Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Pride

I know this is fairly ethno-centric of me, and even though I am an USA lovin' American, whenever the Olympic Games are held, I root for the Estonian athletes. I'm sure this is because, as a child, my mother and I would watch the Olympics together, and we never saw the Estonian flag, the flag of her youth, in the Parade of Nations. Neither would we see flags for Latvia, Ukraine, or any of the "states" that made up the Soviet Union. But we knew that many of the athletes on the Soviet team were from those countries. (Indeed, often the entire Soviet basketball team was made up of Lithuanians!) Of course, we knew the US would win big, and we were very proud to see the American flag raised and the National Anthem played at all the medal ceremonies.
But, those days, we'd find ourselves watching the Finnish athletes, since their culture and language are very similar to Estonia's. We felt as though we had a connection to them. Once in a while, we'd hear the Finnish National Anthem at a medal ceremony, and since it's almost the same as the Eesti anthem, it would be a big thrill.

That all changed after 1991 when the Soviet Union fell apart, and all those tiny nations could compete at the Olympic Games under their own flags. How excited we were when we saw the Sinine, Must ja Valge (Blue, Black and White) of the Eesti flag come into the stadium for the first time in Albertville, France at the 1992 Winter Games.
I became a little miffed by the network coverage, however, since for the next few Olympics, NBC would go to commercial every time the Estonians made their entrance to the stadium! It happened at both the 1994 Winter Games, and the 1996 Summer Games! We never saw the team come in! I finally wrote a long letter to the sports producers at NBC bringing this to their attention. I really didn't think anything would come of it, but I compelled to let them know. Then, in the 1998 Summer Games in Nagano, Japan, the Eesti team entered the stadium, and NBC did NOT go to commercial!! Tom and I were so excited to see that flag and that team, I'm sure our cheers were heard all over our neighborhood!

This year, the Estonian team got a lot of good air time! I think it's because their outfits were so fabulous and their athletes so good-looking! I'm already planning the letter I'll write to my relatives in Eesti asking them to send me Olympic Team jackets and hats!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poor Georgie!

Our pup Georgie often rough-houses with Juta's cat, Micky. It's fun to watch--they run and chase and wrestle and they both love it. Sometime last week, Georgie had a little scratch on his forehead from Micky's claws. I thought nothing of it, but I must have bothered him, as he began to scratch it often. Tom then noticed large mat of dried blood near the scratch. So--off to the vet.
Turns out he had a staph infection from that little scratch, and it was spreading all across his head! Ick. They shaved his head and put an e-collar on him (read: cone) so he was pretty miserable. I tried to keep the cone on him, but he freaked out.
He just froze.
He wouldn't move, he wouldn't sit.
He just stood still.
So, I took it off. But, in order to make sure he wouldn't scratch his head, I had to take him to the office, to keep an eye on him.
Georgie loved that! He got to spend the whole day with Beau and Tom and the technicians and me. Now he gets oral antibiotics, plus a salve for his wound. He looks goofy with his flat, bare forehead, but it's getting better.
And--Micky will get his claws slipped very soon!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Uh Oh No Power!

Our power went out during a storm a few weeks ago, and we were left in the cold and dark. WE Energies couldn't get us back online until the next day, so we had to make the best of it. At least it wasn't bitter cold yet--just a semi-cold November night.
We lit all the candles we could find, and pulled out all the flashlights as well. A fire was lit in the fireplace and I settled on the couch and read my book by candlelight. We were able to boil water for tea and make soup, as we do have a gas stove (thanks goodness!) so we had a little picnic in front of the fire.
By the morning our power was back on, but I enjoyed the evening in the dark.
I took a couple of pics just as dusk was settling.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Goodbye to the old ash tree

A few weeks ago (when it was still warm out!) we asked my nephew, Matthew, who is a very talented and able arborist, cut down the old ash tree in our front yard. It was kind of old and scraggly looking, and was just in a bad place.

So--he came over one Sunday afternoon with his chainsaw and harness and ropes and took her down.

It amazed me how quickly and expertly he got the ropes into the tree and pulled himself up much like a mountain climber. Then, while at the top of the tree, he had his pruners, saw and even the chainsaw hanging from his belt by ropes! He deftly used one tool or the other, all the while moving from branch to branch like a monkey!
He did a great job, and we rewarded him with a great steak dinner on the grill (and some cash!). The best thing is, our lawn and my sewing room both get a little more sun.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


We have an apple tree in our backyard, and it surprised us this year by producing...apples!

Last spring, we noticed the beautiful blossoms on this tree, and once they faded, the tree was just...there. In the corner of the yard.
This year, the blossoms came and went as they did last year, and we thought nothing more of the tree until Tom starting getting is head bonked by low-hanging fruit while mowing the lawn. So yesterday was harvest day. Tom grabbed a long pruner thingy, and he cut down the apples while I gathered them in a basket.
Georgie helped.
We got this basketful--and the tree still has ten times this many. The apples are quite tart and crisp--perfect for cooking and baking. I used a fraction of these to make a gorgeous apple pie today--I should have taken a pic it was so perfect looking! And it was delicious!
So--if any of you out there have a bushel basket and love to make apple pie, come on over!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nothing New

Well let's see. What has happened since my last post?
I don't remember.
My entire being has been caught up with doing a quilt for a group show that I just finished yesterday. So I've been mostly posting on my other blog. In my non-art life, things are fairly quiet. Let's see if I can come up with anything exciting.

--The kitchen reno continues. Tom has built a couple of cabinets to add to those that are already in there. They look great! We've picked out tiles for our back splash, and have hired a friend to paint all the kitchen walls.
--Juta and I are getting along. She has become more comfortable living here, and no longer acts like a guest. She'll actually go to the fridge and get herself something to eat instead of waiting for me to ask her or make something for her. On one hand, that's good. On the other hand, she ate my leftover noodles and shrimp the other day. I was looking forward to having them for lunch yesterday. Oh well.
--Georgie continues to chew my sandals. He ripped up my good Tevas that other day. Sigh... I ordered another pair to the tune of $48!!! That makes NINE pairs of shoes/sandals of mine he's ruined in the last four months. He's also chewed up two pairs of Juta's and one of Tom's. He's turning out to be an expensive dog.
--Since we've been so busy with the kitchen and quilting, our garden has been totally ignored. I'm lucky it rains every once in a while or everything would be crispy! The flowers are blooming very well, as are the weeds! We have bees in the gutters and chipmunks living under the stoops. But Tom pulls zucchinis and tomatoes out of his veggie garden, and our apple tree has produced a bumper crop this year. I'll be making apple pie soon...
--My phone crapped out the other day and after a few days of farting around with AT&T, I now have a brand new one!
--I am looking forward to a short vacation, just me and Tommy. We're going up north for about five days of sitting still. Ahhhhhh....take me away...(of course, Tom will have his laptop and I will have my handwork. We never really sit still...)

So see? Nothing much new. Just regular life stuff. But that's good. Life is made fun and interesting by enjoying all the minutiae of the day-to-day. It is then we feel alive and connected and relevant.

For interest, I'll post a random picture. This is Pig at the Space Needle during my first trip to Seattle. He loves sightseeing.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blooming things and Iowa

Things are settling down around here. Tommy, Juta and I have developed our daily routines. The critters are all getting along. It's all good.
So about a week ago, I took a little quilt-shop-hop trip into Iowa with my friend Jeanne. I drove to her house in Barneveld last Wednesday evening, stayed over night (where a gang of cows gathered outside my window very early in the morning--something that rarely happens in the Milwaukee suburbs...), and we took off in Jeanne's car Thursday morning. We stopped at a few places around SW Wisconsin, then drove to Cedar Rapids to shop at The Pine Needles (actually in Marion, IA).
We continued on to Kalona where we stayed at the Pull-r Inn. No, I am not kidding--that's the name of the motel. It was very nice. We found another little quilt shop "downtown", then went to Washington, IA to have a really good Mexican dinner in an old house. The next day, we planned to drive up to Amana, but not before one of Jeanne's co-workers, Firman, who lives in the area, took us for a ride in his dad's Amish buggy. Firman and his dad were very gracious--I even got a picture of them. The countryside around there is just like a picture book--green cornfields dotted with cute white four-square houses with tin roofs and red barns surrounded by 200 year old oak trees. Beautiful!
We poked around the town of Amana for a bit, and, of course, hit Heritage Designs, a quilt shop housed in a 150 year old barn. It is a gorgeous store, and I did a bit of damage to my pocketbook.
On the way home, we made a stop in Iowa City again, then drove back to Wisconsin. Before we got back to Jeanne's house, she took me on a little tour of the farm that used to belong to her mother's family. The homestead it was actually nestled in a hill overlooking a pretty valley near Fennimore. It was beautiful, and I took a pic of Jeanne's Little Valley. It was a fun couple of days, and now that the vessel is filled with lots of inspiration, I can back to my quilt projects with renewed enthusiasm.
I've also been watching lots of things bloom in my garden these days. The big news is the hydrangeas are here...and they are blue! Last fall I sprinkled some special fertilizer on the bushes to change the pH of the soil. That's what makes the blooms blue! I was sceptical, but it worked! I have one bush full of big blue flowers. The other one has pink blooms, and together they are beautiful!
The other big garden news is my clematis came back! It is growing in a flower bed that Tom cleared at the beginning of summer in order to kill the weeds. I thought they were lost, but they popped up, and now are climbing the garage with strength and vigor!