Sunday, February 28, 2010

Middle Child

Fashion plate. This is Jada. She insists that these colors really do go together. Jada starts school next year and I predict some compromises on her Mom's part. Jada has a mind of her own.
She changes clothes many times in one day. Her little personality is just as colorful. She was my helper as I learned what to do while taking care of her and her sister while big sister was in school.

She likes bacon and sausage for "bresskiss". My attempts at hair ....... well, see for yourself.

When I asked about diaper disposing procedures, Jada informed me that "We just throw them out in the snow." Lots of giggles, then, "No, just kidding."

On Thursday Jada told me that her Daddy was coming home the next day and that she was going to miss me. I got lots and lots of hugs and kisses. She told me over and over again that she would miss me so much and that she loved me. I can still feel those arms around my neck.......

Friday came and the Jada of hugs and kisses was long gone. It was all business and she told me matter-of-factly that she would not miss me and did not love me. As the time for me to leave grew closer she became very demanding and tearful. As I tried to get her dressed for the trip to the airport and she realized that I was going soon she threw her arms around my neck and proclaimed her love and told me that she was lying about missing me. So dramatic.
There will always be drama around this little girl! I am missing her funny little voice and giggles today. I have an assignment, though. I have to make some dresses and lots of ruffles "like a tutu".

100 Days of Kindergarten

While I was in Minnesota, Gavin's class celebrated 100 days of learning. Parents were invited to come to school to help with the days activities. At Gavin's request I went and his Mom took my place with her nieces. No small feat. She took Gavin to his school and then came to get me and the girls (after Maya was on her way to her school on the bus). She led me to Gavin's room and then took the girls back to their house for a bit, then came back to get me when his day was over. Confused yet?
Gavin was happy to have me there ........ everyone already knew I was coming. They already knew that I was Gramma Kathy and that I had come all the way from Missouri and that I had come just for this event! I didn't correct them.

Everything was ready when the "volunteers" arrived. Gavin's teacher is very organized. She had work centers set up to celebrate the day. All the centers involved 100, usually in sets of 10. I was assigned to 100 stars. Each child was to take a clipboard on which a sheet was clipped with 100 numbered blocks on it. There were numbered stars taped to the walls and cabinets and chalk boards around the room. They were given 4 crayons in the 4 primary colors and were to find the star and color the numbered block the same as the star. There was a definite pattern going on and it was fun to see how long it took the kids to realize they did not have to go find each star. Most of the girls found it after coloring 10 blocks and most boys after 20 or more. Well, except for the two little boys who decided to cheat and copy each other.
As you can see Gavin is wearing a necklace of fruit loops ........ 10 of each color. They had 10 snacks to count 10 pieces of each. This seemed to take forever as each child carefully counted 10 skittles, 10 marshmallows, 10 cheerios, etc.
This was on Tuesday and one of the mothers was nice enough to take a picture of us. I was fairly well rested. The pictures taken on Friday were a little unsettling to look at! I have rested a lot since getting home!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Water Baby

Meet baby Zara. I have yet to encounter a child so easily entertained. A chair to stand in, a cup and a stream of water from the faucet = endless fun.

Fill the cup.

Over and over again.

Empty and start over.

She also likes to sweep and dust and throw things away. And always happy. If she does something she knows she is not supposed to do she will wrap those little arms around your and give you a serious hug!
I will miss the sweet weight of a sleeping baby in my arms ......... as soon as I get some rest and my muscles stop aching!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Can We Paint?

See my sweet grandchildren? Maya is showing me that she can play the violin while Gavin watches. Baby Zara is headed back to the kitchen to finish emptying the cabinets into the floor. I haven't done this in a long, long time! I have already cooked two meals and cleaned up. I forgot that clean up involves not only dishes, but hands, faces, and floors!

So, when I heard the call, "Gramma, can we paint?" I said "No, not right now, as I tried to read my e-mail." Nap time is not observed by all and Baby has already had hers.

Jada came to tell us that they were spilling paint. I cleaned up most of the mess before I took pictures. Two 5 year olds, a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old were afoot. But as you can see that had indeed gotten some paint out. Green. Green is Gavin's favorite color. There was a two ounce bottle of green paint. Not anymore. It is in the trash along with a lot of construction paper.......

This where the toys are neatly stored in baskets .......... well, they were. This basket on the floor is the one that holds permanent markers and crayons and paint supplies!

This drawer has paper for coloring ........ The drawer is back on track now.

Gavin's mom is here with me and she questioned all the suspects to determine exactly who would sit on the steps for a time-out. Baby wasn't talking. Jada was an eager informant and Maya and Gavin were trying to side-step the issue. Maya did not get the basket down. She was very clear on this. She did not actually take the basket off the shelf. When directly asked Gavin replied with a question of his own ......... "What paint?" Did I mention that this child looks like love of my life? He is clever like his Papa, too.
Gavin took the basket down, but Maya told him he could ........ she is , after all 6 months older than him and it is her house..........

They are not happy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Sitting here drinking my coffee and reading e-mail this morning and the phone rings. I don't look at the caller ID and answer the phone expecting it to be a telemarketer. Instead I hear my daughter's voice. A welcome sound first thing in the morning. This is my baby girl, mother of Gavin. Gavin, boy of dog Wall-E and look alike of Papa (aka love of my life). Above you see Gavin arriving at our home for his annual visit last June.

This is the Gavin that helped Gramma plant an garden and move some rock last year ...... when he wasn't busy riding his bike.

My daughter called to tell me that he woke her in the middle of the night. "Mom, Mom ....." "What, Gavin?" "Are you having a good dream, too?" " No, I am not dreaming" "I had a really good dream" "What are you dreaming about?" "I was dreaming about Gramma Kathy".

I will be wearing a permanent smile today as I finish packing........

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peanut Butter

Went shopping yesterday to get all the last minute things I might need on my trip north ......... like a tube of hand lotion that did not exceed the 2 oz limit imposed by the airline industry. Mostly I went to ensure that love of my life might not starve in my absence and that my dogs would be well taken care of. Dog food and cat food I bought. Treats for the canine group and toilet bowl cleaner. We have very hard water and if the bowl isn't scrubbed every other day it will form a ring that is super hard to remove. It is with high hopes that I bought this. I will also post a note at eye-level in the bathroom with a reminder to clean the toilet, take his pills and put the cap on the toothpaste. Similar reminders will be posted about feeding the animals.

Back to the subject, though. What will my man with high cholesterol and high triglycerides eat in my absence? Last time I left I carefully prepared meal sized portions of things that could be heated in the microwave and told him daily what was available for him in the fridge. I returned to find all these "meals" exactly where I had left them. When questioned he admitted to eating a lot of fast food. So, this time I haven't bothered. He won't eat them any way.

His two favorite foods are peanut butter and cheese. Cheese crackers with peanut butter. He buys these by the case and keeps them hidden in his truck. He thinks I don't know. I know everything. He also eats peanut butter sandwiches. His combinations vary. Sometimes jelly (grape and occasionally strawberry), sometimes marshmallow fluff, and his current fave ... honey. So, I bought two big jars of Jif (choosy moms choose Jif). This should last a week, don't you think?

I like to buy bread from the bakery at WalMart and I really like to buy it from the day old cart. It is only 90 cents a loaf and I usually get the Italian. I make sandwiches with this. Last time I bought a loaf of Italian with garlic and asiago cheese and made some really yummy turkey and provolone sandwiches for lunch one day. That evening as we were watching TV in bed love of my life crept out and disappeared into the kitchen and in the dark made his favorite peanut butter and honey concoction. He reentered the bedroom, taking a big bite. He chewed for a second and then held the sandwich at arms length and stared at it, making a face of distaste.

"Whatcha got there, honey?" I ask.
"The nastiest damn sandwich I have ever tasted!" he replies.

I knew right away what he had done and couldn't help laughing. Apparently peanut butter and honey doesn't go well with garlic and asiago. I bought him a whole loaf of plain white bread to have while I am gone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Ready To Go....

Still snowing. Finally got new boots. In a bright color so I won't have trouble locating them. Easy to slip on and shuffle through the snow to get more firewood. Gotta keep my fingers warm as I get everything ready to go north to the grandchildren ..........
Three little girls need three monkeys. I would say these are late Valentines, but really, they are just because I love them.

Blue for Maya, the oldest. Maya goes to Kindergarten and is the oldest. She is the helpful big sister. She has a shy sweet smile and is slow to warm up to strangers (and Gramma Kaffy, who she doesn't get to see that often)

Jada loves pink. Her Daddy told me so. Jada is a hot pink sort of girl. She has no problem expressing herself and will do so. You will notice that the blue monkey and the pink monkey are exactly the same except for color. Maya and Jada are very competitive and Gramma Kaffy does not like little girl tears and fights.

Baby Zara will get a baby monkey. This was a pair of toddler knee socks. Harder to work with, but worth the effort, don't you think? It is just coincidental that the baby monkey sort of matches in design, I bought the socks at different stores.

My little guy, Gavin, wants a skateboard bedspread. The only fabric I could find was flannel. I like flannel, especially when it is cold outside. I wasn't crazy about the black background, but it has the requisite skateboards. His favorite color is green. I was going to go buy some green broad cloth and some batting. I will admit that I was putting the task off because I wasn't looking forward to hand basting the layers together. Procrastination paid off! I found in my fit of spring cleaning a set of flannel sheets and they are green! the top sheet was the right dimensions for the finished product and I decided that two layers of flannel would provide enough weight for a bedspread without the additional layer of batting. Took a whole afternoon, but I ran a line of stitches between each row of skateboards, then self hemmed the sides and used cotton blanket bindings on the top and bottom. It is just the right weight and the flannel lining will help it stay where you put it. Gavin is responsible for his own room and this will make it easier for his little hands to "make" his bed.

I found some green broadcloth in my stash. Not enough of either one for two pillow cases, so I made one of each color and trimmed them out with a strip of leftover skateboard fabric. I hate waste, you know.
I am hoping the roads will be clear as I am about to venture out to purchase a separating zipper to repair a hoodie for my oldest grandson, Gage. I hope I can find the right size. I have a zipper in the right size, but it is navy blue and I need black. Gage is almost 15 and very fashion conscious, so it has to be the right color. Teens. Gotta love them and I love this one the best!
This is just a few of the items I have packed to go and the large suitcase is full. I may end up wearing all my clothes in layers just to get them there!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Romantic Guy

Happy Valentines Day! Look at what I got!! A golf cart. Love of my life is a true romantic, don't you think?

Throughout the years he has come up with many unusual gifts. This one is not all that unique. Actually I really appreciate this one. I will be able to zip around the park quickly when time is of the essence. Like when I need to deliver firewood to a campsite and I am here all alone. I have to lock up the office and usually I just grab the wheelbarrow and haul it. I don't mind walking, but when I am way in the back of the park delivering and I have a rig pull in ...... well lets just say that I doubt I look very graceful running back to the office behind an empty wheelbarrow. I am always afraid I am going to step in a hole and fall flat on my face ..........

So, this is a wonderful and thoughtful gift, just not romantic. I am not complaining. I love this golf cart! It is a four seater. I can use it to show sites. The back seat folds down and presents a platform on which to haul things ...... like firewood and bags of trash and plants! But most importantly ........ I can chauffeur all my grandchildren around in it!

Back to the gifts of holidays past, many come to mind. There are of course those items that were bought for me that were really for him ..... mostly electronic gadgets that I had never, ever shown any desire for what-so-ever. There are those items that I knew some sales person had helped him select at the last minute because he had forgotten what day it was. But ....... the most memorable ones are those that he asked what I wanted and took my word very literally. I have gotten clothespins and trashcans for Christmas. The most memorable gift that he ever got me was for Mother's Day 1985. He asked me what I wanted. I hated to be asked (not anymore) and told him that I needed to fertilize the flower beds I had been working on. I was actually side stepping his question and was truly surprised when he presented me with 40 lbs. of cow manure. Yes, he did. I was the one person who could honestly answer the question "what did you get?" with "a bunch of shit!". Did I mention what a romantic guy he is?

Friday, February 12, 2010


When it looks like this outside ...... day after day after day ....... what do you do?

I like puzzles. Love of my life does not. In past years I would occasionally get the urge to assemble a puzzle. I would set it all up and spend hours happily fitting pieces together. It is a great activity for insomniacs and it goes well with Lifetime movies. If I happen upon a puzzle with a theme I really like I will mount the finished product and display it.

Just imagine the joy when I realized that my new best buddy, Deb, loved puzzles, too!!! Add to that all the Coca Cola puzzles we have found .......... I am singing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Here you see a masterpiece in progress. It must stay that way until I return from my visit with the grandchildren. Deb and I won't be spending another weekend together until then. I admit that it is tempting to escape from my day and sit a spell while pondering colors and shapes ....... but, no, I won't do it.

This is Deb's side. We have different approaches to this activity. I have a method and rules, while Deb would sit pawing through the box looking for a piece that she might could use.

This is my side with the pieces lined in rows just like my Daddy taught me to do. There are rules! First you pull all the edge pieces out of the box, then carefully get all the pieces lined up neatly so that you can see them all. This involves some accessory boards to put all the pieces on. With these you can walk around the puzzle with the pieces in your hand like a tray while studying the colors and shapes needed. If it a difficult puzzle, then you separate these pieces into colors and shapes. First you construct the outer edges of the puzzle and then start filling it in. You never start the middle until the edge is done.
I am trying to teach her, but she is a rebel. She insists on doing it her way, although she has admitted that my way is beneficial and she likes having all the pieces face up and lined up neatly instead of jumbled in a box. And I have started a middle before the edges were done. She has yet to line up the pieces neatly, though. I am still working on that.

Here you see our first puzzle. It is mounted and ready to be framed and displayed in the store. We spent a whole weekend listening to the sounds of the sixties and singing along while putting the pieces together. Love of my life was at work while we played puzzle.

This one was fun! Lots of red. It is ready to mount and frame. I really like Coke ......... it's the real thing!
So, what are you doing while the snow is falling?

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...........

I have been spending lots of time perusing Craigslist lately looking for cabinets and counter for the new food bar in my store. Rather than type in a specific request, I prefer to simply click on a category and "stroll the aisles". You can find some rather unusual things doing this. I am always amazed at the things people will take the trouble to photograph and post for $5 and under. Not even worth the trouble I would think. Most of it looks like it should simply be discarded. Another source of amusement for me are the postings for appliances that show the appliance and it isn't even clean! Read all the accolades of this wonderful appliance and at the bottom is the news that it doesn't work, but the owner is sure that it can be fixed.

My absolute favorite of late is the one I clicked on this weekend. I had entered the "general" category just to see what wonders awaiting my discerning eye. I spied it right away and chuckled at the title thinking it really couldn't be what the title suggested. "DUCT TAPE ROSES" Yes! "Why waste your money on real roses that will die? These roses come in every color that duct tape comes in ......... and will last forever!"

I am not a fan of cut flowers. My family knows this and will give me potted plants that I can enjoy a long, long time ............ maybe not forever like the duct tape variety, though. Right away I let love of my life know that should he happen upon a duct tape rose vendor that he should NOT purchase those for me. I have learned through the years to be very specific about what is and what is not acceptable to give to me as a gift.

These wonders of everlasting beauty can be purchased by the dozen, half dozen and the ever popular single rose pronouncement of love. The single option is also good for those on a budget, however if you are Donald Trump you may want to go for the camouflage, it is extra.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Almost ready for Customers!!

Almost ready.......... as you can see, I have my water wings and earplugs, not to mention the ever popular goggles ready for pool traffic. I sell lots of floating devices and dive sticks. The most important thing I have on hand are swim diapers. A must if you want to put your infant or toddler in my pool!
All my shelves have been cleaned and re-merchandised to my liking. I have fishing supplies and RV necessities just waiting to be put to good use.

This is some of the stained glass that is the hobby of love of my life. Well, used to be his hobby. I am thinking that plumbing and sewer adventures are his new and unfavorite hobby.

Short on space, I try to think outside the box to display items for sale. The stained glass is hanging behind the curtain, suspended by fishing line. My gourds are hanging in front of the curtain. These are gourds from two seasons ago. Last years gourds won't be ready until next season.

We are very fortunate to have talented seasonal campers to barter with. Tom and Martha do screen-printing and I gave her nothing to work with........... just said I wanted a frog incorporated into our logo. Can I just say that Martha and I are on the same wave-length? I love Martha ....... Tom is an okay guy, too!

I am not crazy about folding chairs ......... but we use what we have. I made cushions for them and my partner, Deb, found the table and surprised me with it this weekend! So, if you want to come in and have a cup of coffee and a game of checkers, we got ya covered!
I have painted and moved every item in this building since buying it. I have taken out walls, too. More than my husband is happy with. I can visualize what it will look like ..... he can't; or says he can't. That means he will not move the walls for me. Okay by me, because I have really honed my skills in the past 6 years. I can take sheet rock down so well that it can be re-used. I found the original architect's rendering of this park and what they were planning to do as a Safari Camp. It is a little beat up, it was shoved between some walls in the office that used to be closed off from the registration desk. It was very narrow and confining, dusty and claustrophobic and it stunk! The previous occupant was a heavy smoker and nicotine covered the walls (didn't save that sheet rock!). I made better use of the space and part of it is my sewing sanctuary.

Pretend that the plastic bottomed plants are not there. This counter is going to house the popcorn machine that will be self-serve. The microwave will also be there for your convenience should you want to nuke a corn dog or frozen sandwich. A little fridge with condiments will be under the counter. Paper product will be readily available as you fix your snack. (The air conditioner and plants will magically disappear ........)

Here sits the unmovable cigarette case. Holding books and other things that will be gone and it will be filled with all manner of unhealthy junk food that is in demand by the campers and swimmers. My big seller last year was Pop-Tarts! If you will recall they came out with flavors that had never been heard of, such as Vanilla Milkshake and Oreo Cookie. I did not find them to be to my liking, but, hey, they are fortified with 7 vitamins and minerals ......... SEVEN! Who am I to argue with nutrition? Pringles and Doritoes also went a little bonkers with new flavors. I remember when your choice of potato chip was regular or Ruffles. Then came BBQ and it has now evolved into sheer madness ..... but I digress.

There is a lot more to do and I will add photos for your viewing pleasure as I go. Erase those plants from your mind, they are just trying to make it through the winter............

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What I Do When I Have No Water

From some of the comments on the previous post I am assuming that everyone thinks I am being a good sport about the water situation. I am trying to be, but today is wearing thin. I want to wash my dishes. I want to wash my clothes. I want to wash my hands!!!!!! I hate clutter and I hate the feeling of not having control. The dishes, the laundry and not being able to do anything about it is wearing thin as the evening progresses. I am tired and irritable and pretty sure that I don't smell really good.

In an effort to stay out of the way of he who plumbs this morning, I hid out in my sewing room. No water required in there and I have a TV and there was coffee close at hand. Two trips for parts yielded no repair and he had to go to work. I realized that staying out of the way was a mistake. While he had the pump on I could have filled a bucket of water. I didn't do this and now the only water I have is bottled drinking water. Chilled bottled drinking water. No water to cook with, no water to wash my hands with, no water to flush with. I have been using hand sanitizer all day and did wash my hands with cold water before I sat down here.

I tired of sewing, my hands were hurting from stuffing monkeys (go ahead, Otin, see what you can do with that) and not wanting to face the dirty kitchen decided to move some things in the store around and do a little merchandising. Last year a friend of ours traded us a cigarette case for a couple of bar stools. This thing is huge and very heavy. It is 4 feet wide and 7 feet tall, providing lots of space to display my wares. It took 4 of us to get the thing into the store and I was told (warned) that I had better be putting it where it would be forever because it would not be moving again.

Whatever. That was like a challenge to me. As you can see I have unloaded it and readied it for a move. See the one beside it? I was told that I couldn't move that one, too. The baskets of plants with the plastic bags clothespinned to the undersides are temporarily hanging out inside for the winter. My mission today was to move the cigarette case.

I had the space all prepared. He who plumbs was quick to tell me that it wouldn't fit in that space. Does he think I am an idiot? I measured it first. So, he is gone and the space is all ready for the cabinet........

I tugged and I pulled. I wiggled it this way and that way. Hmmm, did we screw this to the wall (yes, Otin, go ahead)? I looked and couldn't find any screws, But I didn't look at the very top. One good yank and I pulled it away from the wall with the trim boards hanging off the back of the cabinet. I was able to get one off with my drill, but love of my life is know to use a variety of different screws on any given project. Why? Don't know. He also used my drill last and I lack the strength in my hands to change the bit. I am now faced with a dilemma. I have tried every screwdriver in this place (that is no small feat, let me tell you). Finally I go pull one of the trim boards off the wall I am moving the cabinet to and put it on the bare spot. I then proceeded to move the unmovable cabinet to its new home. It was difficult, but not impossible. Normally I would have sat on the floor and used my legs to push it, but it is top heavy. I didn't want it to fall on me and trap me, since I would be alone until love of my life gets off work around midnight.
After I got the big cabinet in place I decided the other big display case needed to move, so I moved it. I merchandised most of it and looked outside to see that it was dark. I realized that I had only had coffee and a handful of nuts all day. I worked up a sweat, too. So, I went foraging for food that could be prepared without water. Cottage cheese and pineapple and diet Dr. Pepper with a side of popcorn. The day is over and hopefully tomorrow will bring water and a nice hot shower. Tomorrow I will finish in the store and take some pictures of the finished product to show you all.
She who sews refuses to leave the building until he who plumbs delivers some water!