Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Time

 We are having a lovely summer here in mid-Michigan, the middle of the mitten.   Lots of fun with family and friends.   Work occasionally gets in the way, but no sense complaining about the fly when there is so much honey.  :)

I have probably mentioned that I am a Sock Person.  I love colorful socks, and often buy them as souvenirs when I travel.  I give a box of socks to my son and daughter in law almost every Christmas, if I can find any that are gift-worthy.   But no one has ever given them to me, which is not such a surprise since socks that suit my taste are not that easy to find.   So I was touched and surprised when a friend brought me a set of brightly colored socks the other day, saying that he had noticed my fondness for color on my feet.    Happy socks.   Happy me.    :)

I spent some time a little south of here the last couple of weeks, down in the Detroit area.     My sister and I got pedicures on one of my trips, from a more expensive but much more gentle place than I have used here at  home.   I got the usual pink toes (yawn).   I know, boring.
My sister, on the other hand, went for iridescent navy blue.    Yowser.   No one will accuse her of taking the conservative approach!    

Seeing my sister is always the occasion of a cocktail, something I never have otherwise.   She could have used another one when we went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a movie that I contend was HER choice, although I doubt she will ever admit it.    She was not a fan and she made her views quite clear both during and after the movie.   Which made me laugh.
We had a fun afternoon with her adorable little granddaughters, spent some time in their swimming pool,  and went for a boat ride on the lake.   Nothing says summer like being in and on the water!

A friend and I spent a day recently at the Detroit Institute of Arts and ate in Greektown, places I used to spend a lot of time before I moved two hours north.   Most of the exhibits that I remember being always there have been replaced by different paintings, which made it an adventure for me, not knowing what would be around any corner.   What a fun day, more fun than ever since I was sharing it with someone whose company I enjoy.  

Back at home, the Littles and I tie dyed shirts and hats, although I got as much dye on my hands and feet as we did on the fabric!

We also made chocolate "fried eggs," one of their favorite food crafts.     We worked some more on the fairy houses and I listened to a long conversation between the two children about whether fairies have their children by laying eggs or through live birth, each of them quite insistent about their differing beliefs.

But it wasn't only junk food that got eaten that day.    I picked some tomatoes from my garden, washed them, and set them down on the table.    When I turned around just seconds later, all that was left were the stems!    

My granddaughter is the tomato nibbler -- her slightly older brother still thinks tomatoes are poison, lol.   Both of them enjoy Michigan cherries, though, and the wonderful sweet corn we are enjoying this month.    And of course we grown-ups enjoy seeing them eager for healthy local produce,  just as we are.   At this moment, in this place, I am grateful.  Life is good.  :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!   As my sister likes to say, today is a very good day to have a very good day.  :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CW Success

Well, girls and boys, I finally did it.   I went on the air alone with CW (Morse code) this week.  As you may (or may not) recall, I got my amateur radio license last year and started to learn Morse code after a couple of guys jokingly told me that the perfect woman would know how to use CW.   It's been a lot harder than I expected, and I have had a couple of short conversations with strangers, with an "Elmer" (a mentor or coach) sitting next to me and copying what the other person said because I was too freaked out to do it.   Although they are in my log, I can't count those as real contacts because, tho I knew what I was saying, I had no idea what the other person said in response until my Elmer told me.  But I finally went on the air with it all by myself this week, with no one standing next to me, all alone in my house.   Of course, I wasn't talking to a stranger this time.   I called a friend on the air, he answered, and we had a conversation of sorts.     To the best of my knowledge, leaving out all the call signs and abbreviations we use, it went like this --

Me:  keying his call sign and mine so he'd know I was trying to reach him
Him:  'Wow!  Strong signal here. How are you?'
Me: 'Scared to death.'
Him: 'Try not to be so scared.  Relax and have fun.'
Me:  'Maybe tomorrow.'
Him:  'Wow! First CW with you.  Great signal from saginaw city.'
Me: 'My keyer needs to be adjusted, I'm starting to freak out.'
Him: 'Your keyer can be adjusted later, for now just keep using it.'

Then, from my point of view, it was all 'Blah Blah Blah Blah' (as I'm freaking out and not able to copy anymore, at this point understanding nothing.)

Me: 'OK, total freakout now, need to sign off.  Hugs and kisses' (and then I said my call sign and got off the air.)

The next day I saw a note my friend wrote that said, "by the by, I sure had fun with (me!) yesterday on CW.  Dat gal knows how to Dittybop!"   And here I was worried that he wouldn't respect me after he had his CW way with me (blush).

So perhaps not the most impressive use of Morse code, but this is something that has truly terrified me, something I was not sure I would ever be able to do, and this week I did it.    My virgin voyage, so to speak.  It's been on my list for just over a year, and now the first step is done.   My friend promises me that I will get better and more confident as I use it more, and although I'm not sure it's true, I'm trying to believe because he hasn't lied to me yet.  Except maybe about Morse code being the key to becoming the perfect woman.