Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Random posting

Happy New Year everyone - - in about 7.5. hours! Haven't posted much this week even though there has been much to post about - - lots of fun holiday things. I am also fighting, and maybe losing the battle with, a cold. I just spent a bit of time straightening out the checkbook so as to NOT start the new year having to do THAT, and now need to make some vegetarian chili for dinner and for some friends who will also be here around that time.

Two random pictures:

I made this black and white because it was SO sunny, and it was taken with my cellphone. I think we were at Loon Mountain in NH but I'm not sure. Anyways, this is the glamorous ski look - lot of layers of polar fleece and a hair-killing helmet!
And THIS is how windy it is here today:

The plastic, obviously, was stapled down until the 50 mph winds hit it. Let's hope the power holds out long enough for me to make dinner!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

What was that?

An earthquake!!

Last night just a little after midnight, I was watching television with DD when we heard what sounded like a train coming, if only we lived near a train station. The windows started rattling and we both jumped up and went to the front door, actually thinking "tornado" more than anything else. The boys in the basement heard it, DH heard it up in bed, but they all thought it was the other group making some kind of noise. Nope. A 3.4 about 40 miles away. We have felt a few earthquakes before, but it wasn't until DD's boyfriend called to say that they also had rattled windows where he lives (more than an hour west) that I got online to check it.
By the way, did you folks in New Castle know that the strongest earthquake in Pennsylvania was the "Pymatuning Earthquake," a 5.2 magnitude, on September 25, 1998? It apparently affected the water table in the area and people are still researching and recording its impact. Some people have had to drill new wells because of it.

The USGS report says Pymatuning one was felt "throughout northern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and New York, and much of southern Ontario, Canada. It was also felt as far west as Illinois and Wisconsin, as far east as New Jersey, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, and as far south as Kentucky and Virginia."

There you have it, news and education all in one post!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Move over Martha

DD has been wanting to try using fondant to decorate a cake, so we bought a box of ready-made Wilton last week for whenever she was ready to try it. Late last night she made a spice cake, and I went to bed. When I woke up this morning, I found this lovely cake on the counter! She found a recipe for buttercream frosting and made it (that's the green stuff) and then colored the fondant pink and rolled it out to make the bow. (She also woke up this morning and ate leftover frosting for breakfast.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainy Day

Good morning and hello rain!

Rusty went to the groomer's and had the gum cut out from his paws. It was a bit unpleasant for him and I hope he does not ever again get into gum! Here is a picture I took over the weekend when I noticed that he was on sentry duty at the dining room window. He was keeping watch on something, most likely a squirrel or a person walking down the lane. Had it been a deer or fox he would certainly have made a report!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Guilty Dog

This is a dog who has put himself in timeout, even though nobody is looking at him, or knows what he's done. It's kind of a clue that something has happened:That is how DS2 found him, not making eye contact, not moving, not breathing, just pretending he is green and able to blend right in with the rug and not be seen. Chameleodog. DS investigated and found the chewing gum, stretched along the rug, stuck to his front paws. Chewing gum, Rusty's downfall. He knows he can't have it, probably knew it should not be stuck to his paws or that he was about to experience the pain of having it pulled it out. Either way it was comical, he did not move or look at me as I cleaned it off the rug and then pulled bits of it off his feet.

After he sat up, this was the face of apology. If only the camera could have captured the rapid blinking. "blink blink you still love me right? blink blink I didn't mean for you to see it blink blink I'm really sorry please stop looking at me like that blink blink

Joke's on him, I can't get the gum out from his pads; he's going to have to go to the groomer today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What are you doing today?

Good morning. Cold and windy as you can see, and going to get windier. A good day to get some things done, so I'm making a list.
  1. Yoga
  2. The hand-sewing portion of a few gifts I am working on
  3. Clean the hall and laundry room closets
  4. Sew a new racquetball shirt for DH
  5. Spend about an hour working on something for school
  6. Potato soup for dinner? I think I need leeks.
  7. More handmade Christmas presents to begin
Beyond that it's just to clean, which always needs done.

We went out to eat last night in two cars, because I had planned to go to a friend's afterward. I didn't go because the roads were icy with snow and she lives even further out on back roads than we do. I had DS2 drive my car so he could have some experience with driving in the snow/dark/ice, and it turned out to be a good night for it! In that round trip he:

  • Avoided hitting DH in the other car, who did a donut right in front of us to avoid hitting the car in front of him.
  • Got the hell out of the way of the spinning car behind us who nearly hit DH and wound up taking out a support cable to a telephone/power pole.
  • Learned to keep a good long following distance when it's icy.
  • Had to detour on some long dark back roads because of an accident that closed 322.
  • Had to pass a horse and buggy in the dark, in the snow, on a slippery narrow road. ("Honey, please don't slide into the horse, please don't slide into the horse.")
  • Learned that high beams are not a good choice in the snow, that if you are going slow enough around a bend a little fish-tailing can be kind of fun, and it's wise to choose to cut through a neighborhood to avoid a big downhill.
All in all, a valuable driving night for someone who is scheduled for a driving test this Friday for his license!

My morning coffee time is over, I'm going to do some yoga while the house is still quiet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How do you water your Christmas Tree?

Because we have to use a funnel and some tubes! It's a really thick-trunked tree and we can't get water into the stand without spilling it, so this is a brilliant solution. The tube is hidden in the branches and you can just find it, stick the funnel in, and pour one of those water bottles into it.

Then there's this garland. Last year DD and I saw it in a store and realized we could make more of it, and make it even prettier, for less money than it would take to buy it. So we bought some small ornaments, wooden spools, assorted styrofoam balls, and a whole lot of glitter. We made a tremendously shiny mess in the kitchen coating everything with glue and then rolling it all in different cups of glitter. Oh, and we had to poke holes through too. We had "invited" DS2 to join us, and just now when I pulled it out and said, "Look, remember all this garland we made last year?" he visibly shuddered. We will have to invite him to do another craft with us this year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Village, The End!

Landscape lights crack me up. I have to pick up some more of them.

This church was one of my first houses. My husband bought it because it looks just like one next to the house I grew up in.
The street, with its lights lit.
And finally, the rich guy's house. You can tell he's rich because he has a private gate, see?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Village, Part Two

Here is the village, with this side of the mountain being the expensive/exclusive side of town, and the far side being the actual town.

We just found this sign in Michael's yesterday, and laughed - - that's what it looks like at the entrance to Vail, at the covered bridge.
Ah...the cabin is where the guy lives who wants to be by himself, and the house below that is the rich guy's house. He owns the mountain. Inherited it from his grandfather, in fact, who made his money bootlegging.

This is a bad shot in the dark, but please....notice the full moon.....

Building the Village, Part One

DD and DS2, unconvincingly pretending the camera is not pointed at them.
Master Builder, who had the vision for this year's village.
The beginning.

Good bye pumpkin collection, see you next September!

Friday, November 21, 2008


What a surprise!

Yep, I took this through the window and that's my ghostly shadow you see - but look at the snow! It's only snowing at all, let alone heavily, in a very narrow band and we are in it! Honestly, when I woke up at 7 and left my room I nearly fell over as I walked down the hall and looked out the window.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I don't know if these pictures will convey the weirdness of this sky, the afternoon sky looked like this to our north while the rest of the sky was clear. We really began to worry that it was a forest fire. These pictures are from my cell phone, so the quality isn't that great, but here goes.

As soon as we pulled into the driveway it started it started to snow really hard and fast, so it was a snow cloud, of course. A rogue snow cloud.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Note to DS,

I am still only halfway through Anathem simply because much of my reading time lately has been in bed and Anathem lives downstairs. I am really enjoying it and want to point out two of my favorite lines so far:

"Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs. We have a protractor."


"That man behaves so much like the villian in a work of literature, it's almost funny."
"'s as if he'd never even heard of foreshadowing."

Cracked me up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Slippery Shirts

This post might look as if I am bragging about my sewing skills, but it's not. It's for my kids and my mom who aren't here in my house right now to see what I did.

Okay. It looks just like bragging. Here goes...

DH wears, to play racquetball and do work, a lot of what we call Slippery Shirts because we are a weird family and we make a lot of names for things. They are performance fabrics because they wick and stretch. I ordered some Power Dri from the mill that makes Polar Fleece fabric, and made a shirt for him based on his favorite shirt. Black is hard to photograph, but here's a picture of both shirts, the old one on the bottom and my new one on top.

Here's a picture of just the new one - it looks really good! The machines were great - I didn't use the sewing machine at all, just the serger and the coverstitch. I added the green at the inside back of the neck to keep it from stretching but it was an afterthought so it's not very neat. But the stitching is all really nice, I love that coverstitch machine. He can wear it to see how it feels, and now that I have learned so much from the last class I took, I can make any changes to it that he needs.
All right I'm finished. But it's not really bragging, it's just - - showing my skills!

Go ahead Mom - click on the picture so it's bigger and just look how nice that hem is!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A little reminder to fans - pomegranates are in season! Look at the amount of seeds that came from one the other night; they were delicious.

I found a really easy and clean way to peel them without staining everything in sight and picking up seeds from across the room.

  • Cut off the blossom end of the pomegranate, without cutting through the seeds.
  • Make 4 or 5 slices through the skin and into the white part, from nearly top to bottom.
  • Soak the pomegranate in a bowl of water, with enough water to cover it.
  • After 5 minutes of soaking, keeping the fruit under the water, pull away the peel at the cuts you made. The whole thing will come apart easily and most of the seeds will fall into the water. You can push the rest of them out while it's still under water. Drain, dry, and they'll stay fresh for a day or two covered and in the fridge.

Remember this recent blog picture of the woods right out the back door?
Same view, this morning. Lot of leaves down! Still looks inviting though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My weekend in pictures

Saturday morning I drove to a suburb of Baltimore and checked into this hotel where I met a few of my friends. We used get to the Baltimore Convention Center... which is in the Inner Harbor so we could attend this... which is a huge annual gathering of ... knitters! I met lots of nice people, a few authors, learned a few things, and bought some yarn. The next day my two friends left because they had been there for days and their time was up, but two other friends drove down from Delaware. I took the train by myself and met them in the city, then at the end of the day took the train back up to where I'd left my car and drove home. Missed a turn in the middle of horse country on the way home, but a quick call to my brother who is a whiz at helping me out when I'm lost, and I was back on my way.

I bought a few projects....
This hat, but not in those colors, for a baby gift. It looks like fun to knit and it's adorable. I bought yarn and a pattern for a sweater that I unfortunately cannot find a picture of to show you, because it's very new. I bought this book....
to help me design a sweater for DH. I also bought one of these Buddha buttons, the large one, for something as-yet-unplanned for myself because I thought it was just so cool looking.

I bought a few Christmas presents too, but, you know. Can't show em.

That's my story, it was fun to be with so many other women (and a few men!) who knit. Now I have to clean and get to work on a BIG project for school that I am very late on, and will take many many solid days of work, which I don't have, so it will take weeks overall. Yikes.

Friday, November 7, 2008