#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto 0 300px;}

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The lensbaby has arrived

Today the Lensbaby Veltvet 56 arrived. It’s a new lens for my Canon DSLR camera. I’ve seen reviews of it on the web for a while and loved the effects that can be created with this lens. I have a long way to go to learn to use it properly but here a few of my first shots.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Ever have one of those days?

My exercising motivation has jumped ship. I never was a jock and I’ve always had to make myself exercise. I’ve done exercise group classes when I was younger. When I retired I tried water aerobics which I liked…except for the cold water and the time commitment. I was faithful about walking an hour when I first retired and loved doing that but somehow it went by the wayside. I loved taking Sadie for walks but when she was unable to go I sorta, kinda forgot about it. I know I need to get going on it. And every day I say I will. But something always gives me an excuse…not a good one..but an excuse. But now with summer here I need to renew my goal of getting out there and doing something..anything! It’s hard to get the stopped stone rolling again. Any advice?


The little goslings

Sunday, May 28, 2017

If you need a little laugh

Jeanne Robertson never fails to get a chuckle out of me. I so enjoy her humorous delivery of everyday situations. This is her latest and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thank heavens for boys!

IMG_7364I am so grateful that Chris and Scott came up this weekend to help us with some chores. Our pond needed redone and those strong guys were just the two to do it.


Even Lily their golden retriever puppy was in on the action. The bank is looking good as the flowers begin to bloom.




While a lot of places are in full summer and hot weather in northwestern Pennsylvania we are still in spring flower mode. In my picket fence garden the lupine are just making their spectacular showing.


It seems purple is the color of the season and you can see chives and bachelor buttons in the background.


How I miss teaching sometimes. One of my favorite books in children’s literature was Miss Rumphius.
Miss Rumphius (Picture Puffins) by [Cooney, Barbara]
I loved showing the children about this old lady who had goal  in childhood to make the world a better place. She did it by planting lupines all over the countryside. Every time I see lupines I think of this story and the fun I had with the third graders. After we read the story I would give them a piece of paper and they would draw long stems and we would make the lupine flowers by dunking our fingertips into blue and purple paint. I always tried to incorporate art work and creativity into any story we were reading. There are days that I really miss my kids and the fun I had teaching. It was fifteen years ago that I retired from teaching elementary school.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just a quiet day

It was a quiet Wednesday. The sun was out but with the wind I wouldn’t call it a warm day. I took the pruning clippers and went around the house snipping here and there where needed. I was never a pruner before (not being a gardener) but I realized that it was something that was necessary if you were to keep things in shape and growing the way you wanted. In the afternoon it began to rain so Don and I settled down with a movie on Amazon Prime. It was based on a book by Gillian Flynn…Dark Places. It was an excellent murder mystery starring Charlize Theron. It had a lot of plot twists and the story moved along methodically.

Dark Places: A Novel by [Flynn, Gillian]

Last night we watched the finale of Survivor. We have been fans of that show from the very beginning and have seen every episode. They manage to keep every season fresh with a different mix of contestants. What show is your favorite and you wouldn’t miss an episode?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Let us dance in the sun

Flowers are beginning to make an appearance with hanging baskets and perennials starting to bloom. How I love this season!



“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair.”-Susan Polis Schutz


“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude MonetIMG_7335

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
Luther Burbank

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bella Grace


My new copy of Bella Grace arrived in the mail today. It is such a special magazine and always brings me joy when I read contributions of poetry, stories, photography and snippets of wisdom.

And what better place to sit and read it on a great day than my very favorite place...my porch swing. As I sit listening to the chimes and feeling the gentle breeze blowing I first turn through all the pages reading the quotes and looking at the great pictures. Then I go back and randomly pick parts to read....81 ways to feel like a kid again, summer troubles we secretly love, 75 touchstones of happiness.

Each article provokes thought. Such as...what are you doing now that you loved to do as a kid? Do you indulge in kids play? How could you find more childhood joy?

As older adults it is sometimes hard to let yourself go without restraint. I intend to do more fun things but don't always follow through. Each year I swear that I will go on more picnics and slow down and relax.

This summer I am making a vow to do some of the things on my bucket list. How about you? What is on your list?


Monday, May 22, 2017

Laughing Out Loud

What happens when you get seven ladies together? A lot of laughter. Our classmates, the Giggle Girls, met today to play games. This time we played Michigan Rummy. It’s always a fun time. This time we went to Sue’s house for the first time. She has a darling bungalow near the high school. The snacks were great and she served an Italian Cream Cake for dessert. Yummo!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Work day

This weekend was a time for work. There are always those spring chores that need to get done in order to enjoy the results all summer. I did some work in the garage sweeping and hosing it out. I also got out a few more decorative items from storage. Inside I cleaned out the back bedroom. Chris and Scott will be coming next weekend and asked me to give them a list of chores to be done. This will be very welcomed as there are things that are difficult for us to do now.

   I am enjoying watching Netflix and Amazon Prime with my smart tv since my internet connection has improved its speed so much. Today Don and I were looking for a movie after it started raining and found BFG (that’s Big Friendly Giant). It’s a kids’ movie partly animated. The computer generated graphics are so amazing and it was such a great story that we enjoyed it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

At Quaker Lake

When I have my art lesson I have to choose something I want to paint. Sometimes this is easy and other times more difficult. This week I am choosing this picture of Quaker Lake because it brings back a great memory.

Don and I usually don't go to see the fireworks anymore when it's just the two of us. Are we blasé?  Been there, done that? Whatever the reason we have stayed at home. But this year having the little ones around us gave us a perfect reason to go to Quaker Lake. It was one of those   summer nights, not too hot. The lake was beautiful and not crowded with people along the beach at all. We layed down blankets...the old folks got chairs and settled down for a beautiful display. 

Tuesday we took Sadie back to the Orchard Park Animal Hospital in Buffalo for a checkup. Dr. Brummer has been very attentive to her and is good about keeping in contact with us. The only change since last time is a gain in weight of two and half pounds. I attribute it to the medicine but he assured me that even so it is what she eats that makes her gain weight so we are cutting down on her food by one third. Less weight will make it better for her to get around. The chemotherapy medicine is keeping the lupus and arthritis in check so she is feeling good. Her collapsed feet are permanent so she is unable to walk well. We carry her around a lot. He did blood work which came out good except for the thyroid. She has been taking medicine for that which we will now cut down. All in all it was a good checkup and he doesn’t need to see her so often unless things change. Here's an old video from a better time. I sure miss those walks with her.
sadie's october walk four with music from Peg Karrasch on Vimeo.

Where flowers bloom so does hope


Yesterday was a day to work outside and we got a lot accomplished. Even though it was 82 degrees and we had to stop every once in a while to get cooled off we managed to get quite a lot done. While Don held the ladder I climbed up and washed the dirt from the gutters then he pressure washed them. He also pressure washed the courtyard. It looked much nicer after that yellow pollen was washed away.

This big flower I found at Home Goods. I had been wanting something like this ever since I saw one on a garden tour.

The lavender topiaries look great in the urn (which by the way needs a new coat of paint this year). IMG_7328

I spent a lot of time weeding out the picket fence area and cutting back the grape hyacinths and tulip leaves. I need now to straighten up this column.

There is still a lot of work to be done. Today I hope we get the fountains and pond cleaned out. There is nothing like the sound of running water in the garden. I found the new statue at an antique booth and named her Francesca. We also need to hook up the copper sprinkler. The outside is coming along really well. I hope to get the table out soon.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Paul Anka song

Put your head on my Shoulder

Don and I were high school sweethearts and it was a time of early rock and roll. When he would come to my house to hang out he would stop and buy me a forty five record. (I know…this really dates me doesn’t it?) We would sit and play them all and sing along. You must know that we only had one radio station in our town and it played standard music. If we wanted to hear rock and roll we had one half hour at seven thirty called The Hound. Of course Don and I had “our song”…Put Your Head on my Shoulder by Paul Anka. He was one of the teenage idols at that time. I would rush home from high school and go to my friend Carol’s house and dance to the latest hits.

When I found out that Paul Anka was going to have a concert at the Seneca Allegany Casino I was thrilled. I didn’t get the tickets right away because I wasn’t sure how long we would be down south. When we got back I believed the concert had already taken place. (Ok…now no judging. You know how we can’t remember things like we used to.) When we were over to Don’s stepmother’s house on Sunday my brother in law mentioned that the concert was that night at five o’clock. We took off for the casino, got tickets, and attended the best concert I have ever seen. This was worthy of Las Vegas!


When Paul was introduced he didn’t appear on stage but came from the back of the auditorium shaking hands with people on his way. Boy, did he know how to work a room. He proceeded to the stage and sang his heart out to us. Even though he is seventy five he hadn’t lost that beautiful voice of his. He was a showman all the way. We had good seats in the ninth row but over to the side. But that didn’t matter because there were two jumbotrons to watch.


  In between his songs Paul would relate personal stories and pictures on a screen of his family…five girls and finally a boy! With him was a ten piece band and the best musicians that I have ever heard. The instrumental part of the program was fantastic! At one point he played the guitar and brought out four other players and sang songs popular in the early sixties. There was a female violinist who was marvelous. As the concert went on I was more and more impressed and amazed. At one point in the show Paul came down the aisles of the auditorium and interacted with the audience signing record albums and pictures, kissing the gals and dancing with them, and posing for selfies. He is a short guy and he sometimes stood up on a chair to sing. Everyone fell in love with him all over again.
And hearing him sing our song in person was such a treat! After the concert we had dinner at Seven Dragons and headed home. What a wonderful way to spend Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

happy Mother’s Day

"When I think about why people have children, I realize how little it should have to do with the future. If, before any children are conceived, we knew that our reward for raising them would be perhaps several phone calls a month, a very occasional visit, and the sense of having once been important in their lives, we might not do it. But if we realize that the rewards are given during the raising, we will calculate the cost differently. My children have taught me more than I taught them, given me more joy than I have given them, and their being present or even much aware of me now does not alter this." –Phyllis Theroux, The Journal Keeper – A Memoir



Having children has been my greatest joy in life. My two boys have given me the greatest happiness over many years. I am so proud of the good men that they have become. We have shared heartaches and exuberance, trials and accomplishments, and downfalls and celebrations. I am happy to still be part of their lives.

 Image may contain: outdoor





Image may contain: 1 person, smiling






Saturday, May 13, 2017

Still a chilly day but hot, hot is coming

After being down south I’m a little disappointed in the cooler weather that we have had this week but next week promises to be in the high seventies and low eighties. In our area we aren’t really safe to plant outdoors until after Memorial Day but I couldn’t help buying something already. I found an unusual hanging basket of red and white that will go perfectly with my summer outdoor curtains. And in Wamart I found two lavender topiary trees to put in the two urns by the door. I am trying this year not to buy so many annuals but my need for color after our dreary winter makes me regret that pledge.

  We had such a wonderful trip. On the weekend we first went to my sister Diane’s house in Smith Mountain Lake. On Friday night we went for the second year  to Capp’s Hardware Store for their Ladies’ Night Out. This is such a popular event that we had to stand in line for a half an hour just to get in. All the ladies are turned into the store with a 20% discount but that isn’t the main draw. Capp’s has a lot of activities going on to entertain us. There were vendors, demonstrations, a photo booth, and a dinner with free wine. The theme this year was the sixties and participants were encouraged to dress to the theme with a fashion contest. During the meal we played name that sixties tune and afterwards there was a game of Let’s Make a Deal. At the end of the night there were a lot of drawings for prizes. Oh, and did I mention the free t shirt?

On Saturday my two sisters and I headed over to Roanoke for their home and garden tour. We started at the Ronald McDonald house where we boarded a shuttle which took us to the area where five houses were open. The bus let us out at the bottom of a steep hill and we had a lot of climbing to do to get to all the homes. The gardens weren’t as impressive this year but we certainly enjoyed the inside of the homes. The flower arrangements are done by the garden club and were spectacular.



After the tour we went to the Taubman art museum in downtown Roanoke to see a special exhibit on garden impressionist paintings.

roanoke 4


While we were there we also viewed some modern and different art such as sculptures made with bobby pins, keys, and hair. It is refreshing to go out of your comfort zone and view something entirely different. We had a terrific weekend with lots of sister laughing and fun.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hello once more

I’m back! Sorry I was away for so long but my internet was down. I switched to Atlantic Broadband to get a faster connection and the installer came out the day we were leaving for vacation. He was in a hurry and left before making sure that it was working but we left anyway for my sister’s house in Virginia. We got back late Monday night and today a different installer came and tried to get us online. He diagnosed the problem was in our router but couldn’t fix it. He hooked us up directly (meaning I can use the computer but not the devices) I have a direct connection but no wifi.

On Tuesday I began a two day class on Photography from the University of Pittsburgh. Tuesday night was an indoor class with camera instruction and last night was the field work. I was so pleased with the instructor Sean Murray and learned so much about shooting in the manual mode and how to get better pictures. IMG_7189

Our clasIMG_7221s took pace in the Seneca Building which recently had its lower floor remodeled for a Marilyn Horne museum. Marilyn Horne is an opera singer who was born here.

The Seneca building is right beside Veteran’s Square where there is a gazebo and memorials to veterans. IMG_7215
Recently there was a local conflict when the veterans thought that the square was going to be renamed in her honor. They also wanted the small road that goes by the Seneca building to have its name changed from Marilyn Horne Way which it has been for seventeen years.


As you can tell our flowers are just beginning to come out and trees are budding.
This triangular building is called the flatiron building. I can see now that it is overexposed but now I know how to correct that.


After that we drove to the duck pond by my house. Here are the other two girls who were in my class.IMG_7269

I learned how to take moving water shots with a slow shutter speed.
IMG_7297I felt I learned a lot in the class and can’t wait for better weather to get out there with my camera.