Saturday, January 31, 2015

Here We Go Again

457 AM EST SAT JAN 31 2015


457 AM EST SAT JAN 31 2015












Friday, January 30, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Ran out for storm supplies, paper towels, kitty litter, gorp (it makes eating chocolate seem healthier). Because I had time and the store wasn't crowded, I hit the travel items for my week long art retreat in March.

2.  I happily spent time organizing my journaling supplies in a new travel box. The egg I keep my kneaded eraser in wouldn't fit, but I found a tiny Altoid tin that is the perfect size.

3.  The Young One went to WPI to hang with some friends. When she came home, she shared all the things they did, ate, talked about. Was nice to be included.

4. Himself got a snow day on Tuesday. We watched it snow. Watched Netflix and had an enjoyable day.

5. Wednesday was another snow day.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday

The Eldest 4 yrs old,, The Young One 5 mos. old, Himself a year younger than me
12. December 1992. The Blizzard of '92.

This was the storm that changed the way we rode out storms in the little dollhouse. The weather dudes as they are wont to do, were hyping the storm. Usually it works that one of the weather dude's predicted snow totals are high, one very low, and the third somewhere in the middle. All three network predictions for this storm were high. Snow measured in feet not inches.

With a toddler and a newborn, how to manage in the storm? What if we lost electricity? No heat. No hot water, no electricty to keep the sump pump singing. We could have gone to stay with my folks. Not something we really wanted to do. Himself, after talking with a couple of neighbors, decided to go to the hardware store and rent a generator.

Renting the generator was the best thing he did. We lost electricity for 18 hours. The girlies were bundled up in layers of sweatsuits, footie jammies, and hats.

Himself tried running a couple of heavy duty extensions cords to the ark of a microwave in the kitchen so I could heat water for formula, tea, hot chocolate, and soup. The microwave moaned WHOAAAA whoaaaa WHOAAA whoaaa. The interior light blazed and dimmed. This wasn't going to work.

I had a small electric coffee pot and an electric frying pan. So we took those items down to the generator and plugged them in. I was able to heat water in the coffee pot, and I used the frying pan as a bain marie to heat soup, formula, and baby food.

Prissy and her husband, invited us over. Her DH had a fire going in the fireplace in the cellar. I thought trying to keep track of an active toddler among the yard equipment and old stuff would be too much. Though roasting potatoes in the fire to keep warm did sound attractive. Prissy said though they were comfortable, she was dying for a cup of coffee. When the street was plowed and the driveways cleared, I heated water, poured it into a thermos jug and ran it over to them. They were thrilled though later complained the water had a faint Kool-aid taste to it. Can't win them all.

We got 30 inches of snow from that storm (notated on the back of the photograph). And we bought a generator for the following Winter season.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Front Window

A peek out the window last night before bed had us wondering what all the storm talk was about. Didn't look like much was happening. Sure, it was snowing, but it wasn't bad. (I'm not complaining, by the way).

Amazing how a few hours can change things. This is the view from the front window at 7:30 AM. The wind is howling and blowing the snow. I can barely see Prissy's house across the street. Because of all the blowing and drifting snow, it's hard to tell how much snow has fallen. I can still see the bird feeder (object in the center of the picture) so the snow hasn't gotten up over that (yet). The mailbox (to the right of the birdfeeder) isn't buried, though some of that snow will be due to the plow. Weather dudes are saying we have around 20 inches on the ground in my area, and it will continue to snow for the rest of the day.

So far we are doing well, she said as she rapped the table three times. We still have electricity. Happy dance! I've already had my second cup of tea (just in case). God bless the weather. God bless the electric company. God bless Mr. Franklin and Mr. Edison.

The governor had declared a state of emergency yesterday afternoon at 1 pm. All non-essential, state employees were sent home. Himself teaches at a state college.  Happily, the college closed, and he came home before the storm got started.

The girlies are both home. The up side of them being currently unemployed.

I decided to hibernate this Winter so no classes for me.

Prissy went to stay with her daughter so no worrying about her.

We are all safe and snug. I hope you are safe and snug, too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Storm Prep - Part 2

 Drinking water pitchers filled, bread and cookies baked, flush water at the ready. Boneyard soup is simmering in the crockpot. Himself asked me to make birdseed cookies. They really are granola bars, but that's what Himself calls them. That will be the last item on my to do list.

One comment from yesterday's post remarked how organized I was. I learned the hard way. Ignored predictions one time had no water for a cup of tea and worse no water to flush the toilet. We tried bringing in some buckets of snow. Tossed some snow in the toilet, but it didn't melt. The Eldest was just a toddler and had been toilet trained for a short time. The snow in the toilet freaked her out. Poor baby.

Not flushing the toilet is not a Little Princess concept. All the preparations are all part of a superstition, too. If I go through the ritual, the storms either fizzle or aren't as bad as predicted, and we don't lose electricity.

The real worry about the loss of electricty is the sump pump will stop singing, and the basement will flood. Also, we'll have no heat. The dollhouse doesn't have a fireplace or wood stove. Knock wood, we've been pretty lucky. In 2009, we had an ice storm. We were without electricity for two days. (Other areas were without power for 2 weeks!) We had 6 inches of water in the basement. Lost some items, but the water wasn't high enough to damage the furnace. It was too cold to stay in the house, so Himself's brother put all of us up including Ink as they just got rain and not the ice storm. Lucky for us.

So, we'll burn the loss of electricy bridge when we come to it. Now the waiting begins. The sun is trying to peek out from the clouds. Looks like a nice day, but cold. Hard to believe in a few hours all hell will break loose if the weather dudes are correct. We are as prepared as we can be.

What are you doing today?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Storm Prep - Part 1

The weather dudes are hyping another Winter storm. Snow totals are expected to be close to two feet. The areas closest to the coast (not me, but where my folks lived and Himself teaches school) are in a blizzard area. So while I have the time, I'll begin the storm preparations. It seems when I do the storm prep, the storm is never as bad as predicted or fizzles.

So, I've placed the lanterns where they'll be needed. One in the bathroom, one for the kitchen/living room, and one that I carry around with me like Diogenes looking for an honest man.

The wind up radio has been dusted off, tested and tuned to a news channel.

There are goodies for the chickie, but if I put them out now, they will disappear. I bought extra goodies for the storm we had over the weekend and hid them in a safe place. I hope I can remember where.

The portable charger is being charged now. If we lose electricity, we'll be able to keep the phones and iPad charged.

Today, I'll also make a list of the things needed to be done.

We'll need milk and more batteries for the lanterns. I only found a handful of AA batteries. Himself is shoveling snow now. He'll go out later to get milk, batteries, and gas for the generator.

I'll be baking a couple of loaves of bread.

Water buckets will have to be filled so we can flush the toilet in the event of a power outage. The joys of living in a rural area. No electricity, no power to the well. No well. No water.

Water pitchers will have to be filled for drinking water. There's plenty of hot chocolate and tea for a hot beverage. Himself will bring the small microwave downstairs. That can be hooked up to the generator to heat food and drinks. Will have to add coffee pods to the shopping list. The Eldest is almost out of coffee.

Prissy called. I'll be running over there later today to pick up her trash. She said her daughter is coming to pick her up. She'll be at her daughter's for the storm. A relief as I won't have to worry if she's okay all by her lone during the storm.

There's Pop Tarts, peanut butter, jam, cheese to tide us over.

I think that's it for now. What are you doing today?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dark of Stupid

Why is it when you need to get up early, it's hard to drag your carcass out of bed, but when you don't have to get up, you get up at the dark of stupid? I didn't have to get up early this morning. I should have been snuggled in my cozy bed for a long winter's nap. Instead, I'm hanging out the front door taking pictures of the dark of stupid during a snowstorm.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1.  I was working in my journal when Ink, sitting on the picture window ledge, started making chittering, throaty noise. The kind of noises he makes when he sees birds. I thought he was watching a crow or turkey in Prissy's yard. Got up to take a look. There were a lot of small birds in the Japanese maple tree. Sparrow, mourning dove. and then a flash of blue. A pair of bluebirds. The first time I have ever seen bluebirds.

2. Watched the New England Patriots game with Himself.

3. Less than 60 days until the First Day of Spring

4.The registration letter for the Manuscript Illumintion and Gilding class I'll be taking in March arrived. I'm in!

5.Some art supplies I ordered arrived. I love new toys.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Usually I don't listen to sports chatter, but this week with a big game and the even bigger game a couple of weeks away, I've been hearing the phrase "Tom Terrific" applied to Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots. While I don't want to take anything away from Mr. Brady, he may be (a) Tom Terrific, but he's not THE Tom Terrific.

Tom Terrific was a cartoon segment (late 1950s) shown on the Captain Kangaroo Show. Tom wore a funnel as a hat, his magic thinking cap. Tom could turn himself into any shape he wanted. Tom, along with his mighty dog Manfred outwitted Tom's nemesis, Crabby Appleton (Rotten to the Core) I loved this cartoon.

I've shown my age. Now show yours. Do you remember THE Tom Terrific/

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Dancing!

 At the end of the month, Netflix isn't going to remove Doctor Who from the lineup.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy Buddha

Friday, The Young One and I had another session with Master Beef at his Master in the Morning class. It was freezing cold in the dojo when we first arrived. The sun came out, and like cats we stood in a patch of sunlight to keep warm.

We got some more Wu Chi poses. Not as bad as last week. We weren't doing as many reps until arms fell off and legs buckled. As I moved into the pose, feet in a horse stance, arms overhead, palms up, and fingers of both hands pointing to each other, I started to laugh. We weren't working in front of the mirrors, but the pose reminded me of the Happy Buddha. I even composed a Haiku.

Standing in the sun
At Master in the Morning.
Breathing in Chi Gong

Odd little poem because we were in a Wu Chi pose and not doing Chi Gong at that moment. Also, the poem form is Japanese and Wu Chi and Chi Gong are both Chinese exercises. No matter. The energy is the same whether it is Chi (Chinese) or Ki (Japanese). It's all good.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Outlander Fans

eat your heart out. Not only did Red come for a visit, but she brought me a present. A new tee-shirt with a quote from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander

Fourteen or fifteen years ago, Red got me hooked on the Outlander series. We had taken our girlies to the town beach and Red told me about the books. I'm not much of a romance reader, but Red said I would love the books because  the series wasn't just a romance, or a historical romance, but included time travel. Red was right. I love the series (8 main books, a graphic novel, a spin off series about another character from the books, plus a who's who compendium)

Now I get to show off my fan-girl pride. I love the Tolkien font that was used for the quote on the back of the shirt. Very Celtic.

Starz has produced a series based on the first book. I'm hoping the series is released to DVD so I can see it.

Have you read the books and/or watched Outlander on Starz?

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1.I cleaned the silverware drawer. No more crumbs. No one has noticed but me, and I've been taking such a perverse pride in the shine that appears when the drawer is opened.

2. The first test of keeping the house company ready happened over the weekend. A college friend of The Young One needed a ride from the airport. She invited him to supper before he returned to WPI.I didn't have to run around in a cleaning frenzy, and the toilet was man clean.

3.Had the last team meeting for the Art of Science Learning.

4. Wednesday was a Red Letter Day. My friend, Red, came back East for a visit. Was so good to see her and have tea with her again. She even brought lunch.

5. I signed up to take a week long illumination and gilding class in March. Fingers crossed the class runs.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Hey, man! What are ya doin' standin' in the cold ocean?
My friend, Teague, had moved out to the San Fernando Valley in California during the early 1980s.

I went out to visit her in the beginning of March 1982 (I think). This was from our road trip up north where we saw the Hearst Castle and a quaint tourist town called Solvang.

We spent the night at a motel in Cambria (I think) near the beach. Here's me standing in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. The water was quite warm. Certainly felt a lot warmer than swimming at the beaches in Maine during the Summer.

This picture makes me sad, too. I lost that jacket at the airport in Denver on the return trip back home. The baseball-style jacket was an Izod LaCoste, and I bought it on a triple mark down at Filene's. It was reversible, too. Reversed from the tan canvas to a navy sweater. I loved that jacket.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Oh, Deer

Prissy has had some night visitors in her yard. All over her front yard,hundreds of heart-shaped footprints especially by the shrubberies.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Perfect Gift

Sometimes around gift giving time (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthday, anniversary, or Christmas), someone will ask me what I want for a gift. I usually answer a wife.

No, not for that! but the someone who would take care of all the mundane tasks, chores, cleaning that are invovled with running a household and keeping things neat and tidy.

What's that? You say I should just get a maid?  A maid would have to be paid. A maid gets a day off. A wife doesn't get paid an hourly wage or salary and s/he would be available 24/7. No sick time, no vacation time.

I wouldn't have to find the balance between working at home and working to keep the home running. I could create, take classes, go to conferences knowing the house would be humming along when I got back. Yup, a wife would be the perfect gift.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Flying Goose

The doctor told the Young One that she needed to exercise her shoulder. We thought the gentle movement of Chi Gong and Wu Chi exercises would be good. We went to see former instructor (The Young One is a 2nd degree black belt) and friend, Master Beef (6th degree black belt). I went along for the ride because I could stand to use a bit of exercise.

Chi Gong is a practice of breathing, tuning body and mind.. The movements consist of gentle motion while breathing to strengthen and stimulate internal energy.

All of the exercise are done in a horse stance. Feet are shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward, knees bent as if you're sitting on a stool.

All of the exercises had descriptive names. The names are meant to help you remember the movements.

We used ridged hands to describe circles in the air in front of us. This one didn't really have a name so I call it Ridge Hand Snowmen. Repeat the movements until your arms fall off.

The next exercise was called Iron Wire. This started with pushing an immovable object. Streching arms and muscles and tendons of the chest (the Iron Wire) out to the sides. Remember keep your elbows up and breath. You bring your hands together in front of youin prayer position with thumbs touching your heart. Breath and pray that the exercise will be over soon.[-O<  Open hands with index fingers touching and thumbs touching so the space between your hands looks like a triangle, called Eye of the Tiger. Try not to fix your gaze on the unflattering figure in the mirror in front of you. Repeat the entire exercise until your arms fall off and your thigh muscles are screaming.

We had to Pick Fruit reaching up to the top and behind our head. You couldn't pick the easy fruit in front of you. If you did, Master Beef came and adjusted your arms. Flies must feel this way when someone rips off their wings. Repeat until your arms fall off, and your thigh muscles are screaming.

Then we did Flying Goose. Feet in horse stance, Bring ams to the sides outstretched, shoulders back. Arms up at 45o angle, wrists relaxed and limp. As your arms move up, rise from the horse stance. On the downward movement sink back into the horse stance. Be graceful. Breathe. Imagine yourself flying. Repeat until your arms and thighs start screaming and your flying goose turns into a dying goose. Remember, there's no crying in martial arts.

After this we were given a Wu Chi exercise. Wu Chi is the "art of no movement" No worries. I'm a master at this. I can sit still and do nothing all day. All of the exercises are done in a static pose. From a side horse stance, we had to imagine we were in a stream of running water. When all of a sudden you notice a ball coming at you. Extend your front hand to hold the ball back and the other hand is up. Hold he fingers of your other hand to look like a crane's beak. You arms should follow a straight line one hand to the other like a see-saw. Now stand there all day doing nothing.@-) Repeat to the other side because it's all about balance Yin. Yang.

After class and at home, I did Woo Cheeze. This involves taking a dose of ibuprofen followed by crawling into bed and not moving. Master of Doing Nothing All Day.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

One Word for 2015

The past couple of years, instead of making New Year's resolutions (which are usually broken by 2. Jan., I've picked one word to aspire to. This year's word is Routine.

The past few years with taking care of elderly parents, dealing with their time in the nursing home, legal issues, cleaning out and selling their home, all I seemed to do was run around in circles. My home front spiralled into chaos..

I can only work in and around chaos for so long. I'd find myself going into these cleaning frenzies only to emerge worn out, frustrated, and grumpy with no time for creating art.  Most of the clutter and chaos were my own doing. I'd come in like a tornado and whirl things into new piles of chaos.

It's hard working from home. Sometimes there's no separation between work and home. Easy to skip the domestics because let's face it, anything is better than having to man-clean a toilet. What I needed was a wife (I'll explain that in another post), but short of that, what I needed was a workable routine. A routine that would let me strike the balance between keeping up with the cleaning, and have time for creating. So, I created a routine that allows me to keep the house tidy and company drop-in ready. What has surprised me most is how much time I have for art without working in the wee hours of the morning.

The irony is this post was supposed to be ready last Tuesday! :-D  I still have some work to do, and little by little it will get done.

Do you make resolutions or pick a word for the year?

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Whale sculpture courtesy of The Eldest
Five good things that happened this week.

1. First baked treat of the new year I made was blueberry scones. Himself had bought fresh blueberries over the holidays.

2. I'm glad the Worcester Incubator Art of Science Learning project is done.

3. The Young One went to another doctor about her shoulder/neck problem. He was the only doctor who listened to her. Good news, she has excellent range of motion and no nerve damage. He prescribed medication for muscle aches and told her to exercise the shoulder.

4. After running errands, Himself and I stopped for a date lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse. While the decor is still Western, I miss the chaps(especially the ones that looked like Heath wore), tack, and boots that used to decorate the place.

5. I store my kneadable eraser in a plastic egg to keep it clean. When the girlies were little, they liked to surprise me with eraser sculptures. I never knew what creature I would find when I opened the egg. Looks like big girlies never outgrow some things.

How was your week?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Today, Charlie Baker will be sworn in as the 72nd. governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

As my Throwback Thursday, I have my own governor story to share.

Here's a picture of my dad (right) as President of the Italian-American Charitable Society accepting a donation to their scholarship fund from his friend and then governor, John Volpe (1961-1963 and 1965-1969).  The governor even signed the photograph as a memento of the event.

My governor story takes place in 1962. I was in second grade, and we had just completed a lesson in how to properly answer the telephone. Because I had demonstrated I could handle the task, I was allowed to answer the phone. Dad got a lot of calls, and I became his Little Secretary. One night, as usual, the telephone rang. I ran up the hall to answer it.

"T residence. C speaking, may I help you?"

A man on the other end of the phone chuckled. "Is your daddy there?"

"Yes. May I ask who's calling?"

"I'm not going to tell you my name," said the man. I could tell he was teasing me.

"If you don't tell me your name, I'm not going to let you talk to my daddy."

"I'm not going to tell you my name"

Click. and I hung up.

"Dolly (one of Dad's nicknames for me) who was on the phone?"

"The man wouldn't give me his name so I hung up."

A minute or so later, the phone rang again and this time Dad answered the call. You have probably figured out that I hung up on Governor Volpe. Fortunately, the governor thought the incident was funny, but whenever he called the house again, and I answered the phone, he always gave his name.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Tip: Using a quill pen is a terrific way to intimidate fellow puzzlers.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Next Steps

Yesterday, was the last workshop for the year long project Art of Science Learning. The last task was the same as the first task we had to complete during the first workshop March 2013.

We were given a box of stuff (pipe cleaners, ribbon, blocks, clay, wire, feathers, etc.) and had to use these items to describe our team project in a process called Metaphorming.

My team, Team V (the letter, not the Roman numeral) created an arts infused STEM curriculum teaching jr. high students with the theme of Transportation. Transportation was the subject chosen by the city of Worcester. Our creation had to be innovative. Our trial lesson was to teach the children the consequences of multi-tasking, such as texting and driving. The children simulated driving by carrying a ball on a spoon. If the ball dropped as they moved around, that signaled an accident. The innovation was teaching without the use of electronic technology. This meant the lesson could be done in the poorest of school districts as the cost of materials was minimal.

Using metaphorming, we had to answer the questions: What have you learned about your ideas? and What are your next steps?

Team V's story began with a group of members represented by feathers. We had a rough patch in the beginning as we lost some team members. You can see the feathers blew off the foam core. The remaining members (popsicle sticks, beads) took some time to regroup. We skidded to a halt and spun our wheels (the curly wire). Eventually, we came together as a team and supported one another (the block tower) as we dove into the project (pink diving bunny). At first our ideas were grand and spun out of control (the ribbbon). We began to simplify our idea (the blue pipe cleaner). We gained another team mate ( pipe cleaner box and orange pipe cleaner arro)who brought some perspective to the project so we could write and test the lesson (ball and spoon and crashed vehicle).

Some of the teams will be launching businesses based on their projects. Team V members agreed we are done.

It was a loooooong project. We didn't really know how much "free" time would have to be donated to reach the end. There was a lot of frustration involved trying to coordinate schedules and refine ideas. Many of us came close to dropping out along the way, but we managed, and finished the project.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


The snow and icy mix was supposed to change over to rain overnight. This morning, the temperature was supposed to be above freezing. Looks like the weather in my town never got the memo.

What's the weather supposed to look like out your front door?

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Visited Himself's side of the family at the annual Clan Gathering

2. Had brunch at Lambie's and a fabulous visit. Her Christmas decorations were still up.She has such a knack for decorating, and her house should be featured in a magazine.

3. Had the The Brother and his wife over. They gave us a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. We spent the card on a date night. I took home a slice of Chris' Outrageous Cheesecake   and I didn't share!

4. Each day, I display an affirmation card. The card chosen for New Year's Eve was Dream. I thought it was perfect. Rather than looking back, look forward as I start The Good Things journal for 2015.

5. Between all the leftovers from the Brother's visit, eating out, and our tradition of having Chinese food for New Year's Eve, I haven't cooked all week!

How was your week?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday

My very first Graceful Envelope Contest win in 2000. Beginner's luck.The theme was a significant historic event in the past 100 years. I chose the invention of the disposable diaper in 1961. I loved the New Year baby stamp. The envelope was constructed from the leg and waistband of a real disposable diaper. The front was a sheet of Arches 90# watercolor paper

Contest rules state the entry cannot be enclosed in an envelope or plastic bag. It has to go through the postal system. I brought it to my local post office. The postal clerk carefully hand cancelled the "diaper".

A couple of months went by, and I was notified I had been a winner. Went to the post office to thank the clerks for bringing me good luck.

"I'm so relieved," the clerk said. "Didn't have the heart to tell you, but it was sent back here the following day. Since it hadn't been marked "Return to Sender", I put it back in the delivery bin. I didn't think it would ever make it to the destination."

Later that summer, I was at the post office and the clerk told me she and her family had traveled to Washington DC for vacation. They visited the National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian (the original contest sponsor). She told me my envelope was in a display case.

"I was so excited when I saw your envelope in the case. I told everyone around me, I cancelled that envelope!"  :-D

Best wishes for 2015