Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday Check-in

Hello Everyone!  This is my periodic check-in.  All continues to be well at our house.  My scanning / editing project of old photos [1947-1965] continues, but it's a slow process.  I've only scanned 236 photos so far, and there's so many more to do.  Since we're going to be on lockdown thru April, I still have a lot more time for the project.  I work on them between meal preparations and other household chores.  It's a nice diversion, and a fun walk down memory lane.

On Saturday our youngest son, Jeremy, set up a family Zoom conversation via our computers.  We talked for over an hour while being able to see each other.  It was a fun way to safely reconnect again.

The City of Detroit has been experiencing a high number of Coronavirus cases, but our entire family has been spared so far.  I am concerned about our daughter who works in health care at a pediatric clinic attached to a large Detroit hospital.  She has contact with nurses and parents of children who have tested positive, but God has protected her so far.  

On Sunday the doorbell rang, and I wondered who it could possibly be since almost all of the population is on lockdown. When I opened the front door there stood our three youngest grandchildren holding a poster.

Jeremy videoed them on the porch as they waited for the front door to open. It was so heartwarming to view the video and see how excited they were as they eagerly awaited the door to open revealing their surprise.

They couldn't come inside for a visit, and their outdoor stay was only for about five minutes before making their hour drive back home, but it made our day.  We couldn't resist stepping out on the porch to give each of them a very quick hug [and take a picture] before going back into the house.  

A neighbor across the street [a retired nurse of Italian descent who never married and lives alone] was obviously taking all this in and felt it necessary to send Jerry a text saying we needed to keep our distance. She had our best interests at heart, but only a parent/grandparent could understand our reaction to quickly hug them.  Thank you Jeremy and Samantha for making the mini surprise visit possible.

Be safe and stay well everyone, and God bless!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Periodic Check-in

Checking in to keep in touch.  All's well in our household for which we thank God. My hubby took the pic below yesterday just before we headed out on our daily walk to get some fresh air and exercise. When we first began our walks it was just around the block, but now we've increased it to 1/2 mile [1 mile round trip].

Other than our walks, we've been homebound in compliance with Governor Whitmer's lockdown.  I continue to occupy myself by scanning old photos.  My hubby says I have enough pictures to scan to go well beyond our confinement, and he's right!  So far my folders are School Days, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, and Miscellaneous, all thru 1965.  I'm grateful my mom was a picture taker and saved them for posterity.

Here's a few pics from the School Days folder.  Amazingly, I still vividly remember every outfit I was wearing.

Kindergarten 1953

6th Grade Graduation 1959

9th Grade Graduation 1962

High School Graduation 1965

First Piano Recital 1954

My mother even saved the newspaper article about the recital.  I played two pieces which I have long since forgotten, but I do remember my piano teacher, Mrs. Robichaux.  She was our next door neighbor.

That's enough reminiscing.  What have you been doing during your confinement?  As I type this post, Michigan's count for those who have contracted the Coronavirus is at 2,850 with 60 deaths. The number is continually climbing.  I'm glad my trust is in our Sovereign Lord.

I cancelled our church Ladies' Spring Tea this morning and rescheduled it for September 12th.  Hopefully we'll be past the virus crisis by then.

Be safe, stay well, and drink lots of tea!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Pictures and More Pictures

Drinking lots of tea and a variety of activities have kept me occupied during this time of confinement ['social distancing']. Today I've been scanning photos. I set the card table up in my office to accommodate two drawers of my pictures, and a large tote filled with my mother's photos sits on the floor nearby.

In addition to the two drawers, I also had a shoe box full of pictures.  I smiled when I looked at the old box from Kinney Shoes.  Do you remember that shoe store?  They went out of business in 1998.  The writing on the lid indicates I got the shoes when I was in Jr. High School [1959-1961].  Look at the price - $3.99!  Those were the days!

I don't know which one of us has the most pictures.  When my mother passed away in 2014 she had boxes and boxes of them.  I sorted and pitched a lot [people I didn't know], gave a lot to relatives, and ended up with one tote.  

I think I have enough pictures to scan to last through the duration of the Coronavirus confinement.  When I'm done, I'll have Shutterfly photo books made.  

I love my daily devotional book, Jesus Always, by Sarah Young © 2016, but yesterday's devotion was as if she wrote it amidst the current Coronavirus pandemic.  She concluded with a Scripture reference found in Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Be safe and stay well.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Happy First Day of Spring!

It's 46 degrees in southeastern Michigan today with gray skies, but at least there's no snow on the ground.  

Just taking a few minutes to check-in with you.  This won't be a real newsy post because there's not much happening.  The term "unprecedented times" is surfacing frequently online and on TV, and it's definitely descriptive of what we're experiencing.  As I type this post the total number of Michigan residents who have contracted the Coronavirus has risen to 336 with four deaths, and the count will continue to rise.  

I remind myself of a post my son recently sent out to the members and friends of our church.  He wrote it while sitting at his desk in his home office.  A window above his desk overlooks his front yard and shrubbery upon which a bird was perched.  He took its picture because it reminded him of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, 33-34:
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?...  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Yesterday I went to a staff meeting at The Whitney.  They don't cater or offer carry-out service, so the restaurant is closed indefinitely.  They gave each of us a shopping bag of perishable food that was mostly produce.

With a very large bag of mixed salad greens and three heads of lettuce I shared the bounty with two neighbors.  There were also two fennel bulbs in the bag.  I've never cooked with fennel before so I'll have to research it. The loaf of French bread is yummy, but I'm rationing it to control my caloric intake.  A friend recently posted this funny picture on Facebook.  Yikes!  I sure don't want that to happen!

I made myself a large healthy salad last night and again today with the mixed greens and romaine lettuce, and I'm still having fun making London Fog lattes with my new frother.  Hopefully eating healthy and following the guidelines from health officials will keep the virus at bay.  

A friend recently posted this on Facebook which is applicable to me.  It's good to have a sense of humor in the midst of this pandemic to offset the seriousness of it.

I couldn't see the movie This is Patrick on Tuesday due to the closure of theaters, but I received an e-mail from CBN [Christian Broadcasting Network] saying they were making the DVD available to the public for $15, so I ordered it.  My hubby also ordered Season I of The Chosen so we'll have some good DVD's to watch soon. In the meantime, I'm content watching the Hallmark channel, HGTV and the Food Channel while sorting, organizing and purging my office.

What are you doing while you're practicing 'social distancing' by hunkering down at home?  Are you reading, putting a puzzle together, sewing, crafting or cleaning?  

This will be the first time since 2014 that I won't be doing my monthly presentation at the Assisted Living facility, but I'm glad they're doing everything possible to keep the residents well until the pandemic has ended.

Be safe and stay well everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

London Fog Tea Latte and More...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A lot has happened since my post of 3/13.  As of yesterday, almost everything has shut down: restaurants, libraries, theaters, and gyms. My credit union is only accessible via the drive-thru window. On Sunday we watched our church service on Facebook, filmed in a television studio with only the Pastor and Worship Team.  [Since we meet in a school, we don't have access to the building until the government allows school to resume, and all Michigan schools closed last Friday.]  Grocery and produce stores are still open, but the panic buying and hoarding has been unbelievable.   Who could have ever thought this could happen in 2020 - not only in our country, but around the world?

Tomorrow I'll go to The Whitney for a staff meeting while they outline their business plans caused by the Coronavirus. 

So... this is a homebound St. Patrick's Day, and I've been amusing myself with a new frothing machine I ordered.

I recently received a text and photo from my youngest son. He was sipping a London Fog Latte at a coffee/tea shop in Ann Arbor and asked if I ever drank one.  He gave it high reviews.  A quick Google search revealed a London Fog is made with Earl Grey tea and frothed milk.

Not long after that I was grocery shopping in Aldi's and came across London Fog Latte concentrate.  Of course, I purchased a carton!

I've sipped a few lattes at Starbucks, but I've never made one at home.  So the next thing on the agenda was purchasing a milk frother.   They ranged online from $10 up to $129.99.  After reading lots of reviews I settled on a Zeppoli for $39.99.  I can always upgrade to a Breville later.  Today was the day I gave it a try.

I heated the London Fog concentrate [equal parts milk and concentrate].  Then I frothed the milk. I used 2% because that's what we drink, and it frothed beautifully.  My hubby and I loved the latte and I'll definitely be making more.  Harney & Sons posted a recipe on their blog last week using their Earl Grey Supreme tea - another option instead of the premade concentrate which gives control of the sugar content.  Do you make tea lattes at home?

We sipped our lattes in honor of the Irish who are some of the biggest tea drinkers in the world.  They consume about 8 lbs. of tea per person every year.   There are about 181 cups of tea in a pound which figures out to almost four cups of tea a day.

I may not have been able to see the movie about St. Patrick today due to the closing of theaters, but my hubby and I went to the theater on Saturday and saw The Call of The Wild. There were only six of us in the theater, so we practically had the room to ourselves.  People were definitely taking precautions and hunkering down at home.  We liked the movie a lot.

I'm hoping the Coronavirus pandemic will be recovering by the time of our Ladies' Spring Tea at church on May 9th.  The down time gives me the opportunity to research the subject of shoes at my leisure.  I read that the most popular shoes people think of are Dorothy's Ruby Red shoes in the Wizard of Oz, and Elvis' Blue Suede shoes.  So I ordered a pair of ruby red shoes as one of my props, and they arrived last week.

I plan on getting a pair of bronze baby shoes from E-bay as another prop, and I haven't ordered a shoe teapot yet, but I'm planning to.  I saw a rhinestone shoe pin in a mail order catalogue that I'm considering ordering as well.

What are you doing to keep occupied during business shut-downs?  I'm actually enjoying my down time.  I've purged a lot of magazines that were laying around waiting to be read, and paperwork in my office.  I've also been sorting and organizing photos [those before i-phone cameras].  There's definitely a lot to keep busy.  

We're doing all the recommended precautions.  My hubby bought a thermometer so we can take our temperature every morning.  I haven't had a thermometer in the house since the kids were home, so it was time to get up to speed.  Thermometers have come a long way since the ones I used to use.

The longer days of sunlight are a blessing - instead of getting dark at 5:00 o'clock, we have sunlight until after 7:30 p.m.  I love it!

I'll close this post with one of St. Patrick's quotes I saw on Facebook this morning.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Addendum to March 8th Post

One of my cousins took my Aunt Frances [we affectionately call her BoBo] out to lunch yesterday and posted this picture of her in front of her independent living apartment.  It was decorated so cute I had to share it since I blogged about the Irish tea/luncheon I gave in her honor.

I had plans to see the movie, "I Am Patrick" - a new docudrama scheduled for viewing in select theaters on March 17th and 18th, but with so many places shutting down due to the coronavirus I don't know if it will still be possible.

Below are pictures of my small Irish dish collection in addition to my Shannon china.  I love my Waterford Crystal Biscuit Jar.

Royal Albert Ancestral Series - Emerald Isle

Royal Tara trio that belonged to my mother.

Carrigaline Pottery from Ireland

Figurine of St. Patrick

I mailed a package of fun St. Patrick things to my two great-granddaughters on Wednesday. Hopefully my granddaughter will send pictures of them modeling their shirts and headbands like she did for Valentine's Day.  Evie fell yesterday and had to have three stitches in her chin, but Tiffany said she was a brave little trooper.

I love holiday themed clothing, and while I don't have a lot, I do have a couple of outfits to wear to work next week - if The Whitney is still open.  People are very reluctant to go to public places right now with the Coronavirus unless it's absolutely necessary, and precautions are a good thing.

I wore the outfit on the right to the recent tea/luncheon I hosted for my aunt and cousins.

I have a cute St. Patrick's Day full-body apron that I'm still looking for.  When I find it I'll post a photo of it too.  Do you ever put things in a 'safe' place and then forget where that safe place is?  ;-)

I've visited England [three times], Scotland and Wales, but I haven't made it to Ireland yet. Given my Irish heritage, it's on my bucket list.  

Stay well and be safe everyone. The coronavirus will pass and our children and grandchildren will talk about it in years to come saying "remember when..."   In the meantime, God is our refuge.  He has not given us a spirit of fear [or panic], but one of peace if we put our faith and trust in Him.  And while we're riding out the virus pandemic, drink lots of tea. It will not only be a helpful antidote, but it will sooth and calm frayed nerves.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

An Early St. Patrick's Tea

While St. Patrick's Day is still nine days away, I hosted an early St. Patrick's tea/luncheon yesterday for my 92 year old aunt and her two daughters and daughter-in-law.  

My aunt is my mom's youngest sister and the only sibling remaining out of seven.  The date, which had been on my calendar for awhile, finally arrived.  Since she is Irish [maiden name Sullivan], I knew she'd appreciate a St. Patrick's theme.  I hosted a St. Patrick's tea for her and my mom back in 2009.  11 years have swiftly lapsed, and during that time my mom and their youngest brother have passed.  Below is a picture of my mom and aunt in 2009.

~ My Aunt, Me, and My Mom ~

My tablescape for yesterday's tea/luncheon was different from 2009.  It's a good thing I already had a collection of Irish dishware, because I couldn't find anything in the stores this year.  The lady in Pier I told me they didn't get any shipments of Irish dishes this year and Kohl's only had a few linens.  Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Sur La Table had nothing on their website, and unless I missed it, I didn't see anything at HomeGoods or Marshall's either. Isn't St. Patrick's Day as popular as it used to be?

Little cauldrons filled with chocolate gold coins [symbolic of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Irish folklore] was their small favor to take home and it also served as their place card holder. 

I began my baking on Thursday [I was off work], and started with Pistachio Bread that I used in parfaits.  I also made Irish Soda Bread in place of scones using a recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook - a very good recipe.

I made Reuben Soup with rye croutons, but forgot to take a picture of it.  It's a delicious soup that's always enjoyed.  The recipe was from a tearoom cookbook I purchased in 2008 - Civil-La-Tea in Gettysburg, Pa.   Sadly, the tearoom is closed now.

Next was a new recipe I tried - green macaroni and cheese using creamy avocados.  The taste was good, but I don't think I'll make it again because unless it's served immediately it starts turning brown [even using lime juice that was supposed to prevent that].  Once it turned brown it lost its appetizing appeal for me. 

Individual Shepherd's Pie - another sure to please recipe.

As mentioned, dessert was Pistachio Parfaits.  I probably should have purchased some Lyon's or Barry's authentic Irish tea, but I served Sweet Royal Delight - a flavored black tea blend that was created when Prince George was born so it still fit the Irish [British Isles] theme.

My cousin took a picture of me in my happy place - my kitchen dishing up the Reuben soup.

My Aunt with one of her daughters, Tammy.

We ate shortly after 1:00 o'clock.  From left to right:  My aunt's daughter-in-law, Sherry,  daughters Tammy and Cindy on the right.

We sat around the table talking and eating, and when we were done went into the family room to look at pictures and reminisce about times gone by.

My aunt is amazing - at 92 she still bowls and doesn't need a cane or walker for assistance. She recently moved into an independent living apartment, and is trying to adjust to giving up her home of many years.  

My cousin sent this picture of her taken two weeks ago where she's gleefully clapping when she got a strike.  It was at her youngest son's surprise 60th birthday party and she had the highest score of everyone in their group who bowled that night. 

What a fun afternoon we had together, and we promised not to let so much time lapse again between visits.