February 28, 2010

Finished with THIS snow

But more on the way.  Sometime this week. 
Since it is above freezing, it is melting somewhat.

My son-in-law came over last night and shoveled out another parking area and did a more accurate job of shoveling around my car.  He came with my daughter and the munchkin.  They left the munchkin with me for the night, and they were planning to go to the movies.  As always happens when they plan to go to the movies, they don't.  See a movie, I mean.

A friend came over last night and hung out with us.  We watched the Olympics.  Jackson was spinning, and after being asked to spin the other way, he fell on top of a toy.  He cried!  Oh, I felt so bad.  I hugged him, and within minutes he was asleep.  Which scared me - remember when our kids were small and we called the doctor for a case like this, and were told to keep them up, watch their eyes, etc?

Anyhow, this morning he was fine.  But with a black and blue eye.
Looks pretty bad, but last night I put the 'booboo ice pack' on it, and it isn't as bad as it could be.

see, he's laughing.

And that's him with his parents in the background.
I am waiting for the car service, I have a semi-flat tire in the front of my car and instead of taking the risk and driving to a station, I rather have the tire changed and I will bring it to and have it looked at. 

February 26, 2010

Friday morning - still snow(ing)

This is the view that greeted me this morning. It's pretty rare that the snow on the deck is this high.

I was enjoying my coffee, when I heard a car in front of my house. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backward. Being nosy, I moseyed on out there with the shovel, and asked where he thought he was going. The snow on the road was at least 6" high, the plows hadn't been through for a good long while.
To work, was the answer. I helped shovel around his car, by that time some other neighbors and his wife showed up, and we got him to the side of the road. By that time the plow came through as well. It's still bad around here.

This is my street AFTER the plow came through. Winter wonderland. See how high my car is covered? Wanna come over and help shovel it out? We'll have a party! Bring bird food!

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The birds are hungry, no doubt. I had some grapes that were going bad, they love them. And I feed them the 'cakes' I get at Walmart. If I feed loose birdfood, the squirrels show up in hordes.
Enjoy your Friday!
 One more view of the front of my house - see the snow on the roof?  Still not as bad as in 1995 when my mother was here for Christmas.

February 25, 2010

Same Day, just later

More snow pictures.

My daughter just called me and told me about her day.
She was supposed to bring the cats to the vet.  They called and asked her to come early - noon.  So she brought her two cats, got the check-up, went back to the car, and got one of the cats in the car.  Somehow the other cat carrier opened and the second cat jumped out and ran under the car.
No amount of cajoling brought the cat back out.  So my daughter thought if she started the engine the car would be scared and run out.
Nope, the cat tried to get into the running engine.  At which point my daughter realized the locked the car, and couldn't get back in.  With a scared cat under the car, snow all around...
Well, she went back into the vet's office and asked for help.  Three people came outside to help get the cat, one of them even lay down in the snow.  Success!  Now she had to wait for her husband (who had his own problems, something to do with difficulty with the snow plow) to come and bring the spare key so she could leave.
In the meantime daycare called, they were closing early.  She got there with one minute to spare, and her son was the last one to be picked up.
The three of them are now tucked in their house, where hopefully they'll stay!
Now to the 'few hours later' photos:
My favorite lilac bush, miniature blossoms, blooms a little later then regular lilacs.
Some hungry guests

Now you know what a Nor' Easter looks like!
And it's still snowing.
Not supposed to let up until Saturday.

Today: weather and more weather

This is what the winter looks like today. Tons of birds at the bird feeder, they are hungry!

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And this is my house from the back. I usually park back here, but in the winter I leave my car out front. Smart, don't you agree?

And one more photo, of my dining room table today:
The candles are leftover from Advent.  The rose from a home-improvement store (half-price), and the beautiful tablecloth was a gift from a cousin.  
I love it!

... ahem, weather II

It's snowing.  Started off as rain, is still fairly mild, and looks spectacular.  Like you want in December, just before Christmas.

We still have a weather warning for today and tomorrow.  I tried going to work, and I didn't even make it out of my lake community before turning around.  Thick fat flakes.  Since the schools are closed because of the snow, no plows are going through right now.  They usually are quite busy on my street, since I'm only four houses from the school.  And the roads are slick and snow covered.  I'm not so worried about leaving, I'm really worried about coming home, should I leave.  I live up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mtns, and while it's not very high, it's hilly enough to cause problems.

What will I do today?  Hmmm, haven't decided yet.  I will shovel snow!

February 24, 2010

ahem, weather


More snow.


Now, I don't want to hear from people telling me that spring is just around the corner.  I still shoveled snow this morning.  And expect to tomorrow, and maybe the day after that.  The new storm is supposed to last from tomorrow morning until Saturday. 

I finished another handbag, but don't have the camera with me.  I also always think that it's nothing special.  A friend of mine signed me up to be a vendor at an event on the 1. May.  Where I will sell my bags. 
The Habitat for Humanity is giving the event.  I will post more on where and when exactly it'll be.

February 22, 2010

Rhode Island visit

This is my father-in-law
He is 93 years old
and from a French Canadian background.
We visited him this weekend.  We went in two groups, so not to tax him and ourselves too much.  We needed to see each other since my mother-in-law's passing.

Here are two generations, but really four generations apart.
A great-grand-father with his great-grandson.
The little one is 20 months old.

This was their first meeting.

This is outside the Navy Lodge in Newport, RI.  
The aircraft carrier is the USS Forrestal, no longer in service.
It was the view outside our window, just like that:

I do miss Rhode Island.  This is about 7 AM, and just gorgeous.  And who minds the cold with a view like that?

And we had breakfast at this NJ style diner in Newport.  We can only recommend it.
And below we were showing the little one the beach.  Still too cold to stay outside for long. 

February 20, 2010

Rhode Island

Yesterday all my children were around my table again.  So nice.
They were all there except for Jack and Greg, who had plans for early morning today, and were on the road last night.
The rest of us got together, laughed, made chili with chocolate (only two pieces, but still) with rice and homemade cornbread, and salad, and a fabulous chocolate dessert after.  My son made the chili.  It was great!  I was surprised when he added water to it at some point, but it came out great.
We tried the new Scrabble card-game called Scrabble Slam, but I had to bow out in the first game, I'm just not fast enough.  Nicole was done with her cards when I had just put down one or two.

Today we are going up to Rhode Island to be with my father-in-law.  The funeral of the urn will be sometime next month, but we felt that a visit has to be made.  Rhode Island is about a four hour trip one way for us, which we used to make once in a while in one day, but it is hard.  So we are spending the night.  Only the girls without their families and my son with his and me, are going, since we feel a visit with all of us is too much.  As it is, we will split up our group, and visit separately.
We used to live in Rhode Island, by now a long time ago.
I loved living there.

February 17, 2010


While I  was in Germany, on the very last day, I asked my brother about buttons.  Now you have to know that one of his (big) hobbies is walking in the woods and fields during the season that the deer (male) shed their antlers.  The object is to find a complete perfect pair.  He is very good at that.
So he has a couple of antlers laying around, and I keep thinking of a use for them.  My hints at wanting a chandelier made from antlers are being ignored.  I keep sending photos of diverse things made from antlers, no reaction.  
So I decided to start small.  How about buttons?  I asked.  Of course toward the end of our stay.
On the evening of our already extended last day.  No problem, I was told, off we went to an artist in another town.  Through snow, getting dark, etc.  Oh, first we had to stop at the pink farm and get a 'Baerenfang', a liquor made of honey (the Germans put alcohol with or in anything).  That was delicious, and carried us through the woods, on snowy roads.... to

.... the artist, where first we had to get a little concert from a home-made alphorn, which is a minimum of 8 feet long (very good, by the way), a few tones of an ancient trumpet, which he wanted changed by my brother, and then we were taken to the basement, where we got a tour and were told that he was waiting for two ovens for clay firing, which his wife didn't know about yet.
The purpose of our sojourn was to borrow the drills to make the buttons.
They got made!  In record time, and I love them.  Now I am honor bound to find a jacket to use them on.  Should I knit the jacket?  Sew it?  I don't know yet, and if you are a visitor, and have an idea, please let me know!

And here are the buttons:
aren't they gorgeous?  About 1" across.

And so very special, because my brother made them for me.
(and just in case my other brother is reading this, I love you too!  Too many reasons, I'll just throw in that I was hoping I would get a ride with the horses on the coach/carriage!)

And the tablecloth was sent to me along with some other wonderful linens.  I just love them!  Thank you so very much!  
From one of the linens I sewed a pillow.  I'll show it some other time.
while I was getting the kids from camp (they have the week off) yesterday, I drove through this winter-wonderland:

Crap, won't it stop snowing?!

It is pretty, though.....

February 16, 2010

Snow again

It looks like Christmas outside.  Really!  Big fat snowflakes.  And they are covering everything.  It is really pretty.  But, can I go anywhere?  Will the highways be alright?  I should get material/fabric, but... maybe I can wait until tomorrow.

When I came home from Europe, I noticed that my house seemed chilly.  I put it down to the fact that my brother's house is heated by a 'Kachelofen', tile stove, and it gets warm.  Thinking I had to get used to living in my house again, I didn't pay any  attention until Sunday, when it finally got so cold for me, that I turned up the heat.  And nothing happened.  After checking downstairs, nope, that didn't work either, and fooling around with the boiler a bit (yes, I do try everything), I had no choice but to call a repairman.  He was kind enough to come last night, which I appreciated, since I didn't have to lose any time during my day.  It took him maybe an hour to switch out the control panel - the panel that controls when the boiler comes on,  Of course it cost me, but ....
The amazing feeling of luxury to have the house warm was unbelievable.  I just enjoyed it so much!  I kept the heat on upstairs at about 65 degrees F (I try to go lower, who needs a hot house when you're sleeping).  But oh, boy, was it great! The hot water had worked, even while the boiler was working erratically, so I didn't notice from the water either.
When I think of the mess I could have returned to had the boiler quit altogether! 

We will go to Rhode Island this weekend and pay our respects to my father-in-law - the kid's grandfather, since a funeral will be sometime in March. 
My son, his wife and so far the littlest grand-son will come up and stay with me until we go to RI.
So in the middle of mourning I will have the happy time of seeing them.

February 15, 2010


Marilla is my mother-in-law's name.  The first time I met her in Germany, when she came for our wedding.  She was an amazing cook and an even better hostess.  She was always there for us, and enjoyed every minute with her family.  She is the one who taught me how to set a table, and how to cook, more by example, than actual teaching.  On holidays she put on these fabulous spreads, everything from soup to nuts, and very New England.  She grew up in Connecticut, could have belonged to the DAR's, but didn't, was a great gardener up until they gave up their house.  She played endless card games with me, and then later the children.  We played Scrabble for hours.  We went to pick our own vegetables, and fruit together.
She introduced me to lobster and lobster rolls, which were her favorite, and clams on the half-shell, New England boiled dinners, and corn on the cob, creamed onions, and purple turnips, and apple pies.
She made mince-meat pies for Christmas, and tons of cookies.  Baked hams for Easter, and Boston Baked Beans for Saturday nights.  With Grote and Wiegel hot dogs.
She belonged to the United Congregational church on Main Street, one of the white New England churches.  She loved handiwork, could knit, made Theorems, which are oil stencils on off-white cotton velvet, an old New England craft.  She needle pointed, and quilted, and donated some of her works to the church to be raffled off.
She loved to travel and saw a lot.  Hawaii, China, Japan, and Europe are just some of the places I can think of that she saw.  Her husband didn't want to go traveling, so she did it by herself, camping the first time she saw Europe (with a group).
She loved her family, loved her husband, and they were married for over 65 years.

The picture above is of my parents-in-law last August, with my daughters and kids behind them.

February 13, 2010

More memories from our trip

The trip to Germany already seems like a dream.

We did enjoy ourselves, I  met up with old classmates:

We met in the brand-new restaurant of Giuseppe and Corinna's, who bought my parents house and totally changed it.  It is gorgeous now, we would never have had the imagination to change it to what it is now.
Anyway, these ladies went to elementary school with me, and we had a lot of fun refreshing our memories.
Renate, on the left, remembered more than any of us.  Rita, 2nd from left, reminded us  how much she had to babysit for her nephew, who turned 50 last year!
Then there is me, and then Ellen.  Ellen's father was a policeman in our town.  Ellen told everyone when she was little, if her family needed money, her father would just issue a ticket.  She told us at the meeting, that she truly believed it as a child.
This is the group who got together to have their picture taken.  We were going for all of us, but it just didn't happen.
From the left it's my nephew Dominik, my 'little' brother Thomas, Nicole, me, Jackson and Tristan.  Photo courtesy of Cathy.

These houses, which look like they jumped out of the middle ages, are the bridge houses in Bad Kreuznach.  We went shopping there one afternoon, and I was surprised, how beautiful these houses are - and I went to school there for two years....
One more view.  The river below is the Nahe, and the wine from the region is fabulous.  By the way, I fell in love with a Dornfelder in Giuseppe's, so much, that he gave me a bottle to take home.  What a great red wine!
One more photo of my hometown.  On my what I thought to be last morning there.  It got cloudy not much later, but I do like the view.  I went up the hill behind my brother's house, and walked along the forest to the highest point before the highway.  In the back is the mountain called the Hochsteinchen.

And one more view of the four of us who met for coffee on the Tuesday before we went home.
It was fun, ladies!

February 11, 2010

Home again, home again jiggedy jig

After a bit of confusion looking online to see if our flight was on time, and seeing 'canceled', and only after thinking for a few minutes that we would have to stay yet another day, did I realize I was looking at yesterday's flight.
Today's was still very much up, and supposedly on time.
My brother brought us to the airport, and it turned out to be the drive from hell for him.  Snow, and then one traffic jam after the other.  We did get to the airport in time, but didn't have time for a long good-bye.  He dropped us off, and had to leave because it was just a drop-off zone.

We got our boarding passes quickly and trekked to the gate.  Security.  Jackson (2 1/2) took the opportunity to pitch a world class melt-down, so bad, security waved us to the front of the line.  My daughter and I were already steeling ourselves for a flight from hell, since the fussing continued until we boarded.  But no, he was a perfect little boy for the 1 1/2 hour of waiting at the gate and the 8 hours flying after.  No screams, lots of smiles, a little wiggling when we tried to have him sleep, but the rest of the day he was great.
He did fall asleep 10 minutes before we landed, and that's the way I waved him, and his mother and father off.
So, we're back, and when I got to my house, a looooong-time friend had been thoughtful enough to have the front of my house plowed, as well as the walkway shoveled.  It was wonderful!!!

February 10, 2010

Snow and winter walks

There is snow here and snow in the States.
On the days we didn't go to a tourist site or walked a town, I went for walks with my brother.  Ususally the same walk every day, what made it different was the weather.
And since we have until tomorrow we are taking advantage of the time, and Jackson is outside with his great-uncle and they are sledding.
I took my extra day as a sign to visit a friend of my parents, she is 91 years old, and we stopped by and said hello.  Sadly, I can see the signs of the times....
but here are some pictures of our walk...

the last one is the town I grew up in.

Last night I went and had my fortune told.
I will write about that some other time.

We just got a call that my mother-in-law died.
She was 89 years old, and living with my father-in-law very happily in an assisted living place.
No arrangements have been made yet, and we are still in Germany


We were supposed to fly home today.

But a big snow storm is expected to hit the East Coast today.  So our flight was cancelled. 

We are confirmed to come home tomorrow.

In the meantime, I had a friend check on my house.

And this is what she found:

in front of my house, in my front yard.
I guesss, the bear misses me.
(yes, it is a bear paw print)
And yes, I live in the outer limit of the greater metropolitan area.  Of New York City.

February 7, 2010

The Rhine

It is late, and I just want to post a few more photos.  We went to the Pfalzgrafenstein today.  That is a toll `booth in the middle of the river, where in the middle ages they pulled a chain across, and held up all the boats or ships going in either direction.  I had never been there, although I do know just about all the castles on the left side of the Rhine in the area I am from.

The Rheingrafenstein or the Pfalz, which is the other name it is known under, was built in the 12th century, and is one of two castles never conquered and never destroyed.  It is pretty much in it's original condition, with very few changes over time.

The town is Kaub, and the castle is the Pfalz.
fron the inside
and our group with the 'guide' or keeper at the time.  You can reach the castle by ferry, and the ferry lands on the island, the worker on the ferry just takes the keys to your car and leaves it on the other side of the Rhein.  When the ferry comes back an hour later, you get the keys back, get the car, and  off you go. 
It was explained that it's done like that, because people would just leave their cars on the ferry without saying anything, and block the way for other cars, who just wanted to go across the river.
Pretty neat.
the view from the toll castle toward the Hunsrueck, and yes, we still have snow.
Jackson is up now and I have to be a grandma now, since Mommy went back to bed.
I don't mind, since his Mom is pregnant, and I love spending time with him.