Friday, July 31, 2009

Justin Is Home and Resting

Thank you for your prayers. Justin is home from the hospital and resting. We were just visiting with him. Due to the effects of the anesthesia, he is sleepy. But he did wake up long enough to wave to us and take a bottle from his mom. He must have been hungry, because when he saw her coming with it, he held his arms out for it.

I'm so happy that the surgery went well, and that he will bounce back, and especially glad that he's too young to remember it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prayers For Baby Justin

I would like to ask my cyber friends a big favor: Please say prayers for my grandson Justin. He will be in the hospital tomorrow morning for some outpatient surgery. I ask that you pray that God and his angels will see Justin safely through the surgery and deliver him back into the loving arms of his mother and father, so that they may continue their blessed vocation as parents to this wonderful little boy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A String Around My Finger…

I have been reminding myself of all the good things I have in my life. It’s been hard to focus on the good lately. So here goes – probably have listed these things before, but I need to list them again.

A dear sweet husband – we’ll be celebrating 29 years together in September.

Two wonderful sons who really have been the light of my life

A darling little grandson who I love more than I would have thought possible, and his sweet lovely mother- I would be proud to call her my daughter

I have loving brothers and sisters who care about me

I have a job (ugh) to go to – some folks can’t say that these days

I have a roof over my head and food on the table

I have all of these things to make me happy - why am I feeling like I'm stuck in the mud? Reminds me of the little old lady I saw at an Atlantic City casino last year. She was walking in the wrong direction on the moving sidewalk. For every forward step she took, the sidewalk moved her backward an equal distance. Fortunately, someone finally pointed out to her that she was heading the wrong way. That's me, on life's moving sidewalk - I need to get turned around.

My DH came home yesterday from work and told me that the open water diving class that was scheduled for a week and a half from now has been canceled. He suggested we go somewhere for the weekend. It sounds good to me! It could be just what I need - time away from it all. I'm thinking Lancaster PA. We have gone there for the weekend a couple of times, and it's always been a nice little trip. The Carter baby outlet is in the area, and I could do some shopping for little Justin. We just need to decide on a place to stay.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Evening - Back To Work Tomorrow

This is the end of a four-day weekend for me. I didn't intend to take a four-day weekend, but I've been having something of a rough time changing over from one medication to another. I hope to be able to make it back to work tomorrow.

DH Wayne was on a scuba-diving weekend, and it was just DS Tom and I at home. DS Dan stopped by yesterday to have dinner with us. I threw some hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and we had a nice little visit. I only wish he could have brought baby Justin with him. Justin was spending Friday and Saturday with his other Grammy. It was nice of her to take the baby and give the kids some time off. Of course, she also had the pleasure of Justin's company! He is such a sweet baby, with a smile that melts your heart.

The kids just had his photos taken again and he is a charmer. Take a look at this face!

Wayne had a good weekend at Dutch Springs, working with an open water diving class. He is really enjoying the sport. I'm happy for him.

Nearby Trenton NJ must be getting a severe thunderstorm. We can hear the thunder in the distance. Right now, we are having a gentle rainfall. Good for the gardens. I brought my first red sandwich tomato in on Friday. I couldn't help myself. I picked it while it was still orange, and it had to finish ripening on the counter. We are getting cherry tomatoes, a handful at a time. When they start coming in all at once, I'll have to take some to work and leave them out for people to take.

I guess I'll finish up this post and see if I can't get a load of wash done before I turn in for the night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Updating With Box Turtle Video

turtle burying eggs

A big thank you to my sister Karen for allowing me to share her video with you! This is a box turtle spotted in Karen's back yard, digging a hole for her nest. She eventually laid eggs in this nest as well (not sure how many) and covered them back up. My sister will attempt to make sure the nest is kept safe from predators and will be watching for the young'uns to make their appearance in the fall.

She occasionally finds turtles swimming in her pool as well!

If you want to share this video or photo with friends, please link to this page - thanks! I am using it with my sister's permission - she holds the rights to the video and photo.

KINDLE-ing a New Relationship With Literature - A Shameless Plug!

When I was younger, I loved reading. I always had my nose buried in a book. Before I got married, my soon-to-be mother-in-law taught me to crochet. I set the books aside, and soon crochet patterns filled the bookshelves where hardcover novels and paperbacks once resided.

Late last year, I purchased an Amazon Kindle, and I’ve read more in the last 8 months than I have in the last 8 years! It’s left me in sort of a dilemma. Now my crochet WIPs are sitting idle while I take some time off to read a novel. Yikes!

I just finished 3 (yes, 3!) books in the last week and a half. I started with “Blood Brothers” by Nora Roberts. I hadn’t read any of her works before. “Blood Brothers” is the first of a trilogy of horror fiction novels. The second and third of the series are, respectively, “The Hollow” and “The Pagan Stone”. I enjoyed the story line for the most part – fast forwarded through the love scenes, which were a little too descriptive for my liking. But hey, that’s why I like the Kindle – I just hit the next page button until I got back to the supernatural story line. I also like the Kindle because, when I finished the first story, I was so involved in it that I wanted to read the next installment as soon as possible. How about less than a minute later? All I needed to do was hook up wirelessly through the Kindle with the flick of a switch, press a button and you have it within seconds. No more purchasing books the way I used to - wandering into the local B&N or Borders and scratching my head, trying to remember what book I was looking for, getting sidetracked by a dozen others that look interesting. That’s why I was able to read all three in such a short amount of time. For the most part, I did enjoy the novels – not Stephen King, but quite readable nonetheless.

Another Kindle perk is the option of ordering a sample. As you are shopping for a book, you can order a free sample of anything that looks interesting. I’ve read some of the samples only to find I didn’t care to follow through. Better that than purchasing the book and getting stuck with it when it doesn’t live up to its promise after the first chapter.

What a boon the Kindle would be to school kids and college students everywhere. Imagine multiple textbooks in a portable electronic form! No more toting a backpack that weighs more than the student carrying it. What a savings it would be to our environment too! I own the first generation Kindle. With it, I can subscribe to newspapers if I want to, magazines (love the Reader’s Digest) and blogs. Amazon has already come out with an updated version, and somewhere along the lines, I can envision a color version. But my present reader suits my purposes just fine. It is easy to operate, and the screen is viewable in all sorts of daytime lighting conditions, even bright sunlight outdoors. My laptop computer screen is virtually impossible to view outdoors. You can download books in every price range, and if you search’s library by price, you will even find some that can be downloaded for free. Want to read that new release? If it’s on Kindle, it’s a fraction of the hardcover price. My purchased books are all backed up on Amazon’s server too. If I finish a book, I can remove it from my Kindle and store it on the server. If I want to read it again, I can move it back to the Kindle or have it copied to my computer. I’ve even sent some of my original crochet patterns to Amazon for conversion and transfer to my reader. You can also transfer photographs to view or music files for playing on the Kindle.

There are other electronic readers out there – haven’t tried them, so I can’t tell you how they stack up to the Kindle. I just like the technology. Will it replace bookstores and libraries? Probably not. My husband is a die-hard paperback book fan. He’s tried reading my Kindle and yet he still goes out to the local bookstore to pick up his reading material. Just as well – more Kindle time for me!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend In New Jersey

I am visiting with family members in southern New Jersey this weekend. We are attending a graduation party at the home of my sister and her husband. They live in a beautiful wooded area, with a great pool and barbecue area. My sister is a wonderful hostess and they always have such a great selection of food and drink for their guests. Along with hot dogs and hamburgers, we had potato salad, macaroni salad, "sloppy joe" barbecue, pasta, baked beans and more. Another of my sisters brought along a fruit salad, and my brother made a unique salad, using watermelon, mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar. Sounds weird - must admit I made a face when he told me what it was. But it was delicious! Recipe here.

When we arrived, my sister showed us a video she shot on her camera of a box turtle digging a nest to lay her eggs! That's something you don't come across every day! I am hoping that she will be able to share the video with us via e-mail. I'd love to ask her to allow me to post it on my blog. I did some research on the internet and see that Eastern Box Turtles lay their eggs and leave them unguarded, just like the sea turtles do. The eggs start to hatch in late summer or early fall. I told my sister to keep an eye out for the babies when they hatch to make sure they don't accidentally end up in her swimming pool! From what I read, the female box turtle will lay hundreds of eggs during her lifetime (3-8 in a clutch, several clutches a year) and out of those hundreds only 3-4 babies will survive to adulthood. How sad that is! I hope that by keeping an eye out for them, maybe the hatchlings from this nest will all be able to grow up.

Off and on during the afternoon, my mind would wander and I'd find myself reviewing my videos of my grandson Justin. I miss him! Unfortunately, his parents weren't able to join us for the party this weekend.

Time to set the computer aside for the evening. Hope you all have a good night.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shark Sunday!

The shark dive at the aquarium was great! Wayne had a real blast! He didn't think he'd have so much fun and he wants to do it again. So I guess we know what to get him for Christmas this year.

Putting some videos on:

Dan, Nicole and Justin were able to come to the aquarium to see the dive too. The baby is sooooo cute! He won't remember his grandpap in the tank with the sharks, but at least we have it on video for him when he gets older. It was so cute to see Wayne waving to the baby from inside the tank!

Today Is The Big Shark Dive!

We are going to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden today. For Christmas, I gave my scuba-diving fanatic husband a gift certificate for one of the "adventures" at the aquarium. Diving in the big shark tank! We'll be there to cheer him on at 3:00 and I'll be taking videos! My husband has logged over 150 dives since taking his first introductory lesson a couple of years ago. He is always disappointed that he hasn't seen any sharks on his dives. (Me? I'd be thrilled not to see any sharks!) So if he wants to see sharks, this is his chance. Best to do it in a controlled environment, I think. One where they've already fed the sharks, so they won't be inclined to take a nip or two!

I'm anxious to meet up with my son and his little family too. They have been on vacation in Atlantic City and had a wonderful time. I missed them so much! Nicole posted the sweetest little video of baby Justin at the Atlantic City Aquarium. I could watch it over and over! In fact, I have! I hope to have some videos or photos of the baby to add to my blog later this evening.

Hubby just ran out to get some coffees for us this morning, so I'll end this post and be back to update later this evening, hopefully with some videos! In the meantime, I'll be working on the Sweetheart Ripple again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Sweetheart Ripple Weekend


I've been working on the Sweetheart Ripple afghan before work and at lunch time. I really need to spend a good bit of time on it this weekend. Maybe Sunday?

I've got a bit of a headache right now - disagreeable ride home from work today. Don't you think there is too much noise pollution these days? Ever sit in a line of traffic next to someone with their radio at maximum volume? Ever feel your steering wheel vibrate from the bass emanating from two cars over? (((shudder))) I'm glad I only live 20 minutes away from my job. We had to listen to a racket at work too. They have been updating our sound system and PA system all week. Someone decided to put an obnoxious radio station on, with lots of electric guitars and pounding drums and they cranked up the volume to levels that made you cringe! OMG! It took two days of complaints from employees in various departments, but someone finally changed the radio station to something a little more mellow. When you’re cooped up in a cubicle 8 hours a day and listening to heavy metal rock, your nerves quickly frazzle and the voices in your head start telling you to hurt someone! Anyway, they are sacrificing one of the speakers in our area in order to keep the volume down.

Thank God for the end of one rough week at work! In spite of the fact that I was off Monday, it seemed to take forever to pass. Like a kidney stone – painfully! It’s Friday – need I say more?

All of this has sent me packing on a mental vacation. Don’t mind me – right now, I’m in a lounge chair on a Caribbean beach listening to a steel drum band playing on a veranda. I have an “umbrella” drink in my hand. Gentle island tunes and shore birds calling, soft breeze, warm sunshine…what else could you ask for?

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Middle of the Week

On my computer’s desktop at work, I have a photo of my grandson Justin and his lovely mom, Nicole. It makes those difficult days bearable to be able to look at their sweet smiling faces! Nicole is such a good mom – I am really glad my son found her! As always, Justin is just too cute for words!

I brought my afghan to work with me today. Since DS Tom has no work today, I won’t have to leave at lunch time to pick him up and drive him home. I had hoped to complete the Sweetheart Ripple afghan in time for entry into the Grange Fair in August. It is slow-going, however. I’m finishing a little less than 4 rows an hour, so working on it solely at lunch time won’t work. It’s single crochet, with some treble crochet front post stitches thrown into the mix. I also made it slightly wider than the pattern called for. I really do love the look of the afghan, though! It was designed by Kim Guzman – kudos to Kim!

I’m awaiting delivery of two doll patterns. I love making dolls. I have no little girls in the family to crochet them for, though. My nieces and great nieces have all outgrown baby dolls. I’m sure that the fact that I love to make girls’ things has something to do with the fact that I only had two boys! I miss not having a daughter.

Saturday will be busy, I guess. Some of my brothers and sisters are getting together at my father’s house. We are hoping to be able to put it up for sale this year. I will be sad to see it go. I had hoped at one point to be able to purchase the house. My husband put the idea in my head when he mentioned that he would like to look into buying it. It sits on a large lot, and there are wood floors throughout and a fireplace in the living room.

My husband and I were married at that house, in the back yard, almost 29 years ago. I still remember that as though it happened yesterday. I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to buy it. Sentimentality. But knowing how my husband and I can butt heads over home improvements, and knowing that there would be things in the house that have to be fixed up, I wouldn’t want to see those 29 years going down the drain! I’ll be tearful when it leaves the family, but that’s life. Instead, I will look ahead to planning a future when my husband and I can retire. I’m thinking we might head down south a bit. I’m tired of dreary winters, sloppy icy roads and cold weather. I’m thinking the Carolinas…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rants And Ramblings

I am so disillusioned with the human race today. Yesterday the news covered a story that took place in Darby PA. Some sick little SOB set fire to a cat! A young boy was reported to have been seen in the area where the cat was discovered by an animal control officer. The officer found the cat was alive – just barely. A vet tried to save it, but it died. They say that by the look of it, the young cat – a year old at most – had been mistreated all of its young life. Multiple older injuries were present before the cat was ignited. In fact, the last few hours it lived were probably the only hours it was given love and caring attention. That is too too sad! There is a $1600 reward for the identification of the person responsible for the cat’s death. I hope they find him. That person needs help, before their cruelty escalates to unspeakable proportions. This is how serial killers get their start. Our pets give us so much love that they deserve to be treated with the utmost care and kindness. I still miss our Brutus and can’t imagine my life without our pets.

Pushing these dark thoughts from my mind, let me tell you about my canine buddies. Both dogs are on diets! At their last checkup, the vet said he would like to see about 4 pounds come off the min pin and 8 pounds off the beagle. Since the dogs have come to live with us, my husband and I have been at odds as to how to feed them. He has always been a firm believer in “grazing” – their food bowls should always have something in them. I wanted to feed them once in the morning and once in the evening and not have food out for them all the time. So many times my husband and I would take part in the following exchange:
DH enters after work at 8:00 pm and the sound of kibble hitting the metal bowl reaches my ears.
Me: “They ate already – don’t feed them!”
DH: “Their dishes are empty”
Me: “That’s because they ate already – don’t feed them!”
DH: “Well, they’re still hungry – look at them eating!”
Me: “That’s because their stomachs are twice as big as they ought to be – DON’T FEED THEM!”
Me – enter kitchen, pick up bowls before dogs can wolf it all down and dump the kibble back in the bag…

Well, I’ve finally convinced hubby not to feed the animals. He is "encouraged not to" (read "don't you dare")touch the dog food bag with the exception of carrying it into the house for me. LOL! In fact, when the dogs beg, he says “Go see Mommy!” Mommy stands firm. The Little Scamp min pin is looking rather dashing these days, and feeling much better for it, as evidenced by the fact that he can now jump up on the bed himself like he used to do. For a while there, he was forced to submit to the humiliation of having a human PICK HIM UP (which he hates) in order to sleep under the covers. I'd say "Sleepytime!" and he would sidle up to my feet, with ears pinned back and a mortified look on his face – you could read his expression like a book! Now he makes a beeline for the bedroom and leaps up to find a comfortable place to curl up at the foot of the bed. I don’t know if he’s lost the whole 4 pounds yet, but at least he isn’t looking like 10 pounds of sausage stuffed into a 5 pound casing anymore!

We’re still working on the beagle. I don’t see much of a change in him yet. But he’s not the high-energy dog the Little Scamp is. So it may take a little longer to see a difference.

What a nice weekend it was – 4 days off and the best weather we’ve had so far. It did my heart good to see my husband in his element on Saturday. He and one of the diving instructors were working with a student at Dutch Springs on Saturday. My husband has really found his niche in scuba diving. He has been so unhappy at his day job lately and I worry about him. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for him for peace of mind.

On a crochet note, I pulled out my project bag (love those reusable grocery store canvas bags!) with the Sweetheart Ripple afghan in it. I start a new bag with each project I pick up. The hook and the pattern remain in the bag with the WIP. I currently have 4 or 5 project bags in and around the house. I really have to work on reducing that number! The sweetheart ripple has been sitting idle since March (found a catalog inside the bag reminding me that Easter is (was) April 12. I find that if I set a project aside too long, I tend to have a few gauge problems – stitching too loose or too tight when I get back to it. But it hasn’t been as long for this one, so my tension seems fine so far. I can’t imagine what will happen with the afghan I started two years ago which has been languishing in my attic. It’s pink and white, reversible with hearts on both sides. I still have pangs of guilt over that one. Someday…

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day Three of a Four-Day Weekend

Hubby is home safe and sound. The dive gang did a wreck dive off the Jersey shore today. The Stolt Dagali was the wreck they dove. I worry about these wreck dives, but Wayne assures me that he follows all the safety rules. He dove to 105 feet, but he wasn't inclined to investigate the interior of the wreck. The captain of the boat advised them not to. He expected heavy traffic on the way home, and I was surprised to see him arrive about an hour earlier than I expected him. Glad he's home! He reports seeing a pod of dolphins and possibly an ocean sunfish breaching while he was on the boat! I wish I weren't so afraid of the water - I'd like to see some of these things!

I've been watching the Deadliest Catch marathon on TV, ran a couple of errands and did a little crocheting today.

Here's a photo of my latest acquisition. A giraffe tea kettle! I had one of these years ago and it was broken. I thought I'd never be able to replace it, but found this one on Amazon. My son had given me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas, so this is my Christmas gift! I love it!

One more day off before returning to work - ugh!

I've started a scarf, but I'm not feeling the love, if you know what I mean. So I think I'll set it aside and maybe get back to my sweetheart ripple afghan. I was making some progress on that and need to pick it up again.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth!

What a beautiful day it is! Happy Fourth of July to all!

I took a walk through the garden today. My friend called me the other day and said she had something that looked like little tomatoes growing on her potato plants. I had never heard of such a thing, so I took a look at my potato plants. They are growing like weeds, and I also have "pomatoes"! I googled them and they are actually the fruits of the potato plant. They show up on the plants when the weather is cooler than usual. We have indeed had a cool and rainy June.

They aren't edible fruits - toxic, in fact. But they say that you can remove the seeds and plant them as a novelty in your garden. Seeds must be sown indoors in the winter as they take a long time to grow. If you actually want potatoes, though, your best bet is to grow them from seed potatoes, as we did. My cherry tomatoes should produce a nice crop. I already have a lot of little green cherries now. There are a few larger green tomatoes out there too. I have an eggplant starting to form, and a few more flowers on the plant. The cucumbers my brother gave me are spreading fast!

I also have blackberries. Not to the extent we had them last year. Wayne dug a good portion of the plant out last fall and transplanted it on the family farm upstate. He said they didn't grow this year, but if I'm not mistaken, we waited over a year for these plants to grow. He may see them take off next year.

Today is a lazy day. I have some laundry and dishes to do. But that's about it. I think I'll pick up my hook and get a little crochet time in today. I'm thinking about working up one of the Airport Scarves in this month's Crochet World magazine.

Friday, July 3, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring - The Old Man Is Snoring...

He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning...

Doesn't that take you back? I was at Dutch Springs today with my husband, who was helping to teach a student diver. I was waiting for a pizza at the restaurant on the grounds, and the sky was a little overcast and it was "spitting" - just a few drops of rain. A little boy was singing the above rhyme as he played beside his parents. It made me think of myself at his age. I sang the very same ditty on many a rainy day when I was a kid! Some things never change.

I decided on the spur of the moment this morning to accompany my husband on his dive outing. I'm not a diver, so I took a bag of soy yarn and a crochet hook and pattern with me. I figured on whipping up a scarf while I was waiting for the divers to finish up their three dives. I took my Amazon Kindle with me in case I wanted to take a break from hook and yarn and read a bit. I actually started out with the Kindle and never did get around to the yarn! I read my latest downloaded book "Still Alice". It's about a Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. Sad story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day. The weather was sunny for most of the day, with just a few passing thunderclouds and those little "sun showers". I had to duck into the car a couple of times to stay dry.

Here is hubby, and instructor Teresa and student Heather. Nice folks, those divers!

After watching them set up and get ready to enter the water, I'm glad my hobby involves just some yarn and a hook! I don't know if I could tote all that equipment or carry that air tank on my back! I have to tell you - after they completed their third dive, they looked pretty tired as they made their way up from the water!

Never did get the scarf started, so maybe I'll give it a try tonight.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weaving In The Loose Ends

My friend’s daughter-in-law asked me yesterday to tell her how to weave in ends – over the phone. I was at a distinct disadvantage, having come home from work with a miserable headache. I had taken a couple of Tylenol PMs, extra strength, and was semi-conscious in the recliner when she called. I tried to describe to her what I do when I change colors or add a new skein of yarn to a project. Even as the words came out of my mouth, my brain was saying “What on earth are you trying to say?” I can only imagine the poor girl wondered the same thing, and wondered what I had been smoking… She gave up trying to decipher my utterances and said she’d call back again another time (politely omitted the phrase “when you’re not stoned out of your gourd”). Honestly, it was just Tylenol! The PM stuff in it got to me, I guess. I even slept through dinner time!

This morning, I came to work extra early and whipped up a small swatch using two different colors. I wove in two of the loose ends without pulling them taut and being sure to weave the brown yarn underneath white stitches, and vice versa, so that the girl could see what I did. I then started to weave in a third loose end, but left the needle in place under the stitches, and sent the swatch home with my friend. I’m sure that her daughter-in-law will be able to interpret from the swatch what I failed miserably to communicate the night before. Next time, I save the Tylenol PM for bedtime!

I’ve actually been trying out a no-weaving technique when changing colors or adding new yarn. I have made it a practice to work over the loose ends, but now have found a way to “weave” the loose end back on itself to lock it in place, simply by working over the yarn. Photos below – I hope they illustrate the technique. My apologies if someone already has this posted out there somewhere in cyberspace. This I stumbled across by trial and error, and thought I’d put it out there for your perusal.

Make sure you leave the tails long enough to do this. You will crochet over both ends after folding them back on themselves as shown in the photo.

Crocheting over all strands, work until you reach the point where you have two small loops formed by the doubled-over ends.

Insert your hook into the next stitch but also through the two small loops. Complete your stitch as usual.

At this point, all that is necessary is to pull the ends taut, but not so taut as to distort the stitches. No weaving necessary. This method ensures that your loose end has been threaded through in two directions and locked in place.

This method is best when adding a new skein of the same color yarn. To minimize any color show-through on the back side of the work, I will sometimes pick up the stray color on my hook when I insert the hook into the corresponding stitch on the next row of crochet and work over it again. Remember to leave long tails on the yarn and not to pull taut until you are finished working with the loose ends. If you have any questions or need more illustrations, please let me know.