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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enough snow yet?

Are you tired of snow yet? Here’s how to tell when you’ve had enough snow.

1. When you look out your window every morning and see snowflakes coming down and say “not again”.
2. When your back door freezes shut with ice blocking your way out.
3. When your snowshovel has a permanent place by the back door.
4. When there is an open bag of salt (or in my case a permanent box full) by the walkway.
5. When you shovel and have to put the snow in a higher and higher pile.
6. When you don’t even look at the weather forecast because all it says is snow for every single day.
7.  When you have to force yourself to go out of the house and get out of bed in the morning.
8. When you wake up before daylight to the sound of the plows going by your road.
9. When it takes a long time to get ready to go out because you have to put on your scarf, gloves, coat, hat and boots.
10. When you postpone plans because of the weather.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Using Picnik

trees as hdr 

Do you enjoy taking photos but wish you could enhance them just a little bit? Then you would love Picnik. It’s a free download that enables you to transform your pictures into masterpieces. The above picture is one example. Here is the before:

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I took this pictures of the trees that used to be outside the window of the old West Branch School. It’s an ok picture but much better when I added snow and effects to it. The program is extremely easy to use and a lot of fun to play with.
trees 1
Here’s the same picture just lightened up a bit.

winter tree sketch 2
I also use a free Photoscape program to create other effects like this sketch of a creek in the Willow Dale cemetery.
winter tree sketch
Here is the same shot darkened a bit. It is so much fun enhancing pictures. Why don’t you give it a try?


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birthday fun

Today we celebrated my friend Yrsa’s 67th birthday by going to the Beef and Barrel in Olean for lunch. Linda Green, Yrsa and I went to the Olean mall afterwards. It is very sad to see the state that the mall is in. Once full of stores the mall now just has two anchor stores, Penney’s and Bon Ton and a few other stores inside. There were many empty places where stores used to be. And they had such vandalism that they will not let children up to the age of 18 in the mall without a supervising parent.
  I also went to the eye doctor for a checkup today. My vision was a little less in my good right eye and I have a cataract, but nothing needs to be done at this time. I was glad since this eye is my only one I can read with I don’t want any procedures if I can help it. I also and having success with my dry eye problem since I have been taking medicine for my ulcers. I have no dry eyes now! yippee. It’s good to go to a doctor and get a good report.
Tonight Don and I are going to night class to learn how to sell things on Ebay. Maybe we’ll put some things on there to sell. That would be great! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An update

Just a quick update about my husband, Don. Today we went to Erie to see a cardiologist. Don’s regular physician told him that his heart was beating irregularly and that in the past he had a heart attack which damaged the lower part of his heart and now it is not pumping as it should. He talked about Don getting a defibrillator for his low heart function. The doctor today first wants Don to have a heart catheterization to see if he has any blockages. We will go to Hamot Hospital in Erie to have that done Monday morning. We will go on Sunday night and stay all night up there since he has to be there at six thirty in the morning and it is an hour and a half ride from home. If there are blockages they will put in a stent then and he will have to stay overnight. Wish us good luck.

Monday, January 24, 2011

a January surprise

On January 22, 1966 a young couple (us) was united in marriage. And this year we celebrated 45 years together. In this age marriages don’t seem to last forever so I am grateful to have found my one true love. Like all marriages we have weathered the storms and still delight in each other’s smiles. Hubby never forgets an occasion and gave me these pink roses this year.

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When the mail came this morning I was surprised with a package from my sister Linda. When I opened it here is what I found. winter 2011 002
I was having trouble getting my candles to stay upright in my candlier over the table. We had been looking in all the craft stores for candle adhesive and she found some in Hobby Lobby and sent it to me. Isn’t it nice to have thoughtful sisters?
   She also sent me this cut initial to hang on my candle jar.

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Who could this be on the sled?

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And carrying in the milk bottles? (this must be a very old picture..LOL)

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Yes, it’s me when I was five and our family  lived in DuBois with my grandmother. I have this picture on a wreath in the sunroom. I can’t bear to take it down yet.

Also on the wreath are these ornament with glittery silver frames. I got this one at Pottery Barn on closeout. 

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And this one too.
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And they happened to match this bird card that I already had.

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Here is the wreath all put together. It seems so wintery I think it will stay up for awhile.

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7 things

The latest thing on color Outside the lines is to write 7 things about yourself. So here it goes. Some of these you may know and some may be surprises.
1. I like movies that make you think. No simple minded comedies or long car chase movies for me. I like twist endings and character development.
2. I love reading, with my new Nook or holding a hardback novel in my hand. If I couldn’t find anything else I would read the back of bottles in the bathroom. I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t have a magazine rack in their bathroom. Nothing frustrates me more than forgetting to bring a book to the doctor’s office and be stuck with out of date men’s magazines to read.
3. February is, for some reason, my hardest month to get through. It may be Seasonal Affective Disorder. last year I bought a sun light and it seemed to help my mood considerably. Unfortunately it also made the skin cancer on my head come back. (Don’t worry, the doctor gave me some precancerous salve which made it disappear).
4. Music is my happiness gauge. When I am feeling on top of the world I love to put on loud music and sing along (and even dance all by myself).
5. There is nothing I like better than having my family around me. Every time I see them they make me light up with happiness. I always hate to part.
6. I am not a neat freak. Despite all my efforts to become a more organized, everything in its place person I will never achieve perfection. I’m content to have a lived in house with books stacked on the coffee table and teacups handy.
7. I have become more comfortable being alone. Since I am an extrovert, I love to be around people to charge me up. But lately I have found that I like the comfort of my home and my privacy more and more. Having time to myself to read, get things done, or just think gives me pleasure.

Well, did you learn anything about me?christmas 2010 074

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Leeann Rimes


Last night I went to a local performance by Leeann Rimes which was part of Bradford’s Creative and Performing Arts series. This year I bought a season ticket and have enjoyed everything so far. This concert was amazing. Leeann is by far the sweetest, humblest singer I have ever listened to. She sang her hits, some of the songs from her new album (old country songs by men) and let us in on some of her upcoming recordings. She was energetic at times, soft and loving at other times. In between songs she gave credit to her songwriters or told us personal things about herself. She looked gorgeous with her skin tight leggings and dazzling shirt. I felt a little sorry for her because she is used to entertaining such large crowds. Although the high school auditorium was packed full, about 90 percent were over the age of 50 and were not familiar with her songs. When she told the audience they would be familiar with a song (Good hearted woman in love with a good timing man) and to sing along, the audience didn’t. The audience couldn’t even keep up clapping through some of her more energetic numbers. She did get appreciative applause and hoots after every song though. A concert in Bradford is such a different experience for those used to performing in the south where they love country music. It was a great night and people came out despite the 13 degree temperature. Leeann commented on how cold it was here and that it was 80 degrees where she lived in LA. What a fun time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Winter project

It’s mighty cold out there. My computer says 7 below zero. We always argue that the temperature for the weather is taken at Mt. Alton which is a higher elevation airport and doesn’t really reflect our Bradford temperature. But even at that it’s mighty cold. I chose to stay in today even though Don went to Olean to get some supplies for his latest project..rebuilding an old player piano that we have had for years. Because we live in a small town he has to travel 50 miles round trip to get what he needs to rebuild the inside of the piano. When we were first married we bought a player piano and had so much fun pumping and singing along to the many rolls that we would put inside. It was a fun time. We sold that piano and bought this one with the intentions of getting it working. That was 25 years or more ago. It has sat, neglected all that time taking up valuable space in a back bedroom. Over the years I have suggested letting it go, but Don has an emotional connection to it and just wouldn’t sell or give it away. So we made a deal that if it isn’t fixed up by April he would get rid of it. So he has suddenly decided to take on this project requiring a lot of time and some extra money. He had rebuilt one in the past and is confident that he can get this one working too. What do you think?player piano 003

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are you an Idol fan?

American Idol is back on the air with new judges and what looks like a lot more talent. Usually we had to sit through weeks of screeching wannabees and just plain idiots but last night there was some real talent. They lowered the age to 15 which I think is entirely too young to withstand the rigors of fame even though the young ones last night were very talented. But they need some experience in dealing with life before they are thrown into that stressful life of being a star. Even Don thought Steven Tyler was a great judge, not harsh, but honest. Jennifer Lopez found it hard to say no and we are hoping that she is not another Paula. It’s on again tonight and I am looking forward to it.
It was a quiet day here. I made some potato soup for dinner and read this afternoon. Our lives are very simple sometimes, but I like it that way..amen!snowman shark

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Loving winter?

You love winter, right? You never complain about the constant snow that needs shoveled, the single digit temperatures or the dangerous unshoveled slushy sidewalks, do you? Yeah, I know…me too. But there are some reasons to love winter so here are my best ones.
1. It is breathtaking (and I don’t mean the air is so cold it takes your breath away). I mean I’ll bet down south they have never seen the diamonds on the crisp newfallen snow before.
2. You have an excuse not to do things. You can blame it on the cold, bad roads, hibernation, or just make up an excuse and everyone understands why you don’t want to go out.
3. You get a lot of reading done.  What else is there to do besides watch tv?
4. You can sit inside with a cup of tea or cocoa, eat comfort foods, and watch the snow fall outside your window and just feel contentment.
5. Even the dog and cat don’t pester you as much to go outside.
6. Time seems to slow down, the pace is more lazy.
7. On the weekends you find yourself in your jammies till noon.
8. You bundle your errands all in one day so you don’t have to keep running to the store all week.
9. My whole body is covered up in layers and bulky sweaters.
10. If you have extra food you can just put it in the Bradford refrigerator (the garage) for a few hours.

I’m sure there are a few more, if you’d like to add them in the comments. But all in all..we can’t move south so we just grin and bear it. It will be spring soon (well, maybe not soon…but it will come). And when it’s 90 degrees next summer you will remember this nice cold winter.

snowman globe

Monday, January 17, 2011


out of the cold

Can you believe it was only 7 degrees out this morning when I left for coffee? Brr. We are feeling this cold snap even more than before. It makes you realize why animals hibernate. I just want to stay in, but the guilt of not exercising like I should be took over and I went to the YMCA for water aerobics class this morning. Even though it sometimes takes a lot of self talk to get me in the pool in this cold weather, I always feel better when I get in the water and get moving. I have slacked off on the exercise since the weather became bad and I couldn’t walk on the Pitt path. I’m beginning to use the cold as an excuse not to go and exercise. After the class it was home and getting the house back in shape. I’m not doing very well on my resolutions to get organized..instead I watched a movie this afternoon. I am feeling better however and didn’t need an afternoon nap for the first time in a week. (Gee, I sound old..but really it was because of the infection). Don spent some time out in the garage. He went out to start cleaning it up but got distracted when he saw something and spent most of the time trying to fix something else. If I did that  nothing in the house would ever get done. Men! (Did I say that out loud?) NO pictures today. I was so busy at Chris’ that I didn’t even take a picture. We had a great time. It’s always fun to be with the family.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another January day

sadie in crate 001 sadie looks like she is being punished but I can assure you that she loves to just go in her crate and rest. She has a little dog bed in there that is very comfortable and when we can’t find Sadie, she is sleeping in her crate.

What do you do on a bitter cold and snowy day. I cook. Comfort food. Today I found a recipe online for beef-cabbage soup. It is simmering on the stove as I type. I am taking it  to Chris’ with me tomorrow. I’ll make some cornbread to go along with it and we’ll have it for supper tomorrow night. Chris goes to table tennis on Fridays so he doesn’t have time to fix a meal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Still snow

Yep, there’s still  snow out there. Looking out the window in the computer room I can see the icicles and snow piled up. We got about 6 inches overnight and more on the way today. Ho-hum, what else is new?

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Even Top Gun won’t go outside. He looks out the door longingly, but when you open it he runs in the other direction. still snow 002

Don has been busy today. He put on his plumber’s hat and is trying to save our refrigerator. We’ve been having trouble off and on since summertime with it freezing up in the refrige part. It is caused by a clogged drain from the freezer so he had to take the freezer all apart and unclog the drain. Let’s hope that works. I don’t know what I would have done all these years without my Mr. Fix-It.

Today I’m not getting a lot accomplished. I went to the dentist for my teeth cleaning this morning and haven’t had a lot of ambition since I’ve been home. Don and I decided that our hibernation is caused by the extreme lack of sunshine. We have a lot of cloudy days with no sun in the wintertime. I think I’ll curl up with a good book.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cold day, warm tummy

warm tummy 2010 001

Another very cold day. More snow is on the way tonight with a big storm predicted. Three to five inches. I don’t even get excited about three to five inches. After having so much snow piled up on the bushes out the front window so that I couldn’t even see out, this is just a little to me. Every day I have to take the shovel and clear off my walkway before I go out. But today I felt like having the oven on so I made a beef roast with vegetables. I used up the rest of my homemade wheat berry bread. How delicious!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Things that go bump in the night

sadie in bed 002

That hump in the bed is Sadie. When I get up in the morning, she gets up with me…just long enough to be let out and then she races back to bed with Don and dives back under the covers. When he gets up, she doesn’t want to get out of the warm bed. Today he just made the bed up and left her there. After a few minutes she realized no one was coming back to bed. Being the nosy dog she is who can’t miss a thing, she wandered out in the kitchen to see what was going on.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A new day

I know it’s not, but I’m going to pretend this is January first. A new year, a new day. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Have you broken them yet? None of those for me this year. Why bother. They’ve been the same now for 40 years…lose weight, get organized. Although I’ve made progress toward those ends I wouldn’t say I’ve ever achieved them to the point I wanted. So in the spirit of my new word for the year, acceptance, I am just accepting that my body is the way it is. If I can change it, I will, but I won’t fight so hard about it. And I have made a lot of headway on the organizational end. I can find things, I’ve gotten rid of a whole bunch of things, and I’ve organized. There’s a ways to go, but it’s mostly good. (This acceptance thing is working.)
So I think I’ll be goal oriented and make a few lists. I lived by lists most of my life. Especially when I was working and had young children. If I wanted to get anything accomplished I put it on the list and crossed it off when it was done. I need to get back in that habit. Let’s see.  What should go on the list? Hmmm.
1. I’d like to go room by room and clean. Curtains, walls, in depth dusting , floors, etc. I want to get it all done before the good weather comes in the spring and I want to spend my time outdoors.
2. Filing…oh, the dreaded filing. Got to get that all caught up for the year. That’s a project since I really hate to do it.
3. Going through the things under the basement stairs. That neglected part of the house has been a gathering place. I’m sure there are things that can go.
4. Gather things for a yard sale in the spring. Now is a great time to box up unwanted items and take them somewhere to sell. What an accomplishment that would be to remove those things from the house.
5. The garage. Not my territory, but needs a clean sweep.
6. What else? Of course, put on the list that I need to get out my painting supplies and make time to make pictures. If it’s not on the list, I may ignore it as I have in the past.
That’s a good list. A long list, but doable. It gives me a goal. What do you think?  Can I do it?
yellow bird

Saturday, January 08, 2011



Finally there’s light at the end of the tunnel. My medicine has kicked in (after many swishes in my mouth) and the huge white sore bumps are disappearing and the pain is less. I feel so relieved..like a weight has been lifted from me. We have a saying around my house when things go wrong….it could always have been worse. If the car breaks, luckily it happened in town and not in another state on a long trip. If something spoils are plans, lucky that we got to do something unexpected instead. If the sewer backs up, thank goodness it didn’t happen with a house full of people. It always seems like we can turn a bad situation into a good one. As bad as I have been this week I think about those whose diagnosis is a lot more final. The illness I’ve been plagued with have a life and a death and I can go on healed to normal. Some are not that lucky. So thank you readers for putting up with my crabbing and complaining this week. And thanks for all your support when I got down. Tomorrow is another day. And with luck, a much better one.


Mom, a bow. Really?



Friday, January 07, 2011


Every year seems to have a theme. The word for this year for me will be
ACCEPTANCE.  It’s time to realize the old prayer, change the things you can and accept those things you cannot change. First, you cannot change others. Much as I’d like to be a peacemaker among members of my family, my efforts have not made any headway into getting family back together. It’s time to just accept that things are the way they are and don’t have anything to do with me. It’s up to the people involved to change.  Second, some situations you can’t change. I can’t make things better for my friends no matter how much I want to. I accept that they are responsible for their own situations and I will support them all they can, but I accept that I cannot do anything to change their fate. Next, I am willing to be more self accepting. I am the way I am and have developed this way over many years. It’s time to appreciate the woman I’ve become and accept those good things about me and realize we are all human and not blame myself over my shortcomings. Last I will accept everyone that comes into my life at face value. They show me who they are and I will accept them without judgment.  This is the year for Acceptance.


Wintry sunroom

Just a few pictures of how I redid the sunroom for January.

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For all of you keeping track

I give up! It’s been one heath dilemma right after another for me since I got home after Thanksgiving. First I lost a solid week with a terrible bad cold that put me down on the couch with coughing and sore throat. Next, I developed that itchy rash all over my body due to something I ate. I also had a bladder infection. Then this week I got the stomach virus so bad that I’m still recovering. Not only that I went to the dr today about my sore mouth only to find out I had thrush (from taking steroids. It suppressed my autoimmune system so I got thrush, a yeast infection in my mouth).I hate to be a complainer but enough is enough. I want this to end now! 

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Twiddle, dee, dee

I would never say I’m bored. I’ve been retired for nine years and haven’t been bored a single day yet. But today…I am sick of tv, don’t feel like reading, and just feel sick enough to not want to do anything. I’m still recovering and am pushing just to stay off the couch all day. So I occasionally do a load of laundry or sit at the computer until I feel weak and have to go lay down again. Darn this old bug! Tomorrow we’ll be going to Erie for Don’s cardiologist appointment. Even though we’ll eat at Olive Garden I know it will be just soup for me. My stomach is still so tender that when I eat anything (like Cream of Wheat this morning) it hurts. And not only that I have something wrong with my gums and inside my mouth and everything in there is so sore I can’t chew. You know, you have to be careful what you ask for. I wanted to lose weight. But not this way. I did do a “drive by” shooting over in Willow Dale cemetery this morning. It is very cold here in western Pennsylvania with temperatures in the teens, but so pretty.

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January morn

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Bare branches of each tree on this chilly January morn look so cold so forlorn. Gray skies dip ever so low left from yesterday's dusting of snow. Yet in the heart of each tree waiting for each who wait to see new life as warm sun and breeze will blow, like magic, unlock springs sap to flow, buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow."

~~Nelda Hartmann, January Morn

cold winter 2010 006

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The wooden bowl

The Wooden Bowl
I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now,
a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year
-old grandson.
The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.
The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.
'We must do something about father,' said the son.

'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor..'
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.

There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.
When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.

Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.
The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded,
'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.
' The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done..
That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family... And for some reason,
neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Still cold, but warm in my heart.

It’s still cold here in the frozen north with nineteen degrees and fresh snow last night and today. I ventured out for the first time to meet my friends for coffee this morning. I’m feeling a little better now that I put a little food in my stomach, but not exactly up to par. By tomorrow I am hoping that all will be well and I can get back to all the projects that I want to get done in January. It is a great month for deep cleaning and organizing. My goal is to do all that by the end of the month. (yes, even the attic and basement.) 
   A little surprise in the mail made my day a little brighter. My sister Linda sent me a package. Here is what was inside.

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A gorgeous cast iron red Chinese teapot and 4 pagodas. Do you see a theme? For Christmas she bought me four square gold chargers, a red and black vase and 4 red and black rice bowls to go with the cups that I bought down in Virginia. I can’t wait to make a tablescape with all my new things. Thank you to the sweetest sister in the world! We had such a good time last week and I miss her already. I wished we lived closer. We could really have a time.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Lying Low

If there was ever a bug that had super potency it’s this stomach virus. After a horrible day of being sick and a day of recovery the third day is still making its effects known. It’s only soft foods for my stomach or I feel bloating and pain. I stayed in today except for a quick trip to the hospital for a mammogram. Here are some pictures I played with using Photobucket.


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Monday, January 03, 2011



2011 has gotten off to a rocky start. First there was the drainage problem that backed up sewer water in the toilets and filled the bathtub with murky brown water. Don had to crawl under the house and open a drain, but it was finally resolved. Then yesterday that awful stomach virus hit me and I spent all day vomiting. I’ve never been that sick in my life. I would have gone to the emergency room, but I couldn’t get dressed. Thankfully today it’s gone but I’m left weak so I couldn’t make my dentist appointment in Jamestown. I hope this isn’t an indication of what it to come this year.