Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fruit with Mint

One of the desserts at Twig's Cafe at Tower Hill Botanic Garden was watermelon and mint. I think there were a couple of other melons in the mixture, but I forget which ones. It was hot and humid and the dessert sounded very refreshing, but we skipped dessert.

Himself planted some peppermint to help keep the critters in the garden at bay. He also has a ton of peppermint and now a way to use it.

Last week, we had casaba melon and mint. Heavy on the mint. It was very refreshing and we learned a leaf dot is a lot. This week, the blend was honeydew melon, strawberries, and black berries. Dressed with Cool Whip.  I had mine over a slice of pound cake. Simple and elegant.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tombow Markers

A couple of weeks ago, Tombow ran a Lightning Deal on Amazon. 96 brush markers with a holder. Chatting with A, she asked if I had seen the deal. She's been using the markers and told me how it's helped loosen her death grip. There are lots of ways of using and blending the markers. I was a little hesitant about the price, but A said it was a really good price. So...

I'm enjoying the brush markers. All the fun of juicy water colors without all the mixing. They don't work quite like watercolors though and heavier weight paper is needed to blend the colors without leaving sharp edges.

Have you used these markers? What do you think of them?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Our discussion after seeing the movie:

Me: I loved it!


Me: What's the matter? Didn't you like it?

Himself: It was okay, but there was no character development.

Me: The characters are already developed. The writers/producer/director rely on the fact you have 40 years of knowing these characters.

Himself: But there was no story.

Me: But they blew stuff up!

Himself: Yeah, that was cool, but there was no character arc even though it was casually mentioned for two of the major characters.

Me: Wasn't necessary. You knew what the outcome was going to be. Besides, they blew stuff up and Bones was the hero! Good enough for me.

I loved this latest installment in the Star Trek pantheon. There was a nice homage to the original cast. No surprise, I'm still drawn to the character of Dr. McCoy. Karl Urban does a remarkable job of bringing Bones to life.  He has captured the nuances of the character perfectly. While I enjoy Urban's performance, my heart will always reside with De Kelley.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Our anniversary celebration included an outing to Tower Hill Botanic Garden and lunch on the patio at Twigs.

2. The Grackles came back. Haven't seen them the past couple of years.They usually make their appearance in the Fall. Dozens of them swoop down from the trees to enjoy grazing on the seed by the bird feeder.

3. Felt like Chinese food, but wanted something different than the place we usually go. A couple of months ago, my friend, Andy Fish, recommended Star Dumplings in Millbury.  We dropped in to place a take-out order. The restaurant was clean. The food is reasonably priced and tasted so fresh. I fell in love with the beef buns.So cute. The Eldest and I also enjoyed bubble tea, iced tea with tapioca drops (the bubbles) in a variety of flavors. I had coconut and she had honey dew. Both delicious.

4. Himself moved the refrigerator and stove so I could wash the floor underneath the appliances. Yup, he's a keeper

5.  Age has its privilege. Himself and I went to Senior Wednesday at Blackstone Valley Cinema to see Ben Hur. Seniors over 60 receive reduced ticket price and a discounted small popcorn and drink. Then 55 Club lunch at Uno's  though the club has changed. We used to get 30% off the bill but the percentage has dropped to 25%. Still a good deal.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Today, is the 77th anniversary of  the general movie rlease of The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Gardland, et als. I bet my mother was the only person from her generation who never saw the movie. In fact, she hated the movie especially the signature song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. 

I can remember watching the movie every year on television when I was a kid. Seemed the yearly showing was a big deal for the network. Ma never watched the movie with us. I have a feeling she secluded herself in the celler and either did laundry, or played with her beloved sewing machine.

In 1939, Ma was 20 years old when the movie was released. She would turn 21 the following week on 2. September. She and Dad were dating back then, but not going steady.  When the movie was released, Dad took another girl to the show and not Ma. Since Dad had already seen the movie, he didn't want to see it again. Ma never went to see the movie and held a grudge against it all her life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How To Tell The Bad Aliens from the Good Guys

Himself and I have been enjoying Enterprise (once you get past the sucky opening theme song).

You know how in Westerns you can tell the good guys from the bad guys because the good guys wear a white hat sometimes?

 Well, Himself noticed in Enterprise, the bad aliens have ridges on their foreheads. Also, spikes, nodules or antenna.

So any protruberant feature is a dead give away for a bad guy. Sometimes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Garden Kites

I wanted something else for the Zensical garden. Something fun. I thought I'd like something like a Weathergram or a Tibetan prayer flag. Something that would bring a little movement into the garden.

Weathergrams are written on a 10 inch long by 2.5 inch strip of craft paper or paper bag. Two inches at the top of the strip is folded over with a hole punched in the folded portion. A piece of twine is looped through the hole and tied to a tree or support. A short poem or quote is written on the strip. The first letter of the poem or quote is usually written with vermillion ink. The Weathergram is hung outside from a Solstice to an Equinox or vice versa. If it survives the elements, fine, and if it doesn't that's fine, too.

The Tibetan prayer flags are written on special colored papers or cloth. Blue, white, red, green, and yellow. To represent the elements. (Sky/space, Air/wind, Fire, Water, and Earth. There are also special symbols on the papers. The prayers and thoughts written will be blown by the wind to spread good will to all space.

So something fun. No rules, could be hung out in the elements for however long it lasts (hopefully longer than an hour), and would biodegrade. Well, not too many rules. (-;

I had some brown lunch bags ( Kraft paper), cheap and sturdy. I cut the top and sides off. The top of the bag had a built in fold. The bag measures 5 .25 inches across so I thought I would use a square piece. Except the square might look like laundry when it's hung outside so I decided to hang it like a diamond.

Writing was done with sumi ink which is supposed to be waterproof. Illustrations were colored in using colored pencils.

The first, was written as a thanks for The Eldest finding a good job after many months of searching. From the Irish Blessing: May your hands always have work to do.

The second was written during an art Skype date with my friend, A. When we are able, we chat over Skype and work on small art projects. I met A. 19 years ago through Masscribes, the Massachusetts and Rhode Island calligraphy guild. We became fast friends, and I'm grateful for her friendship. From the Girl Scout song: Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

Pleased with how they turned out, they seemed a bit bare. I have a box of embroidery floss from the days when I embroidered samples for a woman in town who had a needleshop. The embroidery floss turns the plain into a fun, kite tail.

Oh, holes for the floss and twine were reinforced with reinforcement labels for a bit of stability. If/when the paper disintigrates, the twine and the floss will be picked up by birds and critters for their nests.

Not sure what to call these things. Gardengrams? Garden Flags? Garden Wishes? Garden Kites? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sci-Fi and Country Music

 Himself and I have been watching Enterprise on Netflix. I didn't watch the show when it aired from 2001 to 2005. I just couldn't get into it. And watching it on Netflix, I almost gave up on it.

At first, I thought it might have been Scott Bakula as Captain Archer. I liked him in Quantum Leap. I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like this Star Trek. It hit me while waiting for the theme song and opening credits to finish.

All the other Star Trek shows have majestic or heroic theme songs. Not Enterprise. It has a country western/inspirational type theme song with lyrics and singing. Just so wrong! Like a musical. I'm not a big fan of musicals. Sci-fi and country western/inspirational music shouldn't be paired together. Especially when the theme songs turns into an earworm.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Feline Fashion

Want to be a Crazy Cat Lady or Gent without the responsibility of taking care of multiple cats? Now you can! I found this tee-shirt in the (young) men's department at Wal-mart. Yeah, not where I would expect to find a shirt with this graphic.

Look at all those sweet faces. All the fun without the litter box aroma, the hassle of wrestling your precious into a cat carrier for trips to the vet, or the expense.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. While listening to news on Good Morning, America I happened to catch a segment with Robert (Be Still My Heart) Redford plugging his new movie, Pete's Dragon. At 80 years old, Redford still looks good.

2. Finally, got to see Star Trek, Beyond and then dinner at Outback.

3. Spent a relaxing afternoon with my friend, Teague, at West Hill Dam in Uxbridge. Brought a picnic lunch courtesy of Subway and sat with my toes in the water.

4. Tombow had a lightning deal on Amazon for a large set of brush markers. I splurged.

5. Himself and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stone Towers

One of the features seen in a Zen garden are large stones and stone towers. These are supposed to represent islands in the stone/sand sea of the garden bed.

I constructed 4 stone towers, and I've notice they are toppled. Cause? Vibrations from truck traffic traveling by or creatures rearranging the towers.

Maybe the critters are telling me the stones need a colorful makeover.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Zensical Garden

A. wanted to know how the Zensical Garden was coming along. It's taking shape though not as whimsical as I would like. I have to keep telling myself, "Patience, Grasshopper. It will take time to find and choose just the right pieces for the garden.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

You Only Had One Job

Saw this while I was browsing through a Target store. Methinks someone needs remedial anatomy and physiology classes.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What Do You Do?

if you can't sleep? You can tune into the Worcester Art Museum's MeowCam to view the Cats-In-Residence, part of the museum's Meow: A Cat Inspired Exhibition on view until 4. September 2016. The meowcam is a 24 hr. live feed.

If you watch during Museum open hours (Wed - Sunday, 11 AM to 5PM), you'll mostly see visitors milling around the CatAviary. With a special ticket, visitors will be able to enter the CatAviary to spend a half an hour interacting with the felines.

Watch the cats at night or the wee hours of the morning, and the night time lighting makes the kitty eyes glow with a spooky iridesence.

Cats in the Residence program are available for adoption through the Worcester Animal Rescue League.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Shortly after my folks passed away, I heard a legend about Cardinals (the bird, not religious leaders or baseball teams)  The legend stated if you see a Cardinal, it's a visit from a loved one who has passed away.  So when I see the birds at the bird feeder, I think of my folks. This week was the 3rd anniversary of my dad's passing. The Cardinals come to the feeder but are usually silent. Too busy eating. This week, the male Cardinal sat on top of the trellis and sang. Dad loved to sing. He sang in his church choir and with his Senior Center glee club. (He was also the director). Dad had a beautiful voice, and the Cardinal let me know Dad is still singing. Miss you, Pal.

2. Spent a productive day in the sun room binge watching The Blacklist.

3. The little sparrow that flew into the sun room screen and fell to the ground was't injured only dazed. After a few minutes, s/he was able to fly away. Whew!

4. Heavy downpours were pushing through the area. I made it to the museum for class before the skies opened up

5. Had a long overdue Skype art date with my friend, A.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

I was born at the Boston Lying-In Hospital [ed: now Brigham and Women's Hospital] on March 17, 1919. My mother, every now and then, would tell the story how the nurses, when I was cleaned up, took me to her and had tied a green ribbon on my head.

I would be the only one in the family that would be born in a hospital. My brothers and sisters were born at home. In my 80s, I read a newspaper article that children born in a hospital would live longer than siblings born at home.

I should have had more siblings but my mother had four miscarriages. The result of her born gave her a hard time coming into the world and also caused some interior damage. [ed: Not sure the meaning of this sentence. Dad had two sisters so not sure if this refers to one of them or one of the miscarriages.] Years later she went to a hospital to have her insides corrected. Many years later.

My life as a toddler was pleasant from my viewpoint. We lived on Frankfort Street in East Boston in a third floor, cold water flat. Four rooms that consisted of a kitchen, dining room, which had a beautiful light shade.We were never told where it came from. It was an expensive one. Made of different stained glass colors. The colors were soft, not with the brilliant stained glass windows. I have forgotten the name of the maker or artist in New York. [ ed: Louis Comfort Tiffany] Not many people could afford one.At that time, my father was doing very well.

It is difficult to remember things from this stage. Our flat was heated by a coal stove and the coal supply was in the cellar. Each tenant had their own and light was supplied by gas.

After me came my brother, Mario..

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Waters Farm

The Farmhouse

Friday, Red had a change of walk venue surprise for me. She's a board member for the Waters Farm Preservation in Sutton, Massachusetts.

Red had a few things to check on at the farm. She figured she could kill two birds with one stone. Take care of business and get our walk in at the same time.

Waters Farm was built in 1757 by Stephen Waters. The  original 1,000 acre farm was an apple orchard and the Sutton Beauty apple was cultivated. This apple was prized for its hardiness as it could stand up to the rigors of being shipped from Sutton to England without rotting before reaching its destination.

Over time, the farm land was sold. In the mid-1970s, Dorothea Waters Moran gave the town of Sutton the last 120 acres with the original farmhouse. The Waters Farm Preservation is dedicated to preserving the agricultural roots of the community and the beautiful countryside. Check the link above for upcoming events.

View of Lake Manchaug from the front of the house
The Memorial Garden dedicated to those who have volunteered their time to the WFP

Sun dial

Stone wall and advertisement for a stone mason

Queen Anne's Lace blooms despite the drought

Granite Quarry

Dinner Bell? Fire Bell?

Drought and Gypsy Moth Catepillars take its toll on the Sutton Beauty apple tree

Kitchen Herb Garden

Well and pump

Perennial Garden outside the Darling Barn where events are held

Stone wall with plowshares

Walk up through the field and back to the house

Monday, August 8, 2016

Watts Gnu??

Apparently, Google is no longer supporting Picasa Web Alburms where Google blog pictures were stored. Now, Google has a new feature Google photos, another photo cloud feature. Picasa support ended in May. Yeah, I'm behind the times.

Picasa Web Albums are still available as Photo Album Archive in Google Photos. That's good because I sometime recycle images for the blog.

So, I somehow arrived at a download for Google Photo program which will back up photos from designated folders on my computer. Ok, that's cool. All the photos got uploaded by date. A nice feature. And somehow the program automatically changed my default browser from Chrome to FireFox. Not cool, but easily fixed.

Checking out some features from collage and animation to see if they can be easily installed as images on the blog.

Not impressed with the collage feature as it only allows 2 to 9 images. You don't get a choice as to how you want to arrange the collage. There are no templates to choose from. Just a window pane.

Not impressed with the animation feature. Multiple pictures can be choosen, but no control over speed of animation and no fancy, fun transitions.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bye, Bye, Babies

Whovians will recognize these little babies as Adipose. As their name suggests, they are made of fat.

A year ago, I decided I needed to say good-bye to some of these babies. I was waaaay too heavy and couldn't use stress eating because of dealing with my elderly parents anymore. The old folks had been gone two years. I'd gone from looking like a beach ball with legs to the size of a small planet. All I needed was a moon or two to orbit my equator. Not good.

A year later, and I've managed to say bye-bye to 35 of these babies. Not as many as I would have liked. I hit a plateau over the Winter and can't seem to shed any more babies. And perhaps at my 61 years, getting back to college weight maybe have been unrealistic. On the plus side, I've managed to maintain this weight. Not quite where I wanted to end up, but a lot better than where I started.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Saturday Morning at the Feeder

The birds knew I was outside filming even though I sat very still. Even from inside the sun room, they seemed to know they were being photographed.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

One gentleman was buried with his beloved cat, Slatts
Five good things that happened this week.

1. After months of being unemployed, benefits running out, and dozens of interviews, The Eldest finally got a job!

2. Skipped housework to spend the day at the easel.

3. Kung Fu was running on Decades so Himself and I spent the day in the sun room binge watching.

4. Lunch out with Teague and then a nice walk through St. Mary's Cemetery.

5. Enjoyed the antics of the little red squirrel at the bird feeder. When he stepped too far on the perch bar, his weight closed the hatch to the seeds. He quickly figured out if he jumped on the bar at the back of the feeder, the spring would release and he could get at the seed again.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Uncle Vincent was a barber and so was Uncle Louie. Uncle Vincent also taught violin. He was ambitious and went to law school, [ed: Suffolk University School of Law], graduated [ed: 1923] and established his own office. He did well. From the beginning.

I met a judge in chambers on a case and asked me if I practiced alone or with someone and I said that I did train with my uncle. When he heard the name he lit up. He knew Uncle [ed: in the early 1960s Uncle Vincent was appointed a judge at the East Boston Municipal Court] and told me that in earlier years The Bar met regularly and he would play the piano and Uncle sang. He was an excellent baritone, Uncle Louie was a tenor. My mother was a singer in her own right, a high alto.

So much for the preliminary.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

St. Mary's Cemetery, Milford

Had a visit with my friend, Teague. After a nice lunch, we decided a walk would do us good. Teague suggested some places we could go. One of them was St. Mary's Cemetery. Right up my alley. I love to wander among the head stones especially the older stones as the sculptures and lettering are so beautiful. I take pictures of stones with an angel motif. A ghoulish hobby, but, hey, it's cheap.

The famous feature of this cemetery is a round tower based on the watch towers in Ireland supposedly erected to watch for invaders. The Milford tower is 73 feet high and made of Milford granite. The tower is dedicated to the Irish immigrants who settled in the area at the time of the Great Potato Famine and who are buried in St. Mary's Cemetery.

Through a wooded area we could see another section of the cemetery, an older section. We hopped into the car and Teague found a road in.

There was a very new, polished, granite monument. The inscriptions told the story of the potato famine and the hardships endured in Ireland, during the emigration, and in the new land.

The back of the monument explained the old cemetery had fallen into disrepair. The grounds were overgrown and stones had broken. (I hope because of weather and not vandals). A group of citizens from the town got together, raised funds, and volunteered hours of their time to reclaim the cemetery from nature and to repair the stones. The project took some 9 years to complete.

I was moved by the dedication quote at the bottom of the stone: We have walked in your footsteps. We have seen your yesterday. We who came after you have realized your dreams of tomorrow. You endured and your prevailed through all of lifes trials in the old world and in the new.

A fitting testament for all of us to honor our ancestors. All of us, at least in this country, are decendants of immigrants who came looking for a better life for themselves and their families.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Seeing the Aurora Borealis is one of the things on my bucket list. Every time it's been visible in my area, the weather doesn't cooperate or I'm at the wrong elevation. Figured the only way to see an aurora would be to paint one.

I found a tutorial on YouTube on how to paint an aurora. The tutorial by the Art Sherpa, was fun but overly long. The video was over an hour long and most of that time she spent on inane chatter. Thank Gawd for being able to fast forward through the video.

I changed up some of the colors used as I didn't have the same ones as the tutorial. I also went over the sky with a glitter varnish to add some extra sparkle.

I enjoyed the process, but will do things differently next time. That's the point isn't it? Ancora Imparo. I'm still learning.