Saturday, December 31, 2005

Links To Erie Artifacts at Christies Auction

Following are some links to the Erie Artifacts I've found on the Christies Auction.

Lot 286

Lot 289

Lot 294

Lot 299

Lot 301

Lot 305

Lot 310

Lot 321

Lot 324

Lot 332

Lot 345

Lot 352

Lot 364

Lot 367

Lot 381

Lot 388

Lot 392

Lot 395

Lot 398

Lot 402

Lot 409

Lot 414

Lot 416

Lot 421

My 2005 Most Embarrassing Moment

My most embarrassing moment of 2005 came while I was in Disney World with my husband. I saw the race car ride and wanted to go on it. My husband didn't want to go on it because it was in the kids section. But I went on the ride in Disneyland in California and they went pretty fast, I recalled.

We stood in line in the very hot sun for 45 minutes to an hour waiting to get our turn. We could hear the car's engines and they sounded pretty fast. I saw other adults in line. I did notice as we got closer and could see the cars that there were some pretty small kids in them on their own as they pulled out of the loading area.

Then it was our turn, thank goodness, because I was so sweaty and the thought of the breeze blowing through my hair.....

The girl told me "no bumping or crashing into the other cars." OK, I won't. Then I stepped on the gas. My husband was getting loaded into another car behind me. I'm stepping hard on the gas and it just wasn't going more than about 1 mile per hour. Darn it, my car is broken! I noticed there was a rail that the car was following. What the heck was this? You mean that was it? I looked around and saw the other cars were making lots of noise but not going anywhere, either. How in the heck would you bump into another car anyway going this slow, was she making a joke? I felt so stupid going around the track at 1 mile per hour. I felt even more embarrassed that I convinced my husband to go, too. He was behind me in a car.

As we pulled up to dismount from our cars I sheepishly tried not to make eye contact with the adults in line which were there to go with their children. I can only imagine how my husband felt like going around that track at 1 mph. I apologized to him for wasting an hour and making him ride in a "toy" car and he was a good sport but I fear I'll get the "remember that time in Disney World .....

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thirty Days of Christmas Plus

We may not be unique but in our house there is at least 7 days of birthday, 3 days of anniversary and sometimes more than thirty days of Christmas. The 7 days of Linda starts about 3 days before my birthday and ends about 3 days after. Because it isn't always convenient to go out to dinner on my actual birthday we start ahead. My husband sometimes buys a present that I may need earlier than my birthday and gives it to me ahead so I can have it to wear on my birthday. Then, of course, you still feel like it is your birthday a day or two after and should treat yourself. And so it goes with anniversaries.

Come Christmas, it doesn't seem like 12 days of Christmas is enough. And now with being one of our favorite shopping places there is a need for extra days. This year some of the presents I wanted that are only available to us online are back ordered and I won't get them until the last days of January or the first part of February. That's OK. It makes the season last longer. With our tradition, there is not much time that we aren't celebrating something.

Monday, December 26, 2005

So Merry, So Bright

The new antibiotic kicked in on Christmas Eve day and I only had a few bad hours and it has gotten better since. Today I barely have any pain at all. Phew!!! That was one long painful stretch. I'm back to almost normal and feeling great.

I got to spend Christmas Day with my wonderful in-laws. I read the horrors of in-laws from some of the other bloggers and that is a shame. I got lucky.

Now I'm playing with my new cell phone. It has everything and I've learned to use just about everything (camera, video, voice recording, voice recognition, flash, alarm, notebook, speakerphone, etc) except answering the phone while I'm driving in the dark. I couldn't get it out of my purse in a timely manner and I couldn't figure out the buttons in the dark so I waited until I got to my destination and answered the call in person (I guess you'd call that "old-time technology"). This one is so different than my last one but I'm so impressed with it. My last one was an LG and I couldn't call from my house. I couldn't get enough signal. With my new Motorola 815 and still with the same Verizon service contract, I get a great signal in my house, so it has to be the quality of the phone.

I also got a wireless lazer mouse that even magnifies. I can't believe we didn't get one sooner. You don't realize you are behind the times until you upgrade and see the difference.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Who Determines "rare"?

I just finished my last Amoxicillin antibiotic. Monday I was given a prescription for a different one to start. The dentist assured me that what is happening to me from these dental implants is rare.

So now I have gone through Doxycylcine and Amoxicillian and I'm here reading the warnings about this new one, Clindamycin HCL. In a nutshell it says it should only be used for serious bacterial infections because it can sometimes cause a severe (rarely fatal) intestinal condition (pseudomembranous colitis) due to a resistant bacteria. The snag for me is the words "rarely fatal". How rare is rare? It was rare that I'm having this problem in the first place.

I'm still in a lot of pain and I need this to stop as I don't have many pain pills left and was told that is all I'd get. I'm hesitant that the problem is infection as there isn't swelling anymore. But I'll try it because you really can't function when your face is throbbing.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I returned to the dentist today. I had the stitches taken out and I was put on my 3rd antibiotic. The swelling is down but the throbbing pain still comes and goes. The pain pills don't give me a whole lot of relief. I'm still hopefull this will work as I don't want all this to be for nothing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Want To Smile

I always took good care of my teeth and went to the dentist regularly but I must have weak teeth. This past week has been a blur of pain and sleep. What started about 2 months ago as a good-tooth-gone-bad has turned into my own little horror story.
  • The tooth holding a bridge broke and I was left with no molars on the lower side. I had the option of a partial plate or a couple of dental implants. I decided to go with the dental implants as I know I couldn't handle having a partial. Problem is you have to wait for the bone to heal after the tooth is pulled. It takes a couple of months. So I didn't go to anything social in fear I may smile and expose this gap.
  • So the area healed and I had the implants done. I couldn't believe how easy it was. It was easier than having a root canal. I was smiling when my husband picked me up at the dentist office. (You have to wait for 3 to 4 months after the posts are put in before they put teeth on the posts as it takes time for the bone to grow around the implant posts. That's a long time but I figured it would be worth it.)
  • The next day my face swelled on one side to the size of a small orange. Then it started to turn black and blue and I looked like I had been beat up. Before the surgery they have you take an antibiotic and non-steroid anti-inflammatory pain reliever the day before and the following days. The pain had gotten intense by the 3rd day so I called the dentist office and they prescribed me a stronger pain killer.
  • 3 days later I called the dentist again because the pain was getting worse and I was walking around like a zombie. The whole side of my face was throbbing. My dentist wasn't in and another one told me to just keep taking the pain killer and they'd get me in on Monday. Monday finally came (it was 7 days after the surgery) and my dentist finally saw my bruising. The swelling was better but I was still in a lot of pain. He prescribed me a different, stronger antibiotic and some more pain killers but told me not to take them as soon as the pain was tolerable as they are addicting. They make me nauseas, I doubt I'd get addicted to that.
  • He told me that much swelling, bruising and pain is rare (I guess I'm special). And if this antibiotic doesn't work they may have to take the dental implants out. Great.
  • So now I'm on the second day after the new antibiotic. I still have intense pain when the pills wear off. But I went through the whole night last night without getting up to have to take a pain pill. That's improvement. There were a few hours this afternoon that I felt good enough to go out. I felt very sleepy and a bit shaky but my husband drove.
  • Tonight I can touch the side of my cheek without it hurting too much. I think it's going to be OK. I had to laugh a bit about how I didn't want to go out in public with my missing teeth a few months ago and how I didn't want to talk or smile in public. Heck, that was nothing. Now I go out with a puffy, black and blue jaw on top of missing teeth and would think I looked great if I only had a few missing teeth.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

antique photo

Photo. I see some wheels of some kind of ice wagon? or early auto? behind the horse-drawn wagon.

Woman in gazebo.

Some kind of large advertising characters being unloaded?

Continuing from to yesterday

I think this photo is at a dock, perhaps one of Erie's? I see what looks like masts or cranes to off-load goods. On the left side of the photo is a life preserver (white with a cross on it). There seems to be broken ice and some open water in the middle of the picture. There are tufts of steam from something that could be a train engine or tractor behind the railing or fence in the background. I see what looks like very large tents in the field in the background. On the dock there seems to be some large wooden "caricatures" hanging from a framework (I highlighted these). It looks like a woman with a scarf and bow tied on her head and then I see what looks like a pirates head. (My imagination is going wild here.) I'm beginning to think a circus or carnival was coming to town. In the winter?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Behind The Mantle Christmas Card and Pic

This is a Christmas card we found behind the mantle of our old house when we look the mantle off the wall to refinish it. Inside the card was a very small picture. I don't know what the scene is or if it is local. I enlarged the photo 400 percent and saw that in the bandstand was a women with a large hat. There appears to be an officer of some sort (police, navy etc.) walking near the wagon and in the distance are lots of people dressed up in suits and top hats leaning over a railing. In the wagon, the person appears to be a woman with a bustle and large hat. It appears something important was going on in this picture. This is a very early photo. Does anyone recognize the setting? Inside the card that the picture was found was the name LORNE LANE CASKEY, but not signed.

My husband thinks the picture is of a race track. There is a white two-rail fence that looks like it surrounds an infield. I'll try to post the enlarged picture on my website tomorrow and leave a link to it. I wonder if Erie had a race track back in the 1890's (my estimate of the picture).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dashing Through The Snow, No Way

  • I won't drive my Geo out on the roads when there is snow. I got stuck out in the middle of Peach street a couple of years ago at the left turn signal light to go to Walmart. It is on an uphill slant and there I was, spinning my tires trying to get through the intersection when it just wouldn't get traction. I had cars honking, the light had turned, it was a nightmare.
  • It was my car I kept from California, and it still runs well. It gets about 200 miles put on it a year, pretty much summer miles. I only drive it on Sundays, ha. Actually, I only drive it when I go to the dentist or doctor or if there is really something I want at the store that can't wait. Otherwise, my husband drives me around in his car. He likes driving. It works out well as he grew up here in Erie and knows how to drive in this snow. I'm like an old dog trying to learn new tricks. I learned to drive in the Central Valley fog and I can drive in the fog without blinking an eye but I'm terrified of snow and ice.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Where Are My Birds?

  • When the weather turned really cold last week and my pesky chipmunk didn't show up for a few days, I thought it was safe to start feeding the birds the "good stuff" without Mr. Chippy stealing it all.
  • So with full feeders I waited for the birds to come. Several days went by and not a bird. I don't know where these northern winter birds went...farther south? They are normally feeding at my feeders every winter. I usually have Cardinals, Bluejays, finches and a Downy Woodpecker that eats the suet. Do they know something we don't?
  • We had a couple of warmer days and out popped the chipmunk stealing the seed again, but no birds.
  • I'm still waiting for the birds.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

No Rebroadcast and Other Sillyness (cartoon pic)

My husband and I were watching a hockey game last night and the announcer came on with that long announcement they make before the end of the broadcast stating you can't do this or that with the broadcast. It seems to be getting even more strict and almost silly. I drew (painted) this cartoon. You may need to click the cartoon to see the words large enough to read.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Project Snowballs, DIY, How Hard Can It Be?

It was so nice out yesterday, minus the wind, that I felt like doing some weatherstripping.
  • This is easy, you just take down the old and install the new. I was delighted to see that there were screws included in the package instead of nails. It is too hard to nail those tiny brads with the door closed. You need to have the door closed so you can tell if the strip is touching the door.
  • I pushed the strip up tight to the door and with my 18V screwdriver I zipped those screws in fast.
  • Then I opened the door and closed the door to check for leaks. But the door wouldn't shut, not unless you put your whole body weight into it. Shoot, OK, I'll adjust it. Luckily the slots for the screws were large enough you could move it a bit without taking the whole screw out.
  • Then the door shut nicely. But then I could see daylight in the crack. So I adjusted some more, then some more.
  • Maybe if I move the door latch-catch thing slightly to the inside it would catch the latch better. I took off the hardware and was amazed at the number of times this piece must have been fooled with over the house's almost 90 years. Some pretty big openings in there from the large, old antique hardware.
  • This required Bondo. I'm getting pretty good with Bondo. I filled the old screw holes with glued slivers of wood and hollowed out areas with the Bondo stuff, sanded it smooth and replaced the hardware.
  • Very nice. The door shut perfectly, almost no air coming through the cracks around the door. I still need to replace the overhead top piece, though, that's another day.
  • I put my tools away and cleaned up my mess, vacuumed where I had chiseled some wood and then locked the door. Ooops. The deadbolt now won't fit in its hole.
  • Oh, that Murphy's Law. I went over my options. Undo everything I had just done......or move the deadbolt latch. More Bondo, more chiseling, but in the end, the door closes and the locks are striking center of the hardware now and is much more solid. I used longer, better screws than what was there. And..... the whole reason I did this, the wind stopped howling through the door.

Monday, November 28, 2005


  • My husband and I both came down with bad colds that involve our sinuses and throats. I blame that terrible Thanksgiving night weather when we ventured out to the Otters game.
  • Scientists say, "no" that cold doesn't cause it but I know better, especially when it involves your sinuses. Needless to say, we had a boring, sick weekend.
  • I know through experience that nothing helps a scratchy throat like breathing in steam over a pot of water on the stove but I didn't want to stand over the stove for several days so I decided to replace the humidifier that bit the dust last year.
  • I ventured to the Lowes store on the west side. No way was I going to go to upper Peach even though it is closer. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it was peaceful at the Lowes on W 26th street.
  • To make a long story short, I bought two rather big humidifiers. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. It is good for the wood furnishings, dry skin and a number of other things quoted on the box. I never liked the smell of the steam ones and they seem to sputter. I bought the large Hunter Carefree Humidifier Plus evaporative kind.
  • You never need to change the wick filter and it is suppose to be quiet. It isn't when the fan is on Hi, but that is a good thing in my book. I like the sound of a large fan and I keep fans going year around to drown out any neighbor noises, starting cars, etc. that used to wake us up.
  • There is also an occasional blup, not unlike the sound a 5-gallon water-cooler jug makes when you fill your cup. I don't mind that, either. As dry as our air gets with the radiator heat, I'll probably have to fill the tank daily to keep the humidity where I want it.
  • I'm keeping our house at 60 percent humidity while we are sick and then probably keep it at 50 percent. My Boston Ferns already have perked up. Maybe my plants will do good indoors this winter. They usually look dead from the dry heat.
  • And, of course, as soon as I bought them the weather gets warm and the air has plenty of humidity on its own anyway. But I know how temporary that is.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Well, I Never

  • I never have been so cold in my life as I was when I walked from our parked car to the Civic Arena last night to watch the Otters play hockey.
  • That wind just numbed me and I was wearing my new "perfect" coat, with my new matching hat, even. I had my matching neck scarf and matching gloves and was all matched. But all I had on my legs was an ordinary pair of light jeans, I'm not wise to the effects of "wind chill".
  • My husband tried to shield me and held me close as we walked on sheets of ice that were suppose to be sidewalks (who is in charge of safety here?)
  • I thought I was going to crack a tooth the way my teeth were chattering, it was so loud! My eyes were tearing up badly and my "Dailies contacts" were floating on the surface of these tears and I could feel the edges fluttering in the wind, really they were! If they went, so went the evening because I wouldn't be able to see who was who at the game.
  • My husband guided me carefully through ice and people in the howling wind. Then suddenly the door opens and we are in a warm place but I'm still shivering. A co-worker of my husband came over to greet us. I was stunned, unresponsive. I was still in a separate world of shock. I imagine this is what the people that get rescued feel like.

I was Otterly Dumbfounded...and Cold

It's a good thing I thoroughly enjoyed the company of my in-laws and their two little boys at the Otters game last night or I'd have been even more critical that we spent that much money to see a bunch of sleepy Otters skating around the rink under the premise they were actually playing a game. What'd they do, eat turkey before the game?

We fans endured unspeakable coldness to get there, the least they could do is put out some effort. You're losing me guys. There was some quotes in the paper that said something like "they don't think they can win.. .." Well, guess what. GET OVER IT! Where's the heart, you see it in little high schools without a chance to win in football and they still play their hearts out. You play your best win or lose, it's very revealing of your character. I don't care if they were to lose by 10 points if they played hard. I give a bit of credit to the goalie for playing hard, he got very little help.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

True Story - Turkey, Romance and Death

Most of my "I remember" stories come from California where living was, well, just plain odd. This is a true story.
  • This was many years ago. I bought a baby hatchling broad-breasted-bronze turkey at the feed store, he was adorable. I fed him and watched him grow into this huge, beautiful bird. When he was mature he would display his feathers like peacocks do and shake them whenever you'd come around.
  • I felt bad he was alone in his turkey world so I put out the word that I was looking for a female of the same.
  • Someone from where I worked actually had one as a pet and wanted to get rid of it. Quite a coincidence? Not really, remember I lived in rural northern California where llamas, ostriches, emus among other weird animals dot the countryside.
  • I picked up this broad-breasted female beauty after work and was quite excited for Mr. Tom. He was going to have a "friend". She was quite a handful in the car (these birds are much bigger than their wild counterparts).
  • It was almost dark when I arrived home and wrestled her into her new pen with Mr. Tom. He immediately started his feather displays and shaking but it was getting dark and I don't know what happened after that on that fateful night.
  • I ran out to the pen the next morning to feed them and found Mr. Tom dead. I didn't see any blood on him so I can only imagine he died because he got too excited. I couldn't believe that by trying to make him happy, I ended up killing him. I can only hope he died "happy".
  • So now I was stuck with this female turkey. The nice guy that gave me the bird said he'd take her back. He had dismantled her pen but said he'd let her run free in the pasture with the cows.
  • A few weeks later I inquired about how she was doing and my co-worker hesitated but then told me her fate. They figured she had been on the railroad tracks and didn't move when the train came because they found pieces and feathers everywhere on the tracks. I had heard they look up at the sky when it rains and they drown but you'd think they would be frightened by a train and move.
  • These are dumb birds. It is a wonder that any of these birds make it to the dinner table.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Tried My Steam Machine, Review

Bissell 9400 ProHeat 2X Select Upright Deep Carpet Cleaner (This model has 12 rows of brushes and edge brushes, stair attachment, spot cleaner attachment, squeegee attachment, and a turbo upholstery attachment.)

The directions stink, that's all there is too it. But once you figure it all out, it is easy to use.

  • The tank is kind of small you have to dump it quite often. (But it would be bulkier and heavier to have a larger tank.)
  • If you don't make sure the solution tank's top is screwed on tightly and if the tank isn't seated perfectly, the whole tank ends up as a puddle on the floor. (don't ask me how I know this.) I think they could have made it more idiot proof.
  • It doesn't hold much water so you have to fill it quite often.
  • The beater brushes hardly were touching my kitchen carpet. Probably works better on higher pile carpets.
  • The edge brushes don't turn or anything. They just sit there. I didn't see any use for them as they barely touch the rug.
  • I didn't notice the water being any hotter but I didn't take a thermometer to check it.
  • Poor instructions.
  • Would be hard to fill and empty in a smaller sink. It is easy in a larger kitchen sink.
Good Points
  • The rug came very clean. I was surprised how clean it got.
  • The way they have it set up it is very easy to dump and refill the container once you have done it once and understand the process.
  • It didn't leave the rug too wet. I was careful to keep going over it to get as much water as I could out of it.
  • Even though it is a pretty large machine, it is easy to wheel about to put away.
  • Nothing broke. I read reviews on a similar model that the plastic parts break very easily. So far so good.
  • On our entry off the kitchen we had what looked like water ring stains where our boots tracked in snow and salt. It never would vacuum out but this took it out. It must have been salt stains.
I haven't tried the attachments yet. Might be a while but I'll do a review on them, too, just in case someone is thinking about buying this model.

68 Degrees

  • Anticipating the high cost of natural gas this year, we've been keeping our house at 68 degrees.
  • I get cold very easily and in the past I've been known to keep my house at 78 degrees in the middle of the snowy winter. It's a California thing. It's a thing that my husband mentioned the other day when discussing the high cost of fuel.
  • I have been walking around with a blanket around me sipping on really hot coffee to survive this frigid temperature of 68 degrees.
  • Yesterday, this problem was solved. My husband surprised me with a shopping gift for a WARM robe that I've been wanting. I picked out the most plush, warm one I could find.
  • This is the softest robe I've ever felt and it is keeping me so toasty that I started sweating in it this morning and asked my husband if he had turned the heat too high.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Otter and Turkey for Thanksgiving

  • Our Thanksgiving plans are set. First we have turkey, then we head out for a Erie Otters hockey home game. Family will be joining us from Cleveland and their two little boys will see hockey for the first time. I'm excited to see what they think of it.

  • I'm hoping the Otters will entertain us with a win this time.

I was surprised to look out the window and find the snow all melted in our backyard. Because the snow killed all my flowers it actually looked better with the snow. Now I'm left with wilted sticks and mounds of gray. I'm pretty bumbed about winter being here. This is the first time since we have moved here 6 years ago that I didn't at least get excited about the first snow of the year. I guess I'm headed for the 7-year itch (winter-wise that is.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

I'm Seeing Red

UPDATE on Steam Machine:
Bissell 9400 ProHeat 2X Select Upright Deep Carpet Cleaner
  • I got it put together. There was only 4 screws to put on and a couple of snap-in-place pieces. The rest are trial samples of their products and attachments.

  • I ended up with 3 hose-end pieces that don't have a place on the caddy. They made more pieces than they give you storage for. That's OK, I'll put them in a box in the basement. They must have thought adding 3 more spaces in the storage compartment would be too bulky.

  • The instructions for assembly was not very good. There are drawings that don't look a whole lot like the piece they are representing. Why pay someone to draw it, why not just take a picture? Surely saving the cost of an artist would have paid for having pictures included.

  • I haven't tried it yet as I spent all day painting.

  • After removing 80 plus years of wallpaper on my stair wall I primed it with a dark gray primer and painted the wall red about 3 years ago. I had nothing but problems with the color. It has faded to a lighter shade and now looks like it has too much pink in it. It is suppose to be a blood red color to match the red in our couch.

  • If you tried to clean any fingerprints off of it, a lot of color would just wipe off, too. It is chalking. This was Sears paint and I don't recommend it, at least not the reds. I normally buy Benjamin Moore or Behr but they didn't have the right red and Benjamin Moore said they couldn't produce that exact color on their computer. It must be a problem color.

  • I have 2 1/2 gallons of the red paint from Sears in my basement so I decided I would paint the wall again and then coat it with a water-based polyurethane. I have a hvlp sprayer that I'll probably use for the poly.

  • Yesterday I did some wall repair and cleaning and then primed the repairs with the gray undercoat so the paint doesn't turn out pink. Today I painted the wall again and I applied 4 coats to the repair areas and the gray is still showing. This paint is almost like watercolors.

  • If I could do it again, I'd just find a red wallpaper and wallpaper instead of all this nonsense.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My New Steam Machine

  • My new Bissell 9400 ProHeat 2X Select Upright Deep Carpet Cleaner arrived yesterday by UPS. It came in a smaller box than I had anticipated which is bad news because I know that means I'm going to have to be a mechanic and put the stupid thing together.

  • Being it is snowing like crazy outside, I figured it a good time to take a peek and see what I've got in there. The big box contained one large part and several smaller boxes full of parts, well that's gonna be fun.

  • I unloaded the big box and now I have a whole corner of my carpet full of parts. I decided I'd come back to it. When I came back into the room there were our three cats all sitting there trying to decide if that parts mess on the carpet was friend or foe.

  • They better believe it is their friend because they are the reason I purchased the thing in the first place. I adore our cats, they are part of the family but they hack and they seem to do it on the carpet instead of the easier-to-clean flooring, the little....**8@# sweethearts.

  • But really the reason I bought it was because my plans to replace the kitchen carpet with stone tile and the removal of the bedroom carpet to show off the wood floors has fallen way behind schedule. My 2-year plan has become what looks more like an 8-year plan to finish my house. (I blame part of that on my addiction to fishing.) I have put off cleaning the carpets this past year because I was going to rip it out.

  • So now the cats can sleep on the couch which was off limits before though I'm sure they were on it when we weren't looking. This machine has an upholstery attachment to take care of any "problem" they may have up there.

  • I'll let you know, when I get around to using this machine, if it works well or not. What's the odds it will work like advertised?

Reality Sets In

  • I put off bringing in my fountain because the weather report said it would get down to about 31 or so and I figured it would take a long time to freeze up the water so I left it out for a "few more days".

  • As soon as I got on the computer this morning and saw it flashing 25 degrees in red, I ran down, put on my shoes and tiptoed through the snow to my frozen fountain. I couldn't get the top off, it was frozen on.

  • Oh no, that will wreck the pump! I was wrestling with it when my husband peeked out the door and told me to leave it, he'd get it.

  • Dressed in his shirt and tie, ready for work, he managed to get the top off and the pump out of the base and brought it through the wind and snow to my kitchen sink.

  • He's like my super hero that comes to the rescue when I do dumb things. Thanks, honey!

  • I could have easily brought it in last night when it wasn't frozen but for some reason I didn't want to give up yet and I couldn't believe it could get that cold that fast.

  • I did bring in two of my potted herb plants last night that I planned on leaving outside for Mr. Snowman. Then I thought it would be nice to have fresh herbs for the winter so I brought them to a sunny spot (if the sun ever comes out) on my kitchen window shelves. Marjoram and Rosemary...they smell wonderful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Update: Progress-House Restoration

The Stairs. It seems I'm never going to get done.

TIP OF THE DAY. Don't try to step on the newly finished floor before you are sure it is totally cured. But I needed to get upstairs and it felt dry to the touch.......

What I've done already on the stairs.
  • Patched the ceiling.
  • Primed, textured and painted the ceiling.
  • Stripped off the old wallpaper on the landing.
  • Ripped up the 50s or 60s shag carpeting.
  • Stripped the oak wood baseboards and flooring on stairs and landing.
  • Stripped the oak around the windows on the stair landing.
  • Sanded all the wood and then applied several coats of dewaxed garnet shellac on baseboards, floor and window trim. ( Plus a redo on the floor for my "stepping on" mistake)
What is left to do on the stairs.
  • Apply a few blonde dewaxed shellac top coats on all wood.
  • Top all wood on stairs with Waterlox.
  • Touch up paint on walls around the windows and baseboards.
  • Put up new wallpaper on landing area.
  • The outside wall along the stairs is red. It wants to oxidize and chalk so I'm going to coat it with a poly when I'm done with everything else.
  • Pick out and hang some kind of curtain on the upper level window. It is hard to find something that will look good in a window that only 40 inches by 20 inches. I may make something myself.
I also just installed 2 1/2 inch trim along the top of the stair baseboards to hide rope lights so that the stairs are always lit. I've had some close calls coming down the stairs at night. The overhead light on the landing doesn't light the bottom of the stairs very well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Along the Road (cartoon)

When I was very small in Minnesota,whenever we went on a roadtrip us kids would have a counting contest. In Minnesota it was cows in fields along the road and if you came upon a dairy, which was likely, the game was pretty much over because we couldn't count that fast or that high.

When we moved to California, the game turned into counting horses out in the pastures and pens along the road.

Here in Pennsylvania I haven't got over my counting game, it is kind of a ritual of a trip. But here I count dead deer.....sometimes dead raccoons. Last year between Pittsburgh and Erie there must have been more than 50 dead deer along the freeway during that trip. That was horror, what was that all about?

Luckily, when we went to Grove City the other day I counted only 2 dead deer in the first few miles but none after that. I wasn't as scared coming home that night. I never worried about hitting deer when I lived in California, loose 1,200-pound horses in the fog, yes...but deer, no.

Below is a light-hearted cartoon I drew of what you may see on a cross-country trip at night.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Alarming Personality


  • I knew the minute I tried on the pretty, gray, tailored, wool coat with a monk hood that it was "the one". But OK, I'll wait until I go to the other stores and I'd come back to it if nothing else beats it.

  • A dozen stores and as many "try-ons" later and with two bags of Jelly Bellys, I returned to London Fog just before closing.

  • That's the one, I told my husband who gave me approval for a good selection. We took it up to the counter and I asked the clerk to please remove the tags so I could wear it home.

  • We left the store and I felt so stylish and warm and pleased with my new coat. I actually had a bounce in my step as my husband told me the coat was very flattering.

  • On returning to Erie we stopped at Target. As I walked through the doors I heard an alarm go off but didn't think anything of it except I thought what a coincidence that it went off as soon as I passed through the door.

  • On leaving, the alarm went off again. Of course I stopped, looked around for the "door police" to arrive and check my bags but no one came and I left but not without feeling all the people around me thought I was a thief. That can be traumatic.

  • How could I keep wearing this coat if it sets the alarms off at stores? We joked that I could have a good time setting alarms off at the mall if I had that kind of personality, which I don't.

  • At home I went over that coat several times trying to figure out where there may be an alarm trigger. There just wasn't any and I was going to have to call the London Fog store to find out what to do. As I hung up the coat I noticed a tag sewn into the lining next to the care tag that had a tiny picture of a scissors on it. After closer inspection I found my alarm.

  • What a dumb thing to do, make it look just like a care tag and sew it into the lining. You have to cut it off and take a chance of ruining the lining. It had a thin piece of metallic-coated paper inside and you have to cut it really close to get it all. I guess it isn't one of those things you deactivate at the store because it says to remove it by cutting it off after purchase.

  • The funny thing is, it didn't set off the alarm at the London Fog store when I wore it out. Shouldn't the clerk tell you these things?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Whys?

  • Why can't they make digital cameras click instantly so the moment isn't gone by the time the dumb thing flashes?

  • Why don't they make an affordable turntable that you could drive up onto in your driveway to turn your car around so you don't have to back out into street traffic, something simple made out of strong plastic with ball bearings that you could just push around?

  • Why don't they make a paintable caulk that is really, truly paintable?

  • Why can't be on top of things and have "real-time" doppler instead of being late to the show with doppler images 20 to 40 minutes out of date?

  • If Dish TV can have local network channels, why can't Direct TV?

  • Why do they put paint thinner, denatured alcohol and mineral spirits in a metal can that sloshes all over the place when you pour it? If they insist on using that can why can't they sell a pouring spout for it that screws on like a gas can has?

  • Why do they try and sell a magazine with 4 pages of content and 30 pages of ads for more than a book would cost? Who are these people dumb enough to buy it?

  • Why don't they make toilet holes bigger so they don't clog?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Bird Flew (sic) (pic)

  • Dusk was fully set in as we crossed the bridge at Petroleum Center on Oil Creek. There before us, standing his ground with the headlights illuminating him, was a male ringneck pheasant.
  • We stopped and watched it as I fumbled for my backpack that was in the rear seat. I can't believe how hard it is to get a camera case out of a backpack and then the camera out of the camera case when you are surprised by a Kodak moment.

  • The pheasant seemed to be giving me every opportunity to take the picture. He turned like a model in the presence of a paparazzo, first this side, then that, even his backside for a moment.

  • When the camera finally turned on, I aimed it through the windshield and snapped the picture. Then another. A quick glance showed I was getting a picture of myself in the windshield. More fumbling and I turned the flash off. The preview looked black.

  • He'd had enough and headed for the side of the road. I got out and crept up to try and get a picture. Of course, the flash had been turned off, black picture. By the time I fumbled the flash setting back on, I couldn't see him anymore in the brush.

  • I crept closer and jumped out of my wits when he flew straight up making scary noises on the way. I think he got a kick out of that.

  • I think that bird had a couple of laughs that day. We saw hunters up the road earlier probably looking for pheasants. He was down there at the bridge feeling smug.

  • Below is what I could get from the blackened picture. Too bad, he was quite the specimen, a real Brad Pitt of the pheasant world.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tree Could Have Been in Lord of the Rings(pic)

I saw this neat tree when we stopped at Oil Creek Outfitters near Titusville. To me it looks like a gorilla with a cone head throwing leaves or an Ent from Lord of the Rings.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

End of the Road (pic)

Yesterday we took our last fishing trip to Oil Creek for the year. We saw fish but didn't catch anything, which was fine with us. The trip there was so breathtakingly beautiful it didn't matter. Colored leaves rained down on us along the back road and the air was crisp with that unmistaken aroma of fall leaves. What more could you ask for?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Great Idea Gone Awry

My head is so full of what I think are great ideas. A good number of them don't work, but that doesn't stop me from trying them. One of the first ideas I had, was in training my horse.

  • I knew very little about horses, I just wanted one. I bought an untrained horse, that may not have been smart but it was cheap.

  • I went to the library and checked out about every book and magazine on horses I could find and started reading.

  • Luckily, I had my younger sister to test my new knowledge. Our system worked out well, I read and instructed and she'd do what I told her. When she would go flying through the air after mounting my horse, I'd tell her that you are suppose to get right back on. She'd heard that, too, didn't know why it was important, but she figured I must be right. She'd climb back on, only to be on her back a few seconds later. One day she stayed on (she looked like a professional rodeo rider) and "Glee" stopped bucking. I was so happy... he was "broke".

  • The next day I mounted Glee confidently, gave him a little nudge with my foot. It's not like in the movies.......I landed in a somewhat sitting position.

  • I read that you have to keep the horse's head up to keep him from bucking so I devised this little getup that you see in the picture. I tied a rope from each side of his halter and tied them together high on his neck and then back to the saddle horn. He couldn't lower his head very far.

  • I got on and it worked. I went out into the pasture and felt so free! I started him galloping. Yipppeeeee!!!! It was so much fun!

  • The rope broke, it is a long ways down, big rocks, flat on my back.... wind out of me....can't breathe, I hate that horse, that cloud in the sky kind of looks like a cat, I wouldn't be getting right back on anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Latest Fish Fashion

I caught a fish once that had obviously been caught several times before and I wondered why that particular fish didn't learn his lesson.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Amish, What Do They Do In The Winter?

  • On our Sunday afternoon trip to Oil Creek we passed several Amish horses and buggies traveling down the road. We figured they were coming home from church services as it was about 1:30 in the afternoon. As we continued, we saw another one turn onto the main road from a gravel road that we believe goes to Spartanburg.

  • The shoulder of the road we were on was very narrow and the cars were passing so close to the horses and buggies. How scary that would be worrying about the cars and on top of that, they must also worry about the horses. Horses are unpredictable and these were no cloddy work horses. These were pretty,well-groomed, energetic, high-stepping horses.... a site to behold.

  • It must be hard for the Amish to try and live a seperate life with cars whizzing by and goverment regulations on their backs.

  • I've always wondered, what do the Amish do in the winter? The sides of the roads are filled with plowed snow. It is next to impossible to ride a bike in the ice and snow (though I have seen two guys do it on some of the coldest, snowiest days going up Peach Street) so I assume it would be very difficult to maneuver a buggy. Do they still use their buggies to get around or just ride the horses?

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Last Fishing Days of Oil Creek

  • My husband and I decided to not be a part of the steelhead madness at Walnut Creek and opted to go to where nature still rules, Oil Creek. I was a bit disappointed that so many people were there. I figured it would be too cold for most fishermen or that most that didn't mind the cold were up steelhead fishing.

  • But we found a spot and I was prepared this time. I've learned from past fall-fishing days not to underdress. I layered clothing until I looked like a Sumo wrestler. I barely could get my wader bib up around my chest. Inside my pockets I had those packaged hand warmers. So toasty! I purchased $2.99 shoe warmers for my feet. I explained to my husband while at the store, that if you spend all that money on gas and flies, it only makes sense to spend the extra $2.99 so as not to want to go home early because of cold feet.

  • I had no luck with wooly buggers. My toasty feet were starting to get numb from coldness.

  • I switched to a blue and white streamer with a silver cap on it that we bought at Oil Creek Outfitters. Bam!! I caught a really nice rainbow.

  • I caught three nice rainbows in about 1/2 hour and then the action stopped. I think I fished the hole out but I didn't want to move because my feet were getting really cold. So why wasn't my feet staying warm?, I wondered.

  • I don't like to use the word skunked but I guess it fits. My husband got skunked, not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • We decided to call it a day, my feet were so cold! As I undressed the cause of my cold feet became evident. I had put the warmers inside the wading shoes but to the outside of the waders. They were sopping wet. Dah!!!

  • Maybe with some new warmers and a break in the weather we can fit another weekend of fishing in at Oil Creek before it gets too cold.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Erie Panorama Postcard with details and labels-1912

For those who need help in figuring out where everything is on that 1912 panorama Dennis posted, I scanned an antique postcard panorama of the same picture. I divided the picture into 3 parts. Click on each picture to get a size that you can read all the details. These will be full-sized scan files.

The Aftermath of Steelhead Fishing (pic)

Two years ago, my husband and I went to Walnut Creek during a winter month and had to laugh. We hadn't noticed the amount of "entanglement" until the leaves were gone from the trees. I can only imagine the amount of swearing that must have taken place there. Below is a sketch I made honoring all those who left a little something behind.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I've been tagged by Toni -5 facts

Thanks, Toni. Well, I think this tag is not so bad. It is "5 little known facts about yourself".

  • I used to train and show obedience dogs, mostly American Cocker Spaniels.

  • I once owned a race horse that raced the California circuit for 2 years. (loser!)

  • Years ago, my Appaloosa parade horse was chosen to be ridden by the Grand Marshal at the State Fair Parade in Sacramento, California. During the parade my horse spooked under the monorail, scampered backwards into the crowd and almost threw the guy. (that was terribly embarrassing!)

  • I've been to every state west of the Mississippi (Hawaii but not Alaska) and almost all of them to the east. I'd like to see them all.

  • I love power tools and woodworking. Along with working on restoring my house, I've always a woodworking project in progress.

Gee, I don't know who to tag that hasn't been tagged. It's a wild card. Anyone that hasn't been tagged, please step up, ha.

Good Things About Erie #2 (pic)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Don't Take it Literally

"He made the save standing on his head!", screamed the announcer on TV as I walked into the room. "Darn, I missed it! What a show off, he really made a save standing on his head?", I asked my husband. Thank goodness he set me straight about hockey expressions way back then because I'd hate to think that a credulous person like me could have and possibly would have believed the puck had eyes or that there was cutlery out on the ice.

Here are just a few of the hockey expressions I've personally heard from the colorful hockey announcers after some big plays in the past few weeks of NHL hockey. The Penguins announcers are the most expressive. I can visualize these expressions and find them quite funny and hope you do to.

  • Oh, he blew a tire!
  • He was hit in the noodle!
  • The puck had eyes!
  • He takes the kitchen sink in with him!
  • Buy Sam a drink and get his dog one too!
  • He beat him like a rented mule!
  • He's taking the heat out of a hot kitchen!
  • Boy, can he set the table, he brought in the cutlery!
  • Well, how much chicken can you eat!
  • Fasten your seatbelts!
  • The turkey is on the table again for the Penguins!
  • Slap me silly, Sidney!
  • They were chopping lumber there!
  • The table's set there just isn't anyone there for dinner!
  • Let's go hunt moose on a Harley!
  • Oh, she wants to sell my monkey!
  • Oh, get that dog off my lawn!
  • They're heading for the vomitories here in St. Louis!
  • He didn't know whether to cry or wind his watch!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Memories vs Mercyhurst Womens Hockey

  • I have vivid memories of my Dad coaching boys high school basketball in Minnesota when I was very young. My sisters and I were the only kids other than the team to be allowed on the court. We stayed off to the other end of the court and shot baskets while my Dad coached. I felt special.

  • My dad also was the announcer for our home high school football games in Minnesota. I remember it being so very cold outside. The wind would always seem to be whipping the snow into our faces and when I got too cold, I'd climb the stairs of the schoolhouse and follow the hallway tracking snow to the second story room my dad was announcing from, it overlooked the football field. There was hot chocolate. Again, other kids weren't allowed and I loved it. "Go, BlueJays, Go!", I'd yell out the window away from the microphone.

  • You move away but you always root for your home team even when you have moved away to live in California or Pennsylvania. Go Vikings!, Go Twins!, go Minnesota Gophers!

  • I have the Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey jersey in my closet, waiting for a chance to wear it.

  • My husband and I are fans of women's hockey. I especially love watching and rooting for Mercyhurst Womens Hockey (I'm not Catholic and I have no ties to the college but love the caliber of hockey there). Last night they played the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. That was my chance to wear my jersey, but how could I? I'm rooting for Mercyhurst or was I?

  • We were surrounded by Minnesotans at the game. They were everywhere, they showed up in force. They are real chatterboxes and they say things funny, kind of like the Canadians do. Take the word, Minnesota, they say that funny. I say that funny. I learned to talk in Minnesota and decades later I can't shake that funny ooooo sound in Minnesota.

  • I was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde during the game. I was sad Mercyhurst lost, but happy Minnesota won.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Pleasures of Getting Skunked

  • Our vacation was spattered with painting, fixing cracks in the plaster, scraping woodwork, cleaning out closets and one day of fishing.
  • The most memorable day was spent at Oil Creek. The water was very low but they did stock it last week. I was hoping for some dumb hatchery fish to fall for the tiny fly I had on the end of my hook but I guess my clumsy splashing through the water to get to my spot made even a dumb fish wary.

  • I find that I'm a pretty good flyfisherwoman for about an hour. My line lays out softly and pretty accurately when I concentrate on my form. If after about an hour I don't catch a fish, my attention span is shot. I soon find my line slapping the water in an almost spiteful way. Maybe I'll hit one on the head.

  • Then I start looking around to see if anyone else is catching anything. Is someone else catching them all? Perhaps my husband? I spot him down river and he seems content and happy sending his line out across the water but I don't see anyone catching anything.

  • Then I'm starting to think that perhaps I may soon have to find the restroom, not yet, but something to think about as I stand in the running water and starting to get a bit chilled from the late afternoon breeze.

  • Soon after that I'll go through my "looking around" stage. Oh, look at that bird. Gee, is that a beaver? What made that noise in the bushes?

  • Then a large orange leaf catches my eye as it floats gracefully down from the tree on the bank. Suddenly it is so quiet I can actually hear it hit the water.

  • Wow, it is so beautiful here, I'll think to myself. Then a Great Blue Heron flies overhead.

  • Thank goodness the fun of fishing doesn't depend on catching fish.

  • When the day was over and we were heading back we came across a nice lady who asked us how we did. Skunked, was my answer. She got 2, her husband, 5 rainbows. Really? "What did you use", I asked. Wooly buggers was her answer. Ahhh....wooly buggers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A&W, Vintage Hawaiian Shirt, Treasures in the Closet

  • We're on vacation. Our plans are no plans at all. Whatever, whenever.

  • My husband has already cleaned out his closet, getting rid of old shoes and out-dated clothing. He went through boxes of old books and got rid of them, too.

  • I watched in envy as he organized his closet. I couldn't even get into mine. I have to reach over bags and boxes just to reach the pull switch for my closet light.

  • While I was running my bath water I thought I'd check my closet to see if there was anything in the spur of the moment that I could include in his pile of stuff to go to fill the car for places unknown. A blouse with the tags still on it, goes (it didn't fit)...the pair of pants, a skirt, those clunky shoes....can go.

  • I shut the bath water off. Back to the closet for a few more things I saw that could go. This and that, that and this.....the pile was growing and growing. It was clear to see I was on a roll and that I shouldn't stop.

  • I was suppose to be getting ready to go with my husband to drop off his pile of stuff and go shopping. He came upstairs to see what was taking me so long and looked....happy, dismayed? I'm not sure. I had a huge pile of clothes stacked up. He said my bath water was cold.

  • We decided he should take what he could fit of my stuff into the car and go ahead without me and I'd be ready when he got home. I was still "purging" when he got back. I couldn't stop. He took a whole 'nother car load of my stuff yesterday. I can walk into my closet, turn around and dance!

  • Good things come from getting organized. I found the vest of my old A&W carhop outfit. What happened to the pants and blouse I don't know. Ahhh...the memories... Hey, that was hard work!

  • I came across my dad's vintage hawaiian shirt that my sister rescued from my dad's closet years ago. I was going to display it in a shadow box as a tribute to that 60's era. How could I forget about that?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Trials and Tribulations of Home Repair 1

  • I think I will start a new segment on the trials and tribulations of home repair as I seem to becoming an expert at it. (not of home repair but of Murphy's law)
  • I thought I was so far ahead of the game of being ready for winter that I was becoming a bit smug about it.

  • Then I went out on the porch. Dog gone it! The nice white top of my freshly-painted porch side railing was covered with little insect corpses with their tiny legs stuck in the paint. If you want an insect-attractant, just try painting something white. I tried to brush one off and it left a red streak across the now dried paint. I'll wait until a sunny day , if one ever comes, and then try to lightly brush them off with a soft brush, trying not to squash any in the process and maybe I won't have to repaint it.

  • My husband came in from getting the mail in the rain and mentioned to me that the front stairs were "bubbling up". NO! They can't. I prepped them perfectly and followed all the right techniques of painting and they had plenty of time to dry before the rain. Again, I'll have to wait until a sunny day and do it over.

  • Though the mud porch door paint job turned out pretty good, the color dried too glossy. Again, I'll wait until a sunny day....perhaps again this year I'll be drying paint with the blow dryer while the snow if falling after all.

  • The worst part is the embarrassment of knowing the neighbors are probably going to get a good snicker out of seeing me redo all of this.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Mercyhurst Women's Hockey Rocks

  • There is no charge to watch the Mercyhurst Women's Hockey team play, not even at the Tullio Arena where they played yesterday and today because of ice problems at their arena.
  • After losing yesterday to Minnesota State Mankato, the Mercyhurst Women's Hockey team came back strong today to beat Minnesota State 4 to 2.
  • These girls are tough and the game gets rough. One girl from Minnesota left the ice with what looked like a dislocated shoulder after a hard hit.
  • Mercyhurst's goalie, Laura Hosier, treated us to the only time I've ever witnessed a perfect split done in full uniform, blocking the net toe to toe. I don't know how she can do a flat-out, on-the-ice splits with all that gear on. And she just pops back up without any effort. These girls are true athletes and they played their hearts out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Worst Star Spangled Banner I Ever Heard

I try to be open minded when it comes to music but what my ears heard at the LA Kings vs the Phoenix Coyotes NHL game from Zakk Wylde was pure alright, pure annoying noise. How anyone can like that is beyond me. I've heard some long, bad Star Spangled Banners in my day, ie Rosanne, but this one was all-time bad.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Woohoo! Done Before the Snow Flies

  • Not quite done but will be. I'm close to finishing up all painting on the exterior doors, porch floors, railings and pillars. I even repaired the front stairs and have them painted.

  • In prior years, you would see me on a ladder still painting outside as the sleet and snow flies, using a blow dryer so the paint dries enough so it doesn't get washed away (it works, but an electrical hazard). I even had people walking and driving by that have had yelled comments on this practice. I have a history of waiting until the last minute. In years prior I just hadn't adjusted to the fact winter sets in about 3 months earlier than California. This year, I can't explain it, other than I think I've got it. I live in ERIE, I've run out of time, get with it!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

How Not to Spackle

  • My spackle job turned out pretty bad because I had to use a spatula with a long handle to reach the stairwell ceiling (I guess I have incredibly short arms). After I made a big deal about how I can't reach the ceiling and can't use a ladder on the steps, my husband comes out with. "I can reach the ceiling, easy."
  • So, my wonderful, very tall husband volunteered and gave up a day of his weekend to sand it for me. I decided to give him the orbital palm sander that orbits and spins in a circle to make it a bit easier. He did a fabulous job.
  • I knew ahead of time the result of using an electric sander on spackle. (I've been through it before and swore never to do it again but this was kind of an emergency.) The whole house is still full of fine white silt that has finally settled...everywhere. Every piece of furniture, fixture, book, every shelf, every nook and cranny in the house has a film of powder that is like fine baby powder. I have a couple of plaster patches yet to make and then comes a complete fall cleaning.
  • DRAT! Luckily, I now have Swiffers.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Flightplan Review

My husband and I went to see Flightplan at the movie theater last night. All in all it was a good movie but it is one of those movies you have to chuckle here and there because, come on, it just couldn't happen, and wouldn't happen. Luckily, it had Jodie Foster, she's so good at "tense". At the end it became a bit ridiculous, music and the loose ends all tying up in a neat little package, and again, it wasn't believable. But it was entertaining with plenty of tense moments. I judge that part by how fast I eat my popcorn.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I asked for it

I asked for it (please, honey, please) and I think I'm getting it. The NHL package!!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally, something worth watching on TV. TV is sooooooooo bad. I have watched reruns of Seinfield and Everybody Loves Raymond until I'm blue in the face. Everything is just plain junk out there in TV land. What happened to writers? It's all teenage crapola. We did rent the first season of LOST. And we got hooked. So, on Wednesdays, we will be perched on the couch watching each episode of the current season. Oh, but conflict arises. Wednesday is the first day of the NHL season. I'll have to tape LOST.

I thought "If Walls Could Talk" on HGTV was gone forever. I came across an episode last night. I wish they would bring back "Modern Masters", too. I love these shows and they disappeared for a while, even in reruns. I used to listen to the shows while I scraped wallpaper and spackled the walls. Now I listen to my MP3 player with Etta James, BB King, Taj Mahal, and, of course, Jakes Blues while I shellac and paint. I'm not complaining as the blues have served the walls well. The texture of the walls seems to have rhythm, but I was trying for the "Modern Masters" look.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I'm a Hypocrite with Hockey

  • I'm a starved hockey fan and I finally got fed last night (what a cliche!). The Otters put on a great show for us in their home opener. It had it all, a win with penalties, some hard hits, some great scoring plays and a big brawl complete with sticks, gloves, helmets flying and plenty of punching. That's where I become the hypocrite.

  • Years ago when I first saw some hockey on TV I thought it was terrible. Look how those guys hit each other. Violence! When I saw my first Chicago Blackhawks game in Chicago, I was very put off at first by the crowd. They scared me. Somewhere between getting scared and the end of the game, I got hooked.

  • Last night before the 10-year anniversary of the first home Otter's game, they had a presentation with clips of great plays and memorable moments over those previous 9 years. When the clips of the goal-scoring skate dance and exhibition celebration after each goal was shown on the screen, the crowd roared and laughed with glee. The clips with the hard checks against the board and the brawls all drew the crowd's approval. And there I was, ( Mrs. anti-violence, I hate swearing, supposedly-mellow me) laughing and applauding with the rest of the crowd. Hockey must be exempt from normal sportsmanship for some unknown reason and it just seems OK to boo the opposing team, yell at the ref (because they deserve it most of the time) delight in bench-clearing brawls. I figure if I get it out of my system at the game I can go home and be my old self again.

  • And something else I don't get. I've always thought the hotdogging dances and celebrations after a touchdown in football was cute, funny and entertaining. Then I found out it is not good, it is unacceptable, bad sportsmanship. Hmmm...Why is it not Ok to celebrate and dance and other such antics in other sports after a great play but it is loved and endeared to in hockey? I'm going on record to say I like it (the great play and scoring celebrations) in hockey and I like it in football. And the fighting? Well, I'll go on record to say it isn't a good thing...but like people who go to car races and say they don't really want to see car crashes.......

GoogleEarth is Amazing

I downloaded Google Earth and I'm really impressed. The things you can do! I wasn't sure I had everything that is required when I downloaded it but it seems to be working without a hitch. You can fly from one address to another. When you get down to a real close up it fades out and doesn't show the buildings very well. But it has so many other features. Some selected cities have 3D buildings. It is fun to play with.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ceiling Quandary

  • I'm fixing the cracks in the plaster on the ceiling of our stairwell. I'm too short to reach it with my hands and I can't safely figure out a way to use a ladder on the steps. So I'm using a long-handled spatula to apply the patching plaster and a long-handled sanding block to smooth it when it dries.
  • It's not a perfect job. I could spend a lot of more time on it and get it a lot better but it will never be "perfect" if I have to use extensions. (I'm burned out on this project already.)
  • I'm contemplating putting the textured " Victorian ceiling tin" wallpaper on the ceiling in that area and then paint it. It would cover any imperfections in my plaster patching( but mostly the plaster repairs of someone before us) and would look great in my old house. But then again, I can't reach the ceiling. The curse of shortness.
  • Like Scarlett, I'll think about that tomorrow.

As Sweet as Tupelo Honey

  • TO DO OR NOT TO DO...Deciding to pick our first and "one and only" pear was a really tough decision. Pick it too soon and it won't ripen properly, pick it too late and it will have a bad core.

  • HOW DO YOU KNOW?...I did research on pears and you can't wait for them to ripen on the tree or the core gets rotten. There were tips on how to pick them but most of them was through a test pear. You pick it and check how hard the stem breaks away from the limb. Cut into it and check the color of the flesh, etc. I only had one pear so I didn't get a second chance.

  • JUST DO IT!!...It was still hard and still had some bumps on the flesh. It was still very green but had lightened up a bit. I lifted it and pulled gingerly just to see if the stem separated. Snap, it did! OK, then, the decision was made for me.

  • WAITING AND WAITING...I set the pear on the counter and waited. According to my sources it takes 4 to 5 days to ripen. At 5 days it still looked the same and was still hard when I put some pressure on the outside. ...6 and 7 days passed. I did notice it was starting to turn a more yellow color. By the 9th day I decided I had better go for it.

  • PHOTO OP AND THE BIG PAYOFF...I took pictures of it, called my husband in and I'm sure he thought I was nuts when I made such a celebration out of it. As soon as the knife grazed the surface and juice flowed out I knew it was ready. I continued to cut and there before us was a perfect sliced pear. Perfect light-colored flesh, smelling sweet. It tasted even better, as sweet as honey.

  • I know I tend to make a big deal out of such little things, chipmunks, butterflies, birds, flowers, a trout and even a pear. But I live for the little things, they are there for you to discover so much more often.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Mother Instinct for One Sick Bird

  • Yesterday, late afternoon, my husband called me to the front porch to look at something. In the corner on the ground next to our front steps was a lone pigeon. Not looking at all afraid he just looked back at us. He moved his head normally, opened and closed his eyes normally but just sat there.
  • <>We checked about an hour later and he was still there. He wouldn't move even when I approached very close. I didn't want to touch him because he may be sick with something .
  • I brought some bird seed out to him and a dish of water. He immediately drank the water but then proceeded to hunker down in the corner again.
  • When darkness approached I went to check on him and he was still there. Then it started raining, hard. About 11 pm I went out into the rain to check and he was still there, all ruffled up and head scrunched down deep into his neck.
  • I felt so bad leaving him there and thought about putting something over him but I knew it would just blow away in the thunderstorms. Pigeons roost out in the weather all the time so I was just hoping for the best for him.
  • As soon as I came down this morning I asked my husband about the pigeon and he said he was gone. No feathers anywhere so I'm hoping whatever happened to make him stay the night didn't do him any permanent harm. Maybe he wasn't sick and just flew into something that temporarily knocked the daylights out of him and he got his bearings back today.
  • Later today I'll do a more intense search for him around the house. I don't like pigeons but there is always a soft spot in my being for a sick or injured animal.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Don't Take My Hollyhocks (pic)

  • I can't believe it is Fall. It seems like I just planted my garden. I'm going to wait until the last minute to put my garden things away. I don't want to give up my fountain. I'm trying to talk my husband into having the fountain in the house. Like right in front of my dining room window. It isn't a big fountain, and if I surround it with indoor plants maybe it will make me think I still have my garden. I wonder if one of my smaller hollyhocks could survive indoors in a pot near the fountain and the window?
  • I'm not good at letting go, and I don't want to let go of my garden. If only I could cover my backyard and make it a greenhouse, it is small enough. I never see any greenhouses around here in the winter, there must be a reason. Like snow covering the top? Oh, and the cost of fuel to heat it, I guess I can give up on that idea.
  • Maybe turning on my bird-sounds CD, closing my eyes and turning my face into a full-spectrum light bulb can make me dream I'm back enjoying warm sunshine, birds, butterflies, fireflies, gardens, and running rivers in the upcoming, long, torturous winter.
  • I took this picture of my hollyhocks yesterday. They finally are coming into their own and looking beautiful and soon will be ruined by frost.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

  • I hate being misled.
  • I hardly ever watch football. I like it OK but it requires too much time in between great plays. Often you sit there through the whole game and nothing of any consequence happens. Hike! Thud, grunt, end of play.
  • Every news channel yesterday was promoting this double header Monday Night Football featuring first, the New Orleans Saints. I heard about how this famous trumpet player, Irving Mayfield, was going to play America the Beautiful. Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis was going to do the National Anthem, how the former president was going to do the coin toss and the band, 3 Doors Down, was going to perform at halftime. Oh boy, some good entertainment.
  • The only thing I saw of all this was the coin toss from former President Bush. Now I like the former president OK but that isn't the part I wanted to see. They didn't start broadcasting until right before the coin toss. I didn't hear one bit of America the Beautiful or the National Anthem and didn't see anything of the half time show. All I heard was commentators. UGH! No thank you and when I realized the halftime show wasn't something I was going to get to see, either, I turned the channel. Maybe you had to have the NFL package or something to see the "extras". I only have basic network and the basic ESPN. The game started on ABC and then switched to ESPN.
  • I can't wait for the NHL season to start. Now that's entertainment!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Harvest Moon (pic), Findley Lake

  • What a nice weekend I had. We like to drive around with no particular place to go. We ended up in Findley Lake, NY and I just loved it! We went through all the shops and I was really in my element. I would love to spend a lot of time there. It was so clean and the lake was really relaxing, and the weather was perfect. I found lots of good gift ideas for Christmas. I'll be back there for the festivities on Dec 4 if possible.

  • Yesterday we ran around town doing our shopping but headed out to the peninsula for our evening walk. We walked the bayside instead of the lakeside. It was getting dark by the time we made it back to the car. As we were driving out I noticed the most beautiful moon and asked my husband to turn the car around so I could get a picture. The moon was such a big, gorgeous orange color as it rose. I took several pictures but without a tripod handy, they all came out blurry but one. It really doesn't do this harvest moon justice.

  • Saturday, September 17, 2005

    For the Love of Hockey

    • You had to really love hockey (and I do) to enjoy the Otter's game last night at Tullio Arena. I know the game doesn't count, but aren't those players bidding for a placement on the team? I expected more effort and I was a bit disappointed, but still (as always) had a good time. The last time I followed the Otters closely was the year they won the Robertson Cup during their bid for the Memorial Cup. That team was fantastic, if only they could duplicate it. Perhaps they will get their act together this year. Hockey can be one of the most entertaining sports around when played well. One of the new changes that I found exciting last night was the tie-breaker shootouts. Even though the Otters lost, they did the shootout for practice. It's really going to be something to have an important tied game ended by the shootout. I can hear the crowd now.
    • In the first period of the Otter's game, we watched the snow cone guy walk around selling snow cones. (I'm thinking, "Snow cones here, get your snow cones!" )
    • In the second period, we saw the same guy walking around with the same snow cones but somewhat melted. (I'm thinking, "Slushies here, get your slushies!" )
    • By the third period this poor guy is still trying to sell those same snow cones (they must not be a hot-selling item). But they are so melted they look like Kool Aid in a pointed paper cup. (I'm thinking, "Ice cold flavored water here, get your cold flavored water!" )
    • Just a note...the peanuts we bought at the Otter's game are not very good, in my opinion. I think they taste green and even though they say, "salted" on it, I don't taste the salt. They taste the same every time we go to the Otters or Seawolves game. I think they would increase sales with a different brand.
    • GO OTTERS!!!

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    CA was nice, but Erie is home.

    • There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed after 2 weeks on the road. Like Goldilocks, I need the perfect bed, mine! I really shouldn't complain as I had a pretty comfortable futon to sleep on while my sister slept on the floor at my Dad's house. Thanks, Debbie! (I don't know how she could sleep with just a sleeping bag on the floor.)
    • I was packing and unpacking through my whole visit. I flew into Sacramento and stayed a day at my Dad's and then we drove down to Moreno Valley (which used to be Sunnymead, who knew?) and stayed two nights at a hotel there as we visited my whole family at my nephew's house in the hills outside Perris. The wedding was at a beautiful ranch in the mountains and was held outdoors (you can do that in California, ha).
    • Then on to my sister's house on the ocean (awesome!). We had our little unfortunate incident (accident) on the freeway. Driving in Erie didn't prepare me for dodging chairs on the freeway. That delay only gave me one day to see the ocean before I took my Dad and my sister up to my Dad's house in northern California.
    • I stayed there several days. I did some gold panning which proved to be too much work for the specks I found. My "secret" gold panning spot was compromised. The county dug up the stream bed and put in some drainage pipes. Rats! But I dug up some dirt and took it back to pan. My wrists hurt from panning the dirt in a tub of water. The relatives all showed up for my Dad's birthday party and they were watching me pan with great expectations. One by one they walked away disappointed. The last hold out stayed till the end. Sandy and I marveled at the tiny speck of gold left in the pan. Not bad for an hour of work.
    • I was searching for gold in California and found it when I returned to Erie. My husband, my bed, my cats and my garden.

    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    It's ART!-Craziest Fence Ever!

    I came across this crazy fence when walking Ocean Drive, Channel Island Harbor, Oxnard, CA. I fell in love with it. What kind of person has this kind of patience? Click on the picture links for more of this unique fence. What a wild imagination that person had!
    View Pictures Here

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Million Dollar Babies ( CA homes, pics)

    • Below are some homes found at Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard, CA. What a beautiful place. The house next to my sister’s house was owned by Mary Tyler Moore many years ago. There are some former game-show hosts that live here.

    • I noticed that every house is different on Ocean Drive and adjoining streets. Unlike cookie-cutter subdivisions you find elsewhere, each house must have had its own architect.
    • Tomorrow I'll post a set of pictures of the most unique fence I've ever seen. (I want that fence!)
    • Unfortunately, it was garbage day when I took the pictures. Also, many of the stained glass windows don't show their beauty in the pictures.

    Click HERE for pictures.

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    Channel Island Harbor (pics)

    Recent visit to Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard, CA. I'm currently visiting Northern California. We are enjoying highs in the mid 70s. The normal for this time of year here is 90 degrees.

    Monday, September 05, 2005

    I've been initiated, Los Angeles

    Well, it finally happened. I have just joined the large, elite group of people who have had accidents in the Los Angeles area. Driving from the the San Bernadino Mts to the ocean at Channel Island Harbor, I joined this club. Freeway 134, busy 5 lanes wide in each direction, Pasadena in my rear view mirror and Disney studios almost in site, unfolding before my vision was a steel lawn chair in the middle of my lane. Without time to look left or right to change lanes (65mph), I quickly chose to try and straddle it instead of swerving. A huge bang and pieces flying behind me we hit it dead on. A glance in the rear view mirror showed traffic had backed way off behind me. Smoke started trailing the car and I realized something was damaged. We took the first exit and surveyed the problem. Large quantities of red transmission fluid were pooling off to the side of the car. The car looked like it was shot and bleeding. Twenty minutes on hold and several "I'll transfer you"s later, a tow truck showed up with our replacement car. Budget car rental came through with flying colors. It took 3 hours but it was a holiday weekend and we felt lucky that no one was injured.

    We looked under the car and saw a hole in the transmission pan that looked like a bullet had hit it. We were lucky there was an exit before all the fluid ran out. The smoke was from the fluid burning on the exhaust system.

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    Sun City

    Where: I’m currently in southern California. I’ve been following the news about Katrina as much as I could during my travels. I’m currently at a hotel in Moreno Valley California and will be attending a wedding tomorrow up in the mountains.

    Contrast: I flew in to Sacramento, CA. The glimpses of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras as we were getting ready to land made my heart flutter. Familiar, comforting. But landing was a rude awakening of how dry it is here. Of course, that is familiar, too, all too familiar. One of the things I really don’t like about California is the dry grass in the summer. That’s why people flock to the oceans and the mountains which are so pretty they make up for any faults of the valley.

    Yesterday, Thursday, I filled up the gas tank at $3.09 as we drove down I-5 to Los Angeles. I saw this morning gas signs for $2.92 a gallon. I read that Erie had gas at $3.19. Whoa, what’s wrong with this picture?

    It was 100 degrees but I just didn’t notice the heat. Low humidity makes all the difference. No sticky clothes or sweaty back and neck. Of course I’m not outside working in it.

    After the wedding we’ll be heading for the Ocean and stay at my sister’s house right on the beach near Ventura. I love it there. I’ll take pictures of some of the odd landscaping you find in the coastal communities. Lots of art expression. A few days there, then back up to the northern Sierras to spend time with my Dad.

    Saturday, August 27, 2005

    Chicken Curve Ball.

    Searching the clothes in the back of my closet I found never-worn clothes with the price tags still on them that I absolutely don’t remember buying. It must have been a long time ago because they had very small-sizes printed on the tags. I can almost date the clothes by the size. Now, what to do with those clothes, tell my husband about them or discard them quietly?

    It reminds me of something my beloved late mother did many years ago, which I find terribly amusing and somehow I feel there is a lesson here. And this is really true. I got a call from my mom one day asking if I’d come up and help her get a chicken off of the roof (two-story house). I couldn’t believe my ears. “ A chicken on the roof, whose chicken?” She said, “It's a frozen chicken not a live one.” I remember thinking for a split second, did it fall from a plane? Then I said, "How in the world could a frozen chicken get on your roof?” “Well, I took a chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner and saw that it was freezer-burned. Dad has made such a stink about wasting food so I didn’t want him to know about it. So, I thought I’d pitch it into the field behind the house and let the coyotes eat it…..but I missed.” I started laughing pretty hard by that time. “Missed?" She said that she swung her arm as hard as she could and pitched it underhand but didn’t let go in time and it landed on the roof instead of out in the field. There is no way Dad wouldn’t see it up there in plain view and it would start smelling by the end of the day. There was slight panic in her voice as how would she explain this to Dad? I lived 40 miles away and I remember there was some reason I couldn’t go up there and told her to try to take a hose and wash it off the roof. This was quite a while ago and I don’t remember how she got it down but I remember a few years after my mom died, I asked Dad about that chicken. He didn’t know anything about that. She succeeded!