Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Yard Sailing

Today was beautiful.  Warm, sunny, just the kind of day it should be on the last of April.  It's hard to believe that May will begin tomorrow and the year is speeding by.  Spent the day with my gal pals for yard sailing and lunch.  Today's treasures were quite a few - including a plastic storage drawer cabinet made for crafts.  The big price was $3.00, but I'll have to spend quite a bit of time cleaning it up.  It's full of spider webs and dirt - obviously it languished for a long time in someone's garage.  The dirt is all on the surface, however, and will easily come off.  I was hoping it would fit underneath my craft table, but realized that the table leg cross bars angle down underneath and won't allow the cabinet to fit.  That's not a problem - I'll probably put it next to the table instead.  It has wheels and moves easily.  The top has indentations to hold small pieces that would otherwise roll off.  It's good.

I found several other craft room storage things that will come in handy.  Plastic boxes with many compartments and secure lids.  Several bottles for altered bottle art pieces,  a lap tray with folding legs that can be used in a chair or in bed.  I can't remember what else I picked up - things are still in my car.  Better go unload and wash the storage cabinet.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Generous Donors

I'm a pooped puppy tonight.  I went to the library today (where I volunteer weekly for the book sale) and could hardly believe the huge number of crates and boxes that had been donated and needed to be processed.  Holy cow!  Seemed like hundreds of books, and remarkably, they had most all been brought in by one patron, and were nearly all brand new or in nearly new condition.  Both hard back and paper back books, mostly fiction, along with a couple of boxes of VHS tapes.  Amazing.  I think sometimes people can't pass up buying new books the way I can't pass up a yard sale.  I dove into them and before I left, it was all put away and processed, date stamped, categorized, and alphabetized out on the sale shelves.  Many of the new books were held back to replace the library's copies when they get ratty, and it will save a lot of money in purchases.

In addition to paperbacks and hard backs, people donate VHS tapes, video DVD's, music CD's, magazines, and audio books - often times still unopened.  Even current software CD's.  All in all, it's good for the community to be able to get inexpensive library materials in hard times, it's recycling and good for the planet, and it brings in extra money to the library.  Everybody wins!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back to Craft Room Arranging

It's quiet in the house, and I'm going to write this post and then it's off to bed with "Girl with a Dragon Tattoo".  I spent the evening in the craft room rearranging storage boxes into a new arrangement to make the most use of space.  Recently I've been getting these storage boxes at Michael's.  They were all on sale, and they are really pretty.  I also received some from a friend for my birthday.  Some are pretty large.  I have them all set up and will put some outside labels on them so that I can store like things together.  This may take some time, but I think it will end up being a good system in the end.  Of course, I'm watching TV while doing this task, so it takes twice as long as it should.

I've decided that some stuff is going back down to the basement in tubs - specifically a large box full of yarn for starters.  I have some large plastic tubs that are great for storage, and we have a good, dry basement that will work out just fine 'til I want the yarn again.  I realized there is no reason I need to keep all my books, yarn, fabric, painting supplies, polymer clay, paper crafts, beading supplies, stamping, etc. all in the craft room if I'm not working with it at the moment.  I tend to go through cycles, just like the seasons, and everything will be there and easy to get to when I next want it.  That way I wont feel so crowded and overwhelmed in the craft room.   I'm liking this idea more and more as I think of what I can take downstairs.

Ming Poo was being mischievous tonight and jumped up onto our dish cabinet.  Once she gets up there she starts looking around to see if she can get to the next level up, and the only other thing was the nearby ceiling light fixture.  I grabbed my camera and got a couple of pictures before I reached up and lowered her down.  What a little hellion she is!  The last photo is another time when she jumped up on the mantle.  She's so adorable I can't stand it.  Don't you love the tongue sticking out in the first one?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Soggy Monday

Yes, it was pretty soggy after last night's tremendous thunderstorm, and it rained off and on through the day today.  We should be all caught up with any lagging behind in rainfall by now.

Today was Book Club lunch at Betty's house.  She put on a really nice lunch for all of us - appetizers, wine, French onion soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, and a dessert to die for - brownies a la mode with chocolate sauce and walnut sauce.  Wow!  As usual, we had a wonderful time.  It was so good to see everyone, since during the time since last month's Book Club, 2 of our members had some extremely serious family health issues - a heart attack for a son and a lung operation that nearly cost his life for a husband.  Both are recovering very well, and we are so glad!

Betty has a new dog - a chihuahua named Peek-a-Boo. She's going to be a real handful, I can tell.  Betty has another dog, a dachshund named Hans.   Heidi, the other old dachshund, died a couple of months ago, and poor little Hans misses her so much.  She's buried in the back of the yard, and somehow he knows that, even though he was nowhere around when she was buried.  But he goes up to her grave and sits there.  This little pip squeak is no Heidi, and he isn't at all pleased.  He's such a sweetie.  Tried to take these photos from across the room with my iPhone, so they're pretty bad, but you get the idea.  Peak-a-Boo has her own chair, as you see.  Betty is holding her in the first photo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea in a Thunderstorm

This was a good day.  To start, today is my birthday, and I have been celebrating for several days now.  My gifts from my hubby were a Photoshop Elements 8 software program and a Canon photo printer.  Hooray!   I'm a little disappointed because I wasn't able to load the disc today - some glitch with either the program or my computer, but I will be able to resolve it tomorrow on the phone with the tech support person.  I've wanted to get involved with Photoshop for several years, but just haven't until now.  My friend Cathy is a professional with Photoshop - she teaches it at the local college and has been after me to learn for a long time.  It will be a lot of fun, I'm sure, and she is a terrific instructor.  I know a tiny bit about it already, but there is so much to learn...

There is a deluge happening as we speak.  And just as I started this blog, there was a loud crack and lightening strike out in front.  It may have hit one of the trees in our yard.  Too dark to be able to see right now.  I really hope not.  We have some wonderful large trees in front of our house.

I'm drinking some delicious tea right now.  It's called Buccaneer SerendipiTea, and I was able to order it from  It's a favorite of mine and Sharon. The Buccaneer blend contains Fair Trade certified organic black tea, chocolate, coconut, vanilla and rooibos.  The toasted coconut is wonderful and the vanilla and chocolate flavors are delicious.  I'm having some Bolero Lemon Wafer Sticks with the tea - perfect!

Here's my dear friend Sharon having a cup of our favorite:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If It's Saturday, There Must Be Yard Sales

True enough, there were plenty, and the biggest was a flea market at Baugher's lot, where there were probably 75 vendors.  My friends and I arrived early, and shopped 'til we dropped.  Everyone always has something different in mind to look for, which is a good thing.  That way we aren't coveting each other's finds.  I find it hard when faced with tons of miscellaneous stuff to remember different "quests" and things I'm interested in finding.  Today I was looking for old vintage paper stuff  (found a deck of hand painted old style playing cards - the kind without the numbers for 50 cents), and things I can use in assemblage art  (found 2 shadow boxes, 2 cigar tins for 50 cents each and 4 clay molded "buttons" for $1.00.)   Two unopened boxes of 18 Christmas cards for 25 cents each will come in handy next year.  Didn't have any left after this Christmas.  A whole bunch of brass butterflies I can cut up for assemblages, $l.00.  A hand painted gardening bucket, gift for a gardening friend, for $5.00.  Jim's favorite thing, an 8-quart enamel porcelain painted pot.  Brand new in the box, $8.00.  A couple of small old pictures in frames for 50 cents each, a torch-cut metal bird for $1.00, and a cast iron letter opener for 25 cents.  Perhaps the most practical find today was a Totes umbrella for $1.00 that I planned to keep in my car, but which came in handy when it started to rain.  Quite a haul!

This is the 25 cent cast iron letter opener.  Intricate, isn't it?  Has a lot of heft.

These are the clay buttons I bought.  Not sure how I will use them, but they are really delicate and pretty.

Here's the enameled pot I bought. My husband loves it.  I think I will probably put it on the top of the cabinets, but will decide that tomorrow.  Hubby wants to use it for cooking.

It took me a long while to get into yard sailing, but after several years, I'm hooked!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Birdhouse!

Isn't this sweet?  I was given this birdhouse as a Volunteer Appreciation Gift at the local library where I volunteer.  It was hand painted by Heather Owings, the staff volunteer coordinator.  It also has been coated with a sealer so that it can be used outdoors without weather damage.  I think she did a lovely job.  Every one of the volunteers was given their selection from different styles and colors.  Just the perfect gift in the month of April.  I love it!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Library Day

Today was Volunteer Day at the Library, and I was surprised by a couple of thank you gifts that were specially made for every one of the volunteers.  There were hand painted bird houses in a multitude of designs and color selections.  The one I chose was green and violet with hand painted flowers all along the roof.  It's adorable!  In addition to that, there was a special packet of hummingbird-attracting flower seeds and a handwritten thank you card.  How nice!!

Tonight I have to finish a project I'm making for Cathy for her birthday tomorrow.  I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out.  It's an assemblage art bird made with various metal pieces in a shadow box.  First time I've ever tried anything like this.  Doesn't sound very good - I'll have to post a photo when I finish with it.  So I'd better get to it ...

Later ... So what do you think?  Do you like it?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Made a hair appointment for this afternoon, and it was good to get it cut - sure needed it.  My hair dresser and I still aren't on the same page, but it's better than it was the last time I went.  Somehow she has me pegged for an old lady style, and I have to fix it once I leave the shop.  I want to look as youthful as I can, as we all do, and she must see me as someone older.  But she's a nice lady, and a widow, and needs the money, yada, yada, yada ...

When I left there I stopped at Lowe's and bought some plants to put into the patio containers.  It will bring some nice color out there and brighten things up.  I planned to do some of that tomorrow, but Sharon called and reminded me that we have a Red Hat lunch tomorrow.  I hadn't forgotten about it, but I had it in my mind that it was next week, not this one.  Sigh ... hadn't really wanted to go to this one - a Western themed restaurant called Stables, but I'll go.  I enjoy getting together with the women in our chapter, which we've had for nearly 7 years, but I really don't like the dressing up in red hats and purple outfits.  That part of it is getting old, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.  For one thing, it makes stopping on the way back a conspicuous undertaking.  Nothing subtle about looking like a Senior Hooker.  So I suppose the potting soil will have to wait until another time.

Spent some time this evening with the photos I took on the trip to Florida.  I cropped, straightened, and edited almost all of them, but still didn't finish.  I deleted the ones that weren't good or were too similar, but I need to go back through them again and organize and eliminate some more.  The thing with digital cameras, at least for me, is that since I don't need to worry about having them developed, I can take as many as I like, willy nilly, and deal with them all later on.  I must remember to be more discriminating - at least when in the "cutting room."  This photo was taken at the Lion Safari Park on our Florida vacation in March.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A New Week

Another beautiful spring day here!  One of the large azalea bushes in back is in full bloom with beautiful lavender flowers.  The smaller azaleas are also blooming, surrounding the house on the hilltop.  This is the best time of year.  All is fresh and green and in bloom, and the bugs and weeds aren't out yet.

I spent time this afternoon with my sewing machine making a couple of scrap pieced projects.  One is a bookmark, the other a potholder.  I think they both came out pretty well.  Not perfect, but nearly so.  I have to keep reminding myself that handmade items aren't going to be perfect, because they are handmade.   Anyway, they are gifts for a friend for her birthday, and I still have one thing left to make for her - by Friday.  Click on the bookmark to enlarge it.  Check out the little kitty peeking through at the bottom.  Cute, huh?

Our kitties have been clingy today.  I think it's because they missed us.  It's nice to be loved ...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm Back!

We arrived home late this afternoon after a weekend in New England.  Rhode Island, actually.  Jim's brother Alan is celebrating his 70th birthday this week, and he was given a surprise party by his daughter Joni and husband Bob.   It was a really lovely party for 36 people.  Joni is a gourmet cook, self taught, who cooks from scratch without recipes.  Her food rivals the best restaurants, easily.  She has a natural gift.  We enjoyed seeing people we haven't seen in years and new people we hadn't met before.  All in all, a happy event.  

It was a full day's drive each way, but not too bad since we shared the driving.  I'm looking forward to getting back into my normal routine tomorrow.   This is a photo of the 2 greyhounds Joni and Bob own, Charles (Chubbs) and Cyrus.  Very sweet and gentle retired racing dogs.  These are very pampered pooches.  They even had a hired dog nanny the evening of the party to look after them and keep them from eating the food and bothering the guests.  A very good idea, actually!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Family Connections

Woke up to a phone call from daughter Cindy this morning, and Jim and I were on the phone with her for about an hour and a half.  Lots happening in their world in Greenfield, as well as with our granddaughter Hannah who is in Egypt on a college course through UMass.  Cindy and the family were on Skype with her early this morning, where it was noon in Egypt.  That's a whole 'nuther post, which I will do later on.  Right now I need to get ready to do my job at the library.  Usually that's on Thursday, but we are leaving tomorrow morning for a party in Rhode Island for Jim's brother, who is turning 70.  We'll be back by Sunday, so it will be another quick visit.  A long bit of driving, which I will also help with.  Jim's had a sore muscle in his thigh since pulling it on our trip to Florida, so a long drive will probably be uncomfortable for him.

I'm starting to ramble, so I'll quit for now.  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Obsessing Over "Stuff"

I'm fortunate enough to have a whole room of my own for all my crafts, sewing, books in two bookcases, with a nice wall unit to house things and even a small closet.  There is a six foot work table, a glider chair and foot stool, and a TV.  A toy chest full of yarn, and a sewing machine set on a small table.  Perfect, right? It should be, but it's out of control.  If I had only one hobby, even two, it would be fine.  My problem, as it always is, is that I have too many arts and craft interests, including watercolor painting, jewelry making, knitting, sewing, and paper crafting.  I just spent the whole evening trying to put things away, organizing, condensing, sorting, and it's still not finished.   I may have to take drastic measures and actually eliminate cut back on some things.  We shall see.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Master's

Today was the final day of the Master's Golf Tournament, and I'm so delighted that Phil Mickelson won.  He's such a nice, genuine man.  A real family man, humble, and he so obviously loves his wife, Amy, who is battling breast cancer.  A really nice family.  Hubby is a golf fan, and Mickelson is perhaps his favorite player.  We used to live in San Diego, and the Mickelsons lived there as well.  Jim was there buying his Tundra pickup truck, and Phil Mickelson and his wife were also there.  Phil was buying a vehicle for his in-laws, and Jim exchanged a few words with him.  Ever since then, Jim feels a certain connection to Phil, and he always pulls for him when he plays.  Good job, Phil!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday - Sailing and the Peep Show

Well, this was a fantastic day.  Started bright and early with my yard sailing buddies, and scored very well. I still have the day's loot in my car.  I'll get it out when I post this blog.  Had a really fun day, the weather was very good - although pretty cool early on - and afterwards we stopped and had lunch at a local country style restaurant.  Nothing fancy, just good food.

When we left the restaurant we went to the Carroll Arts Center to see The 3rd Annual Peep Show.  It's an art exhibition where entries are made up of marshmallow Peeps, with tongue in cheek titles to them.  The winners in various categories are presented with funny trophies sporting Peeps.  I didn't have my camera with me at the time, so my friend sent me the photos she had taken with her iPhone.  A few of my favorites were The Lion Peeps Tonight,  Pepperoni Peepza, and Chick Magnet.  The photos I've included are really good.  The first is called The Peepidents, and you can see Abe Lincoln on the left, FDR in the wheel chair, Nixon with the V for victory signs on the right, and the brown one behind the desk - Obama!   I don't know the others, but I think it's wonderful.   The second one is called Peeping Tom, and the woman in the window is nude.  Enjoy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Disoriented Birds

The weekend is here, and it's another beautiful day.  I just love spring here in Maryland.  It's greening up all over, and makes me happy.

For some reason, this spring we have had quite a few birds fly into our family room windows, with fatal consequences.  I feel so bad when this happens, and it's happened about 6 times in the past few months.  It's not a picture window - there are 9 panes between each of the windows, and yet for some reason the birds whack into them and break their necks.  Yesterday it was a male cardinal.  So sad.  We have lots of birds in our back yard beyond the patio.  That's where the feeders are and lots of trees and plants and the waterfall, and there are always a lot of birds enjoying everything.  I wonder if there is a glare from the sun that disorients them.  Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do if they are going to aim at the house.  Poor little things.

Going to a friend's house today for crafting.  We've been working on making journals or small books, embellished with various things.  It's fun, and I'm very impressed with the talents of my friends.  Tomorrow we'll be yard sailing, our favorite weekly sport.  We've always got a quest in mind, and you'd be surprised at how well we do.  Very fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In My Dreams

Another disturbing dream ... a red rock barren mountainside, Colorado? ... lit up by the sun shining full on its face... a huge explosion, a giant fire ball, followed by animals running down the steep incline.  Deer, sheep.  A wild horse with glowing red hoofs, flaming hot.  He came to me for help.  I pointed him toward the lake, and he ran in to cool his burning feet.  When he came out, he came up to me in thanks, head bowed, then ran off... A pair of Asian children dropped off to be looked after by the firemen.  I floated on my back in the water with the boy, who wanted to hear a story.  I told him one.  People eating a strange, colorful meal with chopsticks.

What does it all mean?  Beautiful, evocative, yet fierce and confusing.  Am I going mad?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Figuring our Taxes

I'm drowning in paperwork.  Have been doing our taxes all evening, and after tallying up tons of medical receipts for doctors, prescriptions, hospital bills, medical tests, premiums, vision care, travel and parking, TurboTax says, sorry, still not enough to qualify for a deduction.  It has to exceed 7.5% of our adjusted gross income.  Phooey!  I'm going to bed.

Do you like my new signature?  Finally figured out how to make it work!

Blue Wednesday

I woke up this morning after a dream that made me sad.  I can't believe how my mood is affected by that dream.  I had failed in the dream - went to class without having done the required assignment, and embarrassed myself, disappointed the instructor, and ruined my previous A grade.  I didn't pass the class, and wouldn't be going along with the other students to the next class; wouldn't be seeing them again.  A real downer, and completely my fault for not doing the work.  Sigh ...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is this August?

What an amazing day.  The temperature was just short of 90°, and it's still in the 80's at 8:00.  It seemed like a good day to use the grill, so I made burgers for dinner.  They were good, and we froze the rest of the meat for future use.

The husband of one of my close friends is in the hospital following surgery to have a part of his lung removed.  There was a cancerous mass in the upper lobe that had to be taken out.  It turned out to be a bigger problem than they thought it would be.  The other lung collapsed, but that was taken care of.  The surgery took 6 hours and my friend heard nothing until it was over.  He came through surgery and was given a private room, but since then he's back in ICU and on a ventilator again.  It's hard to get information, and we all feel out of the loop.  I am really concerned about them and hope and pray all goes well.  Such a sweet couple.  

Monday, April 5, 2010


Another beautiful spring day.  Love it, love it, love it!  We had an appointment and other things to do today, but I would have liked to have picked up some plants.  Maybe tomorrow, since I'll be going into town.  Our patio definitely needs some color.

I need to get back to doing our taxes.  I'm probably half way through with them.  Time is getting away from me, so I need to get cracking.  Yikes!

Here's an early picture of Ming Poo.  The picture next to her says: "Cats are children, only with fur." At a later date, she knocked it off and broke the glass.  We always forgive her!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

What a beautiful day it is here in Maryland.  Perfect!  I hope everyone is having a good day.

Spoke to many family members on the phone today, and it was good to connect.   My mother is pleasant and cheerful, but she has had Alzheimer's disease for several years now, and it's difficult to carry on a conversation with her.  She is in Ohio.  She forgets what has been said within several seconds, and repeatedly asks the same thing over and over again.  It's sad.  She will be 91 years old this month, on my 64th birthday.  I've always thought it special that our birthdays are on the same day.  She overall health is remarkably good, except for her mind.  The other thing is that she can't walk more than a few feet without becoming totally exhausted.  She has no strength, and lays in her bed all day.  Other than walking the few yards from her room to the dining room, she can't walk at all, and is nearly bent over double over her walker when she does.   I could never have imagined years ago that she would come to this point in her life.  She would have been totally appalled.  Of course, I can't help but be concerned that the same may be in store for me.  I pray it isn't.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How Easter Eggs are Made

Sorry, but I couldn't resist!  This cracks me up.

A lovely day here, must hurry up and get outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.  I want to get out and do a little gardening - well, clean up is more the thing.  And there's a lot to do.  We have a woods starting just off the patio, and therefore always a lot of leaf debris.  So I'd better get busy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Yesterday was a gorgeous spring day, and today looks like it's going to be a repeat performance.   Easter weekend is here.  The trees are blooming in their spring pastels, and it looks like the grass could soon use some mowing.  I picked some hyacinths the other day, and every time I pass them, I get a whiff of that wonderful fragrance.

The Hubby is really struggling with his head cold.  It's hit him quite hard, and he says he probably won't go to the kids house for Easter dinner on Sunday.  He doesn't want to pass the cold along to all the relatives who will be gathered, including the 4 children, so we will probably stay home together.  I don't want him to be alone.

I have plans this morning to meet friends for a trip to the Arts Center and then lunch.  It should be fun.  We went there last year for this event - a charity event put on by the Seniors.  I should stop now and get ready to go.  Perhaps more later ...  This photo was taken at the Philadelphia Flower Show this spring.