Thursday, December 31, 2020

Goodbye 2020

I thought that I would end this year with a photo to make you smile. It was sent by Emma's groomer at Pooch Paws in Hanover. They always send a Christmas card with a photo, but never with a set up such as this. :-)  My sweet Emma turned nine today; the years have flown by.

Below is a Christmas gift made by my neighbor.

I have been cross stitching and also working on a Christmas gift  . . . It's just a tad late. At this point only the binding need to be sewn down. I'll post a photo of this project in my next post.

Here are two more pillows for my red two-tiered tray.

 Recommendations: If you have Netflix, check out the second season of Virgin River. If you haven't watched season one, start there. This is a pleasant series. Virgin River might be an interesting place to live. I binge watched the whole second season over the course of three evenings. Good News . . . Netflix has announced that there will be a third season. Virgin River is based on the novels of Robyn Carr.

Second recommendation . . . The Paradise on Amazon Prime . . . This BBC/Masterpiece series centers around the people who work at and who shop at one of England's first department stores. It originally aired on PBS in 2013.
It's a strange New Year's Eve. Times Square will be empty except for a few small groups of first responders.  There will be musical groups performing, but no crowds of revelers. Actually, it's a fitting, strange end to this very strange year.  

I wish you a safe, healthy, creative, much happier year ahead.

_________________         ____________________       ______________________

 No Rose Bowl Parade this year. 

The other day I read that one in every 1,000 people in the United States has died from Covid. I thought that had to be a mistake; it wasn't.

Deaths from Covid throughout the world . . . 1,816, 118

Deaths from Covid in the United States . . . 345, 316

Deaths from Covid in Massachusetts . . . 12, 338

A new variant of the virus has appeared in England, and now it has also been detected in Colorado.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Merry & Minty" and Two Project Bags

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! I intended to write this post early this morning, but I was busy finishing a Christmas present. Wait . . . that's a big fat fib . . . I was just starting the piece. My neighbor had liked the quilted wall hangings that I had made for my cousins' last year, and so I wanted to make one for her this year. Unfortunately, I had not been able to get my act together. . . covid inertia . . . lack of motivation. She came to the door this morning with a gift for me, and in return I showed her a stack of oddly shaped, cut up pieces of fabric. I promised that her present would be completed soon. :-)

Above is my most recent cross stitch FFO (fully finished object), "Merry & Minty." Brenda Gervais had offered a four part free chart on her Facebook page, and I dare say cross stitchers around the world have been stitching it. I know this because I watch Flosstube videos on Youtube, and it appears to be a wildly popular chart. (Note: You do not need to belong to Facebook to download this chart.

I have also complete two vinyl project bags for my cross stitching. Don't you love this Christmas fabric? I receive emails from Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop in Freeport, ME, and last month they had a sale.  I took a look online and found this fabric. It’s perfect! I always stop at this lovely shop on my way to one of my favorite vacation spots, Boothbay Harbor. If Freeport sounds familiar that is because Freeport, Maine, is where you may visit the flagship store of L.L.Bean.

On January 1st, I'm starting a cross stitch piece that will last a year recording the temperature each day on a tree. So, of course, I needed to make a tree themed project bag. Rather than go into details about this cross stitch project here, I will show you my progress as I go along. Quilters will be familiar with this concept as there are various “temperature” quilt patterns.
Besides choosing my fabric, I love making the coordinating zipper pulls. This is one of my favorites.
Speaking of quilters, have I got a tip for you!!! This morning I got a small area of sticky stuff (technical term) on my iron. What was I to do? I know there are many ways to remove this junk, but I had an idea and so I grabbed one of these sheets. Wow!!! It worked great. First I put the sheet down and then ironed over it. The iron was on a low setting. There was still a tiny bit of residue, so I picked up the sheet and rubbed it on the spot which returned my iron to its pristine condition. I was quite pleased with myself and wanted to share this tip with you.
One of the reasons that I got a late start working on the gift was because I was watching an old Christmas movie, "All Mine to Give" from 1951 on TCM. It was one of the saddest movies that I have ever seen. If you want a darn good cry, this movie is for you! You can find it on various streaming services but please be sure to have a full box of tissues beside you. Even sadder, I looked up information on the movie and found it was based on a true story. Overview: after the death of his parents, a twelve year old boy on Christmas must find homes for his little brothers and sisters. What a tearjerker!!! If someone had come to my front door, I would not have been able to answer as I had cried all through the last part of the movie!!!

Last Saturday, we had a blizzard; tonight we are expecting very strong winds and lots of rain. The newscasters and weather people keep reminding us to have our devices charged, flashlights ready, etc. as power outages are expected. The electric companies already have their crews in place all over the state. According to tonight's news, about a third of the country will be suffering the effects from this storm. Selfishly, I hope that we do not lose power as my freezer is stuffed within an inch of its life. At least if the power goes out, the temperature tomorrow will be in the balmy 50 to 60 degree range. Merry Christmas to us all!

This is longer than I thought it would be but let me leave you with a few photos of the creche figures that I inherited from my aunts. Usually, I display them on my fireplace mantle, but this year I displayed them across the piano top where they are less crowded. The book, A Dream of Christmas Eve, on the left is one that I have had since childhood. It is a richly illustrated story of our Saviour's birth and incorporates a visit from Saint Nick to the stable. The story is told in rhyme form.

That's it.  This is a difficult time for many this year. I wish you peace and may you all be safe, healthy, creative, and happier in the year ahead.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Holiday Traditions in the Time of Covid

 The storm started late on Wednesday night and continued throughout most of Thursday. Thankfully, it wasn't too difficult to shovel, and my awesome neighbors take care of my driveway with their snowblowers. I just have to shovel the front steps, about three feet in front of the garage door, a section of the deck, the steps down from the deck, and an area for Miss Emma. I went out a few times to keep up with it, but it wasn't bad. We had a freeze on Friday which allowed Miss Emma to walk on the surface of the snow. Yesterday and today it is a few degrees warmer, so she sinks down into it. She gets her exercise trying to walk about the backyard.  Due to the blowing and drifting it would be hard to get a true measure, but I would say ten to twelve inches.  All in all, a medium size storm unlike parts of upstate New York and Vermont that received thirty-five to forty inches. Yikes!!! I cannot even imagine having to deal with that amount.

 So, back to the title of this post.  My cousins' dad and his wife always host a pre-Christmas family get together, and I am delighted to be included. With Covid, an in-person party would not be possible, so this is what we did. The gifts for each family were dropped at their dad's home which was the most central spot for all. I delivered my gifts early Wednesday morning. On Friday around noon, there was a knock on the door, and it was my cousin Brian (the dad of the triplets who are now fifteen!!! . . . Some of my readers will remember when they were born.) Besides a gift, he also brought me a delicious lunch. :-) He stood on the front walk and I was at the door; we were both masked. It was a lovely surprise.  

On Saturday, my cousin Kristin called to say she was driving over with gifts from her family and the family of my cousin Linda. Since by tradition, we have Chinese food at this pre-Christmas get together, I called in an order, and she picked it up when she drove through Weymouth Landing. While waiting for her, I shoveled out a Covid safe conversation spot. :-)  :-)   :-)

I sat in front of the garage eight to ten feet away. :-)

Our zoom pre-Christmas get together started at 5:00. My cousin Linda hosted the zoom meeting. She had a wheel which determined whose turn it was to open a gift, and each family had ordered Chinese food.

  I have to say that it really was great fun. We would have preferred to be together in person, but this was the next best thing. I grabbed this screenshot to remember the occasion. God willing we will all be together next year.

Oh, just in case you are curious as to what I was wearing, it was a Santa hat with reindeer antlers . . . yes, just the touch of sophisticated elegance for which I am known.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Have hope.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Storm Warnings Are Up! . . . Snow! Snow!! Snow!!!

This large, sparkling star was one of three at the Derby Street Stores in Hingham. The decorations are somewhat subdued this year. I wasn't there shopping, but rather I was dropping off a package at Kohl's to be returned to Amazon.  Sure, my eye did spot items that I would have liked to look at, and yes, I was tempted, but I kept repeating, "Keep walking, Keep walking, Keep walking."  I was in and out in less than five minutes. I'm not taking any chances at this point.

For Emma Fans: Miss Emma went to Pooch Paws in Rockland yesterday to be groomed. Cheryl, the owner, always does a super job. 

Emma is a bundle of energy and personality, and she is also a lap dog. There is no place that she would rather be than on my lap. This afforded me the opportunity to photograph the cute bow she was wearing when I picked her up. :-)
So, the big story today is the approaching storm. It started in Colorado, and it is head up the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. We are expected to receive between twelve and eighteen inches. Yes, it was finally time to stash my Mambo pink plastic Adirondack chairs under the deck. :-) Folks rushed to supermarkets to get the bread, get the milk, etc. On the evening news they reported that snowblowers were flying out of hardware stores as were shovels and ice melt. It is expected to start later tonight and keep going most of tomorrow. Meteorologists are comparing the approaching snow to a wall with up to three inches falling per hour. Yikes!!!

Back in August, I posted a photo of the heavy clusters of acorns on my oak tree and noted that this did not bode well for this winter. Let's hope I was wrong. 

Stay safe and warm.

Monday, December 14, 2020

An Historic Day - December 14, 2020

 As I write this post, states are casting their votes for President and Vice President in the Electoral College. It is official. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will become our next President and Vice President on January 20, 2021.

Equally historic, planes, trains, and trucks are transporting our first covid-19 vaccine to selected sites across our country. Health care workers, fittingly, will be the first to receive this vaccine.  Experts did not believe that a vaccine would be ready until next year. Besides the Pfizer vaccine, there are a number of other vaccines being developed. This has been a truly historic accomplishment. Some health care workers will receive their first dose today; their second dose will be administered in three weeks. Though the majority of the population will not receive the vaccine until summer, this is hopefully the beginning of the end to this nightmare. If only people will keep up their guard, wear masks,  and follow the recommendations of health care experts. Today we reached the grim milestone of over 300,000 deaths in our country due to this scourge. 

           ______________          ______________        ______________

Okay, now for some lighter elements. . . In my last post, I told you I had received a package. Here is what was inside. I signed up for the "Stitch Quarterly" program from The Fat Quarter Shop.  In the package, there was a project bag, a pattern, a piece of lovely pale mint 14 count Aida fabric,  floss, floss drops, a needle, and a small tin for storing needles. I love it, but judging from the number of stitches involved it will not be finished for this Christmas.

I have been working on a number of other Christmas cross stitch pieces including this 4-part free pattern, "Merry & Minty," issued by Brenda Gervais. You may download the 4-parts on her Facebook page.

Last evening on 60 Minutes, Leslie Stalh had a report on the staggering rise in health care costs. Well, yesterday morning while waiting for my printer to do its thing, I was going through some drawers when I came across a couple of interesting items.  The first was a cemetery deed. My paternal great-grandparents had purchased a grave lot in June of 1866.  I didn't recognize a couple of names on the deed, so I will have to check that out. My great-grandparents and my grandparents are buried in Holyhood Cemetery. I used to go each Memorial Day with my aunts and my parents to visit the grave. Even as a child, I thought it was a pretty spot. There is a beautiful tree shading the grave and a chapel near by. . . not a bad place to spend eternity.

On to the Leslie Stahl connection . . . also in the drawer was a bill/receipt that I don't ever remember having seen before. It was the bill for my birth at Santa Maria Hospital in Cambridge in 1951. My mom was in the hospital for ten days, and it cost 214.29!!! In case you cannot make it out: $150 (10days @ $15. Lab Fee $7.50, Pharmacy $7.05, Delivery Room $20.00, Baby Board $27.00, Telephone $2.24, and Radio $.50. Isn't that something!!!  :-)  I love finding stuff like this. :-) I wonder how much a similar stay would cost today???

Lastly, please follow the recommendation of our governor. Those owners of restaurants, gyms, theaters, etc.  that have suffered economically from covid restrictions might not agree, but I think Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has done a very good job here in Massachusetts. 

Stay safe. Have hope. Find a reason to smile. Please wear your mask.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Decking the Halls

 Hi Everyone! Here are the two small cross stitch pillows which I mentioned in my last post. I followed a tutorial by Lori Holt on Youtube on how to make cross stitch pieces into small pillows.

Can you see the pair of dear little deer at the base of the lamp? I came across them while going through things in my cellar. I can remember them from when I was little, and I thought I would put them out for awhile. :-)

 The charts for these pieces were found in this magazine.

As you can see by the spelling of "favourites," this is a British magazine that I picked up at Joann's. You will also be able to see on the left side of the cover page that these little pieces were designed to be part of an advent piece; I decided to just stitch a few of these as pillows for my red two-tiered tray. I hope to get a few more stitched before Christmas, and if not this year, next year.

I spent the day inside decking my halls. The front yard has been done since the weekend after Thanksgiving. This sled belonged to my dad's family, and it would be about a hundred years old or so. It spent years in the corner of the cellar, but for the last fifteen years or so, I have added it to my outside decorations.

 This tree was made by my neighbor; his has white lights while I chose colored lights.These photos were taken just as the lights were coming on. You may notice that the postman had left a package on my front steps. Yeah!!! I'll show you what was inside of it in my next post. It made me smile. :-) 

I had bought a wreath from my favorite cub scout, and it came with a simple red bow.  I have always loved decorating wreaths, and here is the result this year. On a shelf in my garage I have two bags full of bows, pine cones, and assorted baubles. Some of the painted pine cones on this wreath have been around for years. 

I coordinate the decorations with those that I put on the sled.

This small village is on a table in my sunporch. Three of the houses were purchased at a thrift store after Christmas for a ridiculously low price. I have absolutely no plans or desire to add to it, but I think it looks cute here. 

 Now,  do I have a recommendation for you!!!!! Last night I watched on Netflix, The Christmas Chronicle  with Kurt Russell in the role of Santa Claus. I had heard about this movie last year, but I didn't bother watching it as I thought it was more geared to children. Boy, was I wrong. It is geared to anyone from nine to ninety-nine. (It might not be good for really little ones.) It was FUN!!! I highly recommend it to all, and I am looking forward to watching The Christmas Chronicle 2 with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. If you want to smile and increase your Christmas spirit, definitely check out The Christmas Chronicles.

Final thing . . . if you are a cross stitcher, designer Brenda Gervais has a free Christmas chart, "Merry and Minty," on her Facebook page. (I am not on Facebook, but anyone can access the chart here.The first part was posted Monday and part two was posted today. Yes, I have started it though I already have a stack of projects calling my name; I suffer from  FOMO ( fear of missing out.) :-)  :-)  :-)

                 __________________          ___________________          _______________

 Devastating statistics for December 9, 2020

From tonight's CNN headlines: 

The United States reported a record-high number of new Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

So far on Wednesday, 2,939 new Covid-19 deaths were reported, according to the university. The US is currently averaging 2,230 new deaths per day, according to the data.

The US has reported 289,188 total coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Stay safe everyone.

Monday, December 7, 2020

It's Tough to Stay Positive

I've been trying to write a post for a week or so, but my heart has not been in it. The news is crushing.
Last week, CDC Director Robert Redfield offered the prediction that the death toll from the Coronavirus  in the US could double by the end of February.  Our President and some of his supporters are fighting the results of the presidential election and few Republican members in Congress are speaking out about this threat to our democracy. We have never in our country's history had a transition period like this. Covid is raging across our country and the world. Maskless shoppers pack the malls ignoring pleas of medical experts to avoid crowds and keep safe. 

So, how have I been coping? I only go grocery shopping in the very early hours, and I will not go into other stores at all. I watch church services on tv or my iPad I take Emma for walks, and I stitch. Mrs. Claus is my most recent finish. The chart is from "The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch " on Etsy. I really enjoy watching the many Youtube tutorials showing various ways to fully finish cross stitch pieces. 

Did you watch Dolly Parton's Christmas special last night? I loved it! She just stood there or sat on a bench singing and sharing memories from her childhood. She had three back up singers and only a few band members, and it was simply magic. She spoke about her literacy program "Imagination Library" which for twenty-four years has provided books to children from infancy to age five living in economically depressed areas.   In April, a month after the pandemic was declared, she donated one million dollars for coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University. She is truly a national treasure.

Do you enjoy Boogie Woogie? Check out the very talented "Dr. K", Brendan Kavanagh's Videos  on Youtube.  They are fun!

Finally, have you watched "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix? Sales of chess sets have gone through the roof since the airing of this limited series. Personally, I never cared much for chess, but "The Queen’s Gambit" is definitely worth watching. 
That's enough for now as I want to go fully finish a couple of small cross stitch ornaments. 

Stay safe and try to stay positive. Hope is on the horizon.

_______________          _________________           _________________
Covid-19 Deaths
World - 1.54M
United States - 283, 000
Massachusetts - 11,004

Monday, November 30, 2020

Wrangling Turkeys and a Few Smiles


 Hi Everyone! At the moment, the wind is howling and the rain is coming down. I'm hoping I am able to get this post done before things get worse.

I thought that you might enjoy reading an account of my turkey wrangling. As you know, there has been a flock of twenty-one turkeys that have been roaming our neighborhood. Now, I am a live and let live kind of person, so as long as they were in my front yard searching for acorns, I was okay with the daily visit. Then the other morning after breakfast, I saw turkeys in my front yard, turkeys in my side yards, and turkeys in my backyard. . . lots of turkeys!!! So, with Emma on a leash and with me holding on for dear life we dashed around encouraging those turkeys to move on from our yard. Feeling very self-satisfied by our successful efforts, we eventually went back inside. Later that morning, my lawn guys showed up for a fall clean up and raked up leaves and acorns, and I was smugly confident that my problem was solved.

 Imagine my horror in the early afternoon to find those brazen delinquents had returned in force to my backyard!!! Two were atop my picnic table and the rest were scratching up my lawn all over the place.  So, once again I put a leash on Emma and began dashing madly around my backyard. There were wings flapping, a schnauzer barking, and turkeys flying around. There were turkeys on the fence and in the air. One stubborn group just kept circling my large garden with Emma and me in close pursuit. The photo above shows two turkeys who flew up to branches in a large tree in the woods. At one point, there were ten turkeys in the tree, a few on my neighbor's rooftop, and some in my other neighbor's backyard. It was like a bizarre scene from Hitchcock's The Birds." Yes, it was something to see. One of my neighbors watched the whole thing and found it very entertaining. My neighbor across the street saw me wrangling the rest of the group out of my front yard. (I had years of experience directing huge groups of students on field trips, so this was easy. I just walked behind the group in the front yard clapping my hands and flapping my wings! as they moved along down the hill.)

So far so good . . . the flock has not been back for another visit, but Emma and I are on alert and ready to spring in to action. (You might be wondering why I had Emma on a leash. She is truly quicker than greased lightning, and I didn't want any actual confrontation on either side.)

Okay, I hope that made you smile. Here are a few more smile items.

I have known my forever friend Cathy since we were toddlers . From time to time, she sends out emails to her family with old photos. I am on the list and laughed aloud when I saw she had added this photo to her Thanksgiving email. As you can see, it was taken in Plymouth, and if you are not from this area, that is the Mayflower ll in the background hence the Thanksgiving connection. That's Cathy on the left, my mom in the middle, and me on the right. Just look at that wild mop of super curly hair! Ever a would-be- fashionista, I was wearing a madras, wrap around skirt. Cathy and I agree that it was probably from the mid-sixties as she had a large Beatles pin on her bag. (It's not clear in the photo, but all four Beatles' faces were on the pin; I know this because my Beatles pin is still in the bottom of one of my drawers  :-)

 I hope you had a safe, as happy as it could be, Thanksgiving Day. My cousin Kristin and her family sent this gorgeous arrangement for my table for one.

Even more wonderful, my cousin and her girls came for a socially distant, backyard visit yesterday. It was a joy to see them. Kristin told me that a flock of wild turkeys is also called a "rafter."  She also lamented that fact that no one had captured my turkey wrangling on video:-)  :-)    :-)

Stay safe everyone. 

________________             _____________________         _____________________

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 was reimagined for this year. Kudos to all who managed to pull this event off. It would not be Thanksgiving Day without the Rockettes. The members of the wooden soldier kick line performed their vigorous dance routine while wearing masks.

Monday, November 23, 2020

A Cross Stitch FFO and Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Today was a very rainy, gloomy, grizzly day. (Grizzly??? Why, yes, grey + drizzly = grizzly :-) Anyway, I had plans to accomplish a lot today but  . . . it was so grizzly,  I wasn't very successful; I did, however, FFO (fully finish) this cross stitch piece. Isn't Santa cute in his nightshirt? Besides holding a lantern in one hand, he has a chocolate chip cookie in his other hand and a mug with his initials. This little pillow is about seven inches square. The chart is "A Good Night - Santa '04" by Lizzy Kate.

Speaking of Santa, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has confirmed that it will indeed be safe for Santa to visit the homes of all good little boys and girls this Christmas. Dr. Fauci has stated that Santa has an “innate immunity” and will not be spreading the virus. A reporter on CBS This Morning today spoke directly with a representative at the North Pole who confirmed that Santa and all his elves are wearing masks and taking all health and safety precautions. This will indeed be good news for concerned children everywhere. 

So, why have I fallen head first down the cross stitch rabbit hole? It's because there are so many fun, wonderful, irresistible charts available. (Not only that . . . the members of the cross stitch community are tremendous enablers; I'll write about that in a future post. :-)

Also, there are special Christmas issues of cross stitch magazines which are chock full of delightful ornament charts.

So, what am I planning to stitch next? Decisions, decisions, decisions . . . none of the above  .  . . I'm stitching an adorable chart featuring Mrs. Claus which I will then finish as an ornament. By the way, I have convinced myself not to order any more charts as with respect to Christmas items I am approaching SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy!!! Well, not really, but at this point I have enough cross stitch charts, fabric, and floss to last two or three years.

Yesterday afternoon, my favorite cub scout and his mom, dad, and brother came to drop off the Christmas wreath that I purchased from his troop. It was a joy to see these guys running around and getting buried in a pile of leaves.The visit was short, cold,  and outside and everyone wore masks. I see them on a family zoom meeting each Sunday, but it was beyond wonderful to actually see them in person. I have warned them that when this pandemic is over, I intend to smother them all in hugs. 

Look at this kitchen towel that I received at last Monday's birthday get together, and it wasn't even my birthday! Linda, "Coach," had seen it in a shop and thought of me. (I call my friend Linda "Coach" since she has been an ongoing source of information, guidance, and inspiration for living with diabetes. She was one of the first people I called after receiving that diagnosis a number of years ago.)

"All you need is Love and a Schnauzer"  . . . truer words were never spoken. :-) I don't know what I would do without my Emma during these dark days. 

 And finally, here is a 2020 ornament that I received yesterday. In case you are unable to make out the details, the masked elves are labeled Janice and Emma, there is a bottle of hand sanitizer, and the "Merry Christmas" greeting is written on a roll of toilet paper. That just about sums up our year. You have to laugh  and smile to get through all this. :-)

 If I complete what I had intended to do today, I might pop back in before Thanksgiving. If I do not, may I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, safe Thanksgiving Day.______________               ___________________                  __________________

In my last post I noted that in the United States alone, we have have lost 250,000 men, women, and children to this pandemic. Now just five days later, the death toll stands at 257,577.

Stay safe my friends and please make wise decisions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Hardy Bunch

Well, it has been a while since my last post. I'd like to say that it was because I was so very, very busy being creative and making amazing things, but that would be a big, fat fib. I really have not done much lately. 

I did take a walk one afternoon at Osprey Overlook Park in East Weymouth. I just love the sweep of the Back River; it seems like an image from some place in the West. 

 Just off the path I spotted this nest. Fortunately, no one appeared to be home. I spent some time trying to ascertain what type of nest it was. I originally thought it was a wasp nest, but I found images similar to this one that indicated it was probably a hornets nest. According to one article, all but the queen die off in the fall and the nest is not reused. I wonder how many people who had walked by it in the summer were aware how close they were to the danger hidden in the low growing bush.

 On Monday afternoon, a hardy bunch gathered in the MDC parking lot at Nantasket Beach in Hull for another socially distant, birthday gathering. The birthday girl Pam is on the left in the second photo. There was no rain this time, but it was a tad cold! We had cupcakes, muffins, and, of course, masks. We lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes until the clouds blocked the sun, and it became downright cold. It wasn't a long visit, but it was good to see everyone.

 And speaking of a hardy bunch, this group of twenty turkeys comes by every afternoon around 3:30. They make me laugh, but I try to shoo them away reminding them that this is after all November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner,  and perhaps it might be prudent to be in hiding somewhere. :-) They munch on the acorns from my might oak and disregard my warnings. Today they decided to meander across the street very, very slowly bringing traffic to a standstill. :-)

 So, let's talk turkey . . . Did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird? Did you know that turkeys had completed disappeared from New England by the 1850s? Massachusetts began transplanting wild turkeys from New York in the 1970s. I remember that there was concern that the poor birds would not survive our harsh winters, but they sure did!  Want more turkey talk? I found an article you might enjoy "How the Wild Turkey Vanished, Then Returned, to New England."  It's a short article, and though most of us will not be celebrating with family and friends this year, you could file the information away, God willing,  for next years's sparkling conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table . :-)

Now to keep the turkey theme going . . . Here is my latest cross stitch finish, Gobble. The chart is available from the Stitching Housewives Etsy shop.

 I finished it following a pillow tutorial by Lori Holt. The top and bottom were sewn together right sides together around all four sides. Then I cut a slit in the back, turned the piece right side out. It doesn't show from this angle, but I stitched brown rickrack around the seam edges and covered the slit with a piece of wool, a cute turkey button, and a 2020 charm.

 I have four or five Thanksgiving charts, and I had originally planned to stitch one or more throughout the rest of the month, but nope, I'm switching to Christmas pieces at this point. 

While I am writing this post, a film Bruce Springsteen's Letter to You  is playing on Apple TV. It's wonderful. It deals with the music, but also the men and women of the E Street Band who have been making music together for years.  Springsteen has the soul of a poet and his observations about his bandmates, the music they live to play, and the passing of time enrich this beautifully filmed piece. Whether you are a fan or not, it is a film definitely worth watching.

 Last night I watched Oprah's interview with former President Barack Obama about his new book. It was an excellent, thoughtful interview. . . also on Apple TV. (I received one year free with my recent purchase of a new iPhone.)

Another recommendation . . . The Weight of a Piano, a novel by Chris Cander who is a gifted storyteller. This was a suggestion from BookBub, and I took a chance on it and added it to my Kindle. It tells the story of a special piano and the two women whose lives were linked to this instrument. It starts slowly, but if you try it, stay with it as it builds. Normally, I like reading something light at bedtime; one or two mindless chapters then off to dreamland. The Weight of a Piano kept me reading many nights well into the wee hours of the morning.

Okay, that's enough for now. Stay well my friends. Be smart and be safe. Trust that better days are coming, not as soon as we would like, but with two new vaccines on the horizon, there is hope.

                               ---------------------          ---------------------             ----------------------      

 World                    55 Million  Cases                     1.34 Million  Deaths

United States         11.6 Million  Cases                    250,000  Deaths     

Massachusetts      196,000 Cases                             10,407 Deaths

Today we reached the grim milestone of noting the passing of 250,00 of our fellow citizens.