Monday, October 31, 2011

You want cream with that?

I found a cool store in Pittsburgh.

It has this:

A GIANT creamer...

It's pretty cool.

Reminds me of a Greek diner.

Friday, October 28, 2011

This I Believe

I am an NPR nerd.

Personally, I loved it in Cincinnati.
they do all my favorite shows.

Pittsburgh is called Essential Public Radio.

They do not carry all my favorite shows.
I subscribe to the podcasts.

Each week I love to listen to the series 
"This I Believe".

It is inspiring, and touching.

Last year, I was so inspired,
I wrote one too.

It was the holiday season, 
and I tend to get a little sentimental around that time. 

Here is my essay:

I believe in friendship forged over food. We have relocated many times to many states, and sharing meals has been the way we forge new and lasting friendships wherever we live. Even busy people find time to linger over a meal with friends. Meals encourage entertaining conversation, and can soothe tempers after heated and polarizing discussions. Food links us together in a chain that spans time and tradition.
I read somewhere that Jewish people are commanded to share their meals with others. While I am not Jewish, I think this is a very noble calling. I entertain though my house is not in order, without any planning or menu consideration, without advance notice, and I am known to serve an impromptu dinner party while in my pajamas. I have learned that no one comes to see the house, or to see me in my Sunday best. And while I believe that I can show my love for people by cooking from scratch, I also have learned that sharing a meal of take-out Chinese is just as wonderful as sharing a mock-Thanksgiving dinner that took all day to prepare. The sharing is the most important.
I cook for a family of four, and I have learned it is just as easy to cook for 6, or 8, and so many nights, I do. While often our friends and neighbors are delighted and grateful for the invitation, even sometimes feeling guilty because they do not reciprocate, I am honored and humbled to share my meal with those who share my life, my successes and defeats, and while my words fail to convey my deep thanks for their friendship, I believe a bowl of hot, saucy pasta consumed while sitting around my imperfect kitchen table shows them how much I care for them.
I am proud that my daughters never hesitate to invite someone to dinner, and though they are but 11 and 13 years old, they will make French chocolate mousse to encourage friends to linger for dessert. It’s just what we do.

And if you want to see it on the official site, 

Now that we are here in Pittsburgh,
we have only hosted one meal
with Cousin Mark.

I am so happy in Pittsburgh,
it is a wonderful city.
Reading my essay reminds me of the fond times
around my oak kitchen table,
or my walnut dining room table,
and I miss my dear friends in Cincinnati.

Lucky for me, some arrive next week,
for football and fellowship.

It will feel like old times.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


You may remember that yesterday
 I lost my purse.

I had a busy day.

Our church hosts homeless families
for one week each month.

It takes an army of volunteers.
We decided to be an army of 4 and help out.

We signed up to make dinner.
Salad, chicken, green beans, apple sauce, and pumpkin bars.


Except I decided to cut the sugar in the pumpkin bars.


I forgot to add sugar.

So yeah,
we make dinner for two homeless families,
people who have so little,
and I deprive them of SUGAR?!?!

Who do I think I am?

The Grinch?

Luckily, the recipe calls for a caramel layer.
So it is a little sweet.


That's how I'm presenting it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guess what I've done so far today...

I woke EARLY.
And instead of taking Mr. to the train,
I RODE the train with Mr.

I knitted on the train.
Making a warm and toasty hat for Mr.

We went to the health expo.
To get our blood pressure, and blood drawn,
and tested.
I worried about my results:
I didn't study.

Mr. gave me a tour of his office.
He was so proud.

I went to the bathroom.

I sat and knitted.  
When I said goodbye to Mr.
and looked for my purse,
to be sure I could buy a train pass home, 


Mr. came down from the 11th floor
to give me train $.

I searched my bag again.
I had my knitting.

I rode the train back.  

I searched the car, 

I returned home and looked in EVERY room in the house.


At work, Mr. checked the health expo.
He checked the ladies' room.
He checked the lost and found.


I am on hold with Port Authority RIGHT now...

I sure hope they find it.

I think it had the winning lottery ticket inside.

Oh yeah, my life is so exotic.

P.S.  My purse was found.
Train Toll Booth Operators might look like regular people
but they are ANGELS in disguise.

Take it from your friend Mrs.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Computer Problems

I have a problem.
My iPhoto has replaced some photos.
So, when I view a thumbnail, and I click on it,
when it is enlarged, it is not the same photo.

Not even from the same day.
Or month.

It is super frustrating.

I have done everything I know how to do.

I even tried to use my time machine setting.

It didn't work.

Next I am making an appointment to have it fixed.

Thus, I am not loading any new photos
because the dumb computer tells me it can't find the file.
And then it shows up.

I am pretty frustrated.

And too busy to deal with it until the end of the week.

In the meantime, I am working frantically on my knitting.

One row at a time,
while I wait in the dentist office,
while I wait at the Dr. office,
while I discuss books at my book club,
and one row a day while I wait to get Mr. at the train.

I want to show you pictures, 
but I don't want to ruin the surprise, 
for anyone who *might* be receiving
something handmade and lovely
for Christmas.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rainbow bookshelves

We love books.
And I have struggled to arrange them beautifully.

Like all the decorators do.

I am not a decorator.

What?  Mrs.  but your house is so lovely (HA!)
I had no idea you didn't have a decorating cell in your body.

I went through the phase of covering all the books in brown paper.

It was so soothing.
And ridiculous.

Because we actually READ our books.
And sometimes, we even RE-READ them.

In this house, I decided to try the rainbow style of books.

It is pretty.


And, just so you know I am still not the decorator,
here are the rest of the books,
totally un-catagorized by color.

When you come to visit, avert your eyes to these bookshelves.

And focus on the rainbow.

If you find that too hard,
I will just ply you with some really good hot chocolate 
and some gossip.

Then you'll forget my bookshelves.
And that I am decorating-challenged.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I have to clean up after EVERYBODY

This is the view from my dining room window.

It looks out on the neighborhood.
Big picture window.

Gus loves it there.

He can spy on the neighborhood.
And bark.

He loves to bark.

Even with his mouth full.

So, here's the dog food he keeps dropping
when he barks,
with his mouth full.
Does he ever go back and eat it later?


Of course not.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Favorite cleaning products

New house has almost all hardwood floors.

This means some serious mopping.

Mr. recognized the problem and bought me this:

It's a Shark.
The deluxe one.
Complete with 3 settings.
I love it.

My floors are clean,
and my favorite: germ free.

Oh, you think that doesn't matter.

Have you ever had your toilet overflow...

Trust me,
it gives great comfort to have a sanitized floor.
I sleep better at night.

I am also in love with this:

It is not the Swiffer kind.
I love the Swiffer for floors.
But not for dust.  

These are much better.

But harder to come by.
I found some at Lowe's in Cincinnati.

I cleaned them out!

SO, if you live in Cincinnati,
and you want some too,
you'll have to wait until they re-stock.

I even bought one for a friend.
Then I dusted her house with it too.

Go get these things.
They will change your life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I declare:  
There is too much electronic activity in our house.

We need a nature break.

Of course, the sisters disagreed.

BUT, Mr. voted with me.

We took a nature walk.

Not just ANY nature walk.

We went letter boxing!

Step 1:  Google letter boxing and find a letterbox near where you will be.
Step 2: Print the directions to FIND the letterbox.
Step 3: Pack your pen, a stamp that represents you, an ink pad, and a small notebook. 
 Water is a great idea as Sister Too predicted she would die of thirst.
Our hike was longer than we anticipated, and it was hotter than we thought.

You may even want to pack a snack.
Food tastes better when you are outdoors.

Step 4:  Hike, following the directions carefully.

Step 5:  Look, look, look, re-read the directions and find:

A letterbox!  
This is our first.

It's special.
Appears to be an Altoids tin wrapped in camouflage duct tape.

Inside is a tiny notebook wrapped in plastic.
And a hand-carved stamp.
Stamp your stamp into the notebook leaving the date and where you are from.

Take the stamp inside and stamp your small notebook.
It's like a trade.

so someone else can letterbox too.

Here's our second box:

and our third:

This is a SUPER FUN way to get out and enjoy nature!

Plus, you get a souvenir when you are done 
(a collection of stamps in your notebook).
It's a great way to have something affordable (free!) to do on vacation,
as letterboxes are all over the US.
And, you can even make a letterbox of your own to hide.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One of THOSE days...

See this:

70% chocolate.
For SERIOUS needs.

Like today.

1. I was up too late watching the Jets game.
(I just lied there, Mr. was watching the game, I was knitting).

2.  The train picks MR. up at 6:04AM.  SHARP!
5:30 came early today.
So I stayed in bed until 5:40.
Now I am running 10 minutes late all day.

3. I was so relieved to get the sisters off to school that I made the mistake of sitting down,
to pen a Halloween greeting to a friend.
Phone rings:  Sister Too forgot her glasses.
Can I bring them to school?

Of course!  I haven't brushed my hair or teeth, 
and am wearing a ratty sweatshirt 
with egg on it,
 from making hot breakfast this morning.

4.  I ask her to wait outside school so I can just toss the glasses out the window,
thereby not showing my fashion choices for the day.

I must take them inside.

5.  While in the office dropping off the glasses,
Sister is desperate to call me.

Turns out, she has forgotten her swim bag.
Away meet today.
Early release to bus to the event.
Swim bag must be delivered to school by 2PM.

6. My library books are due.
7. Still tired.
8.  Haven't had time for my date with George (the coffee maker).
9.  Did I tell you I am tired?

10.  I need some chocolate.
For medicinal purposes.
You understand.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Walking the farm.

There is a pond beyond the field,
and down a path.

The water is cool,
and the air around it is naturally air-conditioned.

The evening winds down with a fire.

And stories.

And jokes.

For the record,
my corny CLEAN 2nd grade jokes
were welcome int he Amish crowd.

So there!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Scenes

This kid could work as a Gap model.

These yellow jacket wasps give 
bees a bad name! 

They are so aggressive and everyone always says they were stung by a bee.

They love donuts!

Sister's shoes, 
decorated by herself,
and her favorite "pair" of socks.

The old lunch box I had BIG plans for...
sewing kit,
travel crafts,

I lost it in the auction.


 We were treated to a blacksmith demo.

Cowboy Doug is a farrier.

I thought he drove a boat.

Umm, no.  
He makes horseshoes,
and installs them on the horse too!

He can do lots of things.

This is a coat hanger.
The top is fancy and looks like a longhorn steer.
The very same one who would have gored my little dog.

Sister Too played a private concert
for two patient Amish ladies,
who forgave her for her squeaks,
and cheered her efforts.

The bunny in the cage was also in the auction.  

Sister Too begged.
And begged.
Alas, Bunny went to another loving home.

We didn't have room for it in the car.

And Mr. was firm.

Yay Mr.!

Don't worry,
they're still friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More Apple Butter

Farms are beautiful.
And romantic.
Looking at this view I always think:
I'd like a farm like this.

But then I think: 
who would mow it?

And I know I am no farmer.

I was loving these cows.

They are eating the apple peels.

They sure are pretty...

Don't forget about that apple butter.
I said it needs CONSTANT stirring.

These cattle are Longhorns.
Because of their long horns.

We could usually scare them away with our cameras.
They are shy.

We walked right in,

And they began to trot close, and I thought we had made friends.

Turns out, they didn't like the dog.

If our little Gus had taken one step the wrong way,
he's have been wearing one of those horns.

And not in a nice way.

Luckily we (and the dog) were all fine,
and I got some close-up photos of the cows. 

They're pretty, but mean.
Sort of like cheerleaders in high school movies.

Eventually the apple butter is done.

Mmm, smells so good.

I thought  it best to let Farmer Sue jar our apple butter.
No sense in TWO of us getting sticky and burned fingers.

I think it's pretty cool to visit Farmer Sue.
She gives the best party favors!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Butter

This is Doug.
He's a real farmer.
And a cowboy.

Notice that he carries a fork
where Mr. would carry a pen.

He's married to Farmer Sue.

They have a handsome family.

Farmer Sue is really silly sometimes.

She likes to have family reunions
disguised as parties.

This one is called the Apple Butter.

Guess what they do...
make apple butter
over a HUGE cast iron pot.

All day.

It has to be stirred.

All day.

Some people play.

(See this Amish kids in the background?
I *heart* Amish.
Someday Maybe I'll grow up to be Amish.
Probably not.
No wifi on the Amish farm.

Some people read in the comfort of the lovely shade.

Some people stir apple butter.

Some people watch the stirring.

Some people stir.

Don't worry,
I've got plenty more where that came from.