Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sunset Haven

This is Day 7 of the First Annual 10 Days of Heat writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Camp Life. Please join me in checking out the other hot stories.

Hey guys, this is a tough topic. I have never been camping. I never went to summer camp as a kid. The closest I've ever come to camping is driving through a campground and going to an RV show.

Image from Pixabay*
Having said that, back when I was a kid, my parents and I would visit relatives up North each summer. My aunt and uncle lived in New Hampshire a few miles from the coast, so occasionally we would go to the beach. Other times, we would drive to their "camp" on a lake in Maine. The camp consisted of a red wooden building complete with a picnic table, lawn chairs, and some old kitchen cabinets. That was so long ago I don't recall if there was electricity.

We used an old 55-gallon oil drum cut in half lengthwise as a grill. The menu was hot dogs and hamburgers, likely accompanied by garden-fresh veggies, and homemade cookies, cake or pie.

There was no running water so we had an outhouse. It did have a regular toilet but you had to use a hand pump to fill the tank to flush. It was a courtesy to pump after your visit so it would be ready for the next person.

While there were tent platforms out back, and perhaps a loft inside, we never stayed over night. That doesn't mean we didn't have our adventures. One day we drove all the way out there only to find that we had forgotten to take the key. Daddy and my uncle had to take the door off the hinges, which shows just how secure the place was, but it was so far off the beaten path and this was back in the 70s...things were pretty safe.

On another day, we strapped a row boat on the top of my uncle's station wagon and took it to camp. As far as I know this wasn't a large lake, but maybe a brackish water lake or pond or possibly even an inlet or cove on a larger lake.  There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then so my memory isn't exact.

Anyway, Daddy, and my uncle and I went out in the boat. I was probably about 12 and at that time I couldn't swim. Of course there were no life jackets in the old row boat. We all managed to get back safely after our excursion across the lake to look at the big rock on the other side where there was a snake happily sunning away. Fortunately my aunt did not come with us. She probably would have screamed to be heard clear down to the main road. To say that she didn't like snakes was an extreme understatement.

Other activities included fishing, exploring and picking wild blueberries, visiting with the ducks that came by sometimes, and swatting mosquitoes, because, after all, this was the woods, on a lake, in the summer.

So while I haven't really experienced any actual camping, this was my camp life experience at Sunset Haven.

*I have actual pictures of Sunset Haven, but it would take way to long to find them for this post.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Let’s swear each with our pinky
We’ll be the best of friends
Until we are old and wrinkly!

Good friends and good times make memories for a lifetime.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

28 and Counting!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband of 28 years! 

I have shared this quote from Robert Fulghum before, but I am putting it out there again because I think it really sums up our life together.

We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Not Just Another Day!

February 18th is:

National Drink Wine Day

National Crab-stuffed Flounder Day

National Battery Day

Ash Wednesday

But most importantly

It is Hubby's birthday!

A great big Happy Birthday to my hubby!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Designer Digs

If you were a kitten, wouldn't you just love to have a great place to play?  My friend Ashley's son, Michael, designed and built this multi-level kitty condo for his two kittens, Sunshine and Shadow. Now they could have gone to the pet shop and purchased a ready-made playhouse, but where would the fun be in that.

The Kitty Play Place Extravaganza
No siree, Michael's kitties were getting a custom made place to climb, play hide and seek, and of course, sleep. The materials consisted of plastic pipe, connectors, carpet and cable ties. 

One of the great things about this design is that it allows you to hang all sorts of interesting things for them to play with and they don't get lost or worse...eaten.

The play house is on their enclosed porch with lots of windows, so it is definitely a feline paradise.  You can see Sunshine relaxing in the window enjoying the morning breeze.

It was a fun project for Michael, and Sunshine and Shadow both appreciate his effort.  Ashley and I also enjoyed sitting in comfortable chairs watching them play, while catching up with each other.

Shadow says "Thank You!"

Sunshine in the window

Also a big thanks today to my good friend, Sara from A Sharing Connection, for using some of my photos in her Story Photo Challenge.  Check out the Mysterious Case of the Missing Aliens and help her solve the mystery.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Fun

Last month I had the long-awaited opportunity to visit Ashley and her family in the far-away place known as Ephrata, PA.  We lived next door to each other in our youth, and although youth is rapidly fading into our middle years, we are still close despite the miles between us.

So before I get maudlin, let's get on with the fun stuff.  Below is Sheba, a sweet, lovable Labradoodle who belongs to Scott, her oldest son. 

Not only is she adorable, she is smart too.  We were sitting outside with her and she was demonstrating her ability to come, sit, lay down, etc. when Ashley told Michael to have her l-a-y-d-o-w-n for a treat (spelling it out). Sheba responded by laying down.  We tried it again and she did it again.  We told Scott later that Sheba could spell.

While Ashley is born and bred a Southern gal, she has taken great pride in finding fun and interesting things to do in her own backyard. She truly does bloom where she is planted. And speaking of blooms, aren't these pretty?  This is a flower tree at Knoebels Amusement Park, about an hour or so from their house.

If you like groovin' to the oldies, the group singing here would be right up your alley, with such songs as Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Surfin' Safari and The Twist.

For a different kind of music, check out the old Wurlitzer Organ tapping out a lively beat.

What trip to an amusement park would be complete with a ride on good old wooden roller coaster? Well, it's not my cup of tea, but the boys enjoyed it. We all later enjoyed the Black Diamond ride through a haunted coal mine.

We capped off the adventure with a ride on the giant ferris wheel.  It had been a very long time since I had ridden one, but it was fun and afforded us a great view of the park, and the surrounding countryside.

The next day we traveled to Strasburg to ride the steam train.  It was a 45 minute journey through Amish country...literally through the cornfields.  The engine puffed black smoke from it's coal fire and chugged along at a leisurely pace.  Here you can see it at the station waiting to depart on it's next run.

As many exotic places as there are to explore, there are just as many here in our own corner of the world. With every trip I take I make new discoveries, whether it is a new destination or favorite vacation spot. Many thanks to Ashley and her family for hosting us!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Class of 1943

Today would have been Mom's 89th birthday. Seventy-one years ago she graduated from the Mattanawcook Academy. The academy was founded in 1847 as Lincoln High School. The name was changed to Mattanawcook Academy in 1850.  Today it is part of Regional School Unit No. 67, which includes Mattanawcook Junior High School, and Ella P. Burr Elementary School.

Here are some facts and other tidbits about her home town.

Lincoln was a small town with a population (according to the 1940 census) of 3,653, and the major business in the area centered around sawmills along the Penobscot River and the pulp and paper mill.  Mom's younger brother worked for a while in the paper mill, and if you have ever smelled a paper mill in production, it is not a scent you will forget.

As of the 2010 census, Lincoln had a population of 5,085 and having increased less than 1,500 in 70 years, it is still a small town.

Every area has their signature food, and a favorite of mine is the New England staple...Bean Hole Beans.  These are absolutely a treat.  First dig a big hole and build a fire.  Then take a cast iron pot with a lid (I have one of these), fill with beans, salt pork (or bacon), onions, dry mustard and molasses.  Bury the pot in the pit of coals and wait...8-10 hours later you will have a delicious pot of beans. I remember Mom telling me about eating bean hole bean sandwiches for breakfast.

Above and beyond the bean hole beans, the food that brings me a sigh squeal of delight is fried clams, preferably those found at clam shacks along the beaches.  Others may favor the oohed-and-aahed-over Maine lobster, but give me a plate of fried clams (whole or strips) dressed only in salt, and I am one happy camper.

These are from the Sea Hag in Florida.
On rare occasion you can actually get good fried clams somewhere other than New England. While these aren't quite the same, they are a good substitute.

Along with the good comes the not-so-good.  Black Flies.  If you live or have visited in the northern states in the summer, you know about Black Flies. They bite, but even more irritating to me is the swarming around your face. They are tiny, a 16th of an inch or less, and they can get in your eyes, so you are constantly swatting them away.

While doing research for this post, I found a list of residents buried at the South Lincoln Maine Cemetery, also known as the Mohawk Cemetery.  A number of my relatives are buried there, including my grandparents, great grandparents and uncles.  There is an old wrought iron fence around the cemetery, and at the gate there is (or was) a water spigot for visitors to get water for the flowers.

There is a lot more to the State of Maine and the Town of Lincoln, but these are a few of the things with which I have a personal connection.  For anyone interested, there is more information at their web site Welcome to Lincoln.

I miss thee, my Mother! Thy image is still
The deepest impressed on my heart.
- Eliza Cook

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Links to pictures and more info are in bold.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Quote of the Week

You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.  
- Jonathan Safran Foer 

Rosie - November 3, 2013

I know this statement to be true.  Sometimes those we love most and who bring us the most happiness can also bring us the most sadness.  That they aren't always human doesn't matter, the love is still the same.  Isn't that worth it?
A lot has happened since my last post.  I put together this quote last Monday but couldn't bring myself to publish it. 

Rosie and me
Early on Sunday morning, November 3, I said a tearful good-bye to Rosie, my constant companion for the last 16 years. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Welcome to a New Blogger

Please join me in welcoming a new talent to the blogosphere.  Meet Jim (aka my hubby), the author of Field Expedient Repair.  

After several years of lurking about and peering with anonymity into the lives of unknowing bloggers across the globe, he decided to take the plunge and become a participating member of the cyber community.

For over 26 years, we have laughed together, misunderstood each other and found humor in our miscommunications.  Every time I laugh until I can't breathe over some verbal misstep, he says, "you need to blog that".  Now I can say that.

Jim has a wide array of interests, including metal working, electronics and welding.  He has heard things like "don't do that", "are you crazy?" and "be careful" more than once with reference to some of his more interesting endeavors.

You can find him sharing his latest trials and tribulations projects, some he said/she said stories and, of course, a cat tale or two here at: 

Field Expedient Repair – Or Not…

A perfectionist meets baling gum and chewing wire…

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rosie's 16th Birthday Party

At about 4 months old, Rosie joined our family in October 1997.  He was such a sweet little thing. He was about 6 pounds with big feet and big ears.  They didn't seem to match the rest of him, but I knew he would grow into them.  He was going to be a big cat.  If you think Rosie is a strange name for a male cat, you can read how he got his name here.

After many years of chronic allergies, sinus problems and several rounds of diabetes, we arrived at the celebration of his 16th birthday on June 1, 2013, although the actual date is unknown.

I went to my local Walmart for supplies.

 I opened a can of chicken to make chicken salad - especially so that Rosie could lick the can.  It is a treat he enjoys very much, and after all, it is his day!

 That was good, mama.

 This was a 10 oz. can of chicken.  As you can see, it is just "head sized".

  Clean up time!

  How do I look?

 Birthday cake, courtesy of Food Lion.  No, Rosie did not eat the cake.  He's more of a french fry, pizza crust kinda cat.  We call him our carb kitty.

And now, here's Rosie lapping up his birthday treat.

Happy Birthday, Rosie!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My How Time Flies!

Is it that time again?
Time sure does fly.  Twenty-six years ago today we tied the knot at the courthouse before the Justice of the Peace and immediate family.  It was a full day beginning with signing the loan documents on the house we still live in today.  After the ceremony, we loaded the car and headed to the beach.  While it is a day of many memories, oddly this one stands out.  It was the only time my Mom ever asked to borrow my car.  She made a last minute trip out to get a flower for me.  Since it was a simple ceremony, no one had thought about flowers.  

Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.  I'm looking forward to another 26 years.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Did You Say?

What did you say?
Did you ever play the game in school where a phrase is passed down from one kid to another?  When it reaches the last person and he repeats what he heard, "the monkey ate a yellow banana" may sound like "the donkey's name is bandana". Well quite often we have that same experience. 

At dinner last night, it went something like this as I put my plate into the microwave to reheat it (I like my food to be hot).

I said "I want to put a little heat on that".  What hubby heard was something completely different, so while the microwave was running, he repeated what he thought I said.  When the microwave was stopped, I said "What was that about feeding a rat?"  He laughed and repeated himself, "What was that about beating the rap?"

After I cleared up the confusion, he said "I was wondering what you had gotten into while I was at work."  In case you are wondering, we can't blame the microwave for our auditory issues.  This happens with or without interference.

It's amazing how twisted our words can get.  If this happens to you, please share.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bon Jovi -The "Because We Can" Tour

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and this was my present.

By 6:30 p.m. the line stretched from the Time Warner Cable Arena down the sidewalk to the BOA parking garage where we were parked and had u-turned back up the sidewalk.  The forecast was for rain that evening, but mostly it was a cold wind accompanied by an occasional light mist.

The show was supposed to start promptly at 7:30 but, for whatever reason, did not start until 8:10.  As the lights went down and Bon Jovi took the stage, nearly 20,000 screaming fans rose to their feet.  Amid the thunder was heard "Shot through the heart and you're to blame", the chorus of the well-known "You Give Love a Bad Name".

A packed house.

They performed a number of songs from their new album "What About Now".  Among those were "Because We Can" and the title song "What About Now".  They were on stage for nearly 3 hours, and while the sound quality at the Time Warner arena left a lot to be desired, the band put on a fabulous show.

So many lights.

Behind them on stage was a video wall made up of forty 80-foot polycarbonate plastic columns covered in 3d fabric.  Using 10 hi-def video projectors they can create all sorts of amazing backgrounds.  This wall is automated and the columns move up and down independently from one another.

Skyline on the video wall.

There were 20 songs on the set list (click for links to videos), plus another 7 in three encores.

We arrived just in time to get in line, so "dinner" was high-dollar concession food eaten standing up in the corridor.  

After getting out of the parking garage, we went looking for some place that served "real food" at midnight.  After trying at a place that had stopped serving at 12, we were directed to Skyland's, a 24-hour restaurant.  It's not often we finish up our dinner at 1:30 a.m., but hey, a good time was had by all!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Into the Tunnel

There isn't a lot going on in the creative department today, so I take you back to June of last year and our visit to Minnesota. 

Here we are about to enter a tunnel.  No big deal, but there aren't any around here which makes it interesting.  For some reason I've always enjoyed tunnels.  Why?  I dunno, just do.

This was a very short tunnel within in the city.

I have proven that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

When I was a kid my parents and I would travel North along 1-95, and would go through several tunnels on our way to Maine where my Mom's family lived.

Here's one we probably went through.  
If you like tunnels too, come join me on a wild ride!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Worst Christmas Ever

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  It is the 25th day of this mind-bending challenge, and I can say that my mind is both challenged and slightly off kilter.  Today's  prompt is Worst Christmas Ever.  Check out the Linky at WWFC to see who is still standing.

For most people Christmas is a happy time, filled with family, friends, big dinners and gifts.  Houses are decorated with lights of all colors, lawns filled with lighted reindeer, inflatable Santas and snowmen.  Holiday music begins and stores display large festive trees long before the Thanksgiving feast is prepared.

This is what we know, what we expect, and what fills us with the Spirit of Christmas.  However, sometimes things happen in life that changes that feeling.  Events beyond our control take over our thoughts, control our actions, diminish our joy and leave us feeling sad and blue.

That was the case in 2002.  Christmas was just weeks away when we discovered that my Mom had an electrolyte imbalance and had the option of drinking about a gallon of Gatorade or going into the hospital for a few days to get her sodium and potassium levels back on track.  We chose the hospital...there was no way she could drink that much Gatorade.

This was temporary and she would be home in a couple days.   OK we can fix this.  I arrange for ambulance transport because it would be the easiest and safest way to get her there.

We got her sodium and potassium back in line, but then there were more problems and by the time she'd been in for a week, she'd lost too much strength to go home alone.

At that point I faced what had been, thus far, the worst day of my life - the day I put my mother into a nursing home.

This was the middle of December and I visited her every day.  While we knew she had some issues, we still felt that after some physical therapy she could return home.  That wasn't to be.  On the night before Christmas she had taken a downward turn.

Two days after Christmas on December 27, she passed away when we had stepped out for a few minutes to get lunch. 

We all know that death is a part of life, but to have to face it over what is supposed to be a joyous, happy season is even more difficult.  Not once but twice have we faced the loss of a loved one at Christmas.  We lost my father-in-law just this past year several days before Christmas after two separate stays in the hospital.  Like my Mom, we thought that he too would recover and go home.  It wasn't to be in either case, so we each have a worst Christmas ever.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bananas Risque

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is The Awkwardness of the common banana.  This is day 17 of this never-endng challenge.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for some delightfully fruitful stories.

Banana Candle Salad
What would you think about a banana stuffed into a pineapple ring, smeared with mayo and topped with a cherry?  Let's just say it was not all that appealing, and left us feeling rather awkward.

The setting was Christmas back some 20 or so years ago.  We were visiting my in-laws over the holidays, and my mother-in-law, bless her heart, decided to make a special treat for us.  She found the recipe in a magazine or old cookbook (we didn't have the internet then) and proceeded to assemble her creation.  When she brought them out, we stared in disbelief at the somewhat suggestive looking item being placed before us.  Being the tactful people that we were, we tried to hide our...uh...amusement.  As you can see it's a rather risque looking dish.

We were holding back our laughter pretty well while we tried to figure out how to tell her just what it looked like.  That is until my brother-in-law exclaimed "that's a nasty chancre on that thing".  At that point we all burst out laughing, and had to explain what was so funny.

Interestingly, the banana candle recipe was originally published in several 1950s cookbooks for children. More recently I saw this recipe and picture in a popular spice catalog.  Apparently it was more common than we thought.

So tell me what you think - Yum or Yuck?

Friday, June 15, 2012

In the First Place

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is First Place.  This is the 15th outrageously entertaining day of this challenge.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for more winning stories.

I am struggling a bit with today's prompt.  Taking first place, winning contests, competitions, sports, spelling bees are not things I ever did.  While other kids were joining teams and taking lessons, I was playing outside in the yard by myself or with my family.   There aren't any awards for that.

However there were rewards.  I was an only child, and so my parents were my best friends.  Sure, there were some neighborhood kids, but most were boys and somewhat older than me.  This made our family really close.  We played badminton, kickball, grilled out (that's a barbeque for some of you), had picnics and had lots of fun.  These things were worth more than taking first place in any competition.

First place had another meaning.  Mom would occasionally use it when I should have done something differently, or that the outcome would have been different, if I had I listened to her "in the first place".

Now I leave you with a few contenders for my choice of first place.  First, may I present my hubby, who has survived over 25 years of marriage to yours truly.  That is no small feat to be sure.  You see he brings home the bacon and I eat it.

My wonderful hubby

And in the snuggle-bunkins category, we have three fabulous felines.  While they are all friends, what you probably won't see is Sophie and Dood in a snuggle like this.

Rosie and Sophie
Rosie and Dood
To me they are all winners, which makes me the biggest winner of all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

25 Years in my Kitchen

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is In the Kitchen.  This is the 12th mind-blowing day of this challenge.  Check out the Linky at WWFC to see what everyone else is cooking up.

A lot has happened in my kitchen.  This has been my kitchen for over 25 years, and it is pretty much the same as it was the day we walked in for the first time.  There's a new fridge, that is it was new in 1992, and a new dishwasher about 13 years ago. In our house new is a relative word.

I learned to cook in this kitchen, something my Mom wanted to teach me years before, but I said "I'll learn when I need to"  Foolish me.  I did absorb more than either of us thought, which gave me a good background for learning.  I've learned a lot in my kitchen, like how to handle a knife, and make a sauce that doesn't break.  I've learned about herbs and spices and how to create my own dishes.

The cats are fed in the kitchen so there's always cat food on the floor.  When our cat, Missy, was sick and wouldn't eat, I made cat food smoothies and hand fed her, seated on a chair with a towel pinned around her neck.  She stoically accepted the food - until she had had enough.

Games have been played and friends entertained at the kitchen table.  Wine has been drunk and many conversations had that lasted long after the food was eaten and the plates had been cleared.

There have been messes and spills, broken glasses, and many experiments.  There have been cuts and burns and, yes, a few curses.  There has been laughter and tears over the years in my kitchen, which means there has been a lot of living in my kitchen. 

If your home is your castle, the kitchen is it's heartbeat. 

What's the story in your kitchen?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Special

Me, Mommy, and Grammy
Today is Mother's Day, a day set aside to honor our mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, and/or any other special women in our lives.  

Mothers are more than just the givers of life, they are teachers and playmates.  They are entertainers and magicians.  They are chauffeurs and coaches.  They are adversaries during our trying teen years, and ultimately, our friends for life. They are the nurturers of our mind, body and soul.

They bandage our cuts and scrapes, and tend to our broken hearts.  They listen as we share our disappointments and joyously applaud our successes.  They surprise us with treats just to see us smile, and replace balloons that go pop when they hit the ground.  

And even when we are grown and on our own, they still bring us soup when we're sick, and hold our hands when life isn't fair and tell us it will be all right.

This is what mothers do.  Not because they have to...there are no rule books and no penalties.  They do this because they love us.  A mother's love is a powerful potion.

Let us honor our Mothers, not just on Mother's Day, but everyday.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I miss you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

In Honor of a Principled Man

Today's post honors another of the great men in my life, my father-in-law.  It was with much sadness that we said goodbye to him just before Christmas. 

My father-in-law, like many men of his generation, was a true gentleman.  He drew people to him with his kindness.  He respected everyone, in all walks of life, with "yes sir", or "no ma'am".  He led by example, and inspired those around him to become better people.  His sons will tell you that there was no finer role model than their father.

He had a remarkable memory, which was most evident when he met someone new.  He would ask their name, where they were from, etc.  When he next saw them, he would call them by name and ask how so-and-so was back home.  That made everyone feel special.

He was an avid golfer and had been since his college days.  It was often (and incorrectly) assumed he was on the golf team, but he would correct that misconception, stating that he played WITH the golf team.  This demonstrates the honesty and integrity with which he lived his life. 

There was a message left on my answering machine from a college friend of his with whom he had played golf.  He told of them playing 9 holes of golf in 45 minutes (they wanted to get a round in between classes).  He also said "he was a principled man and all around good guy". 

Even though he wasn't part of his college golf team, he was an excellent golfer and won numerous trophies, held a lifetime membership at his golf club, and won the club championship several times.

He served his country in the US Navy during World War II, and later worked as a traveling auditor for the railroad - golf clubs in tow, of course.

He lived a very full 85 years, and bore the discomforts of surgeries and illness with the same great humor that made his eyes twinkle when he told stories of his grandchildren.

He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend to many.  While he enjoyed pastimes such as Scrabble and the NY Times crosswords, two of the greatest pleasures in his life were his family and golf. 

Indeed, he enriched everyone's lives, and will be greatly missed.