Saturday, December 22, 2007

Odd Choice; Change of Subject

I just looked at my choice of photo for Fave Foto Friday yesterday. Seems an odd choice for this time of year.

I took the photo some time ago, and I chose it simply because I liked the image. Bread Line was particularly impressive in person. You can stand beside the life-sized figures. You can even stand in line with them. That would have been a better image, I suppose.

Changing the subject, I've decided that my New Year's Resolution will be to, well, change the subject more often. I've been so busy about the business of reinventing the wheel of my life that my blog has been sorely neglected. I plan to do some revamping in the New Year. I don't have much talent in blog artistry, so I take that on the redecorating aspect of the project with some anxiety. Reworking the content should be a bit less daunting.

The next few days should be pretty busy for me, so I might not get back here before Christmas Day. I wish everyone a beautiful, memorable holiday. If you don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you a day of rest, and joy in whatever traditions you observe.

Peace.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Depression Bread Line


"Depression Bread Line,"
Sculpture by George Segal

Friday, December 14, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

What I Love About the Season


My dear friend Pax so aptly blogged about some of the recurring annoyance of the holiday season. I'm feeling less pressured this year - don't ask me why; I couldn't say. In any event, here is a list of the things I love about this time of year:

1. People working together to create a warm holiday celebration at the office.


As government employees we are not permitted to celebrate on the clock, so we put together a Holiday Event within the confines of the office. Everyone uses their official break time to come together to celebrate. People sign up in advance to bring a dish and help out in general. It turns into quite an extravaganza. It can be a feeding frenzy, too, but that's in keeping with the season.


2. Red and green.


These are colors that I would not stomach together most of the year, but at Christmas they are beautiful. Throw in a little gold and silver, some candles and light strands, et Voila! Seasonal bliss.


3. Fruitcake.


I like a good fruitcake. No, not the grocery store version with rum extract, but the real stuff. It's hard to find a good one locally anymore. Anyone know where to get one?


4. Christmas shopping.


I actually like shopping. I rarely have to buy something for anyone I don't really care about, and buying for those you love is a joy. I do try to avoid the crowds, for the most part.


5. Christmas songs.


I haven't been inundated with them this year, and it's refreshing not to have them overplayed. I love them when they aren't forced on me 24/7. It's nice to know all of the words, and most of the melodies are simple enough even for my feeble voice. OK, there are some exceptions, but I still sing them when no one else can hear me!


6. Decorated homes, from the simple to the sublime.


My exterior decorations are limited to a candle in each front window and a wreath on the front door. I really appreciate the folks who take the time to put up elaborate displays, and I'll ride around several evenings from now 'til Little Christmas to enjoy the view.


7. Christmas cookies.


No further explanation needed.


8. Christmas Eve.


It's still magical to me, pregnant with soon-to-be fulfilled wishes and dreams yet to come true.


9. The wonder of the winter world.


I love the woodlands in winter. I love feeding the birds and finding deer prints in my yard. I love crisp air and cozy fires, hot toddies and long, cold nights.


10. Layers of shared cultural history.


Remember the year in the 1960's when we had a huge snowfall on Christmas Eve? Remember finding a bike under the tree? Remember your quirky extended family, all in one room at one time? Remember getting Dancerina for Christmas, or Charmin' Chatty, or Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots? Remember the year in the 80's when it was 70 degrees on Christmas Day in the North, and everyone wore T-Shirts and played touch football? Remember waiting to watch Rudolph every year, and Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree?


Maybe I enjoy Christmas more these days because I've learned to eliminate a lot of the unnecessary stuff - overdone gifts, excessive outings and responsibilities. I only send a few cards these days, and I do a lot less work. I look forward to the serenity that you can find in the season.


I wish each and every one of you a beautiful holiday season, exciting or serene - whichever you prefer. No matter what you celebrate, or if Christmas is just an extra day off to you, may it be rich in all of your favorite things.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Leftovers

In keeping with my personal tradition of doing things bass ackwards, I made a full turkey dinner today. Yes, I had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving Day with no need to cook. Then I turned around and did all of the work today, the day before returning to work. And I am pooped! Now I remember why I had foresworn cooking Thanksgiving dinner in the past. So now, of course, I have leftovers.

We made it to the mall oh, so very briefly on Black Friday. I was so proud of myself - I directed my companion through all of the back roads and we avoided the heavy traffic. My companion was going to the DMV (actually, in NJ it's the MVC - Motor Vehicle Commission) to renew a driver's license. It was my advice to include a birth certificate amongst the various pieces of documentation required to renew a license these days, but, alas, this went unheeded. I spent a total of about 10 seconds looking at the racks in the first (and only) shop I entered before my (irate) companion tracked me down complaining that the MVC would not renew the license without a birth certificate or passport. We left the mall.

I decided not to let the day end on this miserable note. I took off on my own for upper Cape May County and did some antiquing all by myself. I didn't buy any antiques, but I saw some potential future purchases. I also checked out a favorite garden center with all of its holiday displays, but I'm not ready to concede that the Christmas season is upon us, and I didn't buy any decorations.

So that's it, my backwards holiday weekend in a nutshell. The fridge is full and the kitchen is clean, so I have no reason to complain.

Friday, November 23, 2007

No Leftovers

There are no Thanksgiving leftovers in my household today: no turkey slices chilling in the fridge, no gravy congealing in a bowl. My family went out to eat for Thanksgiving dinner. Judging from the crowd at the restaurant, this is the trend for the future.

We had a lovely day. Everyone was well rested, no one had to sit in the up-and-down seat (where the hostess sits because she gets up and down throughout the meal), cocktails were served. We relaxed and enjoyed each other. I got a chance to catch up with a nephew I haven't seen in awhile. My brother is in town from Florida, and I got to talk to him for a bit. We went back to Mom's for dessert. Mom isn't well enough these days to go out for dinner, and she wasn't up to having us set the meal up at her house, as we've done in the past. We still got to spend time with her and with each other, which is really the important thing, when all is said and done.

In a quirk of fate, we must go to the mall today for something unrelated to shopping. I haven't been to the mall on Black Friday in years. I'm not big on driving in heavy traffic and shopping in crowds. However, since I'm going to be there anyway...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Free



Max is running free again now. No more pain from arthritis, no more trouble breathing, no more frantic trips outside in the middle of a cold, wet night. I'll miss you, Max. You were the best dog I've ever known.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fave Foto Friday 'n' Stuff

I'm settling into the new house pretty well. An old retriever mix dog (Lab and Golden) has taken up residence here, too. He has been an outside dog all of his life. That doesn't sit well with me, but you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks.

Still, Max has arthritis, and he's near the end of his time on Earth, so I can't just leave him outside. His run takes up just about half of my roomy 2 car garage, so he has lots of space. I'm gradually introducing him to the inside of the house.

The garage stays tolerably warm right now, since it's attached to the house and it's insulated. The plan is to have him stay in the house overnight once the garage gets to be too cold. That will mean sleeping downstairs with him, since he can't climb the stairs and he'll need someone to be here to let him out on demand. I don't mind too much, since there's a fireplace (gas log) down here. The TV and computer are down here, too. Might be fun to camp out with Max!

I'm accustomed to small dogs, so a large dog is a big change for me. Everything is bigger, from the amount of food they eat to the amount of food they recycle. And the shedding! Oh, the shedding! But Max is just the sweetest animal. He helped me weed the garden last weekend, popping his head under my arm at odd intervals for a cuddle. I've never before had a dog that could be left off leash without a fence. Max is reliable that way. Besides, I can outrun him (poor beast).

Here's a picture of my buddy for Fave Foto Friday. This was taken in the midwest in September:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fave Foto Friday

Here's an image from my recent vacation in the Midwest:


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Double Back

It's been an odyssey, but I finally have internet access once again! Cable is NOT available at my new address, had to set up satellite service for TV and DSL for internet access. YIKES!!!

More later. I'm off to bed. I have house guests right now, and I have an early appointment tomorrow.

'Night all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Back!


Made a not-so-quick trip up the road this past week. I'm home today, and desperately in need of sleep after the grueling 1200 mile ride. More to come.

I suspect that at least one fellow blogger will recognize the image above!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Question

Anybody know of a place to get good, affordable veterinary care in the Millville/Vineland/Mays Landing area? Suggestions appreciated!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

How to Reconstitute a Zombie

The secret's out. To reconstitute a zombie, give her a shower. I know it for a fact, because it worked for this zombie yesterday morning.

Got up bright and early yesterday to participate in a friend's movie-making adventure. Pax relates the gory details deliciously over at his blog. Suffice it to say that we all had a blast, and that we each took about half a ton of sand, dirt and corn starch (zombie makeup) away with us. That shower felt oh, so good!

Maybe I should have remained a zombie for a few days. Do zombies feel bug bites? I kind of doubt it! One scene required us to play dead on a sandy shore for several minutes. The side of me that was against the sand has several insect bites today. Sand fleas, ants or chiggers, who knows? They left their mark. Just the universe exacting payment, I suppose.

Filming was done at a remote pond Down Jersey. The environment here is a unique combination of sandy, desert-like areas juxtaposed against fairly dense woodlands. There is a deep pond here, with a reputation for some of the best fishing in this part of the state. There is access to waterways which, if followed for several miles, would eventually take you to the Delaware Bay, then on around the southernmost point of New Jersey to the Atlantic Ocean.



This area represents both the best and the worst of the New Jersey pinelands. There is beauty here, but the pond owes its existence to sand and gravel mining, which scarred the pristine forest and harmed the nearby waterways by creating a problem with saltwater intrusion. Waterways that had been freshwater ecosystems became brackish.

The desert-like portion of the landscape is maintained by human activity, mostly dirt biking. Hardy juniper ground covers would take over these areas, followed by scrub pines and then hardwoods like oak, if human activity ceased.




I am enough of a realist to comprehend that human activity will not cease, though it would be nice if some of the most pristine areas were to be maintained in a forest primevil state. I suppose dirtbikers need a place to ride, fishermen need a place to fish, boaters need a place to boat and so on. What disturbs me is the mindlessness and selfishness with which humans often pursue their leisure activities, leaving mounds of trash behind, beligerently riding in areas were riding is specifically verboten.

Despite my posthumous fleabites, we saw very little in the way of animal and insect activity at this location yesterday. Not many birds about, saw a fly or two, but no bees or snakes or the like. Didn't even see any squirrels. I'm sure the creatures are there, but we only saw a couple of dogs (both off-leash) and people doing their thing.

I don't know what the answers are when it comes to balancing human desire and greed for resources with the needs of all living things. I do know that desire and greed are two very destructive forces, both on a personal level and on a universal level. Greater minds than mine will have to propose a solution. I hope I have the courage to sign on when they do.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Netherworlds

Some of the finest hours I’ve spent in life have been passed in netherworlds created by screenplays or fancy of fiction. I most recently passed several hours in the netherworld constructed by J.K. Rowling in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The imagery throughout the story was so real to me that I feel as if I had already seen the movie. I remember the battle scene visually and viscerally, not as a conglomerate of words and phrases.

When I was a child, I would sometimes cry when I finished a particularly compelling novel. I had entered so fully into the plotline that I became part of the story. I had a true sense of loss upon my return to reality. I wanted to be in that other world, in that other time – not in this one. This occurred as a facet of my overactive imagination, not because my childhood was unhappy or troubled.

Emerging from a netherworld is as much a physical experience as a cognitive one for me, like waking from a deep sleep to a slowly increasing awareness of the buzz of life around me. I feel the mist slowly begin to lift from my mind, and I sleepily begin to respond to external stimuli.

I was a slow, intense reader as a child, prone to remember phrases word for word and able to retell storylines in great detail. Sadly, education and employment have given me new “skills.” I read much faster now, looking for key thoughts and developing an overall sense of the material. This is a necessary evil for someone who must review masses of information daily and reduce it to a summary of significant points. When I read now, there is almost always an overlay of sound in my head, a cacophony of reminders to get to the point, to ignore minor details and find the facts. I look forward to the time when I may once again consume each word and digest it, slowly savoring nuances. I want to immerse myself in the text, like a skinny-dipper on a moonlit night, alone in the enveloping coolness of the water.

The magical power of words built my netherworlds, like chanted spells binding me to the tale, weaving me into its fabric, and broken only when the text ran out and the story ended. As a mid-life adult buzzing madly in the midst of the beehive of my life, I suppose I long for the netherworlds of my childhood as the ultimate repose. Perhaps the real joy of later life will be found in escaping once again into the enchantments of those netherworlds.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Busy Days

Lots of busy days ahead, getting the house set up and moving in. Up for today: visit Mom, buy a washer and dryer and put up a mailbox.

I've pretty much decided to go with a front loading washer. They cost more (ouch!), but they save an incredible amount of water and energy. A top loading washer uses up to 60 gallons of water for a full load of laundry; a front loading unit uses about 14. That means less water pulled from the well, less water heated, less detergent used, and less water and detergent discharged into the septic system. Front loaders are also more effective at cleaning, and they get a lot more water out of the laundry during the spin cycle. That translates to shorter drying times. Basically, I'll use less water, propane and electricity, and I'll put less stress on my septic system if I buy a front loader. It's a win-win situation, since what is good for me is also good for the environment. There are some minor drawbacks to front loaders, too, but with a well and septic, it's the way to go. Advice would be appreciated from anyone who has experience with particular brands of washer/dryer combos.

Tomorrow will be a day for cleaning (floors and counter tops, which still have some dust and grit from the building process on them), ironing (window treatments) and moving small items. No need to describe the coming days any further, you get the gist. I have a vacation coming up in September, and I hope to be pretty well settled in by then, which will free up my time to putter in the yard.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MERCY!!!!

I am rattled beyond belief today. Settlement is tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I will pretty much empty the contents of my bank account and hand it over to a mortgage company. The mortgage company will then proceed to take most of my income every month forever. I see trips to Tuscany and Provence, cruises of the Mediterranean, now beyond my reach.

I ended the work day today with an incomprehensible collage of sticky notes on my desk. Most of them made little or no sense. I'll try to sort it all out when I'm back at my desk on Thursday, hopefully in a calmer frame of mind.

I really am rattled.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Witching (and Wizarding) Hour

I'd never been to the mall at midnight until last night. Only one of the four or five doors at the entrance was open for the Harry Potter fans trickling in to pick up their copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Security guards on Segways eyed those entering the building, watching to make sure they headed straight for the escalator that would take them to the Borders Express upstairs.

The mall was dark and warm, the air conditioning having been turned up a few degrees for the night. Silence reigned, except in the small area outside of the bookstore, where chaos seemed to have taken control. There had been a celebration leading up to the witching hour, and salespeople dressed as witches continued to call out numbers for prize drawings. Since I was there only to pick up my preordered copy of the book, I didn't try to snag one of the little blue tickets needed for the prize drawings.

Mistake.

At the stroke of midnight, the crowd (not huge, but still too much for the small mall store) massed together to find their way to the registers to make their purchases. Incomprehensible instructions were given, which seemed to cause shifting of the crowd, but still, no clear lines were formed. Then, an imperious security guard began ordering people out of the store. A young girl nearby explained to me that customers were being taken in order of the numbers on their little blue tickets.

It was 10 past midnight at this point, and only a few people had left the store with book in hand. I had no idea where to obtain a ticket. Even if I came up with one, I'd be the very last customer served. While I could have abided an orderly line, the chaos in the store and the ill-will of the security guards made staying unpalatable to me.

I left.

I drove across the highway to Walmart, where peace and order marked the early moments of the new day. A simple line had been constructed outside. Bookmarks, posters, cupcakes, candy and wristbands were distributed to all who waited to enter the store, just a few people at a time. I waited no more than 5 minutes before gaining entrance. I was guided to a customer service desk where 2 clerks with stacks of books assisted with purchases. 5 minutes later I was home and beginning my journey into the final tome in the Harry Potter series.

As for Borders Express, I'd probably still be waiting in that mob right now...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tearing My Hair Out

With settlement on my home purchase just a week away and some of the finer details unresolved, I'm tearing my hair out. To add another cliched saying to this post, it never rains but it pours. I have a vacation coming up in September. I'm desperately trying to get ahead at work so that I won't be BEHIND when I get back. Add into the mix medical appointments (routine, but time consuming) and the impending settlement, and, well, things are stressful! And now Mom isn't feeling too well.

My sister has been wonderful - she lives near Mom and does all that she possibly can to help her. I think Mom might have to go back to the hospital again soon. She's been dwindling physically and mentally. She recently asked my sister about my brother's wife, who died 6 or 7 years ago. I guess Mom had forgotten that she was gone, and she cried when my sister told her about it.

Putting it all in perspective, the settlement stuff will fall into place, or it won't. I'll be warm and dry and well-fed either way. I'll get stuff done at work or I won't. I'll make every effort to stay on schedule, but, if I don't, it will be there when I get back. It's the people we love who count, and all of the other things can go hang.

By the way, it really does look like I've been tearing my hair out! I've got the worst case of the frizzies ever, and I can't seem to conquer it. Any suggestions???

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Making Sunday Pudding

Looking at my last post, I realize that I left out some critical bits of information. I've grappled a bit with my own religious affiliation in recent months, and I even considered converting to Catholicism at one point. I had to examine what I believe about God, the church, divine revelation - the whole lot.

I know many sincere Catholics, and I respect and admire them. I'm far too ingrained in protestant ways of thinking to convert with ease. Pity the poor priest who might have had the task of instructing me!

The Pope and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are probably convinced that he actually does represent Christ on Earth, and that the Catholic Church is the only path to God. I am not convinced of that, so I obviously would not make a good Catholic. I respect those who do believe these things. Their beliefs are at least as reasonable as some of the things Protestants believe. For the record, I don't completely swallow the Protestant KoolAid, either.

I was raised in the Methodist Church. What I believe about God and faith could not be summed up neatly in a booklet about Methodist doctrine. I don't believe exactly what any one denomination believes, swallowed whole in an undigestible mass.

I guess the Pope's recent statements irked me a bit. They struck at the core of my sectarian and religious beliefs about freedom. However, as part of that freedom, every religious group has the right to define itself without intereference (as long as it does so peacefully). We each choose our religious, political and personal affiliations. More important, we choose just how much influence each of those thing has on who we are and how we go forward in life. I guess, in the end, the proof is in the pudding.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Surprises Here

The conversation around the office lunch table invariably swings to the news of the day. First up for discussion over tuna sandwiches and diet Snapple today was the Pope's recent statement that the Catholic church is the only denomination that counts (one true church/faith kinda deal).

Reactions in the room were interesting, with the Catholics among us expressing the most incredulity. We non-Catholics were essentially unmoved, for two basic reasons. First, we already knew that the Catholic church held that position, so it wasn't news to us. Second, the Pope holds no authority to us. We don't think he speaks for God, and we don't think he has better access to God than anyone else. His opinion is fairly irrelevant to us, unless it impacts public policy or inspires genocide.

Any really interesting conversation (let me put my Geek hat on) today centered around Harry Potter. Discussions about the latest movie (released today) and the 7th book (to be released on 7/21; yes, I'll be in line at midnight) were animated and full of anticipatory speculation. Most people seem to think that Harry will make the ultimate sacrifice. He might be a horcrux (OK, I did mention the Geek hat, didn't I?), or Neville might turn out to be the wizard in the prophecy after all.

Those of you who have not followed the story have already tuned out on this post. Those of you who know the HP saga must have a guess about the final outcome of the series. What do you think?

A few of my predictions:
Ginny Weasley will play a significant role
Snape: friend, not foe (though never friendly)
There are a few surprises yet to be learned about Harry's family history
Harry might die, but Voldemort will not win
Neville and Luna will play important roles, as well
Draco Malfoy could make an unexpected change for the better
House elves, goblins and giants will factor into the final fray

OK, so I've dissed the Pope and exposed my interest in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Am I a wanton liberal, or what?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

2nd Monday and Stuff

Today felt like Monday all over again. After having the day off yesterday for the Fourth (funny how we almost never call it Independence Day), getting up for work was like getting up on a Monday morning. 2 Mondays in one week, yikes.

Not that I'm complaining...

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Maybe I watched too much of the 'Twilight Zone' marathon yesterday. One episode I saw was about a man who went back in time to the day of Lincoln's assassination. He wanted to stop John Wilkes Booth from completing the deed, but he couldn't do it.

Ever wonder how the world might be different today with just one small change in history? Imagine what would have happened if Benjamin Franklin had decided to remain loyal to the throne of England. He moderated much of the angry debate in Philadelphia prior to the Declaration of Independence, he persuaded many to join the fray, and he was the tie to our important French allies at the time of the war. He was a diplomat's diplomat.
Where would the US today be without Ben's influence on our history? What if he had used his considerable intellectual powers on behalf of Jolly Old England? Cricket, anyone? Would there ever have been a George Bush or a war in Iraq?

All questions, no answers. Like I said, too much 'Twilight Zone.'

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Phew!!!

I know it's been quite awhile since I posted. I'm glad to see that the Room was still here waiting for me!

The home purchase I was planning back in April didn't pan out, and that's a good thing! I've found something I like much more, and I'm expecting to sign contracts this afternoon. Cross your fingers for me, I'm really hoping this one will stick. Sure, this house costs more, and the interest rates have gone up, but at least the taxes are lower...

The house is new, and it's in the woods. It's quiet and private, everything I want in a home. It's an American classic in style: it's a bilevel. I knew I wanted the home the first time I stood on the patio. There is lovely swirled design imprinted into the cement. Shortly after they poured the patio, a turkey (a big one, judging from the size of the tracks) came by and wandered up to the doorway to take a peek inside. Hey, people pay big bucks to have their cement texturized. This design was donated by mother nature. Hard to beat that!

Hope the turkey is a frequent visitor. And DON'T get any funny ideas about Thanksgiving dinner!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day

The time has come to pay attention to our Earth and her needs. Check out the Earth Day website.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mercy!

Mommanator over at Grannie's Ramblings told me today that it was time to dust off the Room. She told me she needs some new reading material, so here it is, fresh off the presses just for you, Mommanator!

I signed a contract to buy a home tonight. The sellers have agreed to my offer, and, if they sign the contract as expected, then I'll soon find myself in the midst of the maelstrom that accompanies real estate purchases.

The home in question is modest but relatively new. It's in a neighborhood, but the lot is large (1.5 acres). It needs some landscaping, so I'll be calling on all of my gardening friends for advice in that realm! I enjoy yard work, but I don't have much expertise when it comes to proper planting techniques, purchasing stock, etc.

In other news, my Mom has been in and out of the hospital and nursing care. She's home now, but we're working on setting up assisted living for her. She's not too good about taking her medication, and she's not particularly interested in eating. My siblings and I are doing our best to keep her well, but she needs a little more help than we can give her.

My office moved a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I have less than a 10 minute drive to work right now. That will change if my plans to purchase the house go through.

The new digs are nice, though moving was a major effort. I have a nice cubicle with a window. It offers a lovely view of some sort of maintenance yard, complete with trucks, piles of stuff and a warehouse. The view should improve when the large oak trees on the office property leaf out. No matter what, it's nice to be able to see at a glance what the weather is like. I see birds from time to time, too.

All in all, I think it's fair to say that my life has been a little bit crazy lately. Sorry for the long absence from posting; hope some of my blog friends find their way back for a visit soon. I'll try to be a little bit better about posting from here on out. With a little luck, I won't be touring real estate anymore, so I should have more time available. So, welcome to anyone who finds their way back to the Room. It's nice to have this virtual real estate to return to as my real life accommodations shift and change!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

In Stitches


Heard a reporter (think it was on CNN) the other day talking about a violent event somewhere in the world. She described the group behind it as having a wonton disregard for human life. Yep, she pronounced it just like the name of your favorite Chinese dumpling. I howled.

Time For Tea


I had the pleasure of the company of two of the best friends a girl could have for a dining adventure last Saturday. We took our afternoon tea at The Vintage Rose Tea Room in Millville, NJ. My friend Zelda described the outing over at her blog, Garden of Eden.


The fare at The Vintage Rose was sumptuous. The ambiance was elegant and peaceful, but not at all haughty. The tea sandwiches were a dream, the scones were perfect, the desserts were heavenly and the tea selection was impressive. Clotted cream and lemon curd accompanied the scones, of course. The tableau was charming, with floral table covers reaching to the floor, silver service, and Royal Albert Old Country Roses china to hold the delicacies. The gustatory delights were presented on china plates on a three-tiered silver server. Cloth napkins were provided, of course. We dilly-dallied over our repast, enjoying the finest tea, food and company available.


I wish Virginia Gal lived nearby; I'd love to take her there for a treat one Saturday soon! I know she loves tea, and she is a bit of an Anglophile. I'd enjoy a chat with her over a cuppa.


It seems that Millville has played a prominent role in the more posh of my (admittedly limited) outings recently. I described a chic meal out at Winfield's in Millville in a post in December. These venues really are a surprise and a delight, tucked away in unpretentious little Millville. Will wonders never cease!

Noisy Neighbors

I'm not talking about the folks upstairs, although they ARE noisy. That's a story for another day. There were quiet mornings around here for the last couple of weeks. The pond had frozen over and the wildlife had deserted us for greener pastures, errr... wetter waters. All that ended late last week when the deep freeze eased. I was awakened shortly after dawn by the calls of the ducks who had returned to the pond. They are joined from time to time by a small flock of Canada geese, who give new meaning to the word noisy! I've even heard the geese in the middle of the night, honking just outside my (first floor) bedroom window.

Yesterday morning I was up early and sat down to check my email. I heard the oddest noise, and I wondered just what the neighbors were up to now. I peeked out my window to behold three enormous turkeys parading around on the lawn just outside The Room; another voice had been added to the daily cacophany of nature sounds to be heard here, unexpected in such a populated location.

As loud as my feathered friends can be, their noise never disturbs me. Human noises often annoy me to no end, but most of the sounds found in nature are comforting to me. Guess that's why my current home search is focused on more rural settings. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different...

...allow me, please, to introduce the multi-talented (dare I say ingenious?) Evil Chicken. The name is deceptive, because EC is actually one of the kindest people I know, and he has a degree of moral courage that would put most of us to shame.

In any event, stop by his place, Chicken Scratch, from time to time. You never know just what you'll find there!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fave Foto Friday

Here's a little something for FFF. I know I've been woefully AWOL lately; sorry! Life's been coming at me fast. I'm on my way out the door in a few minutes, so I don't have time to reply to any comments right now. I hope to have a chance this evening or tomorrow. Hope everyone is well!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Stretched Out

Some Days
(today was one)
I feel like a used paper clip
-form slightly skewed
-less useful than before

I can still function to handle the big things
(for a short while...if I must)
but smaller things
elude my grasp.

Ducks and Drakes

OK, here they are, finally, the real decoy, errrr... McCoy. Anywho, these are the ducks who inhabit the pond outside The Room.






Not the greatest photos, I know. I'll get better ones at a future date.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Allow Me to Introduce...

...my very good friend, the Mommanator! Her blog is up and running, and it's ready for prime time. Stop by and show her the love!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Room With a View

The windows here at The Room overlook a pond occupied by a small flock of Mallard ducks. Recently, a group of Canada Geese has been in residence, as well. Here is a link to the sound I wake to each morning. The pond is just outside of my bedroom, and the ducks seem to favor my side of the water at sunrise. They take a morning stroll across the lawn at about 7:00 am every day; I suspect that one of the neighbors throws out some seed at about that time each morning.

One poor drake has a backwards foot. I don't know whether this is due to a birth defect or an injury. It makes him a bit of a pegleg, and he hobbles when he walks. The social worker in me wants to connect him to services. I wonder if there is a local nature group or veterinarian who might be able to correct his defect. He's still pretty functional, but I wonder how well he will be able to evade the cats lurking around if he's caught any distance from the water when one appears. I guess that's natural selection, but I don't have to like it.

I don't have any photos of my ducks to share right now. I'm posting this at night, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to try to take a picture. I'll shoot for an image of the ducks for Fave Foto Friday this week. Here's an image of a Mallard I found online:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Melting

Photo found at Komo TV website

Global warming is a topic of great interest to me. Frank at iFlipFlop posted recently about the unprecedented high temperatures we're experiencing this January. While one warm January does not a melted planet make, there seems to be an overall trend toward warm winters in the eastern US that is hard to ignore.

An article at cnn.com dated January 4 adds fuel to the fire. According to the article, an ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields snapped free from Canada's Arctic 16 months ago (August of 2005), something scientists consider to be an alarming occurrence. Global warming is considered to be a, "major contributing factor," and this is seen as evidence that we are, "crossing climate thresholds." Earthquake monitors located 155 miles away picked up the collapse.