Saturday, December 30, 2006

I have posted some pictures and if all goes well, the pictures should be below this post! If not, you'll see them just the same, but just not in the order I wanted to put them. This blogger program changed its format and I'm having trouble getting things to look just so on it. For instance, the text block is too narrow for my liking. I tried to widen that part and reduce the width of the archives section to the right, but it wouldn't let me. There are some new features available though, that I intend to make use of very shortly. I will be updating parts of my blog as time permits and adding more features to it when I can.

We had a very nice Christmas. It was small and quiet - my kind of Christmas. Santa was very good to the boys this year - he must have seen some good behavior that I wasn't aware of! They got a much sought-after Nintendo Wii system. And now we are all suffering Nintendo arm. I remember back in the 1980s when the very first Nintendo came out and Jerry and I got Nintendo thumb from working the controller and trying to make Mario go where he was supposed to. Our thumbs were sore for days! Now with the Wii, you use the controller to actually play the games. There is a motion sensor bar that sits on top of the TV and the controller picks up your movements. A sports disk came with the system and has tennis, bowling, boxing, golf and baseball on it. You actually hold the controller like you would whatever instrument you needed to play those games. For instance, in bowling you actually bend down and swing the controller as if you are throwing a bowling ball. (That's why my elbow is sore - I've been a bowling fool since Christmas!) For golf you hold the controller with two hands and stand in a golf stance, and swing the controller just like a golf club. I stink at that. Anyway, you get the picture. I highly recommend this system to anyone who wants a little fun and stress relief! Just make sure you have a tight grip on the controller, or use the wrist strap to attach it to your arm, or you WILL throw the thing across the room accidentally! I got a little overzealous during a tennis match the other day and whacked Andy in the shoulder with my controller/tennis racquet! I don't think I've ever sweated playing video games before! Andy looked like he had put in an hour at a gym the other day after several "virtual" boxing matches. You actually hold the controllers (there are two pieces for this) as if you have boxing gloves on your hands. You punch, jab, and guard yourself just as if you were really boxing. It gets intense sometimes! The boys also got a couple of games with the system, Zelda and Red Steel. In both of those games there is a storyline, but when it comes time to wield a weapon or a tool, you use the controller and do whatever's necessary to save the day.

Speaking of saving the day, I'd better get going and get some work done and put dinner on. Andy gave me a new crock pot for Christmas and I LOVE it. It is bigger than my old one and it is oval-shaped, so roasts fit in it much better than my old round one. I have had my old one since Tom was small and it finally became unreliable. Sometimes it would cook and sometimes it wouldn't. I thought for a while it was the cuts of meat I was cooking because they were the pork and beef that we had bought and had butchered ourselves, but then when spaghetti sauce remained cool after eight hours of cooking, I knew my crock pot had gone to the great beyond. Anyway, off to do stuff!
Santa found a Wii for the boys. Good thing, too. Dad and Mom sure couldn't find one ANYWHERE.
This is one of the azalea bushes with clear blinking lights, although in the picture you can't tell that they're clear or blinking. It's really very pretty at nighttime, though.
Here's the front of our house with the front posts wrapped with pine and lights and the aforementioned azalea bush (behind the lamppost). The bow on the lamppost was blown by the wind and is looking a little sad!
Here's another large azalea that we covered with big lights. Well, the bush was too big to cover, and we ran out of lights - but we did the best we could! It looks nice, anyway.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Back By Popular Demand

Or, relatives just need a good laugh, and material is hard to come by. In any case, I'll try to make more time for blogging.
It feels strange not having things that MUST get done. I can actually breathe for a little while! I know how awful this sounds on Christmas Eve, but I'm actually doing some work today, too. One of the transcription companies is offering a bonus for work done this weekend, and, well, I'm not doing anything else right at the moment. Normally I don't work on Sundays but since I haven't worked the last two days, I probably should! Gotta pay for Christmas, ya know!

We had a very nice time at Sherri's yesterday. It was fun talking about "the old times" (hushpuppies and such!). I miss the days of visiting Mom and Paul when they lived in the cabin in WV and we would go up for the weekend when Tom was small. They were fun weekends. In fact, I just plain miss WV! We still haven't given up on getting there, but now it will probably be after Tom graduates in two years. That's our plan, anyway. But as the country song goes, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans". Last year I was so set upon getting out of here and getting to the mountains that I just didn't have my heart into decorating this house for Christmas and didn't put a lot into it. This year was different. I actually made an effort! I'll take some pictures of our lights this evening and post them. I put a little more effort into the inside of the house too and didn't keep 80% of the decorations boxed up like I did last year!

A couple of weeks ago we (Jerry, Andy and I) went to Delaware. We spent five days there. While Jerry was doing some work, Andy and I hung out. We had a great time - and got more exercise than I have in a LONG time! We walked to the mini golf course which isn't too far, but it's not exactly right next door to the trailer, either! It's part of the Sea Shell Shop and so we went shopping there too. Then of course on the way back we have to go right past a KFC and A&W restaurant, a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant. Might as well stop and get something for lunch, right?! Then about the third day I was feeling brave and took Dad's van out and Andy and I drove around a bit. We went down to the boardwalk and then walked on the beach. Unfortunately, everything is closed for the season, but it was a nice day for a walk anyway. Then we drove to one of the outlets and did some shopping. There's also a Salvation Army thrift store in Rehoboth that we went to. I was kind of surprised, though, because their prices seemed a little high to me. Andy got a desk chair there, though! He didn't have one and was always swiping a dining room chair to use at his desk in his room, then we'd have to haul it back out at dinner time. Got to be a pain, but we have been doing it for the last year since he got his computer last Christmas! So, we got a good deal on a desk chair, and no more furniture moving at dinner time. We'll probably be going back in a couple of weeks. Wonder what we'll get into then, now that I'm feeling braver about getting out and driving around (albeit not far, but I at least I ventured out!)

Now I'm going to go post pictures from yesterday. One of these days I'm going to remember to post the pictures first, so the writing will be on top, but not today!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Words of Wisdom

Don't sweat petty things,
and don't pet sweaty things.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Not a lot going on, but I wanted to update. We're just trying to keep up with schoolwork around here and I'm trying (really, I am) to get the clutter under control. So what did we do? Get more stuff from Jerry's aunt's house when his cousin was throwing it all out. *Sigh*

It seems there are never enough hours in the day. Back in the summer I created a website for Dad's new business and trying to keep that updated is a challenge, trying to find the time to do it. Then there's keeping up with my real jobs (gotta pay the bills, ya know), and last but not least, trying to edumacate my son. (Yes, I meant to write edumacate - please don't write to me about my lack of intelligence!).

Aunt Ruby passed away last week. A few months ago she was at a casino in Delaware with Uncle Bill when she collapsed. At the hospital in Dover they found a brain tumor. She was unresponsive and Uncle Bill had started making funeral plans. Then over the course of the week she started coming out of it and they thought there might be hope to treat the tumor. She got well enough to go home, but has been declining in the past few weeks. It turned out it wasn't just the brain tumor. She had lung cancer that had spread to her stomach, brain and bones, so there really wasn't anything they could do for her. Uncle Bill had throat cancer a number of years back and has a hole in his throat that he talks through. These things coupled with the reports that I type day in and day out about smoking-related illnesses and complications, really make me wish that Jerry would quit. I have lost track of the number of reports I have typed where people went in for simple surgeries; gallbladder, appendix - what should be simple procedures - and ended up on a respirator because their lungs just couldn't handle the anesthesia from the damage done by smoking. Grrrr.....I hate cigarettes.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be whining about not having enough time for stuff. I obviously found the time to write this, didn't I?! Now I'd better get busy doing something. Where to start.........

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here's Andy checking out the carnage.
Jerry does not look like a happy camper, does he?!
Jars, jars, and more jars!
The chipper from Hades.

I'm Baaaaaaack! (Like a favorite relative or a recurring boil, depending on how you see it!)

Yes, I'm back. I didn't actually go anywhere, just didn't make time to blog. But, I miss writing so I'll just have to make time for it. Now if I could just make time for exercise.........

Okay - some catching up. Jerry had an aunt and uncle who used to live in a brick house at the intersection of Route 2 & 258. His aunt (Edna) who lived there died two years ago, and his uncle (Jack) who lived there died last week. Also living there had been Jack's brother and one of Jack and Edna's sons, Larry, who is autistic. They have another son, Tom, who is married and living in Pennsylvania. When Jack died last week, Tom had to make some tough decisions. He decided to sell the house and use the proceeds to buy a house near him in Pennsylvania where Larry and Jack's brother could live. The problem was that the house needed to be cleaned out and put on the market - FAST. That wouldn't have been a problem except that Edna and Jack had been there since 1968 and, well, so has everything else in the house. The house was nearly bursting with STUFF. Jerry took his dump trailer and helped Tom clean stuff out a few days. They got two full trailer loads of stuff to go to the dump - and that's not counting the countless trips Tom made to the local landfill with a loaded pickup truck while Jerry was dumping his trailer. (The dump trailer had to be dumped at the landfill here near us - the one near the house wouldn't accept large loads like that). In the basement they found boxes and boxes of canning jars. Jack's brother used to have a produce stand at Wayson's Corner and so Edna never had a shortage of things to can. Jerry's mom told Jerry to take the jars home for me. Wow! I don't think I'll ever need to buy jars again. I love them! One of them was an old blue jar. I won't use that for canning - it looks too pretty on my table. Now I've found a produce auction in St. Mary's County that I hope I can get to before the end of October when it closes for the season. You have to buy in bulk, but that's okay. The local grocery stores buy their produce from there. There are BIG lots of things (like the huge cardboard boxes of watermelons you see in the stores in the summer) and then there are smaller lots which small shops and restaurants buy. That's more my size! Well, we'll see if I can make it there this season. If not, there's always spring. We're talking with Jerry's brother about another beef this year, and probably getting a hog from Amish people who raise them. It's nice having food that you know where it came from and what's in it - grain-fed and no antibiotics. No E. coli, either!

I am not a superstitious person, but Friday the 13th was definitely a bad day for Jerry. I don't know if I posted about this before or not, but a few months ago Jerry, his uncle, and another man went in together and bought a chipper for when they do tree jobs. To make a long story short, they got taken on the chipper, and it has been a total pain in the you-know-what, and has cost more to repair so far than what they paid for it. On a side note, right around the time that they bought this one, a chipper was stolen down the road from us. Jerry had his in the garage while he was fixing it and then painted it. We teased him that it looked highly suspicious that a chipper was stolen, then he got one that he had in the garage for a long time and then painted it!. Unfortunately, there's a bill of sale for Jerry's, and it came from Virginia. I say unfortunately because it's unfortunate that they actually paid money for this thing. Okay, back to the story.

Jerry was going to do a tree job yesterday and was sitting in his truck waiting at the meeting place for his uncle. He had picked up his cousin on the way. While the two of them were sitting in a parking lot at a convenience store waiting, a solid black cat climbed out of a storm drain and walked right in front of them across the parking lot. Jerry said he and his cousin looked at each other and his cousin remarked that this couldn't be a good sign. They laughed about it and Jerry said he didn't give it another thought. At the first job the chipper ran fine at first, but then the radiator started leaking. Luckily, they were finishing up so they didn't worry too much about it. Then they went to a second job and here the belts flew off, the radiator continued leaking, and it became obvious that the bearings in the power unit (which Jerry had meticulously replaced a month ago after having to order specialized parts and have them specially machined) were broken. They had just finished that job too, so they figured they would worry it about it later. While they were cleaning up after this job, the elderly man who owns the property where they were doing the tree work backed into the driveway - right into Jerry's new truck. How's that for a Friday the 13th? Jerry called me and told me about all of this shortly after the truck incident. I told him he needed to just come home, crawl in bed and call it a day. Actually, he probably should have done just that when the black cat crossed his path!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Foray Into Vice

Okay, so the title is a bit dramatic! Actually, we went to Uncle Jim's and then after we left we decided to see what the Charlestown Races were like. None of us (Jerry's mom went with us) had ever been there before. I spent (and lost!) a total of $11.00, so I'm not too sad. I didn't want to spend any more than that. We had a great day yesterday. It was very nice seeing everyone again. The music was great and it was just a wonderfully relaxing day. Oh, and the food was plentiful and delicious!
Here's a one-arm bandit in the casino. I played $1.00, lost $1.00 and quit!
Here come the ponies! I bet 5 times, lost 5 times, and quit!
Sammie and Jo dancing to the bluegrass music. It was hard to sit still while the music was playing!
A great picture! From the left there is Jay who is cousin Lisa's husband, then Uncle Jim, then Lisa (trying to hide in the back!), Aunt Nancy, Michael (Faith was there too, but not in this picture) Dad, Betty who is Nick's wife, then Nick, who is Dad and Uncle Jim's cousin. Jonathan and Amy were there too, but not in this picture.
It was great seeing Dad, Nick and Betty having a good time. This is the only time they see each other.
And the band played on! (Actually, four bands played!)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Catching Up - Part II

Whew! Lots of stuff happening and not enough time to write about it. Andy and I started school last week. We haven't really started in earnest yet, just mostly reviewed what was coming up so we could start tomorrow for really.

Last week my computer bit the dust. It had been acting strangely for a while now and I had it in the back of my mind that one of these days I really should get a new one. One of these days happened before I was ready! It's a very long story about what it took to get up and running again so I could work (it involves voiding the warranty on the new computer and taking the hard drive out of the old one and putting it in the new one to get my stuff). I'm very glad that I know how to do that kind of stuff myself otherwise it probably would have cost big bucks. Anyway, it's my own fault, really. If I had just had a backup disk, I wouldn't have had to go through that. Yes, I know. Who doesn't make a backup of their stuff?! Well, ME! But I know better now.

I am feeling better and I think this stupid virus is finally on the run now. Actually I was feeling really well last week and then this whole computer mess happened and I think due to lack of sleep and stress, my throat got sore, my side swelled again, and all I wanted to do was sleep again. I recognized it trying to come back and made sure I took care of myself and things are just about back where they should be now. In researching this virus I learned that it can take four to six weeks to get over it and then it can come back for a while if you don't take care of yourself.

We made it through Ernesto okay. A couple of trees uprooted in the little patch of woods behind the house but they fell into the woods and not towards the yard or house. My nylon flag on the front of the house was tattered to shreds. When I looked out and saw the bottom part being shredded away, I meant to take the whole thing down to keep the flagpole from breaking, but I got busy doing something else and forgot about it. Well, it was a summer flag and it was time for a fall one anyway, right?
We were without power for only about a half hour but everyone on our street was out for most of the afternoon and night. The electricity for our house in particular is hooked up on the street behind us, whereas everyone else on our street has their electricity hooked up on our own street. It's strange to see everyone on our street out except us! My neighbor called and wanted to know how on earth we had so many lights on when the electricity was out! She thought we had massive amounts of candles!

I am looking forward to next Saturday. Uncle Jim is having his bluegrass get-together again this year and I am really looking forward to it. It was such a wonderfully relaxing day last year, and after these past couple of weeks, I'm ready to GO!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Catching Up

A little update - mostly in pictures! First of all, whatever virus I had is gone for the most part, but I know when I need to slow down because my side starts to swell again and I fall asleep wherever and whenever! Not a problem if I get enough rest, though.

I successfully sold all of Andy's stuff from last year and made enough to buy this year's stuff, which I did, and which we will be using tomorrow to start school. Andy is thrilled! That was sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell. Actually I did so well selling the stuff ($576.00 in a week - not too shabby!) that I'm going to list the rest of the clutter around here when I get the chance.

All four of us took a breather last Thursday and went to the Solomons pier to fish and crab. It was a lot of fun. We didn't catch any fish, and the crabs we caught (three!) were too small to keep. Oh, well. We had a very nice day together as a family. Andy has really been wanting crabs since then and we had told him that we would buy some very soon. Well, last night we were on our way to the grocery store and passed the man who usually sells crabs on the side of Route 4 - only this time his sign said "Free Crabs" . It took a minute to register what we read as we were going by at 55 mph, but Jerry did a U-turn at the light and we went back to check that out! Sure enough, the man was trying to close up for the night (it was 8:00) and was giving away the rest of that day's catch. He gave us 18 good-sized live male crabs. They were in a plastic bag and we listened to them rustle all the way home from Food Lion! They were steamed as soon as we got home and Andy could barely wait for them to cool before digging in. Can't beat free crabs!

Well, that's about it for now. More later when I'm not so tired...*YAWN*!

Can't beat free blue crabs!

A seagull taking it easy!

All my men fishing.

A heron sat here for hours just observing everything.

Jerry netting a crab from the crab line. Turns out it was too small to keep, though!

Last Sunday was relaxing. I actually had time to make pies!

I'm not sure what this flower is - I'm guessing some kind of iris? Anyway, it is the only one and just sprang up in the front flower bed this year! I have no idea where it came from.

Here's what Tom's project looks like from the side. LOTS of tiny pieces that each had to be measured and cut individually and put together. Getting it to college in one piece on the Metro was the real challenge!

One of Tom's projects for school - he had to build an elevated model of the picture on the right (model is on the left).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Getting Back to Normal

I hate being sick. I hate it. I'm just now getting back to feeling somewhat normal. A couple of weeks ago I started having a sore throat off and on and then a nagging little pain in my left side. I didn't pay too much attention to it because I was busy with other things. I had also started walking regularly on the treadmill again and thought that maybe it was just that. Then each day of last week it seemed to take me longer and longer to finish two miles. By Friday I was just plodding along wondering why I felt so awful. By Saturday my throat was really sore, my left side was swollen and so tender I couldn't touch it, and I was running a fever. Besides all of this I was incredibly tired. I was falling asleep wherever and whenever. I had actually been taking naps during the afternoons the whole week before, but again I thought it was just all the busy-ness catching up with me. This was something different. I just wanted to sleep! Also at the end of last week a case of conjunctivitis was trying to catch me and wearing my contacts became impossible. On Monday morning it occurred to me that all my symptoms somehow seemed familiar and that I should know what ailed me.........then it hit me. Mononucleosis! I got to the computer as fast as I could make myself get there, and started researching. Sure enough, every symptom was there. I even read where the Epstein-Barr virus (which is the bug that causes mono) can manifest as conjunctivitis (pinkeye) in some people. Well, now. The only question was, where did I get it?! Then I remembered Tom not feeling well about three weeks ago, with a sore throat, swollen glands, a fever, and falling asleep very easily. He was even coming home early from Sam's because he said he was just "too tired and felt like he could sleep forever". Mono can be caught just like a cold - being around someone who has sneezed or coughed. Being called the "kissing disease" is an old wives' tale. It isn't spread quite as easily as a cold, but does spread in the same way. Anybody who knows me knows that I don't go to the doctor unless I feel it's life-threatening, so I didn't go. Besides, it's a virus, and there's nothing that can be done except to let it take it's course. Antibiotics are useless unless you develop something bacterial. I wasn't fooling around with my swollen spleen though, and was very careful of what I did because I didn't want a rupture to happen. It was so huge that my clothes were uncomfortable. I didn't do anything except lie around for two days (that's pretty much all I felt like doing - I was out of it). By yesterday I was having moments of feeling back to normal and my side was less tender and the swelling was going down. This morning I feel much better, and my side is only tender in one spot with no swelling felt. I haven't had a fever since Sunday, so I might just make it after all! And I'm able to wear my contacts again. Thank the Lord - I'm as blind as a bat without them! I'm wrestling with myself this morning, though, because I really want to get outside and cut the grass and do some weeding because the weather is very nice right now, but I know I should still be resting. In any case, I am very grateful to be feeling better. Being sick is for the birds!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Scenes from a cookout.

Unfortunately, my pictures of the cookout didn't turn out very well, but we had a good time.

And A Good Time Was Had By All!

Well, this afternoon was our street cookout, and I think it went very well. We had 9 out of 13 families attend. The food was good, the company was even better, and everyone got to meet and greet. The weather couldn't have been more perfect as the rain cleared out just in time. Now I'm getting ready to fall into bed with a book. I am TIRED! I have been a little stressed out - okay, a LOT stressed out - about this cookout. I kept having awful thoughts that maybe people wouldn't get along and then it would be my fault! My worry was groundless, though, because everyone really seemed to have a good time and even signed their names and contact information on a paper I had put on the table so that I could put together a list to distribute to everyone. Well, on to that book now - for as long as my eyes will stay open!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You Know You're Getting Old When.....

You use a hair color specifically called "Gray Solution" and it still doesn't manage to cover up all the gray, and your own mother sends you old-people jokes via email. Guess I'm in the big leagues now.......!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's Pickle Time!

I have been very, very busy lately and haven't been able to update. It's time to buy next year's materials for homeschooling Andy and in order to finance that, I was selling last year's material on eBay, plus some extra materials that I had acquired over the past couple of years. Everything was going great until I listed two science book sets for sale. I had one fourth grade and one fifth grade set each with teacher's edition, student book, and lots of workbooks and project books that go with the course. These are sets that I bought off of eBay a couple of years ago and never used. They are new and had been packed away. Anyway, I listed the sets and then sat back to wait for my profits to roll in. About three hours later I got an email from eBay informing me that I have violated their policy of not selling teacher's editions and that they had pulled my listings off their site. What?! That was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. After all, I bought those very same books off of there just a couple of years ago. I wrote them a scathing letter and they wrote back informing me that they just made this new policy in February of 2006, so it hadn't applied when I bought the books. They further wrote that they were doing this in order to comply with public school publishing companies who said that teacher's editions being made available to the general public were allowing children to cheat, and asked eBay to not allow them. Oh, please. Fourth and fifth graders? I wrote them yet another scathing letter informing that I was most disappointed in their bowing to outside influences telling them what could and could not be sold on their site. Ebay used to be the greatest place for finding things that you just couldn't find anywhere else. Now it's not just teacher's editions - they have also given in to certain designers and companies who have asked that their products not be allowed there in order that they don't lose out on their profits. Isn't that what an auction is all about? In my letter I pointed out the fact that I had seen used panties (deliberately used -EWWWW!), sweat and other bodily fluids (more EWWWW!), grandmothers, souls, foreheads for advertising tattoos, and other strange and not-so-nice items being put up for auction, but God forbid I should list - OH NO! A TEACHER'S EDITION! (shriek of terror here). They wrote me back yet again saying that they are very sorry for any inconvenience they have caused and that they realize this new policy has not been popular with homeschoolers (you think?!) and at some point they may consider changing it, but in the meantime if I tried to list any more teacher's editions, my eBay account would be suspended for violation of policy. I think the underlying problem here is parents not being involved in their childrens' lives yet again - yes, their kids might be using these books to cheat, but where are they when they are buying them? Well, the elementary school level material being banned is just ridiculous. When is the last time you saw a kindergartener laughing with evil glee as he or she bid on the teacher's edition of Dick and Jane? Patently ridiculous. Ooohh. Now I'm angry all over again, and it's Sunday too. Deep breath - deeeeep breath - okay, I'm better now! I ended up listing the teacher's editions on auctions and intend to tell the winners of the student book auctions that they are there if they want to buy them. After my listings being pulled the first time, I relisted the items but didn't want to go through the hassle of taking new pictures all over again, so even though the teacher's edition was still in the picture of the items, I wrote in the description that although the teacher's edition was pictured, due to eBay's policy, they were NOT included in the auction and that the buyer was bidding on the student books only. Then I sat back to wait for my profits to roll in. About three hours later I got another email informing me that my listings had been pulled AGAIN because they contained teacher's editions! GRRRRRR! Another scathing letter rolled off my keyboard in which I asked if they even bothered to READ my listing in which I clearly stated that the teacher's edition was not included. They wrote back informing me that even PICTURES of teacher's editions were not allowed, and if I violated their policy one more time my account would be suspended. If eBay wasn't the biggest auction place out there, I surely would take my selling elsewhere and will certainly look into that later, but right now I need to get these books out of here so I can buy new ones! So, I took all new pictures NOT including the teacher's editions, and relisted them. Then sat back to wait for either my profits to roll in or my listings to be pulled and my account to be suspended. I seriously feel like they have red-flagged me, now! You think it might be the scathing letters?! Well, it's been a few days and my listings are still intact and one set has two bids on it already, so I must be okay this time. Sheesh.

On a nicer note, today is pickling and bread-baking day here. A while back I wrote about a very nice older man that Jerry knows who Jerry gives all his extra building material to because he fixes up houses for people in his church. Well, this man has worked for the same excavating company around here for nearly 20 years, and now they haven't had any work for him for the past four weeks or so. He called Jerry asking if Jerry could use any help and so he worked with Jerry on days when Jerry needed extra help. Whenever Jerry has a job which involves removing old aluminum siding he keeps the siding and when the aluminum pile gets big enough he takes it to the recycling place and gets a check for it. Well, we had gotten quite a pile out here and so Jerry told this man that if he would help load all the aluminum, he could have the money that they got for it. This man is very proud and refused to take any money, even a loan, without doing something for it, so the aluminum deal worked out well for both of them. The side of our garage now no longer has aluminum stacked to the heavens, and the man was able to make this month's truck payment. Anyway, this man always grows a huge garden every year and usually shares veggies with Jerry anyway, but he came by the other night and gave us a 5-gallon bucket of cucumbers. Jerry mentioned to him that I would make pickles out of them and a deal was struck (between those two, mind you - I was informed later!) that if he brought vegetables, that I would can them or make stuff out of them and we would share what I canned or made. He requested zucchini bread from the zucchini, so that's the bread I'll be making today, and also those cucumbers will be pickles by this evening. Well, it works out well for us too because I really like to can stuff, and this man and our family will get vegetables canned for the winter. It's probably a good thing, too. I went to Safeway the other night and a 10-pound bag of potatoes cost 7.99. Was there a potato shortage I was unaware of?! Well, I should be getting busy - cucumbers await!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Two Birthdays!

I am sorry it took so long to update my blog. I am embarrassed to admit this, but the pictures of the baby that Mike sent me were in .bmp format and I couldn't post them here, and it took me longer than most people to figure out how to change them to .jpg format so they would work! I'm a little slow. Okay, a LOT slow! Anyway, here they are, finally. Aaron is a cutie and so are his big brothers. I can't wait to see (and hold!) him. He was born on Thursday, 06/29/2006 at about 1:00 in the afternoon, and weighed about 8.5 pounds. (I am saying about because these are the statistics I was given by the proud Dad shortly after his birth, and I'm not sure if he was rounding or not!)

We celebrated Andy's birthday on Monday with bowling again this year. We had a great time. I still can't bowl, but I have fun anyway! This year Sam's sister and grandmother joined us. Hilda wasn't able to come because she had fallen a couple of days before and had to stay off of her knee for a bit. Other than that, it was the same crew as last year. We came home and ordered pizza from Domino's, and later had cake and ice cream. Mmmmmmm!!

Happy Birthday, Andy!

From left to right: Andy, Charlie, Tom, Jerry, Sam, Jerry's mom, Sam's sister, Sam's grandmother.

Bowling birthday boy.

Welcome, little Aaron!

Big Brother Collin.

Big Brother Matthew.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tom visited the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. He enjoys taking black and white photos. He's good at it - this looks like a postcard!
I cannot believe it is June 26 already. Time is FLYING, and I wish it would slow down just a little! Tom came back from North Carolina Saturday night. He had a great time. Sam has only had one day home, and now she and her mother are going to Mexico for a week. The trip was a gift from relatives in California for Sam's graduation. She isn't very excited about going, but I hope she has a great time once she is there.

We haven't been doing much around here. The canvas covering on my lawn swing (which I dearly love but have had for nearly four years now) finally became dry-rotted and tore. Jerry wanted to throw it away but I thought we could try to save it. Andy drilled lots of little holes in the metal tubing of the frame and we webbed it like a lawn chair. It turned out great, and with the cushion on it, you can't even see what's underneath. My swing is saved! Andy was very proud of himself for drilling all those holes. He pretty much fixed the whole thing himself. I'm pretty proud of him too.

Not very newsworthy, but we installed a new toilet yesterday. Weren't you just dying to know that?! The neighbors must have thought we lost our minds yesterday. (Well, we have, but that's a story for another day!). We were really trying to avoid the expense of buying a new toilet so we had been trying to fix the old one. It just wouldn't flush correctly, resulting in having to flush it 2-3 times (or more). We just fixed our septic system last summer, and didn't want to fill it needlessly now. We tried everything. We plunged like crazy - didn't help. Jerry went up on the roof with the hose and blasted out the vent up there - didn't help. I took a little sharp stick and checked EVERY LITTLE HOLE around the inside of the rim to make sure water could flow into the bowl freely - didn't help. I used a snake (toilet auger, if you will) and fed that just as far as I could - didn't help. Yes, I actually did these things myself. Finally Jerry took the toilet up and carried it outside. He put it up on cinder blocks and filled the tank and flushed it several times. My sides are still hurting from laughing. There is something so very wrong with hearing the sounds of a flushing toilet out in your yard (or worse, seeing one!). Anyway, we couldn't find anything wrong. We finally decided it was time to retire the old porcelain and go to Lowe's for a new one. Boy - they sure have changed in 20-some years! The toilet we replaced was the original one that came with the house, and the house was built in 1981. Anyway, now everyone's happy! Maybe the old one could be a planter............

I am anxiously awaiting word from Mike and Linda. I will be an aunt again sometime today or tomorrow when Aaron William will make his debut into the world.

We are planning Andy's birthday party for July 3rd. He wants to go bowling like we did last year. We are looking forward to it, as we always enjoy bowling - only this time we get cake and ice cream afterwards too!

Fireworks in North Carolina.

Sam's graduation picture.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Look Out, North Carolina!

Andy and I just waved goodbye to Tom. He is going to North Carolina with Sam's family for a week's vacation. We didn't realize that his school does have a break between sessions. It really worked out well that the spring session is finished and he is off school now until July 10th when the summer session starts. Now he won't be missing any classes for this. He is going to call when they arrive so I can figure out if there are any webcams nearby. When Sam went with her family to Ocean City, we didn't realize she had been on the boardwalk right where there was a webcam located and she could have waved to us! I'm almost afraid of what Tom might do in front of a camera when he knows we're looking at it!. This is the child who has no qualms about mooning people. A couple of years ago the boys and I were out in the driveway splitting and stacking firewood. Tom bent over and, well, let's just say that the moon came out in the daytime. In a fierce whisper I told him that half of his posterior was showing to the neighborhood, and to fix it. Very loudly he said, "Only half? Well, that's no good", whereupon he "fixed it" so that the whole moon was out. Sheesh. I wonder if North Carolina knows what they're in for this week?!

I am looking forward to a cookout that I am planning for the people on our street. I had the idea rolling around in my head (there's a lot of space in there, you know!) for a while now. Maggie's death last year and the way things have changed, and the fact that we will be living here for at least another year or two now because of the changes made me start thinking about how life changes and really is very short. I started thinking that I was tired of living in a place where people act like strangers. I figured that the neighbors already thought I was a card short of a deck because of how I like to welcome new neighbors with a cake and a card, so they wouldn't be so surprised that I wanted to do something where everyone could meet! I wrote a letter and sent it to everyone on the street letting them know what I was trying to do. I needed to choose a date for it when everyone would be available, and I knew that would be hard to do with summer vacations and plans, so I asked them to write or call me with what dates they had available this summer. I got an email back already from neighbors who say they are looking forward to attending and meeting everyone. I hope everyone else feels the same! Of course, Hilda not only likes the idea, but as usual, is offering to pitch in and help. I really want to be like her when I'm 87!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I was looking at the Discovery Channel website to find something "Mythbusters" for Andy's birthday and I saw these Life Lessons figurines. They are too funny!

Here's a good way to lose friends!

This one is hilarious - and so true!

.....and my personal favorite!!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Not a lot going on around here lately. Andy and I are getting stuff together for the second board of education review next Tuesday and wrapping up his school work for this year. We mutually decided to take a summer break and start back again with homeschooling on August 15. I think the break will be good for both of us, and it will give me a chance to make some changes I want to make to his curriculum and get his new materials together. Andy's just glad to have a break! We were originally going to have school through the summer but we changed our minds. August 15 will be here soon enough!

Andy and I just got back from the beach. It's just down the road about a mile or so. There were only two other people there. Even in the summer it's not very crowded. We looked for shark teeth but didn't find any on this trip. Well, now we'd better get to work. We have decided to finish school on Friday and Andy has his last few Spanish lessons and science assignments to do and a blog entry to write. Time to shake the sand from our flip-flops and get busy!

Andy was skipping stones and flat shells. He's gotten pretty good at it. All of my attempts just sink!

The beach was beautiful (and empty!)

Look closely - there really is a rainbow in between the trees!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

We had a great time yesterday. We went to Mike and Linda's house for Matthew's birthday. The boys are growing up so quickly. Jerry wanted to beat the traffic on the holiday weekend, so we left at 3:30 yesterday morning (YAWN!!!). We are still feeling tired today. We really had a good time though and we are glad we went and got to visit with everyone.

Here's the birthday boy enjoying his new ride.

.....and here comes contestant number three in the Mr. All-That-And-A-Bag-Of-Chips contest........

And now for the talent portion of the competition........

Bailey with cake on his face! I did not obtain a photo release from the gentleman in the background, therefore I am not responsible if the photo is not to his liking!!!

"Bring it on!" Okay, she didn't really say that, but I can't figure out what she WAS saying, so I went with that!


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