August 31, 2010

They are making us nuts!

The weatherpeople -  they are making us crazy!   A possible hurricane.  Well, I sat in an airplane the last time.  And landed in the middle of it.  And was mad at my kids for not picking me up.  The plane landed, what was the big deal about driving to the airport?!  I couldn't understand it at all.  We still tease each other about that.  And that was.... oh, in the late 1990's.  Floyd?  1999.  The last major hurricane hitting the East Cost.  I just checked.  That sounds right....

Anyway, if this one makes landfall, we'll be on an island.  Sheltered by the South Fork of Long Island.

If it his, there'll be pictures!

August 30, 2010

Fifth Monday in August

And we're in the heatwave.  It was hot yesterday, but dry, not humid.

I spend Saturday and most of Sunday with two little ones, one of them:

I guess he's tired!

And that's the house in the woods the baby and his brother live in.

And while at the farmer's market, he got invited to check out the rescue truck, including the helmet.
An offer he couldn't resist.
And we bought way too many things at the market, but everything is fresh, and the organic salad I made for lunch may still have a kernel of sand.....

The end of the week we'll be out at the end of Long Island, a trip to Block Island is planned, but we'll have to see if Earl will let us play ----
 one more photo of the baby, I just love this picture:

August 27, 2010

Weather: perfect

The weather really is perfect.  Cool nights, lots of sunshine for the next few days, and then slipping back into a heatwave.  Summer is so not over.  But at least the nights are cooling off.

And so we won't get bored, a hurricane is a possibility after that.  Forming in the Atlantic, and maybe gracing us with it's presence.  We don't know which one yet, but we can wait.

I hope it waits until after Labor Day weekend.  I'm taking next Thursday and Friday off, and I'll be on Shelter Island.  With two of my kids and their families.

I put myself through an adventure the other day.  I couldn't find my keys on the way out of the building to go home.  Nowhere.  Yes, I checked high and low, over and under, my pockets, turned my purse upside down, dumped everything out of the laptop case, looked under the furniture, opened 4 boxes of goods ready to be shipped - nothing.  The building gets closed and everyone leaves at 3:30 PM, so staying until I found them wasn't an option.
I had to call my poor son-in-law Jim to come to my rescue.  Which he did.  And he drove me home (26 miles), and then 26 miles in rush-hour traffic back so I could get my car.  What a waste of time for everyone!  Of course I found my key the next day, it was behind where my coat was hanging, either I put it there to hang up my coat, or it fell out of my pocket....

Lesson?  I'll carry a spare car key with me at all times, and I'm handing out spare keys to my house to all my kids, and some friends in the neighborhood.

Weekend?  Thank you for asking, no - well, only two garage sales, and tomorrow I'll be going to Nicole's overnight to help out, since her husband won't be around.

And Saturday we'll go to the farmer's market, I'm looking forward to seeing the organic farmer with the  blue, blue eyes.....

August 25, 2010

More Rain

And it's still - again - raining.  Which is fine, really!  When it rains here in August, you can still wear shorts and t-shirts and sandals while hopping across puddles.  Or even step into them.  The air is still warm, and it's not uncomfortable at all.  It's the typical summer rain.  And we so needed it.  I miss rain if a sunny, hot period goes on too long.

I am eating a wonderful, delicious, perfect, and I mean perfect, peach.  A co-mother-in-law sent it to me, as a thank you, for something I felt was no big deal.  But I appreciate the gift whenever I eat one of those picture-perfect peaches.  And no, there is no photo, I eat them too fast!

Now a little problem.  A friend in Germany told me her son posted a picture of his little daughter on  And since it's her grandchild, which she has never seen, she was telling me how cute, with blond curls, blue eyes, etc... you get the idea.
I checked, her son's page, and her son is commenting on someone else's daughter.  The someone else wrote 'this is my daughter', which looks like it came from my friend's son.
The son only wrote a comment, like 'what a sweet girl' to this post, but for someone not - I don't even know if it's a language thing - it does look like he's talking about his daughter, but it's definitely not, he's just writing the comment....
Dilemma!  do I make it a point to call her and tell her it's NOT her grand-daughter?  Btw, the relationship between mother and son is tenuous at best.

It's also the friend who didn't like us taking a baby to an outdoor shopping center, and thought he'd be better off being walked in the forest.  If he lives any deeper in the forest, he'll be either in a cave or sleeping in a nest.  Why is it, that some people can still make me feel guilty?  I thought I'd be over that by now....

August 22, 2010


I'm back from a two-day stay at Nicole's house.  Her husband and son went up north to see some logging exhibit, and were gone from Friday night until today.

So I went over, to first of all spend time with Evan, and Nicole, of course, and to make a show of helping her - sorry Nikki, the attraction was the munchkin ----

We went shopping to a shopping center just over the NJ/NY border, where I stayed outside with the sleeping Evan while Nicole visited some stores.  He is too little to go into the shops.

I told a girlfriend about the visit.  She was aghast, saying the baby didn't belong into a shopping area, he needed silence, and maybe a walk in the woods.  I was so surprised, I forgot to tell her, that if he lives any more in the woods, it would have to be a house in the trees.

Anyway, he is a cute little boy, he slept a lot, and he is close to smiling when being talked to - remember that stage?
We also visited an organic farm that has a farm stand on Sundays in Nicole's town.  It was very interesting, lovely veggies, and we bought tons!

The other family went to PA to Hershey Park for the weekend.  Too bad it's raining buckets today.  We do need it desperately, the ground was so totally dry, it was pitiful.
the obligatory sunflower from the farm

Isn't he doing great?

Yes, I even managed to squeeze in one garage sale.  Childrens books.  A handful for a dollar.

See you all soon!

August 19, 2010

Burger King Salad

Since there isn't a contact e-mail on the BK site, I'll have to vent here.

I got a salad for lunch, with chicken.  It has a bunch of lettuce, four tiny grape tomatoes, and four of the smallest carrots I have ever seen.  It came with 9 pieces of chicken, and they charged $5.49.
It is the crummiest most expensive salad I have ever seen.
I hope someone at Burger King googles itself, so they may came across my complaint.  Unbelievable - for a double hamburger they charge $1, a salad with a minimum amount of chicken over $5.
Note to self:  Don't get the salad at BK.  Don't go to BK.

Waiting for something like a little more 'normal' temperatures.  It's only going up into the mid 80's, but after all that heat behind us, I vote for something in the 70's or 60's.

Walk around the pond was nice.  It has a footpath around it, that's why it's so popular.
And yes, I spotted a deer again this morning.  Yesterday I scared a mom deer, she jumped across the road in front of me and scared me, to get to her two youngens.

Got the kids from camp yesterday, and asked Jessica (6) to go to the bakery to get rolls.  I parked in front of the bakery, but let her go in by herself, and take care of buying them.  She is so proud to be doing that on her own!  While European school children go to school by themselves very early, and go into the shops by themselves as well, American kids don't have those chances.  They are bussed or driven everywhere, and hardly a child walks by him/herself.  So there are really few opportunities to buy something by themselves.  I remember how much my kids enjoyed it when they were allowed to do that when we visited Oma and Opa.

August 16, 2010

Renessaince fair

Saturday morning found me painting my dining room ceiling. It needed it. When I posted a photo of the cuckoo clock from Jackson's perspective, I was motivated to get some paint, and just do it. Well, since then it's been too hot, so this weekend with normal temperatures a person could move in, it got done. Didn't take much time, either.
Yes, I also went to some garage sales, but my feeling for really good bargains is over. 'Only' two new pair of shoes, really cool, made in Italy with cork wedge heels and peek-a-boo toes in white and in black. Yes, I have a thing for shoes.

And I tried my quilting feet. Works fine, and I did a small quilting trial, just to see how it works. Note to self, learn how to precisely cut the fabric, then you're all set.

Sunday I wanted to see the baby. He is one month old already, and looks wonderful. His parents were in the mood to get out of the house and since the Renaissance Fair is close by, we went there.
Fun!  Have you ever been?  The people who go there are in costume too.  A lot of them, not all.  The weather was overcast, and it threatened to rain, which it finally did, and it did cut our visit short - which was fine, Evan and his mother had it by that point.  But we did ride the dragon swing (Jackson)

did get a funnel cake (Greg), did get a wooden dagger (Jackson)

petted a snake (Jackson)

rode a camel (Jackson and Greg),

and watched a show with a guy getting his chest wrapped in duct tape, and then climbing on a ladder, setting of fire crackers on his chest, and having tons of water balloons thrown at him by select audience members, children, who were on stage either side of him.  You have to see it to appreciate it.  Jackson was mesmerized.  And hopefully too young to remember (and copy it).
And another cute, homemade carousel (Jackson and his mom)
We didn't make it to the joust.
But saw plenty of interesting looking folks:
The sign behind reads: Flush Privies

Our happy group, with Evan being hidden from view and rain.
A truly romantic setting, don't you think?

our littlest knight, already changing - one month old yesterday!
More romantic setting - also plenty of opportunities to spend hard-earned money.
Have a happy Monday!

August 13, 2010

fleece - winter is coming!

Yeah, I know, I will be sweating for a while yet.
But the time when I will be moaning about the cold is just around the corner.

And I was looking for websites that sell ribbing.  To use as cuffs.  If I sew fleece jackets, etc., I would like to know where to get that.  And I want to sew that stuff, now that I have a kick-a.. sewing machine!
(no, didn't get that embroidery machine - yet).
Anyway, I asked the sewing expert at the store where we bought the sewing machines, she didn't have a clue.  Her only hint was to sign up for a newsletter from Nancy's notions, which I didn't want to bother with.
So I did some searching, after looking at the back of a pattern what these things are called:
turns out, it's tubular rib knits you want.
Well, that search brought me to this website that has it all!

And, this is what I've been looking for!
Polartek stuff!  Made in USA!  Name brand, and all that.
Okay, now I have to decide what I want, and then I'll be set to make stuff -
Christmas presents, etc.  And I'll be warm, and in colors I like!

Oh, if anyone is looking for REALLY cool zippers,
check out this zipper place - I deal with them, they are super nice, and send your order out right away.
Click on the 'rhinestone zippers' --- have you ever?!  I'll have to think of a special project.
I'm going home to paint the ceiling in my dining room - it needs it badly - and if I get a chance, I'll sew a cushion for my bench.
I also want to try out my new quilting foot, and see if I finally can quilt!
Have a great weekend!

(wow, way too many exclamation points, wonder what made me do that)

August 12, 2010

Help - the scrounging queen at it again

While looking on Craig's list for an embroidery machine - now I'm just looking, not really expecting to find anything- I came across an offer of a  machine by Brother ULT 2001, an older embroidery machine.  The price seems very reasonable, and I inquired about the machine, was it still available, etc.
It seems yes, it was, and she wanted to sell it badly, since she is moving away, and lost interest, and it was her grandmother's machine anyway.  The machine is in good shape, working, hardly used, and, like I said, reasonable - that is, reasonable for an embroidery machine that was over $2,000 to begin with.

Well, I made an offer, she countered, I countered back, and she gave me a 'set' price.  I gracefully bowed out, saying like her, due to the economy, I wasn't willing to go higher, and wished her good luck.

Well, wouldn't you know it, there is another e-mail in my in-box, asking how high I would go.....

What to do?  If anyone has something to add, please, I'm begging you, say it.
I do know the machine when using an embroidery design, works off floppy discs.  Who uses floppy discs anymore?! I'm also told, and I checked it out, that there is the possibility of getting an external drive for the computer.  Will I go full force into the embroidery thingie?  The machine also operates like a regular sewing machine (which I got, and it's lovely).   Hmmmm ---- thoughts, please?

Thursday, again

My, time flies.

And it is less hot today, but still humid and dry.  Yes, seems like a contradiction, but isn't.  Everything is crying out for some rain.

The other day I came home and I had a fawn in my backyard again.  Hmmm, I thought, looking around.  The mom was laying down in the bushes, too tired to even get up when I walked as close as 6 feet from it.  Just kept an eye on me.  The youngster was far more leery of me, it ran away as soon as I started coming down the deck stairs.

My friend Penny and I visited our friend Ana, who just had a baby.  Born on the same day as Evan, even bigger!  Cute as a button (and I don't feel right showing his photo, I didn't ask his mom permission).
Seeing Ana, as always, is a treat, I have never met anyone with as much good humor and bubbling over with enthusiasm about life (and she is no longer living in a sea of beige).

She moved not so long ago, and brought the kitchen with her from the old house (unusual for the States, quite common, even expected, in Europe).  She couldn't find anyone to install her granite, so she got new for her counter tops and offered the 'old' granite up for grabs.  Warning us, that it would be hard to find someone to cut and install it.  Since my kitchen is white, pretty much anything will go with it.  What color, I asked?
Verde Butterfly
Well, I'm owed a day of work, it was a birthday present.  The person who would be doing the work, it turns out, used to install granite counter tops.  Wooo whooo!
I hereby declare myself the queen of scrounging.

Now all I have to search for is a sink, since my sink now is over the counter mount, and granite requires under the counter mount.  But that's all right!  With a free counter top, I think I can afford a new sink.  And so I am ambling into the 21st century.
Yeah, and if I rambled on about ... why does every kitchen in America have to have stainless steel appliances and granite counters... please disregard.  I will never get stainless steel appliances, but free granite counters, I have no argument with that.   Thank you Ana!

While on the subject of scrounging.... the other day a customer came wandering by, lugging some fabric.
Will you make me this for my deck?  he asked - it was just a square cover.  No problem, I said.  He said, he'd bring me material - his company uses material/fabric to stuff mattresses, and he was just given a truck load of table cloths from a catering company, that was changing their colors, and if they had put those tablecloths in the garbage, it would have been expensive.  So I get some of them - huge ones - in exchange for sewing something - how's that for recycling all around?  And the good old barter system is still working.

What to use all that fabric for?  I have no idea.  Yet.

August 10, 2010

Not any better Tuesday

Well, my hopes for a wet August are just not happening.  No rain for ages now.  The poor trees and flowers, not to mention the grass!  The two small ponds on my daughter's property are just about dry.
But the figs are doing great!  I can't wait, especially since they don't even like figs.

Yesterday I was watching TV and glancing at my computer, and during the slide show/screen saver a photo of Jessica as a baby floated by.  Wait a minute, I thought, let me look at that...
This is Jessica.  Yes, we know, she is surrounded by blue.  But it's her.

And here is Evan:
it's even more noticeable here:
and the cousin:

Don't those babies look alike?  Of course Jessica looks nothing like her baby pictures now. 
Will the same happen to Evan?

We'll see!

My cousin, the one who went on the cruise, invited me to view her album - terrific trip!  That looked like a great journey - from Hamburg around France and Span, with stops along the way in Rotterdam, and Lisbon, and an unplanned stop in Bilbao, Spain.  Then around Gibraltar, and through the Mediterranean to someplace in Italy, I think, where the trip ended.  Anyway, it sounded great, and someday.....

August 9, 2010

Hot Monday (humid too)

And the weekend is gone.  Amazing how it flies by.  The baby shower was nice, but confusion reigned.  I thought the invitation was for 2 PM, it turned out it was for 1 PM, so I had to hustle. 
Once I got there, I found out that the grandmother put the wrong time on the invitations, it was supposed to start at noon.  Oh, well.  It was nice anyhow, the food (Italian) was delicious, and it was great to see old neighbors, and friends.

The sewing class was totally worthwhile.  I learned a few things about the sewing machine I didn't know before, and I learned a few tricks.  Like using a stabilizer under the embroidery stitches that are on the machine makes them come out so much better.  You'd think I'd know some of this stuff, having had a sewing machine in my life for the last ....  umpteen years.  Not so!  Also, I kept wondering why the foot only raised what seemed to me like a little bit off the machine, come to find out if you keep lifting on the lever, it goes higher!  Who knew?

Yesterday I went to see the baby and his family, we went to the pool together, Nicole felt more comfortable with adult help.  Jackson just loves the kiddie pool, he is no trouble at all there.  He plays by himself, uses the toys that are around, and is one happy little camper.
The midget is doing well, and what he is supposed to.  Growing, eating... you get the drift.

Last night I was invited for dinner at the Malaysian restaurant with friends.  Fun food - I ate something in a deep-fried poi-basket, and yes, even poi tastes good deep-fried!
The only thing - even after 40 years here, it bothers me when people ask immediately on meeting me: 'where are you from?'  I still don't like it.  It implies my accent is so strong, that that is the first thing they notice about me - as if I were to be defined by it.  Happened again last night.  The couple I met were great, friendly, interesting, funny, all of that, but for that first question.  No, I have no problem having an accent.  And no, most of the time it isn't that noticeable.    Lots of people meet me, never ask, never notice.  I also know that it's stronger when I'm nervous, or when I just got off the plane from a visit home.
Anyway, sometimes I play with it - the 'where are you from' question.  I remember when my daughter was in Marching Band eons ago, I was asked at the ticket booth (they meant which band are you with), and I understood 'where do you come from'....  so also lots of opportunity for misunderstandings.

I'll have to get a stock funny answer.  Anyone have any tips?

August 6, 2010

New Serger

Sew,  Mama, Sew! is giving away a new serger and wants to know how it would make your life better. 
Simply having new and better tools would make my sewing better.  I would be far more inclined to sew something new or try something different if I have a reliable serger and sewing machine.  There is always room for improvement, I am thrilled right now to have the wonderful Janome 634 from a yard sale (fifteen dollars!), and I am super excited to find it, however to go up a couple of steps and sew with even better tools would be so great!

I know, everyone says they never win anything.  I'm in that crowd too, my luck is in garage sale finds.  The problem with that is endless searches.

So to get a cool machine like the one from Sew, Mama Sew! - yeah!

August 5, 2010

Thursday and counting

Yeah, it's still hot.   And humid.  But supposed to break tonight.
Note to self:  Read this while trying to get your hands and feet warm, when it's freezing outside.

I'm reading in other blogs about the coming fall, and that it's close.  Doesn't feel like that to me.  We still have all of August to go through, and September can be just like a summer month here in the North-East.  And only THEN comes lovely October.  When I'll go to the Finger Lakes again with friends.  Seems like a long time off.

We spent time with Matthew and Jessica's cousins, who were out here visiting the grandparents and other relatives.  Much too fast, but everyone has things to do.

Here is the gang.  Matthew wasn't really in the mood to have his picture taken, but somehow he worked with us.
And here with the grandparents:

I am also hoping to go to the city some time soon.  I don't like going by myself,  I much rather share the experience with a friend.  Let me see, who I can talk into going.

Erika was gone from Monday until today, she is on her way home as I'm writing this.  Her kids and husband missed her - so did I - and I'm sure they'll be thrilled to have her back. 
I am visiting Nicole and the baby after work today.  Together we will pick up the big brother. 

I talked to Noah's Mom last night, and he is potty training!  Yeah!  Early, too.

I used some of the wonderful buttons Claus made me on some bag I made from a pattern I found in one of the blogs.  That is, I found the how-to, not a pattern.  Lovely thing, it's just a flat bag, sewn in one piece, I'll upload pictures (when I feel like taking them).

I got myself the quilting foot to my machine and a quarter-inch foot, to do piece work reliably.  So nothing stands in the way of me making a quilt for real!

And, to make a total mish-mash, here is a picture I found while looking for the above.  It's of my parents in the 1950's.   Isn't it a darling photo?

August 3, 2010

Tuesday .... singing

Busy.  Still hot.  And Humid - with an capital H.

I will stop complaining about the humid.
At least it's not raining.

The baby is fine.  He can do other things besides scream:

Isn't he cute?  And that newborn look - it goes away far too fast!  I try telling it to the parents, who have to get up with him every four hours, maybe less.  And yes, they know.  But when you're in it, it seems like forever.
And the Mom is back to her before-the-baby-weight.  Disgusting.  Who does that?!

And here is the big brother:
Making what he thinks is a horrible face.  Cute!

On Saturday I will go to a shower, and afterward to a sewing class.  Back to PA!  Yes, the people at the store are wonderful, and my friend Sherri, who bought a brand-new sewing machine, needs a beginners lesson.  And she wants to drag me along with her. 
Maybe we'll eat again at the Mediterranean restaurant we tried last time - awesome Baba Ganoush! (grilled eggplant, scooped out, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini, salt and pepper, little olive oil, yummy!)

Have a great Wednesday.....

August 2, 2010

Monday - humid

Time flies.  (and find some other platitudes, while you're at it, why don't you?)

Anyway.  Hurting hip - hanging over the table and cutting will do that.

Baby is fine, but he sure can scream!  I think he missed his mom, the other grandmother and I babysat on Saturday.
You all remember screaming newborn?  Yes?