Friday, November 9, 2012

Leaves before Sandy and blanket after

   The predictions were dire.  Clear everything out of the yard that could fly.  We obeyed the warnings, put by several gallons of drinking water, filled the tub for flushing, had canned foods, extra ice to keep the freezer/fridge cold when the power left us, and extra candles.  Now I am sending coats, blankets and hats and mittens to the  many who suffered all the things that were predicted for us that never happened.   We were lucky.  Our area got no more wind than an average summer storm, and very little rain.   Before the storm, we spent the weekend cleaning up - here is the result from the front yard alone:

With Four maples in the front yard alone, we get a few leaves!

Losing Mommy in the leaf pile

With Daddy.
below, watch Dad's entrance (but don't throw up, Mom is no cinematographer!)

  We are so grateful that we were spared, and that we are able to help friends and strangers who were hit so hard by the storm.  If you can spare any warm coats, boots, or money, please consider contacting your local red Cross to see how you can help.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I will miss the animals

   With the exception of the first Halloween after he was born, I have always made the Halloween  costumes for my youngest son.  He never wants to be a cowboy or a football player, he wants to be an animal.  One year he was a crocodile,

once a beaver, another time he was a dinosaur, and last year, a peregrine falcon.

This Halloween he wanted me to make him a cheetah.   Let me tell you there are very few cheetah patterned furs or fleeces (it is a different marking from leopards, and if you don't believe me, my youngest will let you know!) I found cheetah patterned sheets, and thought if I were desperate I could cut them up for fabric, but honestly folks, cheetahs should be furry or at least fleecy.  I finally found something that would work form an on-line vendor.  Four days ago, they emailed me that they were out.   UGH! 
    We discussed the sheet option, but then he looked at me and said, "It's okay Mom, I can just go as a ninja."  Part of me rejoiced - he has a ton of black clothes, even a black balaclava, so this would be simple (and his other costumes were never simple). However, part of me mourns.  He is seven now.  How many more years do I have to be able to make him special costumes?  
    So I repeat, I will miss the animals, and the little boy now that he is becoming a Big Boy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

gyms for contemplation

   I'm a fairly loud person.  When I laugh it is obvious.  I am always singing or humming.  When I go to the gym,   I look at people when I go in, smile if I know them (they do smile back) and I talk.  This is the weird thing.  Maybe I am not focussed enough.  Maybe I should be working harder.  When I am working with the trainer, he and I chat about proper form, using enough weight, etc., but also about the football game last night (I fell asleep on the couch before Peyton and the Broncos did the total reversal on the Chargers), who should be in the World Series,  what he and his roommates are wearing for Halloween, etc. Apparently when I go to the gym, I am an anomaly.
   Everyone else is quiet.  They do not even breathe loudly, while I am huffing and wheezing like an old steam engine.  It is not that folks are not friendly - chat happens in the locker room - but they are quiet while lifting or squatting or rowing.
   When I am not in the weight room, but downstairs on the treadmill, I still do not wear a music playing device.  I use that time for ordering my thoughts, planning my week, and noticing the lovely brickwork on the house  next door to the YMCA.   Perhaps I am just meant to go to the gym with a friend and not alone?  This is something to contemplate when I am next on the treadmill.  In the meantime, I will keep grunting as I work the legs, huffing and puffing as I do mountain climbers and pull ups, and laughing and collapsing loudly when I do hamstring work with the ball.  I guess as long as I am there - loud or not - it is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


   While shopping for the dress for my daughter's Homecoming Dance, we saw this display in one of the store front windows.  Next to it was a similar photo, but the lamp was not in front of the  poster.  I went in to notify a clerk that the lamp was dangerously close to the paper advertisement, and he just looked and replied, 'No, it's supposed to be that way."
    I hope the model still gets paid the full amount for his work, even with his face obscured.  I also hope they have fire insurance.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Settling in

     It has been two weeks since we added the last puppy to the pack, and things have sort of settled into a rhythm.  At any given time, the two puppies can be found alternately chewing on each other as they wrestle, or sleeping in some sort of dog pile.  

Favorite spot - under the computer on or near someone's feet
Libby in back, Annie up front
   Annie is very mellow - a down right laid back puppy. Libby is still jumpy, crazy and determined to dig up and replant every bulb in the back yard gardens.   Our old girl, Tasha, is a bit more tolerant now, but still barks the little ones into submission every now and then.    
    Took Annie to the vet and he places her age at nearly 5 months, judging from her teeth - older than we thought.  She is healthy, just shy.  
   Typical welcome when I come in:  Tasha looks up, or comes over and snuffs my hand. Libby jumps all over me, wanting to be picked up and petted.  Annie comes up, rubs against my leg and waits to be petted, or licks my leg.  It is an odd bunch, but so far, so good. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meet Annie

   I know there are many who will think we are crazy.  They may be right.  Today we adopted another puppy from the rescue where we got Libby.  So we are now a three dog family.  Two of them puppies. Libby really needed a playmate, and Tasha (our 12 year old dog) really needed a break from Libby trying to get her to play by climbing on her, nipping her, etc...
   Annie is larger - possible black lab with shepherd.


 Her paws are not dainty.  She is solid, and pretty unflappable so far.  She has only been here a few hours, and she has had to put up with Libby chewing on her ears at any opportunity.  She is very mellow, so far.  She has a nice soft mouth, and we are hoping she will be a water dog.
    All three of our dogs are snugglers, wanting to be on or near someone.

    It has been a busy day for both puppies as we took Libby with us this morning to get Annie.  Both did well in the car -  a good thing,  since we travel often.  After several hours of wrestling, then relaxing and then doing it again, they have finally conked out.
Libby on her back, Annie on her stomach.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The First Day

    At last, at last, the first day of school is here!  Since my husband and I have been in classes for two weeks, we are perhaps a tad more thrilled than we should be.  This year we have a junior a sophomore and a second grader.  There is no coming home and relaxing over a nice meal to discuss the events of the day.  No, our daughter's first swim meet is tonight with a parents' meeting afterwards.  I think it will be pizza tonight!

going off to school

the dog will stay here, thank you very much!

wearing his new dinosaur tee

Waiting for the bus with Daddy

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dyeing on Labor Day

   Hmm, what to do on Labor Day when it is  cloudy and no one wants to do anything? Dye! We had bought 16 tee shirts for my son's party - they came in packs of 8 - and we were expecting 10 kids.  When five arrived we were left with a few extra shirts.  So yesterday my youngest son and I used up several half filled bottles of Rit dye and  spent some quality time away from the television.  

be sure to cover your clothes

Always use tongs

the first few hanging to dry

the resist we liked the best

over-dyed and scrunched

the first tie dye and a dipped shirt

the perfect background

And it glows in the dark, too!

Monday, September 3, 2012


* Autumn comes early in upstate NY.  Leaves are already changing on some trees, and while drinking my coffee on the patio this morning I watched the leaves from the neighbor's birch trees flutter down.

*Few things are funnier than watching a puppy discover a Daddy-Long-Legs for the first time.  Pounce - she grabs it in her mouth. She drops it.  It starts to walk away, she grabs it again. She drops it.  After several  catches, she loses track of it.  She searches the patio, the grass - only to discover she is standing on it.  Now that it looks like a supine lentil with legs, it is no longer interesting.

*Television has too many channels.

*Our cat is not a dog person.

*I could never run a dog rescue.  I would never want to let any of the dogs be adopted.

*I want to have a party. Summer  may be on the way out, but a nice evening fire and some friends is always a good thing!

*Sometime stubbornness can work to your advantage.  My son is afraid of the dark.  He went upstairs to grab his blanket but his ceiling fan/light was set to just fan.  He came back down without the blanket.  When asked where his blanket was, he said, "It was dark." Then he set forth again, and we could see him pushing himself, determined to do this - to conquer the fear and get the blanket.  Kind of neat to watch the growth as it occurred.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things that did and did not work this year

The did nots:
*Lentils - I tried, once more, to grow lentils.  The chipmunks liked them - this means no lentils for me!
*Cucumbers - ditto.  I think with the drought, any plant that was fairly juicy was a goner.  Planted nine plants, only two survived the chipmunk onslaught, and we currently have our first two cucumbers on the vine about the size of my middle finger.  Quite a difference from last year!
*String beans - what?? We are always drowning in them, but this year the chipmunks either ate the seeds out of the ground, or mowed down the newly sprouted plants.
*Flax - this was a puppy problem.  Our first puppy felt the need to race into the garden by jumping off the patio and landing on the flax patch.
*Melons - the watermelon vines just shriveled and died - perhaps a vine borer that I missed?  the cantelope are growing but only male flowers, so they are pretty but not productive.

*Tomatoes - this is the first time in about three years that I have had a bumper crop of tomatoes.
*Lettuces - gorgeous!
*Swiss chard - beautiful.
*Peas - they did well, but I feel like I do not have enough room to plant enough of them.
*Pineapple tomatillos - abundant, yet the chipmunks are getting to most of the ripe ones before us.
*Trombocini squash - you've seen the photos!
*Peppers were poor to average -  the tomatoes overshadowed them.
*The beets are also doing okay, but I am growing them for dye not food this time.

(Anyone have a good chipmunk deterrent or a few live traps they'd loan me???)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

reasons why it is not good to ignore your garden

   If trying to grow things organically, you can end up with cucumber plants bearing leaves that look like this:

This is because I never used row covers and  got a bad infestation of cucumber beetles. Of course, this was not a good year for cukes - this is the largest I have had so far...

The amaranth is doing well
 - even the dog thinks so!

 The squash can take a trellis that you think might last one more year and prove you quite wrong. 
This is why...

We will be eating squash this winter!!
Does the dog look intimidated or is it just me?

This is the year for tomatoes - but only 4 have gone red -  Sept will (hopefully) be about canning tomatoes!

Official garden inspector
Wishing you a bountiful Fall!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

As if life weren't busy enough...

    Today is the first day of classes at our college.  The students are back and Main Street is crowded again.  I have mixed feelings about this.  It is so peaceful here in the summer when the students are gone.  Parking is easier. Friday nights are less crazy.  However, I love teaching and working with the students.
    So my husband and I are starting back into our  school schedules.  Of course, this is about two weeks before our children return to their school schedules.  However, the high school team sports have begun their practices, so there are cross country and swim team to  juggle.  Add to the mix that I open a show tomorrow night, and am in dress rehearsals, and things get a touch more cramped.
    Just to make things interesting, today the pavers are coming to re-do our driveway.  We will not be able to walk on it for 24 hours, nor drive on it for 3 days. This should be fun.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

of fishes and snakes and fires

   Celebrated our youngest's 7th birthday yesterday with a few of his friends.  Invited 9 kids, got one invitation returned as "not at this address" (so much for the phone book) and never heard from 3 of them.  So with enough supplies for ten, we had a birthday party with 5.  Much easier, I am certain.
     We had a fishy theme, since my son loves fishing.   First, they made tee shirts with fabric paint and stampers I made from fun foam.    We ate gold fish and an octopus landed in the onion dip!

    Next we "fished" in the pond on the patio.  Not as much fun as it could have been when their  lines (made from cotton kite string) got wet and then tangled! Ooops!
Tee shirts drying on the bushes behind the fishermen!
  We did a ballon race, shot water guns all over them place and smacked a rather menacing looking shark pinata.
One of the easier pinatas we have had. 
Our future herpetologist - look at that smile!
    In the middle of all this, my son caught a snake in the yard.  First he got it by it's tail.  He reached out to grab it's head and it bit him.  He stuck with it (it stuck on him??) and eventually got it behind the head for folks to see.  Then we put it in a butterfly  viewing cage and everyone got to look.  When time came to let it go, my son donned gloves!  He did take one off and put his fingers near the snake's mouth so he could "feel its tongue" before finally letting it go.
    Cake and gifts came last.  The cake was a candy covered masterpiece with Skittles for scales and pull apart Twizzlers on the fins and tail.
Nicholas helped with the scale placement
Why we are not all still shaking from the sugar overload is beyond me!  Between water, a hammock and a puppy, they all had fun.
     Since school starts soon, we also had a summer cook out for my daughter to have some fun with some friends.  Again, I was astounded at the number of people who did not reply to the invitation at all.
Making s'mores!
Manners, people, manners.
     This was pretty subdued - not water squirters, just food, music and a fire in the fire pit. It got quite chilly, high 40s last night, so all the young girls in shorts were freezing.  When we gave them  jackets and a fire, it got much better!   At around 10:30 they all went home, except one, who slept over!
     Summer is a good thing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tractors and bridles and hats

   It is no secret to most who know me that I long to own a small farm.  Just a few acres - 10 or so would do - to have some sheep, a few chickens and possibly a reason to own a  border collie.  We own one now, but all she has ever herded was the children.  I look through the  "farm and land" sections of the realty sites on a regular basis planning what each parcel or plot could produce.
   Currently, I am designing the costumes for a production of Pump Boys and the Dinettes. This production needs some specific things which "regular" stores did not hold, so I happily drove down the road a piece to the Tractor Supply Co.  Walking in that store your senses are bombarded with the scents of leather and cedar and oil and rubber.  There are bridles and dog beds, rabbit food and barn boots.  The tractors are out on the lot, and the only colors in the paint aisle coordinate with John Deere green or Ford engine block blue and the like.
    I went in seeking fishing hats.  You know, the silly ones you can pin fishing lures to like McLean Stevenson wore  for his character on M*A*S*H.  They had them.  Of course they did.  My daughter and I wandered amongst the barn boots - we'd already bought her a pair, and the cowboy hats - she desperately wanted one.   I looked at the equine aisle, and said no to buying a bridle on the off chance that someday we might need it.  I looked at rabbit food and imagined a small hutch with angora bunnies waiting for me to spin their fur. We left with a small dog bed and collar for Libby, as well as a straw cowboy hat for  my daughter to wear when she and her friends go "adventuring" around the town and parks.
All in all, a good trip.

The aforementioned hat - and a silly face!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What are YOU eating?

A few gifts from the garden.  All the lettuce has finished, and I have not yet put in any more.  Maybe next week.  This week the tomatoes are finally getting red.  The bushes are heavy with fruit, but most of it is green.  The trombone or trombocini squash is coming in.  Last night we managed to eat 1/2 of one.  The peppers are having a tough time of things and the cucumbers may be a lost cause due to too many cucumber beetles and a lot of wilt.
    More squash on the menu for tonight, along with some Swiss chard.  i think I will be dehydrating some of the trombocini for winter use. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

evenings in the last two weeks

     I am not a television nut.  I rarely watch it anymore because so many shows are just badly written, and because I never remember to turn on the ones I do like.  However, when it comes to the summer Olympics, I am  rabid.  Do not ask to watch another program during the evenings of the Summer games, the answer will be no.  
     Another reason I do not watch much tv is because I do not sit still well.  I feel like there is something I "should" be doing, so I will knit or stitch or spin.  During the Olympics, I did the latter.  Here are images from MY summer games. 

I hope you enjoyed the games as much as I did!