Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Friday, February 6, 2015

Selling the Family Silver

We rarely use sterling silver flatware pieces, and it requires constant polishing. Entertaining around food centered themes?  We usually do that in the back yard in the summer, sans formal table settings. Then throw away plates and plastic forks and spoons are the usual cutlery.

We have an embarrassment of riches in sterling silver. So now it might be the time to sell those three sets (my grandmother's, my mother's and my own),  Each of the patterns has complete settings for eight. That is a lot of sterling silver flatware.

I decided to do some research about how to undertake this task of selling silver without being robbed blind.

Mr.Money Mustache.  Have you heard of him?  He was a wealth of information.   Regarding selling old silverware: unless it has sentimental value, go ahead and ditch the silver plated stuff is his advice. Or give it to someone who can make jewelry from it, like my dad did in his day.  (I have a blog post about dad's jewelry business written in 2010 and you can read it here.)

(some of my dad's hand crafted key rings and jewelry he gave me)

Back to Mr. Money Mustache and his article about selling silver.  He says
Silver flatware actually comes in two varieties: 
Silver Plated, which looks and feels just like silver, but is actually only covered with a thin coating of silver. Other, cheaper metals lie within. This stuff is not worth much in this context 
Solid Sterling, which is always stamped “sterling” on the handle. This stuff is 92.5 percent silver metal.
Today's silver price is $16.86 per ounce, down from a ten year record high in 2011 of around $48 per ounce.


So now might not be the best time for selling the solid sterling, but I can get the silver pieces cleaned, sorted and piled into the sell-able silver, the 92.5 percent sterling pieces, vs. the sentimental pieces (mostly my grandmother's from the 1920's).

Let the polishing and sorting begin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our Dog Mercy

She has a need to be alone. It is her primal nature, for she was bred in the north, Calgary, where the cold wind blows. She was meant to stay in solitude for hours in small spaces and to keep quiet, the perfect condominium animal, bred over twenty generations for solitude and minimal barking. Keeping still and silent is necessary for some animals, the owl, the snake, the wolf. Now it is in her genetic makeup as well.

In her essence: a she-wolf. She observes, focuses, and is a watchful waiter when human food is being consumed. Patient, patiently watching and waiting until that last bite, knowing it is saved for her,  is gratefully taken with intense poise into her gentle mouth. It is almost a kiss she gives when taking her small treat. Her mustache is smoothed down with a light human touch, and she is told she is loved.

This is her day: a short walk led by the man of the house, a bit of play time, kibble and water, and then sleep. For sleep consumes the majority of her day. Snuggling down into the pillows on the bed, uncovering the bolster if necessary in order to reach her master's down pillow, her favorite, she takes time to make her day nest. Here she will stay for hours, only nature's call for elimination of fluid urging her out of this nest that only she inhabits. The others in the house, her sister animal friend and the humans, do not inhabit this space of hers called the peoples' bedroom. Those others stay in their own dens doing whatever it is they do during the daytime hours...reading, knitting, cooking, talking. But here, on this bed and on the once forbidden pillow, she stays.

Occasionally, when dreaming, a slight whimper will come from deep within her throat. It is not unlikely that she yelps. Perhaps a play date with her sister dog is in her dreams, or maybe it is one of those pesky UPS men ringing the doorbell and making her jump to attention, shaking her from that sleepy lethargy. Whatever the cause, those yips and slight low growls sometimes can be heard from farther rooms when she is deep in slumber. Her distant presence is made known.

Now the night comes. The people in the house retire to this, her place, at night. At first she welcomes them, and snuggles down, this time at the foot of the bed, into the old down comforter throw that is kept just for her, although the feathers are slowing disengaging from the seams, and little white fluffs can be found on the bedspread beneath her silky throne. With the lights off, now surrounded by these human masters of her universe, she again settles and sleeps.

After two or three hours of this nighttime darkness, she awakens and feels the presence of the humans and realizes she is, indeed, not alone. She jumps from her downy nest on to the wooden floor, her toenails making a soft, padded sound. She yips, awakening her masters. They interpret the yipping noise to mean that she wants out to pee, and the one called Gene cooperates, reaching for his flashlight at the headboard of the bed, pulling himself up and out of slumber, releasing her out into the cold night air. Upon command, she performs her duty, and both the human and she return into the room.

Circling round just the right number of times, she replaces herself on the nest. She again sleeps. But I often wonder if what this canine really craves is to be alone, again, on the bed she calls her own. Sometimes, when the owners correctly interpret throaty call, her name is sternly called out in the darkness to return to bed. Reluctantly, she comes back to her rumpled place at my feet. Perhaps she woke to realize she has others in her space. Her primal need was again calling her to solitude.  All she really craved was to be alone.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photos Scanned, Clean Up Happened

Although I have not been blogging, I have been reading each of your posts, my friends.  First, let me say that I have tried to comment on most of your blogs, and secondly, since two weeks ago, daughter Julie came through her medical problems just fine.  No more headaches, no surgery.

That new scanner I ordered is the bee's knees.  Or is it bees' knees?  Anyway, it works very well, creating light where there was none, enhancing colors, cropping off non-essentials, etc.  It is just a run of the mill brand and was inexpensive, but it is the technology that has changed over the years. The old scanner just was not cutting it.  Results of all that scanning of old photos resulted in several trash cans full of old albums and photos.  And several boxes of heavier papers and albums were taken away by the local disposer.  We get an old age discount because the waste disposal guys figure that seniors don't have much trash.  Suppose we more than got out money's worth from this trash removal service over the last couple of weeks.

All in all, those pictures from the 1970's until digital times have all been scanned.  And the result? The best ones are now residing on one thumb drive. Amazing. It was an emotional time, truthfully.  Looking at my daughters when they were babes in arms, thinking of those years, most of which were troubled and unhappy, working hard, having little free time.  I had so much rather be living my life now rather than then. A couple of digital photo flashing frames were loaded with hundreds of vacation and family photos. The good times can be remembered at will. Happy, happy.

One large four drawer file cabinet is now in the garage ready for the "Fresh as a Daisy" pickup that the city provides in April for items too large for regular pick up.  And now my little study is boasting a new two drawer mahogany and much smaller file for papers.  Lots of the old files were also trashed.  Who knew one could accumulate so much unimportant stuff over a few years time?

Clean up pictures:
 (organized, items tossed)


And the amaryllis bulbs Natalie gave me are growing, finally,  in the guest bath:

The husband ordered new retirement business cards.  He has not yet handed one out, and I'm wondering if people will need an explanation of his thought process in creating these.  Probably he will not even get reactions.  Who knows.  And what price would one pay to a holistic detective agent?

Yes, knitters, I have now completed two thirds of my Looped Loop cowl and am on the home stretch of the Delancey Cardigan in grey and mustard orange.  The Looped Loop has to be knit under strong light. Usually I am watching some Inspector Lynley mystery shows on Netflix, so there have been a few dropped stitches. Next up to watch is "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", Jan.   And yesterday I was involved enough to have to rip out some grey on the cardigan because it was time for a stripe.  Onward.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye to 2013

And good bye to, among others, all soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our freedom

Good bye to various actors, authors, poets, politicians, painters including

  • Van Kliburn
  • David Frost
  • Scott Carpenter
  • Yvonne Brills, scientist
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Muriel Sievert
  • Helen Thomas
  • Ed Koch
  • Joyce Brothers
  • David Brubeck
  • other actors, authors, poets, politicians, and painters

And goodbye to my friends and family

My father, Charles W.  McCarroll (1919-2013)

                      My aunt Mary Howard Mays
Friend Mary Oman
Friend Maureen Keesler
Friend John Heniford, father of SIL Jack

Father of all,
we pray for those whom we love, but see no longer.
grant them your peace;
let light perpetual shine upon them;
and in your loving wisdom and almighty power
work in them the good purpose of your perfect will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Methodist Worship Book, 1999 (p498)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fires; Trashcan Cooking over wood

Colorado has had terrible fires this week, both near Colorado Springs and closer to our home, about 60 miles away, the Black Forest fire.  Almost 38,000 people in 13,000 homes have been affected by the Black Forest fire, Fox News reported.

The UK Daily Mail showed this picture and also reported that this is the worst fire in the history of Colorado with close to 500 properties already destroyed.  Three houses were miraculously left standing.

Please pray for all affected.

Being careful of fire and using appropriate measures, the husband cooked out down in our lower area and smoked a chicken for our dinner last night.  He smoked it in his home-made trashcan cooker.

The bottom of the trash can was placed inside an existing fire pit and the old fire pit  grill and cover were repurposed for cooking over coals.

The chicken was seasoned and smoked 1.5 hours, and was turned every quarter hour.  It turned out to be a masterpiece, even without sauce.  Delicious!

Happy Fathers' Day to all.  Prayers for all affected by the fires in Colorado.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello, June

We've been saying hello to spring. Sprucing up. Painting. Gardening.

(in process, but now painted)

The master bathroom has been painted white the entire time we have lived here, so it was only appropriate to welcome in spring with a bit of a face lift and a few new accessories for the necessary room.  The picture above is a "before" one of the east window.  Indulgent Mocha from Behr over builders' white paint is now its cover.  A new clock on another bathroom wall to let us know how long it takes to brush teeth.

And I whipped up a new valence for that east window.  Seems it always gets hot in mid morning from that direct sun, so perhaps this fabric will shield some of that sun while taking showers.

Gardening!  Our wildflower garden planted last spring is doing nicely, thank you.  But the bluebells did not make it over the winter.  It was just too darned cold for their survival.  But the penstemon did VERY well.

Welcome to my garden with purple and yellow columbines...

honeysuckle that opened up this morning with a heavenly smell...

and welcome also to the prayer garden in the back that is filling in nicely with ground cover, iris, chives, mums and natural tall grasses, along with a few other bulbs.

And then it was time to whip up a few new dishcloths (the eLoomanator and Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth held with triple strands of cotton yarn to make a couple of fiesta potholders.

Sadly, my husband the chef said that three strands of cotton was not enough thickness to keep his hands from a burn.  So these fiesta cloths might have to go into the facecloth pile in the closet. Sigh.  
For lunch, my favorite chicken salad recipe found here by Emeril.  It uses fresh tarragon, of which there is an abundance in the herb area.   I use more than Emeril says, and we seem to never have an apple on hand, but it is good enough even without the apple.   Next time a picture; this time I forgot to snap a picture of the herbs, and the salad is not yet made.
How are you welcoming June?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paint Party Friday

This photograph has been passed among my brothers and me after our parents died.  Strange how it resurfaced from the family archives only after they had passed.

It is a favorite because our parents looked so happy in the back of that (probably snazzy) old coupe.  Mom looked like a star with her dotted scarf and round dark sunglasses. It was likely taken in 1941 or '42.   Dad's naval hat in upper right sets the tone and time of the photograph while Mom's dress and smile sets the carefree attitude of a day away from problems.

Over the past two summers I have tried to paint a portion of this. It is still on the work desk. Maybe this summer it will be completed.  Or not.

She does not need too much detail; perhaps defining the lips and making the glasses smaller.  Of course the hands need work.  We shall see.

As usual, linking to Paint Party Friday.  Last week there were 123 links!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another Birthday

It is my personal (ah hem) opinion that anyone over 11 years should not "celebrate" birthdays with a party. Of course, there are exceptions.  A woman of a certain age can, however, enjoy good wishes sent by others.

And boy-oh-boy, did I love the cards and phone calls checking in.  Thank you friends and family, for the sweet remembrances.  Here are a couple of cards to bring out your smiles in this last week of January.
 (cause we cool chicks gotta stick together)

And one from my friend Sharon that said "I think of you...and give thanks"  Ephesians 1:16.  And one from SIL with a little buck toothed dog on it, just like our Libby Sweetpea!

Some pretty silk scarves my daughter sent me:

And a beautiful bouquet of flowers from SIL and brother:

Don't you love it when somebody makes you something?
A pin cushion with heart pins!! The poppy is felted and the leaves and poppies applied with hand stitching.  So sweet, thank you Natalie.

The Mr. cooked up some snow crab for dinner.  It was yummy. And so another year was added to the lifeline. Grateful.
"There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” ~ Ralph H. Blum

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Today is Epiphany

In Christianity, Epiphany refers to the moment that a person believes that Jesus is the son of God. To symbolize this, Western Christian churches generally celebrate Epiphany with the arrival of the three kings at the birthplace of Jesus 12 days after Christmas, or January 6 on the current calendar.

January 6 is also our wedding anniversary, another memorable personal event. This video was made three years ago by my husband for our 20th anniversary. It bears repeating.

Happy Anniversary, Gene.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Good Bye Summer

good bye to our flowers...

goodbye to summer excursions and a trip to see family...

and hello to fall decorations, golden foliage, hot stews, two new tv dramas, ratatouille, apples and autumn fidget pie!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Knit Me Together in My Mother's Womb

For the Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge on "hearts," my brother tried his best to help me use the basics of Photoshop, but I failed miserably.  He even made me a 13 minute tutorial on layers and how to create images by combining pictures together.

It looked easy when he did it on his video, but there were so many intricacies that I could come up with only one half-way presentable image by combining two heart art clips on top of one image. Then I couldn't save the danged thing except to a .pdf file.
 (Mother and daughter in NIC unit, Kentucky, 1970)

"...You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body."  (Psalms 139, verse 13, 15, 16)

So there are a couple of clip art hearts on my daughter and me.  My certainly won't win any awards, but it was valuable in at least learning a few basics on the software of Photoshop.

Join in Art with Heart and show us some of your favorite heart-y inspirations like these:


                                                                              Palmarin Merges : In the Studio

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Girls Scouts: 100 Years and Nostalgia

One hundred years of Girl Scouting and I have lived over half of those years.  Both facts make me ponder.

Over 50 million girls have been Girl Scouts since Juliette Low founded this opportunity and organization for girls to grow and mature into contributing world citizens.  The oath:
I will do my best to be Honest and Fair, Friendly and Helpful,Considerate and Caring, and Responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout
Being a Brownie myself in the '50's and a Girl Scout in the '60's, then going through the years with my daughter Heidy as a Scout through the 80's and 90's leads to this post.

Skirting the controversies of selling cookies door-to-door (which was the first no-no that I recall) and going all the way to transgender scouts, this post focuses on the positive aspects that scouting brought to our family.

Janet Macpherson, (1941-2011) The Girl Scout troop leader for my daughter's years in scouting, had a profound effect on many lives.  Janet was the mother of our younger daughter's best friend Melinda.  She was a good friend and a strong support to our family during difficult times, and Heidy spent many a night at the Macpherson home while I was at Children's Hospital with Julie.

Janet and I also shared many a good book and glass of wine during the years we commiserated over our young families during book club evenings and family dinners.

As families, Janet and we traveled to Washington, DC together to share an historic view of the city and to visit the Smithsonian Museums in the mid '80's.

Then there were Girl Scout activities Janet and I and our daughters shared, including two overnight trips to mountains and one to the Air Force Academy and a long ... very long... weekend in the mountains using three llamas as pack animals for the girls' gear.  And throughout it all, Janet was a good humored role model for all the girls whom she shepherded.

So for all those years in Scouting which brought us together, I am extremely grateful.  Her family, friends, beloved dogs and the bees she kept over the years are all so proud of you.  Janet kept the Girl Scout Promise and Law  close to her heart and acted accordingly.

Thank you, Janet, for your friendship and rest in peace.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elusive Secret of Happiness

Remembering the good times is so important that researchers in the UK have found a clue that
The elusive secret of happiness could be as simple as remembering the good times and forgetting the regrets, a new university study reported
Valentine's Day, 1997 when daughter Julie and SIL Jack married:

Just look at the smiles on all our faces as Julie sets forth on a new journey with her husband Jack! It brings tears to my eyes remembering that joy.

1997, Jack and Julie enjoying their wedding cake on Valentine's Day after their marriage ceremony

Update: Julie has completed her second round of chemotherapy and had a PET scan yesterday in order to better target radiation that begins next week.  She is happy, upbeat, sweet and a joy to have as a daughter.  (Further links to Julie written by her mama can be found here, here, here, and here.)
Further: For people who look at the past through rose-tinted glasses are happier than those who focus on negative past experiences and regrets, according to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
The study helps explain why personality has such a strong influence on a person's happiness and the findings suggest that people with certain personality traits are happier than others because of the way they think about their past, present and future.
The study examined how peoples' ratings on the "Big Five" personality traits relates to their approach to time and life satisfaction.
The "Big Five" model assesses how extroverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is, and rates individuals as high or low on each personality trait rather than assigning them a personality type.
"We found that highly extraverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Becoming a Pensioner

These articles are worth a look.  I became an early pensioner today, so everything is not all bad.

Pensions in the United States  Thank you, Sisters of Charity, for my pension plan

Study Hints That Statins Might Fight Breast Cancer  (more advances in breast cancer research)

The Upside Benefit for Women of Guaranteed Income in Retirement  (women do live longer than men)

and finally, just for a chuckle, here is one of the cards daughter Julie sent me for my birthday:

Happy Birthday to me, just another old broad :o)  And thank you, Gene, for my new red leather loveseat where I can plot, plan, knit, read, converse, watch tv, and generally thoroughly enjoy my retirement.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reminiscences from Pearl Harbor Day, 1941

My dad wrote his memoirs about ten years ago, spending many hours at his computer thinking and reminiscing about his past.  My brother captured it all, making a book from his writings.  Dad is now 93 and living in a care center with Alzheimer's, so today he could not tell us anything about his years in the navy or what he recalled about being a test pilot in the 1940's.  But he did write his memoirs when his mind was sharp.

This morning after listening to the news, I thought about when Dad was in the navy and a part of The Greatest Generation.  I wondered if he had written anything about Pearl Harbor Day in 1941, so I looked into his book.  Sure enough, he did write a short piece about what he remembered on Pearl Harbor Day in 1941. Here it is.
On December 7, 1941…
The U. S. Navy accepted me as a candidate to be an Aviation Cadet. I was assigned to the Elimination Base at the Naval Air Station at Dallas. I reported on October 1, 1941, and completed primary flight training. I received orders to report to the N. A. S. Corpus Christi and to a pool of future Aviation Cadets. 
It was Sunday morning, December 7. 1941, after reveille, I dropped from my top bunk and dressed in khaki for a full day ashore in Corpus Christi. Mother and Dad were visiting the Ward Terrells, friends from Junction. I met them for church services and then we visited with Maurine Motley, a distant cousin from Hollis, OK. She was a teacher. We drove around the city and returned to her apartment. A lady came out a door and told us to turn on the car radio for the NEWS! The announcement and description of the Pearl Harbor attack was a shock to us. The sun was low in the sky in Texas but it was morning in Hawaii. 
I returned to the base by bus and was prepared for some drastic changes, but I noticed nothing different. We still drilled, had musters and formations. I remained in the Pool until after Christmas. My orders were to report to Pensacola N.A.S. as an Aviation Cadet.
The Way It Was... Recollections and Reflections of Charles Wilson McCarroll, Jr.

Charles W. McCarroll in 1941
Charles W. McCarroll, 2011
From The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw:
These men and women came of age in the Great Depression, when economic despair hovered over the land like a plague. They had watched their parents lose their businesses, their farms, their jobs, their hopes. They had learned to accept a future that played out one day at a time Then, just as there was a glimmer of economic recovery, war exploded across Europe and Asia. When Pearl Harbor made it irrefutably clear that America was not a fortress, this generation was summoned to the parade ground and told to train for war. They left their ranches in Sully County, South Dakota, their jobs on the main street of Americus, Georgia, they gave up their place on the assembly lines in Detroit and in the ranks of Wall Street, they quit school or went from cap and gown directly into uniform. 
They answered the call to save the world from the two most powerful and ruthless military machines ever assembled, instruments of conquest in the hands of fascist maniacs. 
They faced great odds and a late start, but they did not protest. At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting, often hand to hand, in the most primitive conditions possible, across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria. They fought their way up a necklace of South Pacific islands few had ever heard of before and made them a fixed part of American history: islands with names like Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Okinawa. They were in the air every day, in skies filled with terror, and they went to sea on hostile waters far removed from the shores of their homeland. 
When the war was over, the men and women who had been involved, in uniform and in civilian capacities, joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They were mature beyond their years, tempered by what they had been through, disciplined by their military training and sacrifices. They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. They stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faith. 
They were a new kind of army now, moving onto the landscapes of industry, science, art, public policy, all the fields of American life, bringing to them the same passions and discipline that had served them so well during the war. 
They were not perfect. They made mistakes. They allowed McCarthy-ism and racism to go unchallenged for too long. Women of the World War II generation, who had demonstrated so convincingly that they had so much more to offer beyond their traditional work, were the under-pinning for the liberation of their gender, even as many of their husbands resisted the idea. When a new war broke out, many of the veterans initially failed to recognize the differences between their war and the one in Vietnam.
It may be historically premature to judge the greatness of a whole generation, but indisputably, there are common traits that cannot be denied. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices. It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order.