Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Today, I enjoyed an unplanned day off! I was up early to gas up "Luv", returned to the house at about 8:30. Thought lovingly of my nice warm bed, but decided projects must come first.

I chatted on-line with friend Myra for a bit - during which I checked the weather.
No wonder my fingers were so cold! It was only 1 degree outside - 42 in the living room.

The upstairs was empty - Amanda and Brayden were headed up north to spend the night with Amanda's sister, Cody was off on business of his own, Angie was off to her long day of work and won't be back til nearly 9 this evening. Dannny-boy and Danny-girl were there for awhile

I had planned to put together 3 more of Brooke's shirts then take them upstairs where it was warmer to hand stitch the facings, but my fingers just wouldn't warm up. In the end, I took the 3 shirts I already had ready (I'm making Brooke a total of 9 shirts - so far!) my scissors, pins, and a book. First thing I did was curl up on the sofa with a warm blanket - still in my jacket with my hands pushed deep within the pockets and fell asleep. Once I woke up, my hands were warmer, and I started reading the book.

As you know, reading is like popcorn to me, but I finally tore myself away from the book and stitched the shirts while watching NCIS. About this time, Cody returned, hungry as only a teen-aged boy can be. He fired up the deep-fat fryer - his specialty, I think. I thought he was making hot wings, but instead he deep-fried raviolies, mushrooms, and a chocolate chip cookie! Don't knock it until you try it! Now, I've had deep fried Twinkies, and Snickers bars, but the cookie was a first for me. Interesting, don't knock it til you've tried it!.

When I finished the sewing, I returned to my book, and in time, fell asleep once again. I woke up at about 6 p.m., and headed down to see if I could manage the cold - which I could - after all it got into the low 30's today, even though it was 0 last night - it is now 52 in the living room - and toasty in the kitchen.

While making a run to Jo-Ann's yesterday (thread and stuff for Brooke's shirts) I saw a sight that you would only see in the Northern parts of the country in winter. How I wish I had my camera with me.

The temps are inching up during the day, but we still have plenty of snow piled up, and it's quite cold at night. Amanda says the melt-off won't even be done by the time I leave the end of March. Anyway - I saw a teen-age boy, with headphones, jeans and a sleeveless shirt - shovelling snow. What a site!!!

On Friday, Angie and I are headed to Saratoga Springs to the BJ's. I need a big bag or two of fresh almonds. One to munch on - the other - well, Angie has asked me to make up some almond roca for her to take to work for her co-workers. She "says" she won't be eating any of it - well, I do believe it - she has lost 20# since Christmas (I've found some of them, and I'm keeping them safe) And..... during the same time, she has quit smoking. I call that a real accomplishment.

By the way - I have an artist friend living in Massachusetts - I hope to stop by to see her when I head south. I just love her art. So much of it speaks to my Nordic roots. Please check it out at" lindagravesartist.com. I met her when she lived in Chesapeake, and I'm looking forward to visiting her. I hope very much we can connect.

while you are at it, check out my cousin's website at digitalmontanaphotography.com.
He generously photographed our family reunion last summer - but that's not why I want you to check out his site - he does wonderful work - check it out and don't forget to see his ballerina project - it's awesome!

Well, my sewing machine is weeping - I don't know if it's because she had a day off, or she feels neglected. In any event, it's time to put the laptop away, and fire up the sewing machine! Since I slept so much today, I'll be up late tonight - maybe I'll get those other 3 shirts done afterall!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

Luv 'N Boots

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Finally, the quilts are finished - actually they were finished last week. What a great feeling! Now on to other projects!

And, the project list is 1/3 done, also. Although at the same time it is getting longer as I thing of other things to do!

What I have left of quilt fabric fits neatly in two large totes. It looks like I'll have virtually a whole truck load of stuff to donate to the local quilt club!

Time is passing so quickly now. I figure I've got about 4 weeks left for sewing, then it will be time to do a final sort/condense of my remaing stuff to make sure everything will fit in Luv.

On the agenda today, Cody and I are going to make another of those luscious cakes - this one will be dark chocolate with white chocolate ganache frosting - or maybe, I'll frost half in white chocolate, and half in dark! Yum. Cody loves to cook - he's like Angie that way.

It feels like spring is on the way, finally - 10 day forecast calls for weather in the mid 30's, even a couple days of 40's. The other day I got up to 3 drips from the beam in the living room. By the time I finished showering, there were 5, I went up to tell Amanda about it - by the time I got back, there were 7 - Within a short time, I had two large totes end to end catching drips, plus 4 pots, and another tote in the bedroom. I was afraid it would continue straight across the two rooms, so I took everything out of the closet just in case.

Amanda spent the next 2-3 hours chipping ice off the roof - in one section alone, she told me it was nearly a foot deep. The temperature dropped dramatically that nite, and the drips finally stopped. She says it is the first time since they lived in this house that there was enough snow to have to shovel the roof, but she's had to do it 2-3 times this year.

It's been fun hibernating here in the apartment. No responsibilities, except to work on my sewing list, while listening to Audio books. I can stay up way late, or sleep way late.

I think maybe I "killed" my cd player yesterday. I had picked up a Coke while running errands (Don't nag, I only do it once in awhile) I guess when I put it in the bag with purse, and other stuff I had to bring in, the top wasn't on securely. I pulled out some stuff and drops of Coke spewed everywhere. My first concern was the shopping bag (Why, I ask myself) It was only after cleaning that up I looked around and spotted big drops of Coke on my CD player - and watched as it blinked out.

If it definitely has died, I guess I'll put a kindle on the very bottom of my list. I never wanted one because I usually listen to books rather than read them, but I learned just the other day they play audio books as well.

I've been trying to buy my favorite book series (Outlander by Diana Gabaldon) so I would have them to play whenever I wanted. I've been checking Amazon regularly for the 2nd book to no avail. Finally one came up - through something called "Audible", what ever that is. So I checked it out. Audible is an Amazon company. You join, pay a small monthly fee - depending on how many books a month you want to get - One book is, I think $7.99 a month) You can download the book of your choice to any number of different players, or to your computer (then you can copy onto CD) AND - drum roll, please! Any other books I want to purchase are 70% off! That makes the book I'm looking for about $7.99. The original price of her books on CD is about $180 - Amazon - I paid $36 for the one I purchased - but if I can get them for around $10, well, why not. And to those of you who might question purchasing the books - this series I listen to time and time again. The story is great, the reader is fantastic. The one book on CD I have - I've listened to twice since I got here at Thanksgiving! I have another of the series on cassette, but I left it in Montana, after listening to it twice on my trip. These are huge books - like 25-30 CD's each book - which is the kind I like.

I like this series so much, that when I discovered the first book at the library - 32 cassettes, I listened to it twice in a week - then took a week off to read the rest of her books. Whenever a new book in the series comes out, I go back and listen to the entire series all over again before doing the new book - There is a new one out, but I haven't listened to it yet - and one more yet to come to finish the series.

Somewhere in the information I was reading a statement was made that the average reader reads 5-6 books a year, the avid reader about 15-17 - I check out as many books as can fit in my tote (about 15-17) every two weeks. I guess I'm beyond avid.

I'm chattering again - I guess I've been "alone" long enough to build it up. The family is right over my head, but I don't see them everyday. In fact, being alone, so much, I find that being with groups of people is exhausting. My last experience was Kyler's birthday party - well, we went to a game place with lots of little kids having the time of their life - then to Pizza Hut. I guess that would exhaust anyone.

I managed to make enough quilts that I could save my favorite - it looks like a rose trellis. I'm going to turn it into a duvet cover for my down comforter. There are 4 more quilts on my "to do" list, but two of them can wait - One, I don't have all the fabric for it, the other, I haven't even begun to collect fabric - that doesnt count the other quilts I have to make - but they are far enough in the future that they are not on the list yet.

Well Goll-y - I've run out of words!!!

Until next time -

Bear Hugs

Luv n' Boots

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Neither snow, nor sleet, nor hail. . . . . .

That about says it in a nut shell! When I started out yesterday - it was about 20.
My last stop was the library - I was there less than an hour, and while I was in the buildng, it started snowing - like a down pour - huge, wet, heavy flakes! In less than 45 minutes, there was so much snow on the truck I had to sweep even the top of it!

I made it home, and later in the evening, I went upstairs to speak to Angie - It was Raining! Not so terribly unusual, but then Amanda said she went up on the roof a short time before to shovel the snow off, and nearly as soon as she got up there, it started hailing - good size hail stones and........wait...... Thunder and lightning too! Now, that is unusual!!!!

It is warmer today - In fact, I over slept and woke up groggy just because it was too, too warm in the room - the living room registered 60 - I think I'll be so used to the cold by the time I leave here, I'll have to sleep in my tent instead of a house.

Today, we are celebrating great-grandwidget Kyler's 2nd birthday - I was supposed to be designated driver to pick up Raven and the kids - but guess what??? I can't get out of the driveway. Yesterday Angie went on about why Luv doesn't have 4-wheel drive! And, went on to say that she was too much of a vehilce for me - what was I thinking - a 3/4 ton AND a diesel???? (It kind of sounded like she was saying I was too old for this lifestyle!!!) Any way, time will tell if she is correct or not!

I didn't realize I hadn't posted for 3 weeks - my how time flies when you are having fun! I am very happy to be able to tell you that I now have 35 quilts finished - only 5 left to go! And, I finally got ahold of Denise who committed to making 10 of them - and she is on track as is Corliss - so when I get back to Virginia we'll have the 60 quilts done and can deliver them!!!! What a relief.

Of the 5 left to do - 2 are completed tops just need backing 1 is cut out and the other two - the fabric is chosen and gathered - so should have all finished by mid week!

While I'm writing this, I'm making Kyler's cake - white cake with semi-sweet ganache frosting! While I'm definitely not a fan of white or yellow cakes with chocolate frosting (it's a visual thing) I have to admit the cake - dense, moist, heavy is delicious and the frosting is perfect - not too sweet - just right. (I made the same cake last week for Angie's birthday) I think I'll try a chocolate cake done the same way next time. The cake starts with a cake mix - I can't believe I'm doing this - I, Boots Benson, who always makes scratch cakes, has discovered the perfect cake which starts with a cake mix. Oh, well - Progress? Modern technology? Age?

I will be so happy to finish the quilts with plenty of time left for all my other sewing projects - means less fabric I need to get rid of when I leave. I have to say, though, 40 quilts will take up quite a bit of room! But they are only going as far as Virginia!

Anyway, cake is out of the oven and cooling - time to see what I can get done in the next couple hours before leaving for the birthday party.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

Luv 'n Boots