Tuesday, November 29, 2016

T Stands For - When One Project turns Into Another

For Thanksgiving dinner, I set the table with the fine china and Ma's sterling silver. It seems silly to have these beautiful pieces living behind glass doors waiting for a special occasion that never seems to come. Thus, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for the annual cleaning of the china hutch after the festivities were over.

Himself thought with the hutch emptied, the opportunity to try the sample of paint we bought last week, was too good to pass up. So after the hutch was emptied, and chairs, table, and rug moved, Himself vacced the floor, washed and painted the wall behind the hutch.

I actually joked that we should just paint around the hutch like the previous owner did when we moved in. The dining room/living room combo was painted a beige color. The only room that had been painted that didn't have a dozen different layers of wallpaper peeking through. We originally saw the house with the previous owner's hutch in place. When we stepped foot in the house, besides finding trash left all over the place, there was a giant turquoise rectangle where the hutch had been.

Because of Himself's bad knees, I got the job of painting the baseboard. The paint chosen was Benjamin Moore Ice Mist with an eggshell finish. My parents always used Benjamin Moore paint so that is what we use, too. The paint glides on and covers well with one coat. The downside of painting walls are the paint fumes. A few years ago, Moore came out with a low odor line of their paint called Natura. That is what we tried this time around. Same great texture and coverage and no nasty smell.

I also got to wash brush, roller, and the roller tray lining. That was a quick and easy clean up compared to washing the china and crystal by hand. (Though to be honest, Himself had offered to help dry the dishes, but it was easier for me to wash, dry, and arrange without giving instruction.) Besides, Himself wanted to watch the Patriots' game and deserved to watch it in peace.

China and crystal waiting for a turn in the sink.

Dining room back in order.
We probably should have painted the ceiling first, but can start with that when the big paint project happens after Christmas while Himself is on Winter break.

It's hard to tell in the bad lighting, but the new color is a huge improvement over the color on the wall which I've called White Trash. The last time the inside of the house was painted was 2001. The outside of the house needs to be painted, too. Shhh, don't tell Himself, but that's the project for his Summer break in August.

This is part of the T is For meme sponsored by Elizabeth and Bleubeard. You can pop over there to read the posts from the T is For participants.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bright Nights 2016

After visiting the cemetery, we stopped for an early dinner at Michael's Pasta in the Pan, a small, family-owned restaurant in Agawam, Massachusetts. The restaurant is a favorite stop for us. The food is good, generous portions and served in a skillet for a fun table service.

After dinner, Himself had suggested taking in Bright Nights at Forest Park in nearby Springfield. Bright Nights is a seasonal lighting display. The last time we had visited was in 2007 when the Eldest was a freshman at a nearby college.

Bright Nights is a 3 mile driving tour of the park while seeing  650,000 lights.  For the little ones, there's also a chance to visit Santa Land to visit with the big guy, take a ride on a carousel and play inside a snowglobe..

The attraction is very popular especially as it gets closer to the holiday. The police have the route to the park well marked, but be paitent. Your patience will be rewarded with the charming displays. Some of them even have motion like the frog jumping into the pond, elves tossing packages into Santa's sleigh, and a snowball fight.

This would look good marking the driveway entrance at the Dollhouse

Entrance to Seussland
Children's author, Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel) lived in Springfield

Horton Hears A Who in TARDIS Blue!

Noah's Ark
Can you see the giraffe bobbing its head?


Poinsettia Arch
I think this might have marked the entrance to the Peace Garden
ironically sponsored by local business, Smith and Wesson

Some of my favorite displays were the ones reflected in the pond

Masnion by corporate sponsor, Comcast

Sleigh ride

Polar bear with his green nose cut off

Arch of blue lights

I thought this toy soldier and his companion should go into the Christmas Lights Relocation Program
I think they'd look pretty awesome standing guard at the front door of the Dollhouse

Rocking Horse

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cemetery Wreath

We took the annual trip to the cemetery to lay a wreath at my parents' grave. I thought the trip would have been quicker now that the Pike has gone to electronic tolls, but no dice. Everyone decided to leave Grandma's house at the same time in the afternoon to return to their homes after Thanksgiving. An accident along the way didn't help matters. We weren't in any rush and even with the delay would make it to the cemetery before dusk when the cemetery closes.

We were the only ones in the cemetery. Cool and eerie at the same time. The nearby amusemnt park is closed for the season so there was no sounds at all. Just stillness.

The cemetery allows the wreath to be placed on a wreath stand. The stands aren't easy to find. The florist at the nearby grocery store didn't have any stands, but called another store which had some. Himself stopped on the way home and picked up one. The florist only had 2 left. On the to do list is to find a source for the stand for next year.

The wreath looks sad to me. I was so used to making a wreath for the folks with all sorts of colorful beads and shiny baubles. The cemetery only allows a plain wreath with a bow. I didn't like the flat bow that came with the wreath so made a bow with some wide, red velvet ribbon I found in the Christmas bauble box.

We also brought flowers for Ma. Otherwise, she would think the wreath was just for Dad.

When I've visited at other cemeteries, I've left a small stone on the headstone to mark my visit. I'm pretty sure that gesture would be verboten here as everything is clean and uniform at the veterans' cemetery. The headstones are all the same size and color. Planting is not allowed. Cut flowers may be left at any time, and potted plants and wreaths left at certain times of the year. I did think of a way I could leave a token that wouldn't be permanent. My little secret.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Just Because You Can

The Eldest likes to watch cooking shows. She's especially fond of Alton Brown's Good Eats. We were watching one of the shows and Alton was making marshmallows. He claimed making your own marshmallows was so much better than store bought. It looked easy enough.

And it was. Except what Alton didn't say was you have to work very quickly. If he did say it, I missed it as I was daydreaming about winning the Mother of the Year award for making home-made marshmallows. Boy howdy, does the marshmallow goop set up quickly. And the process is very messy. Seemed like half of the mixture was captured in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. The other half was glued to the mixer bowl.

The mixture tasted fine, but too much work for too little gain. So just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things.

This thing on top of the chimney. Minus the snow
Five good things that happened this week.

1. Red invited me to tea. She baked a delicious Paleo banana bread.

2. Found a black dishwashing pan to act as a birdbath during the Winter months. Besides food, birds still need water. Hopefully, the black plastic will retain some of the days heat and the water won't freeze solid.

3. Happiness is heated car seats on a freezing, cold morning.

4. Debated about going to the post office. Glad I went instead of procrastinating. The winds were very gusty and while I was gone, the wind blew the metal chimney cap off the chimney. It landed in the driveway where my car would have been parked.

5. The Eldest had to work the holiday. Since her shift starts in the early afternoon, We had lasagna and eggplant Parmagiana (Himself had fried the eggplant earlier in the week for me) brunch. Way better than the traditional Thanksgiving fare in my not so humble Italian opinion. We'll celebrate Thanksgiving the following day on her day off. (today)

How was your week?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

I couldn't resist.
Image courtesy of Looneytunescap.blogspot.com
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

In fact, my mother had a wonderful voice, Olga did and I refused to train when Uncle Vincent heard me and wanted to give me a scholarship. I refused it. No smoking, no drinking, no women. Nix on that. The first two didn't bother me. I didn't do that at 14 years old. I do not have any regrets except that Uncle Vincent handed me a career. His brother-in-law, Aunt Amelia's brother, Ernesto, was an executive with the Opera Company of New York. He was in charge of the libros, the sets, the employees, hired extras, costumes.

When ever the company went on the road, he took a staff with him and what ever was needed for each opera.

When it [ed: the opera] came to Boston, my father, Uncle Vincent, and Uncle Mike were in their glory. They would go to the opera back stage except Uncle Vincent. He was an extra. He was interested in the small $2 payment. He enjoyed being on stage. Ned [ed: one of Dad's cousins] called Uncle Vincent "The Spear Bearer."

Aunt Amelia also was interested in her niece. She told me how beautiful she was and was going to have her come to Boston to visit.

She did invite her. I was out at the time she visited with the aunt. When I got home I saw this girl standing and she was what the aunt said: a lovely, well dressed girl. I saw her looking at the Aunt and I turned my head to look. The Aunt had signaled she as shaking her head. Do you like him or some thing like that? I turned my head back to the girl in time to  see her nod yes. That got me. I felt like I was being set up. Had they minded their business I might have stayed and even invited her for a walk. But I was not prepared. I couldn't even take her out for a cone of ice cream. Anway I said I had to go out again and left. That was that a million dollars out the window. Then I would not have  you, The Brother, etc. It would have been an entirely different life. The performing arts sector is rather sex free. It was the same then as it is today. One scandal after another just like politics. No thanks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Labeling Photographs and Detective Work

A long time ago, I had been looking through some old photographs. Mentioned to my mother that she should label the photographs so we would know who the people in them were. Ma's logic: Oh, we know who they are. That's great, but it doesn't help the rest of us when the Elders are gone.

Do yourself a favor. Sit with your Elders and if photographs aren't labeled, use a pencil to write names (full names, not just Uncle Joe!), dates if known (you can guessitmate), location (if known), and a story that goes with the photo (if known). Use pencil and label the back of the photograph as suggested in this article from Ancestry.com Four Easy Ways to Label Family Photos

The couple in the photograph are my parents. I have to guess at the date and location. My parents were married in 1943. That was also the year Dad enlisted in the Army (Air Corps). His enlistment papers are dated March 1943. He's not in uniform and March is pretty cold here in Massachusetts. So the photograph must have been taken earlier. Another clue. Dad is wearing a pair of white, flannel trousers. He had to have a pair of white, flannel trousers for his high school graduation in 1938. My mother told me after much cajoling from Dad's mother, his father, a tailor, made the trousers for him so he wouldn't stick out from the other boys.

Let's narrow the date even further. My parents grew up in the same neighborhood. They knew each other as kids, went to the same junior high school. Didn't go to the same high school. Ma wouldn't have been allowed to date until she was 18 years old in 1936. 1936 would be too early.

Ma told me she and Dad "met" at the Center, a boys and girls club. Dad had met a mentor, Charlie Arnold, who became very important in his life. When Dad turned 21 in 1940, Charlie threw him a birthday party to celebrate the fact Dad had become of age and could legally drink. Ma said the cake had been decorated with a drunken hobo leaning against a lamp post. Ma had been invited to the birthday party.

Dad's trousers look pretty, brand-spanking, new. So, I'm guessing this is a picture taken when they were dating and peg the date between 1939 and 1940.

Now to figure out where the photograph was taken. They both lived in East Boston in triple decker, cold water flats. They are on the roof of one of the houses. Lubec Street (Ma's house) or Frankfort Street (Dad's house). I'll have to take a look at other photographs to see if I can guess which one.

Another story. Dad's wearing a pair of saddle shoes. They were brown and white. He told me he loved those shoes.

What season of the year was the photograph taken? Ma is wearing spectator shoes. White shoes with navy toe caps. (No wonder when I bought a pair of spectator shoes she was thrilled.) These were classic Spring/Summer shoes. Fashion dictated white shoes were never worn after Labor Day (first Monday of September). Ma is not wearing a coat, jacket, or sweater. So late Spring (early Spring in New England is still cold and raw) or early Summer.

So, when you gather with your family, bring out the old photographs. Ask your Elders the who, what, when, where, why and label the pictures. Write down their stories. If your Elders are gone, do this with your own family photographs so your children won't have to become detectives.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Paper Ornament Exchange

A. sent me a link for a paper ornament exchange she thought I might like to participate. At first I thought I'd make paper cranes. In order to mail them relatively flat, I'd have to send directions to finish the folding. Not sure how people feel about some assembly required.

Hunting around the interwebs for inspiration, I came across ornament templates at Better Homes and Garden  I had double sided Christmas paper in the scrap chest. A bit of glitter, metallic thread, and voilà. The exchange only needed 3 ornaments and these were simple and quick to do.

There's still time to play if you want. Three ornaments are to be mailed to the host by 28. November 2016. All the details can be found at Ornament Exchange

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Artist Statement Generator

I've been working on writing an artist statment and a bio which may be needed for an upcoming project. Found this Artist Statement Generator and gave it a whirl just for fun.

CJ Kennedy

CJ Kennedy (°1955, Waltham, United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By focusing on techniques and materials, Kennedy often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.
Her artworks never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, she tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.
Her works are characterised by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middleclass mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, she considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.
Her works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. CJ Kennedy currently lives and works in Sutton.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. I was out for the day, so Sunday dinner was up to Himself. He went to the store and bought a rotisserie chicken. Added a salad, potatoes, and veg. Was so nice not having to cook after being out all day.

2. Heard from an Aussie friend I hadn't heard from in a very long time.

3. Made the ornaments for the paper ornament exchange.

4. Ran some errands with Himself. Decided to check out paint chips as painting walls is the project planned for his Winter break. Got a quart of Benjamin Moore's Natura Ice Mist with eggshell finish to try out.

5. Ink found a little friend in the front porch who came in to feast on some birdseed that had spilled. The little rodent was hiding in a tote bucket where winter boots live. Himself carried the tote across the street to the woods to let the fur vermin go.  On our errand route we stopped at Ray's (the hardware store) to buy Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent. It's all natural. Smells like pine which rodents apparently hate, and is safe to have around children and pets.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

Uncle Louie moved to New Jersey and opened a barber shop in a small town and we lost his company. The holidays began to change there wasn't that party and fun. It cost money to invite relations and friends. It was general throughout the area. The city [ed: Boston] managed to give out gift packages in certain areas like ours [ed: East Boston] So we had a little Christmas.

It would be sometime before Uncle Louie would move back. Uncle Vincent got him to come back close to retirement that he would be close to his family. But his family had grown up and had other things to do. So the visits to him were not like he expected.

In New Jersey, he had set down roots. He was liked. Saturday was a big day in his town. The outskirts was farming area and the farmers would come to town to get their supplies.

Uncle Louie started something wonderful. Every Saturday night he would invite the last customer and his family to his house for dinner.

He sent his son, Louie, to Boston College and every week he would send his son $50 as long as he attended college for 4 years. He was a wonderful uncle. My cousin told me how his father held a big event for his friends on the eve of the Fourth of July. It was quite a barbecue.

It broke up a little after midnight or before and the Uncle being tired sat down to relax. He forgot that the amplifier was on and began to sing Italian arias. He was also feeling good with the wine. He stopped singing after 3 in the morning. No one sent the police. No one called telling him to shut up. The next morning most of the town visited the barber shop and thanked him for the wonderful concert. It must have been quite a voice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What Meal

did your family serve that you hated as a kid and have never eaten as an adult?

For me it was Liver. The thought of it is as bad as the smell. There was some battle about not being able to leave the table until I ate a tiny piece of liver. Have no clue who won that particular battle other than I'm here and not still sitting at the dinner table. Ma never cooked any kind of offal (organ meat) for The Brother or me after that.

I remind my girlies how lucky they are that organ meat will never cross our dinner table. Doubly lucky Himself hates organ meat, too.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dr. Strange

Another hit from Marvel Studios. Himself said Dr. Strange was his favorite Marvel comic book hero even if the comic book series was somewhat short lived. I had never heard of Dr. Strange. Great story. Marvel has such a way of showing the hero's struggle as he becomes. This is definitely worth your time though do see it in 3D if you can. An extra plus if you can see it in a Little Princess theater with reclining seats.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Himself stopped at the grocery store to pick up some apples. He decided to try a new (to us) variety, Honeycrisp. Honey Crisp. I think it's all one word. He bought 4 Godzilla-sized apples. All 4 barely fit inside the basket. The average circumference was 13 whopping inches! Wonder what kind of miracle grow the orchard used because it will take a village to eat just one of these apples or you'll blow your carb amounts for the week.

My friend, Erica Vetsch, likes this variety. They are the state apple of Minnesota where she lives. The apple has a nice texture, like a MacIntosh or Granny Smith (my favorites). It was good, sweet, but not as tart as I like. Seems like a better apple to eat out of hand than to bake with.

Have you tried this variety? Have you ever seen an apple this big?

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Finally found a pair of jeans that fit.

2. Himself brought me a bouquet of flowers. Usually, he only brings flowers when someone is giving them away for free. He bought this bunch because he had a coupon.

3. So happy to have Gruff's bench as part of my zensical garden

4. Took Ink to the vet. Ink's injury was minor and seemed to be healing on its own. He had a slight limp. The vet thought it could have been a soft tissue injury or because of his age, arthritis. In any event, he's fine and all his shots are  up to date.

5. Himself and I went to see the new Marvel release, Dr. Strange. We saw it in 3D in the luxe theater with the recliners. A very Little Princess setting.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

age 9
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

Once I got on the street I played with the other boys. We played football on a cobble street. We would get a bag and fill it with paper and make it look like a real football. There were not many cars in the 1920s most of the traffic was in the day time, mixed with horse and wagons or men selling out of push carts. What was purchased, he or she got their moneys worth. Newspapers were 2 cents, macaroni (pasta) was 3 cents per pound. Fruit was sold by the dozen. 10 cents a dozen. Veggies less.

Work hours were at least 12 hours per day at 10 cents per hour for workers without a trade.

I was bout 10 years old when I began to play football, baseball, soccer. In fact, I was looking to try out at jr. high school. At The Depression that game was discontinued.

At 12 [ed: years old] I was to go to the local library and could only take out 2 books.And I began to read the science books. Astronomy was my favorite subject. The library was small. It was an old house that belonged to the Kennedys [ed: Joseph and Rose Kennedy, parents of President John F. Kennedy]

The big library was in Central Square area but you had to be 14 years old to go there. And I did. This was a big deal because we could take out 4 books each time.

At the little library my sole books that I read were science books. The library was near my cousin, Ned's girlfriend. She asked me if I knew what I was reading. She said go when I said yes and explained the planets and the shape of our world and Columbus' discoveries. The next time that girl came in to see her I was checking books out and I heard her say "you should see the books he reads!"

I also played baseball, although it was not a favorite with the [ed: Italian] community. "What's the baseball and the football. Learn a trade at least you'll be able to support a family."

And like all immigrants the language in our area was Italian. Once in awhile someone would say speak to them [ed: the children] in English. The reply: They will learn the language in school and so it went.

I also in time progressed I did some boxing. It started with two older brothers coaching a young brother (a bully) to beat up everybody. I watched and then they picked on me. And at twelve I did very well. I hit that bully so many times that his brothers would have him go down to get a rest while the referee counted. He never touched me and I became a sort of a hero and was challenged many times after that. Which gave me a bad reputation.

We also had rallies.We would get bushels, pails of rocks, whatever and throw them at kids over the other street and of course once in a while would bounce on my head and I would bleed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Scottish Prayer

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

And the election. Amen. (not part of the original)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Gruff's Bench

Over the weekend, Prissy's children held a yard sale. It was sad looking out the front window seeing the kitchen chairs she and I sat in while sipping oceans of tea, the rocking chair I sat in, if we were in the living room. Then there was the garden bench.

The bench belonged to Prissy's husband, Gruff. He looked hard on the outside, but he was a very kind. If he bought his grandchildren candy, he gave the same to my girlies. The bench was Gruff's domain under a maple in the back, side yard. I can see him sitting on his bench, smoking a cigar and watching the world pass by.

I was debating about going over to ask how much the kids wanted for the bench. It would be a fine addition to the Zensical garden. An hour later when Himself came in from grocery shopping, the bench was still there. When Himself mentioned the bench was in the driveway, I knew I had to go across the street.

We chatted with Gruff, Jr. and his wife about the clean out and repairs going on at the house to get it ready for sale. When I asked about the bench, he said I could have it. Wouldn't take any money from us. He and his son even carried the bench across the street and set it up in the garden.

In the Spring, the bench will need some TLC. Sanding, staining, maybe a new coat of paint. It looks handsome in its spot as observer to the world passing by and a lovely reminder of a kind gentleman.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Poor Ink, Part 2

Under loud protests, The Young One and I wrangled Ink into the cat carrier for the trip to the vet. Ink meowed his disapproval for the entire 5 mile trip to Banfield Animal Hospital in the Petco at the mall.

The store had just opened and there was no waiting patients at the vet reception desk. I explained the situation to the receptionist. She asked if we had an appointment. No. The only vet on duty was in surgery which would take several hours.

Seriously? Only one vet on duty in surgery for several hours and no one else to at least triage? Ink is overdue for his shots so the receptionist said she couldn't even keep him there to wait for the vet. Ironic that you can send your kids to school if their vaccinations aren't complete, but your pet can't even wait at the vet's.

I made an appointment to go back on Monday afternoon. I wasn't too concerned. His injury didn't seem too serious. He was still limping, but not as badly as the night before. I could have taken him to Tufts Veterinary School of Medicine, but they are horrendously expensive.

When Mitty got hit by a car 19 years ago, we ended up at Tufts. It was a Sunday and all the area vets were closed. Mitty was put in intensive care to be evaluated overnight. The following day, I made the sad decision to put him down as his injuries were too extensive. His one night stay and euthanization was almost as much as the C-section I had when The Eldest came along.

I also didn't want to make the trip to Tufts just to be told there was nothing seriously wrong and time would heal Ink. Cha-ching, please.

So with Ink screaming at us the 5 miles back, we headed home. On a whim, I stopped at the vet in town where we used to bring Ink (left due to rising costs and unnecessary tests) I thought the vet would be closed, but there were cars in the parking lot. I left the kids in the car and went into the office.

Again asked if I had an appointment. The vet technician  after listening to my story, said the vets were booked and there wasn't a time to squeeze Ink in to be seen.

Sandy had commented yesterday about her cat: Chuck used to always be jumping down from somewhere and would occasionally land wrong. He'd limp around for a day or so then be fine.

The vet technician said the same thing as Ink's injury didn't sound like a real emergency to him. And I agree. Ink is eating, drinking, and using the litter box. He jumped up on the front window to watch the birds and squirrel at the feeder. Later in the evening, Ink cuddled with us while we watched television. Not much change in his behavior.

So, thank you all for the kind get well wishes for Ink. We'll be keeping the Monday appointment to get Ink's shots up to date and to have his paw looked at.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Poor Ink

Last night, I noticed Ink was limping, and when he sat down, he seemed to favor his left paw. Wasn't putting all his weight on it. I had no idea what happened. Didn't hear him cry out as sometimes happens when he gets underfoot and someone inadvertently steps on his tail. He let me look at his paw. I couldn't see that he cut himself, or something was stuck in his pads.

Later in the evening, Himself and I went downstairs. Ink was curled up asleep  on his chair. Ink woke up and came to sit and cuddle with us. After he had enough attention, he gingerly jumped down and was sitting in the middle of the floor staring at the back wall where there's a mousetrap.

Since we live in the middle of the woods, a little critter usually makes his way inside. The trap is a snap trap and inside a cardboard box with holes on either end and a couple of holes on the front. The front holes are turned towards the wall. I've never seen Ink show any interest in the trap box.

On my way upstairs I asked Ink what he was looking at. He looked at me and then looked at the wall with the mouse trap. Ink looked back at me and very distinctly said, "OW!"

I have a feeling either Ink was chasing a critter or just was at the trap and poking around. I had Himself move the trap out to the garage.

Ink seems to be doing a little better this morning. He's putting more weight on his left-front paw. As soon as the vet opens, we'll be making a trip to have Ink's paw looked at.

I'm diffusing Stress Away and Orange in the hope that The Young One and I can wrestle Ink into the cat carrier without too much fuss. Wish us luck.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Friday Five Good Things

Five things that happened this week.

1. After a sitting in the parking lot on the Mass Pike after dropping the Young One off at the airport, we stopped in Natick at the Dolphin restaurant. No tables in the dining room, but seat yourself at pub tables in the bar.

2. Enjoyed a much faster ride to and from the airport to retrieve The Young One. Tollbooth demolition and lane changes/reductions didn't seem to be causing any problems.

3. Kittycat cupcakes for Ink's birthday were a big hit all around.

4. Warmish temperature took the sting out of November. The petunias are hanging on for dear life.

5. The exit ramp to the highway was open during construction. I didn't have to take the long way around to go home.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Dad's father, Achille, nicknamed Archie Todisco
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passsed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

From my birth [ed: 1919] to 1929 things went well for my father. He was a journeyman custom tailor and made good money. Like a lot of people of that day he did not have anything to do with banks. He set aside savings in his own pocket. Probably kept his savings under the mattress which was the custom and had at least one hundred cash on his person.

Until I was old enough to go on my own my father took me with him, to visit aunts, uncles and I remember he took me to the theater in the North End. Actually it was more of an opera house. We had seats up front. All I remember was singing with live actors and actresses and shooting. The name I did not know.

He did not take my brother Mario or Olga or Emma. By the time that they were able to go things began to go [ed: The Depression]. It was no big deal for me, most of the time it was all adults. No other children around.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Halloween has changed for us over the years. The girlies are all grown up and going their separate ways. The area I live in is rural. There are no sidewalks even though I live on one of the main roads in town. There are no street lights to speak of. The stree tlights are located at cross streets which are 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart making things dark and treacherous.

When the girlies were little, we'd go across the street to Prissy's house. She'd have candy for them. When her husband was alive, he'd have special candy like Halloween themed lollipops. Afterwards, we'd go to my mother's house. I'd take my girls trick or treating around the neighborhood and then we'd have dinner with Grandma and Grandpa.

As the girlies got older, to take the sting out of a lack lustre Halloween, we celebrated Ink's birthday. We got him in December and the woman we got him from said his litter was born sometime in October. The girlies decided since Ink was an all black cat, his birthday had to be on Halloween.

So, even though Himself and The Eldest were working, the Young One sequestered in her room killing aliens, monsters, or going on quests with friends, I still kept up the tradition. I baked cupcakes for Ink's birthday. He has a sweet tooth and is partial to yellow cake. He also likes vanilla ice cream and yogurt.

One thing I did think of. I am so glad I didn't have to make 60 of these black cat cupcakes for the girlies to take to school. Cutting licorice nibs to make the pupils was a royal pain.Cute as the cupcakes are, changes aren't always bad. And M&Ms and licorice nibs together are heaven.

Did you celebrate Halloween?