Archive forJuly, 2013

Aunt Hazel’s Memorial Service

Yesterday we attended an unusual memorial service for my 102 yr. old aunt. Most of the tribute was lovely but then her elderly pastor took the mic. What can I say? He rambled for well over an hour. I recognized dementia symptoms. His talk had nothing to do with my aunt. It was painful! He repeated and made no sense. Ended with about a 15 minute prayer which wouldn’t end. The crowded chapel got restless. Folks started murmuring “when is this ever going to end?” An elderly guest finally had to leave. We were forced to vacate our seats until she could get out but we came sat back down after she’d left. It was horrid. The only topic after the services finally ended didn’t include my lovely deceased aunt. Everyone talked about the pastor’s behavior. How sad!!

Dementia is cruel in so many subtle ways. Too bad about 100 of my aunt’s friends and relatives had their final tribute to my aunt interrupted by a pastor who should have been stopped 10 minutes into his rambling sermon.

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Another Dog??

We’ve been thinking about getting another pet. After our visit with Shelly and Richard, we began considering a kitty, but we’ve had a tempting opportunity this week to acquire one of two adult female papillions. They were listed on Craigs list so I wrote to the owner.

Evie, one of two little dogs that the owner was trying to place, is shown at the right. She is beautiful and it might have been a wonderful opportunity, but we have talked it over and decided that a dog would really change our care-free life. We are able to travel, to stay with friends, to stay at any motel, and life is easy. It would be complicate our comfortable situation, and we’re not sure it’s best for us.

Ahhh but it sure was tempting.

Since these are mature dogs, they might have some old habits that will be hard to break. During our married life, we had two sweet paper-trained dogs (Gizmo and Willow), but the new dog would expect to be walked. We have never had to walk a dog. Neither of us is anxious to have to take on that chore.

Actually there were two females. The owner felt Joy would fit us best. We both preferred the looks of Evie because she reminded us more of Willow. (Joy had a darker face without the white accent from the forehead down and around the muzzle.) But we never met them face to face so, until we had really been around them, we couldn’t know for sure which was the best.

After a long chat with the owner, we decided that we aren’t ready to make the commitment. Maybe we’ll kick ourselves, but for now, we decided we’re not going to accept the opportunity.

Before the dog would have been placed with us, the owner would have had to come to our house and check it out but a home-check didn’t bother us and I’m sure we would have passed no matter what the criteria was.

We’ll never know and just hope that we made the right decision.

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Stopping the Bad Guys at the Door

About a month ago, we purchased a Simplisafe home security system for our Michigan home.

We shopped carefully and checked out all the available systems. We were impressed that this one provides 24/7 professional alarm monitoring without a contract, no installation cost, and no phone line needed (uses cell phone service to connect to the monitoring desk). Our house is safer and, in the event of a break-in, the police would be summoned immediately.

We’ve had Simplisafe since the middle of June, and except for a few mistakes WE’VE made, it has worked flawlessly.

John has set it off twice when he forgot to turn it off and went out the door triggering the alarm. Both of those alarms occurred when I was still in bed and believe me, it’s a rude awakening. And I accidentally hit the “panic” button which was installed right over our bed. (My pillow bumped it but it’s since been moved). In those instances, were able to enter our “code” and the police weren’t summoned but if it had been a real problem, we’d have been protected.

I am a true believer in the system.

We bought a set-up which includes motion sensors, door sensors, high volume exterior alarm, temperature and water sensors. [Note: The temperature sensor is a valuable feature in Michigan to avoid frozen pipes (in the event of furnace malfunction) and the water sensor will tell us if there’s a plumbing problem or a failure of our sump pump to keep water out of our basement.] The purchase price for everything was under $400. Our monthly monitoring is under $15. Which is certainly worth it and it has lowered our home owners’ insurance about $10 a month!

If you are curious about the Simplisafe system, feel free to contact me. If you let me know you’re interested I’ll send you a 5% discount coupon and if you buy, I’ll get a free month’s service.

Oh, and I haven’t mentioned how helpful the service desk is. Really a first class U.S.-based operation!!!

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Home again, Home again

Yup, we spent 11 days at the Osceola County Fairgrounds planning and working on the Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest (the largest hammered dulcimer festival in the world.) Most of the week it was so hot that we were miserable (well over 95), but at the same time it was fun to be there.

Thank goodness yesterday a cold front came through. It was 46 overnight and today it was only 80 for a high.

Thank heavens!!

Packing to head home is always difficult but if it had been hot, we’d have had a worse time. As it was, John started at 7:00 a.m. and we left about 3:30 for home in high 70’s low 80’s temps. It’s a huge job to squeeze everything back into our 28′ fifth wheel. But all in all the festival was great. The board of our club is awesome! We have a wonderful blend of friendly, knowledgeable folks and competent organization.

When we got home we were so tired that we only brought in the stuff we needed for tonight. No dinner. Just vegging. We’re so tired!

Sure feels good to be home.

Two months and we’ll be heading back to Florida. I’ll be ready!

Until then, we can relax and catch up on sleep and energy. The festival always saps both.

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At the festival

We’re at the ODPC (Original Dulcimer Players Club)’s Funfest held at the Osceola 4-H Fairgrounds. This event is always the highlight of our year.

This year it’s felt slightly different. I think part of the difference is that I’m honestly trying to be “less involved.”

Because I was the only person who has worked under four different ODPC presidents (Wes Linenkugel, Don Fitzpatrick, Gail Schwandt and now Kathy Rayman), I would offer my unsolicited opinions too often, but I’m realizing the new leaders have everything under control and their methods may well be better than the way things have been done previously. I’m now treated as sort of a “respected relic.”

It’s hard to “step back” when you see that you aren’t as vital to the success of the event as you once were.

That doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t important. I’m still the webmaster, the workshop chairman, and I host the workshop leader rest area, but none of my ideas nor opinions are fresh and vital. I recognize that the new leaders will bring new life to this event and I’m glad to be included even on the fringes.

So I’m trying to adjust to my new role. It’s not easy.

I have said that after the 2015 festival, when I’ll have been workshop chairman for 20 years, I’ll step down. I haven’t found a replacement yet, but next year I’d like to start working with whoever will follow me as workshop chairman. That will be an even harder adjustment.

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A change of attitude

For more than 22 years (since July 1991), John and I have attended the huge hammered dulcimer festival, aka ODPC Funfest, at the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart, MI. Most of those years, we’ve hauled a trailer and now a fifth wheel RV unit to the fairgrounds and stayed for several days.

Since 1996, I’ve been in charge of workshops (18 years). Our involvement has required that we bring lots of “stuff” to the festival. Over the years, we have added a 20 x 20′ canopy and increased the size of our RV (now a 28′ fifth wheel with a slide) so we’re not as crowded as we were when we first started out.

I used to wear long dresses and big hats, and would bring dozens, but I’m much more casual now (shorts and tank tops). And I’m trying to reduce what we take. Example: we used to bring about two dozen chairs for the use of those who wanted to take a seat under the canopy now we’ll have about a half dozen.

I still bring a complete office set-up (computer, printer, copy machine, router, wi-fi source, and external hard drive). We always bring too much food. We have found that Fosters Market, adjacent to the fairgrounds, has anything we’ve forgotten and at a fair price.

The workshop programs always create a heavy load, but we’ve cut back on those too.

I can remember being itchy to get to the fairgrounds first. This year we will head to the festival Wednesday a.m., eight days before it starts on Thursday, the 18th, but a day later than last year.

Most everything is packed. Wish I could load in even more so we could take off easily tomorrow without stowing last minute stuff.

But this year I feel much more laid back. Sure, I’m anxious to get there and I’ll love seeing the folks and enjoying the music, but the urgency has lessened. I feel our attitude about the festival has matured and we’re now more relaxed.

Yes, we could have headed out today, but it’s raining right now, and the idea of getting there in the rain and trying to set up when it’s soggy, didn’t sound appealing. It may rain tomorrow morning, but if not, we’ll hope to pull out so we can arrive before noon.

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What a Weekend!!!

What a great weekend! Stephen & Caroline Cooper and Richard & Shelly Brooks opened their lovely lakeside homes on Cedar Island Lake for our close friends from Kings Point, Sun City Center, Florida (aka “the group”).

We had enjoyed the generousity of their 4th of July parties in 2011 and 2012. On the previous two occasions we stayed at Coopers’, but this time we slept at the Brooks’ (although our days were divided between the two houses located a short distance apart).

We arrived for lunch July 4th at the Coopers. The afternoon was spent visiting and on a pontoon ride. At 6:00 we headed back over to the Brooks where enjoyed a huge dinner. Afterward we watched the fireworks offered by the around-the-lake residents. They were wonderful! Back to the Coopers we had munchies, drinks, a bonfire, and sent Japanese lanterns skyward.

Yesterday (Friday, the 5th), we feasted on a huge brunch and some of the group headed home. During the day, the remaining ladies played Rummikub and went shopping. Evening was another huge dinner (bar-be-que). We were joined by several of their neighbors. A nice group!

Last night we wound down with a lengthy conversation with our hosts, Richard and Shelly. Everyone else had departed by then so we had an opportunity to get better acquainted with them. It was late when we headed to bed.

We were up fairly early this morning and headed home.

Now we need to pack and get ready for the ODPC Funfest. We want to be at the Evart Fairgrounds by Wednesday at the latest.

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