Thursday, January 29, 2015

Have You Reached Loch Ness Yet?

Actually this is my second time to reach Loch Ness. The first time was back in the early 1980's before our J. was born. We drove there with his Oma and Opa in their white Mercedes. I didn't see the monster in Loch Ness then, and when I "arrived" at Loch Ness today (after almost four weeks of keeping track of my steps) I did not see him either. Nor did I see the Loch Wetcreek monster (otter, grrrrr). But lots of mist today and plenty of spider web baskets in the meadow and forest.

Hope I didn't bring any hitchhikers inside, 'cause I'm in the middle of early Spring cleaning.

Back to the vac!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pests, Part 2--Oh Cracky! The Otter is Back!

Remember my blogpost over a year ago? If not, click on Otters .

This time, otters are definitely not cool! He/She is probably munching on our grass carp that we added to the pond in December 2014!

Oh, we caught the 2nd mouse today. He/she was back in the coat closet looking for my peacoat. But we are going to leave the "loaded" traps in the closets just in case any mice relatives decide to drop in for a visit.

Now to figure out what's up with the coyotes. Their howling and moaning keeps me from walking my meadow path in the mornings. :(


Guest Appearance

(My friend Emily Shirley sent her friends a very special email message on Friday evening. Emily is not a blogger ( not yet, anyway), but her message is blog-worthy. She has given me permission to publish her post here on my Wetcreek Blog. I am proud to welcome Emily to "blogland" as my very first guest blogger.)
Getting Dressed the First Thing in the Morning
By: Emily Shirley
Last week a friend called and invited me over for coffee.  I didn’t have to stop and think, “Oh I’m not dressed, or I haven’t taken my shower yet.”  I didn’t have to check the time for coffee and determine if I could get dressed by then.  I was already dressed for the day and it was easy to say “yes, I will be there.”  

I don’t write a blog or anything like that on-line.  I do a little writing and editing of two newsletters for a couple of organizations I belong to.  But, those newsletters are “horticulture” related and the little blurb that I have in mind tonight has nothing to do with horticulture.  So, I decided to write something and send it to my friends in the form of an email.  Just sharing thoughts.  If I did write for an on-line blog, I would write an article about “getting dressed” early in the morning - for women that don’t have to rush off to a job. 
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to snuggle up on the sofa in the library and enjoy an extra cup of coffee and read a few minutes after my husband leaves for work, but I allow myself just a few minutes for this.  Then, I get dressed.  For almost ten years I worked in Houston and got up at 5:00 AM each morning in order to be in my first meeting of the day at 6:30 AM.  Getting dressed then was getting dressed in full corporate dress for the day and getting to my office in a high-rise corporate building downtown Houston.  So now that I am retired, I REALLY enjoy not having to rush the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning and I do enjoy not having to look the part for work every day (by 6:30 AM no less!)  However, I also know the benefits of getting a shower and getting dressed early in the morning.  I have to really work hard on the “self-discipline” some days, so today I am reminding myself of the benefits of getting dressed the first thing in the morning, and sharing my thoughts with you.  This would be my blog article on getting dressed early in the morning (if I wrote for an on-line blog):
Get Dressed and Put Your Shoes On – 
By: Emily Shirley
Did you know that one of the main rules for the Mary Kay Company several years ago was that you could not make a single phone call from home in the morning unless you were totally dressed?  And that meant dressed all the way to include shoes. Other companies that allow their employees to work from home also encourage their employees to get completely dressed in the morning before they start working on the computer from home.  This is because people are more productive when they get dressed, even if they are staying home and working on the computer.  You act differently when you have clothes and shoes on. You are more professional, more alert, more creative, and more willing to move rather than just sit around. You even sound more energetic on the telephone.  It is healthier to move rather than just sit around, especially early in the morning.  Try it – If you are staying home for the day, get completely dressed the first thing in the morning and see how much more productive you are. And like all habits, you will have to work hard at this for the first week or two, but I think you will see the benefits.
Even if you are going to stay home all day, you still want to impress anyone that stops by.  We all want to impress others; especially our best friend, and I hope that best friend is you.  You will feel so much better about yourself when you have gotten dressed the first thing in the morning. And your best friend will be proud of you. 
Always put on shoes!  From a health and safety standpoint, you are safer if you are wearing shoes (even around the house).  Wearing shoes affects the way you walk, and you are less likely to run into something, or step on something and hurt your foot.  If you typically don’t wear shoes in the house because you don’t want to track things into the home, keep one special pair just for wearing in the house.  It is understandable that you may want to put on “comfortable” shoes and not “dress shoes” (or heels of any kind), but definitely put on some shoes.  Putting shoes on your feet that lace up are better than slip-ons, because they are harder to take off. Instead of kicking your shoes off for a quick snooze on the couch, you actually have to go to a bit more trouble. Maybe in that short instant you will realize that there is something more that you can do. With shoes on those feet of yours, you may be encouraged to do more – or at least one more thing.  And, you have no excuse for not going outside to take the trash out, clean the drive, clean off the front porch, walk to the mailbox, walk the dog, etc. You are literally ready for anything. Maybe a friend will call up and invite you for coffee.  Even if you have to quickly slip into different clothes (because when you got dressed that morning you put on your favorite jeans with holes in the knees), you can still be ready to walk out the door in a matter or minutes.   
(Dear Followers: I am sure Emily will be reading this blogpost the next few days, so feel free to leave your comments below. Always, Linda)

Saturday, January 24, 2015


It is enough to make my blood pressure soar! At least Mouse #2 made me almost squeal on my way to a routine doctor's appointment yesterday.

Who would have ever thought that the blue woolen peacoat that I haven't worn in two years would be the nestling spot for Mouse #2? Since the weather was damp and cold ( and my fleece jacket was in the dryer), I decided to wear my super warm peacoat to my appointment. As I reached into the coat closet (right next door to the pantry!!!), a mouse jumped out of the coat, bounced on the floor, and scurried into a closet two doors down. I wanted to scream but knew I would give my hub a heart attack and then what could he do. Well, put out more traps, of course.

So instead of screaming, I jerked the coat out of the closet. Threw it on a bench in the mudroom and grabbed a woolen cape. Not much chance of mice in that flat piece of fabric! Then I was off to my appointment.

This is what I found in the pockets of my peacoat:

After we had destroyed the magnificent Dollar Store shredded bag home next door in the pantry, Mouse #2 was busy getting the next home ready. In my pocket! 

What did we do next? Put traps in all the closets in that hallway! No mouse ( mice!!!) yet!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sorry I Disturbed You

Sorry I Disturbed You

Two little snakes
Two huge stinkbugs
Two tiny lizards
One ladybug

I just wanted to clean out the front flowerbeds,
Then I can add mulch and see what Spring will bring.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Got Him and Photos and LL 17 januari1980

The mouse, that is! Now waiting for my hub to take him to his final resting place, and then the cleaning and organizing of the pantry begins.

While I wait, I'd like to share a few photos and another Love Letter to my parents.

This is the Buziaustraat in Rotterdam where we lived back in 1979 - 1982.

Our apartment was up this set of stairs and on the left. Even after entering the apartment you had to walk another flight of stairs to get into the living area. We were both in great shape!!!!

Our bedroom was even another flight up with the only toilet downstairs on the living level.
Confused yet???

I think this is the latest view. The apartment with the For Sale sign is the neighbor's, not our old apartment. Our kitchen window and kitchen balcony are just above that sign.

Our former apartment will be auctioned off mid February 2015. Seems like it has been on the market for about 5 years. Real estate photos on the Internet are disgusting. Looks more like a foreclosure. Sad really. We were the first residents of this "maisonnette" 35 years ago!

View out the back windows.

And the only photo acceptable for inside. 
I think they took this photo back five years ago when the apartment went up for sale.

Now the letter to let you know what we were doing on the Buziaustraat 35 years ago--

17 januari 1980
donderdag avond


J. is working until 9 or 10 tonight, so I've kept myself busy. It is just 4:45 p.m., and I've already given myself a permanent (nice curls!), made a cute diaper holder for M., washed several loads of clothes, repaired J's coat, written the Teachers' Retirement about the check that was short over $800, written to the school board about my W-2 forms, and now a letter to you. This week has been better than last  week. Tuesday I attended the Women's Club meeting and am trying to get involved with them. I enjoyed the meeting and all of the ladies were really nice. I will go on a tour of the police station on Jan. 29 with them. That should be interesting.

I haven't worked these two weeks, but that's the way substitute work goes. J. wants me to start writing. He said I should utilize all of this free time. I know he is right, but it is hard to sit down and do it. I always think of something else to do.

We will go to a party for his office tomorrow night (7:00-10:00). It is supposed to be a buffet and dance. I still haven't decided what to wear. As in the U.S., "anything goes" here except jeans, of course. Maybe a bolt of lightning will hit my brain, and I'll think of something suitable.

It is getting dark, so I'll run mail this. Write soon. It took your Jan. 4 letter 11 days to get here!!!

Love, Linda and J.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Time To Organize That Pantry!

I know! I know!

It is January, and everyone should be in the organizing mood. Every magazine is packed full of ideas. Okay, I get it!

We are reorganizing our pantry! Not because of the magazines, or the television shows, or because it is almost spring.

There is a MOUSE in the pantry!!!!

Lately I had smelled the most lovely aromatic spices when I opened our pantry doors. Actually thought I was just getting into the mood for our trip to Morocco in a month. Little did I know that Monsieur Mouse had found an unopened package of Moroccan flavored couscous, soup noodles, chocolate chips, vanilla pudding mix, and most recently my assortment of salted nuts ( that was the clue).

Plus, he had made a cozy home of shredded Walmart and Dollar Store bags behind some empty plastic trash bins. Think he was taking a doze last night when we discovered his new home, since we saw him scurry away to another corner of the closet.

Hub set out two mouse traps baited with peanut butter last night and this morning one trap was set off. By Flip!!! While we were taking out future "meals" for the gourmet mouse, our beagle sneaked in around us and snapped one of the traps. Luckily not on his nose! But don't think he will be trying that again. He can wait to be served his PB and cookie treat!

We set two more traps ( this time with chocolate chips), piled up the kitchen table with boxes and bags of yummy, tempting ingredients, and will now "organize and mouse-proof as much as we can before sanitizing and reorganizing the pantry as soon as we catch the mouse.

That is our first mouse in 7 years of living in this house!

Who invited him for Bed and Breakfast, anyway? 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Just Completed a Marathon!


I just finished walking 42 kilometers (26 miles)!

And it only took me two (2) weeks !
Here is my badge!

Now on to the next badge--100 kilometers!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Is It Spring Yet?

Oh, how it seems like it today! 

I "freed" Flippy today, and he headed straight to the woods. No time to go pick up his girlfriend Kara! Just straight to the hunting ground.

So I walked my 2,000 steps around the meadow by myself. Even took a moment to rest on the metal bench we put out on our hill overlooking our pond. Saw two fish coming up for food or a breath of cold, fresh air.

Now back to my cupboard organizing. (And, yes, Mom, that still gets in the way of my cleaning the house.)

Spring will be here before you know it!

Update 4:00 pm:
We spent 4 hours cleaning the fence row and planting trees along the driveway.  How is that for taking advantage of springlike weather?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

10,000 Steps! No Way!!

Our engineer son keeps us in the technology. I am now blogging on my new iPad Air 2 with a pedometer safely clipped onto my shirt pocket. Besides using the new weight scale we received back last fall, I am trying my best to walk 10,000 steps each day. That is a challenge for me even with a reasonably big house. Not being the "little miss homemaker," I have to force my steps.

Two weeks ago, I began doubling my daily walk around the meadow and pond. Out of necessity I added a "begin the day" walk with Flip since we have been keeping him inside because of his hurt leg (or paw or something). He can still walk, but every single time we let him go play with Kara he comes back limping. So staying close to home is his fate at the moment. Saves on the "dog showers"! He isn't a fan of those, and we aren't jumping to suds him up either. Plus a simple walk around limits tick hitchhikers!

Anyway, this is my meager results so far today as far as the 10,000 steps go.

I'll be lucky if I make the 6,000 mark after our evening walk. Oh, well, I am trying! 

It is freezing down here in southwest Louisiana. And the ground is saturated from all the rain we have had recently. Most of those 3,896 steps were made in mudholes on our path.

Rubber boots don't make the best walking shoes :(.

Update at 10:50 pm:::

Better than I thought. ;))))

Saturday, January 10, 2015

35 Year Old Memories

Last year I found letters that I wrote to my mom and dad after I moved to The Netherlands. I have enjoyed reading them and thought some Wetcreek Blog followers would enjoy them, too.

Here is one that I wrote exactly 35 years ago from our apartment in Crooswijk in Rotterdam:

10 januari 1980

Dear Mother and Daddy,

While my curlers heat up, I'll write you a few lines. I've been busy at home this week plus I've caught up with my sleep. I could have worked Tuesday, but the principal called too late (The Hague High School). I am applying for a job as administrative assistant at Seatrain Europa. It is an English or American container company. My friend M. (A's sister) works there and will tell the personnel man about me. I'm mailing a letter to him today. I'll let you know how it comes out.

We've had chocolate chip cookies and homemade ice cream this week. The freezer works great, and I served ice cream to three of our friends last night. I told them that they were probably the only Dutch people in Holland to eat choc. chip cookies and homemade ice cream last night. Everyone enjoyed the treats. I can't tell if J. likes either. He still hasn't gotten rested from the trip. Maybe he will "sleep out" on Sunday.

I got new potting soil yesterday from a nice garden center, so I'll repot plants this afternoon. Our friend A. only watered them once while we were gone, but that was enough with the cool apartment. I've got all kinds of ideas for improving the looks of the apartment, but J. says to save my ideas for a house. Since we will probably stay here another year or so, I think I'll try some of my ideas anyway.

I'll close and see if I can make a few curls. Write when you can. Give everyone our love.

Linda and J.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 6, 1980 (Love Letters to Mother and Daddy are Back)

Jan. 6, 1980
Sunday afternoon

Dear Mother and Daddy, 

I am writing from the S's living room. We came here Friday evening, and I am ready to go home. But J. must change the oil in my car, and we have shopping to do at a discount house tomorrow in Deventer. I have more than enough sleep, but I needed it. I slept only about 45 minutes while J. drove to Dallas. We stopped at a rest stop for about one hour outside of Dallas, but it was too cold and too noisy to sleep.

We arrived in Dallas around 5:00 a.m. and deposited the car. We waited for about three hours before we boarded our plane to Toronto. We both slept during the 2 1/2 hour flight, but we were still exhausted. We went through customs in Toronto, but our suitcases were not opened. After waiting another 4 or 5 hours, we boarded the plane for Amsterdam. The flight was only 6 1/2 hours. We tried to sleep, but it isn't always easy. J. watched the movie, but I slept. We arrived in Amsterdam around 6:30 a.m. Amsterdam time on Thursday. We didn't have to go through customs, so we were out of the terminal by 7:00. J. fetched the car, and it was frozen solid. We probably looked like traveling snowmen.

We were home by 9:00 and checked the corning ware. One saucepan and a petite pan were smashed. Also the ceramic picture frame that S. and M. gave me, but I will glue it back together. Everything else was o'kay.

We slept until 3:30 p.m. and then unpacked some more. Our friend M. called and invited us to dinner. Thank goodness for friends! I didn't have to cook.

Friday, J. went back to work. I ate breakfast with him but went back to bed when he left. I slept until 12:30 noon. Unpacking the rest and washing clothes was my job that afternoon. When J. came home at 6:00, we ate a heated up frozen dinner from the freezer and then drove here.

Yesterday A. and I went shopping for new clothes for her. I think she will leave with the two kids in about three weeks or so. P. has already found a house, but I don't know if they will rent it.

We had a great time visiting you, and it wasn't easy to leave. I don't mind living here but I can't come home as often as I would like. The children will be grown when I see them again, and I hate that. Please don't let them forget us.

I'll close now and write more later in the week. Tell everyone hello for us. I love you and miss you.

Linda and J.

P.S. No snow. Everything has melted since the weather warmed up and it rained. We saw a few snowmen in the yards, but they looked sad. Snow here is like in La., so I hope that I won't see much more.

Mother, I received a card from Reader's Digest. I should receive the 1st issue soon. Also, I am mailing F. a birthday card to your house. Please see that he gets it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


"Af" (Off) in Dutch can sometimes mean "finished." Or in English it can mean you are "starting" as in the shout, "They are off!" 

But this new year of 2015 I am "starting" with a "finished" ( well almost anyway) mini-quilt top. Hand-pieced ( no machine stitches on the patches!) by me!

I have given this piece a name. "OFF"

Everything is just a little "off." I carefully cut out the pieces, but never used any measuring device when stitching them together by hand. I did plan to include all of the pockets and "fold and quilt" pieces, but the layout is purely random as I pulled them out of my little plastic bag. Knowledge of the "jelly roll race" and having tried that on other fabric with my sewing machine, I decided this "off" project would also need to be a no thinker.

Here is the story: 
At the end of the summer, my favorite local thrift shop had ladies cotton blouses on sale for 10 cents each. I bought a few cotton ones that had nice, cheerful fabric and planned on cutting them up for use somewhere in my crafts. I think the first day I came home with 20 shirts. When I realized what I could probably do with these cuties, I went back for more. Most of the blouses had never even been worn, but as always my washable thrift buys went straight to the washing machine. 

Then the slicing and dicing began. All of the 40+ cotton blouses were chopped into manageable chunks minus their collars and facings, and then the quilt parts were rotary cut. Since some of the shirts had such snazzy pockets, I saved those for detail. And having recently read about "fold and quilt," I saved a few sheerer pieces for that effect.

Having coordinated my colors and laid everything out on our daybed upstairs, I was ready to machine piece this quilt top. Then we began packing for our fall trip to The Netherlands. There was an "aha" moment. I could hand stitch the pieces on the long plane ride! So I crammed my needle, thread, quilt pieces, and scissors (oops, those somehow sneaked into the plane) into a ziplock bag and spent hours carefully hand stitching while flying over the Atlantic.

Not having the possibility to lay all of my pieces out in the way I had planned, I reverted to the Jelly Roll Race method of sewing each piece end to end. As most of the pieces were cut the same size and not very long at that, my rolling idea is slightly "off." Hence the oddball name ( or oddball quilt top!).

Last night I began adding a border. 

I don't always follow the "correct" way to sew or craft, but I plan to also add a filling and backing and even hand quilt the mini-quilt. 

So I guess that means that 2015 is "off" to a good start! 😉

Happy New Year!