Friday, December 3, 2021

Happy Holidays

 Well, it's been quite a year, hasn't it.

2021 started with Peter and I both being vaccinated.  He also had a side order of "falling on the ice downtown" which resulted in very, very bruised ribs.  I serenaded him with my new ukulele.

We opted out of FL and decided it was safer to stay in our cozy new home in our cozy new home town and actually didn't mind the MI winter - too much.

Early March brought our first fully vaccinated friends to our house for an afternoon visit.  We were so excited and so were they that we chatted for 4 hours straight.

April dished up more dinners with friends and a new customer for my bracelets - Lake Effect Gallery in downtown Holland.

May was fun.  We had our first overnight guests.  We were beyond excited to have our niece, Stephanie, her husband, Jeff and their two daughters, Sara and Emma, visit. We showcased MI for them: Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Saugatuck and Holland.  They were impressed.

June got the outdoor music scene started.  We were starved for live entertainment.  There was plenty right here in Holland but we also traveled to Allegan, Fennville, Saugatuck and Grand Haven. It was wonderful.

We had our own 4th of July parade here at Hidden Creek.  All the golf carts were decorated and flags were flying.  Very festive.

August was a continuation of the two previous months:  food, music and art.

My sister, Stacey, was our second overnight visitor in September.  The 3 of us drove up to Newaygo to visit our cousin, Barb and her husband, Steve.

Peter became a gym rat in October and is loving it.  It's less than a mile from our home so he has his workouts in one direction and the golf course 3 miles in the opposite direction.  He's smilin'.

Another highlight for October was our trip out east.  We finally got to see where my sisters (Stacey and Lisa) live!  Chestertown, MD is beautiful and Heron Point (their residence community) is amazing.  Next trip out we'll stay longer - so much to see. 

We left Chestertown and drove up to Bethlehem, PA to visit Stef and Jeff and our nephew Mike and his wife Michelle came up from Philadelphia and joined us for a very nice dinner.

This year November has a more festive feel; much better than last year. Craft shows, special shopping days downtown, music and a parade ramped up the holiday season.

                                   A beautiful dock out to the Chester River at Heron Point.
                    I bought a ukulele last January to fight the virus blues.  I'm really enjoying it.
                                             Tulip Time in Holland this year was outstanding.
                                        The top of Mt.Baldy in Saugatuck with the Pattersons.
                                         Outdoor music with our friends Nathan and Robert.
                                                  Hanging at Ottawa Beach with Stacey.
                                A shot of Big Red in the distance from the top of Mt.Pisgah.
                                            On the dock with Stacey and Lisa at Heron Point.
                                                The dock at Heron Point on the Chester River.
                                                      Our niece Stef with her brother Mike.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

What are they talking about???

New ideas, new technology, etc. needs new terms, labels, definitions.

I'm not talking about all that stuff - particularly the techy stuff.  I'm running as fast as I can (which isn't fast anymore) trying to stay current but I find myself turning to the "greats" often.  By "greats" I mean my great nieces and nephews for help.

Thanks, kids.

No, I'm talking about old stuff that someone has decided to slap a new name on.  It's confusing for us older people.

I'm a Sign Language interpreter.  Many of you already know that.  I have attended many, many workshops and seminars over the years.  Recently they've been remote which has been fantastic because I need my yearly 20 hrs of continuing ed to maintain my credentials.

A little background:  I started working as an interpreter in the late 80s without credentials.  I hadn't taken any classes and had absolutely no training.  Why did anyone hire me?  Because, back then, nobody knew anything about anything.  Pretty much.

Soon after I was hired at Saugatuck High School as an educational interpreter the state of MI started hosting workshops to help interpreters achieve the new testing level they needed to work in the field.

I learned a ton at those workshops and there were a lot of new labels and skill descriptions that almost made my head explode. 

After many years working for different school systems and after attending many, many workshops I remember, distinctly, sitting along side one of my bestie 'terps, turning to her and saying "what the heck are they talking about?"

After that particular skill was demonstrated we both turned to each other and did the "nod and ohhhh" thing.  It was something we'd been doing for ages but now had a new name.

I get it and at some level I appreciate that the "job" was finally becoming a "profession" and was getting some respect.  But it's been a challenge for an older 'terp like me.

I'm sure this is the case for many people working in different areas.  I remember hearing teachers talk about "new concepts" often.  Remember Chicago math? A lot of those concepts seemed cyclical.  Same stuff with a new name.  

"Looks like someone's been working on their PhD."  That phrase echoed down the halls of more than one school I worked in.

Can an old dog learn new tricks?  Yes but slower and maybe not the entire trick.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


 Petey and I just returned from a trip out east to visit our families.

My sisters, Lisa on the left and Stacey on the right are living in a brand new environment on the eastern shore of Maryland. Heron Point in Chestertown.  Between Covid and our own relocation, we hadn't been able to check out their new digs until now.

Here are the golfers comparing putters in the parking lot of Heron Point.
Above is lunch at Stacey and Johns "cottage" eating and talking with our son, Michael, who lives in Thailand.

Heron Point sits on the Chester River and the scenery takes your breath away. Boats and water fowl are daily entertainment.

 We left Maryland and headed up to Bethlehem, PA to see Peter's family. Here he is with his nephew, Mike.

Peter with our niece Stephanie's husband, Jeff.

Mike's wife, Michelle on the left and our niece, Stef on the right.

Stef and Mike are Peter's sister, Patty's kids.

It was a great trip.  Quality time with the small family that we have left.  Peter and I spent a few of the hours on our way home talking about how important family is to us.  We made a choice a little over a year ago to move and it could have been in any direction.  We knew by staying here in southwest MI that we would always be at least a 2-day drive from our families but we both feel bound to this part of the world.  

We also vowed that we would continue to make that dang drive as long as possible because we love our families.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Do you say "gotta?"

I use "gotta" frequently but every now and then I try to quit.

It's not a real word.  You know that, right?
It's not in the dictionary.

But it doesn't sound wrong when you say it, does it.

"I gotta pick up the kids after school today."

"I gotta play well tonight or they're going to kick me off the team."

It's in place of "have to."  When you say those same sentences above and replace "gotta" with "have to" it sounds fine.  Not necessarily better than "gotta" but fine.  

Now, if you broke down "gotta" into what it's short for - got to - and say it out loud in those same sentences then the grammar police will be at your door in a matter of moments.

Go ahead, try it.

You sound like an uneducated dolt, don't you.

If we're really honest with ourselves, I guess you could say "gotta" is slightly easier to say.  Rolls off the tongue.  Slides right out of your mouth.  "Have to" involves the lower lip making a long, long trip up to the bottom of the upper teeth for the "v" sound.  

Yeah, that's work.

So I challenge you to try and give "gotta" the heave-ho for a while and see how you feel after a few days.

Report back, please.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Don't EVER, and I mean EVER, do this!

 I know I've written before about cleaning the fridge.  I think, specifically the freezer.  I believe it was a bit of a rant about how can freezers get so dirty???

Today's blog topic is about the other side of the fridge.  We have a side-by-side here at the Red House, as opposed to the top/bottom one in Allegan.

Because of where the Allegan fridge sat in the kitchen you couldn't open the door all the way so removing shelving and drawers was a real chore.  So much of a chore that I never did it.

Now we have plenty o' space so out they came!

The glass shelving wasn't a problem.  Easy out/easy in.

Not so much the drawers, however.  

I was really paying attention - doing the whole Buddhist mindful thing.

I was sooooo close but couldn't get the buggers back in.

What was I doing wrong???

Had to walk away for a while.  The walk down the hall had me muttering not-so-nice things.  Out loud.

I can't say exactly how many attempts I made but I finally was successful.

What was getting in my way was where, precisely, those poopheads were to be placed.

Trial and error stopped the swearing and all was good.

Lesson learned: take a picture before you even think of removing those dang drawers and it wouldn't hurt to take in the shelves too.

Feel free to contact me, day or night, for more household tips.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Stop what you're doing!

 So I'm standing at my bathroom sink brushing my teeth and a thought occurs to me.  Rut-ro, I forgot to take the burger meat out of the freezer.  I was going to do that last night before I went to bed but . . . . forgot.

Now, do I quit what I'm doing and go get that package of meat out  or continue brushing my teeth and hopefully I'll remember when I'm done?


1. Stop, run to the kitchen and then come back. Obviously I need to finish the brushing task.  It's important.  I graduated to the "only once a year visit to the dentist" because I do such a fantastic job keeping the pearly whites white.  But will I remember where I left off?

2.  Continue brushing and start chanting (inside my head, silly, not out loud cuz . . . mouth full of foam) "take the meat out - take the meat out." That could take a while.  Remember I told you how good I am at the brushing thing. That's a lot of chanting.  I might get distracted. It happens.  Often.

3.  Keep the brush in my mouth and skip quickly to the kitchen.  It's not that far.  The possibility of trailing foam on the floor is strong.  Dribbling it down onto my clothes/pajamas is a given.

What to do, what to do?

That same scenario could easily take place in the shower with much more risk involved.  If one of the options is running naked through the house - it's never gonna happen.  Too many windows in the Red House.

If I'm away from home the reminder option on my cell phone is very helpful.  I use it often. "Remind me to call my sisters, Stacey and Lisa, this afternoon at 4 o'clock." Works like a charm.

No errands get interrupted that way.  No chanting is involved.  People don't stare at you.

I'm sure you have stories.  Little tricks of the trade.  I'd love to hear them.

Help an old gal out, eh?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Dishwasher Virgin

 So here at The Red House, we have a dishwasher.  I may have mentioned it in an earlier blog but - you know me - the lazy blogger.  I won't be going back into the archives to see if I actually did or not.

So.  A dishwasher.  We didn't have one in Allegan and we lived in that house for 42 years.

It didn't really bother me because you can't miss what you never had.  

That's not exactly 100% true because we had a dishwasher in the town house we lived in in PA where our son was born but we never used it.

So now we have one and I wasn't sure I'd put it to use but with encouragement from my sister, Lisa, I did.

Fortunately I was on Facetime with her when I ran it the first time.

The appliance people left behind samples of those fancy new pods that everyone uses so I popped one in.

Hold on.  Let's back up a second.  I forgot to mention that the same kind souls that left the dishwasher pods also left pod samples for the washing machine that look exactly like the ones for the dishwasher!!!

Can you hear the dramatic background music?

Do you see what's coming?

Yes, sir, I dropped the wrong one into the dishwasher!!!

I don't know which one of us, my sister or me, realized what I'd done first but the washing process was quickly stopped before I turned The Red House into a bubble bath.

Peter and I used spoons to scoop out the already-dissolved pod ingredients so disaster was averted.

Are you laughing because you've done it too?  Or are you laughing because you've never heard anything so stupid?

You'll be happy to know that I only dropped one can lid down the disposal and turned it on - wow, what a racket.  We had one when I was growing up so I had some experience.

And . . . I only set the smoke alarm off once so I'm pretty sure all the kinks have been worked out.

Life at The Red House.