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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anniversary

Today is my anniversary. It was three years ago that I started blogging. Together, Crash, Burn and I have written 807 entries. They have covered many topics from cooking, weather, politics, memories, etc.

I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. I also hope you will look forward to reading them for as long as I keep sharing my interests, observations and complaints about life and the world around us.

Since tomorrow is the start of a new year of blogging for me, Crash, Burn and I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crash's Temptations

Every morning Crash and Burn get some Temptations. Crash usually nags me until I give her some, but I always make her wait until I start my coffee. I drop two handfuls on the floor, one for each of them. Sometimes, Burnie can't be bothered so Crash gets his share.

This morning I gave them some Temptations designed to help their teeth and gums. Obviously, Crash didn't like them and she gave me this look.

She then went over to Burnie's share and gave me a pathetic look.

She just sat there staring at them, probably hoping they would turn into something she liked.


I left them there even though she didn't like either one of them. I guess hunger got the best of her and she decided she had no choice and wouldn't get anything else.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cooking

I've always enjoyed cooking and spent a lot of time looking for interesting recipes and menus and amassed an extensive cookbook collection. Somehow in spite of my collection, until about the last 10 years I've been a very unimaginative cook. I've always done things the way my mother did, bought the same cut of meat, etc.

Then, I started attending events at Cooking by the Book and met several chef/cookbook authors. I was struck by their innovation and have slowly started to get away from recipes and just use my imagination.

About 20 years ago I had tried to make a goose but I received so many objections that I also made the usual roast beef, cut from the top sirloin. A few years ago when I wanted something different for Christmas dinner, I bought a rib roast and followed the recipe exactly (I couldn't make too radical a change). It was delicious. That became our traditional Christmas dinner.

This year it was time for a change. I bought a piece of beef tenderloin or filet mignon. Then I got home and realized that the only way I knew to cook filet mignon was to make steaks and cook them in oil and butter but that didn't seem so festive. I checked out the Food Network and found a recipe by Alton Brown. It was delicious, so tender. I'll never go back to top sirloin.

I'm slowly getting away from my old boring ways. At a time when most of my friends have given up cooking and fussing over their own meals, I'm getting more and more interested in cooking. After all, I'm worth the effort it takes to make a good meal for myself.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weather

I find it hard to believe that only last week I was wondering when my driveway would be plowed. Tonight, most of the snow is gone. It has been raining for about 24 hours washing all the snow away.

At least the snow lasted til Christmas. Everything looked so nice, and the snow was piled so high. Now, it's all gone.

My only consolation is that it is early in the season, there's still a chance for more snow, particularly in February. My husband always took vacation for one week in February since that month seemed to have more large storms that any other month. One can only hope.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Modern Communications

I think I'm entering the 21st Century. This week my son showed me how to set up a Twitter account. After I chose my name (@calicocrash), it was time to choose who I would like to follow.

He expected that I would choose Fox News, Martha Stewart and Bob Vila. He did not expect me to choose Nathan Fillion. He was shocked and asked why I picked him. Little did I know that he has a cult following from TV (Firefly) and movies (Serenity). I didn't know he had done SciFi, I know him from his early career on my favorite (and only) soap One Life to Live and most recently as Castle. This one of my favorite series.

In addition to all the blogs that I follow, I can now get up to the minute news and other information. And I can tweet my friends.

Now I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I just love my computer. Now what new venture can I try next.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

There's no prediction of snow here. We won't have a white Christmas with freshly fallen snow, but there's enough left over from last Saturday to qualify as a white Christmas.


The roads are all clear so driving is not a problem.

It still looks nice, except for a few spots where the plows have also plowed up some dirt, or the passing cars have splashed the slush from the road.

With these pictures of the snow and my tree, I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

And a blessed one too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Yesterday was supposed to be the day of my big family party. The snow cancelled that. There I was sitting around wondering what to do with my evening.

Then I remembered something. Years ago when my son was about 4 or 5 we had a little snow. I bundled the boys up and went out to shovel the sidewalk while they played in the 2 or 3" of snow. When it was time to go in, I said we would have a blizzard party. I made warm hot chocolate and we had some cookies. It was a fun afternoon.

The next week we had snow again. Of course, my son asked for another blizzard party. Everyone knows that when you do something once with a young child, it becomes a tradition and we had another blizzard party.

Late in the afternoon yesterday, I called a few friends and invited them to my house for a blizzard party. Why not, the house was company ready and I had the food. Instead of warm hot chocolate and cookies, we had an adult beverage and lasagna. We have a very good time and commented from time to time that the plows were very busy clearing the street. We even commented on how nice the snow looked.

Finally someone decided it was time to go home. We were all surprised (although I don't know why) to see how high the snow was. The cars were in my driveway and at first there was no problem getting out. Then it happened, one of the couples got stuck in the snow. They tried everything; rocking the car, putting rugs on the snow to provide traction and finally putting some kitty litter around the wheels. That finally did the trick. Then it was time to work on the other car. They got stuck too and tried the same routine. The kitty litter worked again.

I felt very guilty about their getting stuck, it was the only downside of the evening. I think I'll have a blizzard party whenever we have snow, although I don't know if any of my friends will come back.

This is how it looked early in the day yesterday.


This is what it looked like today.






My driveway still hasn't been plowed, but I can take a walk if I so desire since my walkway has been shoveled. I've heard that the major roads in the area are clear so I'll be able to meet my son who has been staying with friends.

Hopefully, it won't warm up too much this week and the snow will still be around for Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow

I've often heard the expression, "Be careful what you wish for" and haven't paid much attention to it. From now on, I think I will.

Let me start by saying, I love snow. There's something so peaceful about it. Almost as much as I love snow, I love Christmas. And, there's nothing better than a White Christmas. I love all the preparations leading up to this holyday -the baking, shopping, cards, decorating, etc. Christmas is a time to reconnect with family and friends.

Today is supposed to be my annual family Christmas party. Because of a mix-up with crossed e-mails, my son made his reservations to come home today, so, because of the party I couldn't meet his plane and he will be missing the party.

If you've heard any of the news today, you know that there is a lot of snow coming down, a lot of snow. I doubt if anyone will make it for the party; I've already had one cancellation. I also wonder if my son's flight will be able to land at JFK, or if he will be diverted to Chicago, Pittsburgh or any other inland city.

So, here I sit, all dressed up with a house full of food and no one (probably) coming. I may just call my friends and neighbors to come over for a "blizzard party".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Travel Plans

Tonight I took time away from my Christmas projects to go to a meeting of our Travel Club. There were presentations on three trips planned for this year - Branson, MO, Italian Lakes and Eastern Mediterrean Cruise and a cruise on the Yangtze River.

I plan on taking the Italian Lakes and Eastern Mediterrean Cruise. We leave on my birthday, so I think that will be a wonderful birthday present. It sounds great. I've never been to Italy or Greece, in fact this will be only my second trip across the "pond". We will fly to Milan, visit Lake Como then travel to Venice where we will meet our ship.

I'm looking forward to taking this trip, with my usual trepidation about flying and the visit to the island of Santorini. The town center is accessible by donkey or cable car. Whichever will I take? I guess I'd better start my diet now so I don't hurt the donkey in case I chicken out on the cable car.

Well, now it's back to reality. Have to do supper dishes and pack the cookies I baked today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

City Fix II

Today I met a friend and we had another City Fix. We met at 10:30 AM and except for lunch we walked and stood until 4:30 PM when we each got our bus. I can't remember when my feet, legs and back hurt so much.

We wandered through some stores and I treated myself to another bottle of Chanel #5, along with the gel and body lotion. Then we made our annual visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is such a beautiful church and it was quite crowded. They weren't all tourists either which is a good sign. When I was in my early 20's my best friend said she always wanted to be married in Our Lady's Chapel at St. Pat's. Last year we saw it and I can understand why Mary Ellen wanted to be married there. She wasn't though.

Before we went to lunch, we stopped at the tree in Rockefeller Center. It's a really beautiful tree, but the daylight doesn't do it justice. Then we went to lunch where we decided to treat ourselves to a glass of Prosecco, a sparkling wine. It was quite good, I'll have to buy a bottle for a special treat.

Then we walked from 50th St. to 34th St., stopping in Barnes & Noble (of course). Neither of us can resist a book store. I controlled myself because I was already carrying Patricia Cornwell's book, Scarpetta which is about 500 pages. But I did see some interesting books to put on my "To Be Read" list.

We wandered around Macy*s for a bit. That is one beautiful store and so large. I think it would take at least a full day to see everything there. Again I resisted buying anything, particularly the pots they had on sale.

Then it was off to the bus terminal, she to her bus and I to mine. I may be sore and tired, but it was worth every minute and sore muscles.

Maybe we'll go back during Restaurant Week which I think will be in February. I should be recovered by then.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Theater

Today five of my friends and I went to the Bucks County Playhouse to see It's a Wonderful Life. Fortunately, we were on a tour so driving wasn't necessary. That was such a relief since it rained all day and sometimes quite hard.

At one point, as we were about to cross over a bridge, we saw several flares in the road and a police car parked on the road. He made no move to stop this big bus from going on. A short distance ahead, other police officers were making drivers turn around on a simple two lane road. When it was our turn, everyone realized that our bus couldn't make that turn so we had to back up to where the police car was parked. We all wondered why he didn't stop us before we got that far, it would have saved a lot of trouble. We then made our u-turn on a slightly wider stretch of road. I held my breath as we made the turn, as all I could see was our bus going off the road and down to the water. Fortunately, we had a good driver.

When we finally got to the restaurant, we had a good lunch in an historic restaurant. After lunch we took a short drive to the theater. The show was quite good, they really stayed with the original story and added some songs.

We all had a good time in spite of the rain, which I was glad was not snow, even though I love it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time for a Party

The other day as I finished the tree and put all the empty boxes away I suddenly relaxed. Even though all my preparations for Christmas are not done, I know they will be done and everything will work out the way it usually does.

With this new feeling, I decided to plan a party for my friends here in the community. I decided on next week. Before I invited anyone, I went shopping for supplies. I picked up more than I wanted to, but I have room in the freezer so everything is OK.

When I got home, I checked my e-mail before I called anyone. There it was. A new e-mail giving a date and time of a meeting that I must attend. Of course, it's the same day and time I wanted to have my friends here.

My party will have to wait until after New Years. Maybe an open house on New Years Day. I'm still thinking about it. I seem to be the only one in our circle that has not had either a dinner or cocktail party and it's about time I did.

Maybe if I didn't join so many activities I'd have time for my friends, but if I weren't in so many activities I wouldn't have so many friends. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hypocracy

Warning, I'm back on my soapbox.

There is a meeting in Copenhagen this week and next to explore ways of reducing carbon emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels used in transportation and other activities. This meeting is being attended by all those who believe in man-made global warming. They want us to reduce our use of fossil fuels to save the planet.

There's one problem with this meeting. The majority of attendees arrived in their private jets and gas guzzling automobiles. There was no carpooling or even planepooling. I guess the need to reduce CO2 emissions only applies to the "little" people. These scientists and other believers in man-made global warming don't have to reduce their CO2 emissions or carbon footprints. They are being hypocritical. Their philosophy seems to be, "Don't do as I do, do as I say".

If they were truly concerned with the temperature of the earth and not their own interests, they would have made arrangements to use commercial airlines and drive cars that don't use a lot of fuel. If private jets and gas guzzling automobiles are good enough for the global warming crowd, they are good enough for me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Adventures of Crash and Burn

I've written before that Crash and Burn don't get along too well. Actually, Burn would really like to get along with Crash, he likes to play. But, as soon as Burnie gets within two feet of Crash, she starts hissing and growling. Then, she usually backs herself into a corner which really isn't very bright.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I came home this afternoon and found them both sleeping or resting on the same chair. I couldn't believe my eyes and had to take a picture or two.

I guess my enthusiasm at seeing them together woke them up, or maybe it was the camera, or even the surprise and praise for their being together. Suddenly Crash realized where she was and where Burnie was. She got prepared to fight.

I guess all good things must come to an end.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Socializing

Last week I was fretting about not having any time and being so socially involved. So, of course, the best thing I could have done for myself was to sit back and not get involved in anything new.

I tried, but there's a new group forming in my community called, "Gals on the Go". I went to my first meeting tonight. It looks like a good group, some want to have discussions, others want to attend cultural events. Next month, we are going to have a demonstration of Laughter Therapy. That should be very interesting.

Some of the members made other suggestions - movies in the clubhouse, the ballet at the Met, a play at a local theater, even some high school productions. I've been to one of the local high schools and the only thing I can say about that was, "Fabulous". But, I've been wondering why the people I knew when I was in my teens didn't have the poise and talent that the teenagers of today have. We might have been the last generation that went through an awkward stage.

Tomorrow, I'm going to a performance of the Jackson Chorus. They come to the community every year around this time. They usually perform a medley of Christmas Carols and celebration of winter songs. Before that, I'm going to a friend's house for pizza and wine. Sounds great.

This community is really beginning to be more social, or is it me. Have I become more friendly and open to new friendships.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Party Time

Tonight was the last of three parties this week. This was the Singles' Party. For the past three years we've gone out to a restaurant for our get together. This year, the committee decided to have it in our Clubhouse.

Initially, it didn't go over too well. The thought of possibly bringing a dish and then cleaning up after the party was just not appealing. So, the committee had the dinner catered and then, they hired a woman to help serve and clean up.

We had a lot of fun, there was a grab bag and a scavenger hunt suitable for the more mature woman. We had to find specific items in our own pocketbooks, and we could sit at the table and search in the bottomless pit that some of us call a pocketbook. I won a scratch-off lottery ticket because I always carry a red and white striped mint. Unfortunately, the ticket was a loser, no surprise there.

As the evening wore on, we all agreed that it was good we stayed in the community. It started to snow, fairly heavily. Fortunately, it wasn't too cold so it didn't freeze. Our first snow of the season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Furniture is Back!

My furniture came back today. Naturally, Crash and Burn were locked up during delivery so that they wouldn't get in the way or escape. When it came time to set them free I was prepared with a water bottle in case they tried to scratch the couches.



Crash was very suspicious, wouldn't even look at the couch. Instead, she just kept sniffing the floor. She seemed to be afraid of the couch. Burnie, dear Burnie, on the other hand looked at the chair, sniffed a little and jumped into it and promptly took a nap.


He just made himself at home.

Later in the day he tried scratching the back of the chair, but I spritzed him.

Eventually, Crash decided the couch wouldn't hurt her so she climbed up next to me and took her nap.

I just hope they'll stay this good, but somehow I doubt it. After all, cats will be cats.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

For as long as I can remember, I've always envied those whose social calendars were full during the Christmas Season. I've read magazine articles giving advice on planning your December in order to avoid stress and enjoy the busy times.

Until recently, I had a very small circle of friends and my family was small. There were never a lot of parties, usually a family visit and a party at church. Not much else. When I was working, there was the Christmas Party and maybe some cookies on Christmas and New Years Eve. We very rarely went out on New Years Eve.

This year is different. I've made a lot friends here in the community and I'm very busy. It seems that this week I've got something to do every day, including three parties. My tree sits in the corner of the room, still bare, my Christmas Cards are still in their boxes, but I do have my stamps. I want to have a party with my in-laws the weekend before Christmas and I just learned that my cousin will be in the area that Sunday and will try to come see me. I also want to have some sort of party with all my new friends.

I just started my Christmas shopping tonight, but haven't even started baking cookies yet. I also want to make some chocolates which I haven't done in many, many years.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming. If it seems like I'm complaining, I'm not really. I think that I'm so surprised that I have so much going on that I have to keep talking about it. Who would have thought that at my age (retired) I'd have such a social life. Although I always said I'm a late bloomer and will be the talk of the old age home.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Disturbed Cats

Crash and Burn are going through a very difficult period.

It has been almost two weeks since the furniture was picked up to be reupholstered. Two very long weeks without a couch to sit on. They are so used to sitting on either side of me when we watch TV. Now, there's no place for them. I sit in my desk chair. Crash is so desperate to be close to me that she lets me pick her up and hold her. Burnie just wanders aimlessly around the house meowing and trying to find his sofa.

They are so disturbed that they aren't getting along. Burnie just wants to play and Crash just wants to growl and hiss. As soon as I go into the kitchen, even if I've just fed them, they want more food. I guess they are a lot like me - eating while stressed.

I think it's going to get worse. I hope to put the tree and all my decorations up this week. I just hope they don't decide to climb the tree.

I really feel sorry for them, but there's nothing I can do. They just don't understand. I hope for their sake the furniture comes back soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dress Code

I am a alumna (Class of 1957) of a Catholic girls' high school in Brooklyn, NY. I was going through some old mail and found the following note in our alumna newsletter.

This was a letter sent in June 1956 by the faculty to the parents of all the students. They were setting the standards of good grooming and correct attire for school.

1. Hats are to be worn, no kerchiefs. In bad weather, woolen scarves may be used.

2. Shoes are to have a heel at least one inch high. Flats, ballerinas or open toes or heels of shoes will not be permitted.

3. Stockings are to be worn at all times. No socks.

4. Light colored blouses are recommended; no sleeveless, transparent or black blouses will be permitted.

5. Pleated and full skirts are good. Straight skirts are permitted if they are not too tight.

6. Make-up is restricted to lipstick and natural or light nail polish.

7. Eyebrow pencil is not permitted except on seniors who are blonde or red=haired and then, in moderation.

8. Hair should be neat at all times and then in moderation; pony tails are for sportswear, not for school. Only seniors may wear hair in a bun.

9. Penalties attached to these violations may include detention and absence from the School Ring Ceremony and commencement exercises.

They end, "Knowing that you too are interested in upholding the high standards of Memorial, we look forward to seeing your daughter in September, consistently well-groomed and in correct school attire".

At the time I felt these rules were too restrictive, but looking back, I can see they gave me the foundation for proper dress in an office - the Corporate look. Now I also know why, when I told people that I graduated from Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, they were impressed, especially on job interviews.

Even after all these years, I'm still reluctant to wear a black blouse or sweater. I never did it, but some of the girls did use eyebrow pencil. They used it to draw a seam up the back of their legs to give the appearance of wearing stockings.

But, I wonder if any school could get away with these rules and regulations.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I just want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.
I live in a very generous community. We have an ongoing collection for the local food pantry. For Veterans Day we had a collection for various personal items for our armed forces. Now, for Christmas, we have a collection for Toys for Tots.

Today I went shopping and thought I'd pick up a toy or two. While shopping and piling toys and books into my shopping cart, I realized (and this is not a nag to a certain relative who may be reading this) that I would be a wonderful grandmother. It would be great to hold and love a child, spoil him, give him everything and then send him home to his parents. I just love shopping for children whether it's clothes or toys.

I'm at that stage of my life where I don't have to worry about being laid off from a job or saving for an education. I have no responsibilities, just myself. It's good not to have those worries, it's too bad I wasn't so worry-free when I was raising my children.

Of the four children between my brother and me, there is only one grandchild. My niece thinks that probably her daughter will be the only one. So, I have decided that she is my "pretend grandchild". I wonder what she would like Santa to bring her.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lidia's New Book

Today I got a new cookbook to add to my collection, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich. I had met her briefly at Cooking by the Book where I used to go for cooking lessons and to meet cookbook authors and chefs. I always enjoyed myself there, but I digress. I also met Lidia at her restaurant Felidia. She is a charming woman who took the time to stop at each table and speak with the diners.

Back to the book. She includes recipes from 12 regions of Italy. She also talks about each region adding some personal notes about her travels there. I was just skimming through the book tonight and some of the recipes look so good. There is one from Trention which I'm very anxious to try. It's a combination I would never have thought of, not that I'm an imaginative cook. She combines tomatoes and apples in sauce to be served with spaghetti. I'm very anxious to try this one, even though this is the time of year for thinking about turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pies, etc.

There are several other recipes that look interesting, like Honey Orange Crumb Cookies, Chunky Apple-Apricot Bread Pudding, Sweet Ricotta Dumplings with Strawberry Sauce. There are also some savory meals to like Skillet Braised Chicken Bundles, Chicken with Olives and Pine Nuts and Beef Braised in Beer (now that looks interesting).

The hardest part of following these recipes is halving them. I don't mind eating the same meal twice in one week, but I really hate eating the same thing night after night after night. And, I certainly won't invite any friends to dinner unless I take a test drive of the recipe.

I can't wait until I have the time to really sit down and plan some dinners using this book. Unfortunately, I'll probably have to wait until after the New Year since this is the time of year for more traditional (to me) foods.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photography

Today we had our Second Annual Arts & Crafts Show. There were quite a few exhibitors, mostly artists in oil, watercolor, pastels, etc. I decided to enter some of my photography.

I've really just started to think I might get some good shots and really don't do much in the way of fixing the pictures. I must admit I did have some good shots - skies, cats, travel sites, etc. And this one.


I was chatting with one of the women there and I commented that I like pictures of roads that just go on somewhere. She agreed and then said she liked the above picture and would I be interested in selling it. I said sure and suggested a price which she agreed to right away. So, I made my first sale. Does that make me a professional photographer? I'm just so excited.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crash Speaks


Let me tell you about the week I have had. Really, it has been a terrible month.

Mom had a cold. I wasn't worried because I knew I wouldn't catch it, because she didn't throw it. But, she had this cough, and she would cough for what seemed like hours. It would wake me up from a very sound sleep. She even coughed in the middle of the night and would wake me up and keep me awake. How rude! Doesn't she know I need my sleep. After all, cats need to sleep at least 20 hours a day.

Then when the cold was over, she hurt her back and couldn't bend. Instead of gently putting my food dish on the floor, she tried throwing it down and it made so much noise I was afraid of what was in the dish. Burnie tried it out and he was OK so I decided to eat. It was better than going hungry.

Then on Monday, she locked Burnie and me in the guest room for a very long time. When she finally decided to let us out, I discovered there was no furniture in the living room. She said it was going to be reupholstered, whatever that means. I hope when it comes back, it will still be good for stretching and scratching.

Yesterday she tricked me with some treats in the guest room and locked us up again and there was a lot of noise and people walking in the attic. We were there all day. I didn't see anything different when she finally let us out.

Today, I'm ashamed to say I fell for her trick with the treats again. She locked us up again. There was still a lot of noise. Mom said we're getting a new water heater and there will be more room in the laundry room and the water would get hot real quick.

I really don't know why she keeps locking us up. I'd really like to supervise these workers to make sure they're doing a good job. Burnie could help out too, he likes to climb the ladder and would go into the attic to check things out.

Well, that's my tale of woe. I hope I don't get locked up anytime soon. I really hate being stuck in the same room as Burnie. He's such a whiner, all he does is cry, like that's going to help.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hot Water

I've decided to take the plunge. Because of the way my house is laid out and the fact that I have no basement, it takes forever for hot water to reach my kitchen and bathroom. I waste so much water and time just waiting for it to heat up.

I've been talking about getting a tankless water heater for some time now. When I was living in the "money pit", the only good thing was that I had instant hot water, there was no water heater, just a coil on my heater. I've been spoiled.

Today the plumber is installing a new gas line for the unit and tomorrow the final installation of the water heater.

I could sound very noble and say I'm making this change in order to save the environment, but that wouldn't be true. I will be saving water and the gas needed to heat 75 gallons of water, but in fact I don't have a good record with water heaters.

I lived in Queens for about 39 years and I must have replaced 5 or 6 water heaters. Believe me, it's no fun turning on the shower in the morning and having only cold water, or going down to the basement to investigate that strange noise and finding three inches of water along the length of the house. After cleaning up and throwing out ruined boxes of stuff, I switched to plastic storage bins, but they didn't stop the floods.

I'm looking forward to again having instant hot water and not worrying about any strange noises coming from the area of the water heater.

Why Vote?

I just read an editorial in The Wall Street Journal which made me wonder, "Why Vote?" It seems that there is a judge, Louis Butler, in Wisconsin who ran for a place on the Wisconsin Supreme Court twice and was rejected by the voters twice.

After he was defeated by the voters in 2000, the governor appointed him to a seat vacated by Justice Diane Sykes in 2004. After four years of his being on the bench, the voters again rejected him making him the first sitting justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in four decades to lose a retention election last year.

Here are two of his cases. In Ferdon v. Wisconsin Partners, he dismantled the state's limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, the kind of tort reform that had worked well for the state (taxpayers). In Thomas v. Mallet his decision allowed "collective liability" in lead paint cases, making any company a potential target regardless of whether or not they made the paint in question. His nickname when he was a public defender was "Loophole Louis" since he was considered to be soft on crime.

Mr. Butler's nomination is a slap in the face to Wisconsin voters. They will be stuck with Mr. Butler for life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Statistical Errors

I just heard on the news this morning that some of the job statistics that the government has said are wrong. According to recovery.gov, thirteen different congressional districts in the state reported receiving stimulus funds as of September 30. Montana has only one federal congressional district.

The recovery.gov site was set up in February, 2009, with a budget of $84 million to operate for two-and-a-half years, according to Ed Pound, director of communications for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board which oversees the site.

Mr. Pound said his organization is accurately reporting the information that recipients provide. He said in some cases it appears recipients are entering the wrong congressional districts in their reports. The independent organization's mission statement reads, in part, "To promote accountability by coordinating and conducting oversight of  Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and to foster transparency on Recovery spending  by providing the public with accurate, user-friendly information..."

As soon as I heard this report, I thought about a movie from the forties. This movie, An Apartment for Peggy starred Jeanne Crain (remember her?). She played a young (19) wife whose husband is attending college on the GI Bill. Miss Crain's character was very fond of quoting statistics, unfortunately her statistics had no basis in fact. She said that most people don't question them or you and it made her sound intelligent.

This also brings to mind something the good Sisters said way back in grammar school. They told us, "Remember, figures don't lie, but liars do figure". Just something to keep in mind when we are given statistics.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Cats & Furniture

Poor Crash and Burn!

I decided that my furniture was looking a bit ragged. The upholstery is a loose weave which didn't matter too much when I had Midnight, a declawed cat. After Midnight died, I inherited Crash and Burn. Unfortunately, they still had their claws and were about 3 and 4 so they were too old to be declawed.

I was very permissive with them in the beginning because they had been through so much, being taken from one home to my home in NY and then the long ride to my new home in NJ. As a result, they scratched the furniture. They kept scratching until I bought an outdoor mat and put it in the house. Now, they scratch the mat, Burnie sometimes uses his scratching post.

When I lived in NY, I had a white sofa bed in the guest room. Here I have a real bed in the guest room so the white sofa bed has been in the living room, along with the aqua couch. A white couch doesn't belong in a living room, especially when you have two cats, one of which is black. I decided to make everything in the same color family and was about to get slipcovers. I hadn't realized that slipcovers cost more than reupholstery so I went for the reupholstery.

They came to take everything away today. Naturally the cats had to be locked up so they wouldn't get in the way or go outside. They were so confused when I let them out. Crash looked at this little piece of paper as if thinking, "Did the couch shrink?"

Burnie was just confused. He looked all over for his favorite couch, but it was nowhere to be seen.


Burnie had to check out the mattress, then got his claws caught and had to be helped.



They're still very confused. I moved my office chair into the living room. We still have the ottoman for one of them. I also moved a kitchen chair for the other to sit on while watching TV. It will be at least 3 weeks before I have my furniture back, I hope they adjust, and don't start scratching the new pieces when they get here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Civil Trial for 9/11 Mastermind

I'm sure by now you've heard about the latest slap in the face by the administration to citizens of this once great country. While the president is conveniently out of the country yet again, the attorney general has announced that the mastermind of the 9/11 ATTACKS in New York City, along with others at Guantanimo, is going to get a civil criminal trial in New York, just blocks away from Ground Zero.

The "reasoning" behind this idea is that it was an attack on civilians, not military and they deserve justice according to our constitution. Why won't the leaders in Washington accept that it was AN ACT OF WAR, not a criminal act (although it was a crime against humanity). They don't deserve the rights of our constitution, they should get a military trial, the same as any soldier. This way, they will get what they want, a chance to air their propaganda and hatred of the United States. Why won't the administration accept the fact that some muslims are at war with us.

It may seem farfetched, and I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that declaring the 9/11 attacks as a civil crime, not the act of war that it was, along with the attack on the USS Cole will pave the way for a pull-out of Iraq and Afghanistan on the basis that there was no justification for our being there. After all, the members of Al Quaeda and Bin Laden are just poor misunderstood people and we shouldn't pick on them.

As a result of this move, we will see more attacks on our country. We saw one just last week at Fort Hood by a self-proclaimed soldier of allah. Of course, there are some who think that person is just a nut and not a terrorist.

While these attackers don't wear uniforms, they ARE enemy combatants or freelance soldiers intent on destroying us and our way of life and our freedoms.

I can't wait for November 2012 when I can vote that person out of our White House.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Question

I have a question that has been bothering me for some time now. In all the discussions about the cost of the democrats socialized medicine bill I have heard that most of the cost would be taken care of by weeding out the waste and fraud in Medicare.

My question is this. If you know about waste and fraud why haven't you looked into and stopped this before? Why aren't you doing something about it now? Why wait until the bill is passed?

I really wish someone could give me a good answer to these questions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Arnistice/Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. It's a day to remember the veterans of all the wars. It used to be called Armistice Day.

Armistice Day was a reminder of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. It was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I remember being in a department store with my mother on that day because there was no school. One of the sales people came over to us asking us to observe a minute of silence to remember the events of that day and those who were killed in the war. It is still observed as Armistice Day in France.

How times have changed. Now, it has become Veterans Day, but unfortunately to many people, it's just a day for sales. There are some though who show their appreciation. I heard on TV that Appleby's and Outback are offering to let veterans and active duty military have free meals. What a nice way to show appreciation for all that they have done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I FOUND IT!

The cough medicine, that is. I can't believe it. There it was, at eye level, in my pantry. I opened the door last night to get a can of cat food which I have done twice a day for the past year, and staring me in the face was the cough medicine.

I knew it would turn up in a very obvious place, but I really don't know how I missed it. Could those rascally cats have been trying to trick me? Did they hide it for a few days, then bring it out last night? I've been in that closet every day, sometimes more than once and it was just at eye level! This is something out of The Twilight Zone. Could the ghost of Rod Serling be playing tricks on me?

Most of my severe coughing fits are over, but I still need it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Wall

Today is a very important anniversary. This is the day, just two years after our President Reagan made his famous speech, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!". that in 1989 travel restrictions were lifted between East and West Germany, paving the way for a reunited Germany. The people were so happy that the restrictions had been lifted that they went to the various border crossings and demanded that the border be opened.

I don't know why, but I do remember that I was in my car, alone when I heard the news. I surprised myself because I cried. I didn't cry when Kennedy was shot, or later when the Twin Towers were attacked, but I did cry that day in 1989. Maybe they were happy tears for the people who could now visit relatives in the East or West; but they were also sad tears for the 192 people who were killed trying to escape conditions in East Germany.

A few years later, while visiting the Intrepid I again surprised myself because this normally calm and nondemonstrative person was so excited to see a large panel from the wall. It's a wonderful symbol of a people's imprisonment in their own country and their ultimate freedom.

Our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to represent our country at services in Berlin. It's a shame that the leader of the greatest country in the world is too "busy" to attend these services and celebrate the freedom of the German people.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Two Presidents

Yesterday I heard that on Friday night, President and Laura Bush secretly visited and consoled those wounded in the Fort Hood massacre. They wanted no publicity and spent considerable time with the wounded personnel at the Post. I'm sure that if you watch any other channel except Fox News, you will not hear about this visit.

Contrast this with President Obama who addressed the nation the day of the massacre. Instead of directly addressing this attack, he spent two minutes recalling the conference he just attended, he thanked members of his staff for setting it up, he greeted members of his audience and relished the applause of those attending. Oh, by the way, he mentioned the massacre and offered his condolences to those wounded and the families of those killed.

It will not be until Tuesday when there will be a memorial service that he and Michelle Obama will travel to Fort Hood and have numerous photo ops. I guess he's too busy shoving the health care bill down the throats of 85% of the population who are happy with their care to make the trip to Texas without benefit of cameras.

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this massacre.

Can you tell me which president has more class.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lost and Found

I love my house except for one thing. I simply don't have enough storage space. I'm always sticking things in unrelated little nooks and crannies around the house.

A few months ago I was looking for my compote so I could make a nice centerpiece. I looked all over the house. I didn't remember breaking it, but it wasn't in any of the usual places. I knew I hadn't brought it to anyone's house with a dessert. I just couldn't find it.

Today I was looking for a bottle of cough medicine which I bought a couple of weeks ago. I had bought two bottles, used one and put the other on the side. I've looked in all the closets, the medicine closet (the most obvious), even the laundry room. I just can't find it. I know I'll find it in an obvious spot just as soon as I'm over my cough or buy another bottle.

However, I did find my compote. It was in the kitchen (what a silly place for it) in a cabinet that I rarely use because I'm short and it's tall. My mother always said, "When you look for one thing, you find another".

Let's see what else should I look for so I can find my cough medicine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cookbook

Our cookbooks are in and look pretty good if I must say so myself. Everyone is very impressed. I can honestly say it was easy, especially when compared with about 10 or 20 years ago.

The other day I was speaking with a woman in the clubhouse. She said that many years ago she had worked on a cookbook. Everything had to be typed a certain way, then printed, then they had to do the layout and send everything to the printer. All we had to do was type the recipes on a form, decide on certain designs, prepare our cover and e-mail our account to the company, they did the rest.

The first couple of days, we had a hard time keeping up with the customers, but it has slowed down lately. Last night, we didn't have any customers. I tried telling them that it was Volume II, but they didn't believe me. I really don't know why.

We'll be there today, then I think I'll take a week off before the next big sales pitch. We've sold half and at least will cover our costs. I haven't bought any yet because I keep thinking of people I want to give it to. Cheap gift.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Neighborhood

The other day when I was working at the clubhouse a woman wanted to check on the time of an event that her husband was attending. When she told me his name, something clicked. I mentioned that there was someone at my grammar school with the same name. She didn't think he was the same person since they came from a small, little known neighborhood - Cityline.

I said that was where I was talking about. I asked her where she lived, and found out she lived around the corner from me. She didn't recognize my name or my brother's name, but would talk to her husband.

It's so nice to meet someone from the neighborhood. I was feeling left out, there are so many native New Jerseyans and Staten Islanders here that I gave up on finding anyone from Woodhaven or Cityline.

It's a small world.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cancelled Plans

I am so disappointed.

Yesterday I was supposed to drive to my friend in Queens, then go to her friend's home in Manhattan, the Village to be exact. This is an annual event, a party to watch the Village Halloween Parade. Her apartment overlooks the route of the parade so no matter the weather and crowds we always have a great view.

The reason for my disappointment? This is my third cold this year, it's lasted two weeks and I'm getting fed up with being under the weather. Fortunately, I'm not very sick, just a horrible cough. When I get a coughing fit, I could empty an entire subway car in two seconds, it sounds that bad, especially with all the paranoia about the swine flu or H1N1 virus to be politically correct. We wouldn't want to insult all those pigs.

I was so looking forward to visiting with my friend. And the party at her friend's house is a lot of fun with lots of interesting people. And, of course, the subway ride into the city and the madhouse atmosphere returning home.

I know I sound strange, but there is a certain excitement about the city that I can't forget about. Living in the suburbs is different, and living in a gated community can be a little boring. You never see any strange people or stray dogs and cats wandering around.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letting Go

I think of myself as a very controlling person, no one can do a job as well as I can. This attitude doesn't endear me to many people. It's just the way I am. I'm trying to change, but it's very hard.

I do think I've come a long way. When my son was almost a year old, my husband and I went to Washington, DC for a three day weekend. We had asked my mother to come over and stay with the baby. I really showed my true colors that weekend. I handwrote about four pages of instructions on taking care of my baby, even though my mother had raised two children without any problems and she was familiar with my son and his habits. My mother took it very well, I don't know if she really followed my instructions or not, but everyone survived and had a good time.

All this is background for the present time. I've mentioned before that our Singles Club was preparing a cookbook for the community. I typed most of the recipes because it was easier than telling anyone else how to do them. Now that we've gotten the book published (and it looks great) it's time to sell it. We've set a table up in the lobby of the clubhouse at certain times, and, of course, I'm there most of the time.

This afternoon another woman and I were there. Business was slow and I had a lot to do at home, so I left her in charge and went home for an hour. When I got back, I saw that she did very well, everything was right.

Good for her, but bad for my ego. It's not easy to let go, but I think after all these years, I'm finally learning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crash and Burn

This past week Crash has been either more afraid of Burnie or really mad at him. When he comes near her or even past her, she runs away and starts hissing and growling. That's really disturbing at night when I'm trying to sleep.

Then, two days ago, she started moping around, so I isolated them. If one is sick, I don't want the other to get sick. She's doing much better so today I'm trying to let the two of them have the run of the house. They should like that, now they have two litter boxes to play in.

I really don't know why Crash reacts the way she does. She usually loses any fight they have and Burnie is really the most gentle cat I've ever seen. All he wants to do is chase her around the house and play. But she backs herself into a corner and starts hissing. She now has two scratches on her nose. How I wish they had been declawed when they were young and it's too late now (she's 8 and he's 7).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Say Yes to the Dress

I almost hate to admit it, but I've become a fan of the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress. I started watching just to see the dresses, but now I've become involved.

I know times have changed, but I didn't realize so much had changed, or maybe my friends and I were different and more independent from everyone else. The brides who appear on the show bring too many people to help them pick out a gown. When my best friend got married, I went with her because her mother was ill. We were the only ones. When I got married, my mother was the only one with me.

Too many people can spoil the day. I've seen brides try on a gown and they glow. They are so happy they can't wait to show it off. Then the "friends" see the gown. That same happy bride suddenly becomes unsure of her decision because one or more of the friends don't like the gown. Could they be jealous? There was one episode when the bride, a twin, brought her mother, her twin sister, her bridesmaids and I think even her future mother-in-law. No matter what dress she tried on, no matter how good she looked, no matter how much she liked the gown, her twin put on a face and complained about each gown. You could see the bride getting sadder and sadder as the day wore on. Of course, they left without buying a gown. I really feel sorry for some of these girls/women. They don't have enough confidence in their own opinion or feelings that they can be swayed by someone else. And their "friends" should think about the feelings of the bride before they criticize the gown.

I'm also surprised by the wedding gowns. Most of them look more like formal gowns and in another color could be worn anywhere. The prices are amazing too. I know prices are higher now than they were 45 years ago and, of course, salaries are also much higher, but wedding gowns are definitely much more expensive now. When I got married, my gown was one of the more expensive ones - $250, about twice my weekly salary. I've seen gowns for $10,000. Now, unless you are an executive, I don't see how you can spend that much on something you wear only once. Call me old fashioned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flu Shot

Many, many, many years ago I got my first and only flu shot. My company was giving them out, so I decided to give it a shot. I got the shot on Friday and on Saturday I was sick, sick for a week.

Ever since then I have avoided getting the shot and also avoided the flu. This year, since I was sick at the beginning of the year with "flu like symptoms" and again a few months ago with the same symptoms, I decided not to push my luck any more. Our activities director had arranged for the Visiting Nurse Service to come in and give flu shots. I signed up.

Then I started hearing stories about adverse reactions and I had second thoughts. Last Monday was the day for the shots and - I forgot all about it. I never got the shot, and it's a good thing too. On Tuesday, I woke up with a nasty cold - coughing, sore throat, etc. I know it's just a cold, I checked and compared the symptoms of cold vs. flu, but if I had taken the shot, I would have blamed my cold on the flu shot.

Now I have a problem. When my cold is gone, do I get my flu shot or do I just go my merry way and press my luck. How about you, have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Sky

Last night, I guess it was around 6:00, I looked out my kitchen window and saw this sky. It was so unusual, I just had to take some pictures. I don't remember ever seeing a sky like this. The clouds seemed to be dashes with bits of the fading sun poking through.





Then I went out front and saw this sky. This one looked like a giant spaceship coming down. I'm sure there's a very scientific explanation and name for this sky, but I like my explanation. Remember the movie Independence Day? The sky looked like that.


And just to the east of this dark cloud, the sky looked like this.

All those changes in a short time and distance. Amazing!
.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fox News

I've been listening to the sound bytes on Fox News regarding the White House attacks on the network. I will admit that I'm a fan of Fox News and not a fan of Obama. I felt that the president was wrong to have his aides, along with himself, attack the network. To me this is very immature and unprofessional.

Ever since he has been inaugurated, Obama has been whining about one thing or another, the most common being that he has "inherited the mess". It might not have been so bad if he had spent some of the last two years in the job as senator that he was elected to. Now, he has taken to whining about the criticism from Fox News, he even has been so childish as to not appear on any of Fox's Sunday shows when he was making the rounds of the other networks a few weeks ago.

I decided last night to check out the coverage of this story on MSNBC to get their slant. To my great surprise, they believe that the president is making a mistake with this "war on Fox". Many democrats believe that the president and his staff should have nothing to do with Fox, even though they have many independents and moderates in their audience.

I was even more surprised when I read the comments on this article. So many of them were pro-Fox.

I'm concerned that the president and his staff are working so hard to discredit a network whose commentators disagree with the president's agenda. Is the president trying to silence dissenters, or just control the news? Is this "war" intended to discourage other commentators, or newscasters from questioning the White House? Or is this just a diversion to take attention away from the health care debate, the economy and the coming climate treaty that the president may want to sign in Copenhagen.

So many questions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ahh! Qiet

Here's an update on my latest uninvited houseguest. The cricket is gone.

Last week, I saw Crash staring at the floor in the hall to my bedroom. The cricket found his way out of hiding and seemed to be heading to my room. That would have been awful. I got a tissue and picked him up and threw him away.

While Crash is more of a lover than a fighter, I'm glad she's at least a pointer. And now, the house is finally quiet, no more chirping

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Sculpture Garden

Last week some members of our photography group traveled to the Garden of Sculpture in NJ. It's a large park containing sculptures of many kinds. There are some very modern, some that just make you scratch your head and wonder what the artist was thinking and some that are a surprise.

Here are some of the puzzling and modern ones.





After you've seen some of these, you wander into a more serene, wooded area. There are surprises around every turn. At one point, we came upon the following family scene, complete with an artist capturing the characters in oil.



There were others, like this mother and child resting and enjoying the view.


Then there was this, the lovers. I don't know whether they are embracing in a joyful "hello", or in a tearful "goodbye".


While there, I couldn't resist the urge to get some pictures of nature. I saw this duck, just hanging around in the lake. Every time I tried to snap his picture, he turned around to preen himself. It was very frustrating.


Persistence paid off and I finally got a better shot of him.

Then there was this tree. It didn't look like much from a distance, just a dead tree, but up close, it was very different.



At the end of the day, we saw this and I couldn't resist. I call this "Men at Work".


They were bringing another piece of sculpture and preparing to set it up. I wonder what it will look like when they're finished. Oh well, another excuse for a road trip.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Food and Parties

Today I went to the 65th birthday party of a friend. She had invited a lot of people, did all the cooking for the main meal. Some of us brought appetizers.

I made my spicy sausage balls. Last night as I was making them, I sampled a few, then decided to make another batch. Today as I was warming them before the party, of course, I had to check to see when they were hot enough. I really didn't have that many and I brought a lot to the party. I'm proud to say that they were a big hit. There had to have been at lease 70, but there were gone within a half hour. They really are that good.

Later in the day, I did something that I have long criticized my in-laws for. Whenever I have a family party, there is a mass exodus right after the food is served, sometimes even before dessert. As a result, whenever I have a party, I always push the time for food a little bit later each time.

Well, tonight, I did just that. Dinner was delicious, the birthday cake was spectacular, but shortly after I had the cake, I decided it was time to go home. The in-laws have rubbed off on me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weather and Food

Yesterday was cold and rainy. There was a chill in the air. I had to go to the store for some ingredients for a dish I'm making on Sunday. Walking through the parking lot, I got the idea that it's a perfect day for soup.

So, the trip to the store for 4 ingredients wound up costing much more. I was wandering back and forth between aisles. First, I had to see if they had chicken wings. Once I got the wings, I had to go back to produce for celery. Then, in the frozen section, I saw mixed vegetables, then back to the meat section for some beef for soup.

With all this back and forth, I met a woman doing the same thing. She'd pick up something, then realize she needed something back on the other side of the store where she started, back and forth, back and forth.

Anyway, when I got home, I froze the beef, but made a huge pot of chicken soup. And, it was delicious. Now, all I have to do is warm up some for the next four or five nights since there's no room in the freezer.

And, yes, I did remember the items I needed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good News

I'm happy to report that the management of The Oaks, the apartment complex in Albany, Oregon has come to their senses. They have rescinded the ban on the flying of our American Flag.

Good for them! I guess they didn't like the negative publicity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time for my Soapbox

What has happened to free speech in America?

I just heard that just two days after the insurance industry has come out against the Baucus bill, Sen. Schumer of NY has made public and claims that he has been trying to rescind the anti-trust protection of the insurance industry.

There's an apartment complex, The Oaks in Albany Oregon which has banned the flying of any flag while they are flying a large flag advertising their two bedroom apartments. They will allow no other flag, including our own American Flag. The complex manager feels that a resident's right of free speech should not interfere with another's right of peaceful enjoyment (where is such a right granted in our Bill of Rights). One resident is facing eviction over his flag while his son is getting ready for a third tour in Iraq. The ACLU won't get involved because it is private property. Isn't this America, shouldn't we fly our own flag?

About a month ago Humana, one of the biggest private insurers sent customers a letter warning them about the pending health care reform legislation. Humana said that if Medicare Advantage funding gets cut, millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of their benefits. Then the federal government basically issued a gag order on Humana and any other company that communicates with its clients on this issue. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ordered a "cease and desist" order on all of Humana's health care mailings until an investigation of Humana is completed.

Then there is the case of Rush Limbaugh's possible bid for the St. Louis Rams. Al Sharpton quickly wrote a letter to the NFL commissioner requesting a meeting to show why Rush should not be allowed to buy the Rams because of a comment he made a few years ago. As you all know Al Sharpton is such an upstanding character. Does anyone remember Tawana Brawley? She claimed she was raped by six white men and Al immediately came to her defense against the white men. He can still do whatever he wants. He still believes her, although this was proven to be a hoax. I think if Rush Limbaugh has the money to purchase a football team with an 0 and 5 record, he should be allowed to.

The latest outrage (in my opinion) is the attack on Fox News by the administration. The president has previously made snide remarks about Fox, but now they seem to be declaring war on the network. I fully expect to hear about an investigation into Fox and their various commentators. We need to hear both sides of the argument and opposition to the administration.

Again, what has happened to America and our right to free speech?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Out of Control Bidding

On Sunday I attended a brunch and silent auction for the Susan J. Koman Foundation. I went around putting in my bid on several articles.

On one collection of cookbooks, I saw that a friend was topping my bid each time I entered one. When the bidding reach $20, I decided to let her win. Wasn't I generous? I learned a few things through the years of attending silent auctions. Near the end of bidding, I went around and added my bid for the items I really wanted.

I didn't realize how many times I did that. I wound up winning 12 baskets. I won teapots, tea, lots of coffee, some mugs, some cookbooks and a set of six wine glasses with decanter. I was quite surprised when I opened the basket of wine glasses, I only expected two glasses. What a bonus. There was also a bonus on one of the coffee baskets - five cards for a complimentary 12 oz. beverage.

Unfortunately, I didn't win the grand prize which was a $500 gift certificate for a bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ. That would have been nice.

Oh well, as it was, I had to have several people move my baskets to the parking area so I could load the car. It's a good thing I have such a big car. I haven't gotten the final figure, but I'm sure they raised a lot of money. And, it's a good cause.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Museum, Part II

It was my good luck to go to the museum when they were having a special exhibition of the work of Johannes Vermeer. The focal point of this exhibit was The Milkmaid. It really is a masterpiece. The colors were so strong. I particularly liked the details like the Delft tiles on the right hand side and the stitches of her dress.




Again, I'm amazed at the age of this painting and the age of the artist. Vermeer was about 25 years old when he painted this. It was done around 1657, and has survived to this day. Amazing!

As I was walking into another room, I saw and (I'm proud to say) recognized the Burghers of Calais by Rodin. This is a relatively new work (compared to others I saw), having been done in 1888.


I saw some others, but I neglected to make note of the artists. I just liked the scenes. That's one of my faults in photography, I just shoot and don't make note of the subject.

This scene reminded me of my vacation last year. I cruised on a barge through Alsace-Lorraine.


I really liked this ice scene since winter is my favorite season.

Some of these pictures are a little off-center, I couldn't get a good angle because there were people who were studying the work.