December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

For me it's starting terrific.

I got to see my son, his wife and their son for three days.  It was a great time, with a tour of some special cars:

and a special museum with a plane/space craft I really didn't expect to see:

that space shuttle is huge!

and the museum is as well, just to fit in all the cool planes.

here is an old friend, we've seen before:

that's the SR71, Blackbird.  We know one of her pilots - and he confirmed that all the stories we heard about the plane were true.  And more.

I forgot to add that to the cars....
and the best news of all for those of you who read:

in July.

December 26, 2009


Already - done with Christmas - it just doesn't feel like it.  It was wonderful, tons of presents!

That's Jackson with his parents, opening his stocking.


The Christmas tree, ready for us!
What is that?  I don't know...

Cranky the crane and a puzzle!

And Matthew and Mom

And Jess and her new friend

And the whole thing from above!

And the fabulous desserts

Just before going home - Ron and Beth

December 24, 2009

Christmas Present

I gave myself a Christmas present this morning.

I fixed my washing machine.  The *$&%(#(@* thing has a pump that gets seriously disturbed if it catches coins.  I swear I check my pockets before I shove my clothes in the machine.  But evidently not.  After calling a fixer twice (first time under warranty, second time I paid for it), I tackled it myself.  And yes, I can do it.  One large quarter.  At least I know how by now.

Now my clothes are merrily being washed in time for Christmas.

Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Happy New Year, Guten Rutsch

.... and may all your wishes come true.

It's really cold this morning, and I'll only work half day, since it's cold enough to keep my coat on.  And no one will have emergency sewing over the holidays, I think.
Anyway, a couple of Christmas presents left to sew, some bookwork to be done, and I'm leaving.
I still have gifts to wrap, and to think of an appetizer for Christmas Day.

Saturday I'll have the kids over for the night, and Sunday I'm hoping to visit the Maryland section of the family.  The one who was in China, Japan and Norway.  And the one who took his happy wife to a very exclusive Christmas party at a very exclusive address.  So nice to see ones children happy.
(I'm the mom, I get to brag)

I hope you all out there in the blogger world have a great holiday, with fabulous food, good drinks, great families, and friends, and I'll see you soon!

December 22, 2009


Flight is booked.  I'll be there to watch my little big brother blow out his birthday candles on his round birthday.  I waited and waited to book, hoping for yet a cheaper flight.  But the old CO Flight 50 and 51 are the best.  No variations!
Europe in January/February is not the most ideal, but that's when his birthday is.  And maybe the weather will be nice.  We seem to have our winter now, so it could happen, right?  And I get to celebrate two birthdays, my sister-in-law's is a couple of days later, and I'll be there at that party as well.

All right - I'm ready to go home.  I was trying to get a movie buddy to see Avatar, but no luck yet.  Maybe tomorrow, he said.

December 21, 2009

Sunday before Christmas

Almost forgot!

I got a nice email from:
So very nice!  If anyone who reads my blog, lives near there, try it out! It's the kind of place one expects to find in the Hunsrueck, but somehow or other, there aren't that many!  The sleigh ride looks soooo romantic....

And an email from
I had sent them photos from the Christmas places I've been, and they used some of my photos, go check it out!


I'm in the cold warehouse.  It's quiet, since Linda is gone for the year.  Not much going on.

Yesterday was a success.  The beouf bourguignon turned out great and everone loved it.  I put the vegetables in a big baking dish and just added olive oil, salt and garlic, and roasted them.  Turned out, we like it this way.  It's called 'the world's best broccoli', and the name alone helps make it desirable for Matthew.
And we liked the brussel sprouts that way.
Erika brought peppermint bark, and it was hard to resist.  We sat together, laughed, watched the kids, checked out things online, and had a bottle of Krug.  Champagne.  A little pre-Christmas celebration.
I had found the folder with all the report cards of the kids from the years, I shoved them all in there, not sorted, just a collection of them.  I finally took them apart, and handed Nicole her batch.  She was amazed.  I even had reports from her speech therapy in there.  And some reports from UCONN.   Good - one more thing I don't have to worry about.  Now hand Chuck his bunch, and we're good.

I am still looking for a buddy to go see 'Avatar' with.  Maybe Penny.  I asked, and she didn't think she'd have time before next weekend.

December 20, 2009

Good morning!

We had snow this morning.  How much?  Oh, I don't know.  Enough to shovel.  Which I did.  My daughters and families are coming over today for dinner.  I made boeuf bourgunignon, hmmm, lots more work than I usually put into a meal, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.  I'm making egg noodles and brussel sprouts and broccoli with it.
And I made the whipped cream/chocolate wafer cake. 

I met Erika and Matthew shopping yesterday.  Matthew was like a kid possessed.  Every store called his name.  And Erika thought it'd be easier to bring him then Jessica!

December 18, 2009

The last weekend

.... before Christmas.  So much to do!  This morning I took time out and went to Jackson's Daycare for his Christmas concert.  He was one group up from last year, with the singers, but still little enough not to sing.  He did participate, though!  He had an adorable reindeer hat on, looked sooo cute. 
When he spotted us in the crowd, and saw his mother and father, he broke out in tears.  That's too much to ask of a little one to be in the group and just look at the parents.

Last night I babysat for Matthew and Jessica.  Matthew's new passion is Pokemon.  And somehow he discovered eBay.  And Pokemon cards on eBay.  Who knew?  I shouldn't be  surprised, though!  So of course we bid on some cards.  And I got the call this morning: Oma, did we win?  All part of his Christmas gift.

It's cold!  I'm freezing....  I'll have the family over on Sunday.  I'm making something from Julia Child's cook-book, yes, the Art of French Cooking, I got it at a garage sale for about $1.  Of course this was before the movie came out.
Now I still need to stop and get red wine.  To cook with.

This also seems to be a sad time.  Two of my kids have pets.  The one family had to put down a loyal, lovely dog, she was just getting too old.  The other family, it was a total surprise that that gorgeous ragdoll cat went into breathing distress, and just couldn't be saved.

Tomorrow we are expecting a Nor'Easter.  With snow, and lots of it.
Long Island has a blizzard warning.  I'm jumping up and down with joy that it isn't us in New Jersey.
Hopefully it'll pass tomorrow and my family will still be able to come on Sunday as planned.

Enjoy your fourth Advent!

December 16, 2009


Billie will be no more after today.

She is just too sick.

She was a yellow lab, and she had a fabulous personality.

December 15, 2009

Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Chinese New Year

My oldest grandchildren's school had a holiday concert today.  And of course I had to go.  First were the fourth graders, who were playing instruments.  Good job!
Then the Kindergarteners -   lovely songs.  then the first and second graders, and after that the rest of the school.  Yes, they sang all the holidays.  Since it's the middle of Hanukkah, of course there were Hanukkah songs, as well as Kwanzaa and Christmas songs.  No, no Chinese New Year, but the children have Mandarin lessons in that township from first grade all the way through high school, I think. So a song in half Mandarin and half English had to be part of the Holiday concert.

I am feeling better.  I went to the doctor yesterday and got a prescription for an inhaler (new policy, I'm told), and was pronounced fit to keep on living. 

All right - gotta go - back to work.

December 13, 2009


Sitting here, watching the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, freezing, trying to avoid drinking the huge glass of water with my pills.
I'm thinking of the parents-in-law in RI.  I knew their parents!  I knew both parents of my mother-in-law, and so did both daughters. My son only knew his great-grandmother.  My oldest was five when her great-grand-father died.  And she'll be 40 in a couple of years.  She knew her grandparents parents.  Going back to the late 1800's.  Amazing.  And my oldest grandchildren, the youngest too, of course, know their great-grandparents.
Connections that reach out from the past.  The two oldest grandchildren knew my mother.  She had already had her stroke, so she frightened them a bit, since she couldn't talk.
My oldest daughter made sure she took both babies to my mother to have her see them.  And she loved it.
Christmas five years ago we spent in Germany, with my mother.
It was noisy, but so lovely to be there with the babies.  My brother came with his wife, and little one and the wife's sister, my brother next door was there with his daughter, the one last Christmas together.  She died the following June.
My husband's grandparents lived in CT.  They had a house right off mainstreet, 3 bedrooms, a detached garage, and a small garden.  My husband's grandfather was a carpenter, and he and my husband made a dollhouse for my oldest daughter.  I still have it, if the kids want it.  They grew tomatoes, and would save the seeds, let them dry out on paper towels on the porch, to plant them in February, so they'd be ready for planting once frost had gone.  They had a lovely mahogany dining room set with wood inlay, which we got when the house was being sold.  I ended up giving it to my oldest daughter.  They bought the set used during WWII, and paid $1500 back then.
My husband and I spent a lot of time with his grandparents, since my husband was on the police force in our small town while going to university, and his days off were usually during the middle of the week, so we often spent his off days with his grandparents. 

Third Advent Sunday

Still home sick.  Not feeling all that much better.  But I had enough energy to bake some cookies, clean my bedroom, and take a shower.

I watched Jackson last night.  He is a funny little guy.  As I was changing his diaper while he was standing up, he peed.  And thought it was funny.  We ended up watching Sesame Street at 10 PM last night.

I called my parents-in-law in RI this week, my father-in-law, who will be 93 next month, had a health scare.  After assuring me that he was all better, we talked about politics a little, he loves that.  And we are at total opposites of the political spectrum.  My mother-in-law, who had a severe brain injury from a fall, and has hardly any short-term memory left, but remembers things from the past, asked me a question no one has asked for years.  I'm living in my house by myself now for 7 years now, I think.
She asked me 'Do you ever get lonely?'
She was the first one in all those years, and if I think of the 30 years before that I've been alone, it's been a long time.
I was so surprised by that question.

December 11, 2009


I'm home sick today.
Spent the night waking up, taking aspirin, playing  a little on the computer, back in bed.

Didn't feel better after the shower.
I have a warm top on, a fleece, my fleece bathrobe, long johns, socks, piles of blankets,
and I'm still freezing.  It's so cold here today, that just the thought of going to my car, and driving to the doctor is enough to keep me here.  I keep waiting to feel a little bit better.
If this keeps up, everyone will get gift certificates for Christmas.
Good thing the presents for the kids are already bought.

Back on the couch.

December 9, 2009

My township

My house is a little lower than the road.  So when it snows and then rains on top of it, there is a lot of water running down the street.  And if it's huge amounts, the water goes the way of least resistance and ends up in my basement. 
That's a new situation, in years past we didn't have storms like that.  And it seems to be happening more and more.
This morning as I am shoveling the snow into the street - there is no room to go anywhere else, plus, it would definitely end up in my basement - I decided to call my township.  And I did, once inside and out of the wet clothes.
Not only did I get a 'we will be right over to look at it', it actually happened within the hour.  And they were friendly, helpful, moved the snow from the front (they had to, in order to see what was going on), and promised to raise my berm.   I am thrilled by the response. 

While I was at it, it sent an email to the engineering department asking how long my neighbor gets to keep his unused construction equipment in our shared driveway. 
I am hesitant in approaching them, since the wife seems to get angry very quickly and I really don't want an escalation.  I realize I'm asking for said escalation, but I just asked for the information, did not put it in the form of a complaint.
This unwillingness for a confrontation comes form my younger days... not that I'm afraid to approach the neighbors, it's just that the climate between us is frosty anyhow....  and I do want the construction mess (windows, yes, with glass in them, boards, rain gutters, etc.) to be gone.  Only other solution is a fence.


It's snowing this morning.  The news are full of storm, it's supposed to change over to rain later.  So I will drive to work later, since I'm snowed in.  Yes, maybe I'll go shovel, but maybe not, since --- see rain.

My sons-in-law came over yesterday and brought me a used treadmill.  Which I am very happy about, since now I can do my walking on the horrible and dark days in the house, while watching the news or reading.

Okay, lady - get your sneakers on and move!

There I go.....

December 7, 2009

second Advent

Two more weekends before Christmas.

My granddaughter brought home an advent wreath a couple of weeks ago from church.  She made it in Sunday school, 4 little candles in white and one bigger red one in the middle for Christmas Day.

On Saturday I went to NYC again with my son-in-law, his mom and my grandson. 
It was snowing/raining both at the same time.  We had to pick something up in Harlem, and then wanted to go to see the Christmas tree and visit F O A Schwarz, the toy store.  Going down 2nd Ave. we ended up going to Queens on the 59th St. Bridge - the road just dropped you on the bridge, no warning, no way to turn around.  So we had to turn around in Queens and go back over.
Here is a picture of the bridge:

Doesn't that look cool?

and here a freezing little guy.  Although he never complained, and he was dressed warmly.

Harlem street in the rain/slush.

5th Ave.  No time to stop and concentrate on taking a photo.

And a little boy checking out a truck in the toy store.

The exit/entrance to FAO Schwarz --- and it was cold!

December 4, 2009

Thomas Visit

Here are the photos from yesterday.

The awesome locomotive - steam engine

as we first saw it, crossing the street.  With the building behind it wrapped like a Christmas gift.

Isn't it awesome?
and the two of us:

Hach, it's nice to have brothers.

and one more of the steam engine.

December 3, 2009

Lambertville, NJ

My little (6'5") brother came to visit me yesterday.  I picked him up at the PATH, and we went home.  Chatted for a while and then went out for sushi.  It was great!  Some shopping at the mall, where I ended up with an early Christmas gift, a short dress or long sweater to wear over tights.  I love it!  I wore it today.

First we went out to a diner for breakfast - very New Jersey - then walked my tour around the pond. 

Since he owns horses, he wanted to check out a horse-supply store in the States.  So we did.  And ended up driving to Lambertville, a village full of galeries and antique stores, where we walked around and dream shopped.  Then a drive across the Delaware to New Hope, PA, where we had lunch, and a little walk up the hill.  While walking, the rail road barriers went down across the street and an apparition from the past came by - a steam engine!  Black, blowing smoke, looking lovely.

We admired, went up, remembered my Dad being here, being fascinated  by the collection of engines at this old-fashioned rail road station.  From what I understand, volunteers take care of the engines. 

We also called his son back in Germany to wish him a happy 20th birthday.

After that it was unfortunately time to bring little brother to the airport - JFK - 86 miles away.  We had a lovely time driving and chatting.  It was great to see him!  Thank you for visiting, Thomas!

December 1, 2009

Ginger Snaps

Oh, and I forgot,
I made the dough for the ginger snaps last night.  It needs an overnight in the refrigerator, so probably tonight I'll bake it.
I got the recipe from Penzey's Spices, and it's wonderful, I have used it for years, and if you want to look for more recipes and awesome spices, go to
here is the Gingersnaps recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 Cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 Cup molasses - either regular or unsulphured
  • 1 tsp. GINGER, powdered
  • 1 tsp. CINNAMON, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp. CLOVES, powdered
  • 1/3 Cup granulated white sugar (to roll dough in)
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg,
molasses, GINGER, CINNAMON, and CLOVES. Add the flour mixture in two parts, blending well. Shape the dough into a ball, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 11/2" balls for large cookies - smaller are fine too. Roll the balls thoroughly in sugar, place on ungreased cookie trays. The cookies spread out during baking, so don't crowd them. Bake 15 minutes. Cool for a minute, then remove from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for crispy cookies, or in a regular cookie jar for chewy cookies.

Yield: 40-60 cookies
Prep. time: 10 minutes plus chilling
Baking time: 30 minutes total (2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes each)


I babysat yesterday.  For the little guy whose Mom had to go to the dentist.
He demanded all the old toys, we even went into the garage to search for things.  He took what he liked, then we went back upstairs.  For entertainment he wanted 'Dora', and for supper he shared my turkey soup.  It was good to see him and his mother.

On a side note: does anyone use Google wave yet?  I just got it, and I'm deciding if it's interesting.  Anyone come to a conclusion yet?

I don't use Twitter, and no one I know is on Twitter (okay, I know one person, but I only occasionally  hear from him).  And everyone in my circle says that Twitter doesn't interest them.
Same with facebook.  I have an account, sometimes look, but not very often.

I wonder how many of these will still be around 20 years from now.