Saturday, December 26, 2009

Here's a clip of Daisy in the snow this week.

And here's one of Muttley.

The snow is gone now, and we pretty much have a lake in the backyard. And it's still raining.

Quick question for my techie friends:

Would I get better video quality here if I published to youtube or another site before adding a video clip? The quality of these clips is better than the images you're seeing here. I uploaded from my PC directly to blogger.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Worlds

I was never a big fan of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres of entertainment, but I've been drawn into them almost against my will over the last couple of years. That's because they're on the TV almost constantly at my house. I've become intrigued by Dr. Who, Torchwood, Being Human and Robin Hood - to name a few. I still can't quite buy into The Seeker - the storyline seems a little too much like a pointless video game to me.

I really rebelled against Robin Hood for the first season or two, watching only because I didn't want to sit alone on a Saturday night. The series has managed to draw me in, mostly due to the acting of Richard Armitage, who has brought real complexity to the character of Sir Guy of Gisborne. The current season has a new edge to it, complete with a cranky Robin and a haunted Sir Guy.

Robin Hood is drawing to a close, with only a few episodes left to air. I'm glad that it's ending because there can only be so many death-defying season's end episodes involving the few main characters of the series. This is a story that calls for a complete ending, not just a Newhart-style it-was-all-a-dream finish. It should be incredibly satisfying to watch the finale. It could end in a bloodfest - they've already had the courage to kill off a main character, one who did not die in the traditional tale. The series seemed doomed at the end of last season with the demise of this particular character, but, remarkably, this season has been more intense and dramatic because of the death.

In any event, watching Robin Hood has led me to the work of a talented actor, and I can't wait to see what he does in the future. He's sure to show up more and more, so keep an eye out for him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tearing My Hair Out!

Needed my passport tonight to order airline tickets for an upcoming trip, and it wasn't where it was supposed to be. Finally found it (phew). Since my birth certificate was with it, I started to feel pretty desperate. It would have been a challenge to replace both the birth cert and the passport and THEN get airline reservations in time for our trip. Four of us are traveling together, and we want to book the flights together so that we arrive at the same time.

The upside? I now know where EVERYTHING in the house is! I have looked in every box in every closet and in every drawer. I also found a lost password, as well as the keypad code to my car door. I never memorized it because I always use the keyless entry. Wonder if it still works?

So back to square one. Guess we'll order the tickets tomorrow. Hope the fares don't go up by then!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Photo Poem

When was the last time you saw acres of sky?

Or sat in the grass and let the wind wash over you, with no discernible sound of human activity?

Or contemplated the metaphors for life found in old farm structures?

Or saw light at the end of a hazy pathway?

Getting away can give you a new perspective on things.

Though there is always work to be done.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

House of Fish

Image found at

This place is turning into a fish house. Our 125 gallon aquarium currently has a partition in it to protect the pleco (sucker catfish) from the cichlids. He was under assault and losing fins fast. He is recovering nicely, but the partition can't stay up forever; it's ugly, and the cichlids need the run of the tank for optimal health.

Enter the 55 gallon aquarium, set up and cycling as we speak. The aquarium has to cycle through some chemical/biological phases before it's ready for fish. Once this one is ready to roll, the pleco will move in. His tankmates will be some nice, friendly community fish who will be unlikely to cause him any problems.

We lost one catfish already, sadly, to the aggressive cichlids in the other tank. My web research shows that it was a species of fish best left to nature or the truly large (commercial) aquariums. I think the cichlid mix in the 125 gallon tank (it's not my tank) is a little bit questionable. So what happens when they get bigger and more territorial? Will they spawn more fish tanks? And what happens if the pleco outgrows the 55 gallon tank? He just might.

Welcome to the South Jersey House of Fish!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Aquariums, laptop-shopping and facebook taking up my time these days, oh my! Must find time to post. I like blogger better than facebook, yet somehow facebook draws you in. Social engineering at it's finest. Or most devious.

I'll come up with a real post soon, I promise!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My very good friend and fellow blogger, Mommanator, is having a giveaway in honor of her 300th post over at Grannie's Ramblings. Stop by and enter for a chance to win something good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I recently read the book Lost by Gregory Maguire. Maguire is the author of Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which I have also read. Lost is about haunting, in more than one sense of the word. It wasn't as good as the other two novels, but it has haunted me.

The main character in the book faces a ghostly haunting that seems to be a manifestation of her own haunted emotional state. She has fallen into a pattern of marking time, failing to move forward, because of the events of her past and emotions that she can't quite seem to acknowledge or let go of. She is stuck and she has lost herself.

I feel like that character. I have made several major life changes over the last few years, some by choice and some not, and I've lost myself somewhere in the shuffle. The fallout is more than I ever expected.

In the book, the word 'lost' applies in at least two ways: the character is lost, and she has lost (suffered loss). I don't think I would have understood this entirely if I were not in a similar state.

The main character in the book has something of a breakdown. I am not about to do that. And this doesn't mean that there is nothing good in my life. It's just that too much change too fast leaves you whiplashed. And lost.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Double Bind

Conversation in my household tonight:

Me: Here's a quote from Oscar Wilde: A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

Him: (Laughter - a good belly laugh.)

Me: Do you love me?

Him: (Silence.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"List 7 things that you love, and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you love!"

OK, here's my list of seven things, with apologies to Virginia Gal for taking so long to get around to it! I, too, will not list the obvious things, like family and friends and pizza and pets.

  1. VACATION: away, at home, whatever!
  2. A well-written book.
  3. Quiet. It's so rare.
  4. Snowfall.
  5. The wind. There's nothing like standing on the deck of a moving ship, or on a hill, and feeling the wind wash over you.
  6. Valentine's Day.
  7. Hope.

I'm sure I'd come up with a different list on another day, but this one is just as good and just as true as any I could construct. I won't tag anyone, I never do.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Caesar For a Day

We decided that the canoe should be moved today. It was sitting on the spot where we plan to till a strip and put in some azaleas (or something). The conversation in our house just a few minutes ago went something like this:

"Hey, there's a mouse in the canoe! What should I do with it?"

"Chase it out and let it go."

"I can kill it - you want me to kill it?"

"No, let it go, as long as it heads for the woods and not the house."

"You wanna see it?"

"Well, OK."

Sure enough, a little grey mouse was stranded in the now-upright canoe.

"Tip it so it can get out."

The mouse scampered off into the woods.

"Hey, look, there's another mouse! There's a Mama mouse and another baby!"

Mama and baby # 2 scampered off into the woods, as well.

So I got to be Caesar and give a big thumbs up to Ms. Mouse and family today. Too bad I had just seen a cat lurking out there in the woods a few minutes earlier...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


For Virginia Gal: Yes, Muttley is a Hanna-Barbera character from my childhood. This is a brief series of clips of the Muttley I grew up watching.

Here is the best I can do for a pic of Daisy and Muttley together. Right now, Muttley is recovering from a rite-of-passage medical procedure, complete with bedrest and an Elizabethan collar. He has to avoid strenuous activity for a week or two, so he has to be kept away from Daisy. They roughhouse a bit too much for his safety. There won't be new pics of them together for a little while.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Fave Foto Friday and All That Jazz

Here's the latest member of the family. This little fellow is 6 months old. He came to us from a family member who couldn't take care of him. He puts the Energizer Bunny to shame when it comes to his activity level. He gets along really well with our Daisy. He needs a new name, since the old one doesn't really work for us. Right now he goes by Muttley, which will probably stick forever as his nickname.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Right Night

I took the dog out a little while ago. It's just right out there: cold but not bitter (36.6 degrees, according to my remote thermometer). There's no wind, and it's clear and beautiful. It's not damp out there at all tonight, so the cold isn't bone-chilling. The stars are out, and Orion is hanging low over my back yard. I wore my dog-walking coat - a big old faux fur. It's the coziest thing I own.

I hope everyone had a happy St. Patrick's Day. I came home from work tonight and started cooking: beef stew with Guinness, colcannon and store-bought Irish soda bread. I must admit that this is the first time I've ever had to cook leeks in milk for a recipe! They're in the colcannon, along with cabbage, mashed potatoes and spices. The soda bread was good with butter on it, but it was not nearly as good as the homemade soda bread I had at work today. It was made by a co-worker. What a treat!

We finally sat down to eat at about 8:30, and I finished cleaning up at 9:30. That's OK. I haven't been sleeping well lately, but I have the feeling I'll sleep like a baby tonight!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Family Quest

I think I noted in a prior post that I had done a free trial at It was so cool to find handwritten census records for my ancestors over the last century and a half. I felt an instant connection to the names displayed on my monitor. That was my family listed there. For the moment, they seemed alive and very real to me. Fascinating details emerged, like occupations (very working class), countries of origin and the names of second spouses (oh, the mortality rate of those days).

A couple of weeks ago I went to dinner with my sister and her sons. My nephews both had birthdays in February. We had surprise additions to the family group in the form of a couple of long lost cousins. We sat there together, all flawed people with histories that were at once remarkably different and remarkably similar. Family stories were told as they had been passed on to each of us. Clearly the same stories, but passed on with a different slant by different parents (my mom and my aunt). Our flaws and our differences can separate us sometimes, but at the price of the things we share.

Through marriage and moving and divorce I've managed to lose touch with most of the folks from my younger days. I haven't kept old friends, and I am such a very different person now that I don't have a desire to look them up. Still, it's good to have some grounding in the past. The connections with family members are based on shared family history, not political, religious or world views. Cousins and siblings will be cousins and siblings forever. That's a bond that you can always revisit, even after long fallow periods. It helps you to remember who you are and how you got to be that way. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I've Been Up To

The mind boggles. I've been incredibly industrious lately in a totally non-productive way. I know, I know - that's not quite logical. Welcome to my world!

I've been playing around with Facebook. What a very different experience it is from Blogger! Since it doesn't seem to work too well with Internet Explorer, I downloaded Firefox. My goodness! All of these new formats to learn!

As if that wasn't enough, I signed up for a trial subscription for I soon discovered it doesn't work too well with Firefox. What a complicated world we inhabit! The effort was worthwhile, though, since I have found several census entries for my family going back several generations on the maternal side. It gave me chills each time I found a record for a household that I knew to belong to my ancestors.

Over the long weekend, I read People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. It was a good read, and gave me food for thought. One of my favorite books, Year of Wonders, is by the same author. I read her Pulitzer Prize winning tome called March some time ago. It was not an easy read. I had ordered March from Amazon, and they sent me a copy signed by the author, which is kind of neat.

I've seen 2 movies over the last several days: Doubt and He's Just Not That Into You. Also managed a ridiculously overpriced dinner out at a fondue restaurant. Incredible what they charged us to cook our own supper! That was a ONE TIME ONLY experience. No need to repeat it.

So there you have it, industrious in a non-productive way. Guess that's my way of saying that the housekeeping has suffered in the pursuit of my hobbies.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gotta Love It

This is what some folks in Austin, Texas saw on their drive to work yesterday morning. I know this is criminal, but...

Saturday, January 24, 2009


My friend Pax deplores the current tendency to overuse the word awesome. I have a word to add to the overused list: extreme. I'm tired of hearing it used in advertising for new products, and I'm REALLY tired of hearing it used to justify dangerous new (and usually absurd) twists on sports. Just my unsolicited 2 cents on the topic.
Update 1/27: Oops. My friend Pax especially dislikes the overuse of the word amazing.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009

Happy New Year to all! Midnight has passed, I have drunk some champagne, and I am going to bed. Sweet dreams, and may 2009 bring you health, wealth and wisdom.