Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Small Chew

Voting is brisk in my community today. The polls opened at nine this morning; John wanted to be there by 9:30. I didn't want to go alone so tagged along with him.  You never know whom you'll see so I was busily getting ready so that I could pass muster. The last thing I did was to grab a half stick of gum to chew... discreetly, of course. Good thing, because I ran into many people I know and hugged and chatted with them. Really, voting places should serve coffee and donuts and set out tables and chairs. ;>

When we got home, I told John to stand by the deck so as to take a picture of the ubiquitous "I Voted" sticker. Instead I sneezed. Violently. Without a chance to cover or even stop, drop, and roll. (Say, have you seen the proper way to sneeze? It's well worth the watching at Colleen's Main Street Memories. Anything to not spread cold and flu germs this season!)




So this is a picture of John looking for the wad of gum.

What are the chances of finding it in all those pebbles? We both looked and looked. Nothing. I knew that it was going to wind up on someone's shoe.

I gave up and took this nice picture of the "I Voted Today" sign over the top of a clipper ship emblem on
John's jacket.

Then he insisted on taking my jacket from me...it's 34F this morning...and slinging it over his wrist.


Two votes!


And a wad of gum stuck to my jacket. I am not much impressed by wads of gum so I have altered this photo.  

And that's our voting story for the day. It was well worth having to park in the back acre behind the town hall in the mud to have the opportunity. (I do love a prepositional phrase.)

Happy Voting out there!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vote Smart and Giving Thanks Challenge

Oh I am so excited about voting tomorrow. More excited than I have been in a decade. I found a great little tool online that helped me figure out some of my choices. It's called *Vote Smart.* It allows you to answer questions on a variety of topics and find the candidate who thinks most like you. That is how I vote. I am not molding my opinion to match the candidates' opinions; I am looking for the one who best agrees with me.

I found this post via Mosaic Monday. It's called *Why Women Should Vote.* It is a powerful reminder of the not so long ago days when women in this country didn't have the right to vote. Did you know that ____? No, I will resist the urge to fill in the blank. Please read it for yourself and you'll be very glad that you did. Rett at The Gazebo House did a wonderful bit of gathering for this one.
~*~*~*~*~*~

In other news, Leah at South Breeze Farm is once again hosting her *Giving Thanks Challenge.* You can check it out here or on my sidebar. I will be posting a daily gratitude for every day of November right in my sidebar. (Then I'll be saving it and placing it somewhere on my blog to remember by.) I have tried to participate every year, though I missed last year because of the broken computer. (I'm beginning to sound like a broken record mentioning a broken computer twice in succession.) So it's obvious that I am grateful for a new computer and I'm grateful that my beloved pays the bill for access.

My goal is to put serious thought into this challenge and to be intentional. I will not be listing the obvious: my God, my faith, my family, my love of country, my love of friends, my home, my cat, my clothes, my car, my possessions, etc. This could get interesting! I know that Leah would love to have you join us and so I'm inviting one and all to participate. Let's get our "giving thanks" groove going!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Evening~Mosaic Monday

Image will enlarge

We had ourselves some entertainment this evening when the Train Conductor and Buzz Lightyear arrived. Darling Daughter/Auntie had set up a little Bobbing for Donuts game. While Buzz Lightyear played a merry tune on the piano, Mr. Train Conductor figured out exactly how to eat a donut.

Please visit *Mary at Little Red House* for more mosaics. I'll be looking for some flowers myself. ;>

This Halloween Thing

This Halloween thing... I have skated about it for the three years that I've been blogging. Last year, I really skated since my computer was kaput and I blogged by using the library's computers.

Library in Autumn

The first year, I opined that it was too bad to have October end this way. I have always hated to have October end this way. Another year, I shared photos of the grands in costume. I had a Thomas the Train and a pirate that year. This year, I'll have a conductor and I don't know what.

My own children did not participate in Halloween activities, though we tried to provide fun alternatives. My grands do. If I had my druthers...but that's one of the things I have learned as a grandmother, I don't.

So I am conflicted. I don't enjoy Halloween or any of its pursuits. I adore my grandchildren. They will be visiting the nursing home where their great-great grandmother resides and I am certain that they'll bring a smile or two. The residents enjoy seeing the little ones in their costumes and participating in giving candy.

Still the basis of this "holiday" resides in the dark side. Okay, I'm changing that for my own thinking this year...it's All Saints' Eve and that is how I shall view it. I'll be thinking about lovely things today...

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. ~Philippians 4:8 The Message

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Little War

We're having one at my house ... every night at 6:30 when the evening news comes on. I don't want to watch; John does. So far, John is winning. Yup, let's see, we've been married nearly 28 months. That means the score is 365×2+120 give or take a few: 850 to zip? Does that seem fair to you?

To make it worse, he insists on watching a b c. Get that news anchor in mind. I'm not going to mention any names, but could she please select a more flattering fake eyelash or two? I've never seen anyone's eyelids droop more even after an all-night bender. (Okay, no, I have not really seen anyone after an all-night bender, but I have seen movies... )
Maybe things will improve after the election. I'd really rather listen to WLS Chicago from 6:00 to 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00. Any fine day.

~*~*~*~*~*~


We've still got some lovely color in spots. Yesterday, I took my mother to get her license renewed and there we saw these beautifully colored bushes and trees. I just love the color combinations.

Mother took me out for lunch to Tim Horton's. We got so excited to see Canadian Maple donuts offered again. Noooo, that's not all we had, but I did eat half of my donut first. Hey! Life is short. Mother had the chili; I had the BLT on wheat and a cup of coffee with the remaining half of my donut for dessert. She even brought two donuts home to John. He had a pumpkin spice and a Canadian Maple. He said that if he had eaten the Canadian Maple first, he would've been very disappointed with the pumpkin spice, which he thought was very good until...

Do you have a Tim Horton's in your corner? If not, what's your favorite stop for coffee and donuts?

Have a fun weekend and be safe out there...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Vee's Friends and Favorite Blogs

I have two blogs. Surprised? One is A Haven...; the other is Vee's Friends and Favorite Blogs where I showcase blogs that I enjoy. Just in case you've never stepped past that gate, I thought I'd mention it. You can find it in my sidebar, but I'm just now realizing that few people look at sidebars anymore. I seldom do these days myself, but I remember when I used to do so all the time. That's where I found the really good stuff.

The question of the day is this: do you read blog sidebars?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thank you

A big thank you to all nine who have commented since Monday. :D

I do appreciate each and every comment that I've received. This blogging issue has annoyed me so much that it was time to just let it go and be done with it so I deleted all posts since Monday. Phew. Like water off a duck... Quack.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Along the Ridge~Mosaic Monday

image will enlarge

Hopefully, I can be forgiven for sharing nothing but autumnal scenes in the past few weeks. Though we are a week past peak foliage, it's still a beautiful world out there. These photos were taken on a hill named M*egquier overlooking a lake to the east and the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the west. (There's one lonely photo of Mt. Washington to the right just above the church.)

How's the view in your corner? Don't worry, I'll be visiting to find out!

For more mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House.

Walk In It


Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Have a blessed Sunday and a blessed week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If I Could Save Time in a Bottle

If I could make days last forever,

If words could make wishes come true

I'd save every day like a treasure and then,

Again, I would spend them with you

~Jim Croce



This is an idea found somewhere in a stack of old magazines that my sister gave me when she departed the state a few weeks ago. It could be from Country Living or from Downeast Magazine. I'm sorry that I can not find the article to give proper credit. Nevertheless, it was such a simple idea and one that I could easily employ and since my sister was heading  out...again...I found it meaningful to place the little photo I have of the two of us taken one Easter Sunday morning fifty a few years ago. All one has to do is print off a copy of a vintage favorite photograph and place in an old bottle by rolling the photo into a cigarette cylindrical shape and popping it down the bottle neck. It's all very poignant somehow... ;>

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank You for the Thank You

Have you ever received a thank you that was so sweet that you felt like offering a thank you for the thank you? I did this week and I'm going to share it with you. My Aunt Ess is a talented gal who loves to make her own cards; she sent me a thank you that included the following recipe. I've asked for permission to share it and, though she's responded, she didn't give me permission. In this case, I'll go ahead and request forgiveness later. (I hope that it's not one of the secret family recipes.)





Think that I'll plan an autumn tea as soon as these are out of the oven... Perhaps it'll be more blog fodder... Perhaps I can trick my mother into it... Perhaps...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Pretty Little Clutch of Trees





Comments are closed because I'm not really here... Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What I Put the Poor Man Through


Everything around here, just as Suzanne once told me it would be, is blog fodder. And, when we don't have any blog fodder, we make some up. I had been taking photos of the ravine when I realized that a large chunk of birch bark had fallen and I wanted it. So I suggested to John that he might love to go fetch it for me and that we'd turn it into blog fodder.

Now I'm telling you the truth. Nothing is staged around here. No, really, nothing.


Red=Vee
Blue=He

1 Hon, please put your pant leg down over your boot.
2 Could you roll up both sleeves?
3 Oh be careful!
4 Those leaves are slippery!
5 Oh watch out!
6 Don't get your boots wet!
7 Listen a minute...Don't walk across on that slippery log!
8 Are you serious? Would you prefer me to walk through the stream?

Let's take a closer look at #8 shall we?



9 The log is slippery!
10 You reached for the birch bark too fast!
11 Put it back!
12 Put it back? Okayyyyy...
13 Got it!


The prize on the left and the real prize on the right and I don't mean the corn cob!

So which kind of gal are you? The one who asks someone to do it for her or the one who does it for herself? Would your hubby do this for you?

(I know! I'm here, but this was already in the can. Now I'm really going to play one, two, skip a few, three, four, skip some more...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Working; I'm Broken

Good heavens! The things that I am willing to put up with. I've had T*ime W*arner for over two years now and things have never been top notch. Come to find out, the service was not properly installed from the beginning. An inferior something or other was used and it caused the service to freeze repeatedly. At first, I thought it was my old computer, but no. This inferior part may have actually hastened its demise. Then the new computer had troubles, then the modem was replaced, but nothing completely solved the problem. Sometimes you get a good techie and sometimes you don't. Yesterday, we finally did. He said, "You pay good money for this service. Don't ever hesitate to ask for help when you need it." Apparently, I am a dolt. And, apparently, I  have had trouble with this all my life. Why do I always assume, no matter what it is, that it is my fault? Yes, I'm going to lie right down on the sofa and have you offer up suggestions. I can't afford real therapy. :D

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I haven't missed blogging so much so I'm going to keep right on doing what I was doing while the computer was out. I'll catch you when I start to miss the blogging experience again. Could be later this afternoon...could be next week...

Create yourself a delightful day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn Dreams~Mosaic Monday


The leaves in my corner are past peak and, after the Nor'easter last Friday, many have been lost prematurely. I'm still taking a lot of pictures before it all fades to brown because, no matter what's been said in the past week, this is my favorite season.


A brief explanation:

1. Playing with layers and gradients in Photoshop
2. A ladybug in her orange phase just before turning red
3. A Ground Bouquet...I'm taking lots of photos of these as I'm always amazed by how artfully the leaves land (No, I do not rearrange them.)
4. A large piece of birch bark, which will feature prominently in tomorrow's "failed" mosaic (maybe...depends on crazy modem)
5. A birthday bubble balancing on top of the fence post

Please visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics!



(Concerning computer woes — another visit from the techies tomorrow. The service is sporadic at best, but I will be visiting as it allows.)





Saturday, October 16, 2010

Troubles

The Nor'easter ripped through and wiped out my internet connection. (I'm posting from my son's computer.) So, until my connection is up and at'em, it's over and out for me.

The good news is, according to this morning's political cartoon, the wind blew away a lot of political signs. :D

Hope to see you soon; behave yourselves now...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seasons and Changes

Funny how two people can look at the very same thing and see it so differently. My daughter-in-law and I were discussing October last weekend and she said, "I hate autumn. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it." Hate is such strong word so I asked her why. Her answer: Everything is dying. My flowers are dying. The leaves are dying. The grass is dying. The birds are leaving. Everything is going away. And there's nothing good coming for a long time. 

Gosh, and here I thought that autumn was my favorite season — always have, but when it's put that way.

There's a storm coming our way. It'll rip a lot more leaves from the trees and we'll be left with a starkness not seen since last year. Good thing I know that, even though winter will come, spring will follow and this ages-old cycle will continue long past my time on this earth. We can count on a few things, after all.

I'm counting on the season in my own life to pass. I've had enough of it quite frankly. I'm looking forward to some changes and soon. It feels as if a winter of unrest, lack, and chill has been around far too long. Yes, it is time for a change.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.


~ Anne Lamott

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Open Letter to Bloggers

Dear Friend Who Blogs,

Have you seen some of the new features that Blogger is offering? One that I really like is "Popular Posts" under "Add a Gadget." There are a lot of options for it and I prefer it to the "You might also like" that mixes up posts beneath each entry so that you never know what's going to be displayed. Sometimes, what was displayed was something that I'd just as soon have had remain buried in the archives.
 
Have you also seen that Blogger has a new spam detector? You can read more about it on your dashboard or *here,* but I am very pleased with it. As one who has had some trouble with spammers, I know how miserable it can be. I'm announcing something pretty harsh: although my visits to blogs that have word verifications and moderated comments will not diminish, my comments there will. I'm sorry that it has come to this, but I visit nearly two hundred blogs a day. Two hundred! You can see why I need to regain some of my time. And, in fact, I am very soon going to be dividing my blog roll between those who do and those who don't (use word verifications and moderated comments, Silly Girl!). Again, my apologies, it's a time thing. I understand if you've found moderation/verification necessary either because of spammers or because of unkind commenters...wish it didn't have to be this way.
 
There are ways that we can be more friendly to fellow bloggers: 1. finding the proper balance in blog decor 2. trying to be aware of load time by using the tool *Stopwatch*  3. trying a variety of picture sizes 4. selecting the least obstructive way for commenters to comment.

Some are things that I am not willing to do. Some are things that I am perfectly willing to do. We all find the balance somewhere. We will never please everyone. Do you have something that you'd like to suggest? I know that playlists are often on the topic. I love them sometimes and not so much other times. It's a personal preference issue, but when I notice that numbers are dropping or comments are dropping, it is time to see what might be the cause or if it is just the normal ebb and flow.
 
Here's to better blogging and happy blogging and a link to a post that suggests what that is.

Edited to Add: A Day Later and...

I feel as if I should explain some things:

1. I have an addictive personality. If I were not so smitten with blogs, it'd be something else. Just so no one feels sorry for me and all the time I spend cruising. Way too much time, I admit.

2. Sometimes I say that I would love to return to the days when I blogged for myself. I didn't blog for my family because they are addictive personalities as well and would become too involved in the one thing that I reserved for myself. Then a commenter showed up and "ruined" the whole thing. :D  Please don't misunderstand, an entirely new world of community showed up for me that day. I immediately began to feel less isolated. That's a good thing. Very.

3. What I've written here is not meant to point a finger at anyone or single any blog out. No! Heaven's no! I love to visit all the blogs that I visit and I love to comment. I've just run out of time to jump those commenting hoops that some have found necessary. And I understand...I do; hope that you will, too.

4. Some walk; some read; some clean; some craft; some lose themselves in work; some do this; some do that. I blog and read blogs. It's an illness.

Thank you all so much for your feedback. I find it invaluable.

Off to become addicted to scrubbing a few windows...

Create a great Wednesday!
 
 

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Weekend Birthday and Fun


My daughter celebrated her birthday with us over the weekend. There's nothing that she enjoys much more than playing with her nephews and her brother. I captured some of it from the warmth of my dining room. Good thing I wasn't practicing photo quality as I would've missed some good things.

I can now properly thank Penny at The Comforts of Home for the $50 gift certificate I won there recently. How timely as one of my choices was Anthropologie, which just so happens to be one of my daughter's favorite places. I was able to pass along that blessing for part of her birthday gift. Yay! When she makes her selection, I hope to share it with you.

Edited to Add: Shoot! I was trying to postdate, but I obviously don't know the difference between 12:25 am and 12:25 pm. Oh well!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

There's Something for Everyone at the Fair~Mosaic Monday

John and I had a pretty good time at the  F*ryeburg Fair last Friday. I've talked about this premier fair of M*aine before right *here.*  There was a lot about food on that post and one photo because I didn't take my camera that year. This year John said, "The food doesn't smell as good as it did thirty years ago." Correct! This year it smelled like heartburn and a tummy ache. ;>

All mosaics will enlarge

The end of a lovely and exhausting day...

Visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics. It's always fun!

The Lord Delivereth out of Them All



Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Experimenting with the Camera

Thanks to 31 Days of Autumn Bliss (see sidebar button) and Life With My 3 Boybarians, I now have an entire folder labeled "Experiment" where each picture is labeled with information to include aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. I've learned a few things; whether the photography improves remains to be seen.

If you've ever wondered about such things, visit Darcy and see what a good teacher she is! Although she puts the instruction booklet to shame, she does want you to read your instruction booklet. She's doing a daily post on photography for the month of October so check it out. *Here's* where she began.

Here are a few of my experiments... (I'm not going to bore you with the strange names.)

But I will tell you what I did with this shot — it's on an aperture of F8, which makes the front cactus leaves out of focus while making the picture of the little house in focus. I'll leave it to Darcy to tell you why with her excellent Depth of Field lesson.



This photo was taken on an F 2.7 setting. (One thing I quickly learned was that I have a middle of the road camera. Not the best and not the worst. It doesn't have all the settings that Darcy's does. Noooo, I am not one bit jealous. Noooo, not at all. :D ) And, while I didn't get that bokeh effect, I do like the way the nearer objects are in focus and the forest (seen through the deck spindles) is somewhat out of focus. Bokeh is a delightful thing and I want to achieve it more often. I find it entirely magical.


Still working on bokeh with this shot of the fuschias and getting a bit...I love that one drop of water on the bud and the little sparkle of green in the out-of-focus left bottom corner. So, if this shows the nearer objects in focus, I was using F2.7. And if I crop this, I can use it for a header next summer!




Here's another taken from my chair and out the window (and screen) taken at the opposite end of aperture — F8. This is where the nearer objects are out of focus and the farther away ones are in focus. In this case, kinda. (John tells me that the barn to the right and above the fence is about 650 feet away. The fence is about 22 feet away.)
One more because it is so autumnal with its coppers... This is also on an F2.7 for a close-up shot. I almost feel as if I could read that newspaper scrap.

Thank you for visiting today. I want to wish all my Canadian readers a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends!

(I'm really away today, but more about that later.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Pie


The apple pie looked good enough, except for the fact that I carved a cherry on top instead of an apple, but that's nothing, right? However, when John cut into it, there was nothing but air. Something went awry — perhaps my apple choice. I usually use Cortlands for apple pie and this time I thought I could get away with Macs. Oh well. Next year! (Hope that John doesn't read this or he may keel over.) Yeah, well, that's how much I love making apple pies.

This all reminds me of last week when I made my famous chicken casserole. It took several bites before I realized what was wrong. It was my famous chicken casserole minus the chicken! How does one forget the chicken? Guess that I've been a bit preoccupied.

If you'd like either recipe (as if you would after all this), you can find them in my sidebar somewhere. It'll be a bit like playing leapfrog, but that's a fun game, eh?

This post makes me feel like composing an Irish blessing...

May your pie be filled with apples
May your casserole be filled with chicken
And when it comes to fightin' the devil
May you not take a lickin'


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Piano Topper, etc.

Well now, you are so sweet to say such nice things about the hair. My mother was away yesterday so she saw it for the first time this morning. She said that it looked too messy for her tastes (yes, I had combed and coiffed) and something about how cute my niece's haircut is. Perhaps there's something in the water here that is making us testy.

It's a rainy, chilly day. I'm planning to bake later this afternoon. John's been promised an apple pie for weeks. But first, my mother and I have one of those assessment meetings about Nan. I am praying that something will be resolved once and for all. Monday, my mother and I found a home that would be okay even though it is over thirty miles up the road. We'll just have to wait and see. This waiting is so difficult; being in limbo is so difficult; always wondering is difficult. Have you been wondering about anything lately?

Obviously, I've been hanging out at *Aunt Amelia's* a lot because when my daughter gave me this mantel topper that I promptly slapped on the piano, I felt right at home with it.


My daughter is so funny sometimes. She arrived on Sunday with a bag of things given to her through the years by various members of the family saying, "This is so you and so not me." Needless to say, I loved it!

Just popping in one of our favorite piano players around here. He's been staying with me one morning a week while his big brother plays soccer. It is too challenging for him to sit on the sidelines and watch so he darts out onto the field to play, too. His parents were getting quite exasperated as were the coaches.
  

Now he stays home with me playing the piano and talking on the phone. He always answers this way, "Hello, Yes, I understand, Goodbye."




And, on that note, yes, I understand, goodbye...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple Orchard Day

Saturday was such a beautiful day. Sunny and with just enough chill in the air to let us know that it was October and not August. Nearly perfection. That's why John's grinning. Trust me, I'm wearing a grin, too. It's only that I haven't got the whole "he's a lot taller than I am" thing worked out for photo taking. It's okay. My hair was a fright.

John and I were picking apples in the orchard where I began my career as an apple picker. "Apple picker" is much too lofty a job description for I was a drop picker at first. After a while, I learned all about placing ladders, climbing them, picking the apples, which is more like rolling them, and then climbing down without bruising the apples in the heavy canvas bag at my middle with the straps worn over my shoulders. The bag had a folded-up bottom that allowed me to loosen two straps and gently release the apples into the bushel box. On a good day, a very good day, I could pick 20 bushels. My mother could pick 100 bushels plus on a very good day, forty bushels on an average day. John and I picked four apples. The rest we found on the ground. Tip: the best and ripest apples are on the ground just be careful they are not bruised.

I want the final bit, but the middle of the story is told in pictures.







It was so sunny and bright that I didn't always get the best pictures, but I still liked this one of John striding down the apple row.


Not the best picture, but it was a great apple!

Wonder if I always look this smug when I'm about to be kissed in an apple orchard...
True confessions: Though we were pretty sun-kissed already, this has been put through the diffuser about three times. Hahahaha, sometimes I crack myself up.

Have a great Tuesday!

P.S. As a result of seeing these photos, I have an appointment this afternoon for a much-needed haircut. Perhaps I'll tuck in a photo later or perhaps one shouldn't count on it for I am vain...very.



Edited to Add: I'm so proud of myself for keeping a half-hearted promise to you. Here's the haircut and the face sans makeup or even any lip gloss. Has a squirrel been chewing on my eyebrows again?! I can't blame squirrels for the bangs as I, in a fit of exasperation, started whacking on them last week. John is not a fan of short hair so I warned him before I left. When I arrived home he said that he'd forego judgment until I had washed and styled my hair. What?! What in the world did he think that I'd been having done for an hour? Men!

DB