Friday, December 31, 2010

It's just another New Year's Eve

We celebrated Thanksmas at Stephanie's, two days after Thanksgiving. Manda and Ben couldn't come for Christmas, so we improvised. We already knew that Ed, Heather and the kids couldn't come up in December.
Our newlyweds- Ben was doing his surprised face.
Steph and Whiskey were ready for presents! Steph made us a wonderful meal of pasta, salad, pineapple stuffing, and cranberry sauce.
Manda, Toast and I cuddled on the couch.
I wanted to try to make a crocheted poncho. Steph modeled it for me, and decided it would keep her warm at work.
Ralph, Steph, Toast, Whiskey and I drove to NC on Christmas Eve Day. After dinner, the kids were allowed to open some gifts. My Mom gave Julianna the Hallmark dog, which she named Jingle Bell.
I crocheted her a scarf with fun fur. The children loved all their gifts. Christmas night Heather had to go to work, so everyone tried out the Wii. During the night it started to snow, and we got about 5 inches.
Eddie and Julie played on Eddie's new trampoline, even in the snow. The dogs weren't crazy about the snow!
It sure looked pretty!
Ed and Heather have a nice view from their deck! By Monday the roads were totally dry, and the snow was mostly gone by the time we left for home on Tuesday. It was supposed to be a 9-10 hour trip, and ended up being a 12 hour trip! General slowness on 95, then a standstill near Philly airport with all the crazy football fans clogging up the road, so they could go sit in the snow and watch the game.

It was a fun trip. Next year we hope to get the family in the same place at the same time to do Christmas. The date will depend on Heather's work schedule.

Mom Florence is still in Rehab. She's had a series of small strokes which has left her very forgetful. She'll be discharged to Frank and Charlotte's next week sometime, if she's physically ready. They're also taking Mom's cat Sheba. Sheba is at Mom's house right now, and is so lonely!

While we were in NC, we took Heather out to lunch to celebrate her birthday, which was December 29. We also did some post-Christmas shopping for bargains!

I took the Nook with me on the trip, so I could do a little reading. In December I read 12 books, which brings the total for 2010 to 150 books.

We're having a quiet New Year's Eve. We had a nice dinner of ravioli, salad, and garlic bread. Today I cleaned up the desk and the computer desk. What a bunch of junk I had! I filled up a trash can!

I've pretty much given up on New Year's resolutions. I would like to get back to sewing and quilting- this year has been a bust for those.

Goodbye 2010, and Welcome to 2011! I'm hoping for good things from 2011!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16!

How did that happen? December is flying by, and I can't keep up! Mom, who watches the news, tells me that we have a chance of snow later today. It's sure cold enough, we've been living in a deep freeze for days now. 18 degrees in the morning is hard to deal with!

Mom Florence had a stroke Monday night at rehab. Her speech got slurred, so rehab called Ralph and he went down, as did Charlotte. By Tuesday her speech had cleared, and they plan to move her back to rehab today.

Xena, The Warrior Princess Hound, died the week after Thanksgiving. She was 13, which was old for a Blue Tick Hound. Mike and his family were heartbroken. Big Mike felt the best way to honor her life was to start the life cycle again, with a puppy. So now Abby, a 10 week old dobe puppy, is the new member of their family. She's driving them all crazy, in a good way. She barks at her reflection in the sliding glass door, she chews shoelaces- she's a puppy.

Barbara came over with a twin sized quilt for her granddaughter and quilted it on my HQ16. We're getting better at loading, we got it right the first time. I finished the poncho I was crocheting, and now I'm making Eddie a scarf from Lion Brand Homespun. It's textured, and awful to work with! I'm glad I only got one skein, and I'll never buy it again.

I just finished The Reversal by Michael Connelly on the Nook, and I'm reading Painted Ladies by Robert Parker- the latest and possibly last Spenser.

Steph and Kate went on the Ski Club trip to Stowe last weekend, and we dog sat the herd. They were really good. Whiskey goes out, does his thing, and will come right back in. Toast wants to wander around, no matter how cold it is. Ben and Manda leave tonight for Omaha, to see Becca graduate from college and to do Christmas with his family. Then they'll do Christmas in Houston, and in January they're going to visit Heather and Ed and the kids.

We're going to NC for Christmas, weather permitting. It'll be a short visit, because Steph has to be back to work the next Tuesday. Julianna is convinced that Heather has a direct line to Santa, and can call Julie's order in anytime.

And I have to get dressed and go out in the cold and go to work!
The beat goes on!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's December!

Wow, it's December already! It's true, the older you get, the faster the years whiz by.
We have December birthdays- Ed is on the 8th, David the 19th, and Kamee the 23rd, and Heather the 29th. Megan's is also around the 23rd, but I'm not sure of the exact date.

I only read 8 books in November, one of which was on the Nook, and the others from the library. I finished Kate's afghan, and am working on a poncho. The poncho might be for Manda, or it might stay here- I haven't decided yet.

I got the bulk of the Christmas shopping done. Heather and Ed want a Wii, Manda and Ben got tickets for TSO, and Steph got a ski trip. Eddie, Julie and Jake are getting various things.

Thanksmas was lovely, tho neither grandmother was able to attend. Mom Florence is in subacute rehab, and Mom Mary Jane wasn't feeling up to it. Steph made a salad with field greens, apples, cranberries and a vinigerette dressing that was fabulous! Stuffed shells, roasted veggies, pineapple stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Really good! We listened to Christmas carols, visited, and exchanged some gifts. A very nice day, after which Ralph and I went home, the they met up with friends and saw Harry Potter. It was hard to put Manda and Ben on a plane the next day.

Last night was a cookie-less Cookie Swap. We went to Franny's, and Jake cooked for us! Salad, lasagna, meatballs and sausage, and pumpkin roll and doughnuts. Carol knitted us each a skinny scarf of fun fur, and we had fun choosing which one we wanted. Franny got us each an ornament in the shape of our initial. We caught up on each others lives, and had a nice evening.

I've done some mending, but no creating on the sewing machine. I'll be 7 months postop on Monday, and I'm pretty much back to myself. I tire easier, and my hair is awful. I consulted the Cookie Swappers, and we decided I need some layers, so I'll get to the hairdresser and get that done.

I'm reading The Reversal by Michael Connelly on the Nook, and Audition by Barbara Walters from the library. When I talked to Manda yesterday to remind her about Free Book Friday at Barnes & Noble, she said how she loves her Nook, and didn't know she needed one til she got it. That's good to hear, because I wasn't sure how much she'd like it.

Next weekend is Steph's Ski Club trip to Stowe, so the grand-dogs will be here. I hope it's not too cold when they visit.

And the beat goes on!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble

It's Thanksgiving morning! Manda and Ben are here for a few days. Mom Florence has been moved to subacute rehab, and is going to Frank and Charlotte's today for dinner.

We're going to Mike and Donna's for dinner. I have Joseph's Trifle and cranberry-pineapple sauce made. Sweet potatoes are in one crockpot, broccoli casserole in another, and brussels sprouts in a third. I have to put the veggies (yams, potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts) in to roast, and get the piggies in blankets ready.

Manda got her Master's degree in Physics from the University of Houston in May. It got overshadowed by the wedding, so we surprised her with a graduation gift when they got here. We got her a Nook! Something she didn't know she needed, but is already loving it.

It's so good to have them home. Steph went and got them from the airport Tuesday night, and I had soup and sandwich fixings ready. Yesterday they went with Ralph to see Mom Florence at rehab, then we met Steph for dinner at Carrabas.

Heather and Ed and Eddie and Julianna are going to her friend Angela's for dinner today. Heather is introducing them to pumpkin roll and pineapple stuffing. Angela and her husband are from Michigan, so they're also newcomers to NC.

What I'm thankful for today: my family, close and extended. That Mom Florence is doing so well at rehab. That it's not snowing!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Almost Turkey Day!

November is such a fast month- so many days off of school. Election Day, Teacher's Convention, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Mom Florence is in acute rehab and doing well after her surgery. This week she should be transferred to sub acute rehab. Sadly, she'll be in rehab over Thanksgiving.

Ben and Manda will be home for Thanksgiving! They get in Tuesday night and will be here til Sunday. Thanksgiving will be at Mike and Donna's. I just got back from foodshopping for the dishes I take. I make roasted veggies (yams, potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts), a broccoli dish in the crockpot that everyone likes, a new to us brussels sprouts dish in another crockpot, sweet potatoes, pineapple in cherries in yet another crockpot, a chunky cranberry sauce, and Joseph's Trifle. The bad news is that because the newlyweds used so much vacation time for the wedding, they won't be able to visit both families for Christmas. Rebecca is graduating college in December- Yay Becca!- so they're going to Nebraska for that and an early Christmas. They'll go to NC for a long weekend in January for yet another Christmas celebration.

Saturday we're doing Thanksmas at Steph's. She's making us a Vegan meal, and we'll do gifts with Ben and Manda. She had to make some adjustments to the meal due to Ralph's soy allergy and my almond allerty- two foods that are good for you if you're not allergic to them.

It looks like Ralph and I and Steph and her babies are going to NC for Christmas. The weather will determine when we actually leave- right now it's looking like Christmas Eve day. It'll be nice to have Christmas morning with Eddie and Julianna.

I just finished reading The Last Lie by Stephen White, the latest in his Alan Gregory series. It was very good. I hemmed two pairs of pants for Steph, and fixed her jeans yet again. I sewed more patches onto Ralph's vest. I'm still in crochet mode, and am almost finished the current project.

This week we have Morgan, Donna and Joseph's birthdays! Three of my favorite people!

I'm missing my Dad. He loved Thanksgiving- what's not to love with a holiday that revolves around eating! And my friend Pat's husband died 9 years ago this month. He's missed terribly.

It's a clear day with a blue sky and it's chilly out. Hopefully Manda and Ben will remember to bring coats with them.

And the beat goes on!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Thanks to all those who serve! We are the land of the free because of the brave.
Ralph was in the Navy Seabees and served in Vietnam. My cousin George is retired Army, and his son is in the Army. My Dad was in the Navy for WWII and Korea. My grandfather was in the Navy in WWI. Ralph's Dad was a Marine during WWII. Ed's Dad was a Marine. Lou was a Marine during Korea.

My mother in law Florence is in the hospital. She fell down some stairs and cracked her left hip. She had surgery and 3 pins placed. Now she has rehab in front of her. We're all very worried about her.

It was nice being off today. My friend Barbara came over and we muddled thru a quilt for her on the HQ. I made the mistake of observing how well it was going, which meant that immediately after we had issues- batting too short, thread breaking.

The time changed, which means it's almost dark out already. B101 is playing Christmas music on it's website, so it'll soon start on the radio. I love Christmas music.

Steph told me that Toast is feeling much better. She's still on the anti-inflamatory, but hasn't needed the pain meds lately.

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Steph's Phone Case

Someone on Facebook was figuring out how to make a fabric sleeve for her Nook. It would be like making a phone case, but larger. To make Steph's phone case, I measured her phone. Since I have the same phone, it was easy. I added a half inch to each side for sewing allowance- I use 1/4 inch seams, being a quilter. I figured out how long to make the strips- I positioned paper how I wanted to fabric to fall, and measured it. I cut two strips that size.
I put them right sides together, and sewed the two long ends and one short end.
I put the phone on the strips, and folded the bottom up and the top down to decide where the velcro should go.
I sewed the velco pieces on, then I topstitched all around.
This is what the case looked like open.
The case closed. I like the look of the white thread, but matching thread could be used.
The case isn't large, but it's lined and gives the phone some protection. I don't need one for my Nook, since I have a leather(ette?) case I bought when I got the Nook.
Of course Millie had to get into the act. Ralph was pinning patches to the leather biker vest that he bought to wear when he goes with the group that greets returning servicepeople.
She got shooed away, so she retreated to the edge of the work table.
Good thing my Janome is such a workhorse- sewing the patches to a leather vest needed a jeans needle, and a good heavy machine.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Four day weekend!

November is a terrific month to work in a school. We were off Tuesday for Election Day, had school Wednesday, and we're off yesterday and today for NJ Teachers Convention. I feel that I've used the time well.

Tuesday I went to an inservice from 8-1. It was sponsored by the county, was held at the middle school in my town, was free, and we got 5 CEU/prof dev hours! And they had a continental breakfast. And it was interesting, which few inservices are.

I'm still feeling virtuous- yesterday I had a colonoscopy for the first time. As the doc said, the prep will kill you, the procedure is nothing. I had to be there at 6 a.m., and was home by 9 a.m. The hardest part was getting the IV put in. They wheeled me in, the nurse anesthetist said Nighty Night, and then I was in recovery. The results were good, and they'll see me in 5 years. So this year I've had a mammogram and a colonoscopy, not to mention the hysterectomy. What a year!

So it's November! We got no trick or treaters for Halloween- we're at the end of a dead end street, and it's too much trouble for the kids. So I was feeding Reece's to my co-workers.
Tomorrow is my nephew Kevin's birthday, and great-nephew Justin's birthday party. Later this month are my friend Franny, sisters-in-law Donna and Morgan, and nephew Joseph's birthdays.

I also finally quilted the quilt that's been up on the HQ for about a month. My friend Barbara has a quilt she wants to do, so that motivated me to get to it. It still needs to be trimmed and bound. I've been in crochet mode. I finished an afghan for Steph's friend Kate, and started another one.

In October I read 9 books, which brings the total for the year up to 130. I added several books to my Nook. Barnes and Noble announced they are coming out with a Nook Color, which is like a mini iPad. It's not an upgrade, but a different product. I read the specs, and I don't want one. LCD screen (hard on the eyes), 8 hour battery life (mine will go about a week) and it has to go to BN when the battery needs to be replaced. And I don't intend to either read magazines or kid's books on it, so I don't need the color. And it's only WiFi, no 3G's.

I've been going over recipes to decide what to make for Thanksgiving. We celebrate with the moms and Big Mike and Donna and their kids and whoever else is around. This year Ben and Manda will be with us. Donna does the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and pineapple stuffing, and I do a lot of sides and a dessert. I do a broccoli casserole in the crockpot that the "kids" all like, and I found a crockpot recipe for brussels sprouts that looks promising. Sweet potatoes in another crockpot. Cranberry something. And Joseph's Trifle, which I make almost every year.

And since Ralph is retired now (and job searching) he doesn't have to work any of the holidays!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Autumn!

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Gettysburg, PA, for the wedding of my girlfriend's son and now daughter in law. We stayed at the Gettysburg Inn, right on the square. We were in the Eisenhower Suite. It had the king sized bed.
Beautiful couch, with the TV armoire to it's left.
Nice little table area.
Jetted garden tub, which I tried out. Very relaxing!
Separate shower.
Electric fireplace. Very convenient- just turn the switch on!
The wedding was in a beautiful church high on a hill. There were some unusual guests! This is Brody, the couple's first dog. He sat so nice thru the ceremony! On the other side of the aisle was their other dog, who was more restless.
Courtney, the bride, looked beautiful. The two flowergirls ran up the aisle to their Moms- so cute, and so fast I didn't get a picture. The reception was in the Gettysburg Hotel.
Rob, the groom and his minions AKA groomsmen, made the floral arrangements. The chunks are pieces of pumpkin, in clear glass vases. Very creative! Place cards were tiny pumpkins with the guests names attached with hatpins. Very seasonal!
We passed on battlefield on the way to the wedding. An open field with a marker- very sad. We didn't feel the need to go to any others. On the way home the leaves were starting to change.
We knew we weren't in Jersey, because it wasn't flat! Look at those mountains in the background!
Miss Millie was waiting for us. She curls up in the strangest places! Last Saturday Steph dropped off the dogs, and she went to NC to visit Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna for a week.
Toast is on the left, Whiskey on the right. My hair was wet and just brushed back. Everytime I'd sit down, Whiskey would be right on my lap.
He'd settle for Ralph if I wasn't sitting down. The dogs were both good all week- we're just not used to having them around, and going outside with them several times a day.
Whiskey sleeps like the dead. They both slept with us, and he would go under the covers down by our knees, and not stir all night. He wouldn't even wake up in the morning when Toast got up to go out!
I think Whiskey is under the throw, and Toast on Ralph's leg. Steph got home last night and picked them up. She had a really nice week in NC. She and Heather made pumpkin rolls, and she brought us one in a cooler! They did some shopping, and spent a lot of sister time together.

I've been working on another granny stripe afghan. It's coming along well- I'd have Whiskey on my lap, working on the afghan over him, and Toast on the ottoman. I'm reading the new Lee Child novel about Jack Reacher called Worth Dying For. Very good, but Reacher stories always have a lot of violence in them.

I've also downloaded several more books, mostly free ones, to the Nook. I've been reading the Nook and Kindle boards, mostly looking for book recommendations. Since the Kindle has much more of the market share, their boards are much busier. Both boards frequently compare the two. I decided on the Nook because of the touch screen, and the ability to download books from various sources, and to borrow books from libraries. I see the e-readers like cars- basically the same, with the difference in the details. I'll never read exclusively from the e-reader, because I'm too cheap to buy the newest fiction when I can get it from the library for free, and Mom can also read the library book.

It's gotten so nice and chilly at night! The leaves are turning nicely. We have neither the heat nor AC running, so I feel like I'm beating the utility companies out of money!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I think I'm losing my mind!

I can't get anything accomplished, and my memory is totally gone. Add that to thinning hair, anxiety attack and sleep issues! The latest problem is that I have a referral to a specialist, and an appointment on Wednesday, and of course I can't find the referral. I've torn the house apart, and it's nowhere. I just left a message on the non urgent line of the primary, asking for a duplicate.

Steph went to visit Heather, so we have the dogs. Everytime we dogsit, I remember why I don't have a dog. They're constantly underfoot- you can't get up without at least one of them going with you to where-ever.

We went away for the weekend last week, to Gettysburg. My friend Barbara's son got married on 10-10-10, so we left here Saturday and stayed over Saturday and Sunday. We had beautiful driving weather. I have pix, but haven't gotten around to downloading them. We drove past a battlefield, but didn't take any tours- it's too sad a place. Too many people died there for me to act like a tourist.

Yesterday we went to Pennsville to the Riverview Inn for a fundraiser that my friend Carol was involved in. It's right on the Delaware River, with the twin bridges in sight. The food is always good there- we had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

I've managed to not take a nap every work day this week! And our timeshare company finally got Steph's account fixed, and her week deposited. The lady who called said they did it as a courtesy, and I wasn't having it. I responded that they were correcting their own error, so it wasn't a courtesy at all.

I've been watching all the Views, Ellen's and Oprah's that I've been DVRing. It's so great to forward thru all the commercials, especially the political ones. I saw my first Xmas commercial, for Kmart's layaway.

I fixed Steph's jeans (again) and she picked fabric for a phone case. I've got lots of things I want to sew, but no inclination to start. I finished up all the soft baby yarn I had, and now I'm working on a scrappy afghan. I've also downloaded more free books to the Nook.

And the beat goes on!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What a week!

Our thief was back! I've been keeping the car locked, but we leave the garage door open, as we have for years, for Cliffie the garage cat. The snowblower, ladders and lawnmower are chained. On Monday Ralph realized that the Rascal Scooter was missing. He'd seen it, and taken a pic of it, on Sunday. He called the police, who came out and made a report. The "person" had been arrested last Thursday (after he'd been outside our house) for stealing power tools, but was out on bail. The police were going to investigate. Since we never had a problem in 22 years, and I don't believe in coincidences, it was either him or someone he told. The scooter is pretty old, and worth only a couple hundred dollars, but I'm really pissed off. I hope the next people he tries to rob have a really big mean dog and it rips his throat out.

So now we close and lock the 8 foot gates, and lock the car, and use the alarm. What a pain.

I've been downloading a lot of cheap and free books to the Nook. I've also been watching the Kindle boards, since sometimes the sale and free books are different. Rumor has it that both devices will go down under $100 as the holidays approach. That makes a lot of sense- practically give you the device, so you get addicted and spend a fortune on e-books. If the price goes that low, I'd get a Kindle to keep my Nook company. I have more than one sewing machine, why not more than one e-reader?

Yesterday I had a tooth break on the back of my partial, so I took off today from work to get it fixed. Since I was already off, I had bloodwork done also. Entirely too much fun- I'd rather have been at work.

I just finished a terrific book (from the library) Vermillion Drift by William Kent Krueger. He writes a series about Cork O'Connor, who lives in Minnesota. Cork is sometimes a police officer, sometimes a PI. There's a mystical side to the books, and a great sense of place. He's probably written a dozen or so books about Cork, and they're all really good.

Much as I love my Nook, I have a price limit of $5 or so. And anything my Mom would like to read, I get from the library. I don't think DTB's (dead tree books) will go out of style anytime soon.

So tomorrow is Friday! And I have to spend the afternoon in a Universal Precaution class. We have to have a class every year, not that anything ever changes. And we have to teach the staff at our school. I refuse to teach the class til after I have to sit thru it. And when I teach it, it's short and sweet, "If it's wet, don't touch it."

Ralph and I had to run over to send our CD player out for repair, so we ate at Chipolte for the first time. They're known for using local produce. I had a chicken burrito and Ralph had soft tacos. It was too early in the day for Steph to meet us, and we wanted to get over and back before rush hour. Lots of food, reasonable prices.

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wow, it's October!

It's feeling like fall. Last night it got down to the 50's- we actually had to close all the windows. We got about 5 inches of rain between Thursday and Friday.

We have October birthdays! Florence, Charlotte and Justin all were born in October, as well as my friend Jean. And we're going to an October wedding on 10-10-10 in Gettysburg. My friend Barbara's son is getting married. We're making a weekend out of it, since it's probably 3 hours to Gettysburg, and we've never been there. For the first time ever, school is open on Columbus Day, so Barbara and I put in for a personal day.

John is up for a long weekend to visit with Mom, so we're all going out to breakfast at the diner tomorrow morning. Tonight Steph, Ralph and I went to Pasta Pomodora for a surprise retirement dinner given for Ralph by his ER friends. He didn't suspect a thing, since we frequently have dinner with Steph. He was totally shocked!

I read ten books in September, all from the library. That brings my total for the year so far up to 121. I'm still getting adjusted to being back to work, and a couple nights a week I nap when I get home. Last night I went to sleep around 10, and slept til after 9 this morning. I think I only crocheted for an hour all week, and I've been reading the same book for days- Nevada Barr's new one, called Burn. It's really good, I just can't stay awake.

I was talking to Manda the other night- they've been married for 3 months already! Now that they're not worried about getting laid off, they're settling into being a married couple. And Steph is settling into her first semester at St. Joe's, working towards her Master's.

I was talking to Heather yesterday, and she's waiting for her pecan tree to start dropping pecans. It's a huge tree, right near her deck, and it produces lots of pecans. Last Christmas she made fabulous cookies with them. Between cookies and the wine she's making, she'll have a lot of gifts ready to go.

The days are getting shorter, and the leaves are just starting to turn colors. Christmas is a short 3 months away!

The other morning, as the students were coming in to school, one of the 8th grade girls said to the girls she was walking with, "The next time I get in trouble I'm doing it with a smart person!" We laughed all day- words to live by!

And the beat goes on!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The times they are a'changing.

Twice during the summer, in the middle of a Saturday night, a white sedan parked outside of our house. Since we're the last house on a dead end street, and the road literally ends in front of our house, it was strange. The first time a person in a hoodie got out and walked back into the woods, and was gone for a couple of hours. The second time, the person walked back up the street. We were concerned, so we stopped at the local police station for advice.

The officer we spoke to said if it happened again, to call the police. He said any car parked outside in the middle of the night is suspicious.

At 0400 Thursday morning, in the rain, the car was back. Sitting running. So Ralph called the police. Two police cars pulled up, and the officers walked all around, shone flashlights into the car, and talked to the occupant.

A third officer went up our driveway. Our garage sits about 100 feet off the street. The officer asked Ralph to look around and see if anything was missing, as the guy in the car is a known scavenger, especially of copper. Things had been moved, but nothing was missing.

Then they opened my car door- I never lock my car in the garage. The car smelled like smoke, and the $18 I had in the console, as well as the several dollars in change, were missing.

Because no one witnessed it, the guy couldn't be charged. The police told him to go away and stay off this street. The one officer came in to talk to us. He said our little town isn't the way it used to be. There have been burglaries, and it's not safe to leave my car unlocked.

Ralph went thru the car- my library books were still there, the papers I had in it to take to work weren't disturbed, and the GPS was still safely under the seat in it's little pink bag. The next morning I realized something had been taken. I'd been out to lunch with the work group, and I'd brought home a piece of cream cheese bread, and forgot and left it on the passenger front seat, and it was gone, to add insult to injury.

So even distance up a driveway, and motion sensor lights aren't enough to stop a determined thief. I hate it, but that's the way it is, and I have to lock my car everytime I come home.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

No one wants to get up on a dreary, rainy Monday, even Miss Millie.
Last weekend I had a burst of energy and a little spare time, so I loaded a quilt onto the HQ16. That's as far as I've gotten, I haven't even put the batting on the frame yet.
The HandiQuilter 16 gets it's name from the 16 inch throat. It's not a commercial machine, more for hobbyists, which is me. I can't picture myself quilting for others for money- then it would be a job, and I already have a job.
The backing goes face down, with the bulk rolled back onto the front roller, if you do it correctly- I've been known to forget to roll it back onto the front rollers. The top goes face up, and the batting will go in between. The first thing to sew is to run a row of stitching across the top, to hold the layers together.
The backing has to be at least 4 inches bigger than the top- I have plenty of extra.
Last weekend Toast and Whiskey came for the day. I couldn't get a pic of Whiskey, he was always on my lap or underfoot. This weekend Ed, Heather and the kids came up to go to a wedding. Saturday was Ralph's last shift in the ER. Ralph and Eddie's birthdays were both last week, so we had a party!
I got a big cake from Sweet Eats, half white cake and half chocolate, to please everyone. They did a gorgeous job of decorating it.
Of course we all sang Happy Birthday. That's Julianna in the Spiderman mask. We had to make the 5 boys come in to do cake and gifts- they were having such a good time playing outside that they didn't want to come in.
Auntie Steph lit the candles for Spiderman Eddie.
The ER staff gave Ralph the "No Work Zone" sash to wear.
Eddie is so grown up at 7, even with a mouth full of candy! He's changed so much since his last birthday!
Julianna had her pretty dress on, and stayed close to Mommy. It was a nice party- it started at 4, and everyone was gone by 8.30- the kids had school today. Ed and Heather and the kids left around 9 to go back to Ed's parents house- they don't sleep here because of Ed's cat allergy.

They left after breakfast this morning, and didn't hit any traffic. Heather called a while ago, and said they were ten minutes from home. We probably won't see them again til Christmas, or whenever we decided Christmas is this year. I hate that we see them so infrequently, but we all have to work- except Ralph! Ralph is actually looking for a non-nurse job. He's ready to move on, after 29 years of nursing, most of it in the ER.

I just started the new Nevada Barr, "Burn" from the library. I'm only a chapter in, but it's already good.

And the beat goes on!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday night

Wow, it's almost 2 weeks since I posted! I thought about it, but never got around to it. We've had gorgeous weather, in the 70's and low 80's til yesterday when it went to 92. Last night we had a thunderstorm- it sounded like lightening hit right outside the house. I was amazed that the power didn't go out.

Being back to work has been hard. I didn't have a routine from the end of March til Sept 1- I was used to sleeping when I was tired and getting up in the middle of the night if I couldn't sleep. Now that school has started, I'm up at 0630 and staying up! At least a couple times a week I have to come home and nap after school.

It doesn't help that I've been having anxiety attacks a few times a week, in the middle of the night. My primary said they're absolutely hormonal, so I have to consult the gyn. Stupid things- what if I get appendicitis? What if I can't work and Ralph isn't working, and I run out the sick time and we have no benefits? What if someone in the family dies? All legitimate concerns, but not for the middle of the night.

And my knee has been bothering me big time, but I won't go to the ortho, since I can't have it replaced right now. I just limp a lot.

On the positive side, it sure was nice to get that first paycheck of the school year! And it's nice to see my school friends every day.

And, I loaded a quilt on the HQ16! I haven't quilted it yet, but it's waiting for me! And I'm still churning out baby afghans- I'm determined to use up the baby yarn. I've got 4 or 5 done, and enough yarn for one or two more.

I loaded a bunch of books onto the Nook, but the silly library wants its books back, so they have to come first. I love Free Book Fridays on, and usually download them. Two weeks ago it was a biography of Budda- I passed on that one. Snore!

September has been a good reading month- I've read Coming Home, the new Mariah Stewart. Veil of Night by Linda Howard, who is almost always good- she had a real clunker about 2 years ago. Whiplash, the new Catherine Coulter, which was fluffy but fun. Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr, who's getting to be one of my favorite authors. Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt, also a favorite author.

The last time I talked to my girlfriend Pat we had a discussion about e-readers, and she's now the proud owner of a Kindle! Another convert!

Tuesday was Ralph's birthday, today is Eddie's, and Ralph is two shifts away from retiring from the ER! Ed, Heather and the kids will drive up tomorrow to go to a wedding on Saturday, so of course we're partying! A birthday/retirement party on Sunday with a Spiderman theme. Any time they come up we find a reason to have a party.

And so it goes!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beautiful Saturday

The sky is blue, there's a nice breeze, and it's about 76 out. The gorgeous weather will be here for a few days, then back to the 90's during the week.

It's September! We have important dates! Kevin and Naureen had their 5th anniversary on the 1st. Sharon and Barbara both have birthdays on the 9th, and Mikey turns 26 on the 13th. Ralph turns 62 on the 21st, and his last day of work before retirement is the 25th. He also has jury duty on his birthday. Eddie turns 7 on the 23rd- how can that be?

Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna are coming up for a close friend's wedding, so we having a joint party on the 26th. The usual goodies- meatballs, keilbasi in sauerkraut, salads, and of course a cake from Sweet Eats!

Manda and Ben are in Nebraska for the long weekend. Polly and Randy are throwing them a wedding reception on Sunday. I would have liked to go, but with school starting it would have been just too hard. I know it'll be fun for them, and Manda will meet more of Ben's family.

Steph got back from her business trip to Chicago last night. She was about to do some touring of Chicago, and enjoyed it a lot. The puppies are cute and adorable, and I was so glad to see them go home! They greeted Steph like she'd been gone for years.

I've been in crochet mode- I have a lot of soft baby yarn, and I'm determine to use it up. I've made 2 baby sized afghans, and I'm working on the 3rd. I probably have enough yarn for at least 2 more. I'll store them til they're needed, along with the flannel receiving blankets that I've made. I have the larger pieces of flannel on the work table to be cut into PJ bottoms.

In August I read 12 books, all from the library. I've also downloaded several free and low cost books onto the Nook. We started back to school on Wednesday, the kids came in Thursday, and I went to bed at 9 pm on Thursday. I haven't had time to play with the new phone. Ralph is getting really proficient on his.

And the beat goes on!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The AC is back on!

Ralph called Firehouse Electric, the company that had replaced the circuit board about two years ago. They are busy with a big project, and can't come any time soon. I was totally mad, but it was a good thing. He called the hardware store in town, and they recommended a company in the next town. We called them at 11 a.m., and said they'd be here at 4. At 2.30, they called and said they were on the way.

They replaced two sizzling circuits, and said there was water in the bottom of the circuit box. A wire at the peak of the house had had water coming down along it into the box, messing up the wires and causing the problem, and that part of the service should be replaced. They were amazed that the previous electrician hadn't told us of the issue- it's a no brainer for an electrician. So as soon as I get a paycheck or two, we'll get the work done- estimate $1,600. Yay for Gibson Electric!

They were done by 4 pm, and the AC got turned back on. It was mid 80's in the house, and it took til bedtime to cool it down. And today is going to be another 90 degree day.

I saw Dr. Lamorte, the cardiologist yesterday. He wanted a holter moniter before deciding whether to take me off the coumadin, so I have that on til 1 pm today. What a pain! It has a belt clip, which won't stay on, it's constantly falling off. I told him how much the one med costs- $528.oo per month (Lucky I have a good Rx plan!). He was shocked. He said that's criminal, since the med has been around for twenty years.

Tonight the grand dogs come. Steph has an early flight to Chicago in the morning. She'll be back Friday afternoon. I'm so hoping that Hurricane Earl stays away!

Today I have to finish laundry, and pack my work bag. I also have to get lunch fixings from the grocery store, and set out clothes. Ralph is working tomorrow, so I'll have to feed the dogs and take them out before I leave, so I'll have to get up a little earlier.

So the work routine will start again. Five more school years and I can retire!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The lights on the fan in the sewing room have been flickering intermittently - just enough to be annoying. Before we went to NC Ralph changed the bulbs. It kept doing it, so today he checked the light bar for loose wires- nope. He decided to change the outlet. He went downstairs to turn off the breaker and heard a sizzling noise- that can't be good.

He isolated the sizzle to the breaker that services the sewing room, and turned it off. He also turned off the breaker to the AC- and it's 92 today! I left the windows closed, I'll open them late tonight and close them again in the morning. Of course today is Sunday and we can't call the electrician that just put a new service in 2 years ago. We'll call them first thing tomorrow, so they can evaluate.

So in the meantime I can't sew or watch TV in the sewing room.

We went to the diner in town for dinner. I had a chicken salad wrap and tomato barley soup. Ralph had one of the specials- stuffed peppers- and cream of turkey soup. I brought home half my wrap- either he'll eat it later tonight, or I'll eat it tomorrow.

I was so aggrivated with I-95 after our trip to NC and back, that I went on mapquest and played around. I found a route that goes west at Baltimore, and avoids DC and Richmond. According to mapquest, it takes a half hour longer than I-95 at it's best, and would be shorter than I-95 at it's worst (which is most of the time.) I emailed it to Heather, and printed it out for us. The soonest we'd be going down is Easter week, but at least I have it printed.

I downloaded the free book of the week onto the Nook, and ordered a matching skin for my laptop. I love internet shopping!

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back from North Carolina

Ralph and I left on a Saturday afternoon to go to NC to visit Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna. Traffic was terrible- from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Richmond should take 4 hours, 5 tops. It took 7.5 hours! No accidents, roads clear and dry, just volume. Traffic would be backed up as far as we could see, then it would move for a mile or so, then jam again. When we finally got of I-95 and onto I-85 around Richmond, all of a sudden if was fine. We drove to South Hill, Virginia, which is about 12 miles before the NC border, and 330 miles from here. We stayed at a hotel, and the above picture is what we woke up to! Fire trucks all over the place. Turns out that an air conditioning unit in one of the rooms caught fire, and they had to evacuate five rooms! I'm so glad we weren't one of them! We got on the road by about 8.30, and drove the last 180 miles. There were scattered showers, one so bad we got off the interstate for about 15 minutes. We got the their house about 12.30.
We were so glad to see them! Julie is holding her build-a-bear that's name is Pinko de Mayo, Pink Bear for short.
My Mom sent them down a bunch of Beanie Babies and other stuffies. They had a good time playing with the birds.
Eddie was the bigger goose, and Julie was the baby. On Monday we went shopping. Ralph and Eddie went to Harbor Freight, and Heather, Julianna and I went to Hancock's Fabric, where Julie got the wings and wand below. Then we had lunch at Cici's Pizza. It was a new place to us, and it's a buffet. All kinds of pasta, pizza, and salads, and brownies and cinnamon cakes. It was cheap- $5.99 for adults, and $2.99 for kids, all you can eat.

Monday afternoon Heather and I went food shopping, and Tuesday morning I put kielbasa and sauerkraut in the crockpot. I only make it a few times a year, because the sodium content is ridiculous, but it tastes so good! We'd brought down Jersey corn, tomatoes and peaches, and we had the corn also.
Wednesday was Eddie's first day of school as a second grader. He was fine and excited, Heather was nervous. He had a terrific day. The county had redistricted, and he was in a new school. He knew his teacher's aide from last year, and there were some girls from his previous class there.
He looked so grown up!
Heather wants to learn to sew, so I took my travel machine down to leave for her. We had Sewing 101, and she did great! We put the straps on the sundresses I'd made for Heather and Julianna. The one Julie is wearing has the little mermaid on it.

One night at 11.30, Ed made us omelets of duck eggs (which taste just like chicken eggs) fresh spinach and Jersey tomatoes. They were wonderful! Wednesday night he cooked on the grill- boneless chicken breasts in foil with fresh spinach, tomatoes, italian dressing, and spices, served with penne pasta. It was so good!

Heather also made soft serve ice cream with the Jersey peaches blended in. Eddie said it was the best ever! We packed up, and after Eddie left for school on Thursday we headed out. We had to drive straight thru because Ralph was working on Friday. It was so hard to leave them, but I didn't cry til we were out the driveway. I miss them so much, but I think they made a good decision in moving.

Coming home, we were doing great til we got near Baltimore. The I-95 tunnel was closed, and the flashing lights said 895 had major delays, so it routed us to 695. Bumper to bumper for several miles, then we got to the Francis Scott Key bridge. It's a long, scary, high, 2 lane bridge. If I was prone to anxiety attacks, I'd have had one! I looked straight ahead, and kept telling myself to breathe! I survived it, and the bridge over the Susquehanna, which is also scary. After those, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was a piece of cake! We lost 1.5 to 2 hours by the detour, and the trip took 11.5 hours! I do all the driving, because Ralph hates to drive, and I hate to be driven. He's a terrific navigator!

So we're home. Monday I have to go into work and have Ralph set up the computer, and set up my office, then I have an appointment with the cardiologist. Wednesday staff reports to work, and Thursday the kids come in for a half day. Steph has her business trip to Chicago- we'll pick up the grand-dogs Tuesday night, and she leaves early Wednesday and will be back on Friday afternoon.

I'm reading a series by Susan Mallery, who's become one of my favorite authors. It's about the Marcelli family, who are wine makers in California. There are four sisters and one brother, and they each have their own book, and guest in the other books. I would classify them as romances with a plot.

I'm still using up the soft baby yarn. I'm on the 3rd baby sized afghan, so I'm way ahead of the game! And I have some big pieces of flannel, so my daughters are all getting flannel pajama pants for Christmas.

And the beat goes on!