Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alot and videos

After hours of finagling and testing I downloaded the alOt toolbar into Firefox in order to both search and view videos and it seems to be working. Who knows what kind of spam or problems I may have in the future by doing this!! The toolbar has a nice search engine and lets me see the videos so I am happy.

"Who We Are:

We are an eclectic bunch of people…while our day jobs are at ALOT, we have a music-maestro, a trivia buff and a ballroom dancer within our team. We’re a group of fun-loving folk, based in Soho, NYC and what brings such a varied group together is one thing – our passion for making great Internet products that help people find information easily.

We’re a small group that’s part of a larger family. We’re owned by a NASDAQ-listed company, MIVA, Inc."

Three day weekend

I got back yesterday and totally collapsed. Napped on the couch for about an hour in the afternoon and then watched chick flicks and ate snacks. Fortunately hubby can heat up leftovers---of which there are many---for himself. A three year-old totally drains every drop of energy and then watching his one-year-old sister yesterday morning was the final hill that I climbed.

Today, my son and his girlfriend are coming to spend the night. I was thinking about how nervous she probably is...and of course, for no real reason. But visiting with the guys parents is always a bit of a challenge.

I have shopped for food and cleaned the house after Xman's adventures.

I am too tired to write anything creative and also kind of in a slump about the hurricane that is heading to Louisiana. The one right behind it is currently heading our way...ugh.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Thoughts #12

I learned and did so many new things this week that they will fill my Thursday Thoughts for a long time:

1) One of the most special times wishing someone good night after the traditional two stories, the prayers, the traditional made-up "monkey story" and the kiss good night, is when the little guy calls you back one last time and asks you to give him a dream :-)

2) I had forgotten how special it was to touch the back of a turtle and to let a monarch caterpillar tickle your hand and to let an inch worm tickle your arm.

3) Running and running and running is hard, but it is harder carrying back 30 pounds after all the running is done.

4) The muffled voices of grandpa and grandson as they make putty animals on the deck is like the sound of the ocean waves or the rush of the wind in the trees. Very soothing.

5) If you are going to the toy store to pick out a toy you have to be firm that the little one STAYS in the shopping cart. If you give in and let him free, all is lost.

6) Waking up to the sound of a little voice rather than an alarm clock is golden.

7) Bubble baths in the big tub are very wet even if you are not the one getting the bubble bath. And it is very wicked if your daughter puts some "squirty balls" in the overnight bag.

8) The biggest surprise of all this week was that he never got homesick. Sitting on the couch one evening, he asked my why I have my own house. And one other night he asked about his mommy and daddy. But not once did he fell sad or ask to go home. We are heading out late this afternoon to return to his home after a brief appointment and I will miss him soooooo much! I will miss him from the earth to the sun as he says.

9) I do know how to count my blessings.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Alarm Clocks

Sometimes the stars are aligned perfectly, the gods are satisfied with their place in the universe, Mother Earth is taking a little zenful rest, and the golden energies of karma are everywhere...That is the way things were this morning at 7:00 when my grandson awoke and then crawled into bed with my husband and I. His peaceful chatter about the hummingbird outside the window, the bird song in the trees, the plastic snake on the windowsill and various other miscellaneous bits of news were music...the music of temple bells dancing over the bed.

This lasted about ten minutes and then the kid grew 10 new elbows and at least a dozen more knees...ugh. Time for breakfast.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Passing the Time

Company (my kids) should be here in less than an hour. Hubby has harvested the last batch of crab and I am steaming them as I type this blog. I do not like the sound of scratching claws on the inside of the pot so have retreated upstairs to blog and pretend that I am not actually killing my lunch.

I can no longer view videos in either Firefox or Internet Explorer on my PC and decided to try to solve that new and irritating problem. I have upgraded Adobe Flas
h as suggested, cleaned up the tools section of both browsers and still I cannot view any videos. Popups are not blocked and I 'think' I have adjusted anything on my firewall that could prevent me from watching something on YouTUBE and still I cannot view videos. Ach! One of the disadvantages of retirement is that you loose that little group of geeky guys who would most generously stop by and fix my computer. I hate technology and how it wastes ones time.

By the way, the photo above was not a wind vane....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Little Secret

This next week I will be taking care of my grandson, Xman, since his Montessori school has closed for 8 days. My daughter took off from work last week for three days to watch him and when she asked us to take him this week, we agreed. It will save her money and we love the child, so, are more than happy to get geared up for the challenge. He is inquisitive, emotional and self-centered. He is physically active and has no fear. He finds joy in most things but can get quite unhappy when he doesn't get his way. I am guessing that without Dad or Mom or the 'other grandmother' to run interference for him, he will be more amenable to hearing a 'no' now and then.

I have my reservations on his homesickness level as this will be the first time that this 3+ year-old will be away from both parents and his home for at least four nights and five days. I know that it will be a good growing experience, but that does not mean we won't have down times. I am going out to buy some games and videos this afternoon as tranquilizers if needed.

Xman then gets returned on Friday of next week by us. Then my son's girl friend has talked him into coming down on Sunday and spending the night through Labor Day to spend time with us. My Secret is that, guiltily, I did not invite my daughter for this three day weekend as well, because I would really like some adult only time with my son and his girl. Hubby wanted everyone here for that three-day weekend, but I would end up doing most of the cooking and much of the babysitting and wouldn't get a chance for adult exchange and told him that. My daughter and I can rarely complete sentences with each other when both little ones are underfoot! Hubby looked surprised...but then when we have company he is...well, let's just say he doesn't notice why things run pretty smoothly.

I don't really like family politics.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Time is Such a Moving Thing

I have not had much energy nor any ideas for blogging lately, but probably exhausted due to the following activities:

Celebrating my granddaughter's first birthday
Transferring and editing the video and slides I took of my granddaughter's first birthday
Putting in a 30 foot pyracantha hedge to hide the vegetable garden from the front window
Replanting the sod from area where we planted the hedge
Loading and distributing a wagon load of mulch, (free mulch is crap and we won't do that again)

Moving an entire palate of leftover brick to the back of the yard
Meeting with Comcast twice to resolve the issues we are having with the sporadic cable TV connection, the phone connection and the PC...Cause is probably one of the two cables to the house being able to push only 80% of the signal. They said it is because we live so far out in the country and they can't boost the signal anymore. I asked if I only had to pay 80% of my bill, but they ignored me.
I have also managed to squeeze in some housecleaning, laundry, and bill paying.
We are also meeting with a landscape company to put in the back patio under the deck and since they are talking over 10K it will have to go in in stages. They did agree to put in and level that strange fountain we bought a while back.
AND as a reward, I took a short day trip to a lovely east coast beach town and ate lunch in a charming little restaurant and watched the activities on main street.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Blog List is gone

That's all I have to say. I went away for the weekend and the deer did not eat my roses, but blogger ate my blog list.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just Asking

I am going away for the weekend. Can you keep these guys away from my rose bush---and everything else for that matter? (Don't you wonder what they were whispering about before I showed up?)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The City Mouse and The Country Mouse

The majority of my recent adult life I have lived in the suburbs and most recently I have lived in the city...or within walking distance of one of the city centers. I enjoyed the ability to be able to walk to a large movie theater and safely walk home after seeing the movie. I enjoyed being able to walk to restaurants, and even better, being able to visit a large Borders Book store and waste away a Sunday afternoon.

Then we started and finished that epic part of our lives where we built the cliche retirement home in the country. We are so far into the country that,
if I have my bedroom windows open, I hear roosters crowing in the distance in the early morning. I hear strange noises in the night such as large limbs falling from trees in the ravine or screech owls as the dawn breaks. Yes, living in the woods is just as noisy as living in the city.

I love the country, but schizophrenic soul that I am, I also miss the city. I miss the restaurants and plays and museums and little stores for shopping. Last year we learned that our small town, which consisted primarily of a brand new post office, a corner gas station, a liquor store, and the elementary school, was going to build a new shopping center...actually two little centers within a quarter mile of each other. These were not malls, but traditional shopping centers: one anchored by a SuperGiant grocery. It has been exciting watching the one area go up with a doughnut shop, a cleaners, a pharmacy, a steak and ale house, a small exercise gym, a real estate office, a nic-nac shop and a second liquor store among others.

The second and slightly larger shopping area started with a Starbucks! This got me excited but in the year it has been open, I have driven by each time on my way to the post office and not stopped once. This second center, which is just down the road, added the Giant grocery, a Food Shoppers grocery, another cleaners, two pizza restaurants(!), another pharmacy, another liquor store, another doughnut shop--this one with an ice cream wing, two mexican restaurants, one Korean restaurant (totally awful food and terrible service), one Japanese/Chinese restaurant (serving even worse food in a clinical plastic table atmosphere), and a paint store. There are several finished buildings waiting to be leased, but I have long since given up any interest.

Is this a country thing? What economics planning went into this development? This is a rural community, although with a nearby military base and all the resulting contracting companies, a nearby atomic energy plant that is adding another reactor, and a growing community of city retirees---I don't view this as a typical rural community.

I drive by a large dirt filled area behind the new bank and hold my breath while wishing for a movie theater with a wine/beer/cheese bar attached and a little second hand bookstore on the side or a branch of the library which is 12 miles away. I also would love a non-chain restaurant that serves interesting and healthy food.

Yes, I know. If I want all this I should move back to the city.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Getting Ones Work Set Out for Them

My husband is off on a 'business' trip to Hawaii...something that is either winding down or winding up. Anyway, prior to his departure, he picked all of the above that are sitting in glasses of water on the kitchen counter. Various varieties of basil. He then encouraged me to begin the process of freezing this abundance for the winter months when their pungent goodness would be better appreciated. Licorice, cinnamon, lemon...whatevhah! So, tomorrow I head out to find ice cube trays, as I recently gave all of mine away. I also just added all of the pinion nuts to a dessert dish and those would have come in handy for a pesto. Planning is everything.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

An Inventory of Reading

The Big Read motivates a personal inventory.

Bearnaked reminded me of this inventory. The books I have read...some many, many years ago and some as a college assignments...are in bold. Which books have you read? Post this list on your blog!

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkienn
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (Can't remember?)
11. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (80%??)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkienn
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - A.S. Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tabor's Holiday

View from inside the African American Museum

I have had two sets of company visiting and staying back to back last week. (I am really not the social animal that is painted by this blog. I do not attend a church, belong to any clubs (yet), or party hearty on weekends. While no one I know would describe me as an introvert I do seek out the quiet times more often than not. I am fortunate to know some nice people who drop by during the summer months. Actually my husband is the real social butterfly in this finely aged duo.)

Anyway, Mr. Butterfly invited two buddies down for a weekend o
f fishing after the above busy week and I was immediately motivated to conclude that Tabor needed an 'alone' holiday. I headed up to my daughter's house for the same weekend. She was going to be away with family, and I would have the whole place to myself. The tiny house is within walking distance of a metro's ride to the center of Washington D.C. and all of its free and wonderful museums...are you getting jealous?

The famous Smithsonian Castle

Entry to Moongate Garden

I took my camera along and found that I needed this alone time to adjust my viewpoint and to take time for some focused photography. Having seen these outside architectural pleasantries many times, I photographed with a new eye and new angles and then used Paintshop Pro to have fun tweaking away with styles, hues, etc. I personally think they look cool and refreshing in this way...little egocentric gal that I am. You can click on them for a larger view.

Moongate Garden