Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pretty nice if I say so myself. Posted by Picasa

Green Zinnias Posted by Hello

Good morning!

It is 60 degrees this morning and much cooler. I am happy at last. We went to bed last night and both of us thought the other person was going to shut out the lights, so this morning the den is all lit up and the TV, air conditioner and fans have been going all night. It is nice and cool. Kitty should have told us, but she was probably in here watching the late show and enjoying the air conditioning.

No sign of Chuckie. I think the foxes have scared him off. Usually he is in the driveway eating the birdseed at least a few mornings each week, but we have not seen him in a month. The tomatoes are thriving, and it is time to pinch off the suckers. Last year Chuckie ate the tiny tomato plants and we had to plant them all over again. This year they are happily growing an inch a day at least. I planted morning glories to go up a trellis in the back of the house and Martha Stewart green zinnias in front of the tomatoes. We'll see how those work. The seed package sure was pretty.

Not much new today. Looking forward to the Fourth of July weekend and the Boston Pops.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Basil and Lavender Posted by Hello

A window box brimming with rosemary, tarragon, geraniums and snapdoodles Posted by Hello

Flowers love humidity Posted by Hello

Stormy skies Posted by Hello

a spilled drink can put you right over the edge

When the weather is oppressively hot and humid, nothing seems to go right. George and I are suffering through a hot spell. The kitchen is so warm that when you bring the mayonaise out of the refrigerator, the sweat drips off the jar in a minute. He just spilled his drink in the den, and the soda went all over the table. Eating dinner has become a challenge. Trying to have a good time when the inside of the house is over 80 degrees is just--awful. They say the weather will break by the weekend. We just had a few thundershowers, but they didn't help that much. I hate to go on and on about our discomfort, but gah!

We will live through it I'm sure. The countdown for vacation has begun and we will stay home this Fourth of July weekend to pack, plan, and prepare. Woohoo.

I went outside and took some pictures of the lush flowers enjoying the humidity and rain on the deck. We are giving up on this. We're going out for ice cream!

Have a great evening.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Two for the Road Posted by Hello

Two hot petooties

It is warm here in Boston, and I was spoiled by Michael's central air conditioning. Here we have window units which make certain rooms livable, but none are as cool as Mike's house. Poor George suffered all weekend. The storm clouds are brewing and we are doing the rain dance and hoping for some cooler weather this weekend.

I feel as if I am on the blessed downhill slide to vacation time. I work two more days and have four off, and then I work three days and have a nine day vacation at the cabin. Nothing feels so good to me as planning our yearly escape into the North Woods of New Hampshire.

George brought a CD of pictures home from the retirement party that we attended for his good friend. I'm sharing one of the pictures from that evening. We had a lovely dinner and lots of fun with all the people there. It was a nice to remember.

See you tomorrow. Stay cool.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane--home again

My flight leaves at 3 and I am all packed and ready. We are going to have shrimp salad at The Fish Market and then go to the airport. We always fly out of Reagan/National because the other two airports are way too far away. Dulles is about a $75 cab ride from Arlington. I found that out the hard way one trip.

Yeterday we went to the Pentagon City Mall, and somehow, as we were all piling out of Michael's car, my camera in the case must have dropped out of the car. Bye bye camera. Luckily, it was not our digital camera, but a Canon Sureshot that I bought on Ebay because I like the view window. I had just put new film in it, so I didn't have any pictures in it. George's business card is in the case, so we will see if we ever get it back. I think it is unlikely.

We went to Hee Been, the Korean restarant, yesterday, and Mike has now put it on his list of "regular" restaurants he will go to. He loved it and it was very nice, big, great service, and delicious Bibim Bap, with about 14 dishes of appetisers brought to the table of pickles, Kim Chee, fish in hot peppers, vegetables, noodles and assundry other items. We had a great time and I am on my diet today.

Mike and Michelle surprised me with my own copy of World of Warcraft, and interactive game that they play and that a lot of my old friends who have left Everquest now play. They wanted me to have it to play with them too, and it is a stunningly beautiful game. I'm very happy to have it.

Taniko played hide and seek in a black pillowcase all evening and made everyone laugh. She liked it in that dark hidey hole. Cats are so amazingly different. Thunder would not have stood for that for one minute!

I'm happy to be going home to see kitty and George and the tomato plants. The weather is a chance of thunderstorms, and are going to be welcomed since it was excessively hot in Boston all weekend. George is going to get us a bigger air conditioner for the bedroom. He was suffering, while it was really nice in cool in Michael's house. Lucky me.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Have a great day.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Taniko the Ninja Kitty

Originally uploaded by mshea.

Hee Been

Michael and I are google-ing Korean Restaurants in Arlington, and have found the review for Hee Been. We are on a search for Bibam Bap, a Korean comfort food of meat, rice and vegetables. This review looks extensive, and far more interesting than only one dish. If Michelle is ready to go exploring, looks like this may be where we end up.

Today we are going to the Pentagon Mall to shop for an hour or so, to Target to get Michael a new broom (he does not use this as his primary mode of transportation, nor do I), and a kitty hair cleanup-sponge at Petco. We bought a bunch of stuff at Target yesterday and I helped Mike clean out a laundry room. Mom's have to do that once in a while, right? What else are mom's for but to tackle projects that no one else can help with?

We had dinner at Greenfields, where they have an extensive salad bar and everything else under the sun buffet, and then start bringing you barbecued meats on a spit until you beg them to stop by turning over the greenlight, redlight, stick on your table. I actually have to be careful at this restaurant not to overeat, and I did a pretty good job yesterday and left room for a slice of delicious banana cake. My diet starts on Tuesday.

Michael's kitty Taniko entertained us this morning hiding under two black pillowcases on the bed, and wrapping herself up in them and peering out with little black ninja eyes. She was very cute and I don't think I've ever seen a cat liked to be wrapped up like that. Amazingly funny animals, those cats are.

Another day of rest and fun and good food and friends.

Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by mshea.
Taniko, ruler of all she surveys

Saturday morning in Alexandria

I am having a great time relaxing at Michael's house. The weather is beautiful and the kitty is in her bed at the open window checking out the birds and other wildlife. I made scrambled eggs and had a slight disaster with a salt shaker, but they were edible and I added extra cheese to try to make them yummier. We played EQ this morning for awhile and I added a lot of experience to my main character, Ranger Elfauna, and we are not even ready to leave the house yet and it is almost noon. I guess that is what vacations are fun---relaxing and having fun!

Michael wrote an article about journals and for some reason, I collapsed into laughter. It is a good article, and I'm so happy that he is the person he is, interested in all sorts of things and extremely talented. I think I was laughing out of sheer joy in his work.

I read a book called Sarah, by Marek Halter. I am going to send it to my mom because I'm sure she will like it. It is a novel about Sarah and Abraham from the Bible, and was quite an entertaining story. Next I start on a new book I picked up at Barnes and Nobel on Thursday night called The Samurais Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. That is another thing that vacations are good for--lots of reading.

Michael took me to Beadazled, a big thriving bead store in Tyson's Corner Mall and I bought a basket full of strands of beads, individual beads, two boxes of pretty assorted and color matched beads and more wire and clasps. It was quite a haul and I'm really excited to get started in my new necklace business. Mike is going to help me set up a good website, with paypal for the payment option, and we will see how it goes from there. Can't hurt to try. The lady at the store had never seen a crocheted necklace like the one I was wearing and told me to write an article for beading magazines and they would include my web site which would give me exposure. She was a very nice lady, knew exactly how to help me find the beads I wanted, and was very helpful. I had a great time.

Today we are going to a Brazilian barbecue place called Greenfields near Baltimore to meet Michelle for an early dinner. The food just keeps coming there, so we have to go with big appetites. That is another thing vacations are good for--food!

George said the neighbors told him that two mornings they had seen a fox in our yard. Woohoo. Maybe Chuckie the destructive wood chuck will quietly slip away and find a new home. Or maybe the fox is attracted by the fox urine we are spreading around the tomato garden. Interesting.

Have fun today, George. Have a great day everybody.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mommo at Mike's house

Originally uploaded by mshea.
Blog it!

passwords, gah

I almost forgot my password to my blogger account. Amazing how many passwords I have and what kind of mental telepathy is involved in remembering the right one. Seems silly to have them all written down someplace. I think I do have such a list, but I've forgotten where I put it.

The flight from Manchester, NH was great and almost on time. Thank you US AIR. I passed directly over Providence, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore as well as had a great view of the monuments and capitol at Washington DC as we circled slowly over to the airport. It was a beatiful view right up the Eastern seaboard. The plane was not crowded and I had three seats all to myself, a delicious cup of coffee with real half and half, and a nice tidy bag of pretzels. Some days you just gotta be grateful.

Michael is here with me and we are having a great time. We went to dinner at Hops last night and came home to play Everquest together. It was late by the time we decided to call it a night and I had the pleasure of sleeping until nine this morning. A rare treat. Today we are going to Beadazzled in Tyson's Corner Mall in McLean, VA, and I am going to buy some beads and clasps. It is a huge store that I have been to once before and I'm looking forward to a new haul of beads.

The weather is abundantly sunny and nice and I'm going to enjoy the day! Mike wants to find a Korean restaurant because now I have him turned on to Bi Bim Bap too!

Have a great day!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane. On my way to Washington to visit Michael today, leaving all my problems behind. See you soon, Mike! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Posted by Hello

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

I am a little thunderstruck this evening. I found out today that I am being "downsized". My hours at work are being cut from 40 to 30 hours a week. That means I will have one day off, my choice, probably a Friday, and two other hours off of another day. My paycheck will be hit hard. Right now, I'm still reeling from the conversation with management this afternoon. The budget for the non-profit where I work has been hit and they are taking a person or a part of a person from every department in the agency. My vacation days will not be affected but health insurance costs will double is not good news. They assured me that I would be given the biggest bonus they could manage when bonus time comes around, in order to help my bottom line. They said I was gracious, and I guess I was. Immediately I started thinking about making jewelry and selling it and making a tidy profit.

I have a lot of things that are running through my mind right now, but I think I choose to be encouraged and very hopeful that this will be a change for the better. I feel that this may be a really good opportunity for me to turn my talents at making jewelry and other crafts into something profitable. I'm going to set up my own website, start selling on Ebay, and using my time away from my 9 to 5 job to step up to the creativity plate and really try for a run. Why not? Now I can have the free time I have always needed in order to market my jewelry and make a go of it.

I also think that working 30 hours will improve my view of things, since I will have more time to do what I love and more energy to let the creative juices flow. It is a big world out there, and now I'm going to take some time to enjoy it.

More later on this subject when I have my ducks gathered again. Right now all the ducks are scattered all over the place, but soon they will line up in a nice neat row, and I'm sure I will be fine. I am leaving for Washington DC tomorrow to visit Michael and I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'm looking over...

George and I were leaving to run errands tonight, and he called me over to the flower bed to see where his dahleas are coming up. I casually said, "I wonder if there are any four-leaf clovers here." Gadzooks! There was a four leaf clover! And, as my old mom used to say, where there is one there is usually another...and boom...there was another. Here they are in real life pictures! I'm looking over a four leaf clover...that I've overlooked before. A little lucky find.

Four Leaf Clover! Posted by Hello

2nd four leaf clover Posted by Hello

Some mornings you just gotta be grateful

I woke up this morning and realized that I had a wonderful dream last night about dancing at a party with a diverse bunch of folks, including some who I work with. I guess you just have to be grateful for a dream like that, and a good night's sleep. I am up with the birdies this morning, after working until 8:30 last night. The bundt cake, brownies and cookies were a success and even though the caterer arrived late with the sandwiches, it was a good meeting, and a dedicated bunch of people. Today I get three hours of comp time, so I will be home early this afternoon to enjoy the clean house when the cleaning people leave.

George stayed home yesterday afternoon and put up the fencing and the tomato cages to help keep Chuckie out of the garden. So far, the little vials of fox urine are doing their job. We haven't seen much of him this year, so maybe someone else has a nicer garden. The doves are enjoying their birdbath, and we seem to have a whole cadre of them this year. Their soft cooing sound is very comforting, and it is because they like our fresh water and our sunflower seed that they stay around. George is happy to have the goldfinches back eating seed from the high feeder he put on the pole. No chance the squirrels will bother that feeder, which is about 20 feet in the air. Feeding the birds is his territory, and he does a great job of it. We have finches and woodpeckers and jays and cardinals, as well as a thousand sparrows and a few bright yellow goldfinches and their muted mates. The back yard is a busy place.

The weather is sunny and around 80 today. George said that the weather in Washington is going to be great this weekend, and I can't wait. I'm concentrating on packing light and still having clean clothes without doing laundry. Who has time to do laundry when you are having so much fun!

I'm coming, Michael! Woohoo!

Have a great day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The angel at our door Posted by Hello

Some mornings are like that

I am blogging from my desk at work this morning. I work up at one o'clock this morning, and for the life of me, could not go back to sleep. There was nothing keeping me awake but my own thoughts. Finally I got perturbed enough that I got up at three and had a bowl of cereal and half a banana. When I went back to bed I slept like a baby until eight this morning. Late for work, but not by much.

I baked yesterday and brought chocolate chip cookies, a lemon bundt cake and brownies to the office for a meeting tonight. Maybe enough brownies that I get points. I decided that I had the time, I had the lovely big Kitchen Aid mixer, and that I would save the company a little money. It wasn't hard.

Yesterday George went with the kids to see the new Batman movie at the IMAX theatre. He said it was wonderful and I bet it was. I stayed home and watched the US Open Golf Tournament, which was also wonderful. I'm no golfer, but that course looked so hard that it had the best players in the world on their knees at the end. The best man won, a New Zelander named Michael Campbell, but I secretly was routing for Tiger, who was making a magnificent try to win after coming from way behind. It was a nice weekend to bake, watch golf and work on my knitting project. Not much to write home about, but a nice time at home.

Have a great day.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Knitting for meditation Posted by Hello

Knitting and cooking

I finally decided upon a knitting project. I have been worrying about what to knit next. That sounds funny, but it is true. All is not right with the world unless I have a knitting project for my hands to do while I meditate on whatever. I have been thinking about making a sweater in cotton, but cotton yarn is so expensive these days it would cost $100 just to start the project. Mom reminded me yesterday on the phone that cotton is heavy and doesn't hold it's shape in knitted sweaters. She is right.

Yesterday I just gave up trying to find yarn at home I wanted to work with, and went to Michael's craft store and bought some Red Heart yarn called TLC Amore. It is light, fuzzy, nylon and acrylic, and not expensive and I'm making a lacy shawl. The green is a good color for red hair. This also might sound funny, but I've realized that when I start a project I visualize wearing it somewhere. I almost always finish what I start. I am visualizing wearing this cozy shawl at the cabin in July. It is cool in Northern New Hampsire. Whether I actually wear it there, or not, is not the point. It is the visualizing that keeps me going. And the sheer joy of knitting. It is a fun pattern, and I can even take it to Washington to work on. Now I'm happy and the world is going to be fine.

Today I am greeter at church, and then we go to the grocery store to get the ingredients for cakes and brownies I am bringing to work for a Board meeting tomorrow--my idea, and then we have company coming for a cookout this afternoon. George's son and daugher in law are coming to help him celebrate Father's Day. My plan is to let George do the cooking at the grill and I'll keep knitting!

Have a great day y'all.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The necklace I made this morning with glass beads, seed beads and pearlized beads I cut from an old necklace I bought at a tag sale. Posted by Hello

This is Torenia, a flower I have never seen before. It is delicate and looks pretty in a pot on the deck. Posted by Hello

closeup of the clasp which holds the wire wrap made up of five wires twisted together Posted by Hello

This necklace is brown beads, pink irridescent beads, and brown beads with pink polka dots as accent beads. I am going to name each necklace: this one is called Brown Lily Posted by Hello


George and I went to the Sparks open house last evening together. It was fun to meet other crafters, although this one was not so well attended. Afterward we went for out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant near where I work called El Guapo. I had fish tacos and he had a shrimp burrito and it was very good. They had some "through the roof" hot sauce that I loved, but which kept George awake for awhile. Oh well.

I brought my box of 14 necklaces that I have recently made to Sparks for show and tell. They all urged me to sell them, and the owners of Sparks have said that they will be happy to sell them on consignment. Next week I will choose one or two and take them over there. My plan is to have a designer friend of mine set up a website for me to sell crocheted necklaces and earrings. I have to think of what to name it, but my "company" name for designs now is Wildflower Designs and maybe that will be fine.

One idea that I had is to make a picture of different color schemes of beads and accent beads, and then have people special order them. I could use the color wheel as a tool for choosing colors. It takes me about 3 hours to make one, and with the beads, wire and clasps, they should sell for no less than $50 each. A siimpler strand could be $30. I will have to think about how to do this, and maybe talk to Mike about how best to use a web site for this purpose. My friend Diane, the designer, will make it beautiful I'm sure, and it would be an outlet for my creativity. I really love making them and I certainly don't need to wear them all. Although I am learning with each one, and the ones I sell will not have any flaws at all. Learning how to wirewrap all the strands of wire so they don't come loose at the clasp has been an important lesson. Nothing is worse than having little wire ends poking you in the neck at the clasp. I've learned how to finish the edge with a drop of super glue, which holds those tiny wires in their place.

A quiet Saturday here and just what I need. George is off to the flying field to nail down the new rug that they use for takeoffs and landings. He is happy there, and I am happy here, having a quiet morning with kitty, thinking about my next necklace.

Have a great day.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The fun starts now

I'm really happy that this week is almost over. I've been so busy at work, and so stressed about the event last Tuesday, that it has taken me three days to get my head back on straight. When dealing with work and "real" life, balance is key. I am finishing the report on the fundraiser today and we more than cleared what we were suppose to bring in, so it was a great success. The goal was set very high, which for me brought on a huge case of nerves for the past month, and we made it! Yahoo. Time to breathe again. I hate to keep harping on this, but it seems that has been all that is on my mind lately. I look forward to a rest next weekend when I go to Washington DC to visit Michael.

I hope to visit my favorite restaurant in Old Town Arlington, The Fish Market, where they have Annie Mae's Summertime Shrimp Salad--shrimp salad surrounded by strawberries and cantaloup and everything very fresh. I also hope to go to our favorite Japanese restaurant Asaka, at least twice, and to another favorite of Mike's, Hops, which has really yummy cinnamon rolls and other great food. I must be hungry. It sounds like it is all about food. Actually, it is all about "not cooking". I am looking forward to watching some movies, knitting socks, and just relaxing and talking and playing EQ together. This is just the trip I need to get my mind off work for awhile.

Have a great day.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

chocolate ice cream Posted by Hello


The name of our local ice cream place is called Socs. It is an ice cream stand that is very popular with the locals. Since it is only a mile or so from our house, and is on the way to a big shopping mall, we go there a couple of times a week. George and I have found out that if we want a cone that is manageable in size, we have to order the "kiddie" cone for $2.05. It is a huge thing, with a large scoop of ice cream barely able to stand on the cone. Last evening we had double chocolate brownie cones. They were delicious and just the pick-me-ups we needed after a tired day-after the event. They also have delicious slushes in all kinds of flavors like watermelon, canteloupe and peach. Really yummy. Italian ice is popular around Boston, where many Italians settled so long ago, and we have wonderful Italian restaurants and awfully good Italian ices.

A nice treat for a summer night. Even if it is 49 degrees.

Have a good afternoon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Summer is over and winter is here!

Our temperature dropped 30 degrees. Today the wind chill is 46 degrees. It is cold. I have been running around the house closing the windows. Two days ago we were suffering in 90 degree humidity, and today we are wearing sweaters and raincoats. I used to live in Chicago, and the weather there changes every minute, but Boston can boast some pretty wierd weather too.

I am enjoying my leisure time now that the event is over, and I can start concentrating on my two vacations coming soon: visiting Michael and going fishing. Woohoo. The weather will be warm in Washington DC, so I'll need to get out my summer stuff once again. The weather where we go fishing in northern New Hampshire can be gray, rainy and cloudy, or it can be sunny and warm. Best to pack for both.

Flip flop is the fashion in weather as well as footwear these days.

Here I am greeting our guest of honor Posted by Hello

friends of mine as they arrived Posted by Hello

a crowded room of folks watching the program Posted by Hello

Tired but happy

The event was a big success last night. I'm tired today, but already at my post at work. Recuperation will have to come later. I feel that it was a job well done, the pictures will be coming shortly. I'm very relieved that everything went well. Jimmy Tingle was the entertainment for the event, and he was funny and just great. George and I are going to his show at his theatre in Somerville soon. Back to work.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Stress day

Today is a day all about work. I am working on a fundraiser "party" for my organization which takes place at 5:30 this afternoon. Lots of people expected,and many people to introduce to other people. I have to go home in the afternoon and dress up a little. I don't mind doing it in the least, but I can feel the stress. I will be happy when it is over and things can go back to normal.

The heat is taking its toll on everyone. Very high humidity makes you feel like you are wading through the air. There is a liklihood of thunderstorms this afternoon and after the storms are through, the cool moves in. I can't wait.

More tomorrow.
Wish me luck and have a great day!

Monday, June 13, 2005

If you look carfully you can see two doves in the water in the middle of the messy yard. George is in the process of painting the sailboat and the trailer is unsightly. Sailboat for sale: $2500. Posted by Hello

89 degrees, dewpoint 74

Yesterday was a very hot day, and George and I had the devil's own time trying to stay cool. We have two rooms in the house that were livable, and spent a lot of time trying to recover from the heat. We needed to plant the tomatoes, and we had other flowers that needed potting, and we decided to just do it. George dug out the flower bed and we planted the tomatoes, and marigolds and zinnias. Then we put little vials of fox urine around the beds to keep Chuckie the woodchuck out. We also planted dahlias in the front of the house. It was very hot work. We suffered. We drank lots of Gatorade, iced tea, Fruit 2-0 and ice water.

The humidity was the problem, and the sweat just poured off of us. I rather foolishly decided to clean out a few boxes of old stuff from the farm that had been stored in the garage, finding stuff that needed to be donated to the thrift shop, a silver tray which is now polished and in the diningroom and some baskets which will be used outside and then thrown away after the summer is over. This is stuff that I moved over 5 years ago, and most of it I don't need or have room for anymore. We'd do a little work, and then run for the air conditioning.

The birds and squirrels needed lots of water too, and we set large plastic trays out for them that we bought just for this purpose. Who needs fancy birdbaths? The birds were in them all day, and the doves especially loved bathing in them, luxuriating in the water with their wings spread out and jumping in for a splashy bath. It was fun to watch them.

Today is another day of heat and then the storms come and it will be cooler for the rest of the week. I can't wait!

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

What a great win! Posted by Hello

Current events

I usually don't comment on current events, but watching Afleet Alex win the Belmont Stakes yesterday was wonderful. Held back in the crowd until the last 1/2 mile, Afleet Alex let off a burst of pure speed and strength to win it by a mile. It was great to watch. What a horse.

Flowers in the livingroom Posted by Hello