Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving, A Day Full of Blessings

The official "kickoff" to the Christmas holidays was truly a wonderful day, starting with sleeping in late (9:30), then the four of us assembling the adorable little turkeys made with Oreos, Reese's cups, candy corn, and icing. We had fun making them together but mental note for next year, THEY DO NOT TRAVEL WELL. I could not figure out how to transport them. I had nothing large enough with a lid to put them in so I chose to line them up in a jelly roll pan - the first stop sign we stopped at sent the poor little things sliding right off the dish and on to the floor mat of the car. Only one casualty, though, and I was able to get them all back in their places and just made sure I held on to them for the 30 minute car ride. They were an absolute hit at my brother's house with all of the ADULT cousins thoroughly enjoying them. Most were just "gobbled" right up!

Dinner was phenomenal and there was much laughter throughout. I took lots of pictures, much to the kids' dismay, but I'm so glad I did. Some day, the kids will appreciate seeing these pictures.

A collage of the day.

My mom and dad. (They are 84 and 85 - and I don't think they look their age)

My sister-in-law and hostess.

My oldest brother.

I did miss my sister and her family, though, but we will be together at Christmas. She went to upstate New York to be with my brother-in-law's family as his sister is suffering from terminal brain cancer and they want to spend these precious holidays with her..

There was much dinner table discussion and one of things brought up was how funny parenting can be at times, and then this YouTube video came up and we all watched it together...and laughed...and thought how cool it was.

Yes, it was a day to truly count our blessings and be thankful most importantly for our family.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Only One Photograph Tonight

I did manage to take a few autumn photos last week. Several were of the swing set that has been in our backyard for the past eleven years and has seen my children through many a fun time. This will probably be the last fall season it will reside in our yard.

Tonight, I will feature it on my blog, forever capturing its quiet contentment where it sits just off our deck and to the left, once the center of so much activity and now empty and peaceful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Computer Glitches

I will be updating my blog tomorrow even if it kills me. Computer issues prevail this evening. But, the good news is that I now own Photoshop CS4!! I AM PUMPED. I just can't load it because I never got the service pack update for Windows Vista. That update will take about an hour so I must spend the rest of the evening loading it.

I hope my blogging friends don't abandon me due to my lack of blogging the last couple of days.

UPDATE: Started Vista update download at 10:05 PM and finished it at 11:20. Photoshop loaded by 11:58 but I was too tired to use it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Life Is Good - No Actually Life Is Great!

I love to wear Life is Good apparel. I own a short-sleeve T-shirt and two long-sleeve T-shirts, winter socks, and PJs and all of the items reflect my interests in life. I'm known for being a big tea drinker (along with coffee) so I have a T-shirt with a drawing of cup filled with tea on it. I also have a shirt with a mug of what could be coffee on it. I love my dog so I have a shirt with Jake (the stick guy) and a dog, and I love flannel PJs so I have purplish flannel PJ bottoms with hearts all over them. They have shirts with hikers, campers, canoers, golfers, fishermen, tennis players, etc. You get the picture... PICTURES! They have nothing depicting Jake possibly being a photographer! I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who love photography whether they be professional, semi-professional, or just like me - wanna bee photographers. At any rate, there is nothing on any Life is Good item that has Jake with a camera hanging around his neck.

Sooooo, I submitted this idea to the Life is Good company. They emailed to me a waver that I had to sign saying that I do not expect to receive any money or merchandise from them in exchange for the idea if they use it. I don't expect to make any money or get anything for free. I just hope they like the idea enough to use it and then let me be the first in line to purchase a shirt!

I wonder if that is possible......wouldn't that be cool??

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yes, There Really Was Warmer Weather

It seems that mother nature for the most part has decided to skip autumn this year and dive headlong right into winter. I decided that I needed a "boost" of sorts and dug into some photo files that captured some of my summertime memories. It really does make me feel happy to view these shots again and remember what the sand felt like on my feet, the ocean and the bay breezes against my face, the sight of the seagulls and terns flying overhead, and the sounds and smells that go along with a long walk down a busy boardwalk in the evening.

There is a certain feeling that I have always gotten as my car crossed over the causeway from mainland New Jersey to the shore points - instant happiness (and unfortunately, usually an instant craving for soft serve ice cream and hot caramel popcorn)....yes, I do miss the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of summertime.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Off To The Iditarod

Well the snow came yesterday and I am off to the iditarod. Here is a picture of me ready to go, along with my trusty dog whom you can tell is rarin' to go.

Actually, this is just a quick post to show all of my blogging friends, who shall remain nameless, down in the south who are able to still walk around in tank tops and shorts, that life for us northerners gets a bit tough for us this time of year when we want to go for a walk. Angie, this is in honor of you too!

Have a great night everyone. Until tomorrow.....

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Dresser

For nineteen years The Dresser has been like this - and today was actually a good day. Make sure to go and visit Living Locurto for more examples of those wonderful little quirks that endear our husbands to us.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


As far as blogging goes, this weekend was a wash. I spent a lot of Saturday typing as there was some work that I needed to get done so I could have today off. We finally purchased new furniture for our family room which means that the living room that has only contained a piano for ten years will now have our old family room furniture in it and we will then place the new sofa and love seat in our family room. Both pieces are reclining which means that all four of us can be comfortable while watching TV together. We also opted for leather since our dog seems to feel that he is now welcome on our sofa whenever he feels like it. I polled many dog owners and the feeling was unanimous that leather is very forgiving as far as pets go. We made our purchase from a liquidator store called "The Dump". Let's hope the quality of the furniture has no tie-in to the name of the store....

I downloaded some free elements actions - frames/3D effect and applied them to the two pictures of my kids. I like the effect, although it works better if the background is lighter than the foreground. I still think it worked well.

I really love exploring the possibilities with PS Elements. However, I think there is a lot of room for improvement in my photo taking too. Now when the kids were little, I did not have a digital camera. There is a huge difference in the detail that my old film camera got with the pictures than my new camera - I so wish I had this camera when they were little!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Looking To The Skies

I find skies truly amazing to watch and always have. I can remember going to a seminar - I don't remember what it was for - but the guy told us that we had the power to "dissolve clouds". All we have to do is pick a cloud and look at it while concentrating on making it start to disappear. It worked like a charm every time I did it. But, now I wonder if every cloud just dissipates on its own within a few minutes even if we aren't looking at it. I haven't taken the time to find this out because...well it would require me to stare at a cloud which would take me right back to wondering if I was causing it to dissolve. You need to pick a fairly sunny day that has a sky full of medium-sized clouds, choose one and concentrate on dissolving it. It takes a couple of minutes but supposedly it is good exercise for the mind and really demonstrates the power of our minds. I just googled this to see what I could find on it as it's been a long time since I had even thought about it.

Here is a link that talks a bit about it.

This is all leading to the photos I took of clouds (and moon) in the last few months.

Hopefully they are Skywatch worthy. Go and check out other great sky pictures!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sign Of The Times

Do you see anything wrong with this depiction here? No. Good, because neither do I. However, because of a depiction similar to this one that was displayed in a child's picture book in the waiting room of an office, a complaint was filed by someone who visited the office. They found it extremely offensive and took their complaint to the highest level of management. Consequently, that story book has been removed from the office.

I have a problem with this, big time. However, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I guess this person was expressing theirs. But, the bottom line is that their opinion won out.

As an aside, the book with the Noah's Ark picture in it was actually not the property of the office - it had been left behind by a child who had been in that office.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Autumn's Last Hurrah

Isn't this time of year magnificent? Three of the shots taken on my street and in front of my home were taken on a drizzly day. The colors still came out rather nice despite the lack of sunshine.

Although this time of year heralds the coming of a bleak landscape in the not too distant future, I still love and appreciate the vibrancy of the fall foliage.

If anybody has any suggestions for what I could do to improve these, please let me know as I am eager to learn how to capture good shots and also to edit them.

Happy Fall!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Did You Know They Use Flashlights In Heaven?

I have the proof. I saw it with my own eyes. This is what we saw while driving. Sunday afternoon. Who says God isn't watching us...

I have my autumn photos to edit and post and will do that tomorrow, which also happens to be my husband's and my 19th wedding anniversary. I hope to post more pics tomorrow.

I hope everybody had a good day today. I did.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beagle Emotions, A Quick Tutorial

It's Friday, it's not raining and I'm hoping for a bit of sunshine tomorrow to capture my autumn photos before ALL the leaves are on the ground. In the meantime, I decided to take the lead from Pioneer Woman and also the photo study Angie did of beautiful Snow Cone and do an entry on Freckles, our beloved almost 11 year-old beagle.

I've spent the last year and a half trying to capture each and every possible expression/emotion that Freckles is capable of emitting and while you may look at each picture and think, gosh, he looks the same in all of them, I, the expert on beagle facial expressions, can distinguish between them.






Unfortunately, I can't get the words to line up with the photos quite the way I would like. However, there's no way of denying this last expression of Freckles:

Unbelievably happy he's part of our "pack".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Husband Revealed

There is so much I could say about the man I chose to spend the rest of my life with. If you have several hours, I could share it all!! LOL. Seriously, I could never have picked anybody else who was more right for me than this man. The youngest of six (his oldest sibling, his only brother, is 17 years his senior), he is adored by his sisters and his brother and he's someone they always turn to when they need help or advice. To me, he's a friend, a partner, and a hands-on dad from the get-go. He's the calm to my not-so-calm, he's always there for me, the kids, his very elderly mom and elderly aunts. He's always willing and mostly able. Yes, he snores like there is no tomorrow and can fall asleep mid conversation sometimes - like tonight when we were supposed to watch TV together and he was sound asleep BEFORE the program even started, but he's my guy and I love him dearly. I'm not always the easiest person to live with but he's stuck by me through those "worse" times. He encourages me in my hobbies and is genuinely interested in all that I do.

Pictures Below:

Fathers Day 2007; June 2008; Hubby and Big Brother 1962; Hubby and his late father in 1959; Hubby and kids in Williamsburg in 2007.

Be sure to get the latest on all of our better halves at Living Locurto!

Stinky Towels and Other Stuff

For years, I have tried laundering our bath towels in hot water with OxyClean and detergent and have made sure to get them right into the dryer after the wash cycle in hopes of getting rid of that awful musty/sour odor. When they first come out of the dryer and are folded, they smell wonderful but after they sit folded on the shelf for a few days, that smell comes right back and it really bothered me.

After reading up on various testimonials on different remedies, I combined two of them and came up with the very first solution that has worked for me.

First, I filled the washer with hot water and a cup of white vinegar. I then put the towels in and actually had them run through the entire wash cycle with just the vinegar and hot water. When that was finished, I then filled the washer again (with towels still in there) and added my detergent along with a cup of washing soda.

The towels came out smelling wonderful and now, almost two weeks later, they still smell good! I hope this helps someone else out there. In the grand scheme of life, smelly towels don't rank very high up in importance but if it can remove one tiny little annoying thing in one's day, then it is still worth it.

I'll post the "Other Stuff" portion of this tonight.

Here is a bit of the "other stuff". I was trying to find some words to summarize the outcome of yesterday's election. I read different things on the internet and found the quote below on another blogger's site. I guess it's okay that I nabbed them for my blog as I really wanted to acknowledge this time in history on my blog.

“We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.

“But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that — that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on earth.

“With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.”

– John Kerry

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Catching Up

Will be posting later today. Work, doctor's appointment, and voting must come first, though. I will share a tip on getting that darn musty odor out of bath towels that really did work after many years of experimenting.

Wish me luck. Having jaw/back problems - today we are dealing with the jaw issue - mouth keeps getting stuck either open or closed and face hurts - not good.

I know I don't have a lot of people who read my blog but those who do happen upon my blog today, how long did you wait in line at the polls today? I'll post mine when I get back..

UPDATE: Went to vote at 11:45 AM, I was #237, no wait at all!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween of the Past

Having spent all of Halloween night pretty much by myself, I had a lot of time to reminisce about how it used to be - my mother-in-law staying with us and doing the official counting of the number of trick or treaters, the kids hurrying through dinner so they could get dressed in their costumes, makeup application where needed, the appropriate bag/pillowcase selected, my makeup, my husband's makeup, hustling everyone out the door, etc. Last night, there was none of that - and I missed it.

So, I dug into one of the cabinets where I keep old photos and found these two pics - one of my daughter dressed as a witch and one of my son in a pumpkin patch. Both pics are from the fall of 1997.

I looked at the picture and started feeling sentimental about how things were, but then I realized that this is the normal course of events and this is how things are supposed to be and then I felt very happy that I did take all of those photos back then and that I did manage to capture those happy memories - forever.

It was a beautiful yet quiet evening - and I loved it!

A couple of photos from my search for autumn foliage a week ago. I will be getting more as the colors are really starting to appear in my neck of the woods now. Hooray!