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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't be Afraid of the Dark

fall tree colorDon't be afraid of the dark, we weren't when we participated in Earth Hour; but it appeared ALL of my neighbors were. How disappointing. Spot lights on when they let their dogs out, dogs don't need spot lights to see. In fact they probably see better without a bright light blaring at them. And who wants to be light up with a spot light during a private moment? Not me. Anyway, back to the point. Earth Hour came and went. I was sad to see lights on in almost every room of every house around us. Lights on in and out of the house, far too many lights on for people to be in everyroom really in need of the light. Here in lies the problem. People are wasteful. I know people weren't in everyroom, I know how few people live in some of these houses and I know how many lights I saw on.

It took some doing; but we were 100% off the grid. Seriously, we went room to room and unplugged everything we could find. Hubby checked the meter and it still showed we were pulling some juice. We retrace our steps room to room and found the clock on the microwave was still on. It's apparently wired separately, as is the censor for the garage door. We pulled the circuit breaker to get those off, rechecked the meter and bingo! We were now completely off the grid. We were pulling no juice. We remained outside enjoying our wine by our fire pit long past the mere 60 minutes of the "official Earth Hour". I doubt we made up for all those around us; but we gave it our best effort. It was a learning situation for us, who knew some of those censors stayed on when you clicked the lights off at night at the switch? We didn't. So it was a good exercise for us; caused us to be more aware. Much like when I ware a pedometer to see how many steps I walk, it causes you to be more aware.

I spent some time yesterday at Staples learning about special breakers that can sense when something isn't in use and shut off electric to it. I plan to check further into this and will keep you posted what I learn.

Why should we all practice some of the lessons from Earth Hour? The above Tree came to mind. The World is Beautiful, we must protect it. The pretty tree is one such example. I'll close here with my favorite poem of all time.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
This poem was written by World War I Veteran Alfred Joyce Kilmer who died in France serving his country. He received a Purple Heart. Alfred was born in New Jersey and has a rest area there named for him; as well as schools, and a street or two. You may better know him as Joyce Kilmer; did you think Joyce was female? A common mistake.

So today I'm sharing with you my love of trees and nature through a favorite poem, and asking you to be gentle on this Earth. Take care of it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Important Family Time, Eating Dinner Together

dining room lightstain glass window style light

dining room setnew dining room set

Have continued cleaning up my desk area, trying to transfer files etc. from stacks of CD's and my older computer to this one. You know the constant effort to get organized. Making headway for sure; though a heavier than normal work scheduled has slowed things down again. errrrrrrr Work gets in the way, frustrating. lol Life hun?

Anyway in the process found these nice pictures of my new dining room when it was new. Guess I hadn't ever gotten around to editing and posting my pics before. I've never had a dining room set before and so was super thrilled when we selected this. Also, today's furniture is soooooooo big, it's not all that easy to find something that is physically the appropriate size as well as something that isn't over powering in it's height. With new houses being so modern and having large open spaces furniture design has followed suit. I like to actually sit in a chair with feet on the floor, not do an Edith Ann imitation. And our house is not big and open, it's what I call normal. Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, 3 bedrooms, and 1 bath.

Dark gold walls, wine in the style of an old still life is the border. I have nice hand painted dishes that have been in the family multiple generations that I can now have on display in the china cabinet. I do still want a picture or two on the walls, but haven't gotten that far. I don't know art, I know what I like when I see... and am remembering a dark picture of an elderly gentlemen sitting at a table in perhaps France or Italy sipping wine. The picture is one that makes you feel like you're in the vineyards. Anyone know what that picture is called? I'd love to have that.

I know in today's busy world it's not uncommon for families to eat on the run, to not sit down and eat together. That's too bad in my opinion. I think one of the most important times of any day is dinner time. It's a time without TV, a time without internet, a time without kids being plugged in or turned off. Or should be. A time for families to look at each other and actually converse. A time to ask about each other's day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Yard Business

Purple CrocusOne little spurt of Spring Color! Isn't it wonderful? This one small clump of purple Crocus is blooming, or was the other day beside the deck out back. So far, this lonely clump is it. But, it got me pretty excited. Spurred both hubby and I to spend the day doing some spring clean up in the yard. Was good to get outside even if cool after the long hard cold, extremely snowing winter we've had. This one little clump gives me hope, hope that it will warm up, that the snow really is gone, and hope that winter really is over. I know the calendar says it's spring; but around here...that really doesn't mean much. We often get a snow or two after we pass the date on the calendar.
yard debris loaded into the carWe raked all the flower beds of the winter junk. Winter junk is what's left of the leaves, the deed stems etc. We picked up sticks from both front and back yards from what fell from the trees. We filled 4 of these large trash bags and 2 large trash cans with yard debris. I cut the tall grasses down to a couple of inches and that really produces lots of stuff. Our community composts. They do pick up yard waste once a week and take it to the compost facility for a fee. The fee isn't bad, but we live pretty close and have the means to take it ourselves; which then makes it free. So, here's the old Explorer loaded to the gills as hubby get's ready to make the journey to the dump.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wearing Art

Wearing Art. I bought this jacket last summer at a local Art Fair. It was too warm for the summer but I've enjoyed wearing it throughout the fall and winter. And now that spring's approaching I'll probably wear it even more. When you buy art, or something hand made you assure yourself you're not going to see someone wearing the same thing; and you support the artist directly. You're not going to get a sale, probably...but I think it's a nice way to have something unique and support artists. This jacket is very well made and I wear it to dress up like above. We were heading out to dinner. This jacket paired with nice slacks can be quite dressy, or with a pair of jeans a bit more casual.
Hope you can see the beautiful brocade effect. Though the lighting made it look a bit more orange. The one above is more true to the real color.

AND speaking about wearing art, hop over to Brenda's blog and check out her 29 day give away contests!

AND you still have 7 days left to enter my contest over on Traveling Suitcase.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies! It's that time of the year, did you order and take delivery? Did you see the kids at the grocery store with cookies on a cardboard table? It's very different now. Did you even buy from a Girl Scout? Or, did Mom or Dad bring an order form to work? Seems now days many projects that were once kid oriented are now being done by adults. Why? Do we not let kids do as much as our parents let us do? I do think that's part of it. Do we try to control too much? What is the difference. When we were kids you went door to door in your neighborhood, you knew your neighbors and it was safe..........or at least we all felt like it was. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, school fundraisers were done on a much smaller scale. There were no competitions to see who could get the biggest order, you didn't go beyond your neighborhood, and Mom and Dad certainly didn't sell them for you.

Times, they do seem different. The selection of the cookies is greater; but I don't think they're as good as they used to be? What do you think? How many boxes did you order? Above are our 4.

Thin mints are Hubby's favorite. My favorite are the peanut butter on the far right. Though the first box I ate were the peanut butter and chocolate ones in the red box, 2nd from the left.

I wasn't a Girl Scout, were you? I was a Brownie and never went beyond that, once we moved there wasn't a group in my school. I never went to Girl Scout activities, nor did our daughter. She was however a camp counselor one summer in Connecticut at a Girl Scout Camp. Tough summer job. You work 24 x 7, sleep in a tent, a floorless one at that. She kept busy checking the girls for ticks etc. lol.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Ok, that's a saying cause clearly I don't have a picture here; but wait a minute. You're driving to and from work every house you pass has snow melting; but still plenty of snow piled up along the walk and drive. Businesses have mounds still in parking lots from the plows piling it up storm after storm. You here kids voices, they're walking home from school BAREFOOT! BAREFOOT and wearing SHORTS!!! Not one or two, lots of them. I saw them all the way home. Smaller age kids playing in their front yards the same thing. Are people nuts? It's not summer, it's not even Spring. There's still Snow...you know the cold white stuff on the ground. Yeah I know teenagers do stupid things and might have gone nuts over the fact that the sun had finally come out and the snow was finally melting. I know they think they can do whatever they want and probably where wearing the gym shorts, and had shoes in their bookbags....but come on. It was pretty, the sun was out; but it was just barely 50 for a few hours. We had frost again that night, it's still winter.

And what the heck is wrong with parents? The small children, some younger than school age dressed the same playing in yards didn't just do this themselves. They are home with adults, they are playing barefoot next to a pile of snow!

I can't tell ya how disgusted I was. Parents and teachers are suppose to be teaching kids to be responsible. What adult thinks it's responsible behavior to be barefoot in the winter time with snow still about?

Any idea how many will get sick, not be able to go to school because of it? I shake my head. Parents have a job, and sometimes you're suppose to lead by example and sometimes you're suppose to say no. When the welfare, safety and health of your children is a stake you most certainly are suppose to put your foot down.

Gonna have to grab some yarn and relax a bit. Almost finished with a scarf for the homeless and I can guarantee you as nice as the sun was that one day for them, they weren't running around shoeless wearing shorts.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cell Phone Software, who knew?

cell phoneMy cell phone and blue tooth. The cell isn't brand new; but then I've only had it a few months too. It keeps turning itself off. Makes me crazy. I use it as a watch when at work. I keep it on vibrate so it doesn't ring, but in my lab coat jacket where I can periodically check time. I work in food market research and need to keep track of how the tests are running against the schedule for 1. I'm able that way also to see if I've missed a call.

Yesterday I had it. The silly thing turned itself off 5 times during the course of my work day. What a nuisance. It's also not uncommon for me to have phone in hand or on my desk and it not ring with incoming call; but seconds later it rings I've missed a call. Weird, my other phones never did this stuff. This is suppose to be a better phone, more hi-tech etc. I've also been getting lots of folks who say I'm breaking up and they have a hard time hearing me. I have it turned up and so do they at their end.

What gives? Headed right to Verizon after work to get to the bottom of things. Bob, nice guy there hooks into his computer and tells me I need software updates. I have version 3 and 6 is available. Meaning I've missed a few updates along the way. He was pretty certain that would fix the problems I was telling him about. 10 minutes later I was in the car and on my way. The phone has not shut it self off since. And 3 people who often have have said I'm breaking up have called and said they hear me better, and the connection is improved.

I asked my new BF, Bob if this was something I could do myself and he first said he could show me how. Then after messing with the phone (which he did before he put it on the computer), he said...hum your phone thinks it's updated so probably best to come in and let us do it on the computer. A friend told me she regularly (like monthly) dials *288 and gets updated. That she had been told to do that when she bought the phone. No one has ever told me to do that with all the various phones hubby and I have had. So, I looked things up on line and do see that recommendation although on blogs and other sites; not the actually Verizon site, nor do I find it in the manual.

You're suppose to dial 288, when it asked if you want to update roaming you take option 2, then again option 2 to update your programming. You receive either a beep (according to one site), or a visual text (according to 2nd site) telling you to click ok which then turns off and restarts your phone....reboots. My friend does this monthly as I mentioned; though the sites suggested once every 3 months. She says she even does when out of town; however both sites recommended you not do this except in your home calling area.

If when you try the 288 you have problems call Verizon Customer Service by dialing 611. However, in my case Bob apparently did the above and that's when he got the message the phone was current with updates...............clearly it was not. My recommendation, take your phone and let the experts do it for you. It's easy, and it's free.

Who knew? I didn't, did you?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Won, Really, I WON!

I see lots of contest on line on blogs. Some require lots of steps, some require techy things be done on blogs that go right over my head. Therefore I don't often enter them; but have become increasingly more aware of fun quick ones as I made my way around blog walking.

Through the above process, blog walking found Brenda. Her blog is fun! I'm looking forward to getting to know her better through blogging. She's involved in something called a 29 day give away. She gives something away everyday for 29 days! I won day 1 of 29. Here's the post which shows you a picture of what I won. You can read about it and still get in on her remaining days. Who knows, maybe you'll win something to. It's fun!

But, the best part is, you get to know another blogger and isn't that what we all do this for? For the fun of blogging, the fun of getting to know each other. I know it is for me.

So, don't wait, click HERE and go check out Brenda, her blog and her contest.

AND...don't forget to swing over to my Travel Blog to enter my contest. It runs through the end of the month, so you still have time to get your name into the hat to win.

Winning is fun, but so is playing!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Love my Hubby

knitted scarf on hubbyDear Hubby, sporting his new scarf.
knitted scarfThis is a nice brownish with flecks of green. I seem to have misplaced the wrapper from the yarn so can't be exact; but remember I used 2 full cakes and that it was a Crystal Palace Yarn; but I don't remember the exact yardage etc. Actually thought I had posted this previously but found this post still in draft form unfinished on my blog. Must have gotten interrupted and never got it done. It's 100% wool, quite light weight which he likes for under his dress coat when wearing his suits to work.

I used the Condo stitch and like the way it turned out. You might recall I've used this stitch before when I made my scarf. My daughter used this pattern as well when she made a scarf over Christmas for a gift.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daddy's Scarf is Done, YIPPEE!

knitted mans scarf
Got Daddy's scarf done in the car on the way back from St. Louis the other day. It's not as long as I would make for myself; but is the same length as the dress scarf I made hubby for under his dress coat; so believe it will work fine. It's very very soft. I've said this yarn and that yarn is soft; but truly this is the softest yarn I've ever used. Rowan Lima. Two cakes were pretty pricey so am glad I didn't need to make it larger. 109 yards per cake at $13.00 each more than I usually spend; but after all---it's for Daddy. I used size 10.5 knitted needles and Checks and Ridges for the pattern; a four row repeat. I really love this pattern and wonder what it would be like if I made the ridges father apart? Anyone done that?

The yarn is made in Peru and is mostly Baby Alpaca, but also has some Merino Wool, and Nylon.

Remember to click on the photo to enlarge so you can see the pattern. I did loose my count and there is a couple of rows that have the ridges or checks longer; but the yarn is so thin I didn't want to frog it; was afraid it would ruin the yarn; so I played through.

Also started a scarf with black Homespun for The Bridge, and hope to have it done in a day or so. With the thicker yarn and larger needles it doesn't take near as long as Daddy's did.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Moving Day is a Holiday

pile of stuff to packStaging area, or at least part of it. This photo was taken in our garage a couple of weeks back when we were organizing and getting ready to move stuff to St. Louis for our daughter. We brought things up from the basement and used the garage as the holding place. With tons of snow on the ground we wanted to have everything together to minimize how long it would take us to load the truck and be outside in the cold and the snow.
stuff to packAnother view of the staging area. Daughter did her undergrad in St. Louis at Washington University, and her grad school in Baltimore. So....lots of stuff has been here while she was here, then in St. Louis, then in Baltimore and now.........that's she's back in St. Louis it's time to cart everything back to her; plus some of our older furniture to help her and give us a chance to clean out the basement.
getting ready to pack the truckThe night was cold, the ground covered. So before we could load we had to clear the walk and the drive....again! Have lost track of how many times we've shoveled snow this year. Tooooooooooo many, far too many I can tell you that.
packed rented truckLoaded, time now for pizza, wine and bed. We plan on an early start. Hubby will drive the truck and I'll drive our car. Luckily we only have to take the truck one way and can leave it there after we unload it.

We knew this would be a working wk-end, loading up here at home and then unloading there in St. Louis. We expected some cleaning and maintenance issues needing attention. However, it was much more of a working wk-end then we expected. We ended up painting and doing far more cleaning than planned; but boy was it needed!! We stayed a day longer due to being snowed in, also something we didn't expect. How many days til spring?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I'm pea Green with Envy

knitted scarfPea Green I tell ya. LOOK! I'm sooooooooooooo excited. Purple and green are my daughters favorite colors. She wears lots and lots of purple and green. Over Christmas she picked out this purple and green Baby Alpaca Yarn and wanted me to make her a scarf. Well...it is super super soft and I hope she's happy with it, as well as warm. I had to go back and get one more hang of each color, making it far more expensive than most scarves I make. Shhhhhhh, don't tell hubby how much I spent. I knitted this using Close checks in multiples of 6+3. One day, I'll buy some for myself because it feels so nice around your neck.

hand made purse and scarf
And drum roll, the purse....no I didn't make it. Not that talented with thread and needle. Karen did. You can look through all her wonderful creations on her etsy site as well as her blog. I highly recommend her work. And in a few days will show one I splurged and bought for myself. Her prices are reasonable, her workmanship is excellent, and her creative flare for putting together colors and patterns is awesome. Be sure and tell her I sent you.