Monday, November 29, 2010

Dominoes, the sport of Cats

My SFamily loves to play Dominoes. It all started when SHusband's family introduced it to me, and I spread it like a disease to my family. Before you knew it, we were all buying double nine or double twelve sets. These are not like the black wooden/white dot sets that we played as a child-these are white hard plastic with Colored Dots! SO, even if you can not see the dots well enough to count, you can play quickly-unless of course you are color blind-then it is slow going while the counting for each bone is made.
SBrother#1 and his wife taught her family, and when they go to Florida in the winter with her parents-they have tournaments!
SSister#1 and her husband are great players, they kinda come on slow and steady, and wham, one of them is out!
I miss playing with SHusband's family, not everyone can still play that used to, so we tend not to play anymore.
Bones are what we were told the tiles are now called, and the pile where you pick from is the bone yard. We have combined multiple sets when there are a lot of players, we have had "strategizing" (A word my SBrother#2 first used), and some players are so quick that you know they have been planning their next 5 moves. SCousin is I think one of the best players-she has incredible multi-tasking skills. We were at her house, she and her husband had at least 10 people, including kids over, she was being a great hostess, jumping up and down to take care of everyone, and she won every game!!! How does she do that? She is the cousin that plays trivia on the same website as me everyday, and we are always a few points apart-it is so funny to see how the day's scores go.
Here is the link to that game
You will need to pick a user ID (mine is sally, hers is cheesecat), and a password to sign in to play. A new tournament starts on the first of each month. The topics change daily, but you will always get killer topics like "baseball" or "religion-more difficult". These are such obscure questions, and in every religious denomination-they are what I call a groaner-you just guess and move on!
When Matka's last husband had Alzheimer's , he still managed to beat us a few times in Dominoes. It was really sweet that he could still do that and enjoy himself.
I played kids dominoes with my SKids-matching animals on the tiles, and then again with our SGrandson when he was a tike. But this weekend, he came over for a night, and I decided that he was old enough to hold his own, so we played a
game-which because we have a double nine set, has 10 hands to it. It was so much fun. He did well for being a newbie. SH won. The next day, SH and I played again, SH won-by one facacadah point. Tonight we played again, SH won. But, it was a good time.

One problem though, her name is Boo Boo Marie, and she wanted some attention.

Right down in the middle of the game, on the bones. She was squirted with water so many times to get her off the table tonight-she won't need a bath for some time-she just kept coming back to sit in and on the bones. What attraction could they possibly have for a cat? Well, they are cold, and colorful, but really? Oh gee, it just occurred to me that we should have washed them with a little disinfectant before we put them away after she sat on them. Hey, if you are playing dominoes at my house, I don't suggest you suck on the bones while you are thinking of your next move-I'm just saying.......................................

Northern Lights

These are some beautiful pictures of The Northern Lights which SFriend sent to me via e-mail. I saved all the photos as I usually do, but when I tried to open them only one (the header picture) opened. What? How could that be I wondered. So I tried 6 different photo programs which are offered for opening photos, and finally Quick Books Picture Viewer worked-the only one that could open the photo. But, there was a catch-you could "See" the photo but not "save it". Well, that's no help, how can I share these on my blog like that?? So, using a method I have tried before, I got out my handy cell phone , and using the camera, I took a picture of my screen:

Then I e-mailed them to myself, then I saved them in my picture file. Next I used my old faithful program called PhotoSuite III Executable to rotate, and crop so only the photo remained.

And the results are here:

I should never complain about cold again! That is minus around 38 degrees!

Lots of steps, but you are worth it SReader.
SHusband just walked by and seeing the above picture said:
"Particles from the sun that enter the upper atmosphere get energized by the magnetic field at the poles, and they ionize and begin to glow. Light from the sun becomes refracted by the water particles in the atmosphere, producing the rainbow effect. He said that the last picture should not be in the grouping called Northern Lights because it was taken during the daytime, Northern Lights happen only at night."
But, I like it, so it stays!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Don't empty the Thanksgiving garbage yet!

So listen, first lesson for Thanksgiving, don't empty the garbage yet, BECAUSE, first you need to count your good silverware before you put it away. SBrother-in-Law#1 taught me that, and he said our SAunt taught him that, so pass it on, it could mean not losing a few nice pieces from your set into the garbage when the plates are scrapped.

Now look at this

Isn't it adorable? A neighbor of SSister#1 had a newborn daughter and they traced her feet for the body of the turkey and her hands for the feathers. How adorable is that?

Well, maybe even more adorable is this:

Slightly larger version, which was made last night by my SS#1 for me-yes, with her hands and foot traced. We laughed so hard-it is a good thing that I saw it before we ate.
Speaking of eating, This was the table before we began: Soup by SDaughter's SBoyfriend-squash soup-to die for or as SS#1 says dee-lish-es., then we had the usual, turkey, po'tates, gravey, dressing (if it is not stuffed in the bird's coolou to cook it is dressing I was told), green bean casserole,squash/yam/apples casserole, jello because last year Matka made jello, rolls, olives (any of your little ones put one on each finger like our kids did when they were little, and then eat them?), pickles, stuffed celery-also not cooked in the turkey coolou, but still called stuffed because of the cream cheese, cranberry relish (not gel smooth stuff-but I must admit that I like that just as much as I like my cooked whole berry). Then we put off dessert as long as SHusband allowed, we had: Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Dipmade by SGrandson with graham cracker sticks, Frozen Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie, French Apple Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie.
We also had this at dessert time:

Chocolate flavored wine!
The verdict is still out, some said it wasn't as bad as other chocolate wines, some said it was OK, we did mix with sprite, and it cut the strong flavor a bit. I do not drink, but had a sip-well 2 actually, and it was good-had an after-taste that gave you a chocolate taste.

We sat under our new chandelier,

Isn't it pretty? It is very heavy, and I had a rheostat-oops, that's my science
background sneaking out, I mean a light dimmer, and it is really nice for not eating in glaring light, but just soft light. It was a bit pricey, but now was the time to buy it.

And in the corner, for a small price, smidge of a price really, is this new floor lamp. I needed more light at my computer-the student desk lamp that you see in the right corner of the picture was just not enough light anymore.
And the nice thing about it is, it cost $29.99 at Wal-Mart! Metal stand, but even though it doesn't look it-the globe is plastic!! Whoda thought I would like a lamp with a plastic globe-but I do, I do.

When we were done eating, many people-BUT me did the dishes-thank you to all: SSon's Step Mom, that is too long, we refer to each other as sisters-in-law, so
let's make it that, much shorter, unless of course you count the long explanation here!!, SS#1, SDaughter and her SBoF (new term, I could not use BFF, it sounds corny, but SBoF is boyfriend-feel free to use it and give it a viral spread!)

We got to sit and enjoy each other's company, and ding-dong-couldn't imagine who was at the door and it is my SNiece-daughter of SS#1.She was in the area (she lives almost an hour away), but was at the cemetery, and her GPS told her how close we live, so she popped in. I am so happy, I love her dearly, and we just never see each other-I was a working Mom too, so I know just how that time thing works.
Speaking of Matka, I hate that I can only speak of her and not to her, yesterday was extremely difficult, we would talk and she would ask what I was making now for the meal today, etc., And she was the first person that I knew who answered her telephone "Happy Thanksgiving" before she said hello. She did it for all the holidays-she was fun. I will never be the same again since she died, but I will never be who I am without her in my life-so there are many things to be thankful for. I spoke to all my sibs and my SAunt today, I had my loved ones around me, and we made it through. Thank you God for all my family, friends and memories.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scew the pope!

The pope (no caps on purpose, that would be the sign of a proper noun-and in my book he is not proper at all), leader and auricle of my religion, Roman Catholic has given permission for males using male prostitutes to use a condom to avoid spreading aids! Well, isn't that nice of him, and the reason he said it is OK is because there is no procreation involved. However, if a male is using a female prostitute or even heaven forbid having sex with his wife, condoms are not allowed! Tell that to all the wives in Africa who are dying of aids that they caught from their husbands, tell that to all the parents in Africa who watch their sons and daughters die because of the spread of aids. I know, the pope did not give them aids, BUT, his voice is powerful, especially in a country where Catholicism is growing (unlike here in the USA), and a statement of "permission" from him would have gone a long way to those that listen to him.
As a leader of his flock the pope should show love to all of his members equally, making a statement like this and ignoring the women of the world who are also dying of aids is not loving and not wanted. Your days of spokesperson for me are over pope. Screw you, and oh, if you are using a male prostitute, feel free to use a condom to protect yourself!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jesus is watching you!

We have a weekend/visiting priest at our church, Father Gabe who works a joke into his homily during Mass, the following is tonight's:

A burglar broke into a home and was stealing items in the dark, and he heard someone say "Jesus is watching you!". He stopped, didn't see anyone moving, so he started his thievery again, and again he heard "Jesus is watching you!". He turned on his flashlight and saw a parrot who said "Jesus is watching you!". He asked the parrot what his name was and the parrot said "Moses". "Moses, what crazy guy named you that ?" the thief said.
The parrot said, "The same crazy guy that named that Bulldog in the corner Jesus".

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who in the world is reading this blog?

Who in the world is reading this blog?

Well, here is the answer:
This is a picture of the stats page, showing visits to my page in the last month. The darker the green, the more "hits" to the page.

Interesting mix eh? Welcome all. I wish you peace.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pucker and Puke

lemon image from Wikipedia

I love lemon: lemon smells, lemon color, lemon furniture polish, lemon pudding, lemon cake, lemon flavoring in anything. Matka used to make SHusband lemon meringue pies (since you need to use separated eggs in the pie and the meringue I do not make this pie, that's another post), and his SSister frequently makes SH lemon custard pie-"one of the best pies" according to SH. I really like when you get a lemon slice in your cold water, or they serve you a lemon slice with your tea. It is always a "small pleasure". Lemon makes you pucker-who hasn't seen a picture of a baby with their so sharp/hardly been used taste buds sucking a lemon?
Today the thought of a lemon slice makes me want to puke!! Why you ask? You do ask right? Well, a column in my local paper called the People's Pharmacy, by Joe and Teresa Graedon started off with a Q&A about the disgusting germ content of the seemingly benign lemon slice. Their column can either be taken as purveyors of the truth to protect your health or as alarmist.
But, I never miss their column, and have on occasion heard their radio show when trolling thru the dial.
Apparently, according to the article, a casual study was done by Microbiologist Annie LeGrange Loving which had her swab 76 lemon slices at 21 different restaurants, then cultured the swabs to see what grew. Her findings are what makes me want to puke! Two-thirds of the lemon slices had bacteria on either the flesh or the rind side!! And the authors of this column add lemon fuel to the fire by stating that tests from various restaurants found FECAL bacteria! Are you kidding me, fecal as in poop???
I shared this article with SH when he got up today and he said what are we gong to do? Walk around covered in latex, or be like famous germophobic Howard Hughes or even purchase stock in the disposable glove companies?
I argue that knowledge is wisdom, or is it wisdom is knowledge? Now that I know about this possibility, I can not ignore it. I will never be able to have another slice of lemon in a restaurant again, all I will see when I look at it will be germs!
E-coli/fecal bacteria picture from Wikipedia
I know, I know, If I knew what went on in restaurants I would never eat out again, I also know that is true in every industry that collects, prepares and sells us food products, but I have to start with what I know, lemon wedges are not safe, and anyone with a compromised immune system like me, like SH, need to be alert and aware.
I wonder if there is anything bad about Tim Hortons coffee, or does the heat kill off all the germs.......................yeah, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Veterans Day is more than a free day off from work/school to shop. It used to be called Armistice Day, in honor of the armistice between the Allies and Germany (later to be named World War I). The armistice took place on the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918. This Date, November 11th was picked in honor of St.Martin of Tours according to Wikipedia. He was a soldier and then a Bishop. The armistice was only for the Western Front, as war continued in the Russian and Ottoman Empires. After World War II, the name was changed to Veterans Day. The United States and The British Commonwealth still honor Veterans Day, and in France, it is also still celebrated. In Belgium, it is called the Day of Peace in Flanders Field. Many countries observe a two minute time of silence at 11am to honor the over 20 million who lost their lives during what was called The Great War.
Do you remember that we acknowledged the 911 tragedy also with a time of silence? I don't know if many places still do that.
I remember the term Armistice Day, and also that they changed the date for a short time to coincide with a long weekend for workers, but the uproar worked this time, and it was moved back to the official day.
I will say a prayer tonight for my Veterans: My 2 step-fathers, My two brothers, my many Uncles, my Nephews, my Cousin, my friends, and all who serve and have served the country and it's citizens. I can not imagine the courage that it must take to serve in a war situation. Thank you for your strength and commitment.
Matka worked in factories she said during WWII, and then when the soldiers came home, they gave their jobs back to the returning Veterans.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rambling Bits and pieces

When we came home from a Veterans Day Parade today, sitting right in the driveway where SHusband would be stepping out of the car was this leaf from our Tulip tree. It is one of SH's favorite trees, and I bought it for him as a Wedding Present, almost 172 months ago now. It was just 10 ft tall when it was delivered, and now is about 50 feet tall. Do you see that the shape of the leaf is a tulip? Hence the name! And isn't SH just too handsome?

Yesterday was a family birthday party for this sweetie-can you guess his age by his shirt? His first birthday party was cancelled last year because some family members had already had swine flu and it was too worrisome to get people together. His SMom, holding him here and Dad organized such a great party. the invite was like a boarding pass/ticket for an airplane trip, the kids each had a nice solid wooden airplane to decorate (and her Dad made them my SGrandson told me), the Happy Birthday banner was made by her, favors were colorful plastic airplanes that were really a whistle, the tags and stickers for the cupcakes were made by her with the little guy's picture, the food was oh so good-we had a trip around the world-Chinese lo mien noodles and lasagna and wonderful chicken, along with a Greek salad. I wish you were there!

Here is SBrother-in law#1, and SBrother #1 (who is the grandpa of the birthday boy).

SB#1, SSister #1, and me.

Here is SS#1 and SSister-in-law#1 holding a picture of Matka along with a pizzelle recipe. That was her speciality to bring to every occasion. None of us were taught how to make them, so SS#1 just had someone teach her. She used Matka's pizzelle maker to make some, and brought them for the party so Mom could be there. And little sister of the birthday boy (who is just 10 months old), did not have a chance to taste one when Matka was making them, so now that she is on some real food, she got her first taste of one yesterday and really like it, grabbed a piece right out of daddy's hand.

SS#1's friend made copies of the pictures for all the sibs too. Very kind. And SSIL #1 had a phone call yesterday asking for Mary-it was a wrong number, but
Mary was Matka's name, so maybe it was just her saying hello?
I am so sad, I miss her so much. When will I be able to think of her and not cry?

Cat TV. Just before I took this picture, she was reaching up just to see if she could touch them.

This is Matka's chair. She always told me that I could have it. This year, before she moved into assisted living, we took it in for reupholstery. It sat in her new room. The pillow was one we girls gave her last year for her birthday on one of our many road trips. She loved her animal prints. The afghan is one I gave her last Christmas, it is very soft and her favorite color-purple. When I can't sleep at night, I sit there and read, and sometimes in the morning with my paper and coffee. But this week, BOO BOO Marie (Marie is after Matka, we have many granddaughters with a middle name of Marie, and all of my female pets have Marie as their middle name-silly me), decided that it is just the best place to perch. I have not shooed her away, Matka would think it was cute.
So listen, enjoy your day today, every day is a gift.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mt. Merapi

As you may have heard, Mt. Merapi Volcano in Indonesia erupted on October 31st.
So far, the death toll is over 30, but over 65 thousand people are being cared for after fleeing their homes. You can see how saturated the area is with homes-now those closest to the volcano are covered with ash as seen here with the white roofs..

Residents flee using whatever means available. Do you see the comparison here to those fleeing after Hurricane Katrina?

Mothers always worry about their babies.

The molten lava, poisonous gases, ash and the resulting tsunami are all factors in this catastrophe.

This river, source of food and fresh water is now covered with ash.

Have her eyes ever seen such horror before?

Imagine, all is lost.

And in the end, we must always remember to reach out to others, and reach out to help ourselves when possible.

These photographs were taken by Sonny Tumbelaka & Adek Berry/AFP Getty Images.
I know some people say that those people should not have been living there, but is there a part of the world that can not be affected by natural disasters of some kind?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blog favorite

I read a variety of blogs, one of my favorites is 20th Century Woman-her link is on the bottom of this page. Just click on it and it will get you right to her door. She is very intelligent, I mean, verrry intelligent. Some of her blogs are like going to school for me, but in this case, I am paying attention! She has lived a very full and interesting life-and continues to do so. She has a science background that she continues to nourish. And she is a painter-and a darn good one if you ask me. When you read her blog you will see how many other talents she has-writing a wonderful blog is just one of them.
She and her husband live part time in Washington and part time in Alaska, where they are now. She has so beautifully documented that trip up north that they just took, and her blog entry yesterday showed their walking-path through the Alaska woods near their home. I was happy to see the beautiful pictures of her snowy "backyard", and also pleased that we are not sharing that weather with her right now.
This morning I was drinking my hot coffee, reading the paper, bundled up, the temp outside was 29degrees, and I think that is as cold as it has been here this season. The sun was not up yet, and the cat sitting on my chest while I was juggling the paper and coffee was putting up with my occasional slight movement. It was very relaxing, SSon was safely off to work-there is always a concern in case the van is late, or something goes wrong with his rigid routine, but he was on his way, so that is always a deep breath for me. SHusband was still sleeping, which is good so he can get his allotment of strength in his bank account for today. Then, when he got up, and dressed, he came over to give me a koosie good morning (we talk in such baby talk sometimes!), and he looked out the window. Now remember, he is a very accurate person, he does not make quick statements, and today was no exception. He calmly said, "looks like it is snowing", I of course, jump up displacing the now irate cat, and twist my old bones so I can look out the window too. And yep, there they were, itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie little flakes. I had thought about getting up to take a picture to document for you, but not today, too cozy in the afghans. Trust me-they were there.
The hard frost on the ground and the leaves of the Magnolia Bush were a white background too now that the sun was up, so it was a little pretty scene. Snow has stopped, and of course there is no evidence that it existed, but we here have ticked off one more thing in the yearly list of "Firsts" that we maintain in our heads.
Thanks for stopping by, I wish you a Blessed Day of wonder.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Art Show

I have a dear SFriend who is very kind, smart, generous, a wonderful service-oriented person, and also a painter. It is nice for SHusband to get together with her because she is so knowledgeable in many areas that he enjoys speaking about.

She recently told me of an exhibit of her paintings in one of the libraries in a near-by town. The following are some of the paintings on display

She said she was sitting someplace and saw this form in silhouette and painted it from memory.

A little dark shot on my part, but it really has a deep color palate of fall in the woods.

The top painting is a view of one her gardens. She has a nice variety of plants that are heirloom quality. She also is the one who gave me almost-black IRIS bulbs (rhizomes I think not bulbs) for my SSister-in-law who mentioned to me that she was looking for that color. SFriend gave me some for me too-always sharing.

Did she tell me it was a couple (lower right corner), strolling in a park in NYC? And can you see the beautiful dancers in upper painting? She did that by painting a base coat, then dropping paint onto the canvas and tipping the canvas so that the colors ran. Then she added elements that made it look like beautiful gypsy dancers.

Another view, a little lighter.

Some paintings looked better than when I cropped them, so here it is au natural.

Can you hear the birds chirping in this peaceful valley?

A variation of the couple in the park from painting #2.

SF said she did this one as part of a painting class.

This is a wonderful water-color painting of a harbor.

And this one my SReaders is not hanging on the wall at the Library, it is displayed with great honor on my wall-given as a very generous gift from SFriend to me.

I really love the theme, the colors, and the shapes of the flowers.

And here is our SArtist on the right and another SFriend on the left. The third SF that went to lunch with us that day was "under the weather", and not up to going to the exhibit-but now she can see the paintings here.