Friday, June 26, 2009

A Drive in Rural Kentucky

This morning the weather was perfect. Warm but not hot or humid, with a clear blue sky. We decided to go for a drive in our newly acquired convertible with the top down. (It's still new to us so it's fun). We decided to drive to Rabbit Hash because it's such a pretty drive. The scenery changes from developing suburbia to honest-to-goodness countryside very quickly as we drive down Mt. Zion Road. The road winds through horse country past barns and ponds. It's shady and cool because of large, old trees beside the road. We pass a Boy Scout camp and a farm where they keep miniature horses.

The road gets narrower and even more winding, then you come to the sign that announces "Rabbit Hash, Registered on the List of Historic Places". It's a tiny hamlet, tucked in a bend in the road next to the Ohio River. It's not a tourist trap. It's a real place where real people live. The locals come often for live music and dancing in the big barn. They have a back room in the general store where you can browse through antiques and "junktiques" as well. If you drive past Rabbit Hash and continue on the road along the Ohio River, the road becomes even narrower and trees overarch the road. Along there, there are little houses with tin roofs and porches all across the front. There are cottages of the type that would be found around a lake. There are boats parked in driveways and boys carrying fishing poles.

I would have loved to have taken photos along the way, but my husband was with me, and he doesn't have the patience to stop for photos. One day I will drive there by myself and take lots of photos. My new camera has been ordered... I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

About My Blog...

If you are new to my blog, please go back a bit into my archives. I sure was more interesting back then! In November, I blogged about a trip to Israel. In December, I blogged about a barge trip in France. Those trips took place a number of years ago, so I didn't have digital photos. In order to post them, I had to take prints to the photo finisher and copy them, one at a time, onto a CD. It was a time-consuming process.

I have many more photos from many adventures. I would love to share them, but they were all taken before the digital age. Recently, I have been reminiscing, going through those old photo albums. I can't believe the fascinating places I have been! I wish I were taking some of those trips now, so I could share them here.

I used to live in Philadelphia... I have written about that too (look back in the archives). Every day I took the train into town. Every day was an adventure. I met characters on the train and on the street. I wish I had been blogging then... so much material. Now, I live in rural Kentucky, and there is not a lot to blog about. Not much exciting has happened to me since I moved here.

As I drive around these rural roads, though, I do see a lot of scenic spaces and interesting little details. It is in those moments that I have ideas for photos, but I need a better camera to capture them. I have asked several bloggers what cameras they use to get such beautiful results. I know I have a lot to learn.

So many blogs are filled with great photos. I have a second-hand camera that my sister received free when she opened a bank account. It doesn't focus well. I miss a lot of shots because it is so slow. It doesn't have any zoom capacity. I have asked for a new camera for my birthday... I hope to be posting some lovely pictures soon!

Monday, June 22, 2009

more than a woman-saturday night fever

I was this girl back in the 70s. Reminiscing...

I even had a dress like that.
I am afraid I kind of floated through the 70s... it was fun, though!

Sarah's 12!

Yesterday we went to my sister's house to celebrate Sarah's 12th birthday. This is Sarah, putting the candles on her cake. She is wearing her new Taylor Swift t-shirt which was a birthday present (from me!).

Sarah in the glow of twelve candles. Molly is in the background... notice how she can't stand still?

Here, Sarah is preparing to blow out the candles... all in one breath to get your wish! Molly, in the background, is still fidgeting.

Molly finally sat down, to concentrate on a piece of birthday cake.

Oh, and we celebrated Father's Day too! There was one father, one uncle and one grandfather present. They all ate cake too, then headed downstairs to watch the golf tournament.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Update and a Mystery

Last Monday, I had a PET scan. We were trying to find out what was causing my spiking fevers and swollen lymph glands. I was not very familiar with what a PET scan was. My doctor said they were looking for areas with higher than normal metabolic activity, which could indicate increased cell activity, which could indicate a malignancy. Of course I worried about it last week, wondering what the results would be. Yesterday I got the results, which showed no signs of malignancy. Whew! I was relieved to hear that news! As my blog name says: "Every day is a gift". It's true.

Now for the mystery. When I went out yesterday to check on the kittens under my neighbors porch, they weren't there. I wonder if the mother cat moved them. I have heard that they do that sometimes. Maybe she found a better place for them. I hope no one came and took them. It's very quiet back there so I doubt if anyone else would have noticed them. I will ask my neighbor if she saw them, and if she knows anything.

Could this be the answer to the mystery? I hope they are safe.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An Update on the Kittens...

Yesterday, we found a new litter of kittens under our next-door neighbors' back porch. My neighbor's husband is in the hospital and she doesn't have time to look after them. Five little black kittens, all huddled together. Since then we have seen the mother cat with them. She is small for an adult cat. We thought we saw one of the little ones sitting up and looking at us, but realized later that was the mother. We have been putting out food for the mother in our own back yard, and she comes over regularly to eat.

I am researching where we might be able to place the kittens. We haven't been here long enough to be familiar with the local shelter. There is a shelter and a humane society and I don't really know what the purpose of each is. We don't want them to be placed in a bad situation. I am wondering if we should have them neutered. My sister has a friend who is a vet... I could ask her. Our own cats have been neutered, but our vet is really expensive. I'm not sure we can afford to take all five of them there.

I thought there were no-kill shelters that take homeless cats, but they all say they are full and can't accept any more. I'm not sure what to do at this point.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Uneventful Day

I appreciate an uneventful day. No surprises; no disasters; no confrontations or controversies. I am waiting for the results of my latest medical test... a PET scan. We are still trying to find out why I had a series of fevers up to 102, and why I have swollen lymph glands. After the test on Monday, I was nervous. What would it show? Would it change my way of life? In the days since, I have put it out of my mind and I have gone about my days as usual.

Yesterday I babysat my three nieces, as I do every Tuesday. The oldest, Sarah, is concentrating on gymnastics. She is attending a gymnastics camp every day from 9:00 to 3:00. The camp is an hour and fifteen minutes from home and someone has to take her in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon. Then, she has a three-hour private lesson from 4:00 until 7:00. Her two younger sisters have regular gymnastics classes from 6:30 to 7:45. It's a pretty big job taxiing them all where they have to be.

Today I did some shopping for birthday and Father's Day gifts. I ran errands (bank, post office, library) and was happy to be out and about, driving my car and getting things accomplished. If I had to be in a hospital, these are exactly the things I would wish I could be out doing.

This evening, while I was preparing dinner my husband called me outside to look in our next-door neighbors yard. Under their deck were five newborn kittens, all solid black and huddled together. My neighbor is not at home; her husband was taken to the hospital two nights ago and she has been staying there with him. Now I am worrying about those kittens. My husband says there is nothing we can do, but they look so helpless. One of them sat up and looked right at us (they are old enough to have their eyes open). I wanted to pick it up and take it home, but of course I didn't. I hope their mother is still around to care for them. I keep going outside to check on them.

Right now I am watching "Stargate SG-1," the one with Richard Dean Anderson. I like it... it's sci-fi that doesn't take itself too seriously, and it has some likeable characters in it.

So, that's it. I don't have anything very interesting to say today, but I wanted to document an ordinary day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A June Wedding

We went out of town over the weekend... to a wedding. This wedding was in Michigan, where my husband grew up and went to college. The bride was his college roommate's daughter. I didn't know many people there, but many of his old fraternity brothers were there. So, for him it was a bit like a college reunion. On Friday night we got together with the old gang and watched the Detroit Red Wings get trounced by the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was fun, though; lots of wine, beer, and pizza.

I managed to get only one photo inside the church during the wedding, and it came out blurry. The wedding was a Catholic Mass. The priest was a friend of the family and was very personal and engaging. The bride planned things to be a bit non-traditional. There was no wedding cake; they had a dessert buffet instead. There was no throwing the bouquet or garter. It was a nice mixture of casual and elegant. Her dress was simple and very pretty. The cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served outdoors on the lawn of the country club. The dinner and dancing was indoors.

It was a beautiful day for a wedding!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

Susan just let me know that I have been tagged by Rachel at Slow Lane Life. This is my first time as a taggee! I hope I do this right.
Oh! I have also been tagged by "War of the Nuts". So, I answered those extra two questions at the bottom.

What is your current obsession?
Creating a shady spot on my back deck. I can't go out there in the summer because the sun is too hot. My ideal would be a screened-in porch. Or a big shade tree.

What is your weirdest obsession?
None of them are weird to me, but some people seem to think they are. First, Antonio Carlos Jobim"s music. Every time I hear it I want to get up and dance, no matter where I am. (I wrote a post about this a while back.) Second, collecting Nancy Ann Storybook Dolls (I wrote a post about that, too). Other obsessions: collecting children's books (I love the illustrations) and watching "Lost".

What are you wearing today?
Black yoga pants and a black and white, sleeveless top with an abstract design that I bought at Target (it's loose and cool).

What's for dinner?
I still have to go shopping, but probably either salmon or sea scallops. Also, brown rice sauteed with cabbage, diced tomatoes and capers. Or maybe sauteed broccoli slaw with diced figs, julienned carrots and slivered almonds. I love seafood and like to mix different rice and veggies together and put the seafood on top of it. I usually drizzle in a little dry vermouth into the whole mix.

What would you eat for your last meal?
Fresh grilled fish and strawberry shortcake on the beach in Maui.

What's the last thing you bought?
Some special candy that my nine-year old niece has been asking for... because yesterday she did all the chores that were on the list for her and her two sisters to do while my sister was at work.

What are you listening to right now?
I was listening to the rain but it has stopped. Now all I hear is birds outside and the ceiling fan above me.

What do you think of the person who tagged you?

I have met Rachel only through her blog, but she seems like a delightful person. Her posts are interesting and original and she has several lovely cats (I have three of my own). We are both retired and we both remember Bila.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

I have a photo on my fridge of an ocean-front house in the Makena area of Maui. The price tag is 6.5 million. I have been wanting that house for a long time. But now that Obama is President I have been thinking of Georgetown. Of course, there is always Paris. And I still miss the Philadelphia area... Bucks County has a lot of beautiful houses on beautiful property. A hard decision!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
On a sailboat in the Caribbean Sea (or maybe the Aegean Sea).

Which language do you want to learn?
Spanish. I would like to be an advocate for new immigrants that need help navigating our bureaucracies.

What's your favourite quote (for now)?
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."

What is your favourite colour?
Periwinkle blue.

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?

A really cool Betsey Johnson dress that I bought at the most amazing sale price. Originally $350 marked down to $85! It's a size too small so I haven't worn it yet, but it's a real motivator! I loved Betsey Johnson back in the day. (Rachel, I also loved Bila back in the day. I thought they were gone but I just found those dresses in my local store. Of course, I had to buy one!)

What is your dream job?
For some reason I've always wanted to be a film editor. But I wouldn't want to live in Hollywood!

Describe your personal style
"Girl Next Door"... I don't wear much jewelry or makeup. Feminine but modest.

What is your favourite tree?
I love all trees, but great big old oak trees are my favorite!

What are you going to do after this?

Transfer my socks from the washer to the dryer, then eat lunch.

What is your favourite fruit?
Berries, berries, berries... all kinds of berries.

What inspires you?
Intelligent people; music; art; nature.

Your favourite books?
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; The God Particle by Leon Lederman; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; all of Laurie Colwin's books.

What are you currently reading?
The Language of Bees by Laurie King

Go to your bookshelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first line (sentence)

"Paper towels, wadded Kleenex, grocery receipts, wine corks, paper clips, chess pieces, bottle caps... it was like a salvage yard in there." From Marley and Me by John Grogan

What delighted you the most today?
One of my cats jumped up on my chair, plopped herself down in my lap, and started purring.

By what criteria do you judge a person?
Intelligence; kindness to animals; not "full of him/herself".

Were you ever in love with a film star? Who? How old were you?

I was in love with Gary Cooper in "Pride of the Yankees". I was twelve years old.

Oh, my goodness! I just found out I have also been tagged by "War of the Nuts"! I found two more questions there:

Are you artistic or crafty ? how does your passion show up in your life ?
Artistic in my head, but I can't make it come out through my hands. So I do some crafts. I decoupage instead of paint, and I like to make things out of old quilts. Passion shows up in my life in unexpected places.

If someone waved a magic wand and suddenly turned you into a dog, what kind of dog would you be?
I would be a wheaten terrier. My sister has one and she has a lot of fun (the dog, not my sister... well, she does too).

My added question: What is your funniest vacation memory?

Now, i am supposed to tag other people. I'm not sure how to go about this; do I just list them here? How do I let them know?

Gentle Rain

Today is that kind of day here. A steady, gentle rain. No wind blowing it inside, so all the windows are open. Everything looks green and smells fresh. A break from heat and humidity and unrelenting sun.

It's quiet except for the unhurried rain, birds calling, and the occasional rumble of thunder. There are no roaring lawn mowers or screaming weed whackers (hate those things). Just quiet, as if man had never come to this place.

My two younger cats are running and hiding from the thunder. Katie, the older cat has seen it all. She sits on the window sill enjoying the show. I have chores to do today. Indoor chores. I feel energized by the rain, so I am ready to tackle them all.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mom's Little Red Coupe

We had a little red two-door Acura that we decided to sell. As soon as my mom saw that we had a "For Sale" sign on it, she told us she wanted to buy it. Her most recent car was a 1984 Buick that she bought from us about twenty years ago. She said it was no longer reliable, that sometimes it "just got tired" and stopped running.

We didn't know how practical the little red coupe would be for my mom. It's low to the road and has a gear shift on the floor. But my mom insisted that was exactly what she wanted. My sister said she suspected that Mom always secretly wanted to have a little, red, sporty car. So, now my 85-year old mother now has a little red car, that looks like this:

My mom suffers from arthritis in her hips and back and she has to use two canes to walk. Because of this she has a permit for handicapped parking. We told her the little red car doesn't exactly fit the image for handicapped parking (I have a feeling that's why she wanted it). Today we met her at the County Clerk's office to transfer the title to her. We watched her pull up in the car. It took a long time for her to get out of the car and get situated with her canes, but she had a big smile on her face. My 85-year old mom loves her little red car.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yad Vashem

Today, President Obama is visiting Buchenwald. I am watching the telecast from there with tears in my eyes.

It reminds me of the time I visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial in Israel. It is impossible to walk through Yad Vashem and not be changed. Tears flow easily and the mind reels as you witness the images there. Here are a few photos from Yad Vashem.

The first photo shows President Obama laying a wreath during an earlier visit. This photo was taken in the Hall of Remembrance. It is built with boulders from the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee. The Eternal Flame burns continuously. The stone monument in front of the flame contains ashes of Holocaust victims that were gathered from concentration camps.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I was so proud of our President this morning as I listened to his speech in Cairo. Our President who is intelligent and articulate. Our President who is reaching out to the world to promote understanding. The media is calling his speech "transformative". I know I felt transformed as I listened. I felt hope and pride. I felt optimistic about the future. I realize it was just one speech, and that there are still many dangers and difficulties in the world. But it is nice to know he is representing us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One of My Favorite Places

I love the British Virgin Islands!

About fifteen years ago, we sailed around the BVI on a chartered sailboat. I guess you would actually call it a yacht, but I didn't want to sound so fancy. It's not like we are in the habit of sailing around on yachts... this one was an all-expense paid vacation from my husband's employer... that was back in the good old days when companies weren't going broke. Anyway, I loved it! There was a group of people on four sailboats, four couples to a sailboat. We slept on the sailboat (yacht) and sailed from one island to the next. We stopped on Tortola, where we visited Pusser's Rum. We stopped on Virgin Gorda where we visited the Bitter End Yacht Club. We stopped on tiny Jost Van Dyke and went barefoot at Foxy's Bar. For two weeks, the only wardrobe we needed was our bathing suits. If you asked me to choose any place in the Caribbean, it would be the BVI. I loved sailing. I loved sleeping on the sailboat. I loved dining on the deck (they cooked for us) and drinking wine under the starry sky. I loved visiting hidden beaches that could be reached only from the water. One day we had a race with the other three sailboats. It's nice to remember, and I wish I could do it all over again.

A few years later, we went back and stayed on Virgin Gorda. This time we went with two other couples. We took a flight from Philadelphia to San Juan, then a small plane to Tortola, then a tiny ferry over to Virgin Gorda. One of our companions was grumpy because it took so long to get there. But I loved it... the farther from civilization the better for me! We stayed in a simple little bungalow right on the beach. Just steps from the water, and a screened sleeping porch all the way around the cottage. We had bedrooms, but I loved sleeping on the porch listening to the surf at night. We had rented a tiny little jalopy with open sides, barely big enough for the six of us. We rambled around on bumpy roads, holding on for dear life and dodging goats and and livestock. We smoked Cuban cigars (don't tell) on the beach at night and cooked all of our meals on the BBQ right on the beach. I loved that vacation too!

I haven't had my photos digitalized... but the photo above is exactly how it looked.