Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I hear music...

I just got back from shopping and look at what was waiting -- Nicholas strumming "Smoke on the Water" on this shined up blast from the past.

Our next door neighbor is a guitar expert -- so just a couple of hours ago we asked him if he could resuscitate this one. I can't believe how quickly he did the job. Maybe it was the Ben & Jerry's ice cream I bribed him with -- to go along with the peach cobbler we brought over to his cute little pregnant wife.

So now, Nicholas -- and his funky hat -- are groovin' with the tunes!

what we do when it's really HOT outside...

We bake, of course! Every year I get the urge to bake at this part of the summer. This year, I am starting with a couple of peach cobbler recipes. Our local supermarket was selling these awesome, HUGE, perfectly ripe peaches for 99 cents/lb. They were so beautiful, and, so plentiful, that I was totally inspired. Growing up, we had a peach tree in our yard -- so this brings back some nice memories for me too. Of course, I didn't have my "little helper" back then -- so I got things done a bit quicker -- wink, wink! But, today's baking was just as much fun, and the results are looking good -- so far. We haven't tasted either recipe yet -- so I will update later on in the day when we do. UPDATE 1:12 p.m. -- there is no choice between these recipes -- either one is absolutely fantastic. Don't walk, RUN and get some big, ripe, juicy peaches and make either recipe today! We are definitely going to add the homemade vanilla ice cream later, for dessert -- if we don't eat it for an afternoon snack before that!

The recipe on the left is from Martha Stewart. The recipe on the right is from Erin's house on hill road blog (minus the pie crust).


Monday, July 27, 2009

I smite thee...tree!

Here is what happened last night at dinnertime during our massive thunderstorm. The red blob didn't pass over us at -- we WERE the red blob. The storm didn't exist, and, we watched the sky as it formed over our heads and as it became a huge red blob on the radar. The last time I remember being in storm like that was in Staten Island, over 10 years ago. The wind and rain came from all directions. It blew a window screen off our neighbor's house, it tipped over the huge flowerpots on our front porch, it tried with all its might to blow open back door of our house, and, it did this:

Sigh... This is one of the trees in my family of 7 on the other side of the street. These are the trees that I have been caring for since we moved here. When they were dusty with construction dirt, I washed them down. When they were baking in the sun with no water during our 2 year dry cycle, I watered them weekly. When the weeds invaded their trunk space, we pulled them out. They were doing very nicely this year -- even after those landscaping men came and "pruned" them -- and now this. No one showed up about this today, except for a group of boys on skateboards who wanted to pull the tree apart -- yes, I chased them away.

I guess I will have to call the powers that be to remove it. I am sad...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

morning mystery...

This is what we found this morning -- right outside our bedroom window. The window was open last night while we were sleeping -- and I heard nothing.

Any ideas?

Maybe it was that turkey hawk?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another celebrity...gone...

This just in...

Marisa, a member of the Kelly club, has died of an apparent suicide. She was found at dinnertime, by Milton (the cat), floating face down in the water bowl shared by him and his feline sister, Cookie. Apparently in shock, Milton was not immediately available for comment.

Who will be next?

Hey, close the windows -- there's some rain coming our way...

Okay, mom -- they're all closed!

Sigh... x 7 windows! :-(

This is our third summer here and we've never had this much water dumped on us at one time.

Here is the watershed in the conservation area during the downpour:

Here is the swell (easement) behind the houses (look beyond the orange fencing!)

Temporary lake in the conservation area. This was created within a matter of minutes from the downpour!

And, my pink flip flops enjoying a summertime Thursday -- their day off too!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A frog went a courtin' and other summer stuff...

The building inspector came this morning. He knocked on the door, because he wanted to tell me that the electrical inspector would be here today. I thought that was odd -- but it was okay because he was in a talkative mood. I asked him if he had any advice on how to keep the frogs out of the pool -- and he corrected me, explaining that they are toads -- commented that we are the only pool in this area, and chuckled that he did not have a solution. Then we chatted a bit about the wildlife over in the conservation area. He also mentioned that sometimes the baby bunnies somehow get themselves caught in the pool skimmer -- so I will remember that and check ours before turning on the filter. The electrical inspector did show up -- at about 3 p.m. So now we're all set for the concrete guy -- hopefully he got our phone message and will just show up to do his job tomorrow.

Here is a nice picture to commemorate "our father's birthday":

These are the sunflowers that planted themselves out by the tree on the curb. There are 7 of them growing quite nicely. The peppers and tomatoes I just picked from the garden and will be used for tonight's dinner.

Don't forget to sing Happy Birthday at sunset! :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

little bunny foo foo...

Oh, my gosh! This evening we counted NINE bunnies over there in the conservation area. That's what we saw -- I'm sure there are more hiding in the brush.

And we were also entertained by this as we sat on the front porch.

What a beautiful Sunday! :-)

Friday, July 17, 2009


Now, how cute are those two little butterflies in my new header! We're enjoying a lazy summer afternoon here -- it's a little overcast, we're having a little sprinkle of rain every now and then, Sofia is busy doing a crafty thing, Nicholas is busy doing nothing...

I was so excited to see this amazing butterfly stopping by for a visit. I ran into the house, grabbed the camera, ran out -- and it was there still, waiting for me to grab this photo!

Excellent! :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

another Pleasant Valley Sunday...maybe not...

Following the family gathering for Rick's birthday, we made it home without a trace of rain from our day trip to Pennsylvania. Thanks to everyone for making the day special.

But the laws of balance did prevail and during the night we got zonked with thunder, lightning, and rain. Oh my gosh -- I think we had our own private storm hovering right above our house. It takes alot for me to be responsive once I have fallen asleep, but there was one loud clap of thunder that made me jump about a foot out of bed. The lightning appeared to be right in the bedroom -- along with me, hubby, and Sofia -- who ran into the room at the first rumblings. I don't know how long it took to pass because I struggled with Sofia's tossing and turning for a bit and then finally turned so my head was at the foot of the bed and fell asleep.

As expected, Sofia was up at the crack of dawn -- doing whatever she needs to wake up so early to do -- and that was okay until she was persistent in waking me up to announce that there was a frog swimming in the pool. She pulled me out of bed and walked me over to the window to see -- and, yes, there THEY were -- TWO frogs happily swimming around.

Since hubby is still in counseling because of his frog in the skimmer episode, downstairs I went with Sofia -- out the back door and into the garage for the pool net. But, the garage door was locked because I was the first one out. Still groggy, I tell Sofia to go around to the front door of the garage and open that door with the remote keypad. Within two seconds she is running for her life back to me -- her eyes bugging out of the sockets and screaming with that actual fear sound (horrible sound). I'm looking at her thinking that maybe she got stung by a bee. She keeps pointing at the driveway and screaming -- "THIS IS MY WORST NIGHTMARE" -- because this was sitting on Rick's car:

Are you laughing as loud as me?

Have a great Sunday...

P.S. -
When we escorted the frog's out we asked them not to return – they do not have a membership. We heard them mumbling something about taking us to court, but I don’t think they have a case, do you? Yes, I know, the pool is a little dirty from last night’s thunderstorm -- the concrete guy doesn’t come to put the decking in until Thursday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

waiting for concrete...

The "concrete" guy was here on Wednesday. He painted us some neon orange lines in the dust -- gave us a better than expected estimate for the concrete decking around the pool, and, a totally outrageous and unexpected estimate to lay down the pavers.

I was willing to pay a bit to install the pavers, just to have the backyard completed so we could enjoy it, but the estimate he gave us was way off budget (yes, there it is -- the "b" word). So, yesterday, I spent some time wearing the latest addition to my hat wardrobe -- a mason's cap! :-) For about 45 minutes I walked back and forth from the driveway to the backyard, each time carrying 3 more bricks and laying them down on top of the now uneven and very hard dusty dirt. What a workout! Phew! I complained to hubby for a bit last night about the inadequacy of my workout, and, reminded him that we have a nice little wagon that we can dig out of the back of the garage that will help us immensely.

Here's a picture of the rough sketch for the random pattern and border I came up with.

The only really difficult part of this whole thing is removing and grading the dirt. So, we headed over to Home Depot last night to look at a mini excavator in the tool rental department -- it's kind of like a snow plow for dirt and looks easy enough.

The concrete guy comes back on Thursday, and then we're off to the races with this!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

phase 2...

Or, according to Sofia, step 2! Same concept, different perspective. At least she's moving along with me. The plan is flowing, and, at the same time exhausting me. That's okay, it is a physical exhaustion (not mental), so I am sleeping well at night.

I am trying to find a good time to vacuum the pool. The sun is blazing down on the pool most of the day -- so by the time I am finished vacuuming the pool, I have had enough sun for the day, and, I am practically blind. Yesterday, I thought I was so smart when I vacuumed the pool in the morning, in the shadiness, before the sun came over the peak of the roof on our neighbor's garage. But, old mother nature decided that she would throw the dirt right back in the pool during the afternoon -- in a brief thundering torrential downpour.

And, guess what appeared right after that? No, not another rainbow --

THESE! :-)

Okay, that makes up for a little bit of dirt in the pool!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

happy 4th!

Hope everyone had a safe and happy day! We had a relaxing kind of day, and kept ourselves from being bored with little things to do here and there. We rode up to the pool place, got a quick lesson in pool chemistry and brought home some maintenance equipment -- so the dirt clump is now out of the bottom of the pool. The puppy was not himself all day -- leg problems -- and he milked that through until dinner time. We missed the annual fireworks at the park -- this year they were scheduled for July 2 -- which we did not know until July 3. Courtesy of Nicholas' friend, we found a last minute fireworks extravaganza about a 20 minute drive from us, but when we discovered that it involved a shuttle bus, it got voted down 3:1. We ended up just enjoying the fireworks around the neighborhood, and, as an extra attraction, that glorious sunset you can see in my new header!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

reported by the ap wire -- 11 minutes ago...

We were wondering who would be next on the list -- but we never expected this! We are sad to report that Michigan J. Frog was found drowned in our skimmer approximately 11 minutes ago. The exact time of death has not yet been determined. The area has been secured and there will be no swimming until the detectives on the case have collected all of the evidence they need.

That is all for now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

we have pool...


And, in case you were wondering -- I had an excellent birthday! Thank you to all my family and friends who supported me through my transition into the next half a century! Yesterday was perfect -- filled with unexpected, and, happy surprises. The pool liner went in and the dirt backfill was done. We had an impromptu barbeque, complete with guests, happy birthday singing on the porch, and a visit to our neighbor's house later in the evening. Bedtime was at 11 p.m. -- extremely late for moi! Ah, fifty is feeling okay! :-)

Yes, I know. There is dirt over there in the corner of the pool. We'll clean that up as soon as the pool guy gets here and turns the filter on for us!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I can't believe that this word came out of my hubby's mouth -- unprovoked! Well, according to astrology, the planet Uranus just went retrograde on July 1st -- so things are a little mixed up at the moment.

Almost, as if on cue, here is an example from last night. Sunshine, thunder and rain...

Along with, unbelievably, another rainbow outside our front door...

...and, luckily, Rick was looking out our back door. Just in time to catch the other side!

So, there it is. A perfect end to the first 50 years -- and now onto the, hopefully, second, 50! :-)