Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday is here and it's hard to believe. The few days since Christmas have been quiet, except for the sounds of Kleenex being ripped from the box and the constant honking of me blowing my nose. Last night was the first night in a week I slept through the night without being up every hour like a child checking to see if Santa had come! But today seems to be the beginning of the end of this cold, I'm thrilled to report.

This morning we are at 31 degrees, right now, at 9am. I am sure we were in the 20's overnight. Silly has bravely gone out to sit in the sunshine, so she must think things are improving.

Not much is happening, here in this lull between Christmas and New Years. I have not been out to the stores to see any of the sales, and doubt that I will. Rebecca went out yesterday to return things that didn't fit, and even thought I didn't feel well, I don't think I could have braved that chaos even if I had felt up to a trek to the mall. I know she was gone longer than she thought she would be.

Today we are going to change out a ceiling fan in the Florida room. One night about 6 weeks ago one I could hear this loud humming in my sewing room. I checked out all the electronic things in the bookcase, and the sound wasn't coming from there. I went into the living room and figured out it was the ceiling fan. During the yearly warranty period an electrician was here for another reason (bathroom light) and he told us it was the fan itself. Eric had already checked the wiring and thought the same thing. So, on the word of the "electrician" when we called the fan company they agreed to send a new fan. So today is the day. I get to hold Eric on the ladder .... hopefully this will be a simple task!

I can also report that the squirrel has managed to climb to the top of the bird feeder. He does lovely flying lunges from it to the pole. So far, he seems most content to eat off of the ground. If he gets too greedy then we will try the soda bottle trick. At least all the birds and the squirrel are keeping Silly occupied in the morning. She sits and supervises them quite well.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Family Recipe for Friends - Coconut Macaroons

We are having guests today, Jennifer from Baltimore is coming and bringing her friend Chris. Since this is Christmas, I decided to write to Jen's mother Linda and see if there was something I could make that would surprise Jen, something that was a family favorite. Linda responded immediately with the following recipe. Linda said this is one she made every year, and in fact was from her own teenage years in 4H. I admit, I had never seen a recipe for Macaroons with corn flakes in it, but in spite of how it might sound, they are delicious and easy to make too!

Coconut Flake Macaroons
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups corn flakes
Add the salt to the egg whites and beat until foamy. Add sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue beating after each addition. Beat until the egg whites form peaks that tend to bend over a little when you draw out the egg beater. Fold in flour and vanilla. Add the coconut and fold in gently. Add corn flakes and mix in lightly. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in at 325 degrees about 20 minutes. They should be a delicate brown. Makes about 30 macaroons.

Birthday - Birthday

Today is a double Birthday, two special people in my life celebrate today: Madeline (Maddie), my grand-daughter, and Sally, my sister-in-law. Maddie will be three today, and Sally 29 or something! Sally and her family celebrated earlier this week, as Brian and Christine and Michelle were in Florida visiting. Maddie will have her family party today at two. So Happy Happy Birthday Birthday, to both of you! Here's a look at Maddie, taken about a week ago. I promise a birthday shot or two later!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cookie Exchange

It's always reassuring to know that you are doing something fun, and not totally "old fashioned". According to Google, where there are over 250,000 hits for Cookie Exchange, and our local paper, Cookie Exchanges are all the rage. Last night I held my holiday cookie exchange with my friends. It was lots of fun, and we had an amazing selection of cookies to share with each other. There were no duplicates, and each kind is just begging to be tasted. We had iced cookies, chocolate (dark and light), cookies with and without nuts, and cookies with and without fillings. Just too yummy. We had a fine evening, sharing stories and experiences, and of course, exchanging our cookies!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Toffee Almond Sandies

Today was my baking day for the cookie exchange I am hosting on Wednesday evening. We are each bring Six dozen cookies to exchange. I chose to make Toffee Almond Sandies, a recipe I received from Julia the day we tied the quilt at Meadow Farm. This recipe came from Taste of Home, 1999 (page 127) and as promised by Julia is delicious. I must admit, my sampling proved her right. Here's the recipe in case you would like to make a few .... which the way I made then turned out to be about 10 dozen.

Toffee Almond Sandies

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 cup chopped almonds
1 pkg. (6oz) English toffee bits
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add oil, eggs and extract; mix well. Combine flours, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in almonds and toffee bits. Shape into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets; flatten with a fork. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: about 12 dozen

My variations: Roll some in ground almonds rather than sugar, also into center of some, press an M & M.

Blog News

Blogger has added new features, and changed some things with the new Beta Version. I am not sold on every new change, and think it will take awhile before I learn how to do some of the things that no longer seem to be available. Nothing new is without some difficulties though! One new feature you will notice in the sidebar is LABELS. If you click on a label, you will be able to bring up all the posts that I have tagged with a label. Obviously, since this blog has lots of posts, I may not go back to the very beginning to label each and every post. However, I am labeling each new post, and have added labels to the most recent posts. How does it work? Click a label, like cooking, and you will see each posts that have something to do with food, cooking, recipes, etc. Looking for something specific about family, then click on family! Simple, right?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Making Cookies

Wednesday kept us busy, making and baking Christmas cookies. We did Eric's favorites, snickerdoodles, sand tarts, and candy canes. Next week, I will make date nut pinswheels, and a new recipe, almond toffee cookies. Don't these look good? Come on over and we will be glad to share. In fact, my cookie exchange is on the 13th, 7pm. Bring 6 dozen of your favorite cookies and we will swap!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Decorating for Christmas

Monday night I hosted the monthly Bunko group that I joined. With lots of help from DH Eric, we docorated the house for this event and to start the holiday season off. This weekend we plan to add the tree and then we will be finished unless I decided to change some of the houses into table top displays. We are really enjoying our new house, and the chance to celebrate the seasons.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Caramel Corn

1. Popcorn, 2. Syrup, 3. Caramel Corn

We have had a busy week, Eric and I. Monday (day after tomorrow) is Bunco night and my turn to host the other 11 ladies who play once a month. Getting ready for company is not a big deal, as the house is still pretty straight from Thanksgiving. However, there are things to be tidied up, and on top of that is decorating for Christmas. And food, food for 12 ladies. The past months of Bunco have seen lots of different senarios as far as food is concerned. Some have obviously worked for 3-4 days cooking up things. Others have taken a more simple route. I am somewhere in between, choosing a simple menu of snacks and finger foods. After all, the main reason we get together is to play Bunco, food is a sideline. The picture above shows the magic progression of sugar and popcorn into caramel popcorn. I had truly forgotten how good the recipe I have is. It's one from Onva, a friend on my mom's. Eric popped up the corn, and I cooked and stirred, and we have a wonderful batch stashed away. We had to hide it, because it might not make it to Monday if we kept in reach.

Later this week I'll attempt to show our decorations outside and in. So far, we think the holly tree with the red and green lights is our best effort.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Family and Friends, thankfulness

Well, it's turkey time again for everyone. But more than that, it's time to be thankful. I'm so thankful for all you, my family and friends. Your love and support over the years has been such a gift. I'm so pleased that my family was able to be together a few weeks ago in Texas. This past year has also connected me to new and old friends. I can't express what it means to know them and to share with them the events of our lives.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow. I'll be thinking of each and everyone of you as we sit down to have our dinner of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fall in Virginia, changing views!

Last Thursday, on the 16th we had torrential rains, probably more than we have seen since moving in a year ago. This is the view taken from my sewing room window of the area behind our house. Do you wonder why they might have called it a natural wetland?

Here's what a difference four days make. This is the red maple, taken Nov. 13th, three days before the rain picture above was taken.
Move your mouse over the picture to see the red maple one day after the rain, Friday the 17th.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Color Options Workshop

I just spent an incredible weekend in a workshop with Patsy Zawistoski. She was a guest of the Clothos Guild and presented a 2 day intensive class about using color dyed and painted roving to their best advantage. In the course of the 2 days, we made nine different type of yarn, using only one colorway. Naturally, they all blend beautifully, but each has it own special character. To see these done by such a wonderful spinner and teacher was very exciting for me. We made the following yarns: a random candy stripe (very basic), a solid Navaho ply, a tri color, a spiral slub, a neutral, a cable, a 2 color transition 2 ply, a faux cable tweed, and a faux boucle. Then using fibers other than our Targhee wool, we did a boucle with mohair, a slub with soy and wool, and a stretched Merino cable. We have wonderful sample cards with our control and finished product and of course, class notes. I wished I could have taped the entire process. If there had been two of me, I could have made short movies of each technique. She made it all look so easy! I'll try to work up a bit of a photo mosaic of what we did to post later this week.

I had borrowed a wheel for the occasion, and don't know how I could have possibly done without it. Sunday morning before I left for class, I checked eBay and saw an Ashford Traditional Wheel offered. When I got home, I made 2 bids and surprisingly won the auction. I don't know if the other bids were just friends and neighbors trying to get bids or what, but I paid just over the reserve and got it for a very nice price. Until it gets here, I am going to practice all the techniques again as soon as possible, so I don't forget how.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Visit Home

I've been home in Virginia a week now, but the trip to Texas was and is still my biggest news. As most know, we all went to Texas to surprise my parents on their 61st wedding anniversary, Oct. 27. They were expecting their two grandsons, their wives and daughters for the weekend. Instead, and In addition, they also got Mike, Sally and Anne, and myself. We flew to Houston, rented a car and drove to Lufkin, surprising then on the night before their anniversary. We had a wonderful time, the weather was perfect and the company was excellent! I don't think any of us will forget the time we had. There were lots of firsts, Mike and Anne met Michelle, Brian and Christine's daughter, and I got to meet Christine. We talked, ate, shopped, knitted, it was fun for all!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Street Tree

Today our street became a boulevard of trees. We anticipated the arrival of the trees as we had plenty of clues. One, they planted trees the next block up recently, and secondly, the Utility companies were out in force yesterday marking utility lines. So, not only do we have a lovely Elm tree (a Bosque elm for inquiring minds), we also have lovely multi-colored lines all over everywhere. Internet research states that this tree is well suited for street plantings, poor soil, and the other less than optimal climate characteristics found here. So, hopefully, in a few years, we'll have a lovely tree to look at.

Inside, the warranty work finally began to "right" the "wrongs" on our end of year checklist. Biggest was the master closet door that opened into the closet. I am so happy, I can now open the closet door and see everything! If nothing else gets fixed, I'll still be happy with this improvement. They also sent a yard crew that dug up the ruts in the side and front. Some were caused by Eagle, and some by the tree men, but none the less, we will have new sod soon and maybe things will be more level. They haven't touched the back yard yet, but at least this is progress.

We are anticipating rain this weekend, so it will be good for the tree and the sod. Just the right foot for them to start on.

Mom and Dad will be celebrating their 61st Wedding anniversary this Friday. Brian and family, and Russell and family, their two grandsons will be in Lufkin to help them party! I am sure with two little girls, both under 3 it will be lots of fun. They will no doubt enjoy having both the grandsons, their wives and 2 of their great-grand children with them. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad .... I may have to wish it to you again tomorrow and the next day .... but why not start early!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some things are accomplished

As you know, are carpet is installed. If you run on over to the house blog, there is a short movie showing the attic room as it looked on Monday night.

Since then, we have started bringing up things from out of the garage ..... Don't ask how many times Eric has done this! We are putting away things as we sort thought them again, discard, and repack. We have all the books upstairs now, and all of the decorations for the house for any and all seasons. I found my US flag again, so some things are appearing that had been "relocated"! At least maybe for Veterans Day we will be able to fly our large USA flag.

Eric has been putting up shelving, and as this is the third set of this stuff we have bought, he is getting pretty quick at it. The installation is easy, once you get the upper track in place. He measured before the men put up the sheetrock, so he would know where each and every stud upstairs is. Clever no?

We are setting up a small play area for the kids, their kitchen, and all the assorted food, trains, blocks and things that are best set up in a larger space will relocate up there. We'll leave books, play-dough and "quiet" activities like games and puzzles downstairs. I am going to scout around for some kind of shelving for their things.

Our weather is really pretty. It is warm again, and just perfect. The rain we received has greened up the lawn, and it looks like some of the top dressing we did will actually help. Time will tell on it. We were told when we bought seed for the grass to wait and put it down just before the first snowfall. Something about it getting good soil contact and moisture. Sounds good in theory anyway.

The man from Eagle who was to begin our warranty work didn't show up today. He said he might be delayed due to an illness in his family, so we will just have to wait a bit more. We have plenty going on with getting the garage straight again, so it really doesn't matter if he comes right now or not.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Whoa there .... slow down

Too much progress going on here ..... not really, but things are looking up. The carpet installers are due here on Monday at 8. A person is coming to look at the roof and give an estimate tomorrow. Next Wednesday Eagle will begin the 12 month list of repairs. And Eric got a haircut today.

Late breaking news is that Silly the cat is convinced the sky is falling as she can feel the curtain of cold falling on her ears everytime she goes outside. Her remedy for this terrible event is to just hide out. Maybe winter will pass through and not stay. Meanwhile, we really didn't need the top drawer of the desk did we?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Uphill battles

This is my before picture of the upstairs room - before carpet. If you haven't heard, we still don't have carpet because the carpet measure person wrote down the wrong numbers. So, there is no AFTER picture. The installers walked into the room and took one look and said, "We don't have enough carpet" and they were right. So, we are waiting to hear from the expediter from Home Depot. Today, tomorrow, someday this week. We'll see.

So what else is new here ? - The rain finally stopped after a soggy soggy weekend. Not without a good bit of worry for us too, as there is another red maple with a really crooked lean to it in the same location as the tree that fell. Of course, if it just fell straight down, it would land between the houses. We don't think that will happen. So, we have called the county, and the Corps of Engineers is supposed to send someone over to look over the situation, being as today is a holiday, when is uncertain.

The fiber festival I hoped to attend was pretty well muddied out. Some brave souls did attend, but I read and heard that many had to be towed out of the field where they were stuck. That didn't sound like fun to any of us who planned to attend, so we have scheduled an alternative field trip some other time.

Tomorrow I go to the Podiatrist again, a new one. I am hoping he is going to tell me what is going on, and if he says all is well, then I am just going to have to grin and bear it. Somehow, I don't expect that answer from him. Tomorrow I will know. Hopefully he won't send me home in a boot.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Rebecca

The grandkids threw a birthday party the other night .... for their mom. They could hardly wait. The kids were so excited by the upcoming Wednesday birthday they even baked the cake, five days ahead. Tom reported that while shopping at Party Plus he was informed by Zack they didn't need streamers, there were some at home. They were definitly into party mode.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Maymont with friends!

I had a great weekend with the people in this picture! I am sure some of you know and recognize them from Lufkin. They now live in West Virginia, and came for a visit so their oldest at home son could run in the McDonalds Cross Country Festival at Maymont. Before the race, we ran the little ones around so they could expend some energy. I don't think it fazed them, but I was tired after the treck down into the Japanese Gardens. This is a beautful place, and the setting was perfect for a fall day. The race drew about 1500 runners, and a crowd of about 7,000. Quite the event.

I don't have anything of great interest to tell. I have taken more pictures of the upstairs, and one day this week I'll get them up on the house blog.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

So where are we ....

We have managed (DH and I) to not kill each other the last 9 years. I think the card DD sent says it all:
You've shared the same cabin,
You've shared the same galley,
You've logged
a great distance together.
You both really know
how to keep things shipshape
And navigate well in all weather.
You've show that a pair
can remain right on course,
And today
it can truly be said ....
You're perfect as mates ---!

As we start year 10, we are both thankful to be together. Thanks to all the family and friends who sent greetings! Also, thank you for reading the blog and keeping up with our adventures. Now in the house with more space .... it will make the next 9 years a breeze!

Friday, September 22, 2006

It has been a busy week

The upstairs room is starting to look like a room. Well, it has always looked like a room, but now there are none of the holes in the ceilings that you can see in this picture taken on Monday! The sheet rock men finished up their painting and spackle repair on Monday. Since then we have had a steady stream of men in and out. The electrician came twice, he is almost finished, and will be here to complete his part on Monday. Eric hung the fans with a bit of assistance from me. He also got all the grills up covering the holes for the Ac/heating ducts.

The whiz kids who did the speakers/internet came and hung speakers. Then they came back and re hung speakers (because we changed our minds). They also spent the majority of today trying to get something to work that is beyond my comprehension, and obviously theirs, as they will have to come back to finish. Eric is a bit peeved with them because they would not, and did not do what he wanted them to do. Their big boss is in Ireland, out of touch, and of course there is a lots on non continuity going on. They didn't work on the original system, tried to use equipemnt that is not MAC compatible, etc. etc. Eric has spent the last 3 hours fixing what they didn't do right and stewing about their ignorance. I am sure he will give the boss a piece of his mind when he gets back from his vacation! In all those comings in and goings out, the carpet man came to measure. He probably was in and out the fastest of any of the guys, but at least that is a step in the right direction.

If you want to see what else I did this week you'll have to visit The Knitting Blog. This picture is a hint! Oh yes, there is no progress on getting the roof repaired yet. All those folks are "getting back to us". Yea, right!

Monday, September 18, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night .....

Three years ago tonight. Looking back, it is hard to believe so much time has gone by since Isabel. Eric remembers we were without electricity for 42 days. I know we got water back before too many days, but the electricity took forever to be restored to Southhall Landings. Isabel was a real Turning point for us. On the 20th of September we bought our truck. We never wanted to be in a position where we had to evacuate without a vehicle again. I think Isabel was the true beginning of the quest for us to move ashore, at least in my mind. So, if you have forgotten about Isabel, click the link above, there is plenty of information there. I'll leave you with this picture, one taken of our dock access at Southhall. The power of mother nature is truly amazing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Finally Friday!

In more ways than one, this has been a very busy week. Monday the tree came down, and everyday since then, the sheet rock guys have been diligently working upstairs, with a goal of today as the finish line. I have to admit, neither Eric nor I thought they would finish up. Remarkably, they have shown us to be wrong. I'll post pictures on the House Blog of the different stages of the week.

Also, Monday morning early yard tractors were back, roaring up and down the street aerating the yards. Regrettably, Wednesday in a fit of computer file cleaning I wiped out those pictures, but then, you have all seen a tractor before, right? All the little plugs of dirt are everywhere, and I suggested we go rake them up and use them for fill! Not!! After the tree removal their caterpillar tractor (you saw it in the movie) left more ruts to contend with. The delivery of sheetrock had made a few too. So today, in a lull in the action Eric went to Southern States and bought bags of tops soil and seed. We'll tackle that this next week some time. As I was saying, the yard crew came by, luckily after the tree crew had left.

After the guys left this afternoon we went up to sweep and vacuum. There are still bits of mud (the white stuff they use to float seams) on the floor that we will have to scrape. On Monday they are going to come back to touch up, so at some point in the weekend we will go do the blue tape mark system of showing where the missed spots are. We'll mark on the floor, don't want to take any chances of pulling off paint. They didn't paint the doors, but then we assumed they would and it was never really discussed. Not a big deal, we can handle that.

We also have to go and shop for floor covering sometime this weekend. We thought we had decided on wood, but after listening to them clump around the last two weeks we have decided carpet will be a better option.

So, I am now going to go sit on the porch and have a celebration margarita. Pictures will be up soon, I promise.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Got a Tree down, then Call - Call Tree Service

At last the troops arrived to take down the tree. Mr. Mack Call himself came, apparently he doesn't go out on the job much anymore, as he is almost retired. He supervised from the sidelines while 4 guys did the heavy work. One on the roof, two to hand carry the logs and limbs to the front yard and chipper, and one who ran the catapiller which lifted the tree. It's always interesting to me to see the physics involved in machinery and moving something as large as this tree was. They did a great job, even raked and cleaned the yard, and it was a relief to see everything gone. I missed the final cuts where then the tree righted itself down in the wetland (I was dispatched to look for tarps at Becky's house) but all that remains of the tree is a stump cut low to the ground, even the root ball settled back unto the ground. We saved a large piece of the base of the tree for a scratching post for Silly (who has already given it a 4 paws up) and a small piece that I hope can be used for a spindle whorl. I'll have a movie of the action later this week for those of you sho love the sound of chainsaws.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

September Sunday

I'm looking out the sewing room window and can see the tree limb in the back yard. It's leaves are dry and lifeless now. When Zack was here I made a comment about the poor dead tree; Zack wanted to know if we could go and water the tree to keep it alive. He couldn't quite understand! Tomorrow if all goes well, the tree man will come and clear the tree away and get it off the roof. Then we can finally get a good look at the full extent of the damage, and get that estimate process underway. The sheet rockers will be back to start sanding and doing the final things they do before the paint can go on! They say that they will be done by Friday. Let's hope so, Eric is so ready for this all to be done.

At 11 this morning I'll be heading over to Meadow Farm for the Civil War afternoon. I have gray yarn all ready to start a sock and help do my part as a "lady left behind the lines" trying to cope with the war and shortages brought about by the war. The drama we will take part in will last until 4pm. The weather had been beautiful, so I am looking forward to a pleasant afternoon. I'll bring my camera along and hopefully be able to shoot a few shots before I have to be in character and reflect the appropriate time.

Yesterday morning the church had their rummage sale for Haiti. The sale was a huge success, and there were throngs of people in line to get inside. In fact, there were so many people that you could hardly walk around. Eric wanted me to look for a set of portable phones that he will use upstairs to contol the trains. Don't ask me how, but somehow they are hooked into the system. Anyway, he wanted two, with chargers .... and I found the set for $1.00. Both work, now was that a bargain or what? Becky managed to find some games and puzzles for the kids and I found a Playschool Kitchen as soon as I walked in the door. It was my big purchase, $5.00. This kitchen is exactly the one Becky had as a child, and I'm not sure who was more excited to see it, the kids or Becky. We'll put it upstairs later in the kids play area. I picked up a few nice flower pots, children's books, and a brand new canner set for use with dying wool. In all the day was fun.

I've been working on the quilt for the baby, and for the most part, that is all the news from here! Becky called from the beach and they were there safe and sound. I have fish duty this week at her house, and a few other chores to do. The subdivision is having their 5th anniversary part this week, so we have a FUNCTION to attend on Wednesday. Such a social agenda!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday - What's new?

Tuesday morning bright and early the sheetrock crew arrived after the long weekend of inactivity. By the end of the day, they had the ceiling and a small part of the walls in the main area finished and all of the small storage room completed. Today they finished up the skylights in the main room, all the other walls and the furnace room. Thursday they will take out scrap, and start taping and mud work! Very exciting progress to be sure! They are really nice guys, and Eric has enjoyed listening to them talk about the work, and their hunting adventures on their breaks. They love sitting on our front porch. By the way, they all drive Ford pickups, so when I came home from the pool Tuesday it looked like an ad for Ford! At one point there were 5 parked in front of the house (counting ours).

We finally got a bid on the tree removal Tuesday afternoon late and a second one Wednesday. By far we liked the second guy more than the man who came yesterday initially. Something about the first guy just struck us both wrong. The guy we will use is the one who came recommended by Becky's neighbor Betty after Isabel sent a tree though her roof. So, as far as I know, unless something changes, this guy will be here Thursday to take the tree off the roof and get everything out of the yard. It appears the stump will have to be a permanent reminder of the storm, as being within the wetland, can't be removed or messed with. Everyone seems to think it will right itself back into the hole, we'll see.

I do know Silly will be a bit disappointed when the limbs are gone, she's been feeling like queen of the jungle back there amid the tree branches.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's Labor Day - so we'll do it ourselves

We're taking things into our own hands today. Still waiting for the tree man, but then after all, it is a holiday! We were a bit concerned about wind causing branches to scratch the big windows, so today Eric cut the offending branches away. Because of this we also got a better look at the damage. I climbed a ladder and took a few shots and movies, more for insurance than anything. The boards exposed are above the gutter, normally covered my siding and shingles.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

And here is "THE TREE"

The calm after the storm

It is always ironic how beautiful the sky is after a storm. Of course, every bit of polution has been blown far far away, so I guess it is a natural result. (I wonder if the skies of our childhood before polution were this blue?) Anyway, this was taken today through the leaves of the downed tree. We are still waiting for a tree man to come and give us an estimate. It could take awhile, as there is a good bit of damage in Richmond and the surrounding areas. Of course USAA has some restrictions on quotes, etc. and we know we need someone with a crane. So, time will tell how long we'll have the tree as a guest. It actually makes lovely shade on the patio and florida room. Silly would love to climb it. I look at it like this, it's one less tree to worry about when we have the next storm.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ernesto gets close and personal

Here's the tree that fell on the house this afternoon. Funny, when we first looked at those trees Eric thought there was a potential for this to happen! Crossridge is supposed to be sending someone over to check it out and get it off the roof.

Sheet rock and Sheets of rain!

Yes, I am up and awake at 5 in the morning. What's worse is I have been awake since 4. Once in a great while I have these insomniac mornings, and have found it's better to just get up. Silly is with me, purring away, so at least she is not running wildly and loudly meowing through the house thinking it is time to go outside. She is all rilled up because it is raining and she can't sit out and watch the world go by.

I can hear a steady rain outside, and checking the local forecast, I see that Ernesto has considerably weakened. Our inland winds should be below 30 MPH and that's not bad. North Carolina is taking the punch out of the storm for us, though the governor has declared a state-of-emergency, as flooding will be probable and the national guard can better respond. Since downtown areas flood in light rain, the 6-8 inches they expect could cause some big problems.

Did you all enjoy yesterday's sheet rock movie? I hope you found it entertaining! I was glad it was not Eric having to heft those sheets (or me on the other end of one of them.) The guy upstairs catching the pieces was doing a pretty good job too. He's the main contractor, his son was the small guy taking the sheets off of the trailer and handing them up to the two helpers who hefted and sailed them through the open window. Here's a view from upstairs. Today they should be back to start putting the 65 sheets up!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Up Up and Away!

A picture is worth 1,000 words it's said. So a movie must be worth 10,000 words. Here's how you get sheetrock in a second story window! Being young and srong sure doesn't hurt either!

These sheets are 4 feet by 12 feet, and each weighs about 60 pounds. Even the lift off the trailer would be difficult, not to mention the lift over their heads!

Good news got even better!

We had rain overnight, at least one half of an inch! The gully washer we had Saturday night was not nearly as nice a rain as this shower. It seemed to be gentle and steady, which is very good news. Ernesto is scheduled to make an appearance here today and tomorrow, with up to 4 inches of rain and maybe more. Even that would be good.

But the best news of the day is that the sheetrock men showed up (What a relief) as scheduled, and they had 25 sheets of sheetrock already on the truck and tucked nicely inside of a big blue tarp. Better yet, the rain had stopped! The men got all that load upstairs through the window (which I missed seeing) and have now gone back for a second load. The plan is that these two loads will give them enough to work on today and tomorrow, and then they can decide exactlly how much more (if any) they need. Those sheets will be cut downstairs and brought up the stairs. So far (it's almost noon) the rain is holding off.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Naughty Me

Yes, we are still here. Life is in a pretty set routine now. Not very exciting or news worthy!

Most days I am at the pool by 8:30 am, trying to stay in shape by swimming, water aerobics and yoga. It seems to be a pretty good combination, and I am feeling like I am in better shape, even if I don't think I look thinner. My feet are making more progress too, thanks in part to some Teva kayak shoes that I now wear in the pool at all times. After almost a year of constant pain and or at the least discomfort, I actually find a few days now where my feet feel normal.

Eric has been busy with the attic area. If you look closely you can see that the room in the second picture has insulation in the ceiling, and now the area is completely enclosed. Through the doorway he has framed in an additional "found" area, so we will have plenty of storage up here. The sheetrock man is due tomorrow. Hopefully he will have finished up the job he is on now, and will start on us. I know Eric is anxious for it to all be over, and I don't blame him in the least. This will finish up the final phase of the whole moving experience for us. In 30 days, we will have been in the house a year. One nice thing, the sheetrock crew is also going to do all the painting and trim work for us, all we will have to do is put down the laminated wood floor.

If I had a today picture, the room would be empty. Eric has had to being everything down to the garage again, until the sheetrock is up. Zack and Maddie were a big help, they carried all the small odds and ends down and were quite proud of themselves. This was during their weekly monday morning visit at Nana's while Mom goes to the grocery. They really enjoy coming, and I am sure Becky appreciates the help.

Silly is still the same, loves the outdoors and keeping her personal staff busy.

I'll try to get more news up, and pictures as the work progresses upstairs. As always, check the knitting/crafty blog for all things fiber related. I am most anxious to decide on a quilt pattern for the new baby so I can get going on it. This is always the hardest part for me. It needs to be special enough, but not impossible!

So, stay tuned, more news will be coming .... Ernesto is due here too. I have taken some beofre pictures in the back, just in case we get lots of rain and have more erosion. I am certain Eagle will have to attend to it eventually, but until all the house uphill from us are finished, I don't expect them to address the issue.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Let's see ....

First of all, there is a short Update over on the house blog. It's about news unrelated to what's going on here in the house.

IMG_1393The Henrico County Building Inspector came today and we have this news!!! We were pleased to see him, and it turns out he is the man who did all the first inspections on our house. Eric has been concerned the county would not allow him to sheetrock the two storage areas, as there is no fire egress (window) from those two areas. Someone previously had told him that any room that was "habitable" had to have a window. Since the two storage areas would be sheetrocked, heated and cooled, then they MIGHT be used for sleeping, and so needed a window in case of fire. This guy said, no problem, this is obviously a storage room. Duh. Poor Eric, all that worry for naught. So, now we wait for the insulation folks!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Butterfly Detectives

My creation
Originally uploaded by Jobanna.
The kido's came for the morning while mom went to the grocery store. Though she reported she went down the aisles slowly and got to read labels, the kids had more fun. No butterflies were harmed in this great hunt.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Happy Anniversary

I wish my sister-in-law Sally and brother Mike a wonderful anniversary! I do hope you both are celebrating tonight, and enjoying some of the wonderful cake left from yesterday's birthday celebration! What a busy week! We wish many more years to come for both of you!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Well I knew THAT ....

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Happy Birthday Mike

My brother is a year older and wiser today ..... back when this picture was taken I think I am about 8 or 9, and he is probably 3. That makes this picture almost 50 years old. Hard to believe! Where has the time gone? MIke is retired once now, but still working in a "secret type" job for the AF. Mike has lots of talents, math, science and physics being the formost, also music, and now photography too. I admire him learning and perfecting a new hobby. I'm glad he is so creative, and willing to share his knowledge. I was always jealous he could play the piano so well. Truthfully, he played better at the end of one year of lessons than I did in 4 years! He had a gift!! I wish I could share part of his birthday with him. I'll toast him with a good glass of wine and wish him amy many more! I love you!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Updates and sights from our backyard

We are harvesting about a dozen tomatoes a day now, and they are still coming on strong. I especially like the little grape tomato plant, it has groups of 6-8 little gems that ripen in succession. Some are green, some yellow, some ripe. Kind of fun to see. They have been delicious. We have been making a greek salad with marinated tomato, cucumber, feta, red onion and fresh herbs. Yummy!

Construction is going full tilt just 2 lots away from us. Eric reports that the concrete truck was there at 6am this morning. I love these big cranes that pump the mix out to the back parts of the lot. They can even go over the roof of a house to pump the patio, as the builder waits to pour it till last, once the house is almost finished. I guess they have had too many patios and sidewalks torn up by equipment.

Speaking of equipment tearing up things, we are without sprinklers again. Because of the work up the street, the water system pipes have been broken twice this week. They repaired the first break, and before the 24 hour waiting for glue to dry period was up, a second line was dug up somewhere else. Maybe we will have water tomorrow.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Oh my Auana Ke Kai

As you all know, we sold Auana Ke Kai on June 23rd of this year. It was indeed a sad day for us, as we have lots of wonderful memories of our time on the boat. Not only was she our home, but our mode of travel and exploration for nearly six years. But it was time to move on.

You may remember that our first Auana Ke Kai was the boat we sold in Florida in 1999 to a man from Texas. She was sold when we purchased the new boat, and never renamed by him. So Auana Ke Kai and her predecessor shared a name, and also our memories. This original Auana Ke Kai sailed to Hawaii from Californian with Eric and his friends. In Hawaii, she sailed the Pacific, and then came to Florida via the Air Force packed full of Eric's belongings. The day Eric and I married, we moved aboard this Auana Ke Kai, and ultimately sailed down the Inter-Coastal Waterway and found our way to the west coast of Florida. She had many fine adventures and made memories for us too. That's her on the left!

Two days ago I received an email from Australia, out of the blue so to speak. They asked if we owned "Auana Ke Kai" as they were interested in bidding on her and wanted to know what equipment was on board. We immediately knew it was not the boat we had just sold! A quick Google search, sent us to the same web site they had seen, and sure enough, the original Auana Ke Kai is in a salvage yard in Mississippi and being offered up for bids. As best we can determine, she was a casualty of Hurricane Katrina somewhere on the Gulf Coast. The pictures on the site show the damage, though as you can see, Island Packet builds one tough boat! She still looks good, and as the salvage yard says, she can be sailed, just needs repairs. But, it is sad to see her damaged like this.

We find it a strange coincidence that both our homes were on the market at the same time. We think our Auana Ke Kai is happily docked in Maryland now being sailed by her new owners. Hopefully someone as excited about sailing and Island Packets will bid and buy our first Auana Ke Kai.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Visit Ended

Mom and Dad are on their way home to Texas after their visit to Virginia. We had such a wonderful visit, it flew by and seems like they were only just here and then gone again. I know I enjoyed having them here so much ( as did Eric ) and if they ever decided to come this way again ( after they rest up ) we'll have the guest room ready. I do hope they will consider coming on the train next time, as they know, I worry about them out on the highway. So until next time, I love you Mom and Dad! Have a safe trip back!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Anne

There once was a child born this date,
Who's age we can all calculate
She traveled far away
but was at home today
So all her talents we can celebrate!

Have a great birthday Anne and enjoy your Chinese dinner!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pyramid in Hollywood Cemetery

Here's the Pyramid Monument to Confederate Soldiers in Hollywood Cemetery. The Plaque reads:
"A Memorial to the Confederate Women
of Virginia,1861-1865

The legislature of Virginia of
1914, has at the solicitation of
Ladies Hollywood Memorial
Association and United
Daughters of Confederacy of
Virginia, placed in perpetual
care this section where lie
buried Eighteen Thousand
Confederate Soldiers.
Move your mouse over the picture to see just how big it really is. If you click on the title, you can see historical information about the cemetery.