Sunday, January 31, 2010

Books galore

It is either I can not read because I am too busy, or don't feel like reading a book-which happens unfortunately at times, or I am reading a few books at a time. I never could do that before-read more than a book at a time. I wanted to give all my attention to one set of characters, let them float around in my head, enjoy meeting them, and then sorry to leave them by the wayside as I jumped into another author's efforts.

But now, I am reading a whole bunch of different books. "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. I am about to give up on this one. It was given to me as a must read. I tried, could not get into the story. Gave it back, and the same SFriend gave it back to me and insisted that I needed to finish it-"I was about to get into the great par"t-she knew this because I left my bookmark in my give-up point. That bookmark is actually one that we had made as a favor for our wedding, nice little quote, purple tassel to match the invitations, and heres the best part-it was free from the engravers! I can not get past this one part in the story-but don't let me discourage any of you from reading this book-we all have our own style that we enjoy.

Next on the list, "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland. It is based around the time of the painting by the same name by Renoir, and he is one of the characters. Very nice period piece reading. Next, "eat, pray, love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, not a novel, her reflections on her journey through her soul and back by way of Italy, India and Bali. I told Shusband that I am sorry that I have almost finished this book, I am enjoying it more than I thought I would, and that I am not skimming parts that are not dialogue is real growth on my part! She has another book out called "Committed" which is the sequel, I am sure I will read that also.

Another book that is a reflection book is by Jan Karon-do you know him? He writes a series of books with Fr. Tim of the Mitford series, and this book represents as a copy of the journal which Fr. Tim keeps-not just for his thoughts, reminders, but also where he collects favorite quotes. It is so beautifully bound-to look just like a cherished journal-and, the pages are done just as a journal would be ink with cursive writing.
It is not read from front to back as his other novels are, but small doses at a time, with poignant little personal notes mixed with the quotes and thoughts. SAunt gave this to me, and I am very grateful, and happy that she knew how much I would enjoy this. Hopefully this will not sound too disrespectful, but as a child/young adult, I thought I matched her more than my SMother. I did not understand the fact that being in the same gene pool as my SA we had some of all in us, so we did not have to be "all or nothing" of our parents. Those who know SM know that a harder worker could not be found, and she was a woman who raised 5 children on her own.
Now of course I have learned in my own family that environment is also a key factor for who we become, and who we choose to be. Hey wait, this was about books I am reading, not the "BOOK OF SARAH" (did you know that is my real name?).

I just purchased three books at Dollar General, all for $3. each, such a bargain! I will let you know how they are. I have found some real gems there.

Are you a reader? Not talking about your ability, but your desire. Reading can sometimes save the day or take away the day-fine line must be drawn, just like the Internet, TV or whatever keeps you from being part of your world.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


On the way to church tonight, SHusband casually pointed out a SUNDOG in the sky. I of course never heard of that, but when he showed it to me, I had to take a picture to share with you.

Isn't it too COOL! It is a halo around the sun formed by ice crystals, and it is not often seen. The vertical streak that looks like rainbow colors is what I am pointing out here. Wikipedia says it can be on either lateral side of sun, 22degrees away from sun. They have a picture there also if you google, and it shows the halo effect really great. Like if you drew a compass around the sun and along that edge can be a sundog-that last bit is neither my brainy SH nor WIKI, but just me trying to explain to my peeps.


Honey, we are having TWINS!

See, the space between the buds? Yep, two on the way, buns in the oven, etc.

That was midweek, today, look at where they are:

And, as far as color, I am beginning to think that my blog friend Margaret is going to be correct-not RED, but Pink.

The picture is blurry-and I only had one cup of semi-coffee today, but you can see the edges where it is furling seem to be pink. So listen, Tune in next week folks for another exciting adventure in the life of Priscilla Amaryllis.
p.s. see that building way in the back of the picture? It was a cheese factory from 1904-1966. My Shusband's family ran it from 1925-1966, purchased by SHusband's father from Hasselbeck Cheese Company in 1947. Borden Cheese (as in Elsie the cow) bought up Hasselbecks Cheese Company in 1929, and it became a division of that larger company. The house we live in was built by Hasselbeck Cheese Company in 1904 for the Cheesemaker and his family. Since Hasselbeck was a Buffalo Company, this house is built like a Buffalo house, tall and narrow, with very small bedrooms. Over the years, the outside has changed, but the nice, loving, smart German men inside stay the same.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not today

Well, today when I answered the telephone, it was a telemarketer. Honestly, I usually wait to hear who it is, and then say "no thank you, please put me on the do not call list", and hang up immediately. Sometimes I say it nicely, but sometimes my tone is unpleasant to hear. Quelle surprise!

But today, the young man that called me hit a heartstring. He could be my child or a nephew or someones dad, out of work at his dream job and doing what he can to take care of kin 'n hearth.

I did not purchase his product, but I did thank him politely for calling, and in my heart I asked God to Bless him.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Window views

This is what we see out of our front/living room window right now.

This is what we see out of our kitchen/back window right now.

Do you see a common thread? Yes, this is one of the days when we keep saying " Isn't it good that we did not have to go anywhere this morning?" . Every morning this week, trips into the tundra were necessary. On two of those days, I needed to leave the house at 6am, just me and the snowplows driving into the flakes. Flakes that on their own look lovely, but in a group-not so nice. But today, we don't have to go kicking and screaming, fingernails torn as they are pulled from the door jam upon our need to exit the warm, wind free house. We do have a Kiwanis dinner meeting tonight, but that might be just me. I wonder if anyone would notice if I wore a pair of my new blue long underwear? Probably not, unless I choose to wear them over and under my pants . That sounds so warm!

And here is a picture of part of a Slate-colored Junco work crew. Juncos are so dark on top, that they look almost black, and their underbelly is so bright white that you can't see where they end and the snow begins.
Here is a pictue from BING images.
What you don't see is that above them is another Junco, breaking seeds away from the suet cakes. These seeds drop, some onto the edge of the porch, where one guy then grabs them. If they fall to the ground, another team member is there to get those bits of seed and suet. Don't you love teamwork?

I hope you can team up with family and friends to stay warm and well fed, and if you have extra, why not donate to those who don't. Just a suggestion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I am reading a few books right now, one is "eat, pray, love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is not a novel, but an account of her travels through Italy, India and Bali. She goes to Italy to learn to speak Italian better and experience the pleasures that Italy has to offer-food, people, etc. She goes to India to spend time inside herself while living in an Ashram community. Her last step is to study transcendence. Her trips take a total of 12 months, and it is so well written, humorous at times if you can believe it, and extremely thought-provoking. The book is not for anyone who dislikes "salty" dialogue (when is the last time you heard that description?).
The reason I mention this book is because I am now reading the part where she is currently spending time in an Ashram, and starts her day meditating. She struggles to put her mind into the proper mode to be successful (in her mind) that she is meditating correctly. She has been told that if her intention is to meditate, but can not turn the rest of her thoughts off, it is her intention that counts.
I wish I could buy that.
I try often to block off distracting thoughts while I am trying to focus on a still mind. I never, ever succeed. About 15 or so years ago, my church at the time started a Blessed Exposition of the Eucharist which I participated in. The Eucharist is put in a monstrance, which is a special holder for the Eucharist (the host given out during Communion at Mass). You are supposed to focus on the Host and think in a meditative way about God. But I can not keep other thoughts from jumping to the front of my conscience. I get so mad at myself to think that I can not focus deeper. This happens at other times also. During Mass, we have a "Communion Meditation" after receiving the Eucharist, and this would be a good time to focus on the wonderful gift of the Host which you just received, but I am thinking that, and them my mind starts to wander, then I mentally berate myself, try again, and again. The author of this book struggles just as I do. I wonder why I can not be strong enough to focus individually on one important issue? I also have problems sleeping at times for the same reason, if something important happened or is about to happen, I run through all the details, organizing them in my mind. Again and again.
I just wish I could "be still". I think I could benefit from this intense pinpointing of an idea, thought or path. I can not give up this effort, I must try to achieve this disciplined way of approaching mental growth. I consider it a very important skill, whether it is spiritual or just trying to unfocus and unwind.
Wish me luck, keep your synapses crossed for me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who is Phyllis?

So listen, Some impostor poster put a post referring to my dear amaryllis Priscilla as Phyllis! Who would do such a dastardly thing? Whoops, I guess it was me. Mea culpa Amaryllisosa Nomenclature.

As a make-up gesture, here is a picture of my SSister-in-law's amaryllis-it is about to bloom a double-header.

sorry Priscilla, (head hung low)

African Violets and life lessons

This is a picture of an African Violet plant I have. It was given to me in the spring by SDaughter's SSigOther. We were at a fundraiser event for SGrandson, he gave me the plant, so I gave him a game which I won. Very nice guy, nice gesture. I think of him whenever I look at the plant. He has been so good to and for SD and SGS, just who you want for them.

I had no hopes that the plant would survive, it got tumbled a bit on the drive home, few leaves broken or bent even though I thought I had it propped to perfection for the ride. I have never been very good at growing African Violets. SMom on the other hand, is the Queen of growing houseplants, her Christmas Cactus bloom not only when they are supposed to in December, but sometimes even for Easter. Her African Violets are the stars, bloom constantly, double blossoms, beautiful to see. She has not been shy about reminding me over the years that mine do not bloom, and hers are magnificent.

Now, mine is magnificent, and at her house yesterday, I noted that one of hers is dying. I mentioned it to her, but she just agreed and sighed. I asked if I could do something for it and she said no. Yesterday, I planted a gift for her which she received from her SNiece, some

paper-white bulbs. I was really surprised at the fragile way that I felt knowing that she could not do this task. I will do everything I can to make sure they bloom, something to look forward to, a future plan, for her and me.

SM has had some downward turns on and off since last fall. She goes into these

depressions, sleeps a lot, comes out of it, then days later cancels her plans for activities and visits, pulling herself down again. She is already taking meds for this, but she is not good at making lifestyle choices for her health. She quite often pretends when I call in the morning that she is not sleeping. Sleeping is ok, but not late in the morning when you need to keep your blood sugar normal. She takes her meds less than accurately, even though we set them up in little daily containers. Because of all these things, she puts herself into times when she needs to be checked by her MD to make sure nothing new is happening. Then tests are needed, which of course tire her out, which, etc, etc.

Here are two pictures of her from this week, notice the difference?

I would have thought she would have been happier yesterday, SSister#1 was there doing stuff for her-thank God for SS#1, and I brought over SGS for a visit to her after his Karate class. She loves company, but yesterday it did not work.

When I pick her up to go somewhere, she is barely verbal in the car, even to a point of being surly. When we get to our destination, she springs from the car-like she is a movie star putting on a performance-the show must go on. She laughs and chats with all these other people, some are just strangers. She brags about her family to others, even if she can not come up with their names, and moves very quickly around the room-defying anyone to think that she is 86 years old. Back in the car, I need to help her with the smallest of tasks, can not put on seat belt by herself, can not fill out a bank deposit slip, or even figure out how it works. She barely talks to me other than one word answers. I must be poor company, or simply just a child still looking for attention from their mother, even if she is still not aware after 62 years that the need is there. When will I learn to accept that it is what it is? That is something I don't think I will ever outgrow or hope for. This situation reminds me always to give to my children what I feel I have missed, more so now that they are adults, because I am not sure I recognized the need of a Mother's positive remarks when they were younger. I was so busy caring for, and teaching them to be, that I may have missed this very important ingredient. Maybe it is a genetic flaw?

I know this post sounds like "poor-me". It is simply my life as it happens.

So I watered her African Violet, hoping it would revive, but I know time is marching on, stomping on all the todays with a fierce authority.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Phyllis update

Here she is in all her glory! The closeup shows her bud just starting to open-what color do you see? I think I see red or pink. And do you appreciate the growth? The tip is almost to the top edge of the bottom window.

And those "eyes" peaking at you in the top picture-coming from the base of the jade plant? They are on a painted rock with a ladybug design that a SFriend gave to me. I rotate the jade plant frequently so that it does not grow too crooked, so you may have seen the "bug" in other pictures-just not so scary looking. I also pile on rocks stolen from SHusband to keep the jade plant propped upright.

Haiti Shirt

Here is a fundraiser shirt that SSon bought at McDonalds today. Not all of them carry this shirt, they cost $10, with $5. going to Haiti relief.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beautiful pictures of Venice and Paris

Hi all, two blogs that I follow: and if you click on the "remove ad" button on upper right hand corner of that site, the other one, same name magically appears, but has spaces between words in title. At first I thought it was the same person with two blogs, but now I know one is Maria and one is Sandra. Both write about Italy travels, and one just returned from Paris. Both put beautiful pictures on their blog. Check it out if you want to see some incredible photos. I was fortunate to travel to Italy a few years back, and it is all so wonderful to see these great pictures.
This is SSister#1 and me in Rome. Have you ever seen two sisters grin so big? This is HAPPY!

Friday, January 22, 2010

WHY the funky word view?

I preview my posts, and I still get those word ladders along my pictures-grrrr!

New Drapes are up.

You might remember that I reluctantly took down my pretend window covering-the printed scarf and needed to put up some WINTER IS HERE SILLY GOOSE drapes. Here is a picture of the old look, and now the new look.

This close-up shows what color they are: Rustic Red, which looks like a dark brick red.
So listen, I really did not think I would like them at all, and guess what? I do already. It feels cozy when they are closed, and for those nights that I am not sleeping, I can go in this now warmer, quiet room and read away, like the latest book I just finished, "The Shanghai Girls", by Lisa See.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beauty in the sky

Today, small amount of snow fell during the night, but temps dropped, so ice formed on trees. Not a lot, just enough to be pretty against the dark sky.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick Amaryllis update

I know I said once a week I would post a picture of the Amaryllis growth, but this could not wait! World, we have a bloom starting!! See, now you know why I had to share my bud with my buds!

Whar's behind your couch?

In the process of changing living room window treatments. Fancy term eh? Treatment. Sounds like a medial procedure instead of what you put on the windows.

Actually, I only have those translucent scarf thingys on my living room window, but need to stop draft-we have fairly new window, new siding, but you know about the wind out here, so finally, I am giving in and putting up some thermal lined drapes that I can close. I love the light, open window look that we have without drapes, especially since we have a woods across the street, no neighbors to flash or have to look at their choice of outdoor decorations-you know not everyone is a fan of gimmy-gachees everywhere. I have seriously looked at what we put out there in summer, and have toned it down over the years. So, those in glass houses, etc. Looking in my own mirror here, had way too many uncle Sam things over the year-SHusband once portrayed SUncle Sam in town parade, so he was fond of that character, and I went waaaay overboard with the little reminders. I wonder if my across the street neighbors, squirrels, birds and an occasional deer were shaking their collective heads with disgust over MY decorating choices?

Well, I need to stay on course here, new drapes were the topic. So, before putting up new drapes, had to remove part of SH's collection of spheres made from jade, snowflake obsidian, etc that lined the sill. Really pretty, many colors, and mostly round or non-sphere, egg shaped.

They have now been moved to another spot, here are a few close-ups:

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Shroud

Remember? That is the name SHusband gave his enclosure for his wheelchair lift out front. And, here are some pictures.

It works so well now that it is covered from the elements on three sides, as will be SH when he uses it.

And, the other thing that I am excited about is that I not only took these pictures with my new cell phone, but I was able to send them to my e-mail account! What fun technology is! But I should have been washing my kitchen floor today instead, if truth be told.

As Scarlett said "Tomorrow is another Day"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Amaryllis week 2

As promised, here is the second week of our friend Priscilla the Amaryllis. Yes, I know, who names a plant? Well, actually, we also have a cactus named Charlie. Just being consistent here.

If you remember, on January 9th, she was just reaching the top of the bottom ceramic tile, now, she is up and over the sill, peaking out the window. If she looks closely, she will see that the snow that was covering most of the window outside has melted below the sill-having a bit of a melt today.

On the sill behind her sprouts is a "Thunder Egg" which is an agate quartz rock that looks like a plain old bumpy grey rock on the outside, but when broken open, the cavity is filled with this lovely stuff. In this case the blue filler is in the shape of a star. SHusband has these things all over, and I just pluck out ones that I like and borrow them for a bit.

While I am typing this, SH is giving me the chemical makeup of every type of gem stone, he loves to share info. Every few seconds he adds one more fact. Too funny. I am not being rude by not paying attention (I hope), he just tends to go on a smidge after we have finished talking, or at least I thought we were finished. Now I am going on, must be contagious.

Tune in next week for another adventure of Priscilla as she looks around her world.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


They say the more you have, and know, the more will be required of you.

It seems with the devastation in Haiti this week, the less you have, the more bad will befall you. Haiti has always been one of the poorest countries in the world. Homes and buildings were constructed with the least amount of fortification, many people were crammed into every space. The infrastructure that provides medical care, fire protection, law and order is not sufficient to meet the every day needs, let alone to handle the after-affects of this earthquake.

I think about all the orphanages that regularly arrange placement of babies for adoption from there to couples in other, more prosperous parts of the world-largely Americans. Now those orphanages have collapsed, killing all those holy innocents and their dedicated caregivers. May God Bless them and all who died and those who survived to face life without their loved ones, their homes, their jobs, their hope.

Tylenol has a headache

Once again, the Tylenol company has a big problem. Do you remember way back when a man was putting poison in a bottle, just to harm one person? All Tylenol products were pulled from all shelves, and that my friend was the birth of "SECURITY PACKAGING". Now, as you know, no bottle, jar, box of any product to be ingested can be opened. The purchase of this product now could include a sealed box, a plastic shrink wrap around the inside, and sometimes another little pull tab covering, and all that to get to my once exclusive enemy-the cotton in the bottle.
Well, their intent was to prevent someone from opening your jar of mayo and putting a dead mouse in it, but the end result is that no product can be opened. Period. Not at the store, not in the home, not in the car, not in the anything.

Of course, I exaggerate, these containers can be opened, but not easily, not quickly, and certainly not without a knife, scissors or other weapon of choice. And certainly not easily for someone with arthritis in their hands, which of course in the case of Tylenol, the end result promised is pain relief, not to cause pain.

So listen, I went to the Tylenol website, saw the list of products affected, and pressed print, went to pull all my products off my shelves to check their lot number, and when I came back, page 17 was printing. Seventeen! What a waste of ink and paper. I should have looked at the website or the printer menu page before pressing print, I ASSUMED it was a list, but it was in fact a pretty big color picture of each box and the lists. Lesson learned-look at the number of pages before slamming on the print button.

The good news is, none of my products were affected. I called SMom and her lone bottle is also free of harmful agents. This task however seemed to stress her. It can be confusing with all the numbers for patents, mailing addresses, etc that they print on the labels, but she did find the info. After comparing her lot numbers, and finding her product to be safe, she still wondered if she should throw them out, and so I know new Tylenol will be on her grocery list next week.

This Tylenol project has given me a headache, I think I will go take a few and keep their stock quote from falling through the floor, and harming someone, causing them to need a Rapid Release Tylenol.

note: I was looking online for a dead mouse image, but I was unable to find a drawing, just the gross pictures, so we will do without that image.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This, that and the other thing

Just a few things I have been involved in lately:

Battery jumping-sounds like an Olympic sport, but all of us who drive know it is much more important. I used to help many years ago when cars needed their batteries restarted-but honestly, I was always scared that I would touch something wrong and do a little cardiac defrib on me or others. I avoided ever being the one responsible for red to red, black to black. Then, my cars were more dependable, AAA was my friend, so I didn't even need to think about battery jumping again....until two days ago. We were dropping off the Rav-4 for garage maintenance, etc, so SHusband was going to take his seldom driven little car and drive me home from the local garage. But, little car did not start, just played that little song we all hate "click, click, click". You know the one, it translates into "I ain't doing nottin'. So, I said, let's call AAA, SH said, no, that's OK, let's just do it ourselves. I do try to listen to other's opinions lately, so I agreed to give it a try. It was difficult for SH to move from car to car, leaning on them, but I helped, and YES, BABY! The little car started! What a sense of accomplishment. No need to wait for AAA, it took us just about 15 minutes. Off we went to finish our car delivery. I do know that when a car battery is jumped, that you do not turn the car off for 30 minutes, so that it can recharge, and we did that. Covered all bases.

The next day, yesterday, we needed to use the little car again to go pick up the newly refreshed, inspected and full of yummy new oil Rav-4. The garage called 15 minutes before closing, and off we went to trade a check for a car. But, the little car played that same song, "click, click, click". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What the heck. We of course could not do our now perfected battery jumping-we had no "jumpee". It was too late to ask SDaughter to come drive, all neighbors were probably at work or with other obligations. In we went, called and our mechanic, who is also an almost neighbor, offered to pick me up on his way to work the next morning, and drive me to the shop. Only in the country could this be an offered service I think.

I knew that he had a big-as in high off the ground truck, so instead of sleeping last night, I was trying to figure out how I was going to haul everything up there onto the seat. So listen, I have a Rubbermaid step under our bed, we have fairly new mattress and box spring and they are really deep, and hard to crawl up onto. Sometimes we do the "flop" technique, but the better way is to pull out this cute little stool and like a queen, gracefully step up onto the bed. Can you picture that? Who would have thought that a grownup would need to do that? That little stool was put onto my porch this morning and when he arrived at 7:40am, I smiled, opened the passenger door, and said "WOW", he pointed out the hand grip-that was just out of my reach, unless I did a little bit of a hop. I asked him to wait, just a minute please, just like a switchboard operator with many years of experience, retrieved the stool, asked SSon(who was waiting for his van to pick him up for work-nicely late this morning) to move it after I was all aboard, and another problem solved.

After finishing my day's activities, (including a lovely new haircut) we jumped the battery again on the little car and drove it to be fixed.

But, here is another reason I was not sleeping last night-I realized that we were without a working car. When is the last time you were without wheels? We are do dependent on the freedom of turning the key and off you go to serve, save, and all the other tasks of life. I am in the position of being the driver for various family situations, and that is hard to do without a car, or at least one that starts. I know, I know, I worry too much, I plan too much, but that is my thing, a gift and a curse.

Another thing I did recently was get a new very much more hi-tech cell phone. I was a happy camper with my basic trac phone, but I wanted a cameraphone. I love to take pictures, I often think while I am driving, oh, I wish I could show that to SH. So I checked with the trac phone company before purchasing the upgrade, and I was assured that it would be "no problem". I will never trust that phrase again!

Here is the bottom line: after three weeks, at least 10 phone calls, to the misnamed "help line", some lasting over an hour for goodness sake, a total of three phones sent to me, an additional SIM card (brain of the phone), and, nothing worked, but then, a very dedicated tech support person found out that the reason nothing would work is because some uncaring representative gave away my phone number!!! The number that I shared with all, was now in the great abyss. I threw in the towel, and after speaking to friends living in the same town, found out that Verizon has great coverage in our little community. I checked out their programs and products online and off I went, and came home with my new best friend. Even my hi-tech SDaughter said it was sweet. I am still learning how all the keys work, but have taken pictures, and am loving this step up. I think I can surf the web and check e-mail, but have not had time to tame that monster yet.

Also, today, SD and I had lunch, and saw the movie "Lovely Bones". It is not usually the type of movie I enjoy since I choose not to read or see stories about a young girl who gets brutally murdered, but the book caught my sleeve as I was walking by at Barnes and Noble, it passed the skim-read a few pages here and there as my preview technique, and home it went. I thought it was really well written and centered on the main character watching those on earth from her heaven. It is not a movie for all, but we were glad we went, and had time together before her intense months ahead of student teaching full-time.

And the other thing I did? Well, talk to you of course!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Let's watch it grow!

Hi all, Santa brought me an Amaryllis bulb, and it is planted, and placed near the sunny window.
Here is a picture of it on 1-9-10, 4 days after planting, and another larger picture so we can compare it to my Jade plant.

I will try to take a picture every week to show it's progress. Come back and check on it why don'tcha?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Frozen Saturday Activities

This was a full, cold day. When SGrandson and I left the house at 8:45am, the temp outside was 7degrees! But, I must be truthful, it was the most beautiful day. The sun was shining on the snow and the flakes looked just like the frozen crystals which they are, blinking and twinkling in the glowing sun. The sky was mostly blue, just a great day if you like winter, and hey, if you don't, it would be nice to see too!

Yesterday, the sky was very dark grey all day, it was slick driving, and just enough breeze to make things miserable if you needed to go out.

Today, the toboggan slide reopened in a town near here called Orchard Park, at Chestnut Ridge Park. The chutes have been closed for 5 years due to budget cuts, and used to be very popular. Have you ever ridden on a toboggan? Do you know what they are?

They are usually made of wood, about 6 feet or so long, with a curl at one end, and handles or ropes along the length-which you will of course use to maintain your position inside-not under the sled while you hurl to your death down the high chutes and go down the hills at speeds you never want to achieve again in your life. At least that was my reaction. I can only remember going for a "toboggan night" once with SBrother-in-law#1 when I was about 14 or 15. I remember that the sleds had to be waxed first, tied to the roof of a stationwagon(pre-cursor to the SUV), and that we had hot chocolate near the fireplace at the lodge to warm up or defrost as the case may be.

I also remember listening to a radio station that was playing very old programs that were broadcast originally in the 1940's. I don't remember the exact program, but I think there was a detective involved-The Shadow ring a bell? Or maybe I am mixing that up with the Garrison Keillor characters??? Who knows, it seems like sometimes everything in life is a deja vu experience. Then the ride home with as many people as you can stuff into a car, including the "way-back" as I call the rear section of a stationwagon. These were the days when cars did not have seat belts, so it was just keep mashing in the people, sitting on laps, three across on the front bench seat, and sometimes a lap-sitter there too until no more frozen, tired, happy, wet, sometimes not-owning-boots-kids made their way home.

Well, anyway, the County toboggan chutes are open again-I hope those who never experienced the fun of tobogganing get a chance. Thanks to SBIL#1 for providing it so many years ago to his new family.

Also today, the "shroud" was completed. Do you remember that SHusband gave that name to the weather enclosure for the wheelchair lift which we had installed this fall? I laugh when I say it, and am smiling now while I type that name. It just seems so unsuited. The enclosure is made of lexan which is a material that is used instead of plexiglass now, with a custom made metal frame and a nice forest green roof to match our shutters. I will try to get a picture so you can appreciate it better. This shelter is needed because even though the unit is made for outdoors, not all outdoors are created equally. Our outdoors happens to be on a corner, slight hill, big ol' wind whips the snow around and causes mechanical things to freeze in protest. We have had a few problems, but now we expect to be able to use this whenever needed-we have great faith in our contractor, he has done some wonderful jobs for us, and does detailed, high-quality work.

Weeather Flash: SH just said the thermometer reads 2degrees for outside at 7:30pm. Now we need to check it early in the morning to see if we went UNDER O DEGREES!

So listen, the reason SGS and I were out this cold morning was because he has Karate lessons on Saturday morning, so when we can, we go there. Lotsa fun watching him, he just passed the test for his purple belt recently-tell I tell you that already? I apologize if I repeated it, but I do not apologize for being a proud gramma. I was talking with one of his sensei (instructor) today-she is a black belt(highest color ranked belt), a single Mom, and I was remembering when I was a working Mom, I never had too much free time to enjoy the kid's activities, there was all the STUFF you needed to do to keep the ship afloat and clean underwear for all, and dental appointments kept, and, and , and. Being a grandma gives you so much pleasure to just "be in the moment " (I can't remember ever using that phrase before-what a good description).

After Karate, we had lunch, came home, we all watched the movie "UP" after SGS's much needed shower. This is a PIXAR movie, and one of those marvelous productions that has you really forget at times that it is animation and not photography. We saw the coming attractions way back when, and were looking forward to seeing it together. Even SSon agreed to watch it, and gave it a good review (2 thumbs up) just like the rest of us. There was a nano-moment when I closed my eyes, but I did not get confused about the storyline when I opened them so I must have just snuck a quick senior refresher session. SH on the other hand, very quietly managed to get in his afternoon nap during the movie, almost sliding down off the couch in the process as he relaxed from a position where he was sitting up to one where only his neck was keeping him notched onto the couch! I put my foot as a brace under his foot to keep the total slide from happening. It was a great family movie-but I must say that I don't think it is appropriate for the crowd under 8 years old. There are a few sad moments that I would have not wanted my young child to sit through. Am I being too protective? I was accused by SDaughter of being the meanest Mom in the neighborhood when she was young because I would not let her watch the Simpsons on TV(too much smart mouthing, disrespectful talk from the son on the show) nor the "Slash" Movies. Life is rough enough I think. She told me later that whenever she went for overnights with her friends, that all those movies were played, so much for protecting your child.

When the movie was finished, we read one of the Judy Blume books "Super Fudge", very enjoyable to sit and read with SGS, his reading improves every time it seems. The storyline is cute.

After supper, he is brushing his teeth, and VOILA!, He loses the tooth that has been wiggling all day. He explained that sometimes he gets 2 or five dollars at home or at his other grandmas house. I explained that all houses have their own toothfairy-he smiles.

Then while he and his grandpa discuss and gather rocks that represent mines in the North East States for a school project, I hem his Karate pants. Do not flee in panic to grab your valuables, convinced that the world as we know it is over. I know I may have mentioned that I do not sew, can not sew, hate to sew, BUT, SGS had a need for a hem in his pants, and I did it. I feel like saying "I DID IT!!", just how I taught the kids to say when they accomplished something they thought they couldn't. It is all in the sales, how things are presented. When I called SMom tonight for her evening check, we laughed and compared my sewing ability to her mother's-my SGrandma Viviani, who I share the "no skill in sewing gene" with. I used to thread the needle for SGMV when she sewed because she did not have glasses, but probably should have, but "I no need", a down-turned mouth and a shoulder shrug was her response.

So, now the day is ending, it seems it went too fast, but many things were done, all enjoyed, and isn't that the goal?

p.s. 1.5 degrees now.

p.p. s. now -.5 degrees while I do pictures and spellcheck!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


We have had 2 recent episodes of people who have been beat up here in Western New York, and it is said that the reason is because they are homosexual!
So what if some people do not agree with their differences, so what if "they" don't "Approve" of "their" lifestyle. Who are they to think it is their job to beat up people just because they are different????
Do members of the gay and lesbian community beat up "straight" people just because?
Why must hate continue in our lives? Why must people act in a violent way? I know there are so many forms of violence being perpetrated today, against women, children, other religions, Americans, anyone, they are all wrong, but today I am distressed because of these recent events. This is just another type of injustice that can not be tolerated, can not be commonplace until it means nothing when we hear about it on the news. Just as we became immune to other forms of violence due to the sheer numbers of it, we must become upset, we can not just say, oh my goodness, that is terrible. What can we do? Someone please help me to spread the word that we must stop acting violent on what we think is right or wrong.
We are all worthy to be respected for just the fact that we ARE.
I am not gay, but I am a person, just like you.
I do not have close family members who are homosexual, but I think a lot of people change their mind about their prejudices if they are personally involved. We must all be PERSONally involved. What if it was your child that was beaten?
I am not free of prejudices, but I have hopefully deleted all prejudices that pertain to people. How can I be prejudice against others if I expect them to not be prejudiced towards me? We all deserve that consideration.
I am not a skilled orator, not a wordsmith, just a person, just like you, who is trying to please ask others to show tolerance for all. Not tolerance because we are superior to any group, but tolerance because all are worthy of this treatment.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hair stuff and Grandma Viviani

Do you know what these are? The ad in the Carol Wright magazine calls them hair spools, we always called them spoolies in the late 50's, early 60's. They were pink then.

So listen, my SGrandma usually had long grey hair that she would braid and then wind into a bun on the back of her head in the morning, and at night she would unroll it. But one time, my SMom took her for a HAIRCUT! Bad daughter, it may have been for my SSister#1's wedding in 1961.

After that traumatic haircut, SGM would sometimes try to put these spoolies in. They don't look too technical, but the way I remember it from watching others, you need to put just the right amount of wet hair in and roll and then flip the top over so it was a pyramid shape instead of the hourglass or spool shape you began with. When done properly, you ended up with curls when the hair was dry, when done just a little wrong, the spoolies would POP, and sometimes become unguided missiles. A kid could get in trouble if they laughed at their SGM when that happened, she had a wicked "evil eye" (I must confess that I have inherited all the same magma in my own "evil eye" We call it the malocchia-translated=bad eye.

I don't remember another haircut for her, but I do remember going to Neisners, the local "5 and dime" store (where yes, you could buy items for 5 and 10 cents), and I would buy her one package of grey hairnets: $10 cents. I was honored to go get them for her, she would take the coin out of her cloth handkerchief (which she wrapped tightly around the coins and hid in her clothing) and sometimes I would get a few coins for myself. I do remember one time they only had WHITE, oh what was I going to do, go home empty handed, buy the wrong color, what kind of choices are these? I so wanted to please others to show I was a good girl, and could be trusted, but this was a very big deal. Remember, this was before the days of cell phones where I could call and have her make the choice. I bought the white ones and offered many apologies-as if I made the corporate decision to not stock enough grey hairnets.

You can see her grey hairnet here-she was sitting in my SAunt's kitchen, and she really was not as stern as she looked-but like most of the women in my family-she hated to have her picture taken. This picture sits on a table near my computer workspace. I do not know of any picture that shows her smiling from her heart, but I do know that she gave much love from her heart-especially to a granddaughter who loved her deeply, misses her daily, and is so grateful for the times she cared enough in the midst of all she was doing to take care of the five of us kids to let me know I was worthy of love.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pretty morning, and unhealthy afternoon

Here is the view out our front window this morning. Isn't it pretty? The birds were out trying to get some seed. The temp was only 7degrees when these pictures were taken at 8am.

The picture on the right is a goldfinch with an injured wing. He has been staying close to the feeder for about two weeks, we are happy every time we see him, glad he is still healing, and taking food.

SSon did snow blowing at 5:30am, he said he wanted to get it out of the way. Isn't he the best!

SS and I went to pick up meds and groceries for SMom this morning, the stores and gas stations were crazy baby! That is what we do here-we must all have the scouting gene-be prepared. The ride to SM's house is about 30-40 minutes in good weather. Today we had good weather, then bad weather, then good. Do you see a pattern here? The weather you have out your windshield is not necessarily the weather you have past your bumper.

And of course, my co-addiction buddy and I had hot beverages on the way home. He had chocolate latte, and I had Chai latte. We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts. Those are like swear words in our family, since we own Tim Horton's stock. But, wait, I have an excuse, I did not want more coffee, I wanted their Chai Latte. And after SS tasted mine, he said it was really good, which made me wonder. Holy sucrose Batman, this stuff must have a ton of sugar if SS likes it. I just looked up the nutrition info on my Chai latte: 14oz, 330 calories, 9 grams of fat (8saturated), and 46 grams of sugar. What was I thinking? Step away from the latte anything.

So now I am worried, has the water supply had sugar added to it too, because we really like the taste of tap water?