January 26, 2010

Almost a heatwave

Getting ready for the trip. 

I did send off things to the accountant.  I hate dealing with taxes, etc.  It just freaks me out, I don't know why. 

I'm reading the 'Princess' diaries by Meg Cabot.  There is a book store going out of business in the mall, and they had all three of them for under $1 in one book.  Yeah, a lot of it one can skim over, but it's a book.  And I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night, and rather than toss and turn, I grab a book.  No, no TV in the bedroom.  I never had it, and I don't think it would be a good thing to have one. 

I caught a cough and I hope it'll be better by Thursday.  I don't think flying is a good thing with a cold. 

This afternoon I have to pick up more supplies, something from the printer, and some buckles from another supplier so there is work for when I'm not here.  I have the sneaking suspicion that Linda is kind of glad to have a few days to herself! 

I'm still undecided on which shoes I'm bringing.  Trying to keep it all light and not bog down with too much.  You'd think that after 40 years I have this down pat.  So not. 
And I always talk about when I had to fly with three kids, and no rolling suit cases!  One of the first times I did this after my husband died, we got back to Kennedy Airport, I left the kids - at the time 9, 6 and 4 1/2)  with warnings to stay together, went to the roof (parking), got the car, stopped it to load kids and suitcases, got back behind the wheel, and the starter motor died.  After an overseas flight with three kids in JFK airport.... 
There was a station at the airport, they towed us to it, and when they got to us, the mechanic just whacked the starter motor with a hammer, and it started.  That car had at least 3 new starter motors in it, and was my last American built car.  I also should add that my oldest was 19 by the time I got rid of it.

So going on Thursday with one (adult) daughter, rolling suitcases, and just one little one between us, should be a piece of cake.
That reminds me, I have to call my sister-in-law and find out if she organized the room for my girlfriend....

January 24, 2010

My supper

We ate here last night.  And it was very good!  The birthday 'boy' got a Jet's cake (go Jets!), and we sang happy birthday.
I took my leftovers home.  I got whole wheat pasta with chicken and spinach and sausage.  It was very good!  But after the bread, the salad Erika and I shared, and the calamari, I was too full to eat much of my entree.  So I got to take it home.  I ate a portion for lunch, and for supper I cut up a red and a yellow pepper, sauteed it with onion and garlic, added some tomato, and then the pasta and chicken.  Should be good!

January 23, 2010

Help Haiti Telethon

Last night was the telethon for Haiti.  It was very stark, no announcements, no names, just the performers coming to the microphone and either singing or reading their part. No commercials.
Very much like the telethon after 9/11.*
I didn't think I would watch the whole thing, but I did.
Okay, the part where the stars answered the phone was awkward.   Anderson Cooper engaged me the most.  Reporting directly from Haiti.
Anyway, I was totally caught by Justin Timberlake singing 'Halleluja'.  And I'm not a Justin fan.  At all.  If anyone wants to check it out, here it is:  Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris just amazing.

My s-i-l's mom called me and asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner with them tonight, to celebrate his birthday.  Yes, I'll be happy to!
I walked the first time this year around my little pond.  It was cold, even though they promised 'warmed' temperatures.  39 F, with a wind, believe me, not so warm.  But the sun was shining!

*The 9/11 concert/telethon - I remember Nicole and I drove down to Washington, DC to visit Erika and Jim.  We listened to the telethon on the way down, and called Erika to ask if our guess as to who it was was right.
I do spend a huge amount of time with my kids.  And it's the best time ever.  I would go to the opening of an envelope with them.

January 20, 2010

Peppermint Ice Cream

I had the grandchildren over Saturday to Sunday.

And we made Peppermint Ice Cream from the left-over candy canes. 

And this is what it looked like:

and here are the laborers:

the pink princess with her pink pj's and pink blanket,
and the wizzards 101 warrior:

A Wedding

There was a wedding invitation in the mail this morning.  And so cute!  The couple's last name is Button, and there were two buttons on the front of the invitation - just so adorable! 
In case there are any guys reading this - they were manly buttons (in a deep voice). The setting and the celebration afterward sound like fun, and I do love weddings....

I have a little time to respond.  I probably will not be able to go, since it is overseas, and in the summer, and flight tickets overseas in the summer are mucho dinero.  We've been avoiding flying in the summer for years, ever since my kids - all adults now - were in school and we had to consider their vacations. 
Too bad, too, Europe in the summer is lovely.

But I have until the end of February to respond, and maybe I'll win the lottery - or a plane ticket... one never knows.

It was my son-in-law's birthday yesterday.  I made him apple butter, six jars, since he mentions that he loves apple butter and can't get it anywhere.  Although I'm not sure he wanted six jars!  Anyway, it was easy to make it.  I remember making apple butter after we made apple jelly.  Does anyone out there remember this?  We used to make apple butter from the left-overs of apple jelly.  That was the purpose, I thought.  And kept on looking for a recipe of apple jelly that went hand in hand with the butter.
In the end, I gave up on that, and made a combination from all the recipes I found in my many cookbooks. With apples, apple cider vinegar, white and brown sugar and the 'winter spices': cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
We celebrated by making meatball sandwiches and while my s-i-l was out getting the rolls, he got himself a blueberry pie for his birthday.  I felt bad for not thinking of that....
We sang 'happy birthday' and we dug in.

January 18, 2010


My overlock machine is fixed.  It was the motor, which we knew, and after taking it off the table and apart, it was stuffed full of flannel dust.  From sewing canton flannel, the  loose bits lodged in the back of the motor.  Man, there was a lot of it!  And a cable was not quite tight enough.
Now it is cleaned out, the cable tightened, the motor back under the table, the machine on top and tried out - it works!  Thanks to the help in the building, I'm up and running again.

working mothers

There is an interesting article in the New York Times this morning.  All about working mothers, and the school system in Germany.
My sister-in-law, who grew up here in the States, but now lives in Germany, told me that she gets a lot of questions about working and raising a child (6) in Germany.  While no one here questions a woman with children working, in Germany it's still not a daily occurrence.
I found this article to be interesting, and really the way I perceive it.  I didn't know that the half-day of school went back as far as the 1700's.  But I did wonder why a system exists, that makes it so hard for a woman to work.
Compare that with the way I grew up, totally 'Little House on the Prairie' style.  First, second, third and fourth grade were all in ONE room.  Taught by one teacher.  Who covered all the subjects.  And fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth were also in one room.  One teacher, all the subjects.  And the really bizarre fact that next to us in another room were all the Catholics, also one teacher, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades in one room....
Just amazing.  A couple times in the summer our teacher would take us for a walk in the meadows, woods, etc., and show us plants.  Some of those lessons are still with me, and we all got fairly good at identifying plants.
He also played the violin for music lessons.  We did learn to sing, at least to focus on the words, and not add extra letters into the song.  A habit that sticks with me to this day.  Good thing school only went until the latest 1:30 PM.  I'm sure our poor teacher was tired at the end of that day!
My 8th grade class was the last one in the village to be educated like that, the classes after us moved to a new school, when only - I don't remember - maybe one class at a time was taught.
And no, I'm not that ancient.  But going back to places like Sturbridge Village in MA birng back memories, because some of the things I experienced were like that (except for the cute costumes).
Our mother was the typical German Housewife.  She didn't work, she had dinner or lunch, hot, on the table at noon time (or between 12 and 1).  And she ran the house.  That she was an amazing woman and loved by a lot of people I'll go into some other time.
The point is still that things should be made easier in Germany for working women.  If I think of the support system my daughters and daughter-in-law have here in the States... and how well the children are doing in daycare.

January 17, 2010

January Yew York

Nick and I went to New York yesterday with Jackson. We took the ferry from Weehawken, and then the bus to 42nd St.
We went to ToysRus, where mother and son went on the ferris wheel, then Jack played on the Thomas table. We actually got out of the store without buying anything! Then lunch at a deli on 38th St. - Ben's - and back to the ferry. Jackson fell asleep and missed the ride back, as well as the ride back home.
It was fun. It always is being in NYC.
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January 15, 2010

Work, trouble

This week it was very cold.  I wore layers and layers and if I sat still one minute, I would get cold. 
Things did not go easy this week.  My grommet machine needs work, someday I'll post a photo of it, it is ancient, from the early 1900's!  It needs to be greased, the belts tightened, they are still made out of leather.  The overlock machine motor quit, and I am hoping and crossing fingers and toes, that the motor can be salvaged and that we'll be up and running again in no time.  I started to take the motor off, but am not clever enough to figure out how it is attached on the bottom.  I undid the bolts, but there is some weird sliding system that is still holding it up there.
I did get the top of the motor off, just loosened the 3 screws, that seemed easy.  Dirty, filthy in there, black dust, really yucky.  We'll get the rest of it off on Monday, when I will have help.

A friend called me last night, and invited me to a playhouse in a town nearby, to see '100 nights on broadway'.  I am looking forward to that. 
First I'll pick up the little ones at school, bring them home, and hang out there for a while.  Matthew started his new 'Amelia Bedilia' book last night, and it is really funny. 

Jackson woke up last night in the middle of the night.  When he was taken to his parents bed, he wanted to watch TV.  Then he was in bed saying 'knock, knock'  and 'who's there'.  Hm..  gotta print out some knock-knock jokes for two-year-olds.

A friend called me last night and told me her husband has terminal cancer.  With not a long time left. 
Man, that's tough.  And there is nothing you can say.

January 12, 2010

Alte Heimat

At the end of the month we will climb into a plane and spend the next 8 - 9 hours, less if we're lucky - up in the air.  It will be a night flight, flights to Europe always are, and I'll have a hard time deciding whether to try to go to sleep or to just give up and read or watch movies.  Again, if we're lucky, it'll be a plane with the individual screens in the headrest in front of you, with a somewhat decent selection of entertainment.
One of the luckier parts will be to make it through security, and onto the plane.  Should be fun in Newark, since the debacle there not too long ago. 
The best and luckiest part will be landing in Frankfurt and being picked up by the beaming face of my little big brother (little = younger, big because he is 6'6", or 2 m even).

I also will be meeting an old friend.  Several, actually, but one I haven't seen since September 01.  My gosh, that's 9 years ago I just realized!!!  Amazing.  We go back a long, long time.  We were silly girls, I remember we were very young and on a date the night JFK was assassinated.  We didn't find out until the next morning... I would never  have remembered that night, except for that.  And in the meantime, we sometimes saw each other, we went through a divorce (hers)  and a funeral (my husband), seeing our kids grow up, I even had one of hers living with us for one year, and a lot of other stuff.  It'll be great to see her.

I brought Matthew and Jessica to school today.  Their Mom had a meeting, and their Dad is in training.  No big deal, I was taught on how to bring them, where to go, where  to stand and what to say.  And it went off without a hitch.  I will also get them after work today, and we'll make a pizza for supper.

Still cold in New Jersey.  Yesterday AM the temperature was 15 F in the car when I started.  A little better today, maybe 20 F (that's minus 9 - 7 C, for my European followers).

January 10, 2010


I had Jackson sleep overnight at my house from Friday to yesterday. 

I called him to  the sliding door to show him the birds feeding.  I forgot about two-year-olds. 
He came to the door, looked at the birds, and let out a yell, and was totally happy when all of the birds disappeared.
Mission accomplished.

I only have him over once in a while, so he (and the others) are pretty much allowed anything they want to do.  I took the chance and hemmed a tablecloth, knowing that he loves machines, pushing buttons, and trying things out.  Whatcha doing?  he wanted to know.  And played with the on-off button, the thread, and watched how the machine worked.  Then he grabbed the scissors.  Since they are sharp, but have rounded tips, we tried them out.  I let him cut paper (helping), ribbon and a bit of fabric.  When he was satisfied, I put the scissors away.
He wrestled with me - he started it!  and he giggled. 

His mother came around noon to pick him up.  We went shopping together, and he fell asleep on the way to drop me off.

January 8, 2010

Deep freeze

A deep freeze is forecast for the weekend.  That's okay, it's January and it's winter.  At work I have tons of layers on:
A thermal undershirt
a turtleneck
a sweater
a fleece jacket
and of course the
thermal undies
knee socks
pants - sweat pants
snow boots.

And yes, sometimes I get cold.
We have a fairly large order in, and I hope it keeps up.

Tonight I'll babysit for my 2 1/2 year old grandson.  He is so cute!  He just went from the few words to telling a story, seems like overnight.  He can argue, tell a story, he sang 'happy birthday' with us last night, when his mom and dad and other grandmother came over for dinner.  He loves to take the stick to the spinning wheel off, and go hit something with it.  I dragged out my pots, and had him hit those, and try different sounds.

I made goulash, carrots, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower - it was so good.  And the Pilsbury Grands which Nicole loves.  And brownies for a family who loves chocolate.

Oh, and I got my treadmill!  This is an almost new treadmill, only used a few times, which was going to be thrown out.  A good brand, at that!  I'm thrilled, because now I don't have to go out and wrestle the bear.  Actually, the bear should be sleeping, it's cold enough.  I had just gotten a treadmill, but it was an older model, great to have before I got this new one.  I was happy with it, until this model came along.

I tried the treadmill last night, and again this morning.  I'm happy.  I know the German bloggers and runners go out in all kinds of weather (actually so do the real fitness nuts here too), but my time would be in the AM when it's dark, or in the evening, you guessed it, when it's dark.  And it's nice to be able to stay in the house.  I just have to learn to read when I run/walk....

January 7, 2010

A stick

That's what the German bloggers call it.  Like throwing a stick out to be caught.
And I caught it.

Here it goes:
Since when do you blog?
Since maybe April or May of 2009

Why do people read your blog?
I have no idea.  I don't have enough feed-back yet, so I can't tell.  I'm trying to make it interesting,  I'm going for funny, which I do in my real life, but I know I'm not there in my blog yet.

Which was the last search question which brought someone to your page?
I have no idea again.  How do you look that up?  Do you create a link?  It would be cool to know.  The Germans know a secret they haven't let me in on yet.

Which one of your blog entries deserved more attention?
I really don't know.  To me, the entry about 9/11 is pretty important.

Your current favorite blog?
The ones I check every day are one in German: Frau .... aeh ... Mutti
And the one in English: The meanest Mom
And I like the two blogs because both to me convey a sense of humor.  I'm striving for that, but it takes practice.

Which blog did you read last?
I like to make the rounds.  the last one was: Aff yer heid!!!  which is in German, but the blogger lives in Scottland.  And she is the one who 'threw me the stick'
How many feeds are you subscribed to?
Too many.  In Google Reader, and I have about 800 feeds, not all of which I read.  And I don't know how they figure it's 800+, I'm still learning.

Which five blogs will you throw the stick to and why?
Deep breath in and here it goes:
 One to All My Yesterdays
because she responds, seems lovely, knows life, seems to have a similar life to mine
one to Frische Brise 

because I enjoy her blog
And I think I'll leave it at that. 

January 5, 2010

An Island

I changed my banner photo matching to the season.  I took this photo a year ago.  It was as cold as it is now on the East Coast.  This is on Shelter Island, all the way out at the end of Long Island.  It's a wonderful, magical, different place.  I haven't been to the Jersey Shore in years since I've been invited out there for weekends. 

It takes me totally away from my life, not that there aren't any beautiful spots in my life.  It's just totally different. By the ocean, and not by the wild waves of the Atlantic.  It's just like the name, sheltered.  It's sort of New Englandy-coasty, but it's own thing.  One of the things that makes it special is that you have to take a ferry to get there.  On winter days we're there we don't do much, watch TV, go outside for a minute to take pictures, come back inside, play games, and go to dinner.  Spend the night, have breakfast and go home.  Maybe a visit to a  vineyard on the way there or on the way back, but not much more.
In the company of my some of my children and grandchildren.

January 3, 2010


Three days into the new year already.

Today was icy cold.  I spent most of the day in the house.  Only went out to the movies with Penny and Rose to see 'It's complicated'.  I laughed, it was funny enough.

The day before yesterday I went to my middle daughter's house to spend time with visitors from St. Louis.  We had pizza and sat and talked and laughed.  I spent the night, since my s-i-l went off with a friend to spend a couple of nights away.  Yesterday we went to Ikea, where I found some material on sale, and then to a mall, where we met my older daughter, her daughter and a cousin.  It was nice to see the little guy behaving much better in a mall, walking the entire time (no stroller for him!), and we only had to keep him in a good mood a couple of times.
I found a sweater I liked at the Gap, and that was about it.
I can't believe all the days off are already over.  Tomorrow it's back to work.
Have fun you all!