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Possibly the most lavish blooming time is over, but spring is still astonishing here in northeast Ohio. Driving through Cuyahoga National Park with my granddaughters today I saw many people on the short piece of Bath Road between Riverview and the Akron Peninsula Road. The herons are still flying overhead, still on their nests. I see families of geese looking like toddlers now, where only a few days ago they were a mother sitting her nest and a gander standing guard. All manner of birds are singing in the morning. Thousands of peepers enliven our evenings.Chautauqua july 2016 flowers

Many wildflowers and blooming trees have come and gone but the new daffodils we planted last year came up and bloomed their best, after we had given up hope. The Redbud tree I planted so long ago but could never see from the house is beautiful and visible this year due to the loss of the Norway Spruce which blocked it before…It’s an ill wind, etc.  And the aliums I planted two years ago and have not yet seen, surprised us yesterday with their nice purple balls of flowers. The deck is planted with flowers and herbs and one pepper plant. I’ve rather given up on tomatoes and cucumbers. They don’t do well here. We had a tough winter and some things died which have been living for years. Two different sorts of sage need to be replaced.

Driving through the valley today I saw that turkey buzzards were flying overhead. They are not here in winter. There is always a celebration in nearby Hinckley when they return. Read about it here: https://www.tripsavvy.com/buzzards-of-hinckley-752532.

Most of my family are at Lake Chautauqua today, putting in the dock and getting the house ready for the summer of 2018. I will be going there on the 9th of June to see six dear friends from my favorite book discussion group who are coming for a week. One of our group is coming from Maine, driving her truck, and bringing lobstah for us all. Exciting! I haven’t tasted a lobster in years and I’m sure these will be delicious! There is even a hint of lobster bisque later on. Besides Maine, I have friends coming from Canada, the Pacific northwest, Tennessee and Virginia.

(The photo of blue hydrangeas is from last summer at Chautauqua.)

Andy and his friend Istvan  (Hungarian for Stephen)  are getting ready for a two week Great Lakes Sailing trip and are testing Istvan’s sailboat, the Circe, at Lake Chautauqua this afternoon.

After this long hiatus, I have decided to blog again. There were some serious health concerns in January – not mine – but I think things are much better now. And I wish all of you good health and a very happy summer!

 

Alice june 2017 fern lodge sign

 

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Alice dec 2017 kitchen tree with heathers ornaments and other antique christmas things from my family

Advent moves on. Alice has a small tree in her kitchen pictured above. (The main tree, under which Baby Jesus brings gifts is in the living room…) There are some old German family ornaments on the tree which we received as a gift this year from my cousin Heather as well as the wonderful nativity music box Alice inherited from my mother and the Santa and sleigh from my grandmother. My mother always told me that Papa, my grandfather, made the sleigh…These are dear childhood Christmas memories to me. The sleigh was always in the Christmas village around the base of my grandparents tree….The Erzgebirge music box in our family room…Very sweet memories.

Alice and Emily are back from their lovely journey to my sister in law, Maria, in San Francisco. I think it was a great trip for them. Alice had not been in that city since she was three years old. Emily had been much more recently. Alice had fun on the cable car and Maria remembered that last time she was on one Alice had insisted on hugging the conductor! She tried to persuade her to repeat this performance, to no avail.

Alice dec 2017 sunday maria with em

Maria and Em….

Alice and Em dec 2017 SFO while visiting Maria

Em and Alice.

They enjoyed a lot of good meals. San Francisco has such variety to offer.  They had Indian, Vietnamese and Dim Sum delicacies.

Alice dec 2017 vietnamese lunch with maria and em

In a few minutes I will be leaving for the birthday party of my oldest grandchild, Nathan. He is turning thirteen! I love this older Nathan, but I also miss the little boy. It seems as though it takes them years and years to reach kindergarten and then time begins to accelerate!

Blessings to all of you for happy holidays if I do not post again before Christmas and New Year. I hope I will, but things become very busy, in a good way.

Alice dec 2017 sunday in chinatown with maria

A Very Desultory Post

It’s early December, a best of times/worst of times part of the year. We try not to stress too much over Christmas buying, but enjoy some decorating. I’m putting out my mother’s Christmas plates on the hutch cupboard today, and every day a few small decorations appear. But not too much, nothing like what I did in the past when there were small children living here, or even teen age ones.

My oldest grandson becomes a teenager on the 18th of this month and it is difficult to take in this fact. I remember him as the only grandchild, riding along on his bouncy horse and fascinated with knights and castles. I am trying to enjoy the blessings of this time of year and not be pulled into the stress of it!

OTH, the stress of my less than a year old non-functional dishwasher is discouraging. But this is a small problem. The repairman is coming on Friday. But this is a minor annoyance.

Sadder is the death of one of my brothers-in-law, Maria’s husband. They lived in San Francisco and she really has no family nearby. My daughters are flying out to be with her for a long weekend and I hope she comes to Ohio in the new year. This is a difficult time in ones life to be without family.

My son Andy has been haunting the mail lately because he had hopes of an article about his steamboat appearing in The Funnel, the magazine of the British Steam Boat Association of which he is a member. It arrived today and he has a page about the Nyitra in it.

(There was a photo of the front cover of The Funnel, but Andy made me delete it because of copyright issues.)

 

FunnelWinter2017NyitraArticle

Alice my oldest daughter just got her substitute teachers license and will be subbing for 1st to 5th grades in our Revere district. I’ll see how she likes that. She already does a lot of volunteering in schools.

One of the things Alice has been doing in Stephen’s school is to help with the maker space program. With her engineering degree this is right up her alley. This week they had to design a bed to hold Goldilocks. The teacher gave all the parameters. I think they accomplished about 20 times the requirements! (Goldilocks bed was supposed to hold two of those metal disks, and their “bed” held 22. Or more?)

Stephen maker space 1

Stephen maker space 2

 

My Advent wreath is up, the Advent calendars are in play. Life is busy. If only, I think, the days were a bit longer. (I mean, of course, the hours of daylight.) But that will happen “in the fullness of time”.

Advent wreath 2017

This year my daughter Emily, her husband Ingmar and their two daughters were the hosts for a delicious and thankful dinner.  Clara made a poster of a turkey and supplied blank feathers on which each of us could write a few things for which we were thankful. And after our delectable feast we played a game of guessing who had written each feather. One of them had the word “books” written on it, but not by me! Clara also made place cards for each person with a different illustration for each one.

Alice thanksgiving 2017 1st

There were twelve of us gathered together: my children and grandchildren and I and Paul’s youngest sister Alice and her husband Barney. They usually  join us for holidays since their children live in the states of Washington and Alaska, a far trek to  northeast Ohio. But their daughter Poppy visited recently and I think one of their sons will be here over the Christmas holidays.

Alice Thanksgiving 2017 3rd

Ingmar roasted two turkeys! Everyone had their choice of white or dark meat! Such juicy and flavorful meat it was! And Andy, our vegetarian, roasted his traditional Field Roast en Croute. It is also delicious and many non-vegetarians had a taste of it. http://fieldroast.com/product/hazelnut-cranberry-roast-en-croute/

My dd Alice made fabulous Smitten Kitchen stuffing with leeks, apples and chestnuts and some of the bread in it was from Ingmar’s pretzels. She also brought a spinach dish and dilly beans and olives. Alice made a beautiful flower arrangement which she used my mother’s copper planter to hold….

Her oldest son, Nathan – about to become a teenager in less than a month – came to our house early in the morning to help Andy make the potatoes. This is the third year he has enjoyed doing this….And the day before, Andy made the green bean casserole, all except the thin fried onions on top which he finished while he and Nathan peeled potatoes. All so comforting and satisfying. Ingmar made a gravy which was vegetarian. Emily made cranberry relish and two magnificent pumpkin cheese cakes in pie plates. We had every good thing you can imagine to drink, including several non-Alcoholic sparkling fruit juices. And Alice and Barney brought two enormous bowls of cut up fruit which was so very refreshing. We keep our menu rather simple and traditional and satisfying and potluck, and no one gets terribly stressed out. And their is always a surprising amount left over!

In between the main meal and dessert, most of the diners went for a hike in Emily’s yard, down to the river and into the National Park which their land adjoins. It was a beautiful day with a fair amount of sunshine.

Alice Thanksgiving 2017 4th

Happy Thanksgiving!

nature from the conservancy at thanksgiving 2017

Trying to be calm in this holiday season!

My sil Mike had fun last week as a father at his first grade son’s Career Day where he spoke of engineering and the kids were very interested.

Mike 11 2017 career day 1

Stephen was very happy and proud with his Daddy’s presentation.

Mike 11 2017 career day 2

Yesterday afternoon and evening our family gathered at Em and Ingmar’s still new home for an event imagined by youngest granddaughter Clara and implemented with some help from her Mama and Papa…..She wanted to have an apple party, and so she did….When we arrived, around 4pm, we were served with apple crisp and baked apples which Clara had helped bake….Delicious! Served with this were coffee and cider and lots of whipped cream for whatever you wished.Then there was a game invented by Clara which involved following a string around  and finding treats for specific people. Next, downstairs for apple bobbing and a game from her Papa’s German childhood where one closed ones eyes and tried to find gummy treats in a dish of flour….Moderate success, but two contestants (the youngest) tried to open their eyes in this plate of whole wheat flour with painful results….Maybe this was the only time for this. Later we played apples to apples which was hilarious and had pizza afterwards with a sort of Waldorf salad with plenty of bits of apples in it. An apple party sounds like a great idea for fall, especially a cold and very rainy day such as the one we had yesterday.

And Thursday will be Thanksgiving at Emily and Ingmar’s. I cannot wait! Well, maybe I can. I have lots to accomplish by then.