Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

A surprise sighting of the Thanksgiving Chipmunk.  I think he was looking for his Thanksgiving dinner.  We've never seen them out and about this late as cold as it's been here.  He makes me smile but I worry about him being scooped up as someone else's dinner.  Hopefully he will settle in to hibernation soon.

Today I am thankful for .................... everything. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frost Feathers

Monday morning.  On the windshield.  Feathers of frost.

Can one drive through a pillow fight?

Only until the sun illuminates them and they take on their crystalline sparkle.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coloring This and That

Oh sure, you look innocent enough trapped there in the corner of the box.  Standing side-by-side looking pretty.

Then someone took you out and look what you did!

And look what happened.

Someone should have used gloves.  

What's going to become of all those leaves?  Can't share just yet.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

National Button Day, My Gypsy Rod, And What I'm Thankful For

Saturday was National Button Day.  I happened to have a jar of buttons on the table that contained these buttons that I found at a rummage sale back a few years.  The colors reminded me of fall and had wanted to do something with them rather than look at the in the little jar they were in.  

I played with some patterns and finally decided on this one.  I started with a square of white felt larger than the buttons as they were laid out on the table.  Then I started by finding the center and sewing that first button there.  The buttons were slippery and just a wee bit too small to hold onto and be able to take those stitches in so I decided to turn them all over and one row at a time, I dabbed a tiny bit of glue on the back of each one.  This gave me just enough stability to be able to keep the buttons in a straight line as I sewed them onto the felt.  

When I was done sewing on the buttons, I carefully cut away the excess felt to get the hexagonal shape.  I took another piece of felt (this time in dark yellow) and cut another hexagon from that. Then, using brown floss, I blanket stitched the felt together.  

I'm having mixed feelings about this finished product.  I intend to use it as a coaster, but every time I look at it the colors are taking me back to the 70's.  Gold, olive, and orange were very popular back then.  

The following pictures are of my "gypsy rod" in our kitchen.  It's my excuse for a window treatment.   We have lot's of windows in our house but most of them have very untraditional and sometimes no window treatments.   Our neighbors are far enough away not to be able to see in, and we are quite a distance from the road, and I love having all the natural light.  

So for the kitchen, I had HWNSNBP install a drapery rod complete with hooks and I purchased this beaded garland from the Scandinavian shop in Cape May.  There are three strands of garland loosely wrapped around the rod.  And using the drapery hooks or in some cases green wire, I have hung windchimes, glass ornaments, ceramic birds, and various other pretty things.  

Everything has a story and there's always room for more.  

I'm thankful that HWNSNBP puts up with most of my creative decorating and I have freedom of expression.  It's anything but traditional.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today I am Thankful for............ Days 13 & 14

My view from the office window where I work. 

There is a beautiful dogwood tree right outside to the right.  In the spring the flowers are pink and breathtaking.  In the fall the leaves turn the most gorgeous shade of deep red.  We have two bird feeders and one suet feeder and HWNSNBP usually comes by on Sunday to refill everything.

The temperatures have dropped considerably this week and there has been a slew of feathered friends looking for a quick meal.  We've had male and female cardinals, blue jays, wrens, sparrows, and a few types of woodpeckers to name a few.  The dogwood berries are still on this tree, not like the ones at home which the squirrels have busied themselves with.  (I wouldn't mind it if they ate the berries but they just start pinching them off in late August leaving none for the birds in the winter.)  As we get further into the cold weather season, the birds will go for those fatty-rich berries.

Across the horseshoe driveway is the little piece of land that is really not that little as it can hold the population of the school at least times two.  Directly across from me is the school sign that lets the community know what's going on here each month.  It faces the road coming and going so I only see the end view.  There is a nice planting of shrubs surrounding the sign and off to the right we have several young trees that have been planted in memory of a few of our staff members who have passed on.

To the left of the sign and a little closer towards the building is the post with the bluebird nesting box that HWNSNBP and I got permission to install.  I do keep a pair of binoculars at my desk to help me monitor just what kind of birds are hanging around that box. 

Yesterday, even though by the calendar we are still in autumn, we got a taste of winter.  The temperatures were below freezing and the wind, well the wind definitely had a bite.  My eyes were drawn to the nest box as I saw one bluebird sitting atop the post and the other attempting to hover over it.  So I grabbed my binoculars to see what was going on.  There was another bird in the box. I guessed it wasn't a bluebird which was why the blues were so seemingly upset.

This was happening while there was a discussion going on in our office, a gripe session, about the heating system and how cold some of the classrooms were with the air blowing and the temperature registering 69º.

That poor little bird in the box was trying to shelter itself from the cold wind.  The "feels like" temperature had gone well below 32º.  Bluebirds will congregate in nestboxes in the winter to keeping each other warm while avoiding the wind.  My guess is that they were not willing to share their box with another bird species and were trying to coax it out of there.

I bet they all would have been happy in a 69º room.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Today I am Thankful for..........Day 11

Today I am thankful for our veterans, those men and women who have laid everything on the line for our freedoms.

My daughter-in-law posted this link on her facebook page today and it really touched me so I am sharing with you.

Fallen Soldier on My Delta Flight

Today I'm Thankful for............. Days 6-10

A little self-indulgent time off.  

Here in New Jersey the first Thursday and Friday of November are traditionally Teacher's Convention Days which means no school...........for the teachers and students.  We 12-month employees do have to go in unless we use personal time, which I chose to do.  

I don't really have the opportunity during the day to do anything personal at my desk like scheduling appointments or repairwork at for our home so I did some of that one morning.  

Since we brought our oven back into the house after the new floor was put in, the temperature has been screwy and baking has been kind of hit and miss and with Thanksgiving approaching I did not want to have one of those 10-hours-to-cook-a turkey catastrophes.  So, next Friday someone is coming to look at it.  

I also hadn't rehung my "gypsy rod" and took advantage of a sunny afternoon to get that done.  (I'll try to get a picture once the windows are cleaned..... that was something that didn't get done.)  

And after I had some medical tests done early Friday, I spent the next few hours at Walmart transferring pictures off my photo card to disks and doing a little shopping.  I hadn't realized that I had so many pictures on the card and learned a lesson too.  I didn't set the date feature up on the camera probably for about the first year I had it and until I did, all the pictures taken before the date was enabled wound up in one file which caused some problems trying to save them to disks which became multiple disks.  

Because I can't find the disks with the software for my Canon camera I can't seem to transfer directly from the camera to the new computer, and I realized that my new computer doesn't have a card reader, so I had to purchase one of those.  

This transferring of files from one computer to the next is proving to be a bit of a nightmare.  Some of my pictures files have gone missing from the old computer and the guy who I was relying on to do this for me swears that he didn't delete anything.  I probably have them all on disks somewhere.  I think I need a few more days for all of that.  But I don't know when that will be.

We purged a big box of VCR tapes and I've been trying to get Rachel's old room cleaned out so she will come home for Thanksgiving (she's threatened she won't until we get that done and I really can't blame her).  But we seem to be working in the reverse domino effect.   You know when you can't do something because you have to finish something else first, and before you can finish that thing, there is something else that needs to be done.  

There was some fun stuff accomplished too.  I've got a little Thanksgiving project almost done and I made a prototype for a favor Rachel needs for a bridal shower for a friend of hers.  HWNSNBP and I both needed new winter coats and found something suitable for both of us today on a quick trip to Flemington.  And it was just after that when we stopped at Wegman's to do our weekly shopping that I realized how much I love the fact that HWNSNBP usually does this on his own. People are crazy pushing grocery carts on Sundays!  And there's so many of them!

So I am thankful to have had a few days to make a dent in some of this stuff. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Today I am Thankful for.......... Day 4

Today I am thankful for the sound of birds in the morning.  Our neighborhood is relatively free from traffic sounds.  There are cars and buses that pass by the house in the morning but we are set up a hill about 100 feet from the road so the backyard is pretty sheltered from noise.  When I leave for work in the morning, when I step outside the back door, I am greeted by the sound of the birds. 

If you listen carefully you can tell what the mood is.  If there are crows or jays around it is usually very noisy.  The goldfinches make such a sweet happy sound when they're gathered around the feeder and get very agitated when I interrupt their morning meal and they quickly disperse from the feeder to the trees.  Occasionally there will be a hawk in the area causing a silence that will only be punctured by it's scream sending all the other birds for cover.

If I'm lucky, I will catch the call of the bluebirds.  We've learned over the years to identify their song and calls.  When I hear them, I stop in my tracks and search the treetops for a glimpse of them, but they are usually well hidden and I need to get on my way.

If I'm very lucky, as I was this morning, I will hear the bluebirds when I get out of my car at the school.  The parking lot is adjacent to a wooded lot and their song resonated in the cool of the morning.   The tension of facing a Monday morning was suddenly erased.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Today I am Thankful for.......... Day 3

Today I am thankful for Nature's miracles, big and small.  Sunrise over the bay -  

a prelude to a partial solar eclipse. (Click on the picture for a better view.)

And then there was a lone rose blooming after the killing frost in the neglected garden.

Turning the clock back today made it much easier to get up to view that sunrise today.  There was a bit of a bite in the air, right around 40º but the chance to view the eclipse was too hard to resist.

Later, as HWNSNBP was running the tractor and collecting the leaves he noticed the rose.  Funny thing is we don't remember ever having planted a yellow rose in the garden.  

There are many beautiful surprises this time of year.  Hope you are enjoying some.

Today I am Thankful For....... Day 2

Today (Saturday) I am thankful for friends.  Our Table 7 crew (minus 2) met for our annual fall dinner at Mud City.   We left early in the day for Barnegat and once we were there HWNSNBP took full advantage of the beautiful autumn day and did some surf fishing while I did a little shopping with my friend J.

I had mixed up a batch of pumpkin fudge on Saturday night and quickly put together the batter for some chocolate molasses cookies before we left B-burg in the morning.  I've been having a problem with the temperature in our oven here since we moved it back into the kitchen after we did the floor, so I took advantage of having an oven in Barnegat to bake the cookies without fussing about them so much.  Some fudge and cookies would be our contribution to the after dinner get together.

As I was baking the cookies I was running from the front to the back trying to see where the best view of the sunset would be.  In the summer months it is perfectly viewed from the back porch, but as we near the winter months, the sun sets almost behind the end of the building making it almost impossible to see unless you hang out the back window..... which I did.  

The time spent before, during and after dinner (+ two) with our friends is priceless.  Even though the same stories are shared, laughter is the background music to our get-togethers.  There's always some little detail of something that happened a good 30 years ago now that keeps the ball rolling.  

I think somehow reliving the youthful days of our past over and over is keeping us young in our minds and hearts though our bodies may be betraying us.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Today I am Thankful For...... Day 1

Today I am thankful for electricity.  A year ago we were without power and did not know at the time that we would be for 12 days.  Today a storm went through NJ and there are areas that lost power and are expected to be without into the weekend.  I am so thankful that our area was spared. I still have my 3 rocks under the bed in our room that remind me (sometimes painfully if I accidentally kick one getting in bed) of the measures that we went to to try to stay warm. 

We've talked about getting a whole-house generator but we haven't moved forward with that yet. There have been other projects throughout this year.  Hopefully we're not tempting fate and can this done in the near future.  

What are you thankful for today?