Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is NOT AT ALL Pretty!

As I regretfully (I'm beginning to think) shared with all of you 3 weigh-ins ago, I joined Weight Watchers Online. It went swimmingly for that first weigh-in - I lost 3, count 'em, 3 pounds! The second weigh-in was good, too - I lost 2 pounds. That's 5 pounds in 2 weigh-ins/weeks! Absolutely FABU!!

And then......the unthinkable happened.....we journeyed to see my seeester & b-i-l and had a weekend-long food orgy, (along with a very excellent time).

Today, my sis just HAD to tell me that one serving of the Peking Duck we so groaned over because it was sooooo good, is 10 WW points PER SERVING. Considering the fact that I had too too many servings, I do think I easily used up my point allotment for the next week, maybe even two weeks! Why she had to depress me so with this information is beyond my sisterly comprehension. WHY, CARE, WHY?????

So, today I step on the scale. SHOCK OF ALL SHOCKS - I'VE GAINED 3 (THREE) POUNDS!!! HOW CAN THAT POSSIBLY BE????? Well, let's put just a little think behind this, Ann. If one eats more Peking than one expends, one will gain weight. Duh!! And though we walked about a million miles at the car show, it obviously didn't take care of all that Peking thing. DANG IT!! (Boy, was it good!)

Below you will see the damage I did......the scale never lies!!!

Why, look at that!
The scale is showing NO NUMBERS???
Those fairy-scale goddesses are working overtime!
They've blotted out those horrid scale numbers I do NOT want to see!!
Imagine that!


P. S. My buddy, Mental Pause Mama, just informed me that when she looks at the above photo all she sees is a Rorschach uterus......hmmmmm......I'll have to think on that one. Note to self: Go read up on Rorschach Ink Blot Testing.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And What Do We Have Here??

The two amaryllis bulbs you see above are at least 12 years old. My Mom and Dad usually send one or two amaryllis plants just enough before Christmas so they're blooming by then. When the bulbs are through blooming, they are usually just thrown away.

I personally have a very hard time throwing any plant that's even barely alive away, so I stuck the two bulbs in a pot in our garage, and forgot all about them.

Springtime rolls around and I need a pot to put aloe vera plants in. I use the pot I'd put the amaryllis bulbs in, totally forgetting I'd done that as there's no sign of the bulbs left. Fast-forward 2 or 3 years. All of a sudden, in the middle of the aloe plants, lo and behold, I notice a shoot coming up....yep, it was the resurrecting amaryllis!

One or both have been blooming at least every other year since! As you can see, this year both bulbs will bloom. Wonder what we'll get? They were solid deep red the first year and they've never been that again. Pictures to come when we finally have blooms!


P. S. Black Watch plaid ribbon as an amaryllis tie-up. Don't ya LOVE it??

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I LOVE My New Camera!

One of our Christmas Family Traditions (actually more of a sanity-saver than a tradition) is that the adults draw names. My dad had my name this year and knew via mom's clever sleuthing ("Ann what would you like for Christmas?") I wanted a camera that took better macro pictures than the camera I had. Lo and behold, on Christmas day I opened my present and in it was a Pentax Optio W30 digital camera. It has more bells and whistles than I'll ever get around to learning to use, but what I wanted a new camera for, it does beautifully!

I'm a very novice picture-taker, not even good enough to be called a ~photographer~ yet (just you wait, tho, one day soon that title will fit) but as you can see I did manage to take a nice close-up of my blooming-in-the-dead-of-winter (can you believe that??) bougainvillea. The actual pink flower petals are only about 1/2" long. Click on the picture and you - obviously - zoom in....Look! You can even see the little "hairs" on the petals!! WOW!!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Baby Heather......& A Few Turkeys, Too

As you know, GB and I went to see my sis and b-i-l this past weekend. We thought. Turns out, we actually went to see Baby Heather the cat. (Also turns out she's the unequivocal owner of my sis and b-i-l, not the other way around!)

10 years old, and with a MAJOR heart condition, Baby is the most social, demanding, beautifully gray, and all of 6 pounds soaking wet cat we have ever met. Yep, she also thinks she's human. She also has her own agenda when it comes to the important things in our life, like our wanting to take a picture of her with her face toward the camera. Can't tell you how many times I tried to do just that. Did it work??? As you can see above, nope. As all we mere humans should know, a good scratch is much more important than posing with ones face toward the camera!

But then.......Baby threw me a bone...
Feetz? Theyz weaponz I keepz hidden. 'K?
(look out - I think that pic's a contender!)

I took a great shot of Her Royal Highness....
and, DANG it, the picture's colors stink big time,
either because I did something I shouldn't have done,
or didn't do something I should have done.
Do ya think I might benefit just a teensy weensy bit from
actually reading and embracing the camera's instruction manual?!?!
Ah well, at least you can see how very lovely Baby is.

On to other matters...


Below, our pond last Friday morning:

It's early morning
Our turkeys in the tree tops
See them? There are six!

expect anything!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


This will be short and sweet.

After writing this ~blog~ thing for a short month, I've become aware that I use the !!!!!!!! much more than I probably should. And also the - thing. You know the - words here - thing.

I promise I will be more cognizant of all the times I use !!!!!!'s and --------'s. But I don't promise not to use them. They are what defines my very soul, so don't you DARE ask me to stop using them!!

Hmmm...nobody has actually asked me to stop using them.....that must mean I very personally myself think I use them too much.

I will not take responsibility for that!

Well, that works for me. Deal with it! ;-)

grin!! :)


Saturday, January 26, 2008

D. C. and the Auto Show

I need to screw off my feet and put on my spare pair. NOW!

GB, my sis, brother in law and I spent the better part of today at the Washington Auto Show. While their website kind of stinks, (to my non-car mind), the show itself was just amazing! Nearly every auto company was represented, from Scion's and Kia's to Bentley's and Mazeratti's. All the companies had concept cars and some of those were incredible.

The very "coolest", (at least I think Chrysler is banking that this auto's "cool" will appeal to a certain male demographic......but......wait a minute......the damn thing is a MINI-van......are you KIDDING me??? You're trying to appeal to any male demographic with a MINI-van??? HOW MANY marketing dollars did you spend for that idea, Chrysler??? It's. A. Freakin'. MINI. van.!!), was what Chrysler calls it's Town and Country Black Jack Van. It sports a complete black jack table in the back area of the van, and if you get tired of that, a large-screen tv under the back hatch. Bottom line? It's a mini-van. Emphasis on mini. Mini and sexy should never be used in the same sentence (there's one exception - see next paragraph).

My favorites at the show were the Mini Coopers. Emphasis on mini. (Mini and sexy should only be used together when referring to the Coop.) It was a small herd of Coops, 12 to be exact, each one different and the next one cuter than the last. What a lovely tooling-around mobile. LOVE 'em, love 'em!

Tonight we're off to Peking Gourmet Inn, for their world famous Peking duck.

Are we having fun yet???? Yep, actually we're having a blast!

Except my poor poor feet....


P. S. -

It's now 11:00PM EDT and we've just returned from the above named restaurant. We are all groaning....with pure delight! NEVER have we had a more EXCELLENT meal, well, ok, definitely one of our top five! The Peking duck was all and more it was touted to be - and Peking Inn's other signature dish, (that we all shared), their ~garlic sprouts stir fried with shrimp (our choice), chicken or beef~ was simply over the top. (I understand the owners grow the garlic sprouts for this dish and there's a fresh crop every day for this.) Can't begin to tell you how delicious it was. Simply superb!

If you are EVER in the DC area, do yourself a favor and dine at the Peking Gourmet Inn. A little out of the way, but you certainly will not be disappointed!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Palm Trees in all the Wrong Places

I stopped by Lynn's Somewhat Invented Life (a very well written blog in my humble opinion) the other day and she had a tale of her tanning youth gone awry. It instantly brought back memories of when my tanning youth went awry. Ahhh those youthful memories. Grand, tho some are totally embarassing, aren't they?

I had come home from college one summer and gotten a job as a lifeguard for our city's Parks & Rec. Department. All the lifeguards were required to wear the same regulation Speedo swim suit, and that year they were simply charming navy blue Speedos with big white palm trees all over them. Some of the palms were right-side-up, some were up-side-down, some were sideways. They were not pretty by any stretch of the imagination.

During our guard shifts, we all had to sit in regulation guard chairs and, of course, we never used the regulation umbrellas.

Several weeks after I had been working, on one of my days off, I was getting ready to go somewhere that involved my wearing a bikini (which I could do Don't ask!). I had on shorts over the bottoms but just the bikini top on top. I turned around to get something and my boyfriend at the time burst out laughing. He dragged me to the mirror and just pointed at my back as he couldn't speak. I had palm trees all over my back. Tan-colored palm trees. Not just one, but many. It was simply spectacular. I can laugh now...but then? Nope!


P.S. - We're off to see my seeester and favorite B-I-L in DC for the weekend. Fun! Maybe I'll see you over the weekend, if not, then for sure on Monday. Bye!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Word of the Day

~it's one of my very favorite words~
~I just love the way it rolls off the tongue~


1. a. Overparticular about trivial details; fastidious.
b. Snobbish; pretentious.

2. Requiring strict attention to detail; demanding: a persnickety job.

Origin: 1885–90; orig. Scots, var. of pernickety


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Notice that the score for Ann (that would be me)
is much much higher than anyone else's!
All that money? My winnings - we play for big stakes.
What a wonderful, fun, delightful, perfect, lovely,
wonderful (oh - I already said that) night!

Of course, not everything went as I hoped......
the was fierce!



It's Bridge Night!

At my house...........I hope to be reporting back, later on this evening, that I was the BIG MONEY WINNER and not those other people I play bridge with! DANG IT - I lost so badly last time I deserve to win purely on sympathy! And my loss had nothing to do with my playing abilities........I think....well, maybe a little...... I'm sending up a prayer to the fairy-card goddesses to send me grand slam-worthy cards all night long! Is that too much to ask????

I'm also hoping to be able to report that our consumption of junk food was reasonable this time. Of course, that would be a first. (Refer to this Mental Pause Mama post. See what I mean??)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2007's Word of the Year?


"One who tries to eat locally and seasonally. Someone whose diet consists of food grown or produced within an area most commonly bound by a 100-mile radius of their home. Locavores usually shun large supermarket chains, opting for farmer's markets and local gardens instead. It is also a current trend for many high-end restaurants as well. It was coined in 2005 by a group of four women from San Francisco."

Did you know? Locavore was just declared Oxford American Dictionary's 2007 Word of the Year.

It's also sometimes spelled localvores.

Great News!
There's now a Winter Farmer's Market in our area!
(Hope to see you there!)



Monday, January 21, 2008

It's Been a Rough Weekend...Naps Are Needed!

Son Bly thinks Stella is his dog. He is sadly mistaken. Stella is my dog. She just pretends to like him every once and a while.



P. S. - Happy actual Birthday, Mrs. Lauren!!
And, yes, according to the news,
(and David Letterman)
it is the most depressing day of the year.
I beg to differ as it is your birthday
and that is never depressing,
well, at least to me, your older friend!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A KICKIN' Birthday Celebration!

It's Lauren's Birthday
We've Gathered Lots of Her Friends

That's our gang with the birthday girl in the middle...what a GREAT time was had by all! I, unfortunately, had to go to work and couldn't share in all the frivolity and fun - DARN! (Check out the birthday girl's blog tomorrow - she's posting all the sordid details, along with incriminating pictures.) Mrs. Lauren told me that at one point they decided they were all going to come en mass to my store. As she said to me today: "Thank GOD we didn't! Something FOR SURE would have been broken!"




Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow...

Every once and a while something happens to someone you love dearly that's not at all good.

So you figure if you don't think about it, it isn't the truth. That works for about a minute and a half. Then reality sets in and you cry, swear, stomp your feet, and swear some more, among other things.

I know my lovey this happened to is strong and will come through this, but it still sucks sucks SUCKS. Love you love you, dearest lovey, now and forever.

I know you won't believe me, (well maybe you will because your glass has always been half full), but the sun will come out tomorrow.........


Stay strong, lovey, and know we're here ~always always~ for you!




Friday, January 18, 2008

A Good Nap Gone Bad

We wuvs each other soooo much and
we gettin' sooooo seepy, my Stel & me

Night night seepy tight..
Ahhhhhh sweet swumber, it is so good......

Stop your snorin', Stel,
or I not seepin' wif you again!!!



Thursday, January 17, 2008


Today I finished writing and mailing 15 (that's right, 15) sympathy cards. Never in my life has it happened that so many of the my family and my closest friends have lost loved ones all in such a short period of time. Our own family lost two dear ones - one too young, one with a long life well lived, and our extended family and friends have lost 8 loved ones, all in the last two months. So strange.

I think I am in the need of some remembered sunshine....

Ahhh Good Morning, Glorys!
Hope Springs Eternal....


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pictures of Our ~Pet~ Gnat (you know, the one IN my computer)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008The gnat, it is there
See it? Body's at the bottom
Wing is at the top

A Computer Screen
Picture Closeup Does Not Work
But That's Gnat's Body!



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Kitchen Chronicles

Got home from work yesterday and knew there was a LOT to get done. Now that I'm working full time I find I have no time to really clean the house. I cannot begin to tell you how happy this has made me! It has never been something I enjoy doing in the least as it's such a thankless task because no matter what you do, short of wrapping everything in plastic, it always gets dirty again. Not only that, there never seems to be anyone around to help do it. Here with me a second ago, now mysteriously gone! Imagine that! You would think I live in this house all by myself! Oops.......that's another sidetracked there......let's start over.

Got home from work yesterday and knew there was a LOT to get done. Now that I'm working full time I find I have no time to really clean the house. I had a new cleaning service coming over (today) and, of course, needed to clean the house before they cleaned the house. Got that done, well, except the master suite, which if you refer back to my New Year's Resolutions, you will discover that my husband accused me of using the floor as a third closet. Sadly, this is true. I knew that task was going to take a lot time, so I thought the best plan of attack was to put it off until after dinner, at the least.

The phone rings around 4:30. It's our good friend, Kim Fiori, inviting us to a restaurant at 5:30ish for toasts in honor of her hubby's birthday. I called GB to let him know, and decided I wasn't going because I just wasn't. GB came home and promptly left with another friend to meet the birthday boy.

Fast forward 2 hours later. My phone rings. It's GB. "Hi Annie.", he says. (I'm in trouble when he calls me ~Annie~. Usually means he has something up his sleeve that he's not sure how I'm going to react to.) "It's me. I coming home and bringing a few people with me for dinner." In the background I hear Kimmie disagreeing vehemently: "NONONO!, you twit! You're supposed to be asking her to join us at the restaurant!!" I then said, "That's fine GB, just go with them to the restaurant - I'll see you when you get home." Out of my husband's mouth then comes: "Great, Annie, we'll be at the house in 20 minutes or so." I asked him to repeat that. "Oh you want 30 minutes? OK, ok, that's fine!!" When I could speak again, I told him to get wine and beer and that he was doing ALL THE DISHES (which he got out of as Kim followed me around the kitchen washing everything I got even slightly dirty - what a wonderful way to cook!), and picking up the bedroom, too. That didn't happen either. Imagine that!

When you have 9 or so people over unexpectedly, the menu tends to be strange. Last night was no exception:  Tacos, macaroni and cheese, left-over spaghetti w/sauce, green beans. Let's see, we covered Mexican, American and Italian all in one evening! Guess it must have been good because there wasn't much left and all came back for seconds at the least. Comfort food....nuthin' better!

Had to make my own refried, and I use that term loosely, beans. Used half ground beef and half ground turkey for the tacos, had to mix a bunch of different cheeses together for the taco topping, and I only happened to have 24 taco shells because it was buy one 12-count package, get one free. BUT did we ever have a good birthday party! It's easy to have fun when you're with good buds.  And that's easy to imagine.




Monday, January 14, 2008

I am the Murphy Brown of Computers....Among Other Things.........

Which we won't get into just yet.......

Remember that old TV show starring Candice Bergen called Murphy Brown? One of the running gags throughout the series was the fact that Murphy couldn't keep the same secretary in working order for very long - matter of fact in Murphy's case, she had a new secretary every week.

What were secretary's for her are computers for me. I can't keep a computer in working order, it seems, for very long either. I'll let you in on some of the highlights of my computer-owning life. It's not pretty.......

1. My first Apple computer came into my life sometime in the '80's. It had absolutely no resemblance to any computer out there today. I was looking around the hard drive one day and managed to COMPLETELY ERASE everything on my hard drive. The fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing certainly didn't stop me! Thankfully a guy at GB's office fixed that.

2. My next computer? A NeXT computer. Didn't have a clue in the world what to do with it. Oh, I could operate it alright, but there were so many things it could do that I had no clue about and didn't really want to know about. Enter a friend of my brother, bbum, who lived in Missouri. He desperately wanted a NeXT computer and they were no longer being made. Bbum asked me if I would trade his friend for an up-to-date Apple computer. Why not? This crazy friend of my brother's immediately jumped in his car and drove straight through to my house - an 18 hour drive on a good day - stayed long enough to eat something, and drove straight back to Missouri! Crazy! And, it also turned out, not completely honest about the up-to-datedness of the computer he traded me for. What did I know??? I trust people!

3. At the time, I thought it was a brilliant idea. It turned out to be one of the stupidest things I've ever done. I bought a Dell. A damn Dell. Oh, it worked fine enough for a while, except for the normal woes most PC's tend to have. (No, I don't dislike PC's completely - I work on one M - F.) And then......disaster struck! I had just spent from around 8:00pm to midnight working on something lengthy - don't remember what, this is going back 10 or so years - when at the STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, I KID YOU NOT, the dang thing just froze froze froze. I had been hit by, (I think it was called) a Trojan Horse, and my entire hard drive - everything was irreparably corrupted. You know, all that data seemed so important then. I couldn't tell you a thing I miss that was on it. Actually, I take that back. I had just started into genealogy and all of that was lost. (Ended up getting the genealogy program that's compatible with Apples as that was my next computer and it is far superior to the program I used on the Dell.)

4. I was done with PC computers for good and replaced it with desktop Apples - two over the years. Then about 2003, I got a brand spankin' new MacBook for Christmas. Had the computer for about a year when my dang dog, Pippen, got tangled in the charger cord and ripped it out of the computer. Of course, it bent the connector part in the computer. From that time on I had to really futz with the charger to get it to work. (The most brilliant redesign on the new Mac?? The magnetically attaching charger cord. Pippen has gotten tangled in that cord, too, but - no harm done!)

5. Had the same computer for about a year and a half when, for some unknown reason, I decided to have a cup of coffee FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS!! I hardly EVER drink coffee. With cup in hand, I walked over to the kitchen table where my computer was. "What was that? What did you ask? Oh.....oh yes, why yes of course the computer was open!" Only God himself knows how it happened, but all at once the cup of coffee that was in my hands was all over my keyboard. You have never seen a MacBook flipped over and beaten faster in your life! I then ran to my car and tore to the Apple repair shop. You would have thought I had one of my kids in the car with dangling didgets or something else as horrible. They were able to save everything on it before it totally died, but unrepairable it certainly was. Will you explain to me how it is that a friend of my mother's dumped an entire quart of paint on his Mac keyboard and his still works perfectly well, though he's still chipping off paint to this day? Life is simply not fair. Know about iSkins? I don't allow myself around a computer unless it has one.

6. My son, MOS goes to college freshman year and gets a new Apple laptop. Worked fine for the first year. The MINUTE the warranty expires, (my brother warned me to get the extended one. Did I listen? Nooooo!), he starts having major problems with it. Of course, he goes to a PC-integrated college. Of course, the nearest Apple repair shop is 23 miles away. Of course, he doesn't have a car. He brings it home for Christmas break. Off to the Apple repair shop we go. Of course, it can't be fixed. Apple puts out good computers, but every once in a while they put out a real lemon. It found us.

7. I am typing this on my newest MacBook. Love it, love it! Last July, I was trying to install an updated Microsoft Office version. The. Computer. Won't. Let. Me. Install. Office. (Thank you MentalPMama for showing me that oh so clever writing technique!) I am not kidding. I wish I were kidding. I'm not. Off to the Apple repair shop I go.

8. A month later, I open my fixed computer and see a gnat had landed on my screen and met it's demise when the screen was last shut. Or so I thought. I get a cloth and wipe the gnat away. It's still there. I try again. IT WON'T WIPE AWAY! The dang gnat is stuck between the outer layer of my screen and wherever the light comes from. I quickly race to the Apple repair store, and again you'da thunk I had a human emergency on my hands, not just a gnat emergency.

I tear in the store, throw the computer on the counter, open it up and yell to no one in particular, tho Tom would do since he was standing there, "I have a bug in my computer!" Tom replies "Well, that's pretty hard to have, considering you have a Mac." "No, look!" I said, "I have a BUG in my computer!" He looked closer and said, "O my God! There's a BUG in your computer!" The very next thing Tom does is slap the top edge of my computer. I politely asked him what the hell he thought he was doing (I didn't actually speak the hell part, I am polite, but I sure thought it). His answer. "Well maybe it will fall to the bottom of your computer screen and it won't be so annoying every time you look at it." Back home we went, me, my computer and it's gnat. No charge this time, either. I think Tom had begun to actually feel sorry for me. BTW, yes, it is annoying!

How the gnat got into my computer will forever remain a mystery. The fact that it struggled until it was about 3 inches from both the left side and the bottom of the screen astounds me! When it was first discovered, you could see the body and one of it's wings sticking out. Now what's left of the wing stays in the original location and the body has "drifted" to about an inch from the bottom. No, I haven't taken to slapping the rim like Tom did.

9. Same machine 5 days before Christmas '07 and it's wonderful onslaught of company, parties, people, fun, etc. Also the time of year when I truly enjoy my ~quiet time~ on my computer late each evening. My copy of Leopard arrives in the mail. I install it and restart my computer. It won't restart. I try again. It won't restart. Third time's the charm? Nope! Off to the Apple repair store I go!! There's a new gal working at the counter. I tell her what happened. "Oh yeah," she says, "My dad said he's seen this problem. He even told me I couldn't install Leopard at school, but had to wait until I was home soe he could do it." Yipee! Wish I had known that! I had to leave it at the shop. Of course, this is normally a 24 turn-around kind of problem. Of course, it happened to my computer just before Christmas. Of course, there's a 7 - 10 day turn-around. Sheesh!

10. Nope, for now I'm through with my computer travails. I hope there are no more to tell!

I strongly suggest if you invite me to your house, you hide your computers. I obviously give off strong negative vibes to computers, and yours might just break! Just call me Murphy...



Sunday, January 13, 2008

With Great Sadness...

In Loving Memory of
Our Wonderful Cousin

Bobby/RMH, Jr.

March 25, 1959 - January 12, 2008


Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light

By Jean-Jacques Goldman and Phil Galdston


our hearts hurt



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Junk/Everything Drawers & WW Woes

Junk drawers.....who doesn't have one....or two....or three...or more? (Actually in our family, junk drawers are always called Everything Drawers.) Above is the daddy of them all. No matter how hard I try to keep this drawer neat, it NEVER is. As far as listing what's in there, it might be easier to list what's NOT in there. Like the kitchen sink, coat hangers, tho there is a clothes pin, toilet paper. The above is most definitely my entry for the contest Jules is having at her blog, though, as you can see below, I had more than one contender.

Junk drawer #2. This is full of stuff I use about once a year. Well, the knives on the right I've NEVER used......Perhaps it's time to shed myself of them? Ebay here we come!!

This is the after picture of a drawer that just last week would have been the heavyweight contender for worst drawer. Darn! Had I known about this contest I would never have bothered cleaning it out.

(Check out my brother's entry here.)


Pounds aren't melting...
The diet is not working!
Quick! Sew my mouth shut!

Must remind myself: "Weight Watchers" does not mean that I am to watch my weight go up.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Alice Paul....

Along with Lucy Burns (a close friend) and others, she led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.*
*Credited here

Thank you for that, Alice. Where would Hillary (and all of us females) be without you?

12/11/1885 - 7/9/1977

"There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it."

“I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction.
Most reforms, most problems are complicated.
But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doin' the Talkin' and the Walkin'

I joined Weight Watchers Online with my seeester Care yesterday. We figure we'll spur each other on during our weight loss endeavors. Besides, misery always loves company.

I was SO GOOD all day....until I got to The Mental Pause Mama's house for bridge. As you will understand after you read her post, we are incapable of playing bridge if it doesn't include chips, dips, and all things baaad for you. Of course, all of this must be washed down with a champagne toast (Veuve Clicquot of course, the BEST champagne in the world in my humble opinion) among other things.

I'm allowed 24 points on any given day. I got to Lauren's (you know - The Mental Pause Mama) at 5pm and I'd only used 6 of my daily allotted points. I was feeling quite proud of myself for showing such willpower, and on my very first day! By the time I left, I had added at least two days worth of points to my total. This is not good. In fact it's quite bad.

Whoever invented Helluvagood dips and potato chips should be shot! And that's all I have to say about that!



Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's D-Day.......O Dear........

I always feel like January 9th is my true New Year's Day, as that's the actual day in the new year I begin to address the resolutions I've made. We have a large family that's scattered around the USA and some or all of us are together during the Xmas holiday every year, then there's New Year's Eve, and then there's my husband, GB's birthday on January 8th. His mom is always with us until the day after his birthday - she left today - so things don't really calm down before then.

Of course, there's also ~the birthday dinner~ to contend with......and it is SO not diet food! Whenever a family member has a birthday, they get to choose their birthday menu. Mine is reservations. Our son's is chicken. Both of our girls and GB's favorite menu is always always stringy roast beef (much better than it sounds), mashed potatoes with gravy and peas. GB's birthday cake of choice is a chocolate cream pie. There are about 1000 calories in every bite of this meal.

So here I sit on my "New Year's Day" getting all hot and bothered about the fact that reality must now be faced and I gotta start ~talkin' the talk~ and ~walkin' the walk~! Oh dear.



Tuesday, January 08, 2008

GB's Birthday Present? It's Our Ducks - They've Come Back!

That's the birthday boy
With our three pretty ~babies~
And his mom, Mimi

Our ducks have come home
It's so good to have them back
Hmmm...where have they been?



Monday, January 07, 2008

A Salute to a Very Nice Lady

Our middle and only son, Bly, went out to dinner with the family (minus me - other plans, YAHOO, thank you) last night. He had been out with a friend of his, who dropped him off at the restaurant. When Bly returned home, he grabbed his car and re-met up with his buddy and a bunch of other friends. Upon returning home around 8 that evening, (it was a very early dinner, pardon me, not very posh), it slowly dawned on him that he was no longer in possession of his wallet. "O what a shock!!", I cried, "you lost your wallet???" He looked at me with what can only be described as great irritation. Fortunately he refrained from verbally expressing his irritation. It most certainly wasn't the first time something important has been "misplaced" by Bly and most likely not the last, (sigh). Given the circumstances, I thought the sarcasm was well justified on my part, thank you!

Parents everywhere will empathize with the next part of this tale: Bly had been given cash or gas cards from various relatives for Christmas, along with a $300.00 monthly train pass from Santa. Both his dad, (GB), and his mom, (that would be me), suggested to him MORE THAN ONCE that it might be a very good idea to keep his non-replaceable train pass in his room during the weekend along with excess amounts of cash. Did he listen??? Hmmmmmm............what do you think?

He spent the next hour frantically looking through his friend's and his own car, then went back to the parking lot and looked all over the asphalt - basically retraced his steps everywhere.

While I was sitting at the kitchen table I had a brilliant and was hoping also a fruitful thought. (It's not often I have a brilliant thought that could be fruitful; they're usually just contemplative and not very fruitful...) "Hmmmmm......", thought I, "I think I'll check our voice mail.....maybe, just maybe someone has found his wallet and has left a message." BINGO!! There was a message from a lady who said she had indeed found his wallet and would he please call her. Bly did, and after a 20 minute conversation, he took off in his car to get his wallet. I, of course, was listening to his end of their conversation and it was obvious they were talking about more than just directions to her house. Of course, being ever the romantic mama, I had the two of them instantly falling in love, living happily ever after, and, of course, giving me grandkids to love, etc., etc. Motherly pipe dreams!

Bly returned home with wallet - and it's entire contents - intact. "How did that go?", I asked coyly, as mothers are wont to do when they want more information than they're willing to let on. "Fine.", he replied. "Tomorrow I'd like to get her a gift certificate to a restaurant or send her some flowers." After picking myself up off the floor, because in his near recent past, (you know, those ~less mature~ years), that kind of thinking would have never made it through his cranium, let alone out of his mouth, I said, a crazy mother thing: "Oh, maybe this is the start of something good." Bly looked at me as if I'd grown pink horns out my forehead. "Mother, she's at least 50 years old!." I slithered out of the room hoping he would forget our entire exchange. I'm sure he won't.

Nice, decent folk still exist! That's so lovely, don't you think? Thank you Ms. B. for being good to my little boy. You're the best!


The Iceman goeth
The ducks should be winging back
Where the Hell are they???



Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Iceman Goeth

The Iceman Goeth
The ducks should be winging back
Any day now - YEA!



Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wild Turkeys in the Big City

Wild turkeys are back
Increasingly numerous
We had so missed them


Our pond, still frozen
Our ducks, winging their way south
Come back here soon. Please?



Friday, January 04, 2008

The Pet Chronicles

As GB said to me: "How is it that every time one of the kids heads off to college, we gain another animal???"

We used to obtain pets the normal way - well, only if you call my getting a puppy on the eve of our wedding, at our rehearsal dinner, from my groom normal........ Actually, come to think of it, we've NEVER gotten a new pet in the "normal" way.

Sheba was our first. She was an adorable black lab puppy that became a part of our family before we even were a family (see above). She was a dear who was with us for just short of 16 years. When Sheba was six months we moved from Chicago to New England and into an old old house. It immediately became apparent we were in desperate need of a cat. The mouse problem, scratch that, infestation was terrible. Off to the Humane Society we went and came home with a wonderful all black cat we called Spooker. Hmmmm...looking back, I now realize I should never have told GB, (or our kiddos for that matter), where the Humane Society was.

When Sheba was two and I was pregnant with our first kiddo, GB called to me from the front yard of our house: "Ann, come out here! There's a surprise for you!" I'm thinking "yipee, new car!!" Nope, it's "yipee, new dog!!" If there ever was a Disney dog, it was this big half Irish wolfhound half old English sheepdog GB was standing next to. Of course, Waldo had a terrible past and was a rescue from the Humane Society so what was I going to do, send him back??? (This is a question I've been forced to ask myself often over the years.) I'll tell you about The Waldo Chronicles another day.

 came our cat Tinkerbelle, a lovely lady who replaced Spooker. We were in a new house and though we didn't have an infestation of mice it was obvious having a cat in residence was a very good idea. Next came our beloved and still sorely missed Doofus, a German shepherd muttley mix. GB found him on the 18th green of the golf course. Every time someone hit their ball on the green, Goofy Doofy would pick it up and drop it in the sand bunker. Then he would hide when the golfers came up to the green. GB was watching all this from the 19th Hole. When he got ready to come home, GB went out and called to the puppy. He immediately came over and home they both came. Doofy was with us just over 16 years. And yes there are The Goofy Doofy Chronicles.

Next came Jordan. Off to the Humane Society the kids went because they just knew Doofy needed a companion. Home they came with the tinest puppy I've ever seen. Off to the vet we went to have said puppy checked out. Turns out, she was way too young to be separated from her mom, and because of this, she was the most neurotic dog we'd ever seen! Who has a dog that has to rock back and forth to store up courage before scrambling up stairs? And coming down them? Amazing she didn't break all her legs doing so!

Our eldest daughter, Remy, went off to college petless. She came back at Christmas break with, you guessed it, another pet. Tally HOO-Hoo, The Crooked Kitty (because of a congenital ear issue, his head was always cocked to the side) was the most wonderful cat that ever graced the earth, 'tho he did have a habit of getting stuck in trees (don't worry, all will be revealed some day in The Crooked Kitty Chronicles). We still miss him!

When Tally had been with us for about a year our two girls, Remy and Brynn (youngest daughter), decided to go to the Humane Society "just to look, mom". They came home with a cat. The folks at the Humane Society told them Good Girl was a year old cat who had just had a litter of three kittens. The next day, our veterinarian told us she was at least 12 to 14 years old and had obviously been a kitten-producing stray her entire life. She only had three teeth and as it turned out, breast cancer. Our dear vet. never charged us for a penny of his time because he felt we were giving her the only good time in her life. She was only with us for about a year. One day she just disappeared. I was upset, obviously, but when I called our vet. he told me that this is typical of cats and dogs when they are about to die.

Our next acquisition happened when Brynnly came home from her first year of college with, yep, another kitten. Trey-you (second picture down) never did go back to college and we have him to this day.

The top photo is of our Pippen (also pictured with Stella in the third photo), again gotten when Remy and our son, Bly, went to the Humane Society "just to look mom!" Of course there was this adorable, most likely abused and most definitely malnourished puppy that had just been transferred to our Humane Society from New York. Of course, she came home with the kiddos. Of course, GB and I couldn't say no. Well, we could have, but we didn't. Pippen is a dear doggy. However, in the three years we've had her she still can be skittish, and she still looks very anorexic tho the vet. says her weight is just fine (I wish I had that problem: "Oh yes, Ann, your weight is simply perfect!!).

Finally, Bly came home for the summer in June of '06 after his junior year of college. He brought a dog with him. A very big dog. He said he was walking his friend's dog one day when this big puppy came barreling out from under a bush at the two of them. The dog scared the hell out of him (and his friend's dog) at first, but then he saw that her tail was wagging and she was whimpering pathetically. She was just desperate for someone to take her home. From what we and the vet can tell, Stella (second and third picture) is a purebred German shepherd. Bly (he's so responsible!) phoned all the local vets to see if anyone had called about a missing dog and, of course, he also phoned the dog pound, Humane Society and newspapers. Miss Stella has been with us for two years. No one ever claimed her. I take that back. GB and I have claimed her!

Bly is not getting her back............ever.

And yes, as I write this The Stella with a bit of Pippen Chronicles are being lived.

However, I have informed all family members that if anyone brings another animal into this house, I'm leaving! I'm hoping they all view this as a threat and not an invitation.


Our pond, still frozen
Our ducks, winging their way south
Come back here soon. Please?


Thursday, January 03, 2008

An Uh-Oh Realized & Other Grave Issues

My pond, 7 a-m
Totally frozen over
The ducks, they are gone

My pond, 3 p-m
Totally frozen over
The ducks still are gone


I'm a Grave-Digger
OK, so I don't actually "dig" graves in graveyards,
BUT I really ~dig~ taking pictures of graves in graveyards!

If no one snaps the
Crumbling stones of the long-gone
Words soon are long-gone

Stones sink in the ground
Dates forever lost to view
Our loss, not the dead's

In Memory Of
Elizabeth Reed? That's an
Allman Brother's song!

(ok, so my haiku skills need some work)

I've been "digging" into the history of my family for quite a few years now. While googling one of my GGG grandparents names, I discovered Find A Grave's (FAG) website. That was the beginning of a minor obsession, tho there are those who would beg to differ and say it was a major and majorly weird obsession of mine. What person in their right mind would spend their time in graveyards photographing stones of dead people???? OK, I must admit it might sound rather strange, but I must tell you there's a true peaceful "thing" that happens to me when I'm alone doing this. I love it. Anywho, back to why I first started doing this. We have many graveyards in our area that are or, until recently, were photographically undocumented. As you can see by the above photos, this is not a good thing because stones have a finite life. It is FAG's (and all of we volunteer FAG photographers) goal to photo every gravestone possible before they disintegrate and are lost forever. I've really enjoyed my time "walking with the past", and because of the generosity of fellow FAG photographers, have "found" the stones of quite a few of my ancestors. Someday soon I'll tell you about the time I literally half-fell into a grave in the was quite memorable, to say the least!

Hmmmmm.....what will we explore tomorrow?? You'll just have to wait and see!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Uh oh....the ice is coming back.....

Uh oh......see the ice that formed overnight on the pond?
The temperature has been dropping all day.
I'm afraid that by tomorrow there'll be no open water for the ducks.
At least it's not raining as it did all day yesterday.

My husband, GB, goes through an enormous amount of bread when the ducks are here. I used to be able to get a bag with about 10 loaves of "duck bread" at the Pepperidge Farm Outlet, but they now require you to buy 10 trays of bread at a time. That's 150 loaves and even our ducks with their voracious appetites can't manage to eat all that! GB has gotten the ducks trained to the point that when the sliding door opens onto our deck overlooking the pond, they come swimming and flying right up to the edge. GB stands at the end of the deck and "frisbees" slices into the water. When it's warmer out, bread consumption goes up considerably because then the bluegill and occasional bass and catfish are active and fight the ducks for it. I cannot tell you the number of times I've gone to make a sandwich for myself only to discover
NO BREAD to be found.
Maybe we could use 150 loaves at a time!

Good Grief!! I just looked at the flat feeder - there must still
be at least 9 finches left on it and this is after I scared most of them
away while trying to motionlessly get to my
camera - HA - I'll have to work on that move!
I really must take the time to find out the difference
between a "house finch" and a "purple finch".
Anyone out there know?

Look! The sun just came out.......for the first time in days it seems.

Here's a glance of our peninsula and island.
It's shallow there - that's where the dam is as well - and
that part always freezes first.

Tomorrow I'll let you in on why I'm a graveyard digger.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Sure do hope your New Year's Eve was safe and fun.
I must truly be getting old. I was completely reasonable this New Year's Eve.
Hmmm....possibly a hint of things to come? We'll see!

That's the pond in the back of our house this morning, New Years Day. As you can see, it's raining cats and dogs. The pond is one of the biggest reasons I love our home. I do believe we have one of the prettiest properties in our town. I now can't imagine ever not living on water of some kind or another. It's so ever-changing and the wildlife is so interesting to watch - pretty incredible as we live in the middle of a city.
Our ducks are back. They stay until the pond completely freezes over and always return as soon as even a little bit of it thaws. Most of the ducks we get are mallards - they nest in the spring around the pond and are generally here year-round unless, of course, the pond is frozen, which it was last week. Over the years we've spotted loons, brown ducks, common, hooded and red breasted mergansers, green-winged teal, and wood ducks during spring and fall migration but they never stay for any length of time. Of course the Canada geese like our pond, too, but we try to discourage them as they make such a horrid mess of the yard. Thankfully our dogs do a good job of keeping them in the water.

Enough already about our pond!

It's the first day of a new year - may it be everything you want it to be. I have officially challenged myself that on New Year's Eve 2008 I will be able to honestly write here that I have met my10 New Year's Eve 2007 resolutions........HELP ME!!!!