Monday, November 23, 2009

Cover Girl

Congratulations to my niece, Z, for becoming a cover girl!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where's the Inspiration?

I REALLY miss Southern Accents. I know I could count on them to have a Christmas tree on the cover of their December issue. I get lots of magazines, and am so disappointed by the lack of holiday articles. What is House Beautiful too cool for a tree? I'll take a Menorah, a Kwanza celebration, just give me a beautifully set table and inspiration. I want mantles decorated, trees and garlands. Candles lit and welcoming walkways. Wreaths on doors, and presents to admire the wonderful wrapping. Pages to inspire and aspire to. Every issue lately seems to be about "going green", but what about "going green and red"?!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Loving These

Now these are pants that scream PARTY! I wish Vineyard Vines made then for me. If only my husband would wear them for our Christmas Party.

Apple Butter

I made this last week, and it was easy and well received. It was from Midwest Living October 2008.

4 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored, and slices (about 12 cups)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place apple slices in a 4 quart slow cooker. Stir in sugar, water. vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.

Cover, cook on high heat setting 5-6 hours. Stir. Cool at least an hour . or cover and chill overnight. Ladle apple butter into half-pint storage or freezer containers, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and label. Store 3 weeks in refrigerator or for 1 year in freezer.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Badger Football Saturday

Students celebrating at 10am, let the partying begin!
(Or are they just continuing from Friday night?)
Get the Red out! Fans pouring into Camp Randall Stadium on a perfect football weather day.
Half time, and the UW Marching Band
Led by Mike Leckrone, he is amazing! and so is the band!
We won!!!
A Wisconsin Tradition: The Fifth Quarter
No one leaves after the football game is over, because the band starts their own show.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What did you do today, Honey?

S's tree with a cowboy and Indian theme
J's tree with a nautical theme
Guest room, all gold and ivory

I had S home with pink eye, and thought I could get a head start on decorating. I always have the upstairs done before Thanksgiving, so the boys can enjoy the season I little longer. I start on the downstairs as soon as the last person in pulling out of the driveway on Thanksgiving! I love Christmas and decorate everything. So three trees down, five more to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

That's Mommy to You

J drew me this picture tonight, and then asked how to spell my name. I asked, Gwen or Mommy? He said Gwen, so I spelled it out and he went off to sign his masterpiece. He presented this, with great flourish, explaining that "it's one of those big trees in Savannah with the stuff (Spanish moss)hanging from it". "I know you will like this, because you like it there." I could just spread him on toast!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween on Vine Street

S as Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks
Sherlock and Simon
J as Sherlock Holmes
Me in my very pouffy skirt (300 yards of tulle!) and my couture hat!
Dessert thanks to Copps.

What a Class Act!

Article by Doug Moe
Picture from

There was no mistaking the sound of the snap.

"It's metal breaking," Meg Six was saying Wednesday. "It was pretty loud."

Earlier this month, at the Midwest qualifier for the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association's single-handed national championships in Texas in November, something happened on Lake Michigan that Six had never witnessed before in a sailboat racing career that began in Lake Geneva when she was 13.

Six, a UW-Madison sophomore, races for the University of Wisconsin Sailing Team. It's a club sport on the Madison campus, but the team is highly competitive even against varsity squads.

In the first of three races scheduled for Oct. 11 in the chilly water off Milwaukee, Six was running second behind her Wisconsin teammate, Christine Porter, and just ahead of Lauren Knoles of Michigan State.

But that Sunday morning, the unthinkable happened. Racing just behind Porter and Six of Wisconsin, Knoles was making adjustments on her boat, aiming for more bend in the mast, when the mast snapped nearly in two.

Six, closest to Knoles, called out, "Are you OK?"

Knoles yelled back. "I'm fine."

But she wasn't, not really. There were tears on her cheeks.

Six could tell that Knoles' boat was completely disabled. It meant the defending champion and current regatta leader would not only not finish the race, she would also miss Sunday's last two races and fail to qualify for nationals.

The top two women in the Midwest qualifier would advance to the national championships next month in Corpus Christi. But the qualifying regatta is a cumulative event - seven races over the Oct. 10-11 weekend - and by the first race Sunday, the fourth overall, Meg Six was out of contention for nationals. She'd been battling illness since summer and had not had a good regatta.

Knoles of Michigan State was first overall starting Sunday morning. The junior is a highly accomplished sailor, having won the Midwest qualifier her freshman and sophomore years. She finished fifth nationally last year.

Porter, now leading, called over to her teammate Six.

"Somebody should give up their boat," Porter said.

"Christine is a competitor and didn't want to win by default," Six said this week.

Six swung her boat around until she was next to Knoles. "Lauren," Six said, "do you want my boat?"

At first, Knoles appeared stunned by the offer. Then she called out a thank you and the two women switched boats.

"I wasn't going to qualify," Six said. "I wanted the best sailor to compete. Lauren is a great sailor. It wouldn't be right if she couldn't go to nationals."

Six was towed in by a power boat, and missed the last two Sunday races.

Knoles scored no points for the first race Sunday - switching boats was the equivalent of not finishing that race - but using Six's boat she finished well in the final two races and qualified for the national regatta. Porter of Wisconsin qualified as well, and the two women will represent the Midwest in Corpus Christi Nov. 6-8.

Six's sportsmanship did not go unnoticed. She's received notes and e-mails from the Michigan State campus, and she was named "sailor of the week" by U.S. Sailing.

But the best reaction may have come that Sunday morning, only moments after Six gave up her boat, when her teammate Christine Porter came sailing by Meg in the disabled boat and yelled, "You're my hero!"

The line forms behind Christine.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

With Appreciation

My father in law died a week ago, of terminal cancer. He was diagnosed in May with colon cancer, which had spread to his liver and lungs. He spent the last months of his life uncomplaining and brave. He came from that John Wayne era of stoicism, so you know when he said it was painful, it must have been horrible. His colon had been removed, leaving him with a colostomy bag and Mary, my mother in law, took care of him every day. She slept on the couch, enduring sleepless nights, with the TV blaring and all the lights on, because Bob found comfort in that. She continued to take him to dialysis three times a week, as they had done for the last 7 years. She catered to his every need, with unfailing support and love.
He was put into Hospice in Madison for what turned out to be only three days. I spent time with Mary, meeting with doctors, nurses, social workers and clergy. This group of people were amazing. Gently caring for Bob and meeting the needs of his grieving wife and family. I don't know how they do this job, it all seems so sad, but I am grateful they do. He, along with the family decided to stop dialysis, and he died two days later, surrounded by his three children and his wife of 50 years.
The last week has been exhausting, with relatives coming and going, the visitation and funeral, family dinners and beginning the task of thank yous and lawyer stuff. The service was lovely, and a letter my husband wrote to his Dad this past Father's Day was read. He was given a military funeral, with the flag folding, and it was heartbreaking to watch Mary accept the flag from a grateful nation.
Bob was a quiet, composed man. He was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was a small child. He joined the Marines, and was a veteran of the Korean War. He put himself through the UW, with a degree in enginering. A staunch Conservative and Republican (we didn't talk religion or politics). A man who didn't show a lot of emotion, but was very proud of his family. He donated his time and money to the causes he felt worthy. When he gave a compliment, you really paid attention, beacause they didn't some frequently.
He will be greatly missed.