Thursday Thoughts

Not Quite School Daze
I mentioned in a recent blog that all of my Denver grandkids are back in school, but I was wrong. I got a call Tuesday from Maggie Faith. “Can I come over for a little bit?” she asked. I told her of course, but I thought she was in school. Not until this upcoming Monday, she informed me. I was relieved she wasn’t playing hooky. When she arrived, she immediately asked me, “What do you want to do?” as she always does. “Let’s cook something,” she went on to say, and started rooting through my pantry. Maggie likes to take random ingredients she finds in the pantry and “create” a masterpiece. The so-called masterpiece might include pieces of beef jerky cut up into some peanut butter, add a few pepper flakes and a handful of marshmallows, bake for 10 minutes, and then consume. I wasn’t quite up for that, so I suggested instead that we check out Pinterest and find something to make using existing ingredients. We landed on some simple Danish rolls using canned crescent rolls. I actually didn’t have the rolls, so I made a quick run to the grocery store. When I returned, Maggie had persuaded Google Home to play top 40 hits. She was dancing around the kitchen, and had used instant lemonade, instant ice tea, and instant fruit punch (which I didn’t even know I had, so it must have been older than she) to make a punch. “Want some?” she asked. I declined. We set to work on our Danish, and just about the time we got the dough laid out and the cream cheese mixed with the sugar, she got a better offer. Her friend Molly wanted her to come out and play. “Bye Nana,” she said as she hopped on her bike and left me with a dozen-and-a-half almost-put-together Danish rolls. No worries. Papa Bill ate them……

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye
As I was out on my morning walk the other day, I observed two women standing in front of a car with the back opened. The car was packed to the gills with suitcases and other travel paraphernalia. They were tearfully hugging one another, and I teared up myself. I remember the days when my sister Bec and her family would travel from the East Coast, or my brother Dave and his family would travel to Denver from AZ. We would always have such fun while they were here, and it was so sad to say goodbye. We would all cry.  Say what you will about technology, but with all its flaws, it certainly has made the world smaller and communication easier. What with email and Facetime, I never feel very far away from my family and friends. I hope the woman has a safe trip to wherever she is going.

More Beesness
I telephoned Dagny yesterday to try and ascertain the status of the beehive. You might recall that my last update told you that the queen bee had died and the two apiarists had purchased a new queen. That queen was in a little box that they set inside the hive, the idea being that the drones and workers would get used to her before letting her loose in the hive. According to Dagny, that queen escaped her little box on her own. Apparently it was a bad decision, because she was quickly killed by the worker bees. But alas, all is not yet lost. There is a glimmer of hope. Dagny said that when she and her father checked the other day, it looked like there might have been some eggs that had been laid recently, indicating the existence of another queen. It would be one that the other bees chose, I guess. Or, said Dagny sadly, it might just be the glare of the sun and not eggs at all. Time will tell. I believe Camilla Parker-Bowles Windsor is watching carefully to see how one becomes queen when one is tired of waiting.

Twinkly Citrus
I crocheted these adorable citrus scrubbies this week, and posted them on my Etsy page. They worked up really quickly, and I think they are cute and cheerful-looking. Kaiya was surprised when she checked them out. “I like the way these feel,” she said. Check them out on my Etsy page (link above).

When Mylee was over at my house the other day, for the first time in a very long time, she didn’t have her hair in pony tails or in a bun. In fact, it was completely loose. I was taken aback at just how long her hair is….


Thursday Thoughts

Holiday Nana’s Whimsies Shop
I am starting to make some items for my Etsy shop – Nana’s Whimsies Shop – for the holidays. My Etsy shop hasn’t generated a lot of income, but at least it gives me somewhat of a reason to crochet. I love to crochet, and have given almost everyone I can think of a handmade afghan. Anyway, if you are so inclined, check out my shop. There’s a link at the top of my blog. Here is a Christmas afghan you simply MUST have for, well, someone….


Pizza Pizza
We may or may not have stopped at Fox’s Pizza before we went to Wilma’s house when we arrived in Chicago last week. What the heck, we thought. She probably won’t notice that hour that we could have been with her. And we were fearful that we wouldn’t make it again. We, of course, in fact did make it one more time. Besides seeing Wilma, it’s the best thing about being in Chicago. As we eat the pizza, we talk endlessly about what exactly it is about that particular pizza that makes it so delicious. Is it the sausage? Is it the pizza sauce? Is it the crust? We still don’t have an answer. More research is undoubtedly necessary!….


Forgetful Today and Tamale
Yesterday Bill and I made a trip to Tamale Kitchen located a bit south of us to see if their tamales are as good as the ones we get in Mesa at Old El Paso Tamales. They weren’t. They are, however, pretty darn good. One of the things I like best about Old El Paso Tamales is that they have different kinds varying from pork and other meat to corn to sweet. Every one of them is delicious. The Tamale Kitchen offers two choices – hot or mild. I had the hot, and as I said, they were good. However, after we left, we drove all the way to Joann’s Fabrics before I realized that I had forgotten my purse at the tamale place. Left it hanging on the chair, as I do several times a year, someplace or other. It’s a terrible habit of mine. Thus far, I’ve been lucky. The purse has always been found by an honest person who hasn’t taken a single thing. Bill bought me a clip-on purse a couple of years ago as his solution to my problem. However, while in theory it is a great idea, in practice it is uncomfortable and unwieldy. I simply have to remember to pick up my purse when I leave someplace. Argh. By the way, it was there, safely tucked behind the counter.

Fruits and Vegetables
While we were visiting Wilma, Smith Crossing had a Farmers’ Market on site. It was supposed to be outdoors in the terrace area, but it happened to rain that day. Instead, the farmers set up their goods on a table in a hallway that has a lot of foot traffic, well, walker traffic. As you can see, the fruits and veggies looked delicious. I bought a locally-grown pear, and will attest to its sweetness and freshness. I’m just not sure how much they sold because no one cooks. Still, it’s nice that the facility offers a variety of activities….


I Always Cry at Weddings
And last, but not least, here is a photo that I probably look at 10 times a day, and laugh every time I do so. Cole was the ring bearer at his Auntie Sineat’s wedding this summer in Maine, and he was not crazy about his role…..



You Say to-may-to; I Say To-mah-to

Bill sewing Bec apron

Here is a typical conversation Bill and I might have regarding my NanasWhimsiesShop on Etsy….

Bill – I sent you the photos of the aprons for your Esty shop.

Me – It’s not Esty; it’s Etsy.

Bill – Yeah, whatever. Anyway, how much are you going to charge?

Me – I’m not sure. What do you think?

Bill – I don’t know. What are other Esty shops charging?

Me – It’s not Esty; it’s Etsy.

Bill – Yeah, whatever.

And so on and so on and so on. While Bill loves to see if he can get on my last nerve, this isn’t one of those times. He simply can’t remember that it is Etsy and not Esty. Frankly, Esty would be a more sensible and more easily pronounceable name. But the fact of the matter is IT IS ETSY.

But for the love of heaven, why must I correct him? What does it matter in the whole scheme of life? It doesn’t.

All of this is to let you know that I am going to be selling aprons soon in my shop on ETSY. And when I say “I” I actually mean “Bill” because he currently is the sole creator of the aprons. Bill is a man of many talents, and sewing just happens to be one of them.

“A sewing machine is just another tool,” he says, quoting his father who once made Bill’s sister a quilt.

Broncos frontThe more he makes, the better the result. I have and wear three aprons currently, the most recent being one of his best. He has begun lining them, which makes a huge difference in the quality. The aprons that will be for sale first are heavy, made out of sturdy canvas material, good for either barbecuing or as a shop apron. Rather than requiring the wearer to tie the apron, they are adjustable via a snap closure. Amenities include a pocket for a cell phone and a pocket for a beer. What more does a man need?

Here is an example, with our son Court acting as the model….

Court Bronco apron

A Bronco apron is the obvious first choice to sell. However, Bill already sent a gift of an Alabama “Roll Tide” apron, complete with the mandatory Paul “Bear” Bryant houndstooth trim, to his brother David.


I will begin selling the aprons on my ETSY page very soon – frankly as soon as I get the photo posted – and then begin taking special orders. But I wanted to make the offer to my blog readers first. If for no other reason than that Bill’s newest hobby will come as no surprise to those who know him.

Just remember to look for ETSY and not ESTY, no matter what he says.

Thursday Thoughts

Last Thursday I mentioned that Bill had been trimming the tree in our front yard when he encountered a mother bird sitting on her nest entirely nonplussed by his noisy activity and apparently not fearing for her life (or at least willing to give up her life for her baby). I subsequently heard from our daughter Heather who wondered whether or not her dad had given the bird a reprieve or went ahead and cut the limb. I assured her that he left the limb alone in the manner of St. Francis of Assisi. And as an update, Mother Mockingbird is still guarding the nest with great determination. I have seen another bird (that I presume is her egg daddy) bringing Mama M. food. She turns around occasionally, but doesn’t seem to ever leave her nest.

Dropping In
For the past couple of years, I have traveled from Arizona back to Denver for a few days in February or so to allegedly check on our house, but secretly to get hugs and kisses from some of our grandkids. This year I thought I might forgo that trip because of the almost-one-week that I spent in the hospital in January. I felt as though I had already lost a week here because of that hospital visit. But alas, I recently began being homesick, and because it looks like we may be staying here longer than usual for a variety of reasons, I decided a trip home was in the cards after all. Therefore, I am leaving today for Denver and returning to Arizona on Tuesday. My plan is to continue the blog, but if I miss a day or two, don’t panic. No health issues; just fun times with my grandkids. As it happens, Bill decided at the last minute to come as well. It’s a party!

Indiana Jones Jr.
Here is the latest in my Etsy shop – Nanas Whimsies Shop. I have to share because I think it’s too cute for words. It is a Panama hat for toddlers up to small boys. The circumference is about 23-1/2 inches. The hat is made out of 100 percent cotton, so it will be cooler in the summer, and the perfect way to protect a little boy from the sun. I loved making it, and I think it turned out so cute.

baby panama hat

Ham it Up!
I sent a lot of my leftover ham home with my Easter guests. We ate green beans and ham for dinner night before last (along with wilted lettuce and macaroni and Swiss cheese; a veritable feast). Yesterday morning we had scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. And now I’m done. The remaining scraps are going in the garbage and I won’t make another ham until next Easter. Put a fork in it.

Sweets for the Sweets
I gave up sweets for Lent. For 40 days and 40 nights (or so) I thought about what would be my first sweet thing to eat on Easter morning. I craved ice cream. I had those Girl Scout cookies in my freezer. Bill brought out my big box of chocolates that he bought me for Valentine’s Day. But my first sweet? A donut from Basha’s, filled with Bavarian cream and iced in rich chocolate. Was it good? Oh, yes.


Thursday Thoughts

They Like Me; They Really Like Me
I complain a fair amount about social media. It’s true I am wholly uninterested in reading about anybody’s political beliefs, no matter their party. I’ve gotten friend requests from people I’ve never heard of, but I simply ignore them, so no harm, no foul. Sorry if it’s from someone I should know, but I’m 62 years old and while I can remember my best friend’s phone number from nearly 50 years ago, I can’t remember the name of the people I met yesterday. But here’s something I DO like about social media. In the past few months, I have connected up via Facebook with some old friends from high school. They don’t post much, nor do I (except for my daily blog post), but I hear from some of them once in a while either on Facebook or my blog, and I simply LOVE that. After my post yesterday, one of those long-lost friends posted a comment in which he provided a tip that he thought might help me with my health issues. It seriously made me tear up. How nice to have friends from that long ago who care enough to take time to comment on my silly blog. Thanks to all of you who are paying attention to me still after all these years!

After no food the day before and a process through which I cleared my digestive system fully in preparation for yesterday’s procedure, I woke up yesterday morning feeling tired and cranky. Even Bill noticed the difference. He’s used to the cranky part, but I’m generally well-rested. I told him I wasn’t quite sure what to expect following the appointment. But the good news is once the procedure was completed, I was given the go ahead to eat anything I wanted. We drove quickly to our favorite little breakfast spot – a family-owned café called The Little Kitchen — and got in under the gun for breakfast. Because I was breaking the fast. Get it?  I’m not sure when I’ve had a meal that tasted so good to me. I was unable to take anything by mouth yesterday morning prior to the procedure (which meant no food, no water, and NO COFFEE!). After breakfast, and three cups of coffee, I was a new woman. Well, not new, really, but the old woman that Bill is used to. Here’s proof that I enjoyed the breakfast….

Breakfast after fast 2.16

Would You Like to Buy Some Girl Scout Cookies?
That is how I’m greeted coming out of nearly every store I visit these days. The girls are always so adorable, but I am forced to explain to them that I have two granddaughters who are Girl Scouts, and if I bought my cookies from someone other than them, there would be hell to pay. As it is, I purchased five boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Kaiya and five boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Maggie Faith. Both girls either Face Timed me or telephoned me and gave me their pitch. Thanks to both mommies who took the time to send them to me. Now I am faced with the problem of having given up sweets for Lent. But never fear, they are being safely stored in the freezer until Easter Sunday when the Lord will rise and I can eat Girl Scout cookies. Well, except for the Thin Mints, which Bill has slowly and secretly devoured. No problem, because they are my least favorite. But has anyone tried the new Savanna Smiles? They are like crack, I’m telling you. I had a couple before Ash Wednesday, and they are irresistible. The good news? Bill wouldn’t touch a lemon cookie with a 10-foot pole, so they are all mine, mine, mine. After Easter, that is. A peek at my freezer….

Girl Scout cookies

Speaking of Easter…..
I made a darling crocheted Easter basket that I am selling in my Etsy shop for a mere $15. Here are a couple of photos….

Bunny easter basket

austin easter basket (2)

Remember to stop by my shop when you have a chance. It’s called Nanas Whimsies Shop (no apostrophe, which offends my writer’s sensibility, but I’m not King of Etsy), and here’s the link.


Tying Knots

grammie knitWhen I was a little girl, my grandmother knitted and/or crocheted all of the time. When she sat, she almost always had a piece of some kind of work in her hands. Her needles clicked as she madly knitted, faster than I’ve ever seen anyone knit. Crocheting was quieter, but she could produce an afghan in short order. One of the best gifts you could give my grandmother was yarn.

As she got older, she knitted less and crocheted more. I think that was because her eyesight started failing. I suspect it was easier to see crochet stitches than knitting stitches. Ultimately she had glaucoma, and I lived far away from her in her final days so I don’t know how she dealt with being unable to do handiwork. I would guess it made her sad.

My grandmother was generally a gifted artist when it came to crocheting and knitting. I have baby things in my cedar chest that I never took out when Court was born. While the knitting was beautiful, she was always a bit off on the sizing. So by time a child could fit into the booties she made, they were able to walk. And the sweater sleeves were always a bit long. Still, I’ve never been able to throw them away. I imagine they will be the first things to go when our poor children have to clean out our house after we’re gone. (That’s my final joke; we’re going to make them clean out our things!)

But I recall things my grandmother made me that were, well, not spectacular. Or at least I didn’t think so. She made what she called bed socks. Bed socks were basically adult-sized booties. They were too slippery to wear for slippers and too hot to wear to bed, so they generally went in the bottom of my drawer.

She also made all of us at one point or another a granny vest – a crocheted vest made out of granny squares. Please Grammie, don’t hate me from heaven above, but I detested the vests and never wore them. I clearly remember Jen wearing the vests, so Grammie will embrace her when we all meet again. Here is what it looked like, at least sort of……


Not awful, but when she began making them, I was entering junior high and wanted nothing more than to look fashionable. The vests, I believed, were not fashionable. I still believe that.

placematNow that I have opened up my Nanas Whimsies Shop on Etsy, I am madly crocheting all of the time. I work on afghans. I make dish cloths. I crochet place mats and grocery bags and baskets and coffee cup cozies. I recently solved a problem my sister had with her microwave handle getting too hot when she used her gas stove……

handle cover

Ta da.

My fear, however, is that I am going to become so engrossed in my crochet projects that I will begin producing things like these pajamas……

crochet pajamas

Or a wedding dress such as this…..

crochet wedding dress

Or, heaven forbid, this….


When you see Bill wearing crocheted shorts, please begin planning the intervention. I will crochet the chair covers on which we’ll sit.

Et Tu Etsy?

Last time I talked to you about my crocheting addiction, I mentioned that I was considering opening an Etsy shop. Etsy, for those of you who don’t frequent Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Jo-Ann’s, who don’t have burnt fingers covered with glue from a glue gun, and whose hands don’t ache from knitting, crocheting, quilting, or sewing, is an internet site from which crafters or others wanting to sell miscellaneous items (e.g. vintage jewelry, items acquired from a garage sale, etc.) can open a shop and sell their wares. (Wow. That last sentence was 68 words. I’m going to make up for my poor writing. How? Here’s what I will do. My sentences will be short. Blog brevity will prevail. At least until this paragraph is over. My sister Bec – a former English teacher – has out her red pen.)

But back to Etsy. I did, in fact, open up a shop. It is called Nanas Whimsies Shop. I didn’t accidentally leave out the possessive apostrophe. For reasons I don’t quite understand (being an Etsy neophyte), I wasn’t able to include the necessary apostrophe when I named my shop. The grammatical error will bother me for as long as the shop lives.

I opened the shop while we were in Arizona a few weeks ago visiting our winter house. While I have a number of things made, I only posted two for sale in my shop – a pretty rose, gray, and cream vintage ripple afghan and a Christmas afghan. I decided to leave the two afghans in Mesa when we returned to Denver because I figured it would take some time before I would sell anything. Weeks and weeks. Months, maybe. If ever.

Well, as it turns out, Monday evening I got an email from someone interested in the vintage ripple. Was it warm and snuggly, she asked me. I wrote her back and assured her that it was, indeed, heavy and warm, as well as big. It would cover a queen-sized bed, I explained to her.

Yesterday morning when I opened up my email, I was greeted by a cheerful message from Etsy: Congratulations! You have made your first sale.

Awesome, I thought. Except for the fact that the afghan which had just sold wasn’t even in the same STATE as I.

What to do, what to do? I actually momentarily considered booking a flight to Phoenix to get the afghan ready to mail. That, of course, would have been silly for many reasons, not the least being it would have cost me more to fly than the cost of the afghan.

But, I reminded myself, I have resources. Friends in high places. Several nieces, a sister, and a sister-in-law, all of whom live in the Phoenix area, and many of whom possess keys to my house and love me. (I also have a brother and many nephews but I didn’t want to have to explain Etsy to them. Even Bill doesn’t quite understand it, and, in fact, continually calls it ES-TY rather that ET-SY. I blame that on his dyslexia. And the fact that it’s a dumb name.)

Anyhoo, the job duty landed on my sister-in-law, Sami, who returned the telephone call first (in other words, she drew the short straw). She was familiar with what to do, and did it quickly and perfectly. I will owe her big time.

In the meantime, check out Nanas Whimsies Shop (dang, I yearn for that apostrophe) and check it out. Unfortunately, there is only one afghan posted, but there will be much more to come when my wares and my body are in the same place. Here’s a preview….

purple afghan draped

Awesome textured afghan in brilliant shades of purple.

3 baskets lined up

A set of three baskets, each with a lid.


A baby soft pillow, made from the softest chenille yarn you can imagine.


Blanket Statement

joseph afghan

Joseph and Papa share a love for Oreos, so this pattern called out to me as a birthday gift for Joseph.

Waaaay back at the end of August, I blogged about the coming of Indian Summer. Apparently we had one cool night and it tricked me into thinking we were moving into Fall. Ha! In fact, it remained warm throughout all of September. Sure, it cooled off a bit at night, but it never was consistently chilly.

In fact, this past weekend is really the first time that the night was cool enough that I dug out the comforter that I carefully put away in May. And when I say “carefully put away” I mean I threw it in the corner of the bedroom on the floor, fully intending to carefully put it away. That, my friends, is sort of the story of my life, housekeeping-wise (as Shirley MacLaine would say in one of my favorite movies of all time – The Apartment).

Kaiya is showing off the afghan I made for her last Christmas. She chose the pattern and shockingly selected primary colors rather than pastels!

Kaiya is showing off the afghan I made for her last Christmas. She chose the pattern and shockingly selected primary colors rather than pastels!

The coming of cooler weather brings out two things in me — the desire to braise meat and the desire to crochet. I have been doing both.

I love to grill in the summer. And, in fact, nearly every meal that I prepare for Bill and me from May through September involves the use of the grill. By September 1, I am extraordinarily sick of grilled chicken with lemon, grilled skinny pork chops splashed with beer, burgers, and even grilled steak. I am ready to put something in my Le Creuset pot on the stove or in the oven and let it cook until it is fall-off-the-bone tender. Yum. Braised lamb shanks with lentils are my personal favorite. Unfortunately, braised lamb shanks and lentils are probably one of Bill’s least favorite meals. Oh well.

But as the weather cools down, I start going through my afghan books, looking for something that appeals to me. I simply love crocheting afghans, especially in the Fall and Winter. The blankets start out small, but in short order, they become large enough to lay over my knees and keep me warm on the cool evenings. By that time I have memorized the pattern and I can do it while watching television in the evening or streaming a Netflix movie in the afternoon. Love it.

The problem, however, is that I have literally run out of people for whom to make afghans. My friends, my family members, all own a Nana original. So now I have started just making afghans and piling them up for, well, I don’t really know what. Here is one I crocheted last winter….

pink and gray ripple

I have recently been toying with the idea of opening an Etsy store. Selling the afghans I make. Offering the aprons that thus far Bill has been making but which I likely could learn to make. (Ugh, sewing.)  Place mats, scarves, dish cloths, hats, mittons, slippers. Lots of offerings. Here is Bill’s first masterpiece….

me in apron bill made

I will toy with this idea for a bit before I dive in. In the meantime, I will continuing stockpiling afghans. Bill and I will be prepared in case we get snowed in. In Arizona.