Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Brain Freeze"

Do you ever have so many things racing around in your mind that it overheats and just shuts down? I think I'm there. I have been obsessing over the news recently. It's very distressing, but I can't bring myself to ignore it. I should be exercising. I should be sewing. I have a stash of fabric a mile high and can't think what to do with it. My closets need cleaning, my fridge needs organizing, my whole house needs to be put in order.

I have three or four unfinished projects on my sewing table. I don't seem to be able to concentrate enough to accomplish anything. Riana (on her blog) talked about Mercury in retrograde... could this be the problem?

The picture is our coffee table. It represents our house and my life... all cluttered and disorganized. Later today, I will pick up my three nieces from school. I will try to get them to do their homework, try to get them to eat something healthy, and get them to gymnastics class in time, equipped with leotards and the proper shoes. I will try to ignore their pleas to get stuff out of the damn vending machines in the lobby. (Sorry, swearing for emphasis.) I have to get myself together so I can be the responsible adult. Some days that comes naturally. It doesn't feel that natural today.

Do you have days like that? What do you do about them?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Chief at the Wissahickon

I found a close-up photo of the Indian chief statue I talked about yesterday. Isn't he cool?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Forbidden Drive

Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is one of the largest urban parks in the country. A creek called Wissahickon runs through it. The Wissahickon Valley is forested, with bike paths, walking paths, bridle paths and stables. It's beautiful in every season, and you would never, ever guess you were in a big city. When I walk on it, I imagine being in a land created by Tolkien... there is something very "Middle-Earthian" about it.

Forbidden Drive is a stretch of unpaved road (more like a wide path) that meanders alongside the Wissahickon Creek, among huge old trees, with nature all around. It bends around so that you're never sure what you will see along the next curve. We always walked the four-mile stretch beginning at Bells Mill Road. No weekend was complete without a walk on Forbidden Drive.

Along the way there is a covered bridge, an old stone bridge, and a little stone house that used to be a toll booth when horse-drawn carriages used the road. If you know where to look, about two miles into the walk, there is a large stone statue way up on a hill... an Indian chief, with full headdress, crouching to look over the land. I always had to find the Indian, every time we walked. It was easy to miss him, up in the trees, and you really have to remember where to look.

At the end of the four-mile stretch we walked, you come to the Valley Green Inn. It's a pretty, historic old inn that used to serve the carriage trade. There are benches where you can sit and have a drink and feed the ducks, and there is a restaurant and snack bar. It's a lovely place, and a wonderful incentive to walk the four miles to get there.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you why it's called "forbidden"... it's because cars are forbidden to drive on it!
(Also, I still haven't figured out how to mingle my photos into the appropriate places in the text.)
If you click on the photo with the bench, you will get an idea of what it's like to walk there!

Boathouse Row at Night

This is another Philadelphia favorite of mine. Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill River. You pass them on Kelly Drive on your way into town. This is the view from across the river, when they light up at night.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Street People"

To me, one of the most fascinating things about being in a big, bustling city is the people you encounter every day. When I was working in Philadelphia I had a six-block walk from the train station to my office. During the morning rush, I was in a stream of pedestrians walking in a northerly direction up 16th Street. Of course, there was always a stream of pedestrians headed south, so the two groups passed each other on their way to work every day. After a while, I noticed that I was seeing some of the same faces every day. I tend to look at people when I pass them. If they look friendly I usually smile. There are always those who smile back, some reluctantly and others who seem to mean it. Over a period of months, the ones who seem friendly and smile at each other eventually may utter a quick "good morning". You never learn that person's name, but it's a kind of passing (literally) friendship that you come to look forward to.

Over the months, there was one particularly pleasant young woman with whom I exchanged a daily smile. I thought "she seems like a nice person". Then there was a particularly pleasant young man who always smiled and said "good morning". I never stopped to talk to either of these people... it was just friendly strangers being polite on their way to work. This went on for six months or so. Then, one day I saw the nice young woman and the nice young man (I sound like a grandmother, don't I?) walking together and talking. I thought how nice that the two of them somehow got together.

Another person I never met, but we waved to each other every day. I walked past an elegant old office building that had a big, palladium-type window on the second floor. The occupant of this office was visible as he sat at his desk overlooking the street. He had placed a life-sized ceramic dog in the center of the window, which caught my eye. Every day I guess I glanced up at that dog. Eventually, the man in the office saw me looking up, and waved at me. I waved back. From that day on, we waved at each other every time I passed by that window. This went on for years. I never met the man, but he was part of my daily routine.

Then there were the street vendors I passed every day. In a previous post I mentioned "Gus". Gus was a short, stocky older man from Greece. He was there on the corner every day, selling some kind of Greek sausage. He wore a little knit cap on his head and an old white apron slung low around his waist. Gus was friendly with everyone. He would always nod and smile and say "good morning". One day, he even stepped out of his little metal cart and curtsied to me.

Another metal cart was manned by a Chinese family. There was an older couple who I took to be the grandparents, and a younger couple with a toddler. You could just tell they were a family unit. Sometimes the older couple was there alone, sometimes the younger couple was there alone, and sometimes the whole family was there. The toddler was adorable, and you could tell the grandparents doted on her. I always exchanged smiles and greetings with them. This went on for months and months. One day, suddenly, the grandfather came out from their cart and gave me a little hug and said "we love you". It was very unexpected but very touching.

I enjoyed the city. I enjoyed the people. I found it to be a very friendly city. Of course, I had frustrating encounters, too. The smokers standing outside a building so that when you walked by your hair smelled like cigarette smoke the rest of the day. The bicycle rider going the wrong way on a one-way street with whom you almost collide. The people who liked to take up the whole sidewalk and not give anyone else room to pass. But it was, overall, a very pleasant experience. I miss it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The "Bead Tree" in Philadelphia

Yes, I'm writing about another place in Philadelphia! The photo is a building just across the street from my old office. The storefront in the middle is the one that they actually used for Samuel L. Jackson's shop in the movie "Unbreakable". For two weeks while they were making that movie, there were movie crew and equipment trucks and trailers parked all along the street, and there were crowds standing around every day to see Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and Haley Joel Osment at work.

The storefront on the left with the arched windows is a restaurant. The restaurant is called "Tequilas" now, but when I lived there it was the Magnolia Cafe. It was a New Orleans style restaurant with a big tree out in front. Following its New Orleans theme, the Magnolia Cafe gave out Mardi Gras type beads to their customers. Over the years, the customers came out and threw their beads up into the tree. So, there was this tree with hundreds of bright, colorful beads hanging from all of its branches. I loved that tree... it looked so festive. Some days, if it was particularly breezy, some of the beads would fall out of the tree and onto the sidewalk. I gathered a little collection of beads over the years, walking from my office past the "bead tree". I still have them, one red, one green, one blue and one gold. It makes me smile, for some reason, to remember that bead tree.

p.s. As I was googling "bead tree" hoping to find a photo of it, I found out there is also a "bead tree" in New Orleans, which is shown in the photo. I hope it's still there. The one in Philadelphia is gone now.

The Dream Garden

There is an amazing place in Philadelphia that I probably never would have known about if I hadn't lived there and worked in the city. In the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Company building, there is a mosaic mural that measures 15 feet high and 49 feet wide. Called "Dream Garden", it was created in 1916 by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios, and is based on a scene painted by Maxfield Parrish. The mosaic is made from over 100,000 pieces of art glass. It's beautiful... it glows. It's the first thing you see when you enter the lobby. This photo doesn't really do it justice. It feels like you could just walk right into that garden.

It was originally commissioned for Curtis Publishing and has been there since it was created in 1916. In 1998, Steve Wynn intended to purchase it for millions and move it to one of his casinos in Las Vegas. The response in Philadelphia was dismay, as you might imagine. I remember reading about it for weeks and weeks when I lived there, hoping they would find a way to keep it in Philadelphia. Eventually, the Pew Charitable Trust provided $3.5 million to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, who purchased it, allowing it to stay in its original setting. If you ever have a chance to see it, it's worth a stop.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rittenhouse Square

When I worked in Philadelphia, my office was just three blocks from Rittenhouse Square. It's a lovely little park in the heart of the city. In the spring, it's full of blooming azaleas. In the summer there are outdoor tables at all the adjacent restaurants. There is a wonderful outdoor art show every year, and often there are impromptu concerts from students at the Curtis Institute of Music across the street.

Rittenhouse Square is a magnet for office workers at lunchtime. Most days, I walked there myself. The whole Rittenhouse area is full of tree-lined streets with colonial rowhouses, beautiful old churches, and stately mansions. There is a walking tour of Philadelphia that features world-class architecture, and many of those places are in this neighborhood.

I Miss Philadelphia

Philadelphia has my heart. I did not grow up there, but it feels like home to me. We lived there for sixteen years before we returned to the midwest to be close to family. I've been thinking about all the things I miss about Philadelphia. I now wish I had walked around every day with a camera so I could look back on it all with pictures.

I took the train to town every workday for ten years. I miss the train. You meet such a mix of people when you take the train. Friendly people, busy people, polite people, rude, grouchy people, even a few weird people. There are fellow commuters that you see every day. There are tourists who ask you for directions. The nice thing is, you have time to read. I always had a book with me. One day I was so absorbed in my book that I missed my stop and had to take another train back.

When you get to town, there is the train station. Busy, busy place with dozens of little stores, restaurants, and usually at least one street musician playing for the crowd. You never knew what you would hear on a given day. They played keyboards, guitars, violins, saxaphones, and accordions. When you walk up the stairs to street level you come out into the city. The first thing I saw was the amazing Philadelphia City Hall. The first time I saw it my jaw dropped. The immense size of it, the many turrets and towers and sculptures... and William Penn on top, looking down on it all.

Walking down the street... street vendors. You pass all these portable metal stalls with flowers, magazines, lottery tickets, newspapers and food for sale. The best ones were the food... the smells of philly steaks, bacon, and Italian sausage in the air. You pass the same vendors every day. Most are very friendly. They smile at you, they say "good morning". Some of them become like old friends (more about "Gus" and the Chinese family later).

I will write more tomorrow... there is too much for just one post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Uncertain Times

Years ago, while studying for an MBA, I took a course in macroeconomics. I found it incomprehensible then, and I find the United States' current economic situation equally incomprehensible now. The more I read and listen to various opinions, I wonder if anyone really understands it. What are we to think? What are we to do?

As baby boomers, my husband and I are approaching retirement. Our retirement accounts are decreasing in value. Our house is decreasing in value. We were thinking of paying off our mortgage, but now do we want to tie up cash in a house that might have little value? Do we take all our cash and stick it under the mattress? Is the sky really falling? Who knows?

Are we victims of "massive fraud" as Bob Barr claims? Is Secretary Paulson really "incompetent" as Lou Dobbs claims? What about former CEOs walking away from companies they have ruined, with hundreds of millions of dollars in severence pay?

It's all still a mystery to me. Does anyone out there understand it?

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Autumnal Equinox

Also known as:
The First Day of Fall
Harvest Home
Harvest Tide
Alban Elfed
The Feast of Avilon
The Festival of Dionysus
Night of the Hunter
Witches' Halloween

Whatever you call it, I hope it's an auspicious day for you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Last Day of Summer

Well, today is the last day of summer. I have mixed feelings about summer. I often complain about the heat and the humidity, but, still, there is something magical about it. It's full of life. Flowers are blooming. Bees are buzzing. Kids are splashing in pools. Homegrown tomatoes. Fresh peaches. Strawberry shortcake. In summer there is a relaxed, lazy feel to life.

I always welcome fall. It's cooler and more comfortable. I can put on a sweater. It's lovely sleeping at night with the windows open. But, there is something sad about knowing that nature is slowing down, that winter will soon follow.

Here is a photo of one of the things I will miss this winter... the roses climbing just outside my bedroom window...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Grandma Judy"

If you have read my prior posts, you will know that I never had a child of my own. So how did I become a grandma? Through marriage! My husband has a daughter from his first marriage, and now she has a daughter, so I am "Grandma Judy". Our granddaughter is three years old. She lives in California, and we live in Kentucky so we don't get to see her as often as we would like. But we do get together several times a year.

Here is a picture of "Papa" and our granddaughter playing hopscotch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In the Dark

Last Sunday we had a wind storm, and power was knocked out over a large area. As of tonight, there are still over 100,000 homes here without power, six days later.
We were lucky; in other parts of the country people lost their homes and still have not returned. I can't begin to imagine what that must be like.

Lazy Day

I am feeling lazy today... yearning for that hammock shaded by palm trees...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little Cat

This little stone cat lives in the garden behind a lovely B&B in Santa Barbara. We visited there last summer, and I was taken by his pensive look. When I saw Michael Sowa's painting called "Broken Paw" on Susan's blog, I thought he looked a lot like this little guy...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A few posts ago, I wrote about my three nieces. I watch them one day a week while my sister works. I am thinking of one particular day this summer when it was too hot to play outside. They were getting bored and threatened to plant themselves in front of the television all day. I hate it when they do that because they "zone out" and become like little zombies. Also, the things they watch drive me batty... cartoons certainly have gotten weird since I was little.

I had some coloring books and crayons but they weren't interested. So, I just sat down and started coloring myself. This always has a predictable effect on them; when they see me doing it, they want to do it too. Soon, we were all sitting around the table, coloring together. When we do that, it reminds me of women standing in the kitchen washing dishes (in the old days). It seems that was always when the best conversations got started. It's the same way with coloring together; conversations get started. We share information. They ask questions about life. We surprise each other. We laugh. It's so much better than when they are watching television or playing video games.

This picture is what my youngest niece colored that day. I thought it was so pretty that I framed it. I told her it reminded me of a kaleidoscope. They didn't know what that was, so I explained it to them. It was just one more thing that we shared that day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sun and Shadows

I love this time of year, when it finally starts to cool off. It's in the 50s here this morning. When it's 90 degrees and humid I hate the sun and avoid it. On days like this, though, I like it again. Here is a shadow on my bedroom wall this morning.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Life with Geeks and Fanatics

I grew up in a geeky family. My dad was a scientist, an introvert, an intellectual. My mom always said it's a good thing they didn't have any boys because our dad wasn't the type to throw a ball in the back yard. In fact, they had four girls, and I was (still am) the oldest. My dad had zero interest in sports. He didn't read the sports page. He didn't listen to games on the radio. He didn't watch it on T.V. In fact, when ESPN was invented, he blocked it with parental controls because he didn't want any of our boyfriends coming in and turning it on. We spent Sundays listening to classical music and opera on the radio.

He instilled in my sisters and me a total indifference to sports. He didn't care if we got passing grades in P.E. He wrote notes to the P.E. teacher to get us out of class whenever we asked him to. I was the one who could never climb the rope, could never do a cartwheel to save my life. Also, these were the days before Title Nine, so there really wasn't any sports for girls anyway. The only activities that could remotely qualify as sports that my dad participated in were bowling and boomerang throwing. One year, my mom tried to encourage him to take up golf and gave him a putter for Christmas. It sat by the fireplace for the rest of his years, he used it as a poker for the fire.

He did read to us, though... man, did he read to us. Everything under the sun that was suitable for kids. When I was six months old, he bought a set of children's classics and read those to me and my sisters for years. I remember a favorite of his was "The Wind in the Willows" and he made us laugh when he read it. He also taught us to play chess and black jack and a game called "three five seven" in which the idea was to make the other person pick up the last marble or penny, or whatever.

Of course, I eventually began meeting boys who were interested in sports. Most boys seemed downright obsessed with sports, given what I was used to. I never really dated a "jock" though. I preferred the boys in the band (the marching band) and the guys who worked in the science lab. I was born and bred a geek. One of my sisters became a doctor, one became a computer genius, and one became a language teacher. We all pretty much followed our geek heritage. Family gatherings always involved conversations about esoteric matters and debates about our unending theories of the universe, etc, etc.

So why did I marry into a family of jocks? I swear, I will never know. My husband was the quarterback in high school. His dad was the coach. His mom taught P.E. His brother and sister are avid sports fans. All their friends are sports fans. They all lived in Michigan. That meant they LOVE Michigan and HATE Ohio State. Well, I come from Ohio... but I never even thought about Ohio State football. It was a big deal when he first took me to Michigan to meet his family. It happened to be a weekend of the big Michigan vs. Ohio State football game. We drove up to his mom's house which was festooned with a big University of Michigan flag. The whole gang was there, everyone dressed in Michigan and "Go Blue!" clothing. Well, of course, when they asked me where I was from I innocently said "Ohio". What did I know? I had always been proud to be from Ohio. After all, we were the home of eight U.S. Presidents (I found out later they weren't all that great, but that's another story). Oh my God, did I get a lot of grief from that group! Boos and hisses! It was all in fun (I guess) but geeky little me was not prepared for it. I tried to explain I had no affinity for Ohio State football but they didn't care. Well, I was pretty gun-shy for a long time about visiting my soon-to-be in-laws in Michigan. (It turns out that they were the nicest in-laws anyone could ever have, but I didn't realize it that weekend.)

Well, it hasn't worked out too bad in the end. I like my in-laws. They are funny and kind and down-to-earth good people. We have been married for twenty-five years now. But we still have a geek/fan divide in our house. My husband is downstairs watching football. I am upstairs writing on the computer, while PBS plays in the background. It's funny how these things work out. He just laughs at my geeky relatives and I just laugh at his sports-crazed relatives and we all get along fine.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Still Dreaming of Maui

More photos from our vacation in July...

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'd Rather Be On Maui


Typo below: I meant I love the "hand quilting"

A Beginning Quilter

This is my latest project, a black and white patchwork quilted pillow. I have just cut the pieces and am now getting ready to sew them together. I am going to put this same design on both front and back, with a framing of solid black with tiny white dots. My favorite part of this process is picking out the fabrics and matching them up. I love designing them, and I love had quilting them. The cutting and machine sewing is just mechanics to me.

I have seen all the photos in all the books of cutting several layers of fabric at a time with a rotary cutter, but it has never worked for me. It never cuts all the way through. Or the cutter slides off into the fabric pieces. I don't know what I do wrong, don't press hard enough, or have dull blades (I have tried brand new ones with the same results). So now, I just measure, mark, and cut each piece separately. It sure takes a lot of time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

I guess we are all thinking about September 11, 2001 today. For most of us life has gone on. For those families who lost loved ones life will never be the same.

When we heard what was happening, I left my office in Philadelphia and took the train home. I will never forget the look of shock on everyone's faces on the train that day. The car was silent... no one was even sobbing yet, I imagine because the reality still hadn't sunk in.

My mom and dad were on vacation, and were due to fly home that day. My sister and I went crazy, making phone calls, trying to find out where they were. As it turned out, they were diverted to Canada. They were taken in and treated extremely well by the people there. We heard that many others were kindly "adopted" by Canadian families in the days that followed. I know some bloggers are in Canada, and I wanted to mention how much that meant to us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Blogging Question

I need help from experienced bloggers. See my post below? Both pictures are together, with the text underneath. I know there is a way to intersperse the pictures within the text but can't figure out how it's done. (You know, you start with a photo then some text about that photo, then another photo with more text... how do you do that?)
If anyone can help... thank you!

Random Facts

If you are ever in Chicago, look up the Museum of Holography. A little known museum in an out-of-the-way part of town, it is well worth a visit. There are small, pocket sized holographic pictures that are amazing. And then there are rooms where you walk in and experience life-size holograms that will blow your mind. I visited twenty-some years ago so I don't know what exhibits they have now, but you can look it up on Google.

I was a student at Kent State on May 4th 1970, when the Ohio National Guard shot at students, killing four. (I know, I am giving away my age.)

I was born on my father's birthday. I was also born on Arlo Guthrie's birthday. Does anyone remember the "Motorcycle Song"?
Has anyone else seen the movie "Alice's Restaurant"? That was my generation... crazy but wonderful!

I love to learn about new things. In my huge collection of books I have 12 of the "Dummies" series and 14 of the "Complete Idiot's Guide" series. My favorite is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Einstein". My father was a scientist and I always wanted to be a scientist, but in my generation girls were discouraged from pursuing math and science (I know, it's hard to believe now, but it was true).

That's all for today. If you are reading, thanks!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Big Bang Redux?

Tomorrow, scientists in Geneva will fire up the Large Hadron Collider. In a 17-mile tunnel that is 300 feet below the earth, subatomic particles will be collided to break them down into even smaller subatomic particles. This has been done for years inside smaller machines, with fascinating results. Protons and neutrons, which were previously thought to be the smallest possible particles of matter, were found to break down into even smaller particles.

According to Alexander Higgins of the Associated Press in yesterday's newspaper:
"We create mini Big Bangs by bumping two nuclei into each other. This releases an enormous amount of energy that liberates thousands of quarks and gluons normally imprisoned inside the nucleus. Quarks and gluons then form a kind of a thick soup that we call the quark-gluon plasma. The soup cools quickly and the quarks and gluons stick together to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of matter."

I am a layperson, not a scientist. But I became interested in this phenomenon when I lived near Chicago, where Fermilab is located. At Fermilab they have been colliding subatomic particles for years on a smaller scale. When my dad came to visit, we took a tour of Fermilab. That visit fired up an interest in me. I read a book called "The God Particle". It was written by Leon Lederman, who at that time was director of Fermilab. This book opened up the world of physics to me. If you want to learn more about subatomic physics this book is a great place to begin.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quilting in Kentucky

I enjoy hand quilting. i am very much a beginner. Here are two purses I recently made. It may not show up in the photos, but I hand quilted around all the designs on this fabric.

The Cat Who Rules the Roost

This is Katie. She is an eight-year old Maine Coon cat. She moved with us from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. Notice how imperious she looks? She was an "only cat" for most of her life. Then we adopted two little strays who came to our back yard. We weren't sure how she would react. She did hiss and give us "attitude" at first. Now, though, they all get along beautifully. I have even seen her grooming them. The little boy cat, Tiger, has become her shadow. He follows her all over the house. It looks a lot like hero worship.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sewing with Cats

This is Tinkerbell. We adopted her and her brother as little strays we found in our back yard.
This is my latest sewing project. See how Tinkerbell helps? I was just getting ready to cut the fabric when she came to lend her support.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

One Step at a Time

Okay, I got picture and text together, but the picture is supposed to be lined up with where it says "this is where I want to be".
So, how do I maneuver things into proper position? (It's a rhetorical question, unless you know the answer... I will keep experimenting).

Time Out

Please bear with me as I experiment a bit.  I am going to try adding some photos along with comments.  I wanted you to know, in case it looks a bit goofy!
I have to do something to get my mind off politics and the fact that Pat Buchanan just came on the screen again (I turned it off).

This is where I want to be:

Friday, September 5, 2008

My "Little Women"

My three nieces are the children in my life.  I'm not going to use their actual names, to protect their privacy.  But I can match each of them with a character from "Little Women" based on their personalities.  The oldest is eleven now.  I will call her "Meg" because she is the more serious, practical one, true to her role as the oldest sister.  The middle one is nine, and I will call her "Jo" because she is the "free spirit", the one with the delightfully off-beat view of the world.  The youngest, who just turned seven will be "Amy".  She is the little "girly-girl",  the little charmer.  

Meg is a teacher's dream.  She always has her homework done on time, and she is super organized.  In her school, each student keeps a notebook containing all their assignments and homework.  Last year she was the only one who didn't lose her notebook during the year.  She is the one who reminds the babysitter of what the rules are, when bedtime is, etc.  Not only does she pack her own lunch; she also packs lunches for her sisters' lunches.  She can be a bit bossy at times, which doesn't always sit well with the other two.

Jo is an original.  She has the quirkiest sense of humor of any child I have ever known.  She is also deeply intuitive and the most generous soul.  She writes hilarious stories, the latest about "killer sofas from outer space".  She is smart and the only one in our family since my late father who is good at math.  She is perhaps best known for this:  one Thanksgiving the family was hosting dinner.  Jo got it into her head to play a trick on the guests.  Without telling anyone, she took all the ice out of the automatic ice maker (you know, the kind on the fridge door) and filled it with M&M candies.  So when the unsuspecting grandma came to get a glass of ice, she got a glass of M&Ms instead.  That's Jo!  Life is never dull with her around.  

Little Amy in the closest to a "princess".  She loves her hair long and her clothes pink.  She changes outfits several times a day, twirling in the mirror to admire the effect.  She is also very smart (they all are).  She can keep up with her older sisters no problem.  (Oh I forgot... she just turned seven.)  She makes up the most fantastic stories.  She has a grown-up sense humor.  You can use a pun that you expect will go over her head, but she gets it!  She rolls her eyes and groans.  One day I took them shopping and they each picked out a toy and a book.  I told them "no more shopping today, Aunt Judy is broke now".  When we got home she had received a birthday card in the mail with a $5.00 bill in it.  She handed it to me and said, "Here, you can have this, since you are broke".  

That is my introduction of my nieces to you.  Since we moved here they have become major players in my life.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This was Springtime in My Garden

I have a question: can you help?

Dear Fellow Bloggers,
I am new to this, as I keep reminding you.  Sometimes the blogger program seems to do strange things.  I like to read others' blogs and the comments they receive.  Until a few days ago, the comments were in a font that was easy to read.  Now, though, the font in blogger comments is so tiny that it's hard to read.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Does anyone know how to make it normal size again?

I Did It!

Well, I posted a photo (see below)... my favorite place in the whole world... Maui.  Problem is, I couldn't figure out how to add words to accompany it.  
I am so new to this, I think I will rename my blog "Greetings from the Stone Age".

Testing 1, 2, 3... First Photo?