I had a carpenter friend modify my old sewing cabinet for my new sewing machine and I was thrilled with the results.  Unfortunately, the first time I tried to use the sewing machine in the cabinet, I immediately realized I had forgotten that the power cords connect to the sewing machine below the cabinet surface.  I measured and checked and decided that it would not compromise the integrity of the cabinet to cut a hole in the vertical side of it.  If more room is needed, the top drawer could be cut down.  None of this would show with the sewing machine in place.  Dean said he thought he could do this for me.

Here’s Dean working on the inside pass-through for the power cords.

 

With the sewing machine in place, the power cords and switch are accessible through the top drawer space.

 

With some modification, the drawer slides right past the power cords.

 

Dean did such a good job, I decided it made the raw wood of the platform worthy of some stain and varnish.

 

The stained platform looks much nicer than raw wood.

 

The top drawer in action. I reach inside the drawer to turn on the power switch and everything works the way I want it to.

We needed new solar lights for the pool and patio area.  It’s hard to find solar lights brighter than 5 lumens (a pinprick of light), but we finally found some with 30 lumens and installed them.

Lights around the pool, . . .

 

. . . and more lights around the patio.

Jeff wondered which of these jackets looked better on him.   Ted found the same jackets.  What do you think, Jeff?  Does it help to see them on someone else?

Flamingos?

 

Geometrics?

 

Or maybe the whole shebang with the matching pants and tie as well.

 

(Note:  There was only one flamingo jacket left for Ted to try.  I can’t wait to see the owners of the other flamingo jackets wearing them around town.)

Today, as Ted drove us through an underpass on I-70, I spotted a couple of State Patrol cars on the merging ramp to​ our right.  Since traffic slowed markedly at that point, I assumed there was an accident ahead and the officers were heading to the scene.

As Ted drove forward, I noticed those squad cars were part of a string:  there were actually ten squad cars and a State Patrol motorcycle lined up on the shoulder of the ramp!!  In addition, another official motorcycle was parked on the shoulder just ahead of the ramp after pulling a driver over, presumably for speeding.  Obviously, a sting operation was in progress as people started leaving town for the holiday weekend.

I think we can conclude that enforcement​ is up.

 

Dylan and Teddy were ready to open the 2017 swim season, so Kari brought them over for a swim.  Kari, Ted, and I thought it was a little too cool to get in the water.  Sitting in the sun felt better to us, but the two kids had a good time.

Go, boys, go!

I looked at the whiteboard on the refrigerator the other day and couldn’t believe who we needed to call.  My brothers’ names are Denny, Steve, Tom, and Russ.

A local TV channel is inviting viewers to “take a selfie with Steve,” the channel’s chief meteorologist.  The winning entry will receive $500 in free groceries from Schnuck’s, a local grocery chain.  Ted and I were shopping at Schnuck’s one day and saw Steve’s cutout, so I took a picture of my weather man with the TV weatherman.

Yesterday, I was looking for something and, while I was rummaging through my stuff, I found a Christmas card I bought for Ted and forgot about.  I decided that if I save it for next Christmas, I’ll probably forget about it again, so I added “at any other time of the year” to the “especially at Christmas” line and put the card out for Ted to discover.  Just before we went to bed, I noticed a card on my dresser.  It was a Christmas card from Ted with the added wish for a “Happy Mother’s Day.”  He said he’d bought the card about two years ago and kept forgetting about it.

One year, we bought each other identical cards for our anniversary.  When you’ve been married this long, do two minds become one?

 

Today we celebrated Dean’s birthday (May 3), Teddy’s birthday (May 15), and Kari’s birthday (May 19).  For good measure, we included Mother’s Day (today).  Teddy was allowed to choose the cake, so he asked me to make a pig cake for him, like last year.  We had presents, cake, and time to talk.  Life is good.

Dean got a new miter saw with laser alignment from Kari for his birthday.

 

Dean can use his new saw as he reconfigures the skate ramp he’s building.

 

Kari’s electric fry pan is missing a leg, has hot spots, and has a cord that arcs when it’s plugged in, so Ted and I gave her a new one for her birthday.

 

I made a pig nose and stuck it in Teddy’s gift bag.

 

Here are Teddy and Waffles with the quilt and pillow I made for them.

 

Naturally, Waffles had to try the pig nose too.

 

Teddy’s pig cake.  The pig looks mystified.  Maybe because I don’t draw very well and didn’t show his good side.

 

I hope Teddy wished for something wonderful.

If you’re a grandma and your grandson (Teddy) tells you he and his stuffed pig need a blanket for his birthday, what do you do?  Why, you make him and his pig a blanket!  I decided to make a simple quilt.

The last time I made a quilt, I bought two kits at a local craft store and made them for Tommy (at that time) and Kari to use for their naps.  The quilts turned out nicely, but required no imagination on my part–I just used the materials in the kits and followed the directions.

Tommy’s lion quilt.  I gave it to Katie as a baby shower gift for Sefton, along with some other baby items of Thom’s.

 

Kari’s quilt.  She took this picture and sent it to me as I  started working on Teddy’s quilt.

 

This time, I was on my own, but how hard could a kid’s quilt be?  I bought some appropriate pig-patterned fabric, some backing, and some batting, then went home to attach two pieces of fabric to the batting and bind the edges.  I did not anticipate any enhancements–after all, it was for a nine-year-old and his stuffed pig!

Then I made the mistake of talking to the Quilting Queen, my sister-in-law, Mutzie.  She thought it would be nice to include a matching pillow.  Well, why not?  I had three throw pillows in the Goodwill box, so I rescued one.  Mutzie also thought an appliquéd pig cut out of the backing fabric and placed in the center of the top side would be cute.  I decided I might as well do the same on the pillow so it would look like a matched set.  Even better, I could use my sewing machine to add Teddy’s name to the quilt and Waffles’ name (the stuffed pig) to the pillow.

So far, I’ve altered one pillowcase with the new sewing machine I bought in December, so I still had to follow the instruction book to thread the needle, fill the bobbin and figure out how to use the touch screen to raise/lower the foot, select the stitch, the stitch length, and the tension and all the other stuff you have to do to sew.  (Sewing machines have come a long way in the last 50+ years.)  That slowed me down a lot in the beginning, but I can do it all without looking at the instruction book now!

When I estimated under ten hours to make this quilt, I obviously misjudged how long it would take to pin, baste, and sew so many things (appliqués, layers, binding).  Including the time it took to learn how to use my new sewing machine, I almost reached the forty-hour mark.

The project was fun.  The quilt turned out very well and I learned that my sewing machine is awesome.  I definitely made a good selection when I bought it.  Now I want to work on another project, just to use my sewing machine!

The Quilting Queen told me quilts should always be photographed vertically.  Pay no attention to the man behind the quilt.

 

Don’t all artists sign their work?  I had to try this feature of my sewing machine for the lettering on the quilt and on the pillow.

Late spring means it’s time for the school orchestras to show their families how much they’ve improved since the fall concert.  Last week, Ted and I were able to attend Dylan’s spring concert.  The music selections are always fun and the concerts last about 30-40 minutes (an important factor when sitting on bleachers).  The improvement is always noticeable and we are thankful we have the opportunity to hear our grandchildren perform.

6th grade orchestra (Dylan) on the left; 5th grade orchestra on the right.  The arrow points to Dylan.

 

Can you find Dylan, our sixth grade cellist?

 

The parent in the blue shirt is serious about his photos!

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch used the non-word sillily on the front page of its sports section last week.  It reminds me of the Parisian bus with the “slididing” top and the “screeninings” available at the Lions Club.  I think slididing and screeninings were probably typos, but I have a hunch this sportswriter thought he needed to change the adjective silly (the kind of hair extensions) to an adverb, even though it does not function as an adverb (how, where, when).  He changed the y to i and added -ly.  Well, at least he knows how to form adverbs, even if he doesn’t know how to use them.  Aaarrgghh!

The Foundry Art Center is located at the St. Charles riverfront, so after viewing Sky’s and Dylan’s artwork, Ted and I walked along the river to survey the flooding from the recent rains (11 inches at our house).  Flood stage for the Missouri River at St. Charles is 25 feet.  At the time we were walking, the river was at 35.7 feet.  A few hours later, it crested at 35.8 feet.  One of the awesome sights at a flooding river is the speed of the current in the center of the river.  The power of a river in flood is obvious and is definitely something to be avoided.

The Katy Trail is under here somewhere.  That’s the top of a park bench beside the trees and behind the sign.

 

It’s a wide river when it’s in flood.  You can tell where the rapid current is flowing by the darker strip of water beyond the foreground trees.  The foreground trees are in the park; the normal riverbed lies behind them.

 

Park rest rooms are currently inaccessible.  You can see the train tracks underwater at the trash can and the tops of park benches among the trees on the right.

 

No picnics scheduled under this shelter for awhile.  The ground is a little higher here, so the train tracks show.

 

The bandstand is surrounded by 3- to 4-foot deep water.

 

In the 1993 flood, the water came to the back doors of the businesses on the right.  The pioneers built the downtown on high ground.

Ted and I are related to two artists whose work was selected for public exhibition:  Sky and Dylan.  Each spring, the St. Charles School District chooses a few representative art projects from each grade–K-12–and displays them at the Foundry Art Center in downtown St. Charles.  Of course, we had to take a personal look at the artwork.

Sky (not surprisingly) submitted a detailed Star Wars drawing.  Dylan painted a sunset sky.  The sun in Dylan’s painting is colorless.  Dylan told me it’s an artistic illusion:  the orange sky makes the sun look yellow.

 

 

And here’s a first grader’s picture that made us smile.  The minions always seem to have that effect.

The St. Louis National Weather Service Office recently had a public photo contest.  The winning photo (below) is currently the NWS-STL Facebook profile picture.  Wow!

 

The rain has finally moved out of the area.  We had a total​ of 11 inches at our house in 6 days–7.5 inches over the weekend and 3.5 inches yesterday and today, with one day of sunshine between the two storm systems.

Most of the rivers in the area have crested; some will have an additional crest from yesterday’s and today’s rain, but it will be lower than the crest from the weekend rain.  Flooding in the area is pretty bad, and clean-up will take awhile.  We’re looking forward to sunshine for the next 5-6 days.  It will be a welcome change.

Much of the local evening news tonight addressed flooding rivers and road closings.  One reporter noted that all roads to a particular area were under water, leaving that area “landlocked.”  Of course, that reminded me of Inigo Montoya’s line in The Princess Bride.

 

We had a beautiful, sunny 66-degree day today for a change.  It was a short break, though:  the rain returns tomorrow for another two days, with up to another 2-5 inches forecast in addition to the 5-7 inches the same area had over the weekend.  MODOT posted a map of statewide road closings today, including parts of I-44, I-55, and I-70.  As the water rises on I-55, people were instructed today to decide which side of the flooded roadway they want to be on tomorrow, because it will be closed tonight.

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Someone played with FaceApp, and this is making the rounds on Facebook.  It’s as much fun as the Muppet Presidential look-alikes.

L -> R, top -> bottom:  Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Paul Ryan, Rudy Guiliani, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions

After our 7.5 inches of rain over the weekend, there was a final sunset sprinkle that produced a rainbow.  The rainbow visible from our house was less spectacular than the one in the photo below submitted by a local TV viewer.