Monday, June 30, 2008


NOW I know what Chucks are - and I've always loved them.   Sean, my nephew shoe maven -  hates them on me!  oh well....

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I am on the warpath against woodchucks

I gardened for 20 years in this old house, surrounded by apple orchards, open fields and no close neighbors.  I never felt like I was living in the suburbs (altho I really was). I also never had a problem with deer eating my plants or Woodchucks!  We knew that there was a woodchuck in the orchard behind the house, we named him Rizzio.  I had a huge garden here, with about 40 tomato plants, potatoes, squash, beans etc.  But Rizzio never ate my garden plants, or perennials. 

Now I live in a much more suburban type neighborhood but in the same town as my old house.   Woodchucks (marmots, groundhogs) have eaten alot of my perennials, tomato's, squash etc.  We borrowed a "hav-a-heart" trap last night to see what we could catch but no-joy so far.  

I'm going thru the bleeding liberal heart animal/people thing right now.  Do I really need to grow vegetables when there are so many farmers markets around?  Yes...I like gardening, and specifically enjoy growing vegetables.  Should I interfere with a natural animal, and cut off his food supply?  Yes again, there are plenty of grasses, and fruits he/she can eat - they don't need my perennials.   

Watch out woodchuck - your days in my garden are numbered. Today we are fencing in the vegetable garden, and I'm spraying hot sauce on my perennials.  Hope it helps, has anyone tried that?  

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I can be a "published" author

Check this out.  I just might do it.  Rather egotistical, but what the heck. 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gym membership

Don't you sometimes get tired of all the guys with the rock hard abs - who hang around the gym looking all sweaty? 

Wish I could draw hands.  Someday someone will see thru the ruse of the "hands in the pockets" ploy. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Animal Wednesday - walking the dogfish

Is it really Wednesday?  It seems like Sunday was yesterday, we've been so busy catching up on the week's events.  We did have one event happen here that has never happened to me before.  The critter that has been eating the plants in my garden has a field day while we were away and ate EVERY SINGLE LEAF off my tomato plants.  In my 30 years of gardening I have Never had a critter that disturbed my tomato plants. Whatever animal did this was very cautious - he (or she) daintily left the main stalks standing but ate every leaf.  I don't know what animal did this, there are no paw prints or other hints. I'm still thinking woodchuck, but this seems rather dainty work for a big old woodchuck. 

Anyway, despite being mad at that animal, it is still Animal Wednesday - and I am posting my favorite portion of that picture below.  Walking the Dogfish - what could be more fun? 

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I started this drawing on a plane back from England on my last trip.  One of the ways that I can manage a trip on a crowded plane is to withdraw into my own little world, and simply escape.  So, a pencil drawing was started. 

While in Florida on this recent trip there were times when all the obligations closed in, so I'd get up early in the morning and draw and paint until MIL got up, and shuffled down the hall to get her newspaper.  Then she'd come into the kitchen and we'd chat.  MIL is a funny lady, I think that her generation (she's 81) didn't really "talk" to men and therefore she only listens to her son, but doesn't really tell him anything.  Me...I get it all...until my ears stop working!  
Actually, I'm very lucky with my MIL - I've never had a cross word with her (okay, once - but that was it) and I can't complain about her at all.  She's been a widow for over 40 years, is active and very easy to get along with.  Just lately her hearing is getting worse and she hates the hearing aids so doesn't wear them.  This actually causes her to smile at inappropriate times which can be pretty funny. I'm trying to get her to eat better, but being alone so much she tends to eat junk food - and too many carbs and not enough protein. 
Anyway - here is the end product of my overactive imagination - and yes...I've managed to use most of the colors in my pencil box. Someday I'll get conservative with colors, but right now, I love using them all.   

I had to crop this scan for some reason.  When I scanned it in, I had to do it sideways to fit on the scanner bed.  Then of course I edited it and made it turn the right way and all. But for some reason when I try to upload it to blogger, it kept turning sideways again which would make the big fish swim upwards.  So what you can't see is the dog being walked on the upper left hand corner - in opposition to the dogfish in the lower corner.   Here is a cropped version - scanned in appropriately.  

Little Isabella might like this for her room, framed and signed.  Nice to have babies to do work for, before they get too many strong opinions. 

Images from a Florida Trip

Day 1 - went to the beach - this guy was flapping around looking for food. 

My beautiful little great niece - she has quite a personality, and chatter's non stop in her own language. 

One of the highlights of the trip - a bike ride on a "mountain" bike trail.  A group called "SWAMP" keeps trails open in the florida area for easy or difficult rides - we went on the easy and I thought I would melt from the heat. But it was FUN. 

This is an orchid that my mom is growing - I wanted to move this picture somewhere else on this post, but blogger or MAC wouldn't let me.   Back to the bike trail. Oranges growing wild on the bike trail. 

An Epiphyte flower
Crazy looking mushrooms on the trail. 
and rooting armadillo's - exotic to me - not to Texan's and Floridians. 
Interesting clouds when we left Florida.   We flew around them. 
Ready to leave from Kinston North Carolina - first stop on the way home. 
And more interesting clouds  - again, we stayed away from these powerful engines. 

This trip wasn't the vacation that I needed, too busy being a daughter, aunt, niece, great aunt, Daughter in Law, wife....and not much time for much else.  But I did get up early every morning and do some drawings which I will post later....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

HAW - Wednesday the 18th???

I am doing one of those posting in advance things and I hope it works!  I know that I should put in the post date and time - but do I then hit "publish post"?  Well, I'll try and if it shows up early the world will go on spinning won't it!

HAW to you all, - I hope to come back from Florida with some new animal pictures - maybe some alligators.  Until then - here is the animal of the week for me in anticipation of being in lizard land.  Hmmm - I should add some shadows to this guy, show a little dimension. 

On another note, I just got this book recommended by this wonderful, pet loving lady. Thanks Lolo - it looks like a good read. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Damn Blogger

I left a nice comment on my own blog last night and it didn't get posted.   I tried to respond to everyone's nice comment on my last post and I notice this morning that it's not there.   I was explaining that T4 is one of the major hormones that control just about everything you do, it is produced by your thyroid and if you are low on this essential hormone things get all slowed down in your metabolism and you feel yucky.  So having been diagnosed with a case of Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) the Dr. gave me T4 and it is working wonders!  See Dr. Blanchard site, or recommendations.  

We are supposed to be heading for Florida today in our little plane.  Tony flew it the other night with his usual conservative attitude (which I love when it comes to the plane) and found that one of the little bits wasn't working right. So he and the mechanic spent all day yesterday fixing the little thing - whatever it was - and got it working just fine now. But he is exhausted and I don't think we should spend 8 hours in the air. So I'm lobbying to fly to Charleston or Hilton Head or Savannah and spend the night - enjoy the city and perhaps explore a bit. We're in no rush. My niece, her daughter and husband will be with Mom and Dad so they'll be occupied.  I'm taking my bike down with me to leave it there, which will be great.  The bike that I do have down there is about 20 years old, still good but not particularly comfortable when off road - and not actually good to go off road. It's perfect for flat paved surfaces - which is what we'll use it for. 

So I got up this morning and did the rounds of my favorite blogs - had a few giggles, and left a few hello's.  Then I went and visited my secondary blogs - saw how people were doing, and what was new in their world.  Left a few hello's, and then went onto the tertiary blogs - where I don't really "know" the people but enjoy reading their stories, or seeing their crafts.   But now it's 6:30 am, and I have to finish packing and work on the binding for the new baby quilt and perhaps get some exercise in before we get into the plane. 

See you all in a week or so!  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday - I took the day off

I thought for a few minutes that today would be a relaxing day, but who am I kidding. Leave chores undone? Miss obsessive? Well, no - so it has been a busy day but a good one so far. Got up early and worked on the quilt for Sophia, the new Florida grandgod baby.  Hmm..not so happy with some of the results.  I like the colors and the overall look but I used monofiliment thread to do the quilting, and the fabric puckered.  I really did think about unpicking it but gave that up after a few minutes. Tony got me to add the yellow to the border, and I found a fabric with tiny bubbles on it that works well.   So that's done. 

Then I went into Boston to get a haircut. Ever since the big H, my hair has been miserable, flat and uninspired.  So I went to this
 new hairdresser who charged a fortune but has a great reputation.  He used to have his own salon but is working somewhere else now, seemed nice - called me beautiful and sexy  (yes..I pay for that now) - and has a lovely Lebanese accent.  He seemed to give me a good cut, and then I had my hair washed by a girl with magic fingers.  Oh, joy.  I sat in the chair for a few minutes afterwards and then this other Lebanese guy came over to start to blow dry my hair. ( I had seen him a few minutes before fixing the lights with the circuit breaker and assumed he was the shop handiguy)   Okay  - where is Mr. "I'm paying you a million dollars to do my hair"??.  A few minutes go by and then Mr. Second Lebanese handiman guy starts to actually pick up a brush and make like he is going to style my hair.  Okay, I think - I'm a terrible person, here I thought he was a handiman and he's really a stylist.  Well...two seconds into this and I know this guy has never had a brush in his hand, he had NO idea what he was doing.  Because it was my day off, and it was a beautiful day, and I was in a great mood - I started laughing hysterically, and simply made him stop and waiting for the Expensive guy to come back and finish what he had started.    I came out of there looking pretty much like a freak  - with a flip ( a FLIP for god's sake) - so I'll see tomorrow what kind of a haircut he gave me when I wash and dry it myself.   Here is the top of my head - it's all I could figure out how to photograph by myself. 
Then I went to the Dr for a checkup - and get this - I've lost 12 lbs. since I started taking the T4.  I'm thrilled, and feel so much better than I did a few months ago.   It's not that I am really eating differently, it's mostly that I have more stamina to keep up with bike riding and kayaking and walking etc etc etc.   More to go, but it's nice to see a start. 
THEN - I went and met Tony at the bike shop.  Here is where it all starts getting confusing or perhaps more clarified for me.   We decided to take my brand new, I love it blue bicycle down to Florida with us this weekend so that we can ride down there. And we'll leave it there.   So, I need a new bike for me up here and we went looking after hours on the computer searching for the perfect bike.  The strange thing is this - I would NEVER have done this for myself just a few months ago.  Suddenly here I am with "hey, it's only money" attitude and I've never been that person. I've always been conservative, always bought myself the cheaper item, and felt guilty over spending money on myself - even with as hard as I work.  Not to say that I'm the little Match Girl - by no means.  I don't really skimp, but to be honest if I had a choice between a bike that costs $200.00 and one that costs $500.00 (and you got much more for your money) - for myself I'd choose the $200.00 bike.   All of a sudden I'm buying two bikes, getting fancy haircuts, getting a new sewing machine - and I don't feel one tiny bit of guilt!  Not one.  I never skimped on buying clothes for myself but always sort of sneaked them into the house with a slightly guilty air. Now I think I could go shopping at Nordstroms and come inside with the bags over each arm. 
Is this just growing up?  or it is drugs? 

Either way, we should be off to Florida for Father's day and are spending a week there.  A week of sitting by the pool, drawing, relaxing, playing with my nieces...and oh yes, daredevil mountain bike riding on the beach. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Animal Wednesday - effects of an animal

I am not showing a picture of a cuddly animal today, because I am too annoyed at the little beasts.  Here's the story. 

I planted a nice garden this year - here are my tomatoes in their cages. 
I also planted squash and broccoli - and boom - they were gone in a day  - bitten down to nubs by some little critter. So, I made cages from chicken wire, and put them around the new broccoli and cabbage plants, pounding them into the ground with stakes and garden staples.   Here's a nice healthy cabbage plant in it's new "secure" cage. 

Not two days later, I found the cages toppled over, and little tunnels dug under the cages and all of the lovely broccoli and cabbage plants were bitten to nubs again. Notice that only the bug repelling marigold is left - guess he didn't like them.  I think it must be a woodchuck - a rabbit wouldn't have pushed over the cage.  
I'm so annoyed and have minimal animal love today.  So happy Animal Wednesday everyone - can you tell me how to repel or catch a woodchuck?????

Monday, June 9, 2008

Over 30 years

I don't care what anyone says - life is not a bowl of cherries - love can be tough - and after 30 years I'm content with the wrinkles on the skin of being married.  I wouldn't have a marriage facelift - if you get my point.  Maybe Botox...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I'm going to be a grand-god mother - if there is such a term.  My first god-daughter is having a baby girl!  

Alex is 29 - and I'm so glad for her.  Her mom and I got married at the same time to good friends.  We both lived in the same cold water walk up flats in Boston for the first few years of our marriage, until they moved to Florida to get away from the nasty winters. Evelien and I bought our first sets of dishes together - at the local Stop and Shop - $0.29/ plate and maybe $0.50 for the serving dishes.  And we also got some recipe cards that fitted into a box and were separated out like - "Desserts the will Please!" and "Main Dishes for the Hungry Man".  What can I say, we were newlyweds.   

Ev is Dutch and didn't move to the states until she was about 14, so she has a cute little Dutch accent.  A few months ago I was online and found some wonderful fabric with little dutch boys and girls playing hoops and other games, with pink circles for the background.  I knew Alex was trying for a baby, and snatched up this fabric hoping that she would have a girl so I immediatly got busy on a new quilt.   A girl fits well into this family, Ev has 5 girls - all beautiful and amazing. 

I picked up the blue and green with some nine-patch - and look at those corners!  Courtesy of the new Pfaff sewing machine - makes sewing a breeze.    The colors don't really show well here but it's really cute and pretty, and perfect for a little 1/2 Dutch baby.  I was tempted to go with a more baby type theme, more pinks and soft greens, but this pink is an odd one and it wouldn't have worked.  

The baby shower is on the 21st, and since I will be in Florida that week - I have this week to finish it off. Wish me luck.    

Friday, June 6, 2008

Illustration Friday - Forgotten

I think this is an interesting topic, and might post a few entries.
We have had wonderful spring weather here in the Northeast, which is unusual for us. We often find ourselves with 1 week of spring before plunging into the heat of summer. When that happens I find myself longing for the cool fall nights, with great sleeping weather.

So, for "Forgotten" ...

"In spring, we easily forget the beautiful leaves of the fall, just as in autumn, we forget the rebirth and beauty of the spring."

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I love my iPOD, just love that little gadget and take it everywhere.  

A friend at work gave me a bunch of old music to put on my little ipod, and I put it all on without thinking much about it.  Walking this morning and Steeleye Span singing "All Around My Hat" came on.  Haven't heard that in YEARS!  Took me back to college, dancing with friends, crazy days, seems now that I was very carefree altho' it didn't seem so at the time. 

Wow.  Maddy Prior's voice - I remember now the sweetness and purity and vibrato that she had. And Sandy Denny's voice. And other strong voiced women in the '70's.  


Since I'm reminiscing - was anyone here.  I wasn't  (WAYYY too young) but Tony was - with the Hogg Farm as the "Please Force". Yeah...right.  The stories that he tells are amazing.  

I wouldn't go back, but there are just certain things that I still think about....

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Animal Wednesday - parrot

I did this guy in plain pencil first and liked him...then messed him up with color - but I think I've rescued him - I had gotten his eyes wrong at first.   They are a little bit intense here, next time I'll pay more attention to a bird's eye. 
HAW to everyone today - give a hug to all your animals!  

Monday, June 2, 2008

A new sewing machine.

While riding bikes yesterday, I realized that by purchasing my bike, with top notch equipment on it, that good tools make even the toughest job more enjoyable and easy.  My old bike wouldn't shift well, and sometimes I'd get stuck in a high gear trying to go uphill. This new bike is MUCH easier to shift, uphill...downhill and where ever.   Of course I always knew this intellectually but it didn't really hit home until yesterday. 

After this realization I made a decision.  I have been researching new sewing machines but was put off by the high price but now...after much deliberation and research and soul searching - I've decided to buy a very, very nice new sewing machine - a Pfaff Quilter 2048.  This is more than I have ever spent on anything for myself, but I am tired of fighting with my little Euro Shark.  I love to sew, and want nice, reliable equipment to use.   

Anyone else have a Pfaff?  Any advice? (on sewing, life, equipment, buying something good for yourself etc) 

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday - June 1st - an outdoors day.

First of all, a plea for some computer advice. When I used a PC to blog, I would add the images that I wanted to my post, and all would load at the top of the entry. I would grab the picture I wanted and drag it down to where I wanted it in the text. As I dragged the photo, the text would scroll down so that I could place it exactly where I wanted it.
With the Mac, everything loads at the top as normal. But when I grab it to move the photo, the text does not scroll down and I end up pasting the picture sort of outside the blogger text box, and then having to move it again to it's new location. Maybe this explanation doesn't make much sense, but if anyone has any good hints on how to load and move pictures in blogger, using a mac - I'd appreciate the help.

Okay, onto my weekend post!

Mountain Bike Riding

I am not an athlete. I was never a tomboy, never climbed ropes or managed to hit a baseball. I was (an am) a reader, thinker, dreamer. But an athlete? Nope, not this chicken.

But many people in my life have tried to show me the joys of coordination, and athletics. My cousins tried to teach me to ride ocean waves. I sank, or got left behind or got scrambled in the surf. In camp they tried to teach me tennis or team sports and I was a miserable failure. The only sport I liked at camp was rowing. It's a solitary sport, and you move forward while looking backwards - how great. Anyway, since my childhood camp days, boyfriends have tried to teach me sports. My brother has tried, and my cousins are still trying. No one really understands that I mostly like solitary sports, with minimal pain.
Now - DH's latest interest is mountain biking, so we went out and got me a mountain bike and off we go. (I am taking lessons next week so that I learn how to not kill myself.) We went out to what was supposed to be an easy trail, and while it was fun - I also felt a constant terror. Plummeting downhill towards trees and rocks! Bonking over roots and rocks! I did like it, but am heading to the store this week to get all the protective equipment I can find. Wrist protectors, ankle protectors, elbow, face, etc. A slight exaggeration, but I'll really get what I can!
When we got done with the terrifying ride - (it was supposed to be easy trail,but even Tony said it was "intermediate") we went to a semi paved rail trail and rode there for a few hours. I got to take some pictures of the Blackstone valley area - really beautiful
The two field above were just so green, and luscious looking, I wanted to stay there all afternoon.
Don't you just want to walk down this path, in the dappled green sunlight?

These pink flowers are not phlox - they are wildflowers and I don't know the proper name. An old friend called them "lady flower" - she said that they were for the Virgin Mary, with their four petals.

This rock was covered with these unusual lichens - so much so that some of the rocks I saw in the woods looked like piles of leaves. It wasn't until I got up to them that I saw that they were rocks covered with these lichens.

And this rock was evidence of "pin and feather" rock cutting from colonial times. After reading "Sermons in Stone" which is all about New England rock walls, I was fascinated to see this actual evidence of the tools used to split rock. As usual, it astounds me to realize the amount of work that went into farming (still does I know - but different work right?) Imagine, hand drilling holes in stone....inserting tools to split the rock....pounding those tool....breaking the rock and then MOVING it. I understand the need for lots of sons to help on the farm.

At the end of the canal towpath, there was an old woolen mill from the 1800's. It was in production until 1988, at which time it was closed. Families in town had had generations that had worked in these mills - of course I wondered what happened to everyone and where they went for work when this mill closed. Now they are talking about renovating it, and putting in shops etc. But, the town itself is not in such great shape economically, and I wonder how well the shops would do. Perhaps a tourist destination, but I just don't know. Anyway, I took this picture of the lock, you can just imagine this lock open, and the water power running this whole building.

So, as you can see, I really enjoyed the flatter ride, it was much more scenic and relaxing. I got to take pictures, and read signs about the farm that used to be in the area, and enjoy myself. The tougher ride, while exhilarating, was not as much fun at all, and much more of a physical challenge. I am suspicious that DH is trying to make me into an athlete again, and voiced my concerns. "No, no" he protested, he just wants me to have fun with him and to have us bike ride together.

I'm thinking that here is another misguided male, trying to get this I-would-rather-be-reading female out into the wide blue world to get exercise - and I think that he's hoping that "maybe she'll like THIS sport". I'll give it a try, but I think that I am going to enjoy seeing winter again, when the snow stops all relentless outdoor activity and one can sit in front of the fire, reading, with a clear conscience.

Sorry DebKay - I know you love mountain biking. Maybe I need a woman only group to ride with....