Sunday, January 27, 2008

This and That

As you can see above in the slideshow - I'M DONE with the beading for Michigan Artists Gallery - Pat and I are going up there next Saturday - YEAH - I have one storage container filled to the brim with brightly colored glass beads and gleaming stainless - so exciting.

I also asked my friend, Jan, to make a few purses to take up there with us. She has fabulous purses - each one a work of art. I told the owner about them and she was interested - so I'll just take a few with me so she can decide if she wants to put them in the gallery.

A poem hung in Mother Teresa's Calcutta orphanage - Anyway:
The title above is a link to my niece's blog - I just love this poem - I need to be able to click and read every single day - go see it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Millie and Tillie Debut

Well - my friend Heather, who has a two year old and eight month old twins, wanted to see one of my stories about Millie and Tillie. Now let me tell you - my sister Jane has great stories too and she should post some for you. My Mom used to tell us these stories (Daffy and Dandy show up for boy stories when needed.) Whenever we were going anywhere - the doctor's office, shopping, to the Aunts, a Millie and Tillie story would be told on the way - there was never any doubt as to the outcome of good or bad behavior. Millie and Tillie stories have been told in the courthouse waiting for a traffic ticket hearing - in the delivery room - waiting for Sheala to be born - and several have been told to Robbie and Sheala - any time at all is a good time for a Millie and Tillie story! Enjoy! YOU CAN HEAR NANA TELL THIS STORY BY CLICKING ON THE SIDEBAR!
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Once upon a time there were two sisters named Millie and Tillie. Millie usually acted quite good even in difficult situations and Tillie acted very bad most of the time even when there weren’t any “situations.”

Millie smiled every time someone came into the room. Millie was very careful playing with her toys and when friends came to play with Millie they also were very gentle with her toys; as a result of that she was very happy to share her toys with her friends.

Tillie NEVER wanted to share anything and she usually frowned when someone came to visit because she was afraid someone would break her toys. Tillie was very rough with her toys. The doll she received from her aunt last Christmas had a broken arm and the wig was pulled off so Tillie could perform an operation on it on New Years Day. Usually, when friends came over to visit with Tillie they were just as rough with the toys.

One day, Mother told Millie and Tillie that her friend from long ago was coming to visit and she was bringing her three boys with her for a few days. Millie would have to move into Tillie’s room and give up her bedroom because she had the extra bed in her room. Millie was a little upset that she had to give her room to the boys and she went into the kitchen to talk with her Mom. She told her Mom that she was worried the boys might be tempted to play with her doll collection and they may not be very careful with the dolls. Mom looked at Tillie running through the living room swinging her doll by the one arm she had left, and agreed with Millie. So they carefully packed Millie’s doll collection in a big box and put it in the attic.

When the boys came to visit they had a very nice time. When they played with Millie they sat at the kitchen table and played store. Mother would let them use the cans of food in the pantry and they would have a wonderful time. They would scan the food across a box and then pack the groceries into a big brown sack. Then one of the boys would take the food home and put it back on the pantry shelf. It was great fun. Mother looked in on them once and was pleased to see how happy they were and how well they all played together.

Tillie never wanted to play store, she said that was for babies. When Tillie played with the boys they usually played tag. They would all run around the living room until someone would run into the lamp or a table and either hurt their head or break the lamp. Today, it was the lamp. Mother came into the room and stopped the game of tag and told all the kids it was time for a much needed rest until dinnertime. Tillie hated rest time and she cried all the way to the bedroom, where she found Millie reading a book. She was not very happy to be in the bedroom with Millie and she cried and cried and cried until she finally fell asleep.

After the family went home, Millie moved back into her room and put her beautiful doll collection back on the window seat. That night at the dinner table Mother said it had been a wonderful visit with her friend and they would all go to visit at their house next year. Tillie thought of all the toys she would have a chance to play with and Millie thought about how nice it would be to visit with her friends again.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Tribute to Mrs. Fordney

In 1964 I was in sixth grade at St. Mary Cathedral and my father was dying. My mom spent weeks at a time in Detroit at Ford Hospital. I could have spent that year getting in a lot of trouble but instead my best friend, Janet, and I were chosen as Red Cross Youth Volunteers.

We collected goods for friendship boxes to send overseas and that took hours and hours after school. We would stop down on Jefferson Avenue to that beautiful old home that was the Red Cross office and Mrs. Fordney would give us direction. We went to meetings every month and after one of those meetings she suggested we volunteer more of our time. That was when I became an Office Volunteer. Every week I would go to the Red Cross Office and work on collating newsletters, answering phones and anything else that needed to be done. That summer after sixth grade I even took a typing class at Central Jr. High so I could do some typing at my volunteer work.

All through my school years Janet and I were involved with the Red Cross Youth. If Mrs. Fordney needed volunteers for swimming classes with the mentally disabled children she called us. If she needed someone to go see the young men drafted for the Vietnam War off from the bus station, she called us. We took our volunteer work seriously because Mrs. Fordney took our work seriously and she appreciated everything we did.

As I became an adult I continued my volunteer work, many times as the secretary of an organization. I give a workshop to adults and sometimes to high school students on the importance of volunteer work and how a person can use that experience on their resume and I tell of Mrs. Fordney and how she focused the direction of my career with her mentoring. I chose secretarial work as my profession and Mrs. Fordney had so much to do with my love of that work.

I saw Mrs. Fordney many times over the last few years of her life and she was always genuinely interested in my career and my life and she always asked about my friend Janet, too. Many times Janet and I talked over the years and wondered why we never could or why we never wanted to say no to her and we decided it was the goodness in her that radiated out to us when we were near her. As children are growing up they realize that some adults just placate them and put up with them – Mrs. Fordney was never like that – she took time and mentored us throughout our lives. When I look back on the importance of that mentoring in my life I am amazed at the time and effort she took with us. I made sure over the years that she knew how important she was in my life and she will always have a place in my heart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to work

The last holiday for a very long time is done - Pat and I had fun yesterday - we went to Ann Arbor for the afternoon (didn't call you Ells Bells because we were home before you got home from work!)

We went to
Salvation Army - found a dish(and the sales girl told us to go to Valueland)
Antique Store - we were going to buy a cake plate and server set but the lady wouldn't stop talking with someone who wanted to buy something BIG and so we put it back and left.
Reuse Center - a wooden dish holder - YEAH - second one I have now I will be able to display my hostess gift plate and knives in it at shows.
PTO Thrift Shop - didn't find anything there
Valueland - found one pretty dish

Glad we left there early because there was blowing snow and in the daylight it was okay to drive in but I don't like to be in it in the dark, sometimes it's hard to see through it.

So - back to work today - and not another holiday off until Good Friday - I can see my PTO dwindling during the next few months.....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dinner at Vince and Olympia's

It was so nice to see so many of our friends. We had such a good time catching up with everyone. Jean Marie was so nice to give us all a few photos from one of our past visits when Kevin and Laurie were home. Everyone looked so good and healthy. What a blessing to have this group of people in our lives. I told someone I would put my recipe for rolls on the blog - here it is:

This takes about three hours.
2 Packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup granluated sugar
1 cup warm milk
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour (I have made this with all white, 1/2 white and wheat and all wheat - my favorite is 3 cups white to 1 cup wheat.)
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbs butter, softened
2 large eggs

1 egg
2 tsp water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp of sugar in warm milk. Let stand until foamy, 5 - 10 minutes. Mix together salt and flour. Beat butter and remaining sugar into yeast mixture - add eggs one at a time. I use the dough hook on my Kitchenaid for about four minutes. Then knead on floured surface 5 - 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in large greased bowl, cover loosely with a damp cloth and let rise for one and a half hours. Punch down dough - shape into rolls - let rise a half hour. Brush on egg glaze mixture. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Parish Party

We went to the parish party last night at SS Peter and Pauls. Even though we haven't signed up for the parish, Fr. Jack made everyone feel so welcomed to attend last Sunday during announcements that Pat wanted to go! Now if you know Pat - you know that is amazing.

It was a very nice party. We sat with a big group of people that were fun. I actually knew one of those people from working at the City. Then Julie and Al came in that we knew from St. Mary's and they sat with us. There was a mom with two children sitting at our table and I held the baby while she ate and danced with her two year old - that was very enjoyable. Al and Julie joined the church yesterday and feel at peace with the change. Still can't make the change but I am thinking about it - that says something!

I get to bake bread this afternoon to take to Olympia and Vince's. We are invited to a dinner party at their home. We love going there for dinner with friends - it is so relaxing and enjoyable. We help Olympia cook, but mostly just sit around in the kitchen watching her create the most wonderful dinners. She is a Maestro in that kitchen - it is a joy to watch her cook. Kevin, Laurie and Henry - we're really missing you. Been thinking a lot about you all lately. Hope church, work, school and all are going well. I'm sure we'll talk about you tonight - Lots of love from Saginaw.

Had a little email spat with the City Manager this week - won't go into it here but we disagree on some things and of course I can't keep my fingers from flying over the keyboard. I have always told people exactly how I feel if I think it needs to be said - sometimes even if it doesn't need to be said but I just want to say it. Either you hate me or you love me but you always know what I think about something - that's how it is.

Pat and I spent an hour reading posts in Lizzie and Sarah's blogs - then my voice started cracking and my butt fell asleep - so we'll have to finish those this weekend and start on the others. It was very enjoyable reading - they both have a wonderful way of describing events so that you feel as if you are right there with them.

My friend Robyn from work gave me I Am of Irelaunde it is a wonderful tale of St. Patrick. I'm almost done but I keep reading a few pages and then putting it back down so I won't finish it fast.

That's all for now - ME

Friday, January 18, 2008

As Jane Would Say - Pray for Patience

I definitely do not have patience. Example - last night posting to Sarah's site - didn't see it - posted again - of course - two posts! At work - I have six different programs going at once and then complain about how slow everything is running. COGNOS has a cute little rainbow colored fish swimming on the bottom of the screen while it gathers information - some days I could STRANGLE that fish. OK Jane and Chris you ar right - pray for patience. Maybe that is one reason I love to cook - I have several dishes cooking and baking and I like it when everything is done at the same time.

Jim and Cindy and Pat and I went out to Timbers for dinner last night. Then back over to their house for a bit. They were going to take Kim and Fred and the girls out for dinner but the movers have been there since Tuesday and Kim said they probably wouldn't be done before 9 PM. One reason was the truck wouldn't fit into their court so the movers have to transport everything to the end of the street to put it in the truck - I'd be going crazy.

Jim is really busy with the Saint Mary Cathedral All Class Reunion to be held in August 2008. He is a real detective going onto the Internet to find people in the white pages, calling people in one class to get siblings phone numbers and addresses, asking everyone he knows if they know someone's address. If you know a graduate from SMC and they have NOT received a mailing please let him know. His email address is:

Cindy is still waiting to hear about going back to work and in the meantime she is so busy with church that when I asked them when they could come over for dinner the answer was "Until Lent, Thursday nights are good, during Lent, no night is good!"

I've been busy buying beads in fabulous blues, greens, reds, and oranges. Very metallic looking and beautiful. I've been unwrapping conventional spoons and rewrapping them in a more eclectic style to match the Michigan Artists Gallery. This is my most favorite thing to do - find the style of the store I'm going to have the flatware at and make the spoons a perfect fit!

Well, I'm getting ready for a nice long weekend. MLK day is Monday so I'm going to leave work at 1:00 and then enjoy the weekend. Pat and I are going to tackle my stuff in the basement - GOODWILL here we come - get ready - I'm in the mood to seriously clean out!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Traverse City Weekend

What a beautiful weekend - we left for Traverse City on Thursday after I got out of work because there was a weather warning in effect and we didn't want to wake up on Friday and not be able to get there. We had a great evening - driving in we saw that La Senorita had Burger Night - now if you don't remember La's Burger Night in Saginaw then you won't understand why we were so happy! So after checking in at the Traverse Victorian Inn - and getting a beautiful room with a jacuzzi and a fireplace at a very reasonable price we went to have dinner and: The Chicago Burger was better than ever!

Then we went to Leelanau Sands Casino in Suttons Bay - the big spenders that we are - we each had $20 to lose - and we did! However, we spent about 2 and a half hours winning and losing - it was fun. However, one night at the casino is enough for us. On the way back it started to snow hard. At one point we had a white out for a few seconds - I didn't like that!

On Thursday morning Bill called us to tell us that they got a lot of snow and we shouldn't try to make it from Saginaw - I told him that I knew that because we were getting ready to go to breakfast and it was beautiful outside. Each branch of every tree was outlined in heavy white snow. After the complimentary breakfast at Mabels across the street from the Inn we went to Bill and Julie's.

Pat and Bill went to work adding a humidifier to their furnace and Julie and I had a chance to catch up. We played all morning with Ethan and Tsipporah. We had so much fun playing games with Ethan and then watching him run around the couch chasing Tsipporah with the toy shopping cart with her laughing and giggling and plopping down on the big pillow that was "safe" - Ethan was a good big brother because he slowed down when he got too close to Tsipporah.

After we left there we went to a couple of thrift shops and a Goodwill. Bought a few dishes. Then to Auntie Pastas for dinner. That was a great place. The music was two guys playing guitars and singing - but not too loud - which made for an interesting situation. The people in the booth behind me were talking about how the City Manager has the same co-pay as the lowest paid employee and how that wasn't fair. After we were done eating I stopped by their booth and asked if he was a city worker - he said yes and I told him I overheard the insurance talk and I told him our unions and the Michigan Municipal League should be working TOGETHER to solve some of the problems we have with our cities being able to afford insurance. He agreed - asked who I was and where I worked and how to get a hold of me. That was fun - City workers UNITE!

On Saturday we stopped at several consignment shops. Bought several spreaders at one and some spoons at another. Then we stopped at our favorite wineries and bought a lot of wine. First at Peninsula Cellars and then Chateau Grand Traverse. We always enjoy talking with the people at the wineries. At Chateau Grand Traverse we always have the same person help us - we have him pick out the different wines each year and then he tells us what to serve with them. That was fun. Then we went out to the Old Mission Tavern and Bella Galleria for lunch.

Then the most exciting news - I have always wanted to stop at the Michigan Artists Gallery in Suttons Bay. I love their website and I couldn't wait to go in to the gallery. It was so fabulous. I wish I had a huge house with unlimited funds - and actually there is such a beautiful tile piece that if I had a huge house I would take out a loan to buy it. All of the artwork is unique with intense color. I started talking with the owner and told her how much I love their website. Then I asked how to get your artwork accepted. I had one hostess set in the car and Pat went out to get it and she loved it. We took it over to the pottery and the lime green beads matched perfectly with the dish she put it on. So we talked a bit about what she wanted and I told her I would bring back more in a month. I cannot tell you how much this means to me - to be accepted at the Michigan Artists Gallery - WOW. Every one needs to stop by there - it is a great place.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Heavens - it's been awhile

I have been so busy that I haven't had time to write anything on the blog. I wish I had before pictures of my bead room - Pat helped me empty the closet that was still filled with craft objects I used for altered books and so I had no room for beads and dishes and glassware. After 400 trips to the basement by my sweetie I have ROOM!

Last night we had Joanna and Robin and the kids over for dinner. I picked up Sheala after school because Robbie had bowling class. So Sheala helped me make dinner. It was so much fun baking and cooking with her. We made from scratch dinner rolls, potato pancakes, Grandma Shea's chicken, lettuce salad and fresh mozzarella and cherry tomato salad. YUM. Sheala did all the seasonings - she was exactly right on with each one so every dish was delicious. A couple of weeks ago Robbie and I cooked together and he also did an amazing job - these kiddos are turning out to be wonderful chefs.

Then while Pat, Robin and Robbie did dishes, Joanna put up my "Friends are Forever and Ever After" on my friends wall - it is so cool. I'm going to think up something for the kitchen and purchase that when Joanna has another party.

We bought a "new" van - a 2004 Chevy Venture - it is really nice. The front windshield is so big with no obstructions. I think the Astro has a bigger front dash so this is very different. We kept the Astro to pull the 1964 Holiday Rambler that we love to camp in but we traded in Pat's truck. So we are a two van household. I am driving the Astro to work every day to keep the mileage down because Pat drives all over the place.

I've been working on a huge report at work. I use a software report writing program called COGNOS to pull information from my payroll program, HTE. One problem we have in HTE is that if something is pending we don't see it in the bottom line. So you don't really know where you are in spending. Soooo.... I have several reports that I save into Excel and then with one touch of the macro button - YEAH - I have a fabulous up to date report. This is just what we needed for working on the budget. I would rather write reports and spreadsheets than anything else - it is like a puzzle trying to figure out what I need to make the report work. My friends and coworkers Heather and Kim have been helping by looking at information and telling my why it isn't complete and then I go on a treasure hunt looking for the information to add to the report. We still have to double check several line items today to make sure they are correct. This has been fun.

Okay - I have to go - ME

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Camping Reservations

It is 9 degrees above zero and I'm making camping reservations! This is a picture of us camping last year at Clear Lake. I already lost out making a reservation for the weekend we wanted in Tawas - now I have to wait for a few more weeks to show up on the reservation availability list - the DNR show 6 mos worth to the date so anything after July 2 isn't showing yet.

I did reserve a week at the Rifle River and a long weekend at Clear Lake this summer - so I'm already getting excited about going. We always make our first camping trip of the year to be with two other couples. We take turns cooking for a whole day - so it is like being in Heaven the other two days. I love that trip the most. We lounge around, laugh, drink, we take long walks and drive to see the eagles, then we lounge around and laugh and drink some more. Lots of great campfires to sit around to enjoy each other's company.

Just knowing I have a couple of reservations on our favorite sites is enough to get me through this 9 degree weather - there is hope though - I've heard we are supposed to get up into the 50's by the end of the week! YEAH!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


My best wishes to all of you for a great year filled with family, love, happiness, and peace. Looking over last year I am thankful for so many things.

Finding a celebration each week at SS Peter and Paul church that brings us hope
Seeing that our family is filled with love and happiness
Knowing our friends and family are in such good health
Remembering that there are only 98 more payrolls until I can retire

Pat and I talk a lot about how happy we are - we would rather be with each other than anything else. Yesterday we drove to Lansing to go to thrift shops and Goodwills - I'm determined to buy lots of little plates to make hostess gifts for next year - I am also thinking of doing some bazaars next year - maybe I can talk Joanna into going to work a few if they are on the same day. I think small Christmas gifts is going to be the way to go. My friends bought hostess sets for their office staff and the staff really liked them - I should find a way to market to small businesses too.

After shopping we stopped at Beggar's Banquet for a late lunch - early dinner (or as we call it DRUNCH). It was nice - no one else was in the restaurant and they were decorating for their New Year's Eve party. We got home just after dark, which we noticed was after 5:30 - the days are getting longer - spring can't be that far off, right?

We are going to Bill and Amy's this evening for a traditional New Year's Day get together - THAT IS THE END OF CELEBRATING FOR THE HOLIDAYS! I'm actually ready to be done!

Hope you all have a wonderful day and a great year to come!