Monday, July 27, 2009

Second Anniversary

Today marks my second blogging anniversary; July 27, 2007 was the day. (Not much blogging right now, of course.)

My days are spent tending and doing. I enjoy nearly two hours a day to scamper about and visit my blogging friends and, if I am truly blessed, I have a little time to check out a new blog or follow all those wonderful links bloggers provide. If you've not visited the Garden Party or Where Bloggers Create, see the links in my sidebar. They were both wonderful events and I will be revisiting them from time to time.

Soooo, what to do this second anniversary? I think that I shall leave it at this and raise my glass of diet root beer and say to myself: Hang tough, little blogger, better days are coming.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can'ts and Won'ts



Another rainy day in the Northeast. It provides me with an object lesson and a way to check my attitude. Lately, I have found myself saying things like this: I can't take it anymore!

Can't (can not) often means won't (will not). Sometimes it is good to come to the place of will not. I will not accept this abuse any longer is a good choice. It's acceptable to say I can not lift that 200 pound weight if it is true. But many, many times my "can'ts" really mean my "won'ts" and it is not pleasing to the Lord or to me. (Probably isn't too pleasing to those who live with me either.) For example, I can't take time for prayer — I will not. I can't make time for me — I will not. I can't stand this rain another minute — I will not. What's the alternative? Go crazy? I think not. ;D

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Psalm 107:8 NKJV

Not "could" give thanks, but "would" give thanks. It is a choice, after all. So here I sit watching the rain pour and praying that the Holy Spirit will help me thank the Lord for His goodness. It's my choice.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Old Photos



So many have asked how I am doing what I am doing with special photo effects, etc. No doubt you remember my earlier feeble attempts at special effects. Now it is true that I am slow...very. But once I do learn something, I have great fun with it. No tutorials today, but I am going to share my three secrets with you so stay tuned for links.

This photo is one that I have shared before right *here* and like so many vintage photographs, it is damaged. Personally, I find great charm in that, but this young woman is my great-grandmother long since gone and so, nudged a bit yesterday by a visiting aunt, I wanted to see her entire countenance. A lovely one it is, too.

I'm sure that there are easier ways and I am no expert nor am I an artist, but by working back and forth between Paint and Photoshop and Big Huge Labs, I was able to recreate the missing eye and do some general tidying. Well, all that and a few hours tossed in. When Gram began floating up from the mists and I could see her beautiful unblemished eyes and face, I got quite choked up so guess that it was worth it. Seems important to me now living with an aged grandmother to remember that we were all young once upon a time.

With patience, one can have great fun with digital art projects like this photo of my younger self with my today self...



Oh dear lawd, maybe not!

As promised, my three secrets:

Secret 1

Secret 2

Secret 3 (Oops! My apologies! I sent you to the wrong post before, but this one will work better.)

A happy day to you! (If you decide to give this a try, please let me know. I'd love to see what you do.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sarah, Plain and Long



I inherited Sarah and the Christmas cactus along with my grandmother over the past two weeks. Sarah was actually the first to arrive. She's a Maine Coon mix...the lovely big paws and that ghastly long hair. (Yes, I have been having nightmares about cat hair swirling through the house.) She had been hanging out mostly alone at my parents' house and had become a right regular mess. Grooming is essential, of course, for a long-haired pet.

When I realized that I was about to be "it," I put out an urgent call to Sandi our own Crazy Cat Lady requesting help. She suggested that before I introduce two adult female cats that they present a calling card from one to the other. Yes, how shall I say this delicately...offerings back and forth between litter boxes. Oh dear heavens! Well, let's just say that one cat took it quite well (Sarah actually) and the other, my own dear little FiorΓ© did not. She tossed her "gift" right back out of the box with an "Eeek! I'm not taking any of that!"

Before you think that I had totally lost my mind, I want you to know that I did put my foot down about the condition of Sarah's mange...er, mane, her danged coat. It was matted beyond all belief and she wouldn't tolerate my touching her. So off she went to the vet's returning looking like a little lion. Kinda cute I thought and now I've been wondering why she wouldn't look cute that way forever.

I'd tell you how it all turned out in the end between FiorΓ© and Sarah, but we're still shuffling cats. They have met once in the crack beneath the bedroom door where Sarah was locked. I don't know what Sarah whispered to the whacked calico, but it must've been impressive since FiorΓ© landed back on the first floor without touching the steps.

Oh, by the way, did the pink lettering in the mosaic soften Sarah's image any? ;D

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Confused? Who Me?

Okay, I admit that in a mere two days I have a new appreciation for my mother. She took care of three...her mother, my father, and herself (plus two cats and a poodle). I only have to take care of my grandmother and myself. John, bless his beautiful heart, takes real good care of all of us. So I am the fortunate one.

Still, I confess to feeling confused from time to time. Living with the confused can do that to a person. ;> No one, however, is as confused as this crazy Christmas cactus of my mother's. It is living with me now, too, and is hanging out on the corner of the deck where Claudi/Emmy used to be. Have you ever seen a Christmas cactus bud in July?!



Oh, and just in case you thought the only newcomers were my grandmother and the cactus, wait until you hear about Sarah.

Have a pleasant weekend, Dear Ones!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Meeting HappyOne

She arrived with a comment on my blog on November 20, 2007 saying that she was going to try the mashed potato recipe and added this: I don't save my good china for special days anymore. Sometimes just an ordinary day is special. And that kind of thinking is what makes HappyOne such a delight. She takes joy in the simple things.

Back then she was writing a blog called Captain's Log. Today she writes Life is Good. Her husband Ken said that he was surprised, at first, by the popularity of a blog that is about the "ordinary" and went on to say that perhaps blogging is a way for us to know that we are all in this together. He's right, of course, and so we had some nice philosophical discussions about blogging, which I wished could've gone on longer. We even talked about many of you!

Despite Ken's assessment, I daresay that few of us walk six or seven miles every day or take pictures of fox, deer, geese or whatever wildlife happens to show up along the way; HappyOne does. And I love that I knew just what to take for her snack because she is dependable. Give the gal a dish of chocolate chip ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie and she's...you guessed it...happy! And she must know me pretty well also because she made me these yellow dishcloths. Thanks, HappyOne!



There they are!

We met at the Freedom House Cafe in Naples.

Yes, we ate, but forgot to take pictures. With all due apologies to the foodies out there, we decided to share our empty glasses.



Once we pinned Happyone down, we were able to play the Hokey Pokey.


How convenient that a dairy bar was right next door to the restaurant. Happyone couldn't have planned it better herself!
To quote the sign hanging above the mantel...We may have met as strangers, but such no longer be.

Happy Trails, Happyone and Ken. It was a blessing to meet you both. Enjoy a great time in Vacationland!
photos used by permission

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Homecoming Day


It's homecoming day for my grandmother. Wish that I had remembered to bake a cake. And I also wish that those red hot rockers sitting on that porch were mine. Maybe I'll have some extra time to post now that I'm not running every day to visit. Maybe. That's a definite maybe; we'll see how it goes. My motto remains: One day at a time.

I know that some have expressed curiosity and interest in our visit with Happyone and her beloved. Just waiting for final approval on photo selection. (That was my idea...final approval on photo selection that is. 8 } )

Create a Happy Day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Haven's Food Mosaic



Dear heavens this was labor intensive. My techie skills, even with vast amounts of help from Big Huge Labs, etc., are quite poor. After hours of fooling around, I finally have something that I like — food and lots of it.

There's a gal...when I find her again, I'll pop in her name...who always shares what each item in her collage is. I like that. I'm going to copy her. It's the sincerest form of flattery after all.
(She may be Olivia.)

First row left to right

1. Brown rice salad with day lily garnish

2. Big bowl of Cortlands

3. Blueberry clafouti

4. Basic Tollhouse cookies

5. Brin's skillet cookies

Second row left to right

1. Rhubarb bread

2. Valentine Tea

3. Homemade Pizza

4. An Italian

5. Rustic bread

Third row left to right

1. 4th of July breakfast

2. Bananas

3. Skillet Cinnamon Rolls

4. Crumble Top Apple Pie

5. Pastel M&Ms

You can find many of these recipes right in my recipe box on the sidebar. It's a two-step process, but it may prove worthwhile. You'll find the recipes highlighted in fun colors linked to their blogs of origin.

I think that I'll be baking something for my dear blogging friend Happyone because she's not going to be able to do a lot of baking while touring about in my corner. Surely she'll miss her favorite evening snack and this way I can help her out. I'm so excited to be meeting her and her husband Ken this week and, yes, of course, I'll tell you all about it!

Just click on the title of this post to be whisked away to Mary's Mosaic Monday. Enjoy your week...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Simple Saturday


I'm gonna get us some water outta this here thing...




Yup, I'm gonna get it done...here goes...




Phew! This is soooo labor intensive...

A note from Nonni: Yes! We've had sun...two entire days of sunshine. I'm beside myself with joy. I know it's tough on you Texans and on those from other points south right now with all the heat and humidity. It's just that up here in the tundra our summer is so short that we hate to give up over a month of it to rain every single day. Wish I could've sent you some cooling weather, though, I really do, and I know that you so wanted to send us some heat. I will pray for an end to the drought because I know that it's equally destructive. Our farmers will not be able to plant for another week because the fields are so wet. Please pray that they'll be able to get the rest of their crops in and that the hay will be able to be mown. Thanks!

Have a lovely weekend...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

*A Year Later and We're Still Here*

At six seconds after 4:05 p.m. yesterday afternoon the numbers in the time and date could be arranged so that it read 04:05:06 07/08/09. This sequence will not be repeated in this manner again this century. (source) Pretty special timing for my first wedding anniversary and Mary's thirtieth, don't you agree?

Yes, that was neat and all, but hardly what I was looking forward to. Our little camping trip was down the tubes because of the torrents of rain and the blast of cold Canadian air (yes, we blame all blasts of cold air on the poor Canadians). We stayed home and I fell into a deep, dark funk while John went off to work as per usual. Hrrrummmphhhfffttt...

So basically he and I spent a quiet, cool, rainy day. A rainy day is nothing unusual this summer. In fact, it is the norm. The flowers are waterlogged and beaten down. The slugs are having a heyday. The basement smells. The spirits sink even as the rivers rise.



It felt all so very

The sun did not shine
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold wet day.

I sat there with John
We sat there, we two.
And I said, "How I wish
We had something to do!"


from The Cat in the Hat with liberties

Besides playing footsies that is...



But to allow an anniversary to float by without taking special note of it? Not to honor nor cherish it? We do not fool ourselves, John and I, having come to this point in our lives and marrying each other well beyond our middle age. We understand a little what it means to number our days. Oh! Did I tell you that the second great-grand was born last week so now John has one of each...a little great-grandson and a little great-granddaughter? They are some kind of cute now let me tell you.

Okay, so we set off for Portland. This was John's choice; my head was empty. (I heard that!) Of course, I'm quite certain that John didn't know the following fact when we left...

"So far this month, every day has been warmer at Fairbanks, Alaska, than at Portland, Maine. Any time that happened in the past, it was colder in both places the following winter." (source)













Were you able to follow that story? We had a very tasty sirloin at Bugaboo Creek of talking moose fame. John had sweet potato fries and I had what I thought were going to be Ree's Crash potatoes, but, noooo, they were "smash" potatoes (just mashed) instead. The tastiest part of the meal was the baby back ribs. The best part was reminiscing about our first meal together at a steak house not so long ago.

We did shop at Borders and The Christmas Tree Shop and the day ended, as all good days do, with an ice cream cone at Giffords. You'll have to take my word for it as I forgot to get a picture.

Now after all this talk of rain, I want to show you the most amazing moon shot taken just two nights ago on the one good day of summer so far...



I still need to work on the composition, but isn't that a beautiful round moon?

Happy Thursday...hope it's sunny wherever you are!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chocolates?

Recently, my blog was described as "nuanced." Nuanced? Really? Is that a good thing? I do know this...it's an eclectic nightmare, a regular mess, a hodge-podge for certain. I do believe I hear Forrest Gump now...

Source

So I've got a few things to share and you really don't know what's gonna turn up. Feel free to hang on to the end or drop off whenever you get bored, 'kay? I promise not to be offended.

First up...have you seen the beautiful, exquisite, omigosh-I-have-never-seen- anything-quite-like-it photography at Down Abbie's Road? You must do yourself a favor and scamper on over there. It'll lift your spirits and make you smile. I promise. (And I don't even like peas.)

Nil Desperandum is one of my favorite expressions. It means never despair! I know that I've spoken of it before, but then it's because I think of it often. I'm thinking of it more often lately. Anyway, one of Brenda's favorite expressions is "Carpe Diem." Sieze the day. And she's written most eloquently about it *here*. You'll be blessed. Oh, yes, you will.



It's been raining here. And raining. And more rain. Drip, drip, pour, pour, flood- the-basement raining. This means that I must follow quiet pursuits and what's better than a cozy corner of the sofa to snuggle up and read an afternoon away? You see some of my reading stack above. Yes, I am reading all of them. Noooo, hahahahah, I have not yet learned how to read them all simultaneously. Silly people!

Do you see my darling Sandi's book The Crazy Cat Lady? It's so much fun to see it in print and to reread all of those favorite posts from Holding Patterns that I love. I have laughed all over again at cats streaking from the forest, Mac's embarrasment over teaching her semi-semaphore, and, oh my heck, what a riot about Evil Sister's antics. Say, and did I tell you that when I turned this book over and looked at the back cover I squealed? Squeeeeaaaaled just like this...eeeeeeeeeeeeeahhhhhhhhhoooooooo...wanna know why? Well, I'm not telling. Go ahead, call me mean.

A few days ago, Sandi posted this picture on her blog. It's from one of her book signings. I hate to gush so, but that's a book signing. This picture has a little something extra added — don't be creeped out — that shadow represents a pat on the back. Sandi, I'm so proud of you!



See that turquoise colored book back aways? That's one of my new favorites. We found it tossed on the heap of free books at the flea market two weeks ago. Talk about a God breeze. Thank you, Lord! It's titled You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought. I'm going to share just one thing that I have found to be a blessing. (There are many, but this post is getting long.)

I have a few truly disturbing memories. Ones that keep popping up when I least expect them. Sometimes they show up in dream form, but basically they are waking recollections of less-than-pleasant events. What do you do with them when they pop up from time to time? This book shares a technique that I have found very useful: watch the event happen on the screen of the mind just as you remember it. When the tape stops, take out a big black permanent marker and place a big black X over the memory. Then replay it as you'd like to have had it happen remembering that you're the star of the show and it's all about you and it can happen as you want.

I had nothing to lose so I tried it. And it really seemed to work for those painful childhood memories by removing the sting. But wouldn't you know that once you've learned something new, you'll have an opportunity to practice.

Within three days, I had received a nasty note from a family member. It made me want to cry. Instead, I reread it and then played it again on my memory screen. I put the big black X over the whole note and rewrote it in a loving way. Voila! It worked again. No stressing. No fretting. No reliving. I simply remembered doing it the "new" way.

Fine. Within just a few short days, I had yet another "event." My mother was being released from the hospital back to the Rehab Center. Her admitting nurse was checking her back in and going over things when she turned to me and said, "What's the matter with your face? You look so angry right now. Do you have a problem with me or with this facility? I mean it! Your face is saying a lot right now."

Well, I was taken aback as I wasn't aware that I was wearing an angry expression or giving off any vibes. I was, in fact, delighted to be moving my mother back to Rehab. I began to sputter that perhaps I was tired, but that I certainly wasn't angry. My mother piped up and said, "No, she's very happy to have me here."

Later I told John all about it and he suggested that I try my new trick. So I played that memory in my mind and when the tape ended I got out my permanent marker and slapped a big black mustache on that nurse's upper lip. Then I blacked out three of her teeth leaving nice gaping holes.

Okay, so I may need to practice a little more...

Create a wonderful week, my friends. Miss you all!

P.S. Have you read *THIS*? I know that I've already been political this week, but this seems like way too much Big Brother in Government for me and since it involves blogging and bloggers...