Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm up too late, and other odd turns of events

A year ago, I would not have said 10 pm was way too late to be awake, but now it is.

A year ago, I would not have thought I would attempt a new job, learn the skills and do a good enough job to get a letter saying they would rehire me. Or that I would accept the fact that others would do the job faster than I could, but that was okay.

 A year ago, I enjoyed the anticipation of a grandchild and then found out how much I can love a little person that I haven't met yet. And I watched my son discover the same thing and realize that his life has been forever changed.

A year ago, I worried about my parents' health and watched as my father's failing kidney slowed him to a crawl. Then I watched as dialysis has given him a new lease on life, removing fluid and returning color to his face.

 A year ago, we had just lost a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law was fighting breast cancer. She successfully finished treatment and has enjoyed her son's new wife, cute stepson and brand new baby boy. One of our nephews got engaged, his sister got married and their father recently died, the first of J's 9 siblings to be lost.

A year ago, Ameranth was planning the first part of a dream of hers- to walk across the US- and she took that first step in Albany NY and walked the Erie Canal to Buffalo NY. No one was sure if she would actually do it, including her, but she did. Unfortunately, that success led her to planning the bigger walk this year!

A year ago, we enjoyed seeing Sectaurs as well as Ms. M and Mr. C move into their first houses. We had fun helping each of them with some projects this year and it's been interesting seeing their different styles emerge. When Ameranth moved out, Minnie moved in with Sectaurs, and we got to know her this year. She's a keeper! 

A year ago we had plans, J and I, as we do for each year. Some of the things happened just as we hoped, some were canceled or postponed and some awesome unplanned stuff  got done. That will happen again this year, and next year, and the next and I look forward to all of it, enjoying life with J and our families, wild and crazy as they are. 

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finally- Home and online

My 'vacation' from blogging lasted longer than planned, as did our trip to Rhode Island, thanks to a dead modem and a blizzard. This was the first time in many years that I have not had to work on Christmas Eve, so yay for having extra time off and enjoying the pre-holiday. We were busy busy cleaning for Sectaurs and Minnie, who came up on the 23rd to join us. That was nice- the visit, not the cleaning!

They drove home on the 25th and we headed to R.I. as we have for years. My birthday is on Christmas and my parents always had my party Christmas night, to keep it separate from the morning festivities. Over time, this evolved into a holiday tradition that moved to #5's house after my folks felt they weren't up to hosting the noise and confusion any more.Last year  #5 and spouse moved to an apartment and #3 offered her large home for the get together.

Which was good in some ways- #3 has the largest family and she's closer to CT for those relatives, but not-so-good in others- It's a whole 25 minutes or so to get there (That's a JOURNEY for Rhode Islanders) and the road to her house is narrow, windy and hilly. A few years ago my father tipped his van over there. Yes, that's right, hit a rock growing out of the roadside and slowly tipped over.

Anyway, I upset the apple cart this year by deciding I couldn't do the party this year. We get up Christmas morning and open our presents, have our cinnamon rolls that we can only have this one day out of the year (OCD kids grow up to be OCD adults), then we drive 4 hours to my parents' house. Ms M and Mr C come down to meet us, we go to visit J's family gathering for a few hours, then we head back to my side's party. It's exhausting and I felt like I wasn't getting to spend much time with our kids. I made the executive decision that we were cutting the day short(er).

When my father sent an email saying he and my mother would not be going to #3's either, since his dialysis had been moved to early Sunday morning, it caused an uproar. There had been some family drama already and #3 felt we were canceling Christmas, as did a few others. I did some explaining, and after #4 juggled her work schedule, we decided on a Sunday afternoon party instead. All was well.

Then, the Blizzard came. Cue the ominous music.

Yes, the snow stole Christmas. J and I drove my dad to his dialysis since the flakes started swirling early, and we thought my mother shouldn't drive. We drove the back way home and came up through Narragansett to check out our old house and the beach.

Not our old house- the Towers and Narragansett Beach. We saw several people walking to their cars, carrying beach chairs. Odd. Maybe they were watching the sun rise, although it didn't show up as this eastern view shows.

It wasn't that bad at 7:30, but it slowly started building up, and the party was called off.  In hindsight we should have driven home Sunday ahead of the snow, but we didn't and had to wait until Tuesday to make our escape leave. But I believe the gathering is planned for this weekend (we won't be there) so all's well that ends well.

Ameranth would say that the worst part of the trip was the actual drive down. Anna is always a very good traveler and we give Rosie a pill for her car sickness, so she sleeps most of the time. Boomer naps for maybe an hour then starts yelping a high-pitched bark that pierces the brain. Usually right behind the driver. We took out the middle seat and put a dog bed on the floor, thinking that perhaps sharing the seat and getting more attention might help him be quiet.
Can you see the demon light in his eyes? He did not want to to sit still.
I give Ameranth a lot of credit for not actually harming him, showing great restraint. That's one dog that does not take a hint.
Thank you to my parents for putting up with our dogs (and us). We had a great time, as always.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter begins

Winter is not a very happy time for me- I miss the sun too much. But after today, the days start getting longer again, and that's a good thing.

We had good news, sort-of bad news and very bad news today.  Ameranth was asked to stay on longer at work, so she was very happy about that. I was not asked to stay on longer and after 5 minutes of chagrin at never quite making the units-per-hour goal, I was relieved that the 3 o'clock mornings would end in two days. I won't miss those though I will miss the extra paycheck.

But when we got home we heard that J's eldest brother had died today, at age 68. We knew he had been admitted to the hospital yesterday with kidney failure, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but still it was a shock. He had diabetes for years and (in his relatives' opinions) had never taken care of it properly so we got annoyed each time we heard of the complications which came along. The kind of annoyed you get when someone you care about does stupid things.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Music that gets me through my day

I listen to my music as I work and am amazed at how much clearer the lyrics are with earbuds and no distractions (other than picking the correct item, of course!) Some of them inspired this post which I worked on mentally as I walked, hoping that I would remember some of it when I got home.

I'll amuse myself by listing the songs at the end, so you can amuse yourselves by guessing the sources. Warning- old fogie songs ahead.

I need this encouragement in the morning:

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other

And soon you’ll be walking out the door.

And it hasn't snowed a lot yet, but boy, has it gotten cold! Because we get so warm working, I can't wear my normal winter outfit of long underwear, turtlenecks and hooded sweatshirts. The walk from the parking lot is made very quickly and I try not to let my jeans touch my skin until I am inside. Hard to do.

I look around, leaves are brown now
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

We've had several days of torrential rain and wind this week- the good thing about that was that it thawed out the frozen heap of dirt that needed to go back in the hole over the septic tank.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Here's an easy one that I think of when I'm waiting to log in my work and go home:

Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana till the mornin' come
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home 

Now, I am not religious at all but I do enjoy the rhythm of this song- It makes me want to dance down the aisles, unfortunately, not quickly because the beat is more like the jazz bands for a New Orleans funeral.

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Then to finish up with songs that probably only J and the kids will know. First a song that Shoeshine has sung for his phone answering message and is a family favorite:

I'm a rambler I'm a gambler
I'm a long ways from home.
And if you don't like me well leave me alone.
I'll eat when I'm hungry and I'll drink when I'm dry,
And if moonshine don't kill me I'll live till I die.

Finally, one line that makes me think of J:
For the merry-hearted boys make the best of old men.

(And yes dear, I know you're not old)

Random Rosie picture:

Finished guessing? Here are the titles for anyone who's gotten this far.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town- Claymation movie- Mickey Rooney singing
Simon and Garfunkel
Bad Moon Rising- CCR
Banana Boat Song- Harry Belafonte
Anne Murray- (I can't quite figure out why some of the images were used in this video)
Moonshiner- Makem and Clancy Brothers
The Bard of Armagh, an Irish Ballad- sung by Tommy Makem

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh, day off, you went so fast!

It's been a tiring week. Dealing with septic problems, working 6 days, shopping madly today and ending up with having the power brush on the vacuum die. Sigh.

Our vacuum was pretty sad anyway and we knew it was not long for this world. Years ago, one of the plastic wheels broke off but it still slid around pretty well. The retractable cord took a few years off from retracting then surprised us one day by slithering wildly into place. Duct tape covers a crack in the hose and last year the other wheel went and the canister was on its belly, but still sucked dust. Now, it just plain sucks.

But enough of this- it's 6:35 and I have to go to bed!

Oh, this is what J and Ameranth did this afternoon while I was shopping (they went together in the morning)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If this is Tuesday, then I'm random


I really hate my work week starting on Sunday- I keep forgetting which day I am on, but I'm pretty sure it's Tuesday, and that means randomness.

During stretch break at work last week, an announcement from another department came over the loudspeaker. "Mark from replenishment, could you check to see if you're bleeding? Mark, look to see if you have a cut on your hand."
The Black Knight immediately popped into my head as we all looked at each other, wondering exactly what goes on in replenishment?

Red grapes have been my snack of choice for the last year, and I used to share one occasionally with Rosie, until the vet told me grapes were bad for dogs.(lots of grapes, not a few) Rosie has felt quite put upon since. This morning a grape fell to the floor in front of  her and we stared at it for a moment, then I told her to go ahead. As she delicately picked it up, Ameranth and I simultaneously sang to her: "Die, if you want to".
Too much Jesus Christ Superstar?

J just came in to ask what I wanted for Christmas. Of course I drew a blank and told him I would think about it and meanwhile he should make his wish list too.
J: I told you I wanted a caliper.
Me: You told everyone you wanted a caliper. You can't tell everyone the same thing.
J: When I was a kid I made a list and my parents took care of sharing it.
Me: This is the opposite of that. You can't tell 5 people the same thing. Do you want to end up with 5 calipers?
 J: That would be fine with me!
 It would serve him right if he did.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who needs Roto Rooter?

You know what's not fun to do after working all day? Digging a two foot deep hole to access your septic tank, opening that sucker up and staring at it to report when 'stuff' starts flowing again. In 28 degree weather with icy winds blowing. And I had the good job!

J is the man! And I mean that in a cool, hip, complimentary way, not the basic gender- stating that means he gets the dirty jobs. (Although it does mean that too) He was in the basement, bravely removing the cap from the sewer pipe and steeling himself for the backflow-which didn't happen, thank goodness. I had excused myself to the yard to watch for developments.

[The back story (see what I did there?) is that the alarm in our septic tank had been going off now and then for the last few weeks. (What? You don't have an septic alarm? You don't have a septic tank? I don't need to hear bragging about city sewers, thank you very much) Since our leach field is on the other side of the driveway and 50+ feet away from our tank, we need a pump to send the fluid out from the tank and the alarm let us know that the pump stopped working. We attributed that to the massive amounts of rain we had and just kept resetting the breaker. Then the alarm stopped going off, and the pipes started backing up. This was Friday afternoon and we figured it was time to call the professionals, who said they would call Monday]

So instead of calling, the pump people showed up bright and early, startling Ameranth who had planned a leisurely arising on her day off, not 2 men asking her questions about the whereabouts of the septic tank. They found a shorted wire and a broken elbow on the floats- word was the pump was fixed. Yay!  Until we tried to wash dishes and flush the toilet. Pump people advised that we probably had a blockage and might be able to find it ourselves. Well, we did want showers and a flushable toilet so we dug the hole.

That green box in the middle of the garden is the electrical stuff for the pump. We use that and the two lily clumps to gauge where the other opening should be.  I tried not to say too much about the bulbs and plants we dug up today. I sensed it would not go over well.

The plumbing snake was deemed too small (plus we couldn't find it) so he used a 50 foot garden hose to probe the darkness. He got a little perturbed when I pointed out that it looked like he used a good hose, not one of the leaky ones that were going to be thrown away anyway.  I reported a lot of water coming through and we thought it was all good but tests soon showed that we still had a problem. That's when Super-J stepped up to the plate. Or down to the hole. He reached his hand into the pipe with a scrap piece of electrical wire and cleared it the rest of the way. I stood there holding the flashlight and thinking "That is some man I have! Thank God I'm married to a handy guy! He certainly deserves the first shower. And everything he's wearing need to be disinfected or discarded."

So much for my sort-of plan to take a nap so I could get up and watch the Patriots-Jets game tonight. Monday night games stink. Hmm, that reminds me, I need a shower too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Patty-cake Cats

I saw this on the F***book and had to share. (Voiceover added to cat video)


My goodness, it felt great to wake up on my own, not to an alarm, this morning. Actually, I did have an 'alarm' in the form of Boomer, whining at 2:15 to get out of his crate, but I sent him out to pee, then let him join Rosie in the living room and went back to sleep until 6:45. Lovely.

He stuffed himself full of old tomato sauce at the compost heap after our walk in the field yesterday, so may have had a bit of a tummy upset. Serves him right- we have to catch the others and leash them, but he has always come when called before. The rare chance of food to himself overwhelmed his drive to please.

Deer hunting season is over, so it's safe to take our dogs out in the pasture now. Rosie and Anna spend most of the time with heads buried in grassy tussocks, hunting shrews and mice. It's hard to get pictures since all we see is three curly tails waving madly. (While resizing the photos today I realized that I had overtaxed the zoom, hence the pixelation)

Boomer was perfectly willing to fetch the stick as long as we would throw it.  He was throwing it in the air himself here. It started out with broken pieces on either end attached with flaps of bark and when he shook it violently, he was bonking them on either side of his head, which didn't seem to to bother him at all.

Going back to the resizing of pictures, here's few of us trying to time smiles and attitudes to the 10 second camera timer. I left out the one where Sectaurs was trying to get back in time for the 2 second timer.

I'll finish up with some J took about a week ago. It looked like fog at first, but I think it was smoke from a neighbor's wood stove, hanging in the air over the low part of the pasture where our little ponds are.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random Ameranthness


Ameranth just got up to yell at the dogs who are outside barking madly. Or so she says. If they're outside, I have no trouble ignoring their shenanigans, but she frets and complains and finally calls them inside. It's obvious she is not a parent.

She had the day off and I didn't. That is so unfair of the scheduling computer, who is making me work 6 days and Ameranth only 4 days this week. I am older and need the downtime. She is younger and needs the money. (I need the money too, but she is still younger).I must say she did do the dishes and make waffle batter between lolling around all day.

I neglected to mention a milestone passed last week. Ameranth won her first Scrabble game- at least she said she had never won before, and why would she lie about that? She had the game well in hand the whole time, and I noticed that she was very quiet as we got closer to the end- I think she was afraid of jinxing herself. She also pointed out that there could be no excuses- it was morning, no one was tired, etc.

I forgot the ibuprofen this morning- bad mistake. Live update- J dramatically exclaimed "You always have tablets here! Why can I not find one?"  Since I had just written 'ibuprofen', I immediately thought he wanted pills of some sort, though I had no idea why. He came in and explained that he wanted a notebook to which Ameranth replied " Tablet, Dad? What, are you living in the 14th century? Do you want a quill to go with it?"   You know, we really do have civil conversations sometimes.  Sometimes.

This was supposed to be a Random Tuesday post, but it ended up being all about Ameranth. Which is apropos since she is very often pretty random herself.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holy Moley Mackaroly!

My apologies to anyone whose blogs I follow-I am still reading but haven't had the time or energy to type a nice comment for you. Happy Thanksgiving, wow, snow already? and those were some nice mustaches grown for Movember.

The good news is that my feet and legs are getting used to the walking (anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5 miles per day according to Ameranth's pedometer) but the bad news is that, starting Monday, I will be working 6 days a week. Yuck.

J was concerned last Monday when I went to bed at 3:30- he wanted to know how long I wanted to nap. When I said all night, he said I couldn't sleep 12 hours!  Oh yes I could, and did. Mmmmm mmm, it was nice.

Oh and I do have news- Ameranth found her old music thingy and showed me how to use it. What a difference that makes! I did have to restrain myself from singing out loud (though I did whistle that part of "look at the bright side of life" from Spamalot) but it makes the time pass more quickly while not distracting me from checking stock, size and color details. Then, even more news! Ms. M gave me a new MP3 player -this deserves the correct terminology- for an early birthday present. I spent some time today transferring music from CDs to my little jewel of a toy. Plus I have new ear buds in a shiny metallic green. I am stylin'.

Ms. M, Mr C. and Sectaurs joined us for Thanksgiving and we had a lot of fun, eating, talking, playing Wii, Scrabble and Scattergories. We checked out Sectaurs brand new car, which is very nice, and hid the dog food and garbage can from Mabel again. After an intense reunion growlfest, the 4 dogs behaved nicely.

My sister, #5, had an excellent idea about having our family email members send a picture of their holiday gatherings since we are spread about the country. We are only missing one from my brother since his dinner was this weekend not on Thursday. It was nice seeing faces that go with names on our family emails, faces we haven't seen in years or, in some cases, never have met in person.

In fact I think I will post them all here again for all the family members (and friends) that read this from time to time.
First us in ME:
Shoeshine and Ladyslipper in CO last month:

My parents, #3 and her family in RI:

# 4 and family in RI:
# 5 and family in RI:
My aunt and friends in FL:
A cousin and family in CT:
A cousin and family in ME:

A cousin and family in MT:
An uncle and aunt with one of their granddaughters in CT:
A cousin with more of their grandchildren in VA:
An uncle and family in CT, toasting an old friend who died earlier this year:

A lot of people and pictures, right? Good thing J's family didn't do this- there's twice as many of them! But even though they don't do email as well much as we do, relying on phone calls instead, they are a close family too, and  J and I count ourselves blessed with relatives that we like, as well as love.

*edit- just got this photo of #2, his wife, and niece and her husband in TX:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maybe I need a music thingy, too

It's surprisingly quiet working in the warehouse.  Of course there are fans and belts and loudspeaker announcements and cardboard cartons hitting the floor, but the people are pretty quiet overall. I'm used to hearing the hum of voices talking to customers on the phone.

Mostly the people are quiet because they are listening to music players. Ameranth has one too, and she sometimes takes her laptop with us to upload new selections to her player on the drive in. I don't have one ( and wouldn't know how to work one if I did) so now that I have gotten used to the work, my mind is free to wander a bit, tap dancing away from reality and singing my own happy songs. (Not aloud)

Today I kept running in to the same lady as we turned in work and got new assignments, then we chatted a bit during stretch break. We picked stock in the same row once and as she was leaving, I stopped myself from saying "See you on the flip-flop" realizing in time that she was nowhere near my age and would probably not recognize the quote from "Convoy" .  Then I amused myself awhile picturing us all in a line with  a hopper convoy crashing through stacks of empty cardboard boxes. 

The assignments have 12 items on a page and a full one has 10 pages. We fold them in 3 strips of 4 sticky labels and peel off the matching label for each item as we pull it out of a carton. I knelt on the floor and started pulling shirts out two at a time, labeled and threw them in my cart. Turning the page over, I realized that I had more and more of the same shirt, and as it dawned on me that I was going to empty that carton, I found myself saying " You're going in the cart, you're going in the cart and you are all going in the cart!!" in an Oprah voice in my head. Simple mind, simple amusements.

My job coach (this year's term for seasonal leadership) asked me how I was liking the 5AM start time. I paused long enough to make sure I replied politely and said it wouldn't have been my first choice. Later he asked me what time I went to bed and laughed when I said 6:30, 7:00.  When I found out he lives 7 minutes away, I remarked that he didn't have to get up at 3 to get here on time. No, he said, I get up at 3 to run with my dogs. Yikes!  I work with crazy people! Maybe it's a good thing they have earbuds and don't talk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Worky McWorky

I thought I would tell you a bit about my seasonal job but Google failed me in the quest for an image of the carts we use in the warehouse. There are dozens of them lining the main aisle when we come in at 5 AM, but they soon disappear in the stacks only to come back to be emptied down conveyor belts. (They don't do this on their own- if they did, there would be no use for such as I to be hired!)

Ameranth and I are up to a full 8 hour day now in our work-hardening process. Thank goodness they have the progression they do, I think most of us would have quit the first day if we started off at 8! My feet are not complaining as much and I hope my back shuts up pretty soon too.

Getting back to the carts, I am forced to draw one myself, which I did in a hurry and not in hopes of praise for my abilities, as you can see.
(I did take some artistic license in that I really don't move fast enough to leave little dust whirls behind me. And I don't smile that much.) 

But the cart does have that nifty little ladder that you use to get to the 4th and 5th shelves. When you step on it, it goes down a few inches and little rubber feet hold everything still. When it's full you line it up with the conveyor belt and release a latch and shove the whole top part out over the chute. There is no bottom in the moving part so the items drop out- unless the belt isn't moving then you have to leave the cart there to empty on it's own and find another one to start all over again.

This is me with a full hopper, and overflow on the bottom shelf and pushing empty cartons in front of me down the aisle. (I really don't get that annoyed though, at least not since I mastered the art of turning a corner with the boxes)

I find the whole warehouse operation to be fascinating. Who thought this stuff up? The belts circling the building, bringing items to be packed; the other belts taking cardboard boxes to be recycled; and the location system. There is no fixed place for each item- the stacks are numbered and when a carton is placed on a shelf and scanned the computer knows where it is and creates assignments. We get a list of locations and the item that is supposed to be there. They are listed sequentially so you could find all of your 120 items within a single 35 foot row, with someone in front of or behind you. Or there could be no one in sight until you climb up to the 3rd little step and you see someone else popping their head up too, 2 aisles over. It's like being a prairie dog. 

Twice a day we have stretch breaks where we all meet in the center and do group stretches. (Not like Twister, but all at the same time) All these people come out of the aisles, stretch, then melt away again in every direction. It gives me a little "Children of the Corn" feeling.

It's after 4 now and I only have two hours left to shower, eat and go to bed, so this educational post is now done.I must say though that I am enjoying this experience so far- I've never worked in a warehouse environment before and the time does pass quickly when you are busy, busy and moving all day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sometimes the Crazy spreads

This was the email chain from my family yesterday, starting with a typo from my dad.

(Source): Tis the last day of L and K's 'practice' work week with LLB, while Steve wanders the Little Belt Mountains in Montana in search of freezer filling elf and/or deer and Sal sits in the sunshine admiring her Blue Angels - known here by a different name.

(Steve's wife): I hope he doesn't bring home an elf!  :D

(Source):Godfrey Mighty!  Mine eyes must be failing or mine finges misbehaving!  But....wouldn't an elf be handy around the house?!!

(me): Like a house elf in Harry Potter?

(brother):Be careful though I think they have laws against mounting an elf in most states.

(uncle):Our elf season doesn't start in CT till after 12/25.

(sister): good thinking!!! cover all bases!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Still remembering

I'm not writing much today, just pointing you towards two blog posts that I think worth sharing. Cid is one of several Canadian bloggers I follow and I really liked her post today about the Highway of Heroes.  Check it out, I'm sure you'll like it too.

Then, because I am not Canadian, I just had to Google that and find out more details about this grassroot tradition that has grown over the years.  I found this interesting column and another video. Watch it- it's good.

It reminded me of our troop greeters in Bangor Maine, and how the unofficial salutes to troops of any nation  can often be more moving than official tributes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Thank you to all veterans and the folks serving now, especially the ones in my family. J, Shoeshine and Mr. C of course, several brothers-in-law, cousins and uncles, J's Dad and uncle are/were veterans. One nephew is a captain in the Army now and several more are reservists or National Guard. And thanks to all of the families as well. It's tough when a loved one is in the service.

Here's my two Army guys- I wish I had a picture of Mr. C in his Navy uniform!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Birthdays

I had to wait for Ameranth to upload the pictures from her camera, making our birthday pictures  a little late. J's is on the 1st and 30 years later, Ameranth was born on the 7th. As you may know, Rosie ate J's original cake last week and then I was busy learning how to work again, so they shared the spotlight last Saturday.

I found a bottled glaze for the Boston Cream Pie, which worked pretty well. It heats in the microwave, was easy to apply and tasted pretty good, so that turned out okay. Ameranth's cake was a layer filled with bananas and pudding and topped with more pudding mixed with whipped cream.  Both were yummy.

There was a little discussion about eating them on Saturday, when Ameranth's birthday was not until Sunday, but I told them I wasn't waiting until then to have a piece, so start singing.  Neither wanted the song, so I got ready to cut the cake. What an uproar!  No candles???! Alright already. Sheesh.
                             I sang to them anyway.

And then nearly caused another riot when I unthinkingly went to put out the candles. Hey there! Step away from the cakes, we'll do the blowing out around here!

And here's Ameranth modeling her present.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A chip off the old Crazy

I overslept this morning-went back to sleep after my alarm went off and got up 20 minutes late.  Slammed through breakfast and complained to Ameranth that I don't rush well in the morning. Says she: "I don't spend time well in the morning. If I get up early, I'm going to be late."

Gotta go.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday Sunset

This came much too early, but it was pretty.

And speaking of too early, it's 3:45 AM and I am off to work in five minutes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekly Wrap-up

Well, I lived through the training week, although you can't convince my feet of that. I knew I was out of shape and yes, a lot of few pounds had crept onto my frame but my feet think I must weigh 500 pounds! (Which is not the case)

I did pass my skill check on the first try, but I am slooooow compared to the 20-something boys in our group. Okay, so I would be slower than 20-somethings  doing anything, except maybe dialing a telephone or spelling, but I feel old.

And short. I realized this week that I have mostly functioned in a world where I am not significantly shorter than others around me, but that is not true anymore and I don't like it.  When I was working full-time, it was mostly with other women, and the ones I worked closely with happened to be either my height (5'5") or shorter.  J is 5'7 5'8, so we're pretty close to even too. Both sons are close to 6 feet, but they don't live here anymore. This week, I was surrounded by tall(er) people and I didn't like it. Just sayin'.

We could only work 4 hours on the warehouse floor this week, 6 hours next week, then full time. It's called work hardening.  The dogs have not been happy with being put outside at 4 am and have made that abundantly clear when Ameranth got home around 10. (Since she was a rehire, she only worked 4 hours- I had the actual picking as well as training time) Little do they know that later they will be outside until 1:30 and have to wait for their dinner until then. Ameranth pointed out that this is their work hardening period as well.

 I am so looking forward to sleeping as late as I want to tomorrow, then we get an extra hour on Sunday, thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Or is Daylight Savings Time that is ending now, and we are on Standard Time? I could Google that, but I really don't care.  I will however turn the clock back to Halloween for another cute picture of Ladyslipper.

Ok, so it's two pictures but I had to have her face in one!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The front steps have color!

Finally, I have stained the steps! One set anyway.  After more than a year of naked wood, the front of the house looks finished. Actually we had to wait for the pressure treated wood to age, so the procrastination is not as bad as it may seem.

I got out of training early today, as we were up to actually picking orders and there was not enough work to go around. It was sunny, and the temperature was 43 at noontime, so it was warm enough to stain. Barely. Today is probably the last chance I had to get this done so I am happy, but it took soooo long to do. Because we wanted two colors, and I already have roses on the darn trellis.

So here is the finished product. Ta da!

The door will some day be green as well. Some day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Photos of a cutie

Ms M visited Shoeshine while he had Ladyslipper for the weekend and got some wonderful photos. At least we think so!
I'm sure he appreciated Ms M's support for this first solo visit!

Hmm. I saw J walking outside a bit ago, and figured he was feeding hens or such. I just now saw him again, carrying a long silver tube, and leaning forward to look further, I saw his iron wheels now have an axle.  I fear he is making a cannon.

 For show only, I am sure.