Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread House

My son loves to make Gingerbread Houses.  We got a kit a few years ago and he fell in love with decorating them.    This year we picked up a kit the day after Thanksgiving, with every intention of making it in early December.

Well, when my son came home from school with this Gingerbread House:

From Cookie Party

I realized that we hadn't done the kit we bought.  So, Monday night the three of us got to work making the Gingerbread House.

We made sure the walls were stable.

From Gingerbread House

And that the roof was secure.

From Gingerbread House

Then we got down to the decorating!

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

From Gingerbread House

And in no time, we had our Gingerbread House made!!

From Gingerbread House

Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank God for Water Filters!!

So, Saturday we woke up to low water pressure in the house.  Not unusual since the flooding here a few years back.  We have a whole house filter on the water line where it comes into the house, and have to change it every couple of months.  My husband figured it was in need of changing when our neighbor called to borrow the wrench we use to change the filter so he could change his filter.  After further discussion with other neighbors who have no filter we found out they had black water in their lines and toilets.

We continued on through the day, dealing with the low pressure, waiting to change the filter after the cookie party.  Night came and hubby decided to tackle the change in the morning.  He went on-line and learned that a water main had broken, but we did not need to boil the water, as it only contained sediment.

Well, here is what that sediment looked like when he took out our filter this morning:

From Water Filter

Here is what my hand looked like after touching it!

From Water Filter

All I an say is Thank God we had the filter so it did not get into the hot water heater, the water softener, or on me in the shower!!!

Cookie Party

Yesterday my son and I hosted a cookie decorating party.  Everyone brought one-two dozen cookies to share and we provided the sugar cookies to decorate.  It was so much fun!!!

Before everyone arrived, we set the cookies out on platters I found at the dollar store.

From Cookie Party

Then, we got down to the decorating!!

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

My son created an elf cookie on the extra dough:

From Cookie Party

Even the hubby got into it and helped to decorate the floor!!

From Cookie Party

From Cookie Party

Here is what was shared:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies:

From Cookie Party

Peanut Butter Cookies:

From Cookie Party

M&M Cookies:

From Cookie Party


From Cookie Party

Thanks to all of our friends and family for coming to decorate with us.  We really enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again.

Here are some recipes that were shared, too:

Biscotti (Pictured above):

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 baking powder
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 salt
1 1/3 cup almond slices (or butterscotch chips, or chocolate chips or whatever)

Cream butter. sugar and eggs.  Ad dry ingredients and mix well.  Add almonds, (chips, nuts, etc).   Roll dough into a 3"x 13"  log and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake 50 minutes at 350. Cool completely then slice into cookies.  Re-bake until golden brown (if needed).  Dip in melted chocolate and sprinkles as desired.

Cream Cheese Cookie Press Cookies
1 cup of margarine
3 oz. of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp.of vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cream margarine, cream cheese & sugar.  Beat in egg yolk & vanilla.  Blend in flour, salt & cinnamon.  Press out dough in cookie press.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min.

Thanks for sharing your cookies and recipes!! Enjoy!

TSO Concert

Last Sunday (12/13) we went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert in Albany, NY.  When we left home it was raining.  Soon we were in the mixed precipitation of sleet and freezing rain which turned over to snow.  Some of the snowflakes were fifty cent piece sized and could be heard as they hit the windshield of the car. 

Here are some of the pictures I took on the drive up.

It was snowing when we arrived at the Times-Union Arena and parked.  After a quick meal at a place next door, we went into the arena and found our seats.

I had asked a friend who lives just outside of Albany if she would grab us some tickets, and she graciously did.  She could not have gotten us better seats.  We were in the upped level, almost center to the stage.  Now, for those of you who have never experienced a TSO concert-- these are great seats.  You can see all the lights and pyrotechnics that are done from back here.

I took photos of the stage before the concert began with my phone (left the camera in the car-- oops).  I got so wrapped up in watching the show that I did not think to take any pictures during the show.  Which turns out to be a good thing as I can't get the pictures I took to download off my phone.

If you want to see what you missed, you can go to YouTube and search on "TSO Albany, NY 12/13/09" and see what others have put up!!

All I can say is it was AWESOME.  This was my fifth time going and I am already looking forward to going again next year to see what they change and add to make it bigger and better.  If you get a chance to go, take it.  It is well worth it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here are some pictures of the cookies I have made so far this Christmas time.


From Cookies

Peppermint Bark (Chocolate and White):

From Cookies

Snow Balls:

From Cookies

Chocolate Snowballs (these spread out more than they should have, but taste just as good):

From Cookies

From Cookies

I also have fudge made and sugar cookie dough ready to roll out.  Tonight will be thumbprints and later this week--- kolacky's. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cookie Recipe Exchange

Every year we make cookies to give as gifts and to share with family and friends.  This year I thought I would share some of my favorite cookie (and candy) recipes with you.  My goal is for you to share some of your recipes with me.  For all who do submit a recipe, I will collect all the recipes together and send them to you.  Remember, if it is a recipe from a book or website, please give credit to the book/site.  Enjoy!!!

This year I will be making:

Chocolate Crinkles
Sugar Cookies (to decorate)
Snow Balls
Raspberry Fudge Balls

Thumbprint Cookies
This recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.

1/2 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)    
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)                        
1 egg, separated                                      
1/2 tsp. vanilla                                   
1 cup Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
jelly or tinted confectioner's sugar icing

Heat oven to 350.  Mix shortening, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla thoroughly.  Combine flour and salt, stir in,  Roll dough into balls (1 tsp. per ball).  Beat egg white slightly with fork.  Dip balls in egg white.  Roll in nuts.  Place about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet, press thumb gently in center of each.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.  Cool.  Fill with jelly or tinted icing. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Notes:  I like to use green mint jelly and red raspberry jelly for these at Christmastime.  They look very festive that way.

This recipe has been passed down through my family and are a yearly favorite.  You may know them better as Peanut Butter Balls.

1/4 cup margerine
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups rice crispies
Almond bark (or chocolate chips and wax), melted

Cream first three ingredients.  Add rice crispies.  Mix well.  Roll into balls.  Refrigerate 2 hours.  Dip in melted chocolate and set on wax paper.  Store in refrigerator.

Notes:  When dipping them in the chocolate, we always stab the peanut butter ball in the center with a toothpick and dip it in the chocolate, leaving a small circular area uncovered- it makes it kind of look like an eye (hence the name).

This is not a recipe I am using this year, but it was requested by a friend.  It is also from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)           2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar                                                  1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs                                                                 1/4 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups flour                                                   2 Tbsp. sugar
                                                                           2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400.  Mix shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs thoroughly.  Blend flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in.  Shape dough in 1" balls.  Roll in mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Place 2" apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  These cookies puff up at first, then flatten out.  Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Post your recipes to the comments.   I will add more in the next few days.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Getting into the Spirit

The day after Thanksgiving has always been the day we start decorating for Christmas.  The tree goes up and the outside decorations get done.

So, to get you all in the Christmas Spirit, I thought I'd share the transformation of my house (inside and out) with you.

This is how our house started the day.

 Then came the snowman and his trees, and (new this year) the garland on the porch.  **Note to self: next year consult with engineer husband before doing garland so it is not put up 4 times.

Then it was time for a quick trip to the store for another extension cord and to look for lights (each of the 4 net lights we had were only half lighting).  Cord purchased, lights not found, we returned home and decided to use the ones we used to put on the trees (when they were shorter and we could reach them without a ladder) And, Voila.......

Then, after a quick bite to eat, we put Trans Siberian Orchestra on on the Playstation (running off our computer- way cool) and
put up the tree.

This is how the room started.                      These are my two helpers.

The tree is up!                         And the first ornament is being put on. 

The decorated tree and the decorators.  (Yes, I know my antler is broken.  If you look closely, you can see the second antler laying on my head. Somehow, my son broke them.  I put them on and told my husband I was the reindeer who had had too much to drink.)

And the stockings were hung on the wall with great care.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cookie Recipe

i've been talking about cookies with friends so I decided to post this recipe for all of you.  I don't remember where I got it from, but it is an easy recipe that anyone can do (and change up).

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Heat oven to 350.

1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute- like Splenda)
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth- I use smooth)
1 egg

Combine sugar and egg.  Add peanut butter.  Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet about an inch apart (they don't spread much).  Cross hatch with a fork.  Bake for 8-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.


Chocolate Chip PB Cookies: Add chocolate chips (I use the miniature ones)- about half  of a 12 ounce bag is good.

Bar Cookies: Pat dough into the bottom of a greased brownie pan (I spray mine with cooking spray) and bake.  When you remove it from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let them melt.  When they are softened, spread then around like you would frosting.  Let set, then cut into bars.

Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm posting this early as I know I wil be cooking, eating, spending time with the family, and watching football tomorrow and will not have time to be here.


As I look back over the year, I have so many things to be thankful for, so here is a small list.

I'm thankful my family, and my friends (those I see regulary, those I see sporadically, and those I've only seen on-line).  I'm thankful for my health and my job. 

I'm thankful to all of the men and women in uniform who work everyday to keep us safe at home and abroad.  I'm thankful for the officers and emergency personnel who risk their lives and give their time to help us.  I'm thankful to the families of all these people who give them the love and support they need to do their jobs. 

I'm thankful for all the things that I have and the abilities I've been given. 

I'm thankful I live in a country where I can say what I want, without fear, even if someone else doesn't agree with me. 

Feel free to share what you're thankful for in the comments.

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means I need to plan what we will be having for our feast that day.  Of course there will be turkey and cranberry sauce (how can you have Thanksgiving without turkey or cranberry sauce??)   So, here's how my menu is looking:


Roasted Butter Herb Turkey
Mashed Potates and Gravy (homemade)
Stuffing (Stove Top, of course)
Cranberry Sauce (the jellied kind, not the berries)
Sweet potatoes (maybe- not sure yet)


Pumpkin Pie
Caramel  Pie (an ice cream type thing my sister-in-law makes- very yummy- I'll get the recipe to post)
Chocloate Cake (new recipe Mother-in-law is trying out)


Cider and Hot Damn (heated in CrockPot)
Cranberry Bog (NYS Wine- from Montezuma winery)
Soda and plain cider (for the kids)

What's on your menu?  Post in comments.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Technology is great - except when it doesn't work.  Although, at least in my case, it is usually the operator and not the technology.

I look back at when I was younger and try to remember how I got along without the internet and cell phone and all the goodies I have now.  It seems like I've had them forever.

I love the internet.  We've met so many cool people off the internet.  We have a great group of friends we camp with throughout the year.  In the past, it would have just been whoever we met up with at the campground.  Now we camp with people from all over the US and Canada.

I've also found the joys of the fan site.  Thanks to my love for Leverage, I have met a great group of people at Always Christian Kane.  The webmistress does a great job, and I had the privilege to meet her and one of the site moderators at the Columbus Concert I went to. Where else can you chat back and forth with a bunch of people from around the world who have many things in common?  It is so AWESOME!!!!

I wonder what my son will look back at and say, "I wonder how I got along without....."  Time will tell.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I have recently been talking with several friends and family members about some recipes I've found that I really enjoy using. I thought (since deep down I really am lazy) I would post links to them here to share with all of you. None of these recipes are mine, nor are the sites they are at- if you send them on, please be sure to give proper credit to the owners of them.

Rattlesnake Steak (there is NO snake in this recipe):

I came across this recipe after watching an interview with actor/singer Christian Kane (yes- the same guy I went to see in concert). If you like bleu cheese and bacon, you should enjoy this.


Rice Pudding:

I love Cozy Shack Rice pudding- it is so creamy and good. So, I was looking for a recipe and stumbled across one that uses your left over rice from Chinese take out. It is AWESOME!!!


I started using this recipe about two Thanksgivings ago and have found it to make a very flavorful and moist turkey. (That says a lot, as I am not a big turkey eater).

Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You!!!

To all those who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces and to their families:


Freedom is not free and I greatly appreciate the sacrifices you and your families have made to allow us the freedoms that we have.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night?

On our way back from Ohio, my friend and I were talking about writing. "It was a dark and stormy night" was said, to which she said "except it wasn't dark or stormy." I thought that could be the fun start of a story, so here we go.

He wished it was a dark and stormy night, or at least dark and night, but it was the middle of the afternoon, and the sun shone brightly in the cloudless blue sky. He sighed and looked at the clothes that lay on his bed, longing to change into them, but knowing he had to wait.

"When will it be time?" he asked his mother as he walked into the kitchen.

"Soon. You just need to find something to do to make the time go by faster." She told him with a knowing smile.

"If I had a time manipulation gun I could make it be time." He said, tipping his head to the side as he considered his options.

He returned to his room and pulled out his Lego's, quickly snapping the blocks together to create a gun shaped object. He walked back into the kitchen and pointed the gun at the clock.

"What are you doing?" His mother asked as she pulled a tray of food from the oven.

"This is my time manipulation gun."

"How does it work?" She asked.

"You point it at a clock and it moves time ahead to when you want it to be."

"Hmm. What if you like what you are doing and don't want time to move?"

He wrinkled his nose. "I hadn't thought of that." He paused for a moment. "If you like what you are doing, you can use it to freeze time."

"Interesting. A device to speed up or slow down time. Is it working?"

"What do you mean?"

"Have you used it to speed up or slow down time?"

He rolled his eyes. "It's just a concept, not a real working model."

"Oh." She looked at the clock. "You better go get changed. You need to leave soon."

He looked at the clock, surprised to see how much time had passed while he had worked on the time gun. He returned to his room and changed into the clothes that were laid out on his bed.

"Don't forget these." His mom handed him a flashlight and a bag. "Have fun!!!"

"Thanks, Mom."

He skipped out the front door and made his way up the block. The sun had set, giving him the dark night, without storms, that he had been waiting for. He stopped in front of a small house whose porch light was on. Squaring he shoulders, he marched up to the door and knocked.

The door creaked open. Screams and eerie howls spilled into the night air. He swallowed, held put his bag and cried out "Trick or treat!"

Where did October go?

Wow- I can't believe it is the end of October already. It was such a busy month here. I am putting in my request t the scheduling gods that next year all the things that I need/want to do in October be spread out a little more.

The 4-7 of the month found me in Albany for training for work. I attended classes, taught a class, carted stuff around, and hung out and partied with a great group of friends (I had an absolute blast and my co-worker saw me let my hair down for the first time ever!!!!)

I returned home on Wednesday, worked on Thursday and Friday found me packing up for a weekend trip to Ives Run State Park with our camping buddies from the internet. I know- we're crazy. I still remember when, about 6 years ago, my DH told me he had just booked a camping trip for us with a group of people he had been chatting with online. I believe I said, or at least thought, "Are you nuts?" We had a great time and could not have asked for nicer people to hang out with. We try to hit at least one trip with all of them a year.

During the trip I picked up a miserable cold which tried to keep me from having fun (it did not succeed, it just kept me from staying up late). We had a great time. My DS and the other kids had a Hickory Nut factory going. They were cracking open the nuts, taking out the meat inside, and piling them up to cook over the campfire.

After this trip, my good friend and I took a trip to Ohio to an Eric Church concert. As my DH will say, I did not go to the concert to see Eric Church, but to see Christian Kane. Christian and his band were the opening act. They did a great job (even though he was sick and losing his voice). My only complaint is that the Church fans where we were sitting were rather rude- chatting through the whole set. I know they weren't there to see the opening band, but still, have we lost all of our manners?

If you are interested in the photos and video that I have from the concert it can be found here. (Link has been fixed). I used the new camera DH bought for us. It takes HD video and is good in low light- great camera and easy to use (thanks, honey!!!). I have 2 videos in here- the first is very short as I thought I was recording, but wasn't- got the whole second song, though.

Now we are getting ready to host a Halloween party for family and friends. Hopefully things will slow down here a little and I will get back to work on my writing. I have decided to hold off on sending my Princess story to Lulu. I am thinking my Princess might be too MarySue (For those of you who, like me, had never heard this term before, it means she can do anything, always saves the day, never has any problems, etc.) So, I am still thinking about what to do with this, as well as working out the logistics of my knight story. If you are interested in giving an opinion, let me know- I can use all the eyes I can get.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Wow!! What a couple of weeks. After returning from vacation, I have been covering for someone else at work on vacation, and my time has disappeared from me.

We made a trip to the NY State Fair last week (I was disappointed with it- there was not a lot to hold my interest on the day we went.)

I have been working on polishing my story to get it ready for submission. A BIG thanks to all of you who have helped by reading it and finding my errors/typos. I have one more read through to do and then I need to design my cover and I will be ready to publish it. Yea!!!!

School starts up again next week, so hopefully I will have some more time back to get things done. With DS home I have added an hour of travel to my work day so I can leave him with Grandma. (It works out in the long run, but boy does that hour add up). We are all hoping this will be a great school year.

September is looking to be a quiet month for us, but October will be busy. I have training classes in Albany, we'll take our last camping trip, and then a friend and I are taking a girls only weekend away to Ohio to see Eric Church and Christian Kane in concert.

We are scheduling a trip to a least one Renaissance fair and making arrangements to see Tran- Siberian Orchestra before Christmas. This has become a yearly concert that we do- if you have never seen it I highly recommend it. The show is absolutely awesome. Cool lights, great music, a story to go with it.

Somewhere in all of this, I will get the first story finished and the second one ready. And maybe I'll get my attic cleaned out so I can buy a new keyboard. (I promised myself a keyboard as a reward for cleaning up a place to store it- boy do I miss having one.) As they say, "It never stops."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Wow! Where does the time go? We just got back from a 9 day vacation -2 spent driving, the rest, mostly, spent in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was an awesome trip. We went hiking in the Smokies, played at Dollywood, and went to a cool science-y type hands on place called "WonderWorks". We also hit the aquarium in Gatlinburg.

We spent a day at the race track in Bristol watching the modifieds and the trucks race- it was very cool- great track to go to. I got a new tony Stewart shirt, my husband(DH) got a neat Bristol shirt, and our son(DS) got a Denny Hamlin "COT" car (as he's calling it).

We swam almost everyday in the pool at the campground- great place recommended by some people at PUX. DH and DS drove go karts, and we all did the bumper cars (I think I did the most hitting).

We went to the Comedy Barn and laughed through the whole show. The next day we went to breakfast and a show- we saw the Blackwood Singers (and a comedy sketch). I loved it- they are a great Southern Gospel group with an interesting backstory.

All in all it was a great time away- we liked it so much we are talking about going back in the winter.

School is just around the corner- DS just learned who his teacher is today (a little late in my opinion to be getting school supply lists, but at least we got it!!!)

Hope to post up some pictures in the next few days- especially the one of the bear (yes, it is a real bear).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mad Libs

We went out to dinner tonight and there was a mad lib on my son's menu. It was a blast reliving all those memories of doing mad libs as a child, so I decided to share my fun with you.

For those of you who don't remember mad libs, you make a list of words then insert them into a paragraph. It usually comes out total nonsense- which is the fun of it.

Here is a mad lib for you- let me know how yours turned out by sharing it in the comments.

You will need:

1) adjective
2) adverb
3) verb
4) noun-plural
5) descriptive phrase
6) adjective

Today was (adjective). I was (adverb) (verb) at my job. I dealt with a bunch of (noun-plural). They were (descriptive phrase). Hopefully tomorrow will be (adjective).

Monday, August 3, 2009

USPS update

I've been researching the USPS after a post to my article made me question how it actually is funded. I knew that most of the funding came from the postage that we buy (and mailers, and other products they sell) but what about our tax dollars? I always assumed that we paid for the USPS from our taxes.
So, after a Google search (phrased many different ways) I am still unsure of how the USPS is funded. I found an article that reference an amount of tax money received each year by the USPS, but have no idea how they determined that.
What I did find was this:
On the USPS website, there are several speeches that have been made to Congress by the Post Master General. Many of them indicate that the Post Office is to be run as a profit neutral company, funding its daily operations from the money received from sale of stamps and products. There is nothing I can find that shows what "daily operations" encompass.
There is also a bill before Congress, requesting an amendment so they can drop a day of delivery (cutting costs) and allow them to use money (slated for 2017) from 2009-2011 to cover the cost of Retiree Health benefits. You can find this article here:

If you find anything that will direct me to where I can learn about how the USPS is funded, I'd appreciate it. Always good to correct assumptions.

Busy Week

Wow- last week was a very busy week. With training for the first half and planning a surprise birthday party for the last half it was crazy.

Thanks to all of you who helped make (and keep) the surprise a surprise. My husband had a blast and it was great to see all of you.

This week should be a lot less hectic -unless I decide to totally revamp another room in the house like I did this past Saturday. See, it all started with realizing I needed to clean my kitchen for the surprise party (I had also found some tiny ants in the garbage can and didn't want them in the rest of the kitchen). So, I emptied out most of the furnishings from the kitchen -completely blocking the hallway and my son's bedroom (which I should have realized would be an issue). Then I mopped ( and scrubbed) and decided that the microwave really should be by the stove, not on the other side of the room. And do I really need that cabinet in this room, couldn't I move it someplace else? So several hours later I had a clean, restructured kitchen. I never knew I had so much room by the doorway (now that it isn't blocked with kitty stuff). And the extra cabinet is great on the back porch. The best thing, though, is my husband really thought I was just on a cleaning spree because I didn't want ants in the house.

I am hoping to spend a good part of this week finishing my final edits on my story and then seriously looking into Lulu or Blurb or CreateSpace and getting it published. We'll see what happens (my plans never seem to go as I think they should). Then I can get editing my next story.

Yes, I have about 4 stories that are in various stages of development. When I get stuck with one, I work on another, then I come back to it later with fresh eyes- or as my friend says, you come back to it and start it all over again completely. (Actually, I write new things and mix in previous things I've written.) It isn't always completely new (unless I am changing perspective).

Well, time to get to work on the writing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainy Day

Today is a very rainy day. It always brings to mind the Carpenter's song "Rainy Days and Mondays" (although today is a Wednesday).

In my mind today feels like a Monday. I just returned from a training trip (it went very well) and I am quite tired today. The grey skies and rain are adding to the tiredness making me feel that this is a good day to curl up with a book or a good movie. My son, seeing how tired I was, even let me lay down in bed and watch TV for awhile while he played on the PS3. What a kid!!!!!

I had a chance to read through the story I am working on while I was away. When I took it on vacation to read I hated it and wanted to start it all over again. So, I wrote 12 new pages for the story to create a new opening and change my characters a little. Not sure I wanted to go down this new road, I decided to re-read what I already had written. This time I found it not to be as horrible as I had originally thought (although the number of typos I found- after 2 other people had read it for me- was quite amusing.)

I marked up some changes I wanted to make- especially correcting the typos- and made it to the end of the first part of the quest. Hopefully I will get through the rest of it later today, then I can correct it on the computer and look into Lulu again.

I have a second story ready to flush out (and I've already been told that I need a sequel for it). So, keep checking back to see how the writing/publishing is going.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Have you ever gotten a piece of mail sent to you in an envelope from the Post Office with a generic "Sorry your mail got torn to pieces in our sorting machine. Here's what we could gather up of it" type message?

Or, you have a tracking number for a package and you go to their site to check on its estimated delivery and the site is down.

If this was FedEx or UPS you'd call them and complain, yet when the Post Office does it, you just accept it as "business as usual".

This past Christmas we purchased a jug of maple syrup for my husband's mother. It was sent USPS from two counties west of us. We waited and waited. Erik checked the tracking number and saw that the package was listed as "Lost". We contacted the shipper and they said they would see what they could track down for us. The next day a large box came from the Post Office. It was our missing syrup.

It had our address clearly written on the mailing label and bright orange fragile stickers on every side. But the most notable things was that the box was severely crushed. It looked as though someone had used it as a football or soccer ball.
(Fortunately for us, the syrup was undamaged.)

I keep thinking about this every time the price of stamps go up. We pay for the services the USPS gives, yet because they are a government agency we accept their mediocre service as standard, when UPS or FedEx would be put out of business for behavior like this.

Have we become so complacent that we expect our government to treat us poorly and when they do we just accept it as standard procedure? We pay for the services we receive. Don't you think it's time that we expect the same kind of service from government agencies as we do from private companies?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Alarm Clock

I have the best alarm clock in the world. It's name is Jackie (usually called Jack, or Jackers, or Jacks). She's a cat.

She had figured out our scheduled quite well. She knows that my husband is up by 5 during the week, so on the weekends when he hasn't gotten up, she hops up onto the bed and walks on me. Then she licks my face and hair. I will usually pet her, hoping she'll lay down. When that doesn't work (for either of us) she jumps onto the headboard and rubs her head on the lamp. Then she'll knock Erik's glasses of onto the bed. When that doesn't work, she dumps the magazines he has on the bed onto his head. Usually this enough for him to sit up and she jumps down and heads out of the room. (at which point, we both lay back down.)

She will usually wait about five to ten minutes before starting in again. Sometimes we tell her it's okay, we don't have to go to work and she'll lay down with us. Although, lately she has gotten very diabolical- she pushed the lamp off the bed, just missing my head.

She has also thrown the remote under the bed- anything to get you to get up. When all else fails, she bats at the chords for the light and our actual alarm clock. Our friends keeps telling us that's the reason bedrooms have doors. I just smile because I know she would sit outside the door and scratch at it until she's let in (she does that with the bathroom door.)

I wouldn't trade her for anything. At least this way I know if the power is out, she will make sure we know what time it is.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I have the girlie, girlie princess, so now I need the prince, right? But not just any prince. I mean, he shouldn't be like Prince Charming, or Prince Erik, or any of the other Disney princes. They are too perfect, like the princess. He can't be like Aladdin, 'cause let's face it, Aladdin is a reverse Cinderella story (with Aladdin being Cinderella).

The prince would need to be handsome, of course -this is a fairy tale of sorts after all. He would be skilled as a knight and the perfect gentleman. (Sounds like all the Disney guys, doesn't it). But what if his hair was longer than it should be? What if he preferred to dress more as a commoner than royalty? What if he thought a princess or queen should do more than look pretty? What if he was a little bit of a rebel?

How would my perfect princess react to him? (She would certainly be seeking a Disney type prince) Could the girlie girl fall for a prince like this? Could a prince like this fall for a girlie girl?

Hmm- I guess I'll have to get typing so you can see.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Leverage Season 2

Leverage started it's second season Wednesday night (I am soooo happy it is on again.)

I actually stumbled upon the show by accident this past spring. You see, my friend gave me the first two seasons of Angel to watch while I recuperated from surgery. (She really was only trying to be helpful). Another friend loaned me all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the rest of Angel so I could get the background of Angel (as it was a spin-off) and see how the shows were meant to play off of each other. (They were great. I loved them, much to the chagrin of my husband).

Because I had time on my hands, I started watching NCIS (I liked Mark Harmon in previous shows, and was curious about this one) and Bones (because of David Boreanas, aka Angel). Well, Michael Weatherly is in NCIS, and I was curious what else he was in (besides Dark Angel), so I did a search on him on the Tivo, and found the movie "Her Minor Thing", which I recorded and watched. The other male lead in the movie is Christian Kane- I immediately recognized him as the lawyer from Angel. (Very talented guy- acts, does his own stunts, and sings, too).

I did an IMDB search on Christian and saw he was in a series on TNT called Leverage. Well, of course I found this out after the season had ended, but had become very familiar with watching shows on the internet (how else could I catch up on 2 seasons of Bones?)

TNT had the entire season on-line, so I watched it in the order listed at IMDB. It was great, but a couple episodes seemed out of order, so I did a little digging and found that TNT had played them out of order (there is a great answer to why on Kung Fu Monkey- see blogs I'm following). So, I re-watched them in the correct order- much better.

The series is about of group of con-men (and women) led by a former insurance agent (who caught all of the thieves at one time) and how they work outside the law to help people the law doesn't help. The characters are well written, and the actors work very well together.

So, Wednesday night I eagerly awaited the season premier (my husband, son, a friend and I played Rock Band to pass the time). And all I can say is, "Yeah!!!!"

I had a problem with the car crash (a little too unrealistic, but the cgi and explosion were awesome ). But the rest was great. Can't wait to see it next week.

For those of you interested in watching it, it airs at 9:00 PM on TNT. Enjoy!!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trickle Down Economics

I remember growing up in the eighties and hearing President Regan speak about trickle down economics. I also remember the media impressing on all of us that he was just giving favors to those greedy rich people and forgetting about the middle class. Yet, if you look back, the eighties was a time of economic fortune for many (including the middle class).

But, trickle down economics doesn't work. What effects the wealthy in our country has no bearing on the middle class or beyond. Yet, have you ever noticed that when the wealthy among us cut back on their spending, it doesn't take long for it to effect everyone else?

Fast forward to today. In Tioga County, the county next to me, Lockheed Martin laid off 600 workers yesterday. These were mostly people who had been working on the new Presidential helicopter fleet. According to local news reports the federal government had already spent $6 billion dollars on this new fleet. Tioga and Broome County benefited from the jobs that were created in the Owego facility. New buildings were built, and families moved into the area.

Here is where the trickle down economics comes in. See, to me, trickle down doesn't just mean that when the wealthy spend money it trickles down through the economic cycle creating jobs, which create wealth, and creates more jobs and so on. It also has a reverse effect when the rich don't spend.

With these 600 jobs gone from our economy, the trickle down reach spirals out, like the ripples from the pebble in the pond. These 600 people will not bring in the same income (there really is no where in this area they can find a comparable job and salary), therefore, they will pay less in State and Federal income taxes (which is another issue for another day). They may have to move from the area. If they have children, this will reduce the student population in schools which, in turn, may reduce the amount of teachers needed. Not to mention the companies that supplied them parts for the helicopters will lose a market that could cause them to lay off more people. With all of these people unemployed spending will be cut back. This will effect retail sales and result in jobs lost there, as well, creating what could be a never ending cycle.

But, as the media tried to teach us years ago, trickle down does not work. Right.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Great Weekend

Is there anything better than just sitting around and relaxing at your campsite? (Once you've gotten your pop-up all set-up and said "Hi!" to all your old friends, and some new ones too, of course.)

Just lazing around in the sun watching your son play with friends and chatting with your friends while enjoying a cold, frosty "root beer".

We had a wonderful time with our friends this weekend hanging out at Little Buffalo State Park in Pennsylvania. We did some geocaching, toured a working grist mill (complete with water wheel- it was WAY cool!)

We also had a great pot luck and after went running from walls of rain. We knew the storm was coming, and were frantically packing up the stuff from outside the camper and putting up the awning (had been told there were high winds expected) when the rain moved in. You could see the line of rain move as if it were a wall of water (you could hear the roar it made too).

The extra day we added allowed us to spend time with friends at the pool (complete with spray ground and water slides). The kids had a great time in the spray ground and pool, while the adults enjoyed whipping around the turns of the water slide. It was a blast.

I got to see a Kindle (wow are they cool!!!) and finished reading the first part of Rogue Warrior. It is a very interesting book about the man who founded Navy SEAL team 6. (I just renewed it today so I can finish it- I haven't taken a lot of time to read lately.)

I talked about my blog, and my princess story (yes, I am still working on that- maybe I'll post some new parts this week) and found a possible proof reader (Yeah!!!- It's always nice to get another view point that says "Hey you missed something" for example, "maybe you should add some more mauve instead of all pink."- It's been taken under advisement.)

What a great relaxing weekend it was.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Great Day

Amazing!!! We've had two days in a row with sunshine and no rain. Today the temperature is even what one would expect for July.

I think the Global Warming people had it wrong (in so many ways). There is, and always has been, climate change. But think about it, did man really effect them weather? I mean, look at the dinosaurs. They died to overheating of the earth, right? So, how was man responsible for that?

I have been loving the cooler temperatures we've been having this year (not big on the hot, humid, days), but could do with a bit more sunshine.

Well, here's to a few more sunny days (without rain- even though that's what the forecasters are calling for).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Taking the Time

It always takes me back when people ask me how I have time to do all the things I do. Take this blog for instance, I had a friend ask me where do I find the time.

It got me thinking about where I do find the time. I mean, I keep a fairly clean house. You might not be able to eat off the floor, but who'd want to anyway. I keep the dishes clean -they might pile in the sink waiting to be put away, but they're clean. I keep the laundry done- I even have a "laundry day". (This week it's today.) I work a few days a week and spend time with my husband and son, and also with friends.

Somewhere in all of this, I also manage to eek out a few minutes to write, read, watch TV, or whatever else I find interesting at the time.

Before I was married my mother-in-law gave me some advice. She said the dishes, the vaccuuming, and all the cleaning will always be there, but your children will not. Take the time and enjoy it. You can always clean later.

So, I guess I adopted that into this. There are always going to be chores to do (and most of the little ones get done quickly). Do what you need to do, but always give yourself some time in the day to do something you want to do. That, my friends, is how I have time to do all the things I want to in a day. I take the time to do it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Too much pink???

I am working on the opening for my story. Do you think this room has too much pink or not enough? I am going for overly girlie here on purpose.

Princess Kaylee held up her hand and carefully examined each nail as she reclined on the velvet rose lounge. Satisfied they were perfectly manicured, she lowered her hand and sighed. Waiting was so tedious.

Rising slowly, she drew the satin belt of her pale pink organza robe tight around her narrow waist, covering the pale pink satin nightgown she still wore. She never should have changed her mind about her gown. Now, it would be hours before she was ready for breakfast, a fact her stomach was all too happy to inform her of.

She walked around her room, past the dressing table, to her canopied bed. She brushed her hand over the rumpled pink satin sheets, contemplating crawling back in while she waited for the maid.

Instead, she curled her toes into the deep rose carpeting and looked around the room for something to occupy her while she waited. She smiled at the soft glow the oyster shell pink walls gave as they reflected the rays of sunlight that slipped past the gap in the deep rose curtains hanging over the windows.

Hmmm. I think that's enough pink. But really, what do you think?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Paint Therapy

Wow- I can't believe it! We've had three days in a row without rain and there is this bright yellow orb hovering above with a blue background behind it. I had almost forgotten what sun and blue sky looks like.

I have finally been able to catch up on painting the foundation of the house. For weeks I've had the paint, but when I had the time it was either raining or threatening to rain. I figure there's no sense in painting in the rain or if it is going to rain, so I've been waiting. Well, today it was wait no more. But, I ran out of paint before I finished the wall. Oh well, I'll get more paint and hope for another nice day soon.

I love painting. It gives me time to let my mind wander and work out problems (real or imaginary). I can hold conversations with myself or work out my character issues while my hand automatically dips the brush into the paint can, swipes off the excess paint, then applies it to the wall. Of course, I do end up getting paint on me (that's the way people know you painted, right?) It's free therapy.

Today I was able to think about my princess story some- I think I know how I want to start that now. In fact, I plan on working on that when I'm done here. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll need more paint therapy tomorrow after work.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Awesome Day

Yesterday was the best Fourth of July ever!!! How could you go wrong spending time with family and friends at an airshow followed by an awesome fireworks display?

I am still in awe of the amazing talent that we witnessed at the Binghamton Airshow yesterday. From acrobatic planes, to wing walkers, to our military's finest, the show had it all. My personal favorites were the Harrier Jet (what cool technology we have in our planes), the C-130 JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) demonstration, and of course, the Blue Angels. They flew so close together, there were times it looked like their wings were resting on the canopy of the next plane. That's trust of your fellow pilot. They were so in tune with each other, their turns made it seem as if they were all sitting on a piece of glass and someone was tipping and turning it- they moved as one unit- it was AWESOME.

Talking with some of the pilots after the show, it was amazing to hear them (who are currently serving our Country) thank those before them who had served in the past. Our men and women in uniform are truly the best.

The Town of Union, as usual, put on a great fireworks display to cap off the night. We had a great walk up to and back from the park. (We still find it easier and faster to walk than drive). Overall it was a great day to reflect on how fortunate I am to live in this great Country.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Over the last several weeks I've been reminded how blessed I am to live in this great counrty. I know it has changed A LOT since I was a child (my husband and some friends were discussing this recently), but I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the world.

Where else can you gather to tell the government that you don't like what they're doing without fear of reprisal? Where else can you work at a job you want to have, or go to a college of your choice to study the field of your choice?

I've also been thinking a lot about our military. My nephew will be joining the Army this fall. I am so proud of his decision and of others like him who are willing to give of their time and effort to help keep this county safe. To all of our men and women in uniform (home and abroad) I thank you for your service and dedication to our country.

As the Lee Greenwood song says "I'm proud to be an American" on her birthday, and everyday of the year!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Awaiting Airshow

I am looking forward to the airshow at the Binghamton Airport tomorrow. Yesterday I was able to watch the Blue Angels as they practiced. It was so cool, driving home, to have them fly over in formation and see how close they get to each other.

This morning, two of the pilots were talking on the radio said they fly within 18 inches of each other while going 350-400 mph. Wow!!!!

I am in awe of the talent of our pilots and all of our men and women in uniform. Thank you all for all you do to keep America the best it can be!!!!!

Hope you can get a chance to see the show- it should be great!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Perfect Princess gets revised.....again

So, I've been working on writing a story. I thought I had it done and was ready to think about publishing it, but over the weekend I read through it and decided it still needs work.

Actually, I read three or four pages and decided I didn't like the way I started it (description of scene rather than action and dialogue) and I had made my main character too nice (as opposed to too witchy as she had been in a previous version.)

I've had a hard time capturing her- she is supposed to be the perfect pampered princess (but I still want her to be a nice girl, not a snob!) It's such a fine line. See, in this story, the perfect, pampered princess (who is really girly) has to rescue the prince. Along the way she learns what she really can do and who she really is and, of course, she learns about friendship and love.

I think I know where I am going with it now (after spending several days thinking about her in my mind) and will start working on my revisions. I'll let you know how it goes- I'm always looking for people to proof read for me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Assateague Island

We had an amazing time this past weekend camping at Assateague Island State Park with some of our internet camping friends (real people friends, not the horses).

The horses walk (and run) through the campground as if the people aren't even there.

We even had some crash our potluck dinner- but we convinced them they'd rather not stay.

It was a great time away with friends and family. Looking forward to more outings this summer!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to my world

Well, I've finally done it. I've created my own blog. After spending time lurking around reading other blogs, I've finally decided to create one of my own.

I am looking forward to having a place to share my thoughts, photos and miscellaneous ramblings with all of you. Hopefully you enjoy it, too! Feel free to let me know- I look forward to hearing from you.