Saturday, February 28, 2009


It's time for a theme post. Time is the theme on all three of my blogs.

I really thought that once I was retired..... I would have time. I was wrong wrong wrong. Really is there ever enough time????

I have slowly been going through piles of magazines, paper work, recipes, etc etc. I figured that I could get caught up on the inside chores so that I would be ready for the warm weather chores. But the more I clean, the more I find, the more I find, the more I need to clean.

I cleaned out my make up drawer and medicine cabinet the other day. How I accumulated so much lipstick, I'll never know. I threw out a lot. I can now find the 3 or 4 items that I use everyday.

The medicine cabinet was a mess. Every band aid we own was out of the box (R's doing), prescriptions from 1998, prescriptions for ailments unknown, and vitamins that we should have taken but didn't, and now they have expired. I threw out a lot. I can now find the 3 or 4 items that I use everyday.

See a pattern?????

Back to time. I began to sort my jewelry. I'll admit it...I love my baubles. R and I collect vintage watches, particularly wristwatches from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Mechanical watches....the kind you wind. Since we both have mechanical backgrounds we really appreciate the complexity and minuteness of these mechanical wonders.I have self taught myself how to oil, adjust the speed, and how to determine whether the watch is beyond my ability and beyond the size of my wallet to fix. I also can rejuvenate a watch crystal if the scratches are not overly deep. I love the feel of watch crystals from the 30's-50's. They are thick, sometimes beveled and convex.

I'm currently having a platinum watch from the 20's refurbish by a true watch maker. His name is Gunther. While at his shop, he told me that the United States is currently in need of 1500 true watchmakers and that in the next decade or two you will not be able to get a mechanical watch serviced. A true shame. If you are interested in becoming a watchmaker, it is a 4 year apprenticeship. You work 4 years with a journeyman watchmaker, without pay. No different than college.....4 pay.

Here are photos of my favorite watches. Most are from the 40's and 50's. I'm partial to Bulova. Yes, I know these are watches for men. But they are the size of ladies watches today. Ladies watches of that era were very small. I have a few in my collection but I just don't wear them.Several years ago for R's birthday, I was able to purchase a Bulova watch made in 1952 the same year he was born. This watch was new old stock (NOS) meaning they never sold the watch to anyone back in 1952. It came with all paperwork, case, and outer cardboard box. It even had the hang tag with the price still attached. The cost back in 1952 was $95.00. Think about it.....$95.00 was a lot of money back in 1952.It's a great watch.

R and I also like clocks. Not new clocks but old clocks. Several years ago we purchased a circa 1880-1890 Kroeber porcelain mantle clock. We purchased it off eBay and the seller was unsure if it still worked as it did not come with a key. We are currently looking for a Kroeber key of the correct size. Gunther remove the movement for us and when he lifted it out, things started spinning and moving. Our fingers are crossed that it was a good sign. The porcelain is in need of repair to fix a bad glue job on a small broken piece. We may or may not have that restored. We do need to replace the wood access door on the back. We have purchased the wood and need to trace the old door shape onto the new piece, cut it out, stain it, and screw the brass access cover back on.This photo was taken while the clock was in storage, please disregard the dust.

It's a great clock.

We also purchased a Swedish Cartel clock. Gunther has a couple but they are out of our price range. We found a smaller less ornate Cartel clock and just recently found a key. We wound that bad boy up. I could barely turn the key. I thought "oh boy this thing is going to chime in the middle of the night and knock me out of bed." As it turns has a very wimpy chime. But that's quite alright with me. The clock runs a bit slow. I need to take it off the wall and try to figure out where the adjustment is. It's a great clock.

Why would people pay such a large percentage of their income, back in the day, just to know what time it was??? How did they originally set their clocks and watches??? There wasn't a TV or telephone to use to call and find out the correct time. Did it really matter???? They got up with the sun and went to bed when it set. Hence the saying "Daylight's burning."

So why would anyone even need to wear a watch back then?

These days, every item you own has the time on it, TVs, cell phones, VCR/DVD players, stoves, microwaves, thermostats, even refrigerators. When you are in your car, you have a clock on the radio, and every bank sign has the time and temperature.

So why would anyone even need to wear a watch now?

It's ironic that everywhere I turn I can find out what time it is. Do I need a clock to know I'm running late? It's a given...there is never enough time. Now I just need to find something to turn back time or invent more time.

And speaking of time....It is time for a Goooooooo Smoke!!!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday G.W. and tile at the Holly Hotel

Today R and I celebrated George's birthday by going to the Holly Hotel with my parents. We had a great luncheon and as always everything tasted great.

Virginia Peanut & Chestnut Soup


Virginia Ham with Apricot Sauce Peppered Bacon Colonial Hoe Cake Buttered Carrots Mt Vernon Brown Bread
Iced Root Beer, Coffee, Tea

King Orchard Cherry Pie

The Holly Hotel first celebrated G.W. birthday on February 22, 1893 according to the information on the menu card. Originally known as Washington House and is said to be the oldest social club in Michigan. It is also the oldest George Washington Club in the world and possibly the only one left in existence.

The Holly Hotel is a Victorian era building and has extensive wood paneling, moldings, and a great tile floor in the foyer. I snapped a few photos discreetly. I wanted to share photos of the great arched pocket doors dividing the bar from the foyer but the crowd was mostly elderly and I didn't want the flash to startle anyone.The floor looks much better overall than the area I chose to photograph. From a distance it looks exactly like a rug. I'll try to get better photos of the floor and doors the next time I'm there, which is soon because I have a birthday voucher to use before the end of the month.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Goooooo Smoke!!!

I just realized I had yet to give Tony any encouragement for the race today. So here I go.

Goooooo Smoke!!!!

Here's my top 12 picks on the Pepsi site for today's race.

1. Stewart
2. Martin
3. Bowyer
4. Vickers
5. Kyle Busch
6. Truex Jr.
7. J. Gordon
8. Carl Edwards
9. J. McMurray
10. Jeff Burton
11.J. Mayfield
12. Earnhardt Jr.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More Free Stuff and Win $$$ with Pepsi

The My Coke Rewards program is changing and will eliminate the higher points items and offer more items for 2000 points and below. I thought I had better use up some of my points before the change kicked in. So I cashed in and got a FREE FREE FREE Black and Decker 3 speed RTX Rotary Tool with storage case.....gotta have that storage case. I also cashed in and got a FREE FREE FREE Black and Decker lawn blower vacuum.
If you are thinking "I just cannot drink that many Diet Cokes" fear not. For less than 200 point (67 caps or 200 pts off cartons) you can get a free year subscription to one of your favorite magazines. Here are a few of the magazines offered......Bon Appetit, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Ladies Home Journal, and Traditional Home. Conde Nast is also offering 20 of their magazines for your choosing.

Pepsi has started a new contest. Fantasy racing. Each week that NASCAR has a race you can try and pick the top 12 finishers in the correct order. If you are correct you win what the winner of the race wins. Not too shabby of a prize and you don't have to purchase a single bottle or can of Pepsi.

Here's some hints if you are going to try to pick the top 12 in the order in the Daytona 500 tomorrow.

The pole sitter does not necessarily win this race. It is a long race and even if you get a lap down you can easily make it up.

The Daytona 500 sometimes has winners that only win at Daytona. Michael Waltrip 2 times, Sterling Martin 2 times, Derrick Cope, and Ward Burton to name a few.

This race is also easy for a rookie to make a mistake. The last 1/4 of the race will always have the "Big One" which will take out 10-15 cars from the middle of the pack to the back. So know if you pick a driver that is starting from the rear....he has to be strong enough to be somewhere close to the front by the 3/4 mark.

Also team mates will likely draft together and a driver from a single car team will be lacking a dance partner.

Also drivers will be taking favors and giving favors much like Kurt Busch pushing Ryan Newman to the win last year. Busch decided rather than try and pass Newman coming out of the 4th corner and both of them losing the draft and getting passed, it was better to get stay in second place. He then earned a favor for future use and didn't jeopardize a for sure 2nd place finish.

This is the first race of the season and drivers are eager to start the season strong. The top 12 may not be the top 12 at the end of the year.

This race is NASCAR's biggest pay day thus the biggest pay day for you if you can pick the top 12 in the correct order.'s free and you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain and in this economic climate everyone could use some spare change.

I won't tell you my picks but I will give tell you the following drivers will be in the top 12.


Who will not be in the top 12

Michael Waltrip
Joey Lagano
David Reutimann

Good luck and make sure you enter before the race starts.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Leather top nesting tables

Friday I stopped in at a couple of places looking for the cookbooks I need to complete my set. No cookbooks but I scored a set of leather top nesting tables for $25.00. They were sitting in the corner with something placed on top of them. Someone had pulled them apart and then could not figure out how to put them back together. It is a pet peeve of mine when people do that or when they sprawl on antique furniture like it is in their own living room.Ignore the dirt on the floor. R keeps going outside and then comes back in the house and walks around leaving a trail of water, salt, and footprints. Look Mom.....see I have the Dirt Devil out and I'm trying to clean the floor but someone keeps calling me about XM Radio (inside joke).

The tables were dirty and you could tell it had been a while since they were dusted. After I left the consignment shop where I purchased the tables, I went to an antique shop by my home. They had cans of Restor*A*Finish for sale so I at $10.99 a can....I took a chance and bought a can of the mahogany color. The photo above was taken after I used the Restor*A*Finish. It worked fine, not perfect but kind of took the edge off some of the scratches and definately made the tables shine without leaving behind too much oily slime.

The leather tops were in pretty good shape but there were scratches and some blemishes. The leather is firmly attached on all three tables and the gold edging detail is still crisp and not worn at all. I surfed the Internet for ideas on how to clean the leather. Some say use saddle soap others say whatever you do don't use saddle soap. One site mentioned to use shoe polish/wax the type that comes in a can to hide the scratches and give the leather some sheen. So that's the route I took. I figured that you use this shoe polish/wax on leather shoes and it doesn't destroy the leather.

Here's the before photo of the table with the most blemished leather.

The photos do not do them justice. There was definite improvement. I think that I would have achieved better results if I had used a darker brown. The polish/wax put a very nice gloss on the leather so I'm pleased with the results even though the photos show practically no difference.

On a side note......It was brought to my attention that not once last year did I give Tony Stewart a Gooooooooo Smoke and that this may have been the reason for his sub par performance last year. I personally feel his sub par performance was because of the switch that was made to another manufacturer.

So now that Tony is back where he needs to a Chevrolet.....I think he'll do just fine.

But just in case. Here's a little insurance.......Gooooooo Smoke!!!!

Well, that wasn't a good sign........Smoke was leading the 'Shoot Out' tonight when Fox went to commercial. When they returned he was back to 16th. Looks like he got caught on the outside without a dance partner and they freight trained him. Now he says he has a harmonic vibration. 28 laps to go........engine might hold together for 28 more laps since it's a restrictor plate race and they don't lift here. That a little easier on the valve train. He's in fifth now. If the engine lets go in front of the will be carnage. Or as the say...."the big one." OH boy...He's third...Goooooooo Smoke. Lowe's boy is right behind him. Tony's engine seems to be getting weak he's back to 6th. I better go pay attention.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Today's theme Owosso Michigan

Today R and I ventured out into the all too familiar brutally brisk winter air to go antiquing in Owosso.

Owosso is located about 15-20 miles west of Flint. Owosso's claim to fame is the fact that it is the birthplace of Thomas Dewey and the original location of Woodard Patio furniture.Our original intent was to go to the Jellybean Used Bookstore so I could find the two remaining cookbooks that I need to finish the Time Life Good Cook series of cookbooks. When we were getting out of the car, R said "I'd hate to roof that house, look at all the different roof lines."**see the lovely snowflakes in the photo.

Owosso has it's fair share of large old homes. The one in the photo above is located in a commercial area on 4 lane highway. I am sure when this lovely all brick home was built it was located in a rural wooded area on the far outskirts of Owosso. Look at the cute little eyebrow window on the roof. Unfortunately Owosso is lacking in jobs opportunities thus the town and homes have fallen on hard times and disrepair. It's a shame but not an unfamiliar story these days.

I didn't find the cookbooks I needed but R found this really cool old portable bench grinding wheel. The photo shows it mounted to a worktable but it's mounted backwards right now because the tool rest is on the backside and should be in the front with the crank handle on the right side. None the less it is a cool little tool for 20 bucks.Check out my other 2 blogs for posts related to today's trip to Owosso, Michigan.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Architectural Salvage

After voting in the presidential election, R and I went to Grass Lake, Michigan to our favorite architectural salvage place...Grand Illusion Gallery.

We were in need of window sashes for our barn. The previous owner had moved the barn closer to the house and I assume this is how the windows were broken. Several sashes were missing and there were also 3 different types of sashes. The windows in the lower portion of the barn are composed of a single sash hinged at the bottom and attached at both sides with a 8 inch length of small chain. The sash opens inward and is locked shut with a sash lock at the top.

R and I rutted through stacks of sashes and rounded up 8 matching sashes.
A trip to Grass Lake is not complete without a stop in Chelsea, Michigan. Chelsea is the home town of Jeff Daniels and his Purple Rose Theater. R was bummed when he heard Sigourney Weaver had been there recently. I think he's into tall chicks because Jamie Lee Curtis pushes his buttons too. Well anyways....Chelsea is a cute little town full of old homes and tree lined streets. It's also home to Jiffy mix. I really like Jiffy corn muffin mix. But I digress.....if you ever want to know what it is like in the upper peninsula of Michigan, rent Escanaba in da Moonlight. I love how they talk in the U.P (upper peninsula).......and in case you are not from Michigan....a yooper is someone who lives in the U.P. and Jeff Daniels character is a buckless yooper. My favorite scene is when he tells the story about his uncle shooting a buck from the two holer. If you ever find yourself in the U.P. of Michigan make sure you eat a pastie. U.P. pasties are the best and different from all the rest. I believe the difference is that they have rutabagas in them. Also smoked sucker and chubs aren't too bad either. Just about every little store or bait shop sells smoked fish. Side note....we own land on Lake Michigan in the Escanaba area but rarely go there. Too far, too cold, too ahhhhhh boring. Just trees, fresh air, bears, mosquitos the size of small birds, and the most beautiful aurora borealis.

But back to finer dining......we also always stop in and eat at the Common Grill. Chef Common has two cookbooks but at 35 dollars each I have always passed on purchasing them. I really want his recipe for gazpacho. I scored one of the cookbooks at a thrift store located close to where I worked for a mere 2 dollars. When I walked into the store I almost turned around because I thought it was all clothes but then I spied some books and thought 'what the heck' and the first book I picked up was the cookbook. So lesson learned....never judge a thrift store as soon as you enter the door.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Trying to catch up

As of January 1st......I am retired. I've spent the last month catching up on doctor appointments and whatever else I've put off for the last couple of years.

The piles of magazines alone have kept me busy during the evenings cutting out articles and ideas. While I was clipping, I noticed some magazines netted absolutely nothing in the save pile. Those magazines will not be renewed. I also jotted down the renewal dates. Because I send in renewals whenever they mail me one, I have inadvertently renewed some magazines through 2014.

Recently there has been a rash of magazines folding. I have lost at least 4 subscriptions in the last year. House and Garden folded and substituted Domino in it's place and now Domino has folded. I hope Conde Nast has a magazine left to fulfill my subscription.

I subscribe to appropriately 30 magazines only because I get a professional discount with some subscriptions only costing $5.00 for a year. I think I will go back to just subscribing to my long time favorites because they are the ones I get the most ideas from. My prediction for the next magazine to go under is Veranda. I only say this because I have been inundated with renewal requests at very low rates for long term renewal and this seems like a desperation move. I will not be renewing.

The weather has been extremely cold here in Michigan. R and I tried our best to rake all the leaves this past fall so that spring's clean up will be quick. I'm really anxious to get the house painted this year.

The following photos were taken at the end of the summer. The hosta beds and roses are starting to fill in nicely. The last couple of years we have concentrated on the landscaping since we had so little time every day to work on a project.
The fountain project is about 50% complete. We are looking forward to hearing the water dripping. Hopefully we can find a sunny spot for the solar panel that powers the fountain pump. is a photo of what Blue Mouse Ears will look like. For reference....the stones in the photo are about the size of nickels with the largest stone about quarter size. It's such a cute little hosta.

Blogger and Firefox are both uncooperative tonight. I bet Google is still having trouble. I wish all hackers would buy old houses, then they wouldn't have time to hack or whatever it is they do.