Wednesday, August 31, 2011

time to change my blog background...

Yes, it is that time of the year...  The kids don't go back to school until next Tuesday -- but I am beginning to organize a bit anyway.  I love how the garden looks along the paver path from the driveway to the picket fence gate and beyond.  It has taken many years -- but now it looks just right. 

blog background 8/31/11

The "turtle plant" on the left and "coral bells" on the right are very content.  We brought both of these plants from our garden in NY -- they are now the "old ladies" in the garden.

And, what was once an empty and dusty place,

 is now a peaceful, shady, lovely garden.

This took much more time than I expected -- and at points was frustrating and miserable.  Now I feel comfortable and can work on the little details (my favorite thing to do).  I am happy.  :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

smart puppy advice...

We were very lucky this time.  But after seeing what is happening with the floods in Vermont, I think it's time to look over our homeowner's insurance policy -- you know -- just in case...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

by the dawn's early light...

I ventured outside this morning to see the extent of damage here from hurricane Irene.

I found this guy taking his morning swim in our pool.  Last night during the height of the storm our pool had waves thrashing in it and looked like it was on a cruise ship during a storm.

The sunflowers did okay.  The rose of sharon bush (small bush near fence) is a little droopy.

Rick's "drainage system" in Ozzy's area did very well.

As expected, the east side of the conservation area is filled almost to the brink.


And, one of my fears during the night did not come to fruition.  The west side of the conservation area has less water than it did during our storms last week.

I was awake most of the night tracking the storm and watching for tornado warnings.  We had a few go south of us -- and a few go north of us.  We had a lull in the storm for about a good 90 minutes -- Nicholas and I sat together by an open window during that time.  It was serene, and at the same time a bit eerie as we enjoyed the calmness while watching what was coming at us on the radar on  At around 2 a.m. the wind was at its strongest and the noises it made unnerved me.  I woke up Nicholas and Sofia and brought them downstairs to the first floor along with their pillows and blankets.  We set up camp in the front room and I continued to monitor the storm on until I fell asleep a bit after 4 a.m.  The last thing I remember was that there was a tornado warning in Freeport and Hempstead, Long Island.

Even though last night was one of the worst night's I have ever had -- I am thankful that I can say -- "It could have been alot worse".

Saturday, August 27, 2011

she's here already...

Stay safe...

waiting for irene to arrive...

The outdoor furniture has been put away.  The sunflower plants have been secured.  The pool has been drained slightly.  I have packed the freezer with ziploc water bags to make ice -- in case for when the power goes out.  I am doing some laundry...  Paying some bills online...  Nicholas is playing an Xbox game.  Sofia is all ready with her parlor game for when the power goes out.  I need to cook some food -- so I am hoping the power will not be going out anytime soon.  Rick is doing some sheetrock spackling in the basement.  I am hoping we do not get water in the basement. 

I do not want a visit from Irene.  I want her to go away.  I want to be able to say:  "that could have been alot worse"...

Friday, August 26, 2011

the calm before the storm...

I needed to take some photos today -- just in case -- so I can "remember" how pretty it was before.  I am nervous about this storm.

view from driveway towards side yard

east side of front yard 

west side of front yard

water, water, everywhere...

Here is what the downpours from Sunday, 8/21/11 produced in our normally dry conservation area.

view to the west

west - center view

east - center view

view to the east

All of this water was gone by the next morning, 8/22/11.

I am not looking forward to what will happen when hurricane Irene visits us in a few days...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

hey, I told you two to stop bouncing around...

Well, now wasn't that a jam packed full of excitement trip!  Yes, we were right there -- smack dab in the middle of Washington D.C. when the earthquake hit.  Sorry about misleading you with the photo -- I thought you might get a laugh out of that.  We weren't at the Washington monument.  We were in the car and driving up the ramp of an underground parking garage (where the car had been parked on the lowest level).  Rick had just paid and pulled through the toll gate -- but he had to wait to get on the street because people were walking on the sidewalk in front of the car.  The back half of the car was still inside the building.  The front half of the car was outside of the building. The ramp we were sitting on was on a steep incline (about 25 - 30 degrees).  All of a sudden the back of the car started bouncing up and down -- so Rick, impatient from having to wait for the people passing in front of the car, yelled at Sofia (who never stops bouncing...) and Nicholas.  He grumbled "I told you two to stop bouncing around".  As, I turned to look at him I noticed a man standing next to the car on the sidewalk.  The man first looked down to the ground and seemed to be trying to steady himself -- and then he looked up towards the sky.  Falsely accused, neither Nicholas, or, Sofia was bouncing -- but there was a car making it's way up the parking garage ramp behind us, so we just figured maybe that car made ours bounce. 

We finally left the parking garage area, and were making our way through the crowded streets of downtown D.C.  We were at a standstill at one point, and, I commented quite a few times on how odd it was that crowds of people were just standing outside the office buildings at around 2:00 in the afternoon.  I kept thinking that it was Tuesday -- so there should be nothing going on.  A few times I noticed people looking up and pointing, but I couldn't see what they were pointing at.  There wasn't any "excitement" in the crowds of people.  They were just standing, talking to each other, or, using their cellphones.

We finally made our way out of downtown D.C. and found ourselves stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway.  Again, we thought that it was odd to be stuck in that kind of traffic on the highway at around 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.  There was also bumper to bumper traffic going in the opposite direction.

As we were driving, the car phone rang.  Rick sighed -- thinking it was his work calling -- again (they called us as we were travelling to D.C.)  But, it was Grandma.  She cleared up our mystery for the day -- informing us about the earthquake.

Someone was definitely watching over us yesterday -- if we had known about "the earthquake" while it was happening -- or if all those people just standing around had known about it and panicked -- I would not be sitting here posting a funny photo and calmly typing.

You want to hear something weird?  As we were walking away from the car after we parked it in the underground garage, I pictured the hood of the car smashed flat and thought to myself -- "Gee, if there was an earthquake... {insert spooky music here}

Oh, wait... Nicholas just read this post and reminded me that the day before this happened, while we were walking in the parking garage of the hotel, he commented to me that if felt like the ground was moving beneath him...  Was this a premonition?  {insert screetchy sounds from Ghost Adventures here }  


Monday, August 22, 2011

and, we're off...

Hope those politicians in our nation's capital are ready for us!

Just kidding... :-)  We're going for the casual visit.  Just some sightseeing...and hopefully good food.

See ya soon! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

out my front door...

Who's that over there looking at us?

I guess he's afraid of heights -- this is as far up in the sky as he was willing to go.

I'm not really sure of what was going on over there.  Sofia wanted to investigate -- and was curious about maybe hitching a ride -- but, we decided to go shopping instead...  :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

August is running away from us...

We have been running...running...running... around in circles mostly :-)  That's just how it is for us in August.

I finished this FWQ block last Sunday -- and forgot to post it!  I finally figured out how to match up my seams a bit better -- and for that reason,  I feel quite satisfied with the time I spent on this block.  I've been looking at alot of blocks in the flickr pool that use the red/aqua combination -- so I thought I would give it a try.  I like it -- and Sofia even complimented it -- but I'm not sure if I will be using this block in "the quilt".  I am getting a "kitchen" vibe from it.  But, as I go along maybe I will make a few more blocks with that kind of vibe and it will "belong". 

I used  Lori Holt's easy square in a square tutorial.  I don't know what I would do without her help.  She has a few more tutorials that I haven't followed -- so I'm still in the "safe zone".  I'm hoping she'll do a few more -- hint hint... The one I would like to see is: Block #59 Night & Day.  That block is totally made from triangles and other odd shapes.  I'm leaving that one for way know, just in case she's listening and doesn't want me to suffer through it all by myself. :-)

And, now, we're running off to Friday... :-)  

Monday, August 15, 2011

a break from the rain...

We're finally getting a little break from the rain.  Not sure if it's coming back later on today -- so I took advantage and went outside for a bit.  There's some creepy stuff going on out there.  Ick!  I found a toad at the bottom of the pool (sorry, no photo), and these guys floating on top...

And, I don't even know what to make of this stuff.  I usually call them "the fingers of death" -- but today they are just disgusting...

Maybe I should just stay inside... :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

only 77 days until...



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

happy wednesday...

I finally planted some hollyhock seeds! It only took me 4 years ;-)  The seed package says that they should germinate in 2 weeks -- it took them 1 week.  It also says they will flower within 365 days.  Yup, that's right.  I am hoping that is correct, because I want to see their happy flowers in August of next year -- when all the other flowers are fading (like the lily plant in the photo).  What's with all that mulchy mulch in the rock garden area?  That is from the thunderstorms we had these past two days.  Hmmm... I kind of remember that Rick fixed that problem.  Guess Ma Nature outsmarted him.  Hey, did you notice my happy portulaca in the photo?  We didn't plant those guys either.  The backyard seems to be a safe harbor for little seeds...

And, big seeds too!  While I was taking the photo of the wannabee hollyhocks, I felt something watching me. I turned around and saw these guys...

They remind me of happy, smiling faces...




And, a sad face too...


I'm off to a gorgeous happy day!  Hope you are too.  :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Yesterday was a pretty neat summery thing to do kind of day.  We were a little bored and decided to take a ride over to our local shopping plaza to browse in a toy store that recently opened.  Sofia wasn't feeling "the fun" in that, so I mentioned that we could go to another store for her located in the same shopping plaza.  "What store?"  she said with little enthusiasm.  "How about Claire's?" I replied.

She's been asking to go to Claire's for weeks -- so as you can see -- she was very happy.  Then she mentioned that they do ear piercing at Claire's.  So I took a deep breath and went online to their website to get some info.  It looked quite reputable -- so I told her that we would talk to the person in the store about it.

Soooo -- we came home with some square cut cz earrings -- in her earlobes.  :-)

You want to hear the weirdest part?  When Rick got home from work last night he said to me -- did Sofia tell you that this morning, before I left for work, she told me that she had a dream she got her ears pierced ???  What ???  [...insert spooky music here...]

Nope...  I woke up late yesterday morning -- after Rick had gone to work -- and she never mentioned this to me -- not even a hint.  Are you feeling the psychic vibe... ???  [...insert more spooky music here...] 

Monday, August 8, 2011

not so easy...

I finally finished my first block for August.  I am not sure why I couldn't get this to work right the first time I did it.  I followed Lori Holt's tutorial -- but for some reason I couldn't get the diagonal seams to match the center piece correctly.  I took it apart twice and then finally decided to make the unfinished height of the center piece 2 1/4", and I left the unfinished width at 2 1/2".  What you're seeing in the photo is my third attempt at this block.  

The block is named "spool" -- and I just realized that I have it positioned the wrong way in the photo.  I'm off to take another photo.  Sigh...

Okay, I'm back.  This is how it's supposed to look...

I am beginning to feel like this block has something against me.  I think it's time to move onto the next block... 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

a behind the scenes peek...

Hey, what are you guys doing over there?

Is that Steven Spielberg sitting in our activity area?

And, who's that actress rehearsing her lines?

???  Coming soon...  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the lovely gateway...

Along with the tomato plants mentioned in yesterday's post -- these morning glories come back every year.

They can get out of control -- and require maintenance -- but they do make me happy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

it's not summer if...

You don't have the backyard photo with some blooming sunflowers...Update 8/6/11 -- Rick mentioned to me that he did not plant these sunflowers either -- they are "leftovers" from last year too!  :-)

You don't have some tomatoes ripening on the vine... FYI -- we did not plant these tomatoes -- they grew from the seeds of last year's tomatoes that fell off the plants.

You don't have a super huge leaf on your sunflower plant!  Sofia wanted me to take a photo of her hand in front of the leaf -- but a really huge bee flew by and she ran into the house.  The leaf is about 2 feet across.