Monday, November 30, 2015

I travelled to Rockford on Sunday to finish up the grandma movie.  I arrived and Ron, Jason and Megan were setting up equipment to shoot the scenes that the Grandmother (me) and my granddaughter, Megan (Elenita) were making while working at the computer on our family tree.  Elenita and her mom, Kimberly, arrived and we set to work on the shooting.

The lights were the first problem and we tried lamps, opening the curtains behind us, turning up the brightness on the computer screen and setting up the official movie lights.  Shooting a movie is not just filming, it is a mysterious combination of lighting, sound and just the right effects.  We went over our scene several times before shooting to get the right feel of the scene.  Ron, the director, corrected several of our errors and we got down to shooting scenes.

Elenita is such a sweet child.  She is so intent on becoming an actress and it shows.  She is, I believe, ten years old and very professional.  She is a joy to work with.  Her fastidious mother brings an entire crate of clothing for her to choose her outfits for each scene.  Her hair is down to her knees and she had it in braids for this shoot.

I hadn’t planned on wearing what I wore to the shoot.  I brought three outfits to choose from.  But we began and I was in a sweater.  The lights get pretty hot and so I had to leave the set to stand in the garage and cool myself off a few times.

Elenita’s father brought her kitten, Mel, and we shot the scenes with the cat on the desk by the computer.  The cat was pretty cute and cooperated with us quite well.   Ron laughed and said they told him in his movie making class not to use children or animals, and here we were using both.  It worked out just fine.

It took all morning to shoot three scenes at the computer.  We broke for lunch and Jason, Megan and I went to the local Popeye’s Restaurant for lunch.  I had never eaten there before and I have to say the seasonings were just right on my pieces of chicken but it was a bit on the greasy side.  Next time I go I will try the PoBoy sandwich instead and the bread can soak up the grease.

We got back to Ron’s house and had our lunches together and discussed movie making and photography.  Megan is trying to start a photography company.  She has had several gigs so far and is learning a lot about the photography business.

Jason is just getting back into the movie making classes and asked if I would be an extra in his movies if he needs me and I agreed. I’m a movie star!

Next scenes were shot in the bedroom where I lounged after my stroke.  Elenita brought me lunch and danced to entertain me.  The lighting again was a big chore.  Open and close the curtains, set up movie lights.  The boom microphone was the next problem as Jason had to follow Elenita into the room and keep his hand, elbow and the boom out of the picture.  We shot several takes of each of the scenes because of little annoyances.

Ron coughed one time and we reshot.  The boom was in the picture and we reshot again.  I forgot my lines and we reshot again.  We were really having a pretty good time.  Ron played the music he had purchased on line and paid $39.00 for the rights to the music.  (More complications I didn’t know about.)

The last scenes were of Elenita only and so I hightailed it on home to see if I could watch any of my beloved Cincinnati Bengals football game.  I had to make one stop to pick up a few things for dinner and didn’t make it for the game.  They won 31 to 7 and we are now 9 and 1.

And so our movie has been shot and about to be processed into a real movie.  I cannot wait to see the finished product and will post an update as to when it will be shown.  Another big retirement adventure comes to a close.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The reasons I don’t like snow.

1.    It prohibits my going outside comfortably.  I like being outside and I don’t like having to put all of those pieces of clothing on to go outside.  I have my thick socks, warm water proof pants that zip at the ankles, t-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie sweatshirt, scarf, the hubster’s old waders that we cut to boot height and my snow jacket that my good friend gave me when her mom bought a new one.  Gloves on hands, lotion on my face and a toboggan on my head and I am ready to go.  By the time I finish shoveling a path for the dog to go out and pee I am a complete sweat hog!

2.    It gets on my boots and I can’t get it off.  So the boots just sit there being cold and stay snowy until the next time I have to go out in it.

3.    Going to get the mail.  I usually drive the truck out to the mailbox and get the mail.  I know the neighbors think I am a lunatic but I hate number one above.  I can drive the truck in my jammies!

4.    Refilling the bird feeder is a pain.  The drifts are sometimes halfway up the side of the house.  I have to shovel a path to get out there and then the next time I have to go out the snow has drifted and I have to shovel it again.

5.    I have to put 210 pounds of sand in the back of my truck to get anywhere.  The truck is wonderful during the other months.  I can haul manure, weeds, yard waste and all kinds of good things.  But just let it snow an inch and the truck is all over the road.  Today we have eleven inches to contend with and it is still snowing.

6.    I can’t walk the dog.  My daughter got Jessie dog some boots but she won’t wear them.  The two times I forced her to wear them she walked like she had gum stuck to her feet.  Take a step, shake one back leg, another step, the other back leg shakes.  She lost one and I had to backtrack and so I don’t force her to wear them any longer.  (I have some leather dog boots for sale if anyone is interested.)

7.    We don’t grill much when it is snowy.  I have a foot of snow covering the grill right now.  And the hubster isn’t well enough to go out and shovel.  Sometimes you just crave a piece of barbecued chicken or a Jamaican jerked pork chop fresh from the grill.

8.    The hubster isn’t well enough to go out and shovel and so I have to.  Well I could just scoot the dog out the door and leave her to her instincts like he does.  But us girls like to have it nice when we potty.  She doesn’t like the snow on her little belly and private doggie area.  So I shovel a path by the garage so she can go out.  This is the little path I shoveled and it is almost covered already.  That is a pumpkin on the porch and you can see the composter in the background.

9.    The garden is covered and I still have food out there.  Just two days ago I had a salad from the garden.  The spinach and greens are beautiful and the sorrel is really nice (no thanks to the Satin possessed Japanese beetles.)  And I have the loveliest Brussel sprouts.  I should have cut some yesterday.

10. It brings Christmas, or Chanukah, or holiday or whatever.  I don’t really like the holidays.  I always have hated shopping.  I like to send cards and receive them and I love to bake the cookies.  I don’t like picking up all my stuff around the house to put out other stuff having to do with the holiday.  I like my house like it is with stuff that I like all the time.  I really gave up the holiday and all the brouhaha many years ago.  The girls were in high school and not very interested in helping me decorate and so I gave it up.  The hubster was really into killing a big ass tree and putting it in our two story solarium.  I prefer not killing trees even if they were planted and meant to be killed.  I prefer to celebrate the holiday in a more laid back style with lots of cookies and yummy food cooking in the oven.

And this year will be a wonderful holiday for me as I will be in Tuscon, Arizona with both of my girls and both of my son-in-laws.  The hubster is staying home with the dog.  I will be away from the snow and the hustle and bustle and will be in the sunshine where I am meant to be.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

English Paper Piecing

Today’s retirement adventure was a sewing class.  I signed up for the class at Lucky 2 B Quilting in Pecatonica, IL.  The class was taught by the loveliest Cambodian lady named Vanna.  We had a group of three ladies.  One lady was from Lena, IL and the other one was a Brazilian lady.  They all had quilting experience and I have limited experience.

I had no concept of English Paper Piecing but knew I wanted to learn.  You wrap material around this little hexagon piece of thick paper and baste it in place.  Then you sew the pieces together.  It took some time to do this.  Our class ended up being over two hours for only $10.00.

Vanna brought snack and so I immediately fell in love with her.  You know me, I can always eat.  We had pomegranate, persimmon, grapes and almonds.  Perfect sewing food.

We shared stories of our lives and just had the most convivial time.  Vanna was a Cambodian refugee in Thailand before she came to the US.  Christina moved from Brazil to marry her husband whom she met in Brazil when she was a translator for him.

Of course, I had to share my retirement experiences and even got a reader for my blog.  I must keep up with it.

I learned so much about materials, threads and needles.  Vanna corrected my stitches which were too big.  You could hardly see her stitches.  She showed us two of the quilts she had made using the English Paper Piecing method.  They were just gorgeous.

I have Christmas projects going right now but as soon as I have spare time, I will start on my English Paper Piecing project.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Today has been an especially stressful day for me.  I moved my computer upstairs to my usual office.  I had some computer over-heating problems this summer as the upstairs is not air conditioned.  We tried several solutions but finally ended up moving my computer to the dining room which is the hubster’s office.

We did buy a little fan that I left on by my computer to keep it cool.  I have a HOT computer, what can I say.  Must be my blog!

I made a little diagram of the computer processor so I knew which plug went where.  I don’t know if it matters, that is just how I operate.  If you know me and I am not technologically adept.  I have two left hands when it comes to technology.  I really want a smart phone but am silently scared to death.  I don’t like change, like when Microsoft wants me to upgrade to ten and I can’t deal with that.

And so I cleaned my office area and swept the carpet.  I cleaned the keyboard of toast crumbs and the monitor of grapefruit squirts.  I hooked everything up and turned it on.  Oh my, it works.  I am a goddess of technology!

Before I did all of this I checked my email and FB to see if anyone wanted me to write a book or article and to see if the Starbucks cup thing had been settled.  (Just kidding.)  I saw where daughter, Addi, had posted an url to the podcast that she had done with her friends, Z.D. Gladstone and Camela regarding The X Files.  And so I spent a good forty minutes listening to the girls yap about the paranormal and other magical stuff.

I hadn’t noticed before but Addi and Z.D. have similar inflection in their vocalization.  I did confuse them at times.  People have accused Addi of having my horrible southern, Buckeye accent when she was younger but college changed that a bit.  She sounds more like Z.D. now.

Anyhow, I decided I needed to comment to the girls about the podcast since I am also an X-Files fan.  I wrote them a long letter commenting on the various discussions during the podcast.  Silly me, being the word processor that I am, did not save the goofy letter.  As I am printing two copies of the letter, the electricity went out.  I spoke several not to be repeated bad words.

The electricity came back on and my wonderful computer asked if I wished to retrieve the document not titled and I did so.  Well it had saved it for me but the last half of the letter was gone.  And it was such a wonderful letter.  I printed it as is, kicking myself in my mind’s eye.
Lesson learned—save,save,save!

If you want to listen to the podcast you can find it here:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Last week I decided I wanted to bake an apple pie.  I purchased some Granny Smith apples from Currans Apple Orchard.  They use chemicals sparingly and I wanted a fresh, delicious pie.  The apples were not the prettiest but the flavor was devine.

I chose to make a two crust pie because I am really in it for the crust.  I made enough for a two crust 10 inch pie.  I used the recipe from my Betty Crocker cook book.  It called for sliced apples, flour, sugar and spices.  I added lemon juice as I sliced the apples to keep them from turning brown and to give it that little extra umph.  I also grated some fresh ginger root in the filling.

I put in my bottom crust and added my apples.  I remembered this time to dot the filling with butter.  (I sometimes forget.)  Then I rolled out my second crust and cut it with Grandma Faerber’s little wheel cutter.  It makes a jagged edge and is so pretty.

The pie came out lovely.  I put it in to bake and put aluminum foil around the edges so the edge would not brown so much.  I took off the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.  I also turned down the temp from 425 degrees to 400 degrees.

I was pleased with the result.  The crust plumped up and was so lovely.  I had extra pie crust and made some little crackers with the dough.  Just a hint of salt and they were wonderful.  I put some of my caramel apple jam on the crusts and ate them while warm.
The hubster was pleased with is piece of pie which he topped with the caramel apple jam and some Brier’s vanilla ice cream.  Warmed!

I had lunch with the in-laws yesterday and took them a huge piece of the pie.  They were arguing over who got the biggest piece.  I love spoiling them.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I was supposed to be finishing up the movie today but it was canceled because my “granddaughter’s” grandmother passed away.  She had suffered for a very long time. Rest in Peace Elenita’s grandma.

I have the day off and am looking forward to listening to the Bengals football game on the radio.  We would watch it on the television but our set doesn’t get sound on the local channels and it probably isn’t on anyhow.  They are playing the Steelers and I hope they demolish them.

For those of you who don’t know the story, one of our very good friends was murdered in Pittsburgh a few years ago.  He was a stand-up comedian and magician and did a Steeler joke on stage in Pittsburgh, and two guys beat him to death in the bathroom after his set.

I am making beef stew for dinner in the crock pot.  I love beef stew.  And fresh bread to go with it.  I may make a loaf of beer bread to go with it.  I am using fresh potatoes, onion, carrots, tomatoes and green pepper from our garden.  I have this thing about making something using my own garden grown veggies.  It brings so much more flavor to the stew.  Too bad I didn’t grow the beef but I couldn’t bring myself to slaughter anything I had raised anyhow.

I started this blog last Sunday (one week ago).  My photo of the beef stew didn’t come out.  The Bengals won in a nail biter of a game.

This week I had a pleasant surprise in the mail.  I had donated to the Arbor Day Foundation recently and they sent me a package of little trees.  Ten blue spruce and two redbud trees.  I decided to keep the redbuds and planted them in my front yard with a big stick to mark it so the mower won’t cut it down.

The ten blue spruce went to the campground.  Yes, I did a little gorilla gardening.  A couple of years ago I had planted a white pine in the campground in honor of my friend, Terry, who had recently died of cancer.  The campground supervisors had found it and kept it watered that summer, they informed me in the fall.  It is still doing well.  I surround it with twigs and leaves every fall to protect it for winter.

I took a bucket of beautiful compost and my planting tool.  I had water in the coffee can that held the trees on-hold for me until I could plant them.  As I planted the trees I thought of those friends and family that had recently died and so I guess I was planting the trees in their memories.  I thought of my parents and how I sometimes missed them so much my heart ached.  My brother had died shortly after my father and I thought of him and how he had grown from a bulling big brother to a gentleman.  He died too young but he certainly enjoyed his life.

Our best friend, Dave, had died young right after my father and brother died.  It was an awful winter for us in 2006.

My friend Kim had died at age 39 several years ago.  We had planted a tree in her memory at the lake where we live.  Then our friend, Terry, had outlived what the doctors told her she would live, but we lost her too.

I thought of the recent passing of two of my favorite aunts, Imogene and Reva.  They were such souls.

I also thought of my friend, Barb, who I worked for at the dentist’s office while she underwent chemo and radiation therapy.  She died of lung cancer never having smoked a cigarette nor been around smokers.  She was such a dear.

My little trees were in the ground and fertilized.  I had made the surrounds for them and given them a drink of water.  I left them to the Great Spirit in hopes that they would grow and be reminders of what wonders the Earth has to offer.  “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

The photo isn't of blue spruce but a photo of one of the trees growing in the middle of the street.  At the lake where we live there are several trees that were saved during paving and i think that is so very cool.  I love my trees in the middle of the street.  Thank you Lake Summerset.