October 28, 2010

Another Fall Day and Project Spanish

On this particular fall day, I went to work with a hooded coat on so that my hair would have some resemblance to the way I styled it before I left the house. It has been very windy.

But, back to nicer thoughts and visions.

This is one of the last few dahlias I was able to get off my plants before I dug them out of the ground to dry out for next year. These plants did not disappoint. They were huge and covered in flowers all summer long. I hope I am drying them out properly so that they will grow as well next year.

My neighbor has this lovely ivy growing up the chimney. I really liked the color palette it presents in the fall. Well in keeping with the rest of our neighborhood.

My girl is working on a Spanish project tonight. (I'm calling it "Project Spanish" in honor of the finale of Project Runway that we are watching.) She mentioned something about the "Day of the Dead". They had to build a diorama to remember one they have lost. She did her project for my mother.

Here is my interpretation of the items in the project. Once she reads my blog she can tell me if I'm right or wrong. 

Starting at the top, left corner and going clockwise:
~lavender - my mother's favorite. I know I told the story already of how she would give me lavender water on a handkerchief to make me feel better. I'm thinking she had learned the same from her mother and always loved the smell of it;
~the Union Jack - my Mom was from England, and was proud of it until the very end. She used to say how she loved and missed her home, I wish she could have gone back to visit one more time;
~a rosary - she may have given this to my daughter, she was devoted to the rosary and at one point she was saying it three times a day, she believed it could save the world and I wish I were as devoted as she;
~two cherries - she had been in a nursing home that was a little slice of hell, and my Dad had had enough of it. He brought her home to take care of her himself, including giving her insulin shots every day which he never thought he could do. One day, when my bother came in from Oregon to help my Dad for a bit, I brought cherries for her to eat because she loved them so. Well, she got such a sugar high from those cherries, she was shooting about the house after my brother, with her walker! It was so funny. She was a riot. My dad, of course, scolded me because her sugar count was so high. But it was worth it to see some of her old spunk;
~a car - I'm not sure about the car, I'll have to get back to you on that;
~flowers - I'm thinking it reminds my girl of how much my mom loved flowers;
~a butterfly - my mother was enamored with butterflies. She took pictures of them all the time. When we were in the cemetery after her funeral, there was a monarch butterfly flitting around us, we were sure it was her as this was her favorite brand of butterfly. Last summer when my niece had her wedding at the lighthouse from my last post, there were two monarchs flying around us there, I had to hold my breath to keep from sobbing outloud. I wonder who the other one was? My Nana, perhaps, or Auntie Margaret;
~a sweater - as Gabrielle got older, she got colder, and she always had a sweater on. Sometimes she would come to our house and she would take the sweater off. When she would leave to go home, she would forget the sweater. My dad used to say she would leave it here to make sure she got invited back. Lol!
~a tea bag - being British means you drink tea. My folks came as many afternoons as possible so they could see the girls and we would have tea at 3:30; of course she tried to make tea drinkers out of us all and my kids were no exception;
~a ceramic turtle - these figures are given out in a box of Red Rose tea. She would save them and give them to her grandchildren. I don't know where this turtle came from but Big V must be saving them somewhere in this house.

Today I must be thankful that my mother made such and impression on my girl. It brings tears to my eyes. It is the same as the impression she made on me. I can only hope to be as much of a positive influence to my girls as my mother was and still is to me. :)

October 26, 2010

Lovely Views

This past weekend, and so far this week, we have had lovely weather in Buffalo.

Big V and I went for a walk in the park near our home.

The park really is beautiful this time of year. All the summer picnic people are gone and the park is relatively quiet. Although, some people were blowing off rockets that came dangerously close to landing on us. My daughter thought it was hilarious watching me run back and forth to try and avoid getting hit by the falling rocket.

There is a lighthouse near the water. But I've lived here 17 years and have yet to see a ship in the lake during a storm that would really have a use for this thing.

This is the entrance to one of the hiking trails. I have many pictures of this spot. I think it's so beautiful that I have to get an image of it every year. lol.

I love the water. Maybe because I'm an Aquarius/Pisces cusp? My brother Michael says "If you're on the cusp, it means you're really messed up." Nice huh? Anyway, I should take a chair and go sit by the water. I can do that in the Cape, why not here? It's right outside my door. Something is holding me back. I think it will annoy me to have people walking by me, playing disc golf, walking dogs, kids fishing, snakes, weirdos. At least at the beach, most people are with their families. Or they came for a purpose, to swim or beach comb, or walk out in the tide. In the park, weird people are looking for other weird people. Maybe someday, I will go sit there. It is peaceful. But I do hate snakes. :(

Today I am thankful for all God's diverse creatures. Including weirdos and snakes.

October 25, 2010

Getting Things Done

I'm so excited that things are getting done around here. Once the kids go back to school, I get antsy to close up the back yard and put everything away.

The pool is now closed and the patio is empty

I like to close up the screened porch and put all my furniture inside.

It's such a great feeling to get the garage cleaned out so I can park in there once the snow flies.

I know the garage doesn't look that great, but for us, this is. We have an old house so the garage is old and small. Trust me, all the cupboards in the back are organized and all unnecessary things have been thrown away (except for two bags of pine cones I've had in the cupboard for about 6 years. I USE them! They are not unnecessary.)
Now I can get started on the inside, fall cleaning and getting ready for the holidays.

I am working on starting an Etsy store and so I need to be in a good place with my house before I can really get into it. I guess it's the perfectionist in me that holds me back. Now, please don't think that I am  complimenting myself. ON the contrary. Go to http://www.flylady.net/ and see what her definition of perfectionism is. It's a trait that holds you back. It keeps you from getting anything done because you are so nitpicky about the small stuff. My doctor claims this is what has caused my fibromyalgia. (I have some of my own feelings on that.)

Also, I think I have house guilt and that will keep me from starting my work as well. I have not been creating much of anything lately and that is not like me at all. Since I went back to work, I have been too tired to clean the house like I used to. If I am not keeping the house up, I feel like I shouldn't be fooling around with beads or making jewelry and accessories or anything else that makes me happy. Its all about levels. Almost like a video game. You have to get this done before you can move on to getting that done. So frustrating. But, I am optimistic about the whole thing.

I feel like I should have gone to school for some sort of design. I have received many compliments on things I have put together or made or arranged or planted. More and more each day, I am regretting the decision to not go to school for photography. I just thought that if I did, I would have to leave Buffalo to get a good job in the field, and the thought of leaving my parents and my sister was too much for me. Now, photography is all I think about. I even started looking in to going back to school for it. But I don't know how I would swing it with a child starting college 4 years from now as well.

I think it may be in my blood. My mother was a photographer's assistant in London before she met my dad. My uncle was a photographer for the war department during WWII. He also worked for Reuters as a photographer for his career. When I was a kid my mom bought me a roll of film and gave me her camera to use. I went about taking pictures of everything I thought was beautiful. When I was in high school I took photography. I actually just found my black and whites I took and developed back then. I don't know what I was thinking when I didn't follow that path. Now I feel horribly out of the loop. So much has changed in photography since I learned about it all those years ago.

I am probably thinking too much about this. I should just let myself get through the work I have put on myself for now and see where I can go with that. Baby steps, Mary.

Anyway, here's to hopes for the future and I will be thankful on behalf of all the people who are in a job they love and are doing exactly what they always wanted to do, even if that is not me. Yet...lol.

October 21, 2010

Oh, How Could I Have Forgotten This?

I forgot to mention that when we came home from our
drive up north, Ron made the most delicious dinner.

It is called Chicken Normandy and you can find the recipe here
It is an Emeril Lagasse recipe and the flavor is amazing.
We did not have Calvados, which is an apple brandy, but since we were in the wine tasting room earlier, we had purchased some apple wine and used that instead. If you can get some for this dish, it may be something you would enjoy drinking the rest of. When we tasted it, it was warm. The woman had warmed it on the stove with some mulling spice tea bags. It was wonderful. Just right for a chilly fall day.

Give this recipe a try, even the girls liked it.

How can I not be thankful for a husband who likes to cook and is good at it? Only problem is that when he is not here, I can't remember how to cook sometimes. Lol. I guess he has to go back to the 8-4 shift.

October 20, 2010

Fall Drive

We have had some nice weekend days that were choice opportunities for a drive to get pumpkins and cider.

We live in the suburbs so a drive to the country is really not that far. This trip we took was up north towards Lake Ontario. The farm we stopped at was having a pumpkin-palooza. There were loads of people there. They had live music, a chicken barbeque, a hay bale maze, animals to pet.

Any chicken that was not inside the fenced in area was promptly chased by a young boy. Needless to say, they all stayed put.

The two V's were listening to the music while we tasted and shopped for wine in the tasting room. This farm also has a brewery. We tried some beer too. If one is given the opportunity, one must try things in life. Right? Don't worry, we tried the cider, too!

On the trip back home, we went by some ruins. Now, I know, Western New York hardly sounds like a "ruins" type place, and believe me, I was as shocked as you. But here are the ruins of a mill along a creek that just begs to have it's picture taken. I was happy to oblige.

It is very eerie. It makes you wonder about all the people who worked here.

I think people tear things down when they are no longer useful. That's why we don't have ruins. No one really had the desire to preserve the past until lately. I know in the 50's and 60's, some very remarkable buildings were torn down in Buffalo. One was a Frank Lloyd Wright designed office building. I think people just didn't realize what they had so they got rid of what was unnecessary. But someone stuck up for this place. How lucky for me!

From there we found a nice park, where we climbed some trees and took some pictures.

Maybe Christmas card worthy? We shall see.

Every year I am thankful for October. It is my favorite month. Not too hot, not too cold, too beautiful for words. Your eye tries to record the unbelieveable colors it sees. Each one changing with the weather conditions. Bright and faded in the afternoon sun. Dark and bold in the rain, against tree trunks that are nearly black from the dampness. Brilliant in the light of the rising or setting sun. Yes, truly, I am thankful for October.

October 19, 2010

End of Summer Memories

We did some fun things at the end of the summer that I never blogged about.

One thing was my sweet Daddy's 80th birthday.

Here he is with his little sister.
Since my husband belongs to the local volunteer fire company, we had the party at the hall. Its really bright in there, so the pictures are bright. Also, I was in the kitchen and the girls were working the camera, so I didn't get all the pictures that I wanted. But they did a pretty good job. Maybe a career for them?

We had this enormous cake, but of course, forgot candles.
My cousin Jerry said he would go to the store and get 80 candles.
I thought my Dad would think we were crazy.
Jerry said, "Have you ever seen 80 candles on a cake?"
I said, "No."
He said, "Neither did I, but I want to see what it looks like."
It took three people to light them all and my niece Connie burned her thumb.
All in all, it was something to see.

My Dad drew in this huge breath, as you can see, and blew them all out all at once (just kidding).

Since we had so much food left over, we had a party in my backyard to finish up the food another day. It was nice to get everyone together one more time, since my brother and his wife from Oregon (minus my rock), my brother from Washington and my niece and her two kids from Washington were in town.

Dad and the boys.

A lively crowd.

Our Popsicle and his six little monkeys. Lol.

In my husband's family, there is an August event called "Chowder Weekend". This is held at my brother-in-law Stephen's house.

He has a beautiful cottage like home on a large pond in a town south of Buffalo. Everybody takes a tent down to camp out in the yard (except us, we're not campers). My mother-in-law makes clam and chicken chowder and everyone brings other dishes to pass. My husband made a shrimp and clam boil two years in a row, but this year made tequila-lime flank steak sandwiches. They were a hit.

The yard is loaded with birds, especially hummingbirds. They are my favorite. I sat as still as possible in the screen room to get a picture of one at the feeders. But, it was as if they knew because they did not come near while I was waiting. At one point, I was standing on the far dock and one buzzed over me. I think it was having a great time teasing me.

Our friend's au pair had to return to Germany early due to an internship she received.
 To see a police car in America was on her bucket list.
My husband was able to oblige.

We had a ball with her. She wanted pics for her friends so we really poured it on. You should have seen the heads turning on the people driving by. Especially since we were all laughing at her. Veronica is a great girl, she will be missed.

Having a bevvy with Sandy and Stacy.

All in all, it was a very relaxing summer. Thank God for nice weather, because it was HOT. We got a lot of use out of the pool and the air conditioner.

See you soon!

October 13, 2010

How Can We Not Be Thankful???

While I'm having trouble getting my pictures downloaded, I still have to post how thankful we all must be today as the trapped miners in Chile are rescued, one by one. I don't think any picture I could post would even come close to the images of the men surfacing and being embraced by loved ones who wondered if they would ever see their faces again.

I know there are also some people who are thankful for one white butterfly, who, while amazing some of the miners at the depth it had flown to, slowed them down enough to miss being hit by a wall of rock that fell just feet away from them. A guardian angel, perhaps? How can one not believe it?