Friday, October 31, 2008

Rabbit Hash Politics

If you are weary of election news, there is an event that you might like to follow for a more light-hearted approach. If you can, tune in to "CBS Sunday Morning" this Sunday morning. They are covering the mayoral election in a little town called Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

Rabbit Hash refers to itself as a "hamlet", which means it's smaller than a village. This little hamlet is located on a bend in the road overlooking the Ohio River in rural Kentucky. For years, their mayor was a Labrador retriever named "Junior". Well, Junior passed away this year, so they are electing a new mayor. According to my morning newspaper, there are nine dogs, a donkey, a cat, and at least one human running to replace Junior (whose full name was "Junior Cochran").

On-line voting is taking place until 6:00 pm Monday. The reporter remarks that "these politicians are acting like animals".

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Do you ever feel adrift? Like you are at the bottom of a well and can't get out? That you're dying to get out of the house but just can't leave your comfort zone? I have been feeling that way for a while now. I feel trapped inside my house. The news is depressing. Politics is scary.

In Philadelphia, I used to get up early, shower, dress, and catch the train to work. I was busy and productive. Here, I have no purpose. I need to find a purpose. I work on sewing, but don't seem to be able to finish anything. I am drowning in materials I have gathered and can't think of what to do with them. It's like having "writer's block", but about everything.

Today, I am going out to search for some answers. I'm open to suggestions, and I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wiped-Out Wednesday

Wednesday is my day to recuperate. Every Tuesday I pick up my three nieces from school. Ages seven, nine, and eleven, they are high-spirited and animated. They come running to the car, carrying back packs, lunch boxes, water bottles, art projects... all the gear gets tossed into the car. They get into the back seat, laughing, chattering, tussling.

They are always starving, of course. We go to get a bite to eat. Then we go home and try to get some homework done.
Then we get ready to go to gymnastics, running around the house locating leotards, wrist bands, etc.

Why am I always so tired on Wednesdays?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All Clear!

Whew! Just got home from St. E's where I had my mammogram... thankfully, I got an "all clear".

Except, I did get lost trying to find my car after the appointment. I have no sense of direction at all. They have multiple "patient entrances" and multiple "visitor entrances" and many different parking areas on different levels. I ended up walking by the loading docks behind the hospital and finally asked for directions. Yikes! They did tell me that people get lost there all the time, so that made me feel a little bit better. I remember a hospital in Chicago that had different colors of lines on the floor, pointing you to different destinations. I wish they had that here... think I will suggest it.

While I was waiting, I read in a magazine about high-end attache cases (briefcases, laptop carriers, whatever they are called these days). There was one that Matthew McConaughy (spelling... who knows?) has ordered. It cost $45,659. Isn't that obscene?
A bit excessive, I would say... some people just have more money than anyone needs!

Busy Tuesday

This afternoon, I will be with my three nieces and Sammy the puppy. Car line at school, quick dinner, homework, then gymnastics, then I will come home to a quiet house. My husband is off to the west coast for business. (Broken arm and all.)

I'm a little apprehensive this morning... have an early appointment for a follow-up mammogram. I had to go back last year too, and am hoping for another "all clear". This puts yesterday's sadness in perspective, doesn't it?

Thank you for your kind comments yesterday. I feel like I have a community right here on my laptop.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blue Monday

I am lonely. I still miss Philadelphia. I miss my friends. I feel like crying today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Interesting Days in Kentucky

It's been a crazy couple of days! On Wednesday my husband decided to take a break from working and go for a bike ride. He said "I am going for a bike ride" and I heard the door close. Out he went. About one minute later the door opened again and he came back, holding one arm up in the air. "I just broke my arm" he said. I went out to the driveway and picked up the fallen bike, his cap and broken sunglasses with it.

It was noon. Our doctor's office is closed for lunch from noon till one. We drove there anyway, and he pantomimed a broken arm through the window. Fortunately, they let us in. He got an Rx for an x-ray. Then we went next door for the x-ray. It confirmed that his arm indeed was broken. We took it back to the doctor's office and they gave us a referral to an orthopedic surgeon across town.

I drove him to the orthopedic surgeon. What a nightmare! He is a notorious backseat driver, telling me when to pass, when to change lanes, etc., etc. We were looking for an unfamiliar address and had to turn around and go back a couple of times. We finally found the address and he went in while I parked the car. He came back out, telling me that the surgeon had moved to a new address. They had given him the address but no directions. We drove around, trying to find the new address, while he was in pain and not being a very patient patient. We finally found the surgeon's office. I filled out four pages of forms for him, then we waited for two hours. The doctor was running late and we were an "add on" so we were the last to go in. While we waited, we got to watch Fox News on the waiting room TV, as the stock market crashed all afternoon.

He finally got to see the doctor, who had to set his arm (very painful, apparently) and applied a cast. At six o'clock we left with a prescription for painkillers. My husband surprised me then. The first place he wanted to go was my sister's house so he could show off his cast to our three nieces. They have had their share of casts over the years, so they could relate. We showed up and they were all excited, taking turns signing his cast. It ended up being fun. Well, as fun as a broken arm can be!

The next two days were equally interesting, but that's enough for now.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quilt Squares

I love old quilts. I have inherited a few. They are referred to in the quilt trade as "cutter" quilts. This means that, while the quilt as a whole is beyond repair, there are sections that are still in good shape. I have been cutting them apart, embellishing them with embroidery, and making pictures and pillows out of them. I have obtained some vintage buttons and lace, and am going to use them to make some other small items.

Here are a few examples of pieces I've been working on. I love the soft feel of the old, worn fabrics. I enjoy bringing the old designs to life. Here are a few I've been working on.

Note to those who are more experienced than I:
I'm not sure what to do about cleaning these old quilts. I've read that they can be soaked in something like Oxi-Clean to get out old grime. I was afraid the old colors might bleed, and that the embroidery thread I used might bleed (although it does say "color fast" on the label. Or, maybe I should clean them before I embroider them. So, I tried soaking some of the scrap pieces as an experiment. They came out looking good but the old softness was gone, and they dried feeling a bit stiff. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kentucky Cats, Updated

Two stray kittens who showed up in our yard our first summer here... Tinkerbell and Tiger. I told their story in a previous post. The top picture shows them as I found them one day, curled up in a planter on the deck. Since then, we have adopted them and now they live with us.

They have grown up, but they still curl up together, as shown in the second picture. Tinkerbell still helps me with my sewing projects (third picture) and Tiger curls up on top of a stack of quilts like "the princess and the pea".

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cleaning House

Cleaning day! I have to be in the mood, and today I am in the mood to clean. This doesn't happen very often so I have to act when the mood hits. Guess which of the pictures most resembles me cleaning? Well, at least they are both smiling!

It all started yesterday when I was looking for a cookbook. We still have unpacked boxes in the basement, nearly three years after we moved here. I had not used this cookbook for a while so thought maybe it was still packed. I looked through four boxes of books... no luck. There were other boxes under these boxes, so I moved them out of the way to look in the next layer of boxes. Well, three hours later I had moved about a hundred boxes (well, maybe fifty)! I found old, outdated telephones, old outdated computer parts, two boxes of old shoes and two boxes of old boots. There were tools I couldn't identify, empty picture frames, my grade school report cards, pictures from my parents' wedding in 1945, and lots of old newspaper articles I had saved. What a haul!

Of course I had to go through everything and decide what I couldn't live without. I accumulated a couple big bags for the trash, a couple for Goodwill, and a couple to try to sell. The stuff I decided to keep was rearranged in an orderly fashion so I could find it later. It looked so much better in there that I decided to keep going. When I emerged upstairs three hours later, I was exhausted, sweaty, and calling for a gin and tonic. My husband made it for me, I drank it, and I crashed for the rest of the night.

Today, I have renewed energy and still feel like cleaning. Look out world! I don't get in this mood very often, but when I do, I am motivated! Maybe I will even find that cookbook today!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and it's cool but not yet cold. I woke up with a cold nose. That always tells me it's time to have a fire in the fireplace. I love fireplaces. I love the smell of a wood fire. I wouldn't want to have a house that didn't have a fireplace. Our old house, in Pennsylvania, had three wood-burning fireplaces. I was so happy about that. The more fireplaces, the better. But I didn't have to chop the wood and haul it into the house and build the fires. My husband did that.

Now we have a smaller house with only one fireplace. It's a gas fireplace. It looks really cool, open on three sides with stone all around it. It's awfully convenient... you just push a button on the remote and it comes on. There's one problem: every fall, we have the "fireplace fight". I am not good at mechanical things, and my husband is no better. We can never figure out how to get the pilot light lit and the fireplace working. I start out by turning the gas on, which makes us both nervous because we are afraid of the house blowing up. Then I try to follow the manual that came with the gas logs, pressing buttons and flipping switches. It's complicated because the diagram in the manual does not exactly match the controls on our unit.

So, I am sitting on the floor, trying to get the pilot light to come on. I get frustrated and my husband comes over to see if he can make it work. He says I am not doing it right, but he can't make it work either. We get irritated with each other. I start flipping switches again and he says "what do you think you are doing?". I say something like, "well then, let's see you make it work".

This usually goes on for twenty minutes or so. We finally decide to call the service department where we bought the gas log thingie. Of course, it's Sunday so there is no one there. One of us decides to give it another try. By some random luck, we manage to push the right buttons and flip the right switches at the same time... and the pilot light comes on!

But now the fireplace won't light up. We think maybe there is something wrong with the remote. So, we change the triple A batteries in the hand-held thingie and replace the double A batteries in the receiver. It still won't turn the fire on. After more fiddling, my husband bypasses the remote and starts the fire manually. I am happy for 30 minutes until I try to turn it off. Now it won't turn off! Should we shut off the gas? My husband says yes, and I say no, we might never get the pilot light on again. This has happened every year since we moved into this house. It always starts a fight. So now, he is off hitting golf balls and I am here typing on my computer. Will we get this problem solved? Who knows? We need an on-call mechanical/electrical serviceman. Oh, and our ceiling fan won't work, either.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frost Warning!

We are under a frost warning for tonight... how long will it be until we see this?

Friday, October 17, 2008


I am struggling during this political season. Yesterday, I wrote a post about politics. One hour later I changed my mind and deleted the post. Why? Because I was comparing my political views to those of people I love. I felt I was being disloyal by criticizing their views.

They say "you can never go home again". I think I am experiencing this fact. I grew up in the "bible belt". I had the chance to move away and live in other places. Now that I've come back "home" I feel like an outsider. People I grew up with still believe the way they have always believed. I have changed. As a result, I often find myself at odds with those around me.

My parents watch only Fox News, while I still read the New York Times. When I visit them, there is a good chance they will be listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. When they speak of Sarah Palin in glowing terms, I keep my thoughts to myself. Am I being a peacemaker, or am I being a hypocrite?

It's not just family, either. I am reluctant to open up to those I meet here because I sense they will judge me, or that I will offend them. I know I am in the minority here in my political views. I miss being around people who think the way I do. It's nice to feel that you "belong".

As I write this, it occurs to me that it shouldn't be so difficult to disagree with those around you. We should all be able to accept the views of others without hard feelings. The climate we live in seems not to allow that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Youngest Niece

This is my seven-year old niece. She is full of joy. She is smart and funny. She is determined. She loves animals. She keeps up with her two older sisters and then some.

Yesterday, she was writing her name in the dirt with a stone. She spelled it backwards. I asked her why. Said because Leonardo DaVinci spelled his name backwards so he could read it in a mirror. One time, we were playing house. She pretended there was a knock at the door. The people in the house had a visitor. I asked who the visitor was. She said "Louis Armstrong". Another time, she saw a pair of swim goggles someone had dropped in the mud. She said "what are they doing... trying to grow a goggle tree?" It's amazing to see how her mind works.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sick Day at Aunt Judy's House

Yesterday I took care of my nine-year old niece. She had a sick day from school. She was sneezing a lot but came through fine. I took some photos, which are featured here.

After pancakes for breakfast, she sat down to use my laptop... the Webkins site, you know.

We did some sewing... I worked on my quilt project and she made a little doll-sized pillow out of scraps. She asked me if I had any "fluff" she could use. (Fluff turned out to be batting for the pillow.)

Then we went over to her house to let the puppy out. The puppy's name is Sammy, which is short for Samantha. Of course, I had to see their new trampoline in the back yard. I did something I hadn't done for at least forty years... I jumped on the trampoline.

Well, that was our day. At three in the afternoon we picked up her sisters from school. We went home and they all three jumped on the trampoline. I would tell you more, but I'm a little tired this morning. It was a busy day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday with a Nine-Year Old

I received a phone call at 7:30 this morning. On the other end of the line, there was a little nine-year old voice:
"Aunt Judy, I'm sick today".

My middle child niece is staying home from school today, so I will be spending the day with her. There is never a dull
moment when she is around. (She's the one who put M&Ms in the ice machine... a few posts back.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Photos from the Farm

Blogger will let me post only five photos at a time, so here is part two of our farm visit this past weekend. The photos are from inside the corn maze, on the hayride and in the barn. The baby llama was only two days old.

Fall Weekend on the Farm

It was a beautiful weekend here. We visited the neighboring farm. We got lost in the corn maze, took a hayride and visited the petting zoo. The farm has been in the same family for seven generations. They use their own trees to make fence posts and build the hay wagons. They have 300 acres today... they used to have 600, but they sold half of it so the local high school could be built next door. The old log cabin, which the great-great-great-great grandfather built by hand, was moved to its current location. It is still furnished, there was a fire in the fireplace, and current grandfather sits in a rocker by the fire to tell you about its history. It's one of the nice things around here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kentucky Cats

When we moved here almost three years ago, we brought one cat with us. We weren't really thinking about adopting more... then these two showed up. We have a wooded area at the back of our lot that has a small stream running through it. Apparently it's a hangout for a little group of stray cats. Soon after we moved in, these two tiny kittens started creeping out from under a willow tree in our back yard. They were always together. At first they were very shy. But they kept coming up to visit us and we started feeding them. This went on for one whole summer. I went out and waited for them to come out every day. Soon, I was worrying if I didn't see them for a day or two.

One day I looked out and there they were, curled up in a planter on the back porch. This is the photo I took. Who could resist these two? Look at them!

Well, when the weather turned cold we set up a little tent on the porch for them and put straw in it. They lived in that little tent for a while, coming and going. Finally, we decided to adopt them and bring them inside. We were going to call them Tinkerbell and Tigerlily from "Peter Pan". When we took them to the vet, however, we found out one was a boy... so they became Tinkerbell and Tiger.

We weren't sure how they would adapt to being indoor pets. We had had some experience with stray cats before, and they were not adaptable. But these two settled in right away. They got along with our older cat. They used the litter box without fail. They were quiet at night and never woke us up. They adapted easily and have never caused us any trouble. Now they are best friends with our older cat, Katie. We are one big happy cat family!

Friday, October 10, 2008

One Autumn Day in Kentucky

I took these photos today at a farm about a mile from my house.

A Day to Take Photos

It's a beautiful fall day here. Sunny and cool. As I was driving to an appointment this morning, I kept noticing autumn scenes that begged to be photographed. So, now I am taking my camera out for a drive. I will post some of the results later. It will be a nice distraction from the news, and a reminder that everything is not about finances and politics.

In the meantime, here is a nice harvest moon photo.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mob Mentality?

What are we becoming in the United States of America? I've seen videos of campaign rallies where Sarah Palin is speaking. She seems to be able to stir up the crowd in ugly ways. Maybe that isn't her intention, but it seems to be happening everywhere she goes. She will make a statement about Obama and the crowd responds with loud "boo"s. Someone in the crowd yells "kill him" and someone else yells "off with his head". This scares me. i lived through the sixties and seventies, when there was turmoil in this country. There were race riots. Two Kennedys and MLK were assassinated. Students were shot and killed while protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State. I don't want to see that atmosphere return.

The campaign is turning ugly. The angry, bitter look on Cindy McCain's face when she was talking about "a chill going through her body" when she heard of Obama voting against a bill funding the war. Has she forgotten that her own husband voted against a funding bill just two months before? It's not so much what she says that bothers me... it's the way the crowd reacts, booing and yelling, and Sarah Palin standing behind her, nodding her head in glee at the reaction. We are facing very serious issues that require rational thinking to find answers. It frightens me to see irrational rhetoric and people responding with base emotions.

Okay, I hoped I could avoid talking about politics. I do not want to stir up trouble or cause controversy. But until I express these things that are forefront in my mind, I just can't think or talk about anything else. I had to say it today because today both campaigns are coming to Ohio, which is in my back yard. If I see people that close to me acting like a mob, I don't know how I will be able to endure it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Playing with Quilts

I have some old quilts that have been in the family for years. They are worn and torn, but they still have some nice old fabrics in them, and some interesting patterns. I decided to cut out the good parts and do something with them. I've been embroidering around the designs to bring out the colors. Now what do I do with them? Do I make framed fabric pictures? Do I make pillows? Do I piece them all together to make a new quilt? I enjoy the creative part, but what about the practical part? How do I use them?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Big Island

A few posts ago, I talked about how much I love Maui. It's my favorite place in the world. I would go and live there in a minute if I could. But I also like the Big Island of Hawaii. It's very different from Maui... rather dramatic looking, with all the lava on the landscape. Here are some photos from the Big Island. If you click on the last photo to enlarge it, you get a sense of how the car is dwarfed by the giant cloud.