Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday and the End of July

Boy this month has gone fast. From the first of the month to now seems like a flash of hot weather, busy days and mostly fun activities. The past week was the same, and here are my five favorites that I am grateful for this past week. See more Fave Fives at Susanne's blog here.

1. Last weekend we spent in Indianapolis with friends. We enjoyed their company, went to car races, quilt and cross stitch shops, saw the downtown, sought the cool interiors (and drinks) of a couple of neat pubs downtown, shopped in the downtown mall (very nice), visited the Indiana State Museum, and in general explored the city while trying to stay cool. That was fun especially since we'd never been there before. The weather was cooperative in one way - none of the races got rained out!

2. Went to the new local baseball team's game. The ball field is really nice, and shiny-new, and the weather was perfect for an evening outside.

3. During the ride to Indy and back, I finished the binding on a baby quilt my sister made and I quilted for the Relay for Life. It's really cute. The second photo above shows how we were trying to decide on binding - we picked the red. I just haven't taken a photo since it's been finished. The first picture is the big quilt I made with my two daughters and my mother-in-law for the Relay auction, finished and displayed on the guest bed.

4. Got to the gym twice and ran twice - felt good since I'd been skipping exercise occasionally lately due to busy schedules. And we ate pretty healthy several days this week. That always makes me happy.

5. Started making some wonky I-spy blocks for a baby gift - really a spontaneous project with no plan and no time frame except the baby's due the first of September. This will be fun.

Plans for the weekend include sewing, shopping, cleaning, running, cooking, visiting friends, and sleeping late (huh??). Have a great week!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

BLT Egg Casserole

I wish I had a picture to include, but since a few have asked for the recipe, I'll post it without any pictures. This is more like a frittata than one of those fluffy souffle type dishes.

BLT Egg Casserole

Layer in 9x13 pan or glass baking dish:
1-2 c. frozen shredded hash browns - make them 1/2 inch deep or so
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, more or less
Baby spinach leaves, a couple of handfuls
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Pour on:
1 doz. eggs beaten with 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. sour cream, salt and pepper
Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until eggs are completely set and edges are starting to turn golden.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friday of Last Week Fave Five

Well, a LOT late this time, but reading some of the other blog posts linked to Susanne's this time has inspired me to share my week.

1. Waaayyy back on Sat. June 26, I ran in a small-town 5K which was in memory of a young lady who died two years ago from a brain tumor. The run benefited the American Brain Tumor Association. I knew this family when our girls were in 4-H with the young lady who died and a younger sibling. Her sister who now lives a few states away organized the run. I think the whole town turned out for it, and it was a great event for the community and the beneficiary charity. It was a good thing, too, for the sister who hadn't been able to attend the funeral due to having had a baby just a few days before her sister's death.

2. Spent 2.5 days in Chicago attending a conference for work, but also enjoying PERFECT weather, running on the lake front twice, the adventure of riding the train there and city buses around the downtown, wonderful food, shopping, interesting company, and a fun concert and fireworks at Navy Pier. The whole trip was a lot better than I'd anticipated, and the conference wasn't even that bad. (smile) Above are a couple of bad pictures taken on my cellphone, one of my hotel window view onto the lake, and the other is me stopped for a pause while running on the lakefront around 7:30 a.m.
3. Made a yummy BLT egg casserole (with spinach instead of lettuce) for a church brunch. I'm thankful for a wonderful group of church friends who have become a real family in the last few years we've been attending there.

4. Sortof said this already, but the weather this week was summer at its finest - mid 70's, golden cloudless sky.

5. NOTHING smells better than corn pollen blowing on a humid breeze on a warm summer night. MMMMMMM.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quilting Marathon

My sister came on Saturday and has been super-productive over the last few days. She quilted three small quilts and a twin size quilt on the longarm machine. She did a great job for only having done one baby quilt before, and that was several months ago. For some reason the photos reversed themselves above, so the first photo is actually the last one she finished, and the last photo is the first quilt.

While she did that, I supervised her, wound bobbins, helped her learn to put the quilts on the frame, set the rails, and baste the edges, etc. I also managed to put together a baby quilt top she had started, make her a pair of pajama pants by using some old ones as a pattern, finish making a pair for me which I started a couple of summers ago, alter a tote bag which had construction problems, reorganize some of my fabric collection, do all my weekend laundry, make some good meals (on the menus: Italian beef sandwiches, potato salad, blueberry cake, chicken nachos, Harvard beets, tossed salad, sauteed broccoli/squash medley, and Thai pork veggie stir fry), and cut out pieces for a set of four placemats for an anniversary gift.
Tomorrow morning she is off for home - it was fun and I hope she comes back soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Joys of June (Friday Fave Five)

Relay for Life quilt top with borders, ready to quilt

Finally I planted flowers in the pots on the deck! After a month of being gone, bad weather, and other interferences, I am so happy to see the flowers! Since we don't have any flowers in the yard except the flowering shrubs, which are all done blooming now, I have really enjoyed the pots for many years. This picture doesn't really do justice to the beauty of the plants. Drh has worked hard on the yard this year, and it looks great, too.
I got the last borders on the Relay for Life quilt last night. Now it's folded and waiting for time to quilt.

This week has been a good one. My five favorite things this week are:

1. I helped with Sunday school, teaching about 14 kids ages 5-12 how to make an origami house. The lesson was on Luke 6: The Wise and Foolish Builders 46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." The kids were fun and the houses turned out very cute.

2. Drh's cousins' family reunion was on Sunday, and visiting with family members, joking, and eating were top activities of the day.

3. Went to the farmers market on Tuesday in the rain and bought locally grown beets, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, and olive wheat bread. MMMM.

4. Got my flowers planted finally. Summer is here!

5. Phone chat with Daughter #2 - a good update of her summer in Montana. She seems to be doing well and learning what she hoped.

Visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for more Fave Fives. Have a good day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Relay Quilt Progress

Just a quick look at the center of the quilt top. Tonight I can cut and add the borders, I hope. It's coming along! After a design problem (good design, bad instruction following - both by me), it is really going to turn out looking like I planned. (big smile)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Friday Flies By

I was blog-hopping today and ran across a wonderful quote. I hope it 's accurate because it's SO true:

"Life is largely a matter of expectation." – Horace

It reminds me of a discussion with friends at church. It happened to be one couple's anniversary and we got into a chat about how one survives? enjoys? a long marriage such as theirs. Most of the couples around the table had been married at least 30 years, or 40. My dear hubby was shocked when my answer to a happy marriage was to "lower my expectations." Actually it was not anywhere close to the slam it first sounded. In the pursuit of happiness, not only the marital kind, I've had some hard lessons which taught me that if I would only quit expecting perfection, most things would work out better and be more satisfying in the long run. So without giving up expecting the best out of myself and others, or looking for good things around me, I have come to feel that lowered expectations sometimes mean less stress, more fun, and just a happier day.

Friday Fave Five for this week:

1. Enjoyed family time and baby time with little G while attending a wedding last weekend.

2. Daughter #1 turned 30 - and is the wonderfully sane, beautiful, positive, friendly, smart and faithful woman I raised her to be. (smile)

3. The summer skirt-wearing weather, including storms, is wonderful - I LOVE summer.

4. Have had time to get a lot of work done on the quilt for the Relay for Life auction.

5. Getting Friday off - time to catch up on house chores, think, sew, piddle around the house quietly.
See more Fave Fives at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Back to Earth

I've been gone for awhile. Drh and I took a ten-day trip to deliver our daughter L to Montana where she is attending a photography school for the summer. On the way, we stopped at Yellowstone National Park for three days, stayed in Missoula, MT, for a day where we left her, and took in Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and Museum, and Badlands National Park on the way home through South Dakota.

My main impression was that the West is HUGE. I can't imagine the thoughts of the pioneers and explorers as they first encountered those amazing and majestic spaces.

I took several pictures (hundreds, actually), but those taken by L were so much better that I will just direct you to her blog - enjoy!

The most interesting part was the other-worldly scene created by the hundreds of hot springs and geysers in the thermal fields and basins. Just like being on another planet (I think, as I've never really gone to one).

Because it's early in the season for most park visitors, we avoided lots of crowds, and were blessed with chilly but mostly dry and sunny weather, the sight of lots of moms and babies - bison, elk, grizzly and black bears, great horned owls, nesting eagles, pronghorns, and regular calves on the ranches along the way.

I didn't forget about the activities and plans waiting for us at home - in fact, I probably added to the list as I was fortunate to find a great, cute quilt/fabric shop in Missoula (and bought a little fabric). They were even open early on Sunday morning and right next to the little breakfast deli where we ate a great meal. The shop is Selvedge, and if you ever get that far away from home, I urge you to visit. They have a wonderful corner full of vintage fabrics, home decorating and drapery bolts, a big selection of printed oilcloth, some fascinating books (I wish I had bought them all!), and beautifully selected designer quilting cottons arranged in the most delicious and inspiring displays. Here is their blog. I didn't take any pictures, but I wish I had.

The travel schedule was demanding enough that I only got to run once - about 3 miles in Missoula on a great trail next to the Clark Fork River. But the walking, stair climbing on boardwalks and trails, a short hike at Yellowstone, plus the adrenlin of driving so far pulling a trailer must have worked against the constant eating, since I managed to lose a couple of pounds on the trip.

I would say my Friday Fave Five are:
1. Beautiful open spaces and skies of the West.
2. Reminder of the great timelessness of the universe as we saw all the baby animals and the care given them by their mothers.
3. Appreciating the natural wonders of our country and how they are being preserved.
4. Spending time with my husband and daughter on a unique adventure.
5. Getting home again to my comfortable and welcoming place of my heart.

(See more Friday Fave Fives here at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story.)

Now it's back to work and routine - oh, we'll be attending a wedding and the surrounding festivities this weekend, so maybe not! Have a great week!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Laziness

Today I did not do any chores. I took the sheets off the bed, carried the laundry downstairs, photographed a finished quilt, and I made this bag. I didn't even go running. It's the end of the day and I might take a nap! Drh said fish patties is okay for supper, so I don't even have to cook.

I bought the bag pattern book a few weeks ago. The photographs are very nice. I have never been too motivated to make a bag which includes a ton of hardware, stiff interfacing, etc., so these patterns really appealed to me.

The directions were pretty good. The bag on the cover was made from an "old summer dress", but it must have been a big one. The fabric needed for this project totals almost a yard of each for the outside and the lining. I bought a yard of drapery fabric for the outside, and used a yard of cotton for the lining.

The handles are covered plastic tubing, which makes them comfortable, but they don't meet perfectly, leaving a break in the circle.

The shape is a bit odd. I would probably cut the corners differently if I could do it over.

I won't use this pattern again, but the book has lots of other, easier projects which I want to try. I have already made one bag from this book which I really like.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Window Views (Friday Fave Five)

Some recent photos for my Friday Fave Five.

1. My cute baby granddaughter figured out how to climb and stand up on her table, maybe to have a better view out her window? Don't you love those pigtails?

2. I have this view when I eat lunch at work every day. Today I was SO lucky to enjoy watching several warblers in the branches. See the circles for blurry views of the birdies.

3. We put new windows in our house a couple of weeks ago - we decided to include the grids in the upper panes, to give our house a faux craftsman look - hard to achieve in an 80's bi-level, I admit. Here is my bedroom with the afternoon sun shining in, and freshly dry-cleaned drapes. I made them several years ago out of Waverly drapery cotton and still love them, so I was glad they came back looking great. The room is peaceful and comforting to me.

4. It's really not my most favorite place to be, but I am also blessed that my desk at work is next to beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows and the view is interesting and pleasant. Since I had my camera at work today, I decided to share the view with you.
5. We watched a great movie last night that drh had recorded from pay-per-view, The Blind Side. It was a great story, dramatic, funny and moving all at once. I recommend watching it if you haven't seen it.

Check out more Fave Five's at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fun Friday

Today L came to quilt. We had a good time talking. While she quilted, I sewed together setting blocks for a quilt to be silent auctioned at the Relay for Life in August. Here are the 9-patches she made on the design board, along with the green-centered-in-white setting blocks I made. My other daughter and m-i-l are making more 9-patches. Then I'll add setting triangles, two borders, backing, quilt it, and bind it. Come back for future progress pictures!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where I Run (Friday Fave Five)

All the trees and flowers have been so beautiful this spring and the weather has been just about perfect. I thought I'd show five pictures of where I run every week, at least once and sometimes twice. It's a 4.37 mile loop, with many views of the lake. It's not quite as easy to see the lake through the greenery now as it was earlier. Being out in this peaceful and beautiful part of the world is refreshing to me - one of my favorite places, and one of my favorite experiences. I hope you enjoy these photos!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Beauty

On Sunday we went to see my brother and his wife- the weather was perfect to enjoy their company and grilled pork steaks in their beautiful back yard.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Fave Five

This week has gone by quickly and rather smoothly. Does that mean I actually remember all that happened? Not really! And even though I started this post on Friday, it's already Saturday night when I am finishing it!

But some highlights to be thankful for include:

1. Beautiful weather - 15 deg. above normal for this time of year, plus lots of sunshine.

2. Routine medical procedure went fine for a family member.

3. Drh finally got his Christmas present done - a spray-in bed liner in his truck.

4. Ran at the lake Thursday night and it was great - weather, friends, and I finally felt like I may be getting back in shape after the long winter.

5. Talked to both my girls on the phone and they are so much fun to talk to. They like to describe their sewing projects especially.

Friday I spent a couple hours at the sewing machine store helping V pick out fabrics for display quilts she's going to make. I also dropped off one I made that she will put up on display for awhile. She is making a child's dress from the same fabrics to show how you can use the same fabric for different projects.

Today I ran in a 4-mile race in a town about 1/2 hour from home - the weather was perfect, the friends were fun, the food was fine - hot dogs, potato salad and cookies make it "famous. " I even took 3rd in my age group! Then I washed and changed, and went to a fabric store and another quilt shop which were in other towns close to the race - couldn't pass up the opportunity. When I got home, I did some house chores, laundry and read my new quilt book. Hope the rest of your weekend is really good!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mishmash of Thankfulness, Plans for the Coming Week

Five things I am thankful for today:
1. The beauty of spring - fresh, new leaves of delicate green, gorgeous magnolias, bright forsythia blossoms, early sunlight.
2. Foods of spring - asparagus, ham, eggs, things cooked on the grill.
3. Clothes of spring - brighter colors, lighter fabrics, something different than fleece and flannel!
4. Shoes of spring - maybe? Sandals are lined up and ready to go.
5. Running with friends - a great way to be healthy, enjoy social time and feel really alive.

Menu plan for the coming week, starting today:
9. Company coming: grilled pork chops, oven roasted potatoes, Greek salad, brocolli or asparagus or both, dessert provided by guests
10. bacon cheeseburgers, baked beans, coleslaw, cantaloupe
11. whatever drh wants (omelet? soup?)
12. same as 11th
13. crockpot braised beef steak w/ wine, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots; fruit salad
14. stirfried veggies & pork, rice, cranberry sauce
15. meatloaf, mashed potato casserole, leftover veggies, etc.

Some things in the fridge I need to work into the menus this week: leftover salmon, bacon, corn, brocolli, asparagus, tomatoes, sweet potato, potatoes, cantaloupe, lots of eggs

Working on 4 different quilts right now. The first is a baby quilt - I'm already sewing on the binding. The second is a larger finished top with backing and batting cut and ready to put on the frame - it is for a family gift. Third is another baby size quilt for display in the sewing machine shop. The top is done but I have to cut and sew the backing and batting. The fourth is a collaboration project with my daughters and m-i-l. Some of the cutting and sewing is done, but not all. We're making it for a Relay for Life silent auction this summer. Each of the other three is making several 9-patch blocks, I am making the setting blocks, adding borders, and of course quilting it. We're using some Joel Dewberry Deer Valley prints, and I think it will be very unique! But with so many projects in various stages, it feels very busy around my sewing room.

I am also planning to sew a couple of summer toddler outfits - that will be fun!

Pictures later of all these things!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Long Time, No See

Wow, it's been awhile. Hello, everyone! Just so you know, I have been really busy... going places, sewing, baby visiting, etc. Since I've last blogged about my every day life, every day has been so full, I haven't had time to blog. I won't complain about that! Some of the events in the last few weeks:

I've helped my older daughter use the quilting machine to finish some baby quilts.

We went to St. Louis for the Missouri Valley Men's BB Tournament.

I went to a baby shower.

I chose, cut and sent out fabrics for my month in the Bee Pieceful flickr bee.

I did the taxes, cleaned, did a ton of laundry, grocery-shopped, got a hair cut, got the oil changed, cooked, went to church meetings, ran many times, went to the gym a few times, helped with the beginner runners' group, did volunteer work for the running club, participated on "E" Bible study, even got to shop for fabric, clothes and books a couple of times! and of course did even more routine chores every day.

We attended a wedding and reception on Saturday.

Drh rehearsed and sang in our church Lenten Cantata.

I've made several blocks for another sister-colaboration quilt.

We got to spend yesterday evening with #1 (and only) grandbaby - she's 11 mo. old and cuter than words can described. Just starting to take a couple of steps, chatters and "reads" and is always in a happy mood.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day Off and Working on Quilts

On Friday I took a personal day to stay home, get some chores done and work on quilts. I got the borders on the baby girl quilt for a new girl arriving in May (not mine!) If A hadn't been coming today to quilt some baby quilts, I would've put it on the frame. But the top is ready, the back is cut, and the binding is made. It will be a quick finish in a couple of weeks from now.
I cut out lots of 5.5 in. +squares for a D9P which my sister and I are making for a young family member. Some of them are on my design board above. The design looks kind of rough, but it is another collaboration quilt, so it will all come together. We are each making eight 15" 9-patches, which we will then split, arrange and choose the border and backing for together. I imagine I will then quilt it. I am looking forward to visiting my sister later in the spring so we can finish up the top.
A had a fun day learning how to use the longarm quilting machine, getting two baby quilts quilted and sewing on binding. I had fun playing with Baby G. We had chicken salad sandwiches for lunch, and a crockpot dinner of pork chops, potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms, along with salad and applesauce. I'm tired, but it was a wonderful day.
Today drh missed seeing A&M&Baby G, since he went snowmobiling: here he is trying on the gear. I took a couple of cute videos on my camera for him to see when he gets home. Hope the rest of your weekend is great!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Baby Quilt Progressing

My friends are starting to have grandbabies. I love to make baby quilts now. Here is another one made like the last one - a happy accident in measuring resulted in twice as many blocks as I needed for one baby size quilt, so I could make two. The back is different, and I used a different feathering design, and it will have green binding.
Also, I finally got time to carefully make a wonky star for a flickr bee - it was for January! Now I need to get the February one done - a crazy quilt block - so I can be ready when the March envelope arrives soon!

I enjoyed watching the doves gather on our deck in the sun last weekend. They toasted themselves and drank water from melting snow on the top of the grill cover. I am happy to see winter melting away, too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quilting Time

Here is the baby quilt I just finished. I am happy with the quilting, the first time I did any feathers. Even though they are sort of primitive looking, I think they look decent. They fit the style of the quilt. The back is a darling animal print flannel. It is so cozy.
I have two more baby quilts to make before May and one is almost all pieced. I have enough blocks to make another one just like this Stacked Stripes one, but I'd have to get more dots for borders, or something else.

It is snowing again... expecting a lot. Maybe a snow day tomorrow??

Friday, February 5, 2010

One Long Week

It's Friday and the long week is just about over. It's pretty icky weather out- very windy, wet snow, starting to accumulate although the roads seem pretty wet. I'm tired from long work days and brain energy exertion.

Five favorite parts of this past week:
1. Fun with our church family and the great food at the church chili cook-off last Sunday.
2. Election Day went well with minimal problems (and those easily solved), good weather, enough energy to last. This was the first with new staff configuration and we were really nervous about it.
3. Went to the gym Wednesday after work. This always makes my life feel normal.
4. Went running Thursday after work. Good stress relief and mood booster. Slept like a rock last night.
5. My m-i-l is fine after she had a car accident and her car was totalled. Drh was able to be a great help that day, and will continue to help them work through insurance and car purchase details.

I will have time to finish up a quilt and some other sewing projects and take photos this weekend. YAY. Have a great Friday! Come back soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday Faves

Just a quick list of five things that made this week good:
1. Public test of election equipment at work went smoothly.
2. Had a cold, but it wasn't that bad.
3. Finally shaved my legs (you don't want to know how long it's been).
4. Made and shared some great Raisin Applesauce bread (recipe here) with drh and my co-workers.
5. Enjoyed cute videos of my granddaughter showing her darling 9-month-old skills.
Oh, and because I only went back to Sunday for the 5 above, but I realized Saturday needs to be included:
6. Last but not least, visiting d#2 and her husband, seeing their puppies and going out to eat at a fun and good German restaurant with them, and having good driving weather for the day's trip.

Short Break

I've kind of already been on a break, I guess. Very busy with work, have had a cold, kind of tired. I don't want to whine, so I'll sign off and be back in a few days when the busy time is over and I feel better.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday... Finally

I do have a few favorites this week:
1. The crescendo of busy-ness at work has come and gone. Now there is still lots to be done, but not the frantic crunch that always happens 3 weeks before an election.

2. The weather has warmed up! I got to run outside last night, and apart from being out of shape and having a sore hip, it felt wonderful!

3. I had a quiet Sunday with time to quilt a baby quilt. The binding fabric is washed, pressed and ready to cut.

4. Great crockpot meal last night of potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, pork steaks with rosemary, garlic and lemon pepper. Also salad made with romaine lettuce, apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, green onions, celery, honey/mustard dressing. MMM.

5. We still have a couple clean garments to tide us over until I can get laundry done this weekend. :-)

I'd love to get back to Friday Fix-Ups soon, and posting some pictures of my current sewing projects. I have a couple of Valentine projects in mind, too. Just a couple more weeks of concentrating on work, eating, sleeping and running - hang in there, I say to myself! That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I'm Back

I have not had much time the past couple weeks to think - well, I guess I've been thinking a lot, but no time to write any of it down. No photos today, either. Just might have to wait on that...

Random thoughts:

The gym was pretty crowded on Monday - lots of "resolutioners" perhaps. But I did go twice this week, and ran on the treadmill once. The weather is bad for running. Though I've run outside all winter the past 5 years, I just can't take this cold - it's been in the 10's or lower the last several days. The last day I ran outside was Christmas day. Hopefully it will warm up soon.

Work is hectic, trying to get all aspects of the election to come together with fewer people and a new boss. But we're getting it done. Just looking forward to the middle of Feb. when it will be over until fall.

I have done some sewing, especially on the three-day New Year's weekend and on Thursday when I was snowed in at home. I am really looking forward to working on several projects I've started for spring baby gifts, etc.

I miss my kids and grandbaby more than ever, probably since we got to see them so much over Christmas week. I am sure we'll head out for more visits as soon as weather and work permit!

Basketball games are fun.

Cooking is fun, when you have a plan, ingredients and time to mess with it.

Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts a weekly blog meme (what does that mean - can anyone answer that for me?), so I decided to participate. It does everyone good to focus on things to be thankful for.

Friday Five Favorites (from the last week):

1. Cooking a festive and yummy dinner (pan seared steaks with grilled veggies, acorn squash, wild rice pilaf, chopped romaine and tomato salad, apple betty with ice cream, cabernet wine) and going to a basketball game with friends who celebrated their 34th anniversary, and spending the evening with them. Drh sang at their wedding. It was just as cold then as it was this year - 3 degrees.

2. Watching the beautiful snow on Thursday and not having to drive in it.

3. This morning's drive to work - bright sunrise, heavy white frost on the trees, blue sky.

4. Catching up on some volunteer paperwork commitments on Thursday while snowed in, and having time to sew in the afternoon.

5. New crossword calendar I received from drh for Christmas. It's a good one - challenging vocabulary without being full of words that are just impossible to know (like names, titles and celebrities I never heard of).