Friday, January 31, 2014

Hurricanes!

It was one of those days. Four small hurricanes blew toys and debris from one end of the house to the other. There were more toys on the floor than any child could hope to pick up and put away. It even looked overwhelming to me. Years ago I purposed to see those toys as jewels, but today they weren't sparky or shiny. There was bickering too and maybe that was really what put me over the edge... then again, maybe it's just my seeming inability to cope with constant noise and confusion.

Bethany came for a visit and Jakie found a warm spot on my lap and climbed up for a snuggle. Nice. Since the kids had strewn play food and dishes across the floor, I decided to try one one of my kid aprons on Jake. Cute. I like the little aprons, and since my good friend Brenda had lent me her sewing machine, I think I'll put together a few more. I have some more fabric and it's been waiting a long time to be used.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

3x Thursday

It promises to be a busy day. I have Rocky plus three grand- children occupying my living room. We coerced the boys to take a bath, with the promise of pancakes, so the house is smelling sweet and sticky. At the moment the kids are playing "Garbage Truck" which sounds like a game I'd like to avoid, but so far the "garbage" has been restricted to Duplo blocks and the bins they're stored in. As long as they remain in the boxes and don't get dumped into the "landfill", we will be getting along splendidly. Then again... noise and fights may prove counteractive also.

Anyway, today is Thursday and Kristina is playing The Game again. I thought I'd play along too this week, so here goes...

1. Did you ever play anything akin to "Garbage Truck" when you were a kid?
2. Deep (or maybe not so deep) inside everyone is a small child. What would your inner child love to do?
3. Do you have a favorite children's book?
4. Are there any stories you remember from childhood that you never see anymore?

Yes, I do know that's four questions instead of three, but Kristina can't count either. :0)





Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More of the Same

It was another cold, cold day. I made soup for supper again. Last night it was chicken soup, tonight it was beef with vegetables. Soup warms up a cold tired body, especially with a slice of bread and peanut butter or a biscuit and honey.

My mom is doing good these days. She stays busy with one word search book after another, continues to read the daily newspaper (though she no longer cares/notices if it is today's or yesterday's), and here and there she reads a story or two (or three) to Rocky. Sometimes I can interest her in a jigsaw puzzle but if I didn't get them started, I'm not sure she would even bother with them. She's feeling so much better now than she was back in the fall. Her vitamin B12 regimen and steady doses of iron have done a world of good for her energy level. She remains off Coumadin and seems to be doing alright. Her nose isn't bleeding profusely anymore and that is a winning situation all the way around.

I am feeling incredibly uncomfortable today. Rather than holding my weight steady through the holidays, I managed to put on a few extra pounds. My clothes aren't fitting quite the same and I am not able to get my body in motion enough to hope for a recovery anytime soon. Maybe once we are released from the deep freeze I can go for a few more orchard walks. Joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer is out of the question. Either I must get in shape myself or resign myself to a new body type. (ha ha)

I am still mulling over what I'd like to do once I no longer have a houseful of children or a mom to take care of. I'd like to do something creative but I'm still mulling over the options. I was informed this morning that "artists don't make enough money" but that was coming from an almost eight year old who was asked if she was going to be an artist when she grows up. I can't help but think how much of everyday life involves the artistry of someone, everything from books and toys, to paintings and songs.
(James says I should write a book.)



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

C is for Cold

It's cold. It's really cold. It's really, really cold.

In spite of the cold, the sun is shining and it looks decep- tively pleasant outside. Although I knew there was really nothing unusual to photgraph out there today, I bundled up and ventured out into the frigid air, squinting into the sunlight as I went.

It wasn't until I was looking through my photos later that I noticed a row of sparrows lined up over the barn window. They decided to take a rest on the windy side of the barn today. Maybe it's because they can see the bird feeder from there. Or maybe there was more shelter from the wind along the side of the barn than I knew.


I walked into the orchard and found some frozen fruit still hanging from the trees.

On the way out I was looking away from the wind, but had to face it on the way back home. I pulled my hood farther onto my head and zipped my jacket up as far as it would go. The frozen zipper rested against my lip and I wished I'd worn a scarf. Walking backward was considered, but only briefly. The snow, blown about by a steady wind, was of varying depths and would surely have thrown me off balance had I dared to travel in reverse.

I did not venture far, just far enough to catch a glimpse of Lake Ontario from the top of the hill. It looked cold and icy and tempted me to get into my vehicle for drive down to the lake and a closer look. Instead I wandered back home and into the house where my cheeks felt aflame and my fingers burned bringing back childhood memories of frozen toes and fingers. We always stayed outside a little longer than we should have.

It'll be cold, cold again tomorrow morning. There is no hope for a day off school and I doubt the kids will even get the two hour delay that was granted this morning. At least they don't have to walk and the school bus is warmed up by the time they get on it.

And maybe next week I'll have something to post on besides the winter weather.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here

Monday, January 27, 2014

Susan's Sunrise

Susan often ventures down to the lake early in the morning. While I am just dragging myself into the shower and struggling to keep my eyes open, Susan is taking pictures of the sunrise, beautiful pictures. I asked her if I could share some of her photographs and she said yes.


Living by one of the Great Lakes is almost like living next to the ocean, except there aren't any high or low tides.



The lake shore changes every day. Some mornings it is blue and some days God paints the sky pink instead. And some mornings the cloud formations over the lake are outstanding. I'm thinking these clouds mean there's a storm raging out there, but it looks like cotton candy on sticks from shore.


Lake Ontario doesn't freeze over like a smaller lake would. Instead it gets crusty along the edges and ice paddies form.


Hope you enjoyed Susan's Sunrise photos.




Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crash Landing and a Drive In the Snow

Do birds make crash landings?

I went to fill my feeder with birdseed this morning, and instead found myself headed back inside for the camera. There was an unusual bird print in the snow somewhat beneath and to the side of the feeder. I'm used to seeing footprints but this looked more like one of my feathered friends was trying to make the bird version of a snow angel. No other animal tracks, no sign of a struggle, just the obvious imprint of a bird.

This afternoon My Darling and I went out for a ride. We went in search of our middle child who just started classes at the community college in Auburn. He took a leap of faith early this week and it looks to have been a good thing. He's moved out of a bad situation and into something much better. Now he needs a job. Knowing what to pray for my kids is helpful. Last week I prayed Joe would find a place to live so he could go to school, and this week I will be praying for employment. Sometimes prayer is exhausting, but seeing my prayers answered is such a great encouragement, and it's so much easier to sleep at night when I know my kids are safe.

(Hey, Della, one day when I'm out that way you're going to find me in your driveway.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tuppence a Bag

Winter wouldn't be complete without a trip down to Irondequoit Bay with a bag of something to feed the birds. This time it was Cherrios. The wind was fierce and biting.









Friday, January 24, 2014

Frozen Dinner

It's been a cold week and that's no exagger- ation (not that I was trying...) I'd love to don extra layers and head out for a photo taking excursion, but small children have made that a challenge so I snap a few here and there where I can. Lake Ontario is getting more visible from upstairs every day. This morning, with the sun shining on the frozen shoreline, I could actually get a fairly decent, though distant, shot. Yes, all that white stuff back there is ice and snow over the water.

Yesterday afternoon I was invited out to dinner with two old friends from high school. I don't go out with friends often so you might say I jumped at the chance. We met at a very nice little Chinese restaurant and sat for hours just visiting, and then we decided that next time L. is in town, we should meet at the Rheinblick German Restaurant in Canandaigua. Eventually the Chinese restaurant cleared out and not wanting to cause the owners grief, we decided to call it a night, said our goodbyes, and headed back out into the cold.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

B is for Brutal

B is for brutal, bitter, and blustery.

Two weeks ago, for the letter Z, I posted about zero. We're there again this week and it was below 0ΒΊF this morning. (That's about -20ΒΊC.) It's too cold to stand at the bus stop in my opinion, but then nobody asked me. It even looked cold out there this morning.Every time I took a breath my nose threatened to freeze shut. I call it Booger Freezing weather for a good reason.

The house, which usually stays warm and toasty in the winter, felt cold and drafty today. During the brutal, bitter, blustery days of midwinter, I am always reminded of my dad, his guitar, and the songs he'd sing when we were little girls. He was a country boy at heart. I don't know exactly where he learned the old folk songs he sang, I only know they're an unforgettable part of my childhood. I had to look this one up today. They don't sing it quite like Dad, but it'll do.



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mouse House

A friend stopped over the other day and the conversation turned toward the miniature sized door I have glued to the bottom side of one of my cabinets. It's what I call a "fairy door" but it doesn't open and there is nothing inside. It's purely for the imagination and probably utterly silly. Lora told me how when she was a little girl there was a hole in a wall of her house where here mother said a mouse lived. It was nothing but a tiny hole. Lora often found herself peering into the darkness hoping to catch a glimpse of the tiny resident, but she never saw him.

The following day I stumbled upon a photograph that took me back to our conversation. It was a real "live" mouse house built into someone's wall. It had a light inside which made the whimsical dwelling serve a double purpose as a nightlight. I found myself intrigued and wondering if maybe I have the perfect spot somewhere in my house for a nightlight "mouse" dwelling. (I'm really just a kid inside...)

Yesterday my bird feeder needed filling and while I was at it, I decided to toss a cupful of peanuts to the blue jays as well. I scooped up a cup of peanuts and when I pulled it out of the bag, an involuntary (and hideous) scream escaped my lips. There on top of my cupful of peanuts lay a still and apparently lifeless mouse. Miraculously, I did not toss the cup or spill anything. Feeling rather foolish, and slightly skittish toward the mouse I was holding, I regained my composure, stepped outside the door into the cold, and tossed the little creature into the snow by his still limp tail. I've since decided to keep my bag of peanuts a little further from the floor and clipped up tight with a bag clip.

I keep saying I'm not afraid of mice, after all, I've had them as pets, but I can't seem to convince myself.  I'm stepping a little more gingerly around the birdseed bag.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Weekend

It's not been quite the weekend I had envisioned.

Unmet expectations often bring disappointment and frustration, and this makes being flexible an absolute necessity. I had imagined my house quiet and uninhabited for a full three days, but that was not to be. Instead of staying home alone in our house Saturday evening, James and I headed out to Home Depot and Jo-Ann Fabrics for some time alone. (As if that weren't exciting enough, we took his big van through the car wash on our way home.) This afternoon, since the house was once again occupied, we took a drive and then went to see a movie. "Saving Mr. Banks" is a tearjerker and I needed a good cry, so it was the perfect choice.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Still and Snowy

It's a quiet kind of day. A little junco was hopping about my back porch this morning and left itty-bitty birdie tracks on the steps. The bird feeder was full so I'm not sure what he was looking for. Maybe my cats. These little fellas show up mostly when the ground is snow covered and it snowed during the night leaving the grass buried and the roads slippery.

Hannah and I headed out for haircuts this morning. We go much too long between as I have a tendency to drag my feet making the appointment. No drastic changes, just fresh trims and a bit of thinning on mine.

The errands have been run and the cupboards are full. On my way back home I stopped to snap a few pictures of this old house up the street. I keep expecting to drive by one day and find it has been either burned down or bulldozed. For many years after we moved here it was occupied each fall by seasonal orchard workers, but the windows are all broken out now and the land around it has been cleared of old trees. I think it's not long for this world.

It's a quiet weekend without Mom or the little ones.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Take Off, Eh

This was my earlier this evening post. I tossed it back in the draft folder and just pulled it back out again. I never did put my jammies on....

It's an "off day". My body and mind have been kicked into another gear (or maybe two) leaving me sleepy and slightly achy. I caught a short nap this afternoon, but it wasn't the restful kind and I might have to send myself to bed early tonight, or do the unimaginable and put my jammies on after supper. *gasp!*

As often happens during the long, dark days of winter, I am once again thinking on what to do with my time. The start of spring brings promise of a milestone birthday, and a pang of fear in my gut. I am so not ready for black balloons... and no matter how many times I've said I'm counting backward, the reality is that time doesn't even stand still much less slide in the opposite direction. Each year I find myself longing to escape the confines of the living room and small children, and the need to move my body while it will still cooperate seems imperative and immediate.

I am caught between what others want and need, and what I want and need. (Or maybe mostly what I want. I'm not even sure I know what I need. I do know that we only get one life and I don't want to spend the rest of it sitting on my butt getting fatter and lazier, which is what appears to be happening.)

It's going to be a slower, quieter weekend. The little ones, who have kept the house full of noisy activity the past few days, are gone for now. Mom is at Rachel's, and there is no school on Monday. By the time Tuesday morning arrives, I should be well rested and recharged. Maybe I will even have had some fun. :0)


A little Video ... or Two

Since Betsy posted a pretty snow video, I went in search of something with a "Rochester" accent. Instead I found this. Not quite Rochester... Skip the first twenty seconds unless you like high pitched nothingness.
Or perhaps you would enjoy this instead...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sleepy Time Tea

Apparently rest time is over... It's one of the perks of having multiple children in the house and a daddy who just returned home and doesn't realize his daughter hasn't even fallen asleep for her nap yet. Rocky won't be getting a nap today either. She hasn't had one all week, but then again, she did just turn four. Sometimes I'm pretty sure I'm the one who really needs a nap anyway, not the kids.

So, maybe I can turn this into a 3X Thursday...

1. Do you take naps? If you do, where do you sleep?
2. Do you have "jammie days" where you never bother to get dressed? Or are you one of those people who needs to be "decent" all the time?
3.If you have a pet, do you let it sleep with you? Or would you if you did have a pet? (or maybe you prefer a stuffed animal?)

Since I'm not going to get a nap, and since the children aren't going to be quiet, I may as well go mix up that batch of royal icing for the cookies I'm planning to paint.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cat Food

Oreo, the beggar cat is certain good things come in bowls. That is where he finds the last few drops of milk after my breakfast, and that is where, on very rare occasions, something else tasty. I'm pretty sure Grandmanita was eating squash soup which Oreo found quite delicious.






We told her, "No feeding the cat," but of course, she is the momma and she does what she wants, after all, what are we going to do about it? (Not that we really cared...) I decided I liked the scene and it should be recorded and documented for posterity.

By now Grandmanita should be back home in Nova Scotia. She has been away for many weeks and was probably ready to be home in her own little apartment. I am blessed to have had her here with us for a little over two weeks. It wasn't quite the restful visit I had envisioned... but I am glad she came. James' cousin Angel (Angela) and I have decided that maybe one day we will run away and find ourselves in Nova Scotia. (Wouldn't that be fun?)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A is for Acrobat

A is for Acrobat.

She wasn't swinging on a trapeze or partici- pating in a human pyramid, but she still looks like an acrobat to me. I'm not entirely comfortable with a seventy-five year old standing on one foot atop a step ladder, but then again, a ladder is supposed to be safer than standing on a chair... Thankfully she didn't dismount by doing a flip.

She can now reach the top shelves without standing tip-toe on a kitchen chair and maybe, just maybe, she'll get around to painting her kitchen ceiling. (It was her idea, not mine.)

Staying active appears to be the key to a long and productive life. It also helps with attitude and outlook. Maybe I should try standing on one foot atop my kitchen step stool... :0)

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Monday, January 13, 2014

The Plant Lady

Grandmanita's friend Gail loves plants. I love her little "tea room" with the big windows and plant collection. A few years ago Grandmanita brought me a handful of seeds from Gramma Gail. She tossed them in a pot of dirt and voila! I soon had a pot full of pretty little leaves. Sadly, I wasn't familiar with this plant and I no longer have it. (I can't believe I got it all the way to this point and gave up on it.)

It's a good thing there is something called a "second chance". Yesterday I saw Gail's Mexican Hat Plant and it was blooming. The foliage isn't super beautiful, but there is something whimsical and fun about the flowers.

I wonder how long it takes from planting to blooms? Maybe I can find myself a pretty little tea room by the time my plant gets this big. (It's not even in the dirt yet...) I am dreaming when it comes to a 3-season room, of course, but I do have some nice big windows and maybe I could clear out a spot for a tall and gangly plant, especially if it has such cool flowers.

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After a little bit of research, I find that in some places this plant is highly invasive. It's also toxic, every part of it. Blah.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

North of the Border

We took Grandmanita back to Canada today. While we were north of the border we decided to drive up to Niagara Falls and check out the water. There's still a ton of ice from last week's "polar vortex".

After our ride to Niagara Falls, we turned around and drove back along the river to Fort Erie where we stopped to eat at our favorite Chinese restaurant, the May Wah. (Love the lemon chicken!) After taking Grandmanita and Gramma Gail back home to Gail's place, we hugged them both goodbye and were on our way.

It's been a long day, and an even longer weekend, so enjoy the pictures. It's time for me to get some sleep.