Monday, November 24, 2008

Lunch on the Patio at Panera's

Even though I've been up for about fourteen hours, I feel alive and rarin' to go. We had a really smooth trip out to Las Vegas today. We left Rochester on time, arriving at Washington, Regan airport with plenty of time to make our connection. Even though we had about a fifteen minute delay on the runway {nothing like 2-12/ hours at Kennedy last summer}, we arrived here in Las Vegas on time.

It was such a joy to come down the escalator and see Gretchen and Brian waiting for us. Of course, Gretchen and I hugged and squealed like we haven't seen each other in 5-1/2 months. Oh, wait a minute, we haven't seen each other in 5-1/2 months. Poor Brian and Jim. We are like a couple of magpies for the first couple of hours.

Both the kids had to work tonight, so we went out to lunch at Panera's and then dropped Gretch off at work. As my title indicates, we ate our lunch outdoors. It was wonderful. Brian was able to spend an hour or more with us at home before he left for work.

The cats have greeted us in their usual manner. Lani ignores us and Fiona runs and hides under the bed. She will probably stay there for two or three days before she decides to grace us with her company. Talk about shy kitties!

We have big plans for tomorrow which will include lots of pictures, I hope. Until then, I think I'll join Jim in a little nap.

~Hippo Hugs from Vegas~

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fragments

Welcome to my front yard. Isn't it beautiful?? When we got up this morning it was snowing slightly. I had an early morning {7:15} breakfast date with some of the "Loser Housewives". It snowed all through breakfast and I had to brush my car off when I left the restaurant for a pedicure and manicure appointment. After all, I will probably be wearing sandals in Las Vegas next week. LOL I enjoyed an idyllic two hours being coddled, came out in my flip flops to four inches of snow. Let me tell you that wasn't fun, brushing all the snow off my car and driving home with freezing feet.

The snow has stopped for now and the sun is out. It sure is pretty around here even if we're not terribly thrilled with the cold. Jim is getting the snow blower out of the garage and going to work pretty soon. I wanted to get a couple of pictures while it was still pristine and unspoiled.

Here's Homer (my car).

This shot of my bird feeder was taken from the dining room window. If the bird feeder looks odd, it's because Jim and our resident squirrel have been having a war. Jim keeps adding extensions to the pole, and Mr. Squirrel keeps crawling out there and getting into the feeder. I think we'll have to give in and buy one of those expensive "squirrel proof" feeders.

Jim has finally finished painting the upstairs bathroom. We had a serious discussion about the colors I had chosen and, of course, I got my own way. Well, you've heard the saying, "Be careful what you pray for". Oh my!!! When I get the room all put back together again, I'll post a picture and you'll see what I mean. I will admit it's getting a little better with time, but I think I'll need to wear my sunglasses when I go in there.

Cheryl's Random Tuesday post was all about Thanksgiving; memories, traditions, favorite foods, plans and what she's thankful for. She challenged us to write about our take on those things. So, Cheryl my dear friend, here we go:

A Tradition - I guess the tradition that sticks in my mind{and, sadly, is no longer} was the day after Thanksgiving shopping trip with my mom. My mom was legally blind and depended on me to help her with her shopping. We would leave early in the morning. We had a favorite spot for breakfast and a wonderful lunch place. We had such a good time on those days. In the early days of my marriage, it was just mom and me. As the girls grew older, they were invited. I remember one time when we took my mom's sister, my Aunt Jessie as well as the girls. My aunt had terrible rheumatoid arthritis and didn't get out much. We had the best time. I remember laughing and laughing.

Many of our old traditions have changed since my mom passed away and my MIL has moved to an assisted living facility. We make the most of the times we have together and I believe new traditions are being formed. Nevertheless, it is sad to let go of the old ones.

A favorite memory: Oh my gosh, there are so many wonderful memories associated with this holiday {one of my favorites}. I think one of the best is making Indian headdresses with my nephews and my girls. What a very simple project, but one that just delighted the kids. My girls were pretty little the first year we did them and the boys were so patient with them.

When the girls got older, we began a tradition of making a Christmas decoration during that visit. My MIL was such a talented and "crafty" woman. The girls just loved the time spent doing crafts with her and their great grandmother.

Favorite food: Once again, that is really hard to choose. I think that even though I like it all, I am most fond of mashed potatoes and my MIL's turkey gravy. The best part was always about 9 o'clock in the evening when we dragged everything back out and made hot turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes and lots and lots of gravy. OHHHH! the heartburn.

Plans for this year: Well, last year Jim and I stayed home alone and had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner. It was really lovely and I didn't mind one bit. After all, he's my best friend. BUT this year we decided that we want to spend the holidays with our kids. So, we are going to Las Vegas to have Thanksgiving with Brian and Gretchen. Given all that snow outside, we are quite anxious to go. We are hoping to make a trip to Chicago for part of the Christmas holiday. All-in-all, things look pretty rosy for holidays.

Five things I'm thankful for: It's hard to narrow it down to five. Let's say five OF the things I'm thankful for. I know we aren't supposed to use the generic friends, etc., but they are included.

1. There was a piece in the local newspaper asking for people to submit in five words what they are thankful for and I said, "The joy of the Lord".

2. I am so thankful for 40 years, both bitter and sweet, with my dear husband.

3. Friends, both near and far, who make my life so meaningful. That includes you dear friends in blogland.

4. Being able to walk.

5. Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha, available only during the Christmas Holiday season.

6. I'm sorry, but I have to add this one. Free popcorn on Tuesdays at the Regal Cinema.

Okay, guys. I think that's it for this Friday. Our flight to Vegas leaves at 6:45 on Monday morning which means we need to leave the house at 4:30. I will probably post sometime next week from Nevada where it's 75 degrees, but for now I'll leave you with my best wishes for a wonderful weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving.

~hippo hugs~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Musings

It snowed here today. Not a heavy, snow-plowing, shovelling snow, but snow nevertheless. I have tried to be philosophical about it and say, "Well, after all, it's mid-November. What do you want living in the Northeast?" Actually, it seemed appropriate as we put up the Angel Tree in the library this morning.

The Angel Tree is a library tradition begun , well, I can't quite remember how many years ago. I know it was early in my library career. It actually began with a mom in town who wanted to make a difference. After one year, she was overwhelmed and the library staff {Lonnie and Pam} took it over. Although we are now retired, we have kept working on this wonderful project.

Each November, we coordinate with the elementary school nurse to send letters to all the families in our school district, giving them an opportunity to put their child{ren} on the tree. We ask that those who feel providing Christmas gifts for their families will be a burden, submit the child's name, age and a gift or two they are hoping to receive. We ask that the cost of the gifts be kept at a reasonable amount. Once we receive the submissions, Lonnie puts the the sex, age and wishes on an angel, along with a number, which we then place on a tree in the library.

Those wishing to participate, come to the library, take an angel, leave their name and phone number and buy a gift for the angel. They return the wrapped gift with the Angel's number on it, and we distribute them to parents prior to Christmas.

It has been a really successful program and we have received some really nice letters and comments from both givers and receivers. Everything is done anonymously with only the school nurse, Lonnie and I knowing the names of the families. Local organizations often contribute money to offset the cost of the program. The local retired teacher's association is always on hand to take any angels left over (which rarely happens) and buy gifts. We anticipate this may be a year of more than usual requests due to the downturn in the economy, but our community always seems to come through.

The Angel Tree

I'm struggling with a sore back today. I haven't decided if it's fibromyalgia rearing its ugly head or if I just spent too much time sitting at an odd angle working on crafts on Saturday, or both. Whichever, I'm hobbling around like an old crone today.

Not too long ago, Faye posted a cute story someone had sent her via e-mail. Well I received this one last week and have been just dying to share it. Hope it makes you smile.

Shrek, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were sitting in the commissary having lunch one day. Shrek said, "I've always thought that I'm the strongest man in the world, but how can I be sure?"

Brad Pitt said, "I'm told I'm the sexiest man alive, but I've never had it confirmed,"

Angelina Jolie said, "I'm pretty sure I'm the most gorgeous of them all, but sometimes, I wonder."

They all decided that the best way to find out if their beliefs about themselves were true was to ask the famed talking "mirror, mirror on the wall" to confirm for them whether Shrek was the strongest, Brad Pitt the sexiest, and Angelina Jolie the most gorgeous. They agreed to meet the next day for lunch and discuss their findings.

The next day Shrek walked up with a smile. "Well, it's true. The mirror told me that I am the strongest man in the world."

Brad Pitt perked up and said, "And I know for sure that I'm the sexiest man alive."

But Angelina Jolie lifted her sad, gorgeous face and said....."Who in the world is Pam the Hippochick?"

LOL and have a happy evening.

~Hippo Hugs~

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fragments

Well, here it is Friday again. This has been a week of a little of this and a little of that.

I know I posted last week about our trip to Pennsylvania to see Jim's mom and some of the rest of our families. What I forgot to mention was that on our way to PA and back, we pass through a little town called "Cheshire". It is really just a wide spot in the road with nothing much outstanding or unusual about it EXCEPT that every Halloween, the entire town is toilet papered. It has never occurred to me {until now} to stop at the only gas station in town and find out the story behind the TP. Next time we drive through, I intend to do just that.

Weird, huh?

Another phenomenon we observed was the freak snowstorm that blew through St. Marys, PA on November 3, dropping eight inches of snow. None of the surrounding towns had a flake, but St. Marys was inundated. When we arrived on the 6th, this is what I saw in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

I've titled this post "fragments" and that is just what it is. Bits and pieces of my thoughts and life.

In June I took this picture of our clematis vine.

And here it is in November.

This probably isn't as unusual for those of you who live in warmer climes, but to those of us who live in the frozen tundra of Upstate NY in November, this is magnificent.

We have had the most amazing and delightful Fall this year. The colors of the trees were prettier than I can remember in a long time. The sumac was glorious. The days have been sunny and mild for the most part. I asked Jim if it's just because we have more time to enjoy the season. But, we both agree it has been a spectacular fall.

Today was another one of those pleasant surprises with temperatures in the 60's and a clear blue sky. We took advantage of the day and did some shopping the morning. I confess that I didn't have my camera with me and missed a picture of Laurie in her little Wegman's hat pushing the bakery rack. I hope I get another chance at a pic.

Each year at this time, we send rescue Christmas boxes to college students from our congregation at church. We have such fun with this. We went to The Dollar Tree and Wal-Mart to buy goodies for our student. What a good time. I think we have everything we want, maybe more than will fit in the box.

We also saw that Peebles was having a big sale and found a really nice vest for Jim's mom.

At age 94, Mom doesn't read computer blogs, so I am safe posting this picture.

AND ---- Drum roll, please! WE DID IT!!!!!

We walked the last little section of the canal path to complete our walk from Newark to Macedon {and beyond}. Now if it snows, we are all set. We plan to walk from Macedon to Fairport next summer. It has really been fun and exciting for us to do this walk.

I plan to do a scrapbook of our canal walk. I'm going to use a book I purchased from Cheryl's Etsy shop. I'll post some pictures of it when I finish it. If you haven't gone to Cheryl's shop yet, do so. It's fun.

Well, Claudia is coming for dinner and I need to hustle out to the kitchen and rustle up some grub. Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

~Hippo Hugs~

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Looks aren't everything, BUT

This is an open letter to President-elect Obama and his wife, Michelle.
Dear President-elect and Mrs. Obama,

It was so down to earth and real of the president elect to tell the press that you had promised your daughters a puppy if elected. Well, that has happened and it looks as if you are going to be true to your word. Mr. Obama stated that his preference would be to adopt a dog from a shelter, but allergies might prevent that.
We, too, had problems with allergies and pets. Sadly, we used that as an excuse to refrain from having pets in our household when the truth was, we didn't' want pets. Having, since, to do an about face and fall in love with our adopted dog who is now in "doggie heaven", I would like to make an appeal to you.
When I turned on my computer this morning, the first thing I saw was a picture of a hypo-allergenic dog that has been offered to your family. Hence, this letter. Please, please Mr. Obama, do some research and don't accept this poor puppy for your daughters.

I'm sure this poor dog needs a home, but think of your dear little girls. This poor animal looks more like a donkey than a dog. I know looks aren't everything, but think of the teasing your children will experience at school. Children can be cruel and will taunt them for being the owners of a "donkey dog". I have done some research today and think perhaps you should look farther before you make any decisions.
Consider, please, the bichon friese:

These little guys are likely to be non-allergenic pets. And isn't he just too cute?

Or a poodle.

Another hypo-allergenic doggie. These animals are considered to be highly intelligent and come in several sizes, one I'm sure appropriate for the White House.

How about a Doodleman Pinsher?

Though a little unusual, these babies grow up to be a rather handsome dog.

Now I know you can't have a small horse like my daughter, Paige,
Nor will there ever be another dog as dear and loving as my Frazier,

but please, Senator, think long and hard about this very important decision. Remember your children's regard for you may depend on it.


Hippo Chick

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Musings

I can't believe I haven't posted in nearly a week. Where oh where does the time go? I've been rather pensive today. Today I am.....

Sad .... about the sudden death of an acquaintance. I haven't seen Dawn in several years although we live in the same town. Apparently she has been ill for the last year. We attended the same church many years ago and I always thought she was a really classy lady. She was a nurse and worked for my OB/GYN back when I was having babies. Her level head and wisdom helped me through some tough times. She was 63, my age. I wish I had kept in touch with her. I will miss her. Does that make sense?

Cold .... The temperature here in Upstate NY has taken a downturn. It was cold and windy today and I just couldn't seem to warm up. I even resorted to the heated seat in Jim's car when we went shopping this afternoon. I almost never use that luxury, but today I really needed it.

Relieved .... that my MIL's eye surgery was successful. Jim and I went to Pennsylvania last week to visit and take his mom for surgery. At nearly 94, she has lost the sight in her right eye completely. This surgery was to relieve the pressure caused by glaucoma in her left eye. When we went back for a recheck on Friday, the pressure was down from 33 to 7 and she could see well. She was delighted and most relieved.

Concerned .... about the economy. Not so much for ourselves. It's true that we have lost money in the market. That's the bad news for us. The good news for us, is that we didn't have a lot there to lose. LOL My concern is for those people who may lose their jobs. Today Circuit City filed for bankruptcy, DHL announced it was cutting 9,500 jobs. Every day, we hear of more bad economic news. I worry for my children whose livelihoods depend on a healthy economy.

Angry .... when I hear about AIG executives wining and dining at an exclusive resort while our government hands them even more bail-out money. Fire these crooks!!!

Excited .... about the prospect of going to Las Vegas to see Brian and Gretchen for Thanksgiving. I don't want to wish my life away, but can hardly wait for the next two weeks to pass.

Stumped .... about what I want to do for a Christmas Card this year. Last year's card was so clever {or so I thought} and I haven't a clue what I want to do for this year. I'd better hurry and get an idea as time's aflyin'.

Pleased .... that I have finally put my flower garden to bed for the winter. When we arrived home from Pennsylvania the other afternoon, the sun was shining and it was relatively warm. Jim and I quickly got into work clothes and headed for the yard. Jim raked leaves and I planted some mums and put all my birdbath, statues and other outdoor goodies in the garage. Now if the snow comes, my garden is ready for it.

And, I am ...

Thankful that in the midst of all the worries, fears, bumps in the road, God is in control He says He will never leave us nor forsake us, and in all my life, He never has. Today, I celebrate 11 years of life that I could not have experienced. Eleven years ago today, my heart went into ventricular fibrillation. When that happens, you have only minutes to live without intervention. Because of God's grace, I was in the emergency room of our local hospital. I had been there about five minutes. Because I was there and not on the road or in our local ambulance, I am alive today. So, please join me today in giving thanks for these past eleven wonderful years of life.

~Hippo Hugs~

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Did, Did You?

Six A.M. comes pretty early for me, but I hopped out of bed, had some coffee and went off to church to pray for our country, state, county, town and church. We have been meeting at 6:30 on Tuesday mornings for the past four Tuesdays to pray for the aforementioned things.

After prayer time, Jim met me at the polls. I wasn't sure about the legality of taking pictures in and around the polling place, so don't have a picture of the packed parking lot. Our whole town votes in the Fire Hall. I can't remember seeing that many people out at one time voting in our little town.

Election day is exciting not matter what your political persuasion. It is so good to see people exercising their right vote. Like Cheryl, I want to dance and sing a little just for the joy of being an American. It was cool running into people I hardly ever see. One man asked me how things were going at the library. I have been retired for 3-1/2 years. I guess he's not much of a reader.
Having done our duty, we met Linda and Jason and went to the outlet mall to shop, shop, shop. The weather was outstanding today and it was such fun to be out with friends. We had breakfast out on our way to the mall; lunch at the mall; ice cream outside under an umbrella in the late afternoon. November 4, in Upstate NY and we were having ice cream outside.

It was a really fun day. We were all relaxed and happy to be away from the TV ads and talk of the election.
I found a pair of shoes I actually liked and that fit me. I was so delighted. Linda, who is looking for a dress for her nephew's wedding wasn't quite so lucky. Have you LOOKED at the dresses out there this year? EEWW! We found lots of beautiful jackets and tops, but not much to wear them with. We'll keep looking. She has until mid December.

Jim and I just made some tortellini soup to take to Pennsylvania with us tomorrow. This is one of our favorites. Thought you might enjoy it too:
Tortellini Soup
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 C. coarsely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
5 C. Beef broth
1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Dry Red Wine
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 C. thinly sliced carrots
1/2 tsp. basil leaves
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1-1/2 c. sliced zucchini
8 oz. frozen cheese filled tortellini
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1 medium green pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
grated Parmesan cheese
Brown sausage links. Cut into round slices. In 5 qt. Dutch oven, saute onion and garlic in reserved drippings. Add beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, carrots, basil, oregano, tomato sauce and sausages. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, 30 minutes. Skim fat from soup. Stir in zucchini, tortellini, parsley and green pepper. Simmer, covered, an additional 35-45 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of each serving. Freezes nicely.
Remember Friends, wake up tomorrow and pray for our president-elect, whoever he may be.
~Hippo Hugs~

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday Musings

It looks as if we are going to have a bit of Indian Summer here in Upstate New York this week. I'm still battling my cold (or whatever in the world this is I'm suffering). By times I feel much better and then , as my daughters say, "Not so much!". Whatever, I am trying to reassert myself into the land of the living.

We did go out on Saturday evening; first to a delightful German Dinner.

The dining room was pretty much full all the time. I think they served over 200 people; a lot for our small community.

The German Band. These kids, mostly ninth graders, did a great job and really got into the spirit of the night.

The Frau! Shelly is the force behind "all things German" in our school.

After the dinner, we were off to the Auditorium Theatre for a 60's concert featuring, The Happening, Gary Puckett, The Association, and Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone. Although we will readily admit that at least one of the groups should have hung it up a long time ago, we had a really good time. The show was "sold out". I just can't get over all the OLD people who come out to these things! LOL

We were especially entertained by Herman's Hermits. Although they only had two real hits that I can remember, Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter and Henry the Eighth, they sang and played many oldies that we could sing along to. Their rousing presentation of "Enry the Eighth" had us dancing in our seats.

Alas, it was a late evening for these oldies and we skipped dessert and came home to turn our clocks back.

A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl, posted some questions on her Random Tuesdays blog. I thought I'd speak to those questions today.

1. Which do you prefer, Winter, Spring, Summer of Fall?

My answer to that is complicated. Although I love the change of seasons, I easily tire of winter. When the old man makes his first appearance with beautiful white garments, I am thrilled and enamored. However, I am a fickle lover and soon want to go on to lovely Spring. In spite of the mud and mess that first heralds her arrival, Spring is so beautiful and winsome. Who doesn't love Spring. Fall too, has its beauty and wonder. If it weren't that it bodes the coming of winter, it might be my favorite, but no! In my mind and heart, nothing compares with Summer. Somehow I associate Summer with the loss of cares and responsibilities, lazing in the shade of a tree reading a good book, dinners on the grill, evenings on the screen porch, sleeping late in the morning. Maybe it's because Summer brings back the carefree days of my youth, whatever, Summer wins out as my favorite.

2. Who is your favorite Disney Princess?

If we're talking Disney princesses, there is no competition. It's hands down, Cinderella. I was probably about three when I first remember the beauty of Cinderella and those talking mice. The sweet fairy godmother (who I think was fashioned after my grandmother), the pumpkin coach, and of course, the handsome prince. I was smitten.

BUT, if we are talking all time princesses from anywhere? Well then, give me good old Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring from Howdy Doody. Kowabunga! Buffalo Bob. That chick was some cool princess, a role model for all us baby boomers!

3. Last book I read, and what I'm reading now.

The last book I read was Robert Parker's latest Spenser novel. Honestly, a bit of a disappointment, as have most of his recent books been to me. What I'm reading now; actually, two books. I'm reading a biography of Ernie Davis. We just saw the movie, The Express which I highly recommend. I'm also reading a William Tapply,Brady Coyne mystery which I'm really into. Certainly not rocket science, but a relaxing read.

4. What three things scare you?

Spiders, Satan Worship and Silverfish.

5. What would be your campaign slogan if running for office?

This is so funny because we just recently had coffee with our friends, Roy and Shirley, and Shirley asked me to run for president. She said if I won would I institute a policy where people who hated commercials could pay extra and not have to have them on their TV's. So my slogan would be "Vote for Pam - No more commercials".

6. What are you looking forward to this fall?

Oh, so much. First of all, we are off to visit my MIL and BIL and SIL this week. I will also have lunch with my aunts and my favorite cousin. Who could ask for more? Then we have Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with Brian and Gretchen. Next we have the whole wonderful Christmas season which I love, love, love. There will be concerts, dinner parties, a wedding, the Christmas Eve program at church, and hopefully a trip to Chicago after Christmas to visit Paige and her friends. As part of all that, we get to decorate the house, shop for gifts, wrap them, bake. I'm all ashiver!

7. What are you craving right now?

Actually, nothing in particular? I know when we go to Vegas we'll have some really good Balboa pizza and probably some yummy Stone Cold Creamery ice cream. That sounds good.

8. What's the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Although I laugh out loud every day, I was rolling in the aisles on Saturday evening with Herman's Hermits and Peter Noone. He is one funny entertainer.

With that, I'm going to say "Good Day to You". We're off for our walk and if I'm lucky, lunch out.

~Hippo Hugs~

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday Fragments on Saturday

After a wonderful week of posting "A Day in the Life", I've been nothing but a slug this past week. In my defense, I must confess that I have been under the weather. It started with a little sore throat last Monday and escalated to laryngitis. I skipped prayer meeting on Tuesday, saying, "I'm going to nip this in the bud." Well, that didn't quite work.

I did manage to walk with Jim a couple of days - that is, the days we didn't have snow and rain. We have only one small section to finish our goal for the season, and I have no doubt we will get some really nice days yet.

Here are a couple of shots of this section of the path. We have marvelled to one another that each section has its own special personality. This has been such a fun adventure for us. I plan to scrap all of this sometime this coming winter when I am bemoaning being trapped in the house.

While I was napping and hoping to recover, Jim was busy working on his bathroom project.

I did manage to get into the "spirit" of things last night for a visit to our friend, Ken's new home for dinner. I actually used my tripod.

Ken, who recently returned from Dubai, met us at his door dressed as an Arab Sheik. We had a great laugh - and me without my camera.

Tonight we're off to a German Dinner, a fundraiser for our local German Club, and then to a 60's concert with Bruce and Shelly. I am really looking forward to the concert. Just wish I felt better. Regardless of my health, I am determined to be a better blogger next week. In the meantime, I've enjoyed reading the blogs of all my buddies out there.

Hippo Hugs.