieces broke off and I took this as a sign that I should be a little more courageous, if only with a plant.  I put the stems in water until the little whisker-like roots appeared, then potted it and left it out in the sun for most of this summer.  I am so HaPpY!  Look at the size of this.  Sure beats spending $9.99 for a little pot with two stems (sorry Home Depot).

The fall decorating got of to a slow start.  It was a little early for me but every time I went downstairs to do laundry, I'd pull a few things out of my autumn bin.  I would think, this is enough.  I have a much lighter touch these days keeping in mind I have to put it all away in a few weeks.  But then I started to to think how little kids notice everything and anything new, so I was motivated to add more.

The mantel was fun because most everything was there.  Its such a huge surround, if I try to scale back it looks too bare.  Too much and its obnoxious.  Anyway, I think it says fall.

I won these velvet pumpkins in a giveaway a few years ago that Debra from Common Ground hosted.  Another blogger made them and I feel bad that I don't remember her name.  They are gorgeous and those are real stems. Ignore that little candy dish there.  I mix a lot of kiddie candy in since The Husband would devour all of it if it was all chocolate.  And he obviously has.

More attempts at tabletop decor.

I have three of these crates that I was lucky enough to score in a Christmas grab bag.  This is the smallest and its great for corralling a few items.  This is not a new design tip, but it really makes me smile when I have an unusual container.

This little critter always comes out in the fall.  His arms wrap around little acorns which are actually salt and pepper shakers.  A little bit of whimsy.  I never fill or use them.  Purely there to amuse me.

Little Miss Madelyn came over this morning while her mama went out for a design consultation and relaxing manicure.  With just a few more weeks until she turns two, she has become delighted with exploring everything in her world, and imitating what she sees going on around her.  When she used to sit and stack my spice jars, now she actually pretends she's cooking...shaking that stuff in and stirring.  

Last night I made some sugar cookie dough and this morning when I had her here, we sprinkled the flour over the the counter (her favorite part--I mean actual permission to make a huge mess!).  We rolled the dough in balls, patted it down, rolled it out (she had her own small kiddie rolling pin), and then cut out shapes.  I only have to show her steps once and then she's on her own.  It astounds me.  After they were baked and cooled, we frosted them, added sprinkles, and then had a tea party.  I actually found a real Fiestaware children's tea set at Marshall's the other day for---wait...$7.99!!  We had so much fun, and I was exhausted afterward.  Love you mama's.  I did it with four under the age of ten, but I still wonder how.  

"I'm sorry.  I simply can't bake without my vintage apron and jewelry."

July, 2019 may sound a long way off, but not for my little girl Abigail Jane.  That's the wedding date and so it was officially time to start hunting for the gown!  The first prerequisite was no strapless dresses, and it had to tie in a bit with the long ivory silk dresses of her fourteen bridesmaids.  Sheesh.  And she also wanted to go to a variety of shops, big and small.

We made our way from River West downtown, to the burbs down south.  She fell in love with the first dress she tried on.  It was originally $10,000, (I'm catching my breath even now), but it had a few tears in the netting so it was marked down.  I was in the hall frantically checking my savings account on my phone, when she said she just couldn't decide in the twenty-four hours they were going to hold it.  Yes!  And cheers between sisters on a job well done thus far.

And we finally found THE DRESS!  She's my daughter so I'm partial, but she is stunning in this gown, it is her looking her loveliest.  The wedding will be outdoors at dusk on gorgeous Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, and she is going to outshine the moon and stars.  Sniff sniff.

Milo's lymph nodes were slightly swollen a few weeks ago so our vet said he is not completely in remission anymore.  The goal has been to keep an eye on him with bi-weekly exams.  He had actually been acting quite normal and then we spent an entire weekend with his back legs giving out over and over.  Once he'd hit the wood floors, he clawed desperately to get up and couldn't, so we were lifting him up.  I really thought that this is when the quality of life ends.  My doctor had mentioned acupuncture for the pain in what we thought were his hips.  So I agreed.  And this is what it looks like.  You can Google what it involves in canines because it was all Greek to me.  I do know he didn't feel a thing, and it turns out his problem is actually in his lower back, just above his tail.  I brought him home and he didn't fall again for a whole week.  I knowwwwwwww!  But he has just started to again, not a lot.  He has the second of three treatments on Monday.  If the problem is not alleviated, it simply isn't an option anymore.  

It might sound like we are entirely overboard on not giving in to cancer and old age with this great guy.  The chemo, although not the cheapest thing we've ever done, gave him another year, and maybe we will be blessed with more.  I was happily surprised that the acupuncture was $89.00, and it included a full exam so I expect it to be less on Monday.  I'll take it.  

He often acts confused; staring at walls, pacing from room to room, and as you can see above, taking a nap on the bathroom floor.  Senility in dogs is very much like some elderly people.  They get confused and disoriented.  When he paces from room to room, it may just be familiar patterns, or he could be looking for our children he used to find in a bedroom, the office or the family room, years ago.  The bathroom?  I think he just liked the sun and breeze coming through the window as well as the soft rug.  Since he's deaf he is pretty much undisturbed all the time, which is a blessing.  He needs his rest.

I'm wrapping it up here.  Just wanted to share some books I have corralled up.  Girl, Wash Your Face, which I'm barely half through, is extremely interesting and grabs you from the beginning.  A non-fiction book of humorous but totally relevant  situations and tips on how to stop believing the lies you have been telling yourself, from self worth to believing criticism.

Alas, the remains books have not been opened yet.   I mean, I haven't written a post in six weeks, do you think I have time to read?  Ha!  Every time I tell myself to write, I decide that catching up on my reading is more important, so I settle on my bed with eighteen pillows and the two dogs, the book, and my phone alarm set for one hour.  And then I promptly fall asleep.

I'll give you more reviews on these books in another post.  In the meantime just look them up on Amazon for a nice description and the good and bad reviews and ratings.

I'll leave you with this.

I've missed all of you and I'm already feeling energized and ready to roll on more posts.  Maybe I just went dormant for awhile.  Who knows.

HaPpY FaLl YoU'aLl!

Jane x