Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Power Dressing, Indeed!

I came across this story and I am still laughing. Be careful how you dress!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted. This week has been nuts here with playing end-of-the-pay-period catch up! That's what happens when you do things like go to bluegrass get-togethers and go fishing instead of working! Well, it's caught up now, and this pay period I won't get behind. Actually I'd like to stay ahead if possible, because Jerry said that he would like to go look at property in WV sometime in the next couple of weeks. We are both getting antsy now. We had not planned to be here another winter, but sometimes things don't work out the way you planned them! I'm sure there's a good reason we're still here, even though we may not realize it, but we do have faith that we'll be put where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there.

We finally sold the property we had for sale in WV. We weren't in any hurry to sell it and so we stuck to our asking price, which we eventually got. We used the proceeds to finish paying off the Tahoe, so now we're just down to the mortgage and Jerry's trailer, and that will be paid off at the end of this week. The mortgage will take a little longer! We are slowly but surely paying off everything so we have more funds to buy a house in WV with and can be mortgage-free there. It would be even nicer if the month-to-month stuff around here wasn't so expensive! Last month's electric bill was $270.00. I guess because of the air-conditioning (it's energy efficient, don'tchaknow!) Energy efficient, my eye.

Buddy the bird has officially become part of our household. Andy and I took the sign down. We didn't get any more calls on it, and he was very quickly endearing himself (herself?) to us. He now says "Heeeeere, kitty, kitty!" very nicely! Sometimes if he can't see us he'll either start squawking or shrieking, or laughing like a maniac until he can see someone! Today Tom had band practice downstairs and for some reason every time the drums started, Buddy would shriek "HELLO!" He has developed the disturbing habit of making a distinct belching sound that sounds suspiciously like Tom! I can live with that, but I definitely made it clear that the bird was NOT to be taught any foul language! The family just laughs when I tell them that, though, and it makes me cringe to think of what "language lessons" might be going on when I'm not around!

Well, enough blogging for now. Got another busy day ahead.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Uncle Jim's house.

One of the bands playing.

Cousins Lisa, Jon and Amy.

Uncle Jim, (their) cousin Nick, and Dad. They are all so much alike that it's scary!

Alyssa, Collin and Matthew having fun in the moon bounce.

Mike, Sherri and Mike in the room with the desserts - funny how we kind of congregated there!

One of the bands is playing under the canopy.

Crossing over the river before Harper's Ferry.

Aunt Dot (Jerry's Dad's sister), and Jerry's mom.

A Wonderful Day

Yesterday was a wonderful, relaxing day. We went to Uncle Jim's house for his annual bluegrass get-together. We had never gone before and I'm so glad we went this year. It was great seeing relatives, some for the first time, and seeing cousins I haven't seen in 20 years or more.

I had printed out directions from Yahoo! maps on the internet, but they neglected to tell us that the "Potomac Street" they had us go down was through the historic Harper's Ferry park and literally down through the woods. We had just crossed over a train track and went down a slight hill and then there were - woods. And nothing else that we could see. Just as we were beginning to turn the truck around, we heard a train whistle and then the warning lights started flashing. We got turned around just in time to watch a train passing roughly 10 feet away from us. It was pretty scary. When we got out of there, we saw a park employee directing traffic into a parking lot, so we stopped and asked directions. We showed her what we had printed and she said that yes, believe it or not, the road we got on after the railroad track actually was a road and went through the woods! But thankfully she said there was a much easier way to go, and so we went that way. You'd think Yahoo! would have at least marked it the "scenic" route or something! Boy, was it scenic!

Tom, Jerry's aunt and mom ended up not going with us. Tom was sick when he came home from work Friday night and felt terrible and spent the day resting and taking medicine yesterday. Yesterday morning shortly before we were going to leave, Jerry's mom called and said that Jerry's aunt was sick, too. We stopped by on our way to pick up lawn chairs that we were borrowing from them and to see Aunt Dot before she left today to go back to California. She was really disappointed because she wanted to go with us. She said she felt well enough to go, but Jerry's mom wasn't sure about having her out all day instead of resting, especially since her flight to California today has a 2-hour stopover in Dallas and today will be a long day for her before she gets home. So, it ended up just being the three of us. Tom is really hoping they have another one next year because he was also disappointed that he didn't go. Uncle Jim had originally said that this was their last one, but then yesterday he said they might do it again. I hope so.

Andy had a great time. He really enjoyed the music. The bands that played had some CDs for sale there, and Andy bought two for himself. He listened to them on the way home and again last night. Andy and I were just walking around the yard when we heard music. One of the bands was playing an impromptu concert in the parking area, all by themselves. Andy wanted to stay and listen, and they didn't mind, so he got a private concert! Andy was amazed at how wonderful the music was, with no electricity involved! Now he has a new enthusiasm for his violin, as he intently watched the fiddle player, and now insists that he MUST have a banjo to learn to play!

Anyway, it was a great day, and it's hard getting back into "regular" life today. I feel like I just want to do nothing and listen to Andy's CDs today, but I can't - I didn't get to the apple butter on Friday, and so now I really have to do that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Catch of the Day

Andy and I had a great day today. We went crabbing and fishing in Solomons. I had been reading on the DNR reports that the crabs were plentiful and the fishing was good. Today must have been an off day! We caught exactly one crab, and that's it. We were there about five hours, too. Four elderly people in a boat pulled up close to the pier and asked Andy if he would like the fish that they caught, so even though we didn't catch any ourselves, we still got fish. I had told Andy that if he was going to fish, that he was also going to learn how to clean a fish. I also decided that this was something I should learn how to do, too, as I've never done it before. One of the houses we have seen online in WV is on a river - a stocked river - and cleaning fish would probably be a useful skill to have there! I can now say that I have cleaned fish. It's really not so bad. Andy didn't get off to such a great start, though! We were doing this in the kitchen (probably not the best place to clean fish, but we were using directions in one of my wonderful, old cookbooks). Just as he was slicing the bottom of the fish, suddenly the slippery fish shot out from under his hand and flew across the kitchen trailing what I guessed to be a gallbladder, like a kite's tail! Once we stopped laughing (and cleaned the floor!), we got busy again. The innards weren't Andy's favorite part, but he did okay with it. I tried to fillet one which didn't work out at all. I ended up with something approximately the size of a chicken nugget. I believe fillets require bigger fish - or more experienced fish cleaners. Jerry came home shortly after that and since I knew he knew how to do the job quickly and efficiently, I asked him to show me his method which turned out to be much better than my bumbling efforts.

We are a little burned and very tired, but happy. Tomorrow will be another busy day. Jerry's mother gave us a bucket of apples, so it's apple butter time again. Then Andy and I need to clean our vehicle to go to Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy's bluegrass festival on Saturday in WV. Jerry's aunt is here from California and so she and Jerry's mom are going with us. The truck doesn't need too much attention, but it needs to be vacuumed and we need to make sure that there isn't any residual fish/crab smell from our adventure today.

About Andy's ONE crab - when I asked him if he was going to throw it back, he said, "No way! I'm going to eat that beast!". And that's exactly what he did, too. I cooked it and he barely waited for it to cool down before he ate it.

Here's a fat and happy seagull!

The pier and the bridge.

Adjacent land is owned by the Navy and there was a huge ship docked there today.

To give an idea of size and height, what you see on the bridge is a tractor-trailer. THIS is why I get nervous going to BJs!

Have you ever seen a ham fish?

The parking lot of the pier is under the bridge and the pier is just beside it.

Andy fishing at the end of the pier.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Must-Read

This is absolutely unbelievable. Click on this link and read this article. National Geographic ran this story in it's October 2004 issue. Incredible. Immediately after seeing this story online, I wanted to read the whole story. I ran downstairs to go through Tom's "archives". He saves all the National Geographic magazines because we all read them (thanks, Mom!). More blogging later if I get a chance, but I just had to share this. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Bird Days

I have learned to never say never when it comes to pets. We will never have another dog. Until brother Mike needed someone to take Bear. We will never have another cat. Until we found Peaches half-conscious and bloodied in the back of Jerry's truck. We will not keep this bird. Until nobody claimed him and he quickly became a family member. Sigh...... Oh, well. Never a dull moment around here, anyway.

Either the previous owner of this bird purposely let him get away, or he really is a wild one blown in from somewhere. Only one person has called about the "Found Bird" ad, and it turns out that she lost a very large, full-sized parrot who had a yellow head and red wings. Definitely not this one. He has now been named Buddy - derived from the fact that everytime someone passed by the cage they said, "Hey, buddy!" So, Buddy it is. Buddy is quite the talker, too. He imitates my laugh and Jerry's. He says "You're bad" (Jerry's voice), "Hi!" (in my voice). Actually, that's more like a singsong and drawn-out "HiiIIIIIiiii"! He says "Pretty bird", and does an incredible imitation of a crow's "CAW CAW"! The other night he started making night sounds like the crickets we hear at night here - even though he was inside. I think he must have spent some time being outside to have picked up the crow sound and cricket chirping. Also, if he had belonged to someone before, as quickly as he has imitated us, it seems that he would be saying something that he picked up at his previous owner's, but the only things he says are what we have told him. He also imitates the squeak on my desk chair! He doesn't do these things all the time, and some he has only done once (like the desk chair), but he's getting more loquacious by the day. Taking after me, I guess!

We had him in the cat carrier anticipating that someone would claim him, but we decided that he needed a cage since it seems like he's adopted us. Tom and Sam went yesterday to get one and came home with - a dog crate. I stared at the box for some time before mustering up the courage to ask Tom what he was thinking. For heaven's sake, there was a Labrador retriever on the picture on the box! He said that there was not a bird cage to be found in this area and he thought that this would work. The bird doesn't seem to mind the extra space, but it sure takes a lot of space up in my house! The bird has discovered that he can poke his head out between the bars, which is definitely not a good thing when there's a cat watching your every move. Buddy likes to crawl upside down on top of the cage and then poke his head through the bars on top and look around. I keep having visions of Peaches jumping up on top and playing "Whack-a-mole" (or more accurately, whack-a-parrot).

Peaches has learned to keep his distance from Buddy, and Buddy is not afraid of him in the least. The second day we had Buddy, Peaches got a pulled whisker, a nipped nose, and two nipped paws. He doesn't bother him anymore! Yesterday after I had put parrot food in Buddy's food dish, Peaches reached his paw into the cage, scraped a pawful of parrot food out of the cage onto the floor and began to eat it. He did this two more times before I put a stop to it. He was making a mess, and parrot food can't be good for a cat! I have always said my pets were never playing with a full deck. Buddy fits right in with the rest of them, too.

School is going great. Yesterday we learned several Japanese phrases. The course we are using teaches them how they sound phonetically first, so that you can actually use the language right away. Did you know that Ohio-Goes-Eye-Moss means Good Morning in Japanese? Or that Oh-Yah-Sue-Me is Good Night?! In more magnifying glass and sun experiments, we discovered that chocolate doesn't just melt - it actually burns. The experiment was to use three chocolate pieces and by raising or lowering the magnifying glass, make the spot of sun on the chocolate bigger and smaller and see the difference in melting time because of how concentrated the sun's rays were when the spot was very small. The chocolate started actually smoking almost immediately and there were actually round, black charred areas on the top of the chocolate bar. It smelled awful, too. Did you know that one million earths could fit inside the sun? Kind of makes me feel small in comparison.

I guess I should be going and accomplish something today. I was very surprised and pleased when I got an email the other day from one of the companies that I do transcription for. It said that they were very pleased with the quality of my work and my diligence in getting the work out, and that they were raising my pay. What a wonderful, unexpected blessing that was! So, I should get some work done, and also I really need to get outside and do some yard work. The yard is looking like a jungle, and Jerry's been working from dawn to dusk and pretty much collapsing when he gets home, so the boys and I really need to step up and do more around here. The other thing I need to do is write Mother back with the boys' Christmas list. You'd think that by now I would be more prepared as this happens every year, but I'm not. Her email was funny. She said, "You know the drill. Help this old lady out so she can get her Christmas shopping done".

Wow - I can chatter as much on my blog as I do on the phone! Sherri called me the other day to relay a message from Dad, but she also said that Dad had told her to set a timer before she called me, or she'd never get off the phone. Nice. Oh, well. It's true - I am a chatterbox!

Do you think this could be a problem?!

I'm watching you......

Andy trying out the cage - not a bad fit, actually.......

That's not a goofy grin on Tom's face - that's fear that he's about to lose an ear!

Music is one of Andy's favorite subjects!


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