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.