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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve on the Island 2012

May the blessings of Grace of our Dearest Lord Jesus, on this His birthday, be upon you and yours today and throughout the coming year.

Well, it's our first Christmas here on the island. The Christmas gifts as such, are wrapped for the most part and under the artificial Christmas tree. We have always had a live tree for Christmas, but the logistics of keeping it fresh in a condo may be a bit daunting. It is certainly less messy, but the scent of a live tree cannot be duplicated in plastic. Oh well.

The golf club has strategically placed Christmas tree silhouette groups, in lights at various spots on the course. Lighted decorations, trees, snowmen, candy canes, wrapped presents, etc. are everywhere. It is so very beautiful. They did all the work and we simply enjoy it. We haven't had any snow to speak of, so everything is still rather barren and stark. It began snow/sleeting a few hours ago, but it remains to be seen if any of it sticks. Wednesday, December 26, they're calling for a big storm to hit us. Go figure, the day the kids are to travel in from Cleveland(Erin,Madison, Aubrey, Frank and Trevor) and Columbus (Ian). Erin assures me that Trevor's 4 wheel drive Jeep can tackle anything the weather can throw at us. I pray their Guardian Angels will escort them safely here and then back again.

From the 20-23 of December, my brother Mark, my niece Sarah and my nephew Andrew were here for a visit from Charlotte, NC. It was so good to be in their company. Distance makes it so difficult to be a part of their lives. None-the-less, we made a few good memories. On Friday, we had a chili fest here, both the Manly Meat Lovers Chili as well as the White Chicken Chili with homemade cornbread and butter. Tasty! Saturday we had an early dinner at Ingrid and Bart's....yet another food fest, medallions of bacon wrapped beef and chicken from the grill, holiday kielbasa from Kilgus Meat market, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, cranberry mold, Betty's pasta salad, rolls. Oh my, then there were still desserts. My parents came to enjoy the festivities. We are blessed to still have them with us @ ages 87 and 88. A few photos documented the memory. My youngest brother Bryan, his wife Dawn and their nine girls also shared the day with us.

Rick and I will be attending midnight Mass here @ St. Joseph's, Marblehead in a few hours. It won't be anything like our beloved St. Joseph's in downtown Toledo, with the Latin Mass, and beautiful Latin hymns and traditional Christmas hymns, but it is still the Mass.
Merry Christmas!!
Respectfully Submitted,
Die Baroness von Thomas Haus, Queen, Yours Truly

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12....A day that just needed a post!

12-12-12     The Feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Empress of the Americas!

It's a crisp, sunny winter day here on Catawba. No snow yet. It's been too warm for snow....temps in the upper 30's and 40's mostly. Perhaps we'll have a green Christmas again this year. Meteorologists have reported large solar storms spitting plasma at the earth as the culprit for us, yet my aunt in Germany has seen more snow in the last few years than she ever has. Oh well, that's all above my pay grade.  :)
It's taken a while...ok, a long while, but I finally feel like I am home. For so long I felt lost and disconnected here. Timothy Lane was a fading memory, and this place just hadn't felt truly like home. How blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place. The lake with all its moods is just down the street and a wonder to behold. Bald eagles periodically soar overhead. Seagull calls fill the air. Deer have wandered past our window, a big buck on one occasion. Despite the bare trees and lack of flora, the starkness is still beautiful on a sunny day.
About two months ago I joined the local library's Monday morning quilters/crafters gathering. From there I joined the Ohio Star Quilt Guild. What a wonderful world of women I have discovered. (perhaps that is why I now feel a connection, I don't think I could ever be a good hermit). Through a quilt block challenge, I have perfected the technique of making the Ohio Star block. I submitted 9 blocks for the challenge. Overall 68 Ohio Star blocks were submitted by the group. Each block submitted earned you one chance in the drawing to get all the blocks. Since I never win anything ever, I just enjoyed the exercise. Well....@ the November Guild meeting, my name was drawn! Pretty overwhelming for a "baby quilter"! Sixty-eight Ohio Star blocks on cream backgrounds are mine. With the help of the Monday morning ladies, all of the blocks are staged and layed out and ready to be finished into a King sized quilt top. It won't be started until after January 1st, so stay tuned. Right now I need to finish sewing my Mrs. Claus outfit for Saturday's Christmas party for the children of the local Air National Guard base. So adieu for now.
respectfully submitted, Baroness von Thomas Haus, Queen Yours Truly!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Stitch in Time

As a little girl...maybe age 11, my mom sent me to the Singer store in Miracle Mile Shopping Plaza in Toledo to take a sewing class. That would begin my love for all things fabric. I made a simple bathing suit cover up out of terry cloth with a matching beach towel.

Fast forward a few years, high school to be exact, Junior year @ Notre Dame Academy. It was the annual Christmas formal. I had a gorgeous, full length black velvet skirt that I wore with a white blouse. Something seemed to be missing with the ensemble, so I designed a black velvet bolero with elaborate frog closures. It was stunning! That began my trip into sewing all my prom dresses.

Moving on from the 70's to the 80's. Now married life to Richard, the love of my life, and new little bundle named Erin Maria. Rick was in dental school and we had no money to speak of. My sewing machine was once more whirring. The little flannel baby clothes morphed into gorgeous little overalls, embelished with my needlework and eyelet lace and frills. I wish I had them now.

I stopped sewing clothes when Ian arrived.  His little brother, Trevor, came along a few years later. Oh I would repair the worn out knees on their pants and rips and tears and such. Ok so I DID sew their Halloween costumes, but nothing more elaborate than that.

When the kids were little we had a neighbor that lived across the street briefly. She was an avid quilter. She could throw together a lap quilt top in an afternoon and have it finished within a few days. She taught me the art of hand quilting and took me on a field trip to the Sauder Village annual quilt show in May one year. Ohhh, ahhh!! When she moved I tried to connect with a quilt shop on Sylvania Ave., but the ladies there were most intimidating. The quilt/fabric bug would go dormant until now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Catawba Expedition: Phase III, Push To the Finish

1 May 2012 - 3 July 2012

On May 1st the campground @ Tall Timbers opened. So we went from the moldy, musty, "Fish Camp" into the familiar surrounds of our beloved 30' camper, 1996 Layton Skyline. Familiarity, memories of giggling children, shadows of the previous "Hounds of Thomas Haus" permeated every square inch.The bed, kitchen, couch, dinette were all our own. In a way, it was returning home, making the transition less heart wrenching for me. Change is always a challenge, whether we seek it, or it seeks us. I prefer the former. :)
The weather was slowly warming, leaves were returning to the trees. This May I would not be planting flowers for the first time in over 28 years. Rick is happy....he doesn't have to cut grass or tend to the yard.
Spring rapidly turned to Summer and it was June. The days became longer and the air warmer. Thank goodness for the functioning air conditioner on the camper!!
Because of construction and the logistics of the move, we canceled our plans for our two weeks in Hatteras on the North Carolina Outer Banks. We opted to enjoy moving to our local vacation spot instead.
July 1st a nasty storm hit us. That afternoon we were basking in glorious sunshine, poolside @ the Catawba Island Club. An ominous blackness was silently building on the north and western horizons. Erroneously we thought it would pass us to the north. The staff @ CiC closed the pool early, sighting the impending storm. Reluctantly we packed up and headed back to the camper. Well, it was 5ish and suppertime anyway. As we sat down to supper, I saw a very strange cloud formation and ran out into the field next to our camper to get photos. The air was still and warm, not particularly troubling. Our neighbor came out yelling that we are under a tornado warning and get to shelter quickly. The stillness was a disconnect to Carrie's hysteria. Rick then came out and said his cell phone beeped an alert for a tornado warning. By the time I got to the camper everything was swirling and blowing hard. We ran to the cinder block shelter of the bath house. Looking to the south, I saw a column of black-grey clouds just over the tree tops, swirling furiously...a tornado. GADS!!!
Once the wind died down, we returned to the camper to find a 6-8" branch from the maple tree on our campsite, lying twisted and broken exactly between the truck and my car, missing both by mere inches. Catawba Island didn't fair as well. Huge trees were uprooted, some were through roofs and garages. Tree limbs and debris were everywhere. The condo was fine. The aluminum fascia on the north side was peppered a bit from the hail that came with the storm.
Two days later, on July 3rd, the furniture from Basista in Cleveland and Homestead in Mt. Hope, Ohio were delivered. We were once again home! ....it would take a while to acclimate, it was like living in a furniture store, nothing familiar to imprint on.
Submitted by, The Baroness of Thomas Haus, Queen Yours Truly

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Catawba Expedition: Phase II; "Fish Camp"

5 March 2012 - 1 May 2012   The Adventures @ "Fish Camp"
"Fish Camp", definition: that little musty, cottage on the banks some body of water, where a gathering of menfolk go for a specified length of time, usually a long weekend or a designated week, to cavort with fishing gear, boats, and a myriad of beverages. Bathing and personal hygiene are usually optional during these sojourns.
Ah yes..."Fish Camp" @ Kamp Kozy

March 5th began our official move into the temporary quarters that I "affectionately" tagged as "Fish Camp". Through the maneuverings of the campground manager, Sally, (Tall Timbers, where our camper is permanently stationed)  we rented a small two story cottage with an enclosed porch on the grounds of their other facility, Kamp Kozy, in Marblehead, Ohio. The location, directly on Sandusky Bay, with a perfect view of sunrise, was absolutely stunning.


The cottage itself was basic and clean with one bedroom downstairs and an upstairs loft furnished with 4 single beds and 1 full size bed. The giggling granddaughters would commandeer the loft as their personal oasis when they came for overnight visits. The kitchen was another story. There was a distinct odor of mold that hit you in the face every time you entered the front door into the kitchen. Only rudamentary meals were prepared and eaten there. The enclosed front porch held a large picnic table and yup....the washer and dryer! Yessiree, Mama T. did many a load of laundry on that thar front porch!

The campground of Kamp Kozy wasn't officially open during those months, so it was rather deserted. The dogs and I would begin our day early in the morning with our walk as the stunning sunrises presented themselves on the eastern horizon. At the close of the day we would do the same, often witnessing the sunsets over the marsh at the back side of the campround. Elegant Great Egrets (white cranes) as well as stately Blue Herons would regularly frequent the marsh. Over the 2 months there, we came to see a myriad of migrating waterfowl as well. God seemed to give us these little tidbits as consolations it seemed.
Spring Sunset @ "Fish Camp"

The cottage also came with a resident raccoon. A huge fellow who had been living in the attic and decided he wanted to move back in. Every evening he would try to get into the attic by peeling off the aluminum facia. The maintenance men kept setting traps to catch him only to find a mournful local feline instead. They caught a raccon on one occasion, however, I don't think it was the big boy!


The end of March we also witnessed a phenomenon called the "shad dieoff" hundreds of dead fish washed up on the shore and into the marina cove of the campground. The nauseating "perfume" of dead fish assaulted our nostrils for weeks.
1 May finally came and we moved into our beloved camper. It had been "home" on so many family trips. The familiarity was comforting and it didn't stink of fish or mold. Progress!

Submitted by; Die Baroness von Thomas Haus, Empress, Yours Truly!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Catawba Expedition begins in earnest.

1 January 2012  -  3 April 2012
The last eight months(today being 7 September) congeal into a massive blur. Packing, sorting, saving, discarding began in earnest New Year's Day 2012. One would think that such a task would be relatively easy, albeit time consuming, but easy. That thought is wrong, so very, very wrong! Surprisingly, memories were unearthed with every cabinet, closet, drawer, nook and cranny that was excavated. So many memories of the children growing up on Timothy Lane. Each piece held a snapshot of that time. Multiple pieces formed a moving picture of sorts, much like the templates of a cartoon when placed together create a motion picture.
Some days I would make great progress, then others would be lost in tearful emotion. Visions of our many ventures in homeschooling as well as family trips and events celebrated would emerge. In hindsight, we tried to give our children the foundation of a beautiful childhood, the vision of it, carrying them through the challenges of their individual lives. Timothy Lane will be the vault of those memories forever.
We eventually filled 2 storage units @ Catawba Storage on Muggy Road, with that that we wanted to bring forward into our new life. The rest, from furniture to trinkets was sold @ an estate sale done for us by S. Sterling Estate Sales. The third week of March the sale commenced and everything was summarily dispatched within three days. The house was empty!
March 1st Rick and I began a 30 day novena to St. Joseph with the intention of a smooth transition into our new life as well as the timely sale of Timothy Lane. His image, in a little plastic statue, was buried in the garden by the front door...a Catholic tradition, placing the venture in his hands. The last week of March we enlisted the help of Vicki Sedlak, ReMax Masters Real Estate agency to help us with the sale. The for sale sign went up Holy Thursday. Her caveat was not to expect much with the Easter weekend directly before us. She assured us that the push would begin after Easter. The housing market was very slow with the poor economy, but she was confident the house would sell.
Good Friday she called informing us of a showing to a young couple on Holy Saturday. By Easter Monday we had an offer. By that same night we had a competing offer from a second couple interested in the house. The following day we accepted the first offer. So, thanks to the intervention of St. Joseph, the house sold in 5 days, a few thousand dollars from our asking price to boot. The formal closing, with papers properly signed and transferred was 25 May 2012.
....submitted, by the Baroness von Thomas Haus, Queen Yours Truly!