Sunday, August 28, 2011

And it's over

The Great Hurricane of 2011 - Irene- is over.   As usual, the media made more of it than it turned out to be.  I'm not saying there weren't places that were devastated by the storm.  But in our area, it turned out to be....not so much.

We got lots of rain.





Luckily, our basement just got a tiny bit of water.  Hubby was on top of it with his wet-vac like spots on a leopard.   And we (meaning he....since the basement is "his territory") had put everything up on pallets.  So no damage there.

A few limbs came down in the yard.


(Just ignore that shed....it looked like that before the storm)


I guess you can't see how the wind is whipping the tree around....but take my word for it.....it did.


We never lost power, but we'd heard that the next street over had lost their power, so we took a walk after the rain stopped.  Sure enough, the next street and all the streets for the length of our walk had no power.   We didn't see much more than tree limbs down.   I took this picture because it amused me.....it looks like little tree-lets sprouting up all over this lawn.


We walked to the sound of generators - after the Great Ice Storm of 2008 many, many people have them in their homes.

All in all, we were very lucky, and I'm glad our new house weathered the storm so well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Preparing for Irene

Two months into living in our new house, and we get to prepare for a hurricane.

Hurricanes are fairly rare in our neck of the woods.   Usually by the time they get to us, they're down-graded to a "Tropical Storm".   Our last real hurricane was "Bob", which hit our area in 1991.   Before that was "Gloria" in 1985.   Luckily for us, we get them only once every 10 years or so. 

Hurricane Irene is expected to hit us tomorrow.  So today will be a day of preparation.   Mostly moving things that are outside, inside.   When we were living in our condo, we didn't even think about any of that stuff.   Now we do.

So our canoe and accessories go in the shed, as will our grill - after we finish our BBQ today with Hubby's family.   Yup - good timing.   A BBQ with a dozen people on the eve of the hurricane.   Could've been worse....we could have scheduled it for tomorrow.

We also  have a bunch of lawn chairs, hanging plants, wind-chimes, etc, etc that will come in just to be safe.  No need for projectiles flying everywhere. 

We'll make sure we have plenty of candles....our flashlight will be ready.  We have no idea if our house is prone to electrical outages or not.   We do live fairly close to the center of town and very close to a fire station....so perhaps we'll be lucky enough to have power restored quickly if it does go out.

And finally, we'll keep an eye on our basement.   With 10" of rain predicted, we stand a decent chance of getting water in the basement.   We knew about it when we bought the house.   We were told they'd only had water during the Great Mother's Day Floods of 2006.      We have a wet-vac.....as long as we don't lose power.

Good luck to all those in Irene's path.   I'll be the crazy lady outside taking photos of the wind, rain and chaos.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Me? A hostess?

For the past 9 years, I lived in a condo the size of a closet.   Seriously....the whole place was 660 square feet.  And it had TWO bedrooms.  So you can just imagine the size of my living room/kitchen. 

 We could literally only invite four people over at a time because that's how many people we could fit at the kitchen table.  If we were lucky, we could squeeze 6 people in if we weren't planning on eating.

And forget about having friends or relatives over for a BBQ.   After two stolen grills, we gave up on even having a BBQ for just the two of us.

Thus the reason for getting a house.  We needed ROOM!!  Room to have company over, room to do projects, room to have a grill and picnic table in the yard.

Our dream came true in June, and we've been busy organizing, unpacking and fixing up since then.

So when I organized a trip to see "Footloose" with some friends and family, it never occurred to me to invite them over for a meal either before or after.   One of my friends sent an email asking the particulars about time and place, and she casually asked if we were going to go for a meal. 

And it dawned on me that I could have them over!   I could be a hostess!  I could invite friends and family over!  Have a cookout!!  Enjoy my new HOME!

And so I did.   Someone brought margaritas, someone brought dessert, I cooked on the grill, we ate, we drank........and we had a very, very fine time. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Freecycle!

My new favorite thing is Freecycle!  I mentioned before that it's a website that lets you post either something you want, or something you want to give away.  Among others, my friend Joan told me about it.

That's right.........GIVE away.   Because, as the name states, everything is free.   No money changes hands, no swaps....just free stuff given and received.

I've said for quite some time now that I firmly believe that we could close all the retail stores in the world and just swap everything with each other and everyone would be perfectly happy.  And I still hold that to be true.

So far, the only thing I've gotten from Freecycle is the Spirograph.   And I gave away a box full of DVD's.   I didn't list all the DVD names in my post....just said I had 23 DVD's.  And I got about a dozen people who emailed for the chance to have them!  Unknown DVD's.   Sweet.

So tonight I put up a post for a Leaf Blower.  Hubby loves to rake (I know....but I married him).  The people who sold us the house left us all kinds of yard tools, including the Leaf Blower.    It's in three pieces, I don't know  how to put it together, don't know if all the pieces are there, and I don't know if it works.  And that's how I listed it in the post.

Three hours later, I have three offers to pick up the leaf blower.   I just love this website!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Four Years Old!

As promised, some photos and video of Emily's 4th Birthday Party.

Pushing cousin Lily on the swings. 


Her Princess Aurora cake:


All dressed up with shoes and princess dolls:


The Princess Castle Bouncy House;


Emmy had fun sticking her finger in and eating hunks of cake!


video

video

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kelly and Nick's Shower

Today was my son and his fiancee's wedding shower.   I can't believe I left the camera at home!

The shower was put on by Kelly's sister and it was just lovely.   She had shower games with prizes, and fantastic food.  Kelly opened many beautiful gifts.   Some random tidbits:

*   Nick absolutely did not want to be there.   He dropped Kelly off, came in to say hi, then took off!

*  My ex-mother-in-law and ex-sister-in-law were there.   Kind of strange, but I've always gotten along with them and divorcing their son and brother did nothing to change that.

*  The cake was a "cake boss" style cake, made to look like a cooking pot with modeling chocolate kitchen accessories on top.

*  My sister-in-law Angie's Mustang rolled down the driveway and nicked the side of Kelly's mother's car.   Some time after Angie had gotten there, she stood up and was looking out the window, and suddenly said, "Hey, where'd my car go?"    There was a small amount of damage to Kelly's mother's car.

*  Emily had a great time at the shower.  She found the "toy room" and brought out her old favorite Thomas trains to play with.   She also gave everyone at the party one of her goldfish crackers, and dug through the M and M bowl to make everyone a handful of "rainbow M and M's.....one each of red, orange, yellow, green and blue."   I asked  about purple and she informed me, "They don't MAKE purple, Memere!"

Tomorrow is Emily's birthday party.  I'll be sure to bring the camera.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maine Botanical Garden


 These were rocks designed to give you a foot massage.  They start out big and you follow the path as the stones get smaller and smaller.



 I've never actually seen a frog on a lily pad before.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boothbay Hahbah

Hubby and I enjoyed a short but wonderful vacation in Boothbay Harbor, ME

The first day was a bit overcast and misty out.


My dream garden.......someday


The pier where we got on our seal-watch boat.


Sailboat classes outside the Aquarium

 Met a new friend at the Aquarium


We loved our seal-watching boat ride.



Sweet Lighthouse  -  Too bad they're all automated now....we could totally be lighthouse-keepers.



Again on the boat.....so much fun!


Our view from the back of our B and B.



Love the colors on the kayaks.



Friday, August 5, 2011

Embracing my eight-year-old self

I spent some time perusing Toys R Us the other day, looking for ideas for a birthday gift for my grand-daughter.   And I came upon Spirograph.

Does anyone remember Spirograph?   We had one when I was a kid, and I remember enjoying it so much.  I figured it was a bit too hard for my 4 year old grand-daughter to do, but as I was looking at the reviews, I noticed something interesting.

The "new" Spirograph is made by Hasbro.   And ALL the reviews commented about how it was cheaply made, difficult to use, and just not as good as the "old" Spirograph.

So I did a bit of research, and found that the Vintage Spirograph from 1966 was made by Kenner.   According to Wikipedia, the Kenner Company was bought out by Hasbro in 2000.   I don't know what they did to the Spirograph, but apparently people don't like it much.

I decided I really wanted to find a vintage Spirograph and my searches led me to EBay.   There were quite a few on there.  Unfortunately, most of them seemed interested in selling to collectors who were worried about whether there were creases on the box cover or whether the original paper was included.  I put a bid into a couple of them, but was quickly outbid.

Heck, I just wanted a set that had most of the plastic parts.   So I turned to my new, fun addiction..... Freecycle.   Anyone use this website?    It's for trading items completely for free.  No money exchanges hands.  You put your stuff up locally so there's no shipping.

It's amazing the kinds of things people put up and also what people are looking for.  Just today was a TV, some clothes, cinder blocks, wood, etc.  I find it fascinating that people have so much stuff, they'd rather just give it away for free than have it hanging around in their house.

So I posted that I wanted a Vintage Spirograph.....and within a day I got a response.   Someone had a SUPER Spirograph and I could come and get it!

Only one little curved piece is missing.   Everything else is there including the instruction book, little push pins, cardboard to stick the pins in, and design guide.

Unfortunately, as was expected, the pens don't work anymore.  It took me awhile to find something that would work.  I used skinny markers, although colored pens would work much better.

A first pathetic attempt:


I'd forgotten how hard these are to do!   It got a little better as time went on:


The Super Spirograph has pieces to make cool shapes, not just circles.   I did this one using a square.  Too bad I messed up the middle!

I'm going to have fun practicing this art.  I'm going to need some colored pens first, though.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Balance

After the first three frantic weeks or so after we moved into the house, we determined that it would be wise if we tempered some of the housework, un-packing and small renovating with some fun activities.

After all, summer is only a couple of short months, and it would be over before we knew it.

This weekend was the epitome of balance.

Friday night we went out to a coffee house and listened to friends play music.   FUN

Saturday morning, Hubby finished moving things out of the storage unit while I finished putting down tile in the bathroom.  WORK

Saturday afternoon we went canoeing and had a picnic at a local lake. FUN

Sunday morning Hubby mowed the lawn and worked in the yard while I did grocery shopping and did laundry.  WORK

Sunday evening we had friends over for a BBQ and musical jam.  FUN

I went to work this morning feeling like we'd had a pleasant and productive weekend.   YEAH!