Thursday, June 26, 2008


The Seashell

Hard layers to protect the creature within
A home at the bottom of the sea
Pounded by the surf
Washed to shore by the tide
A treasure grasped by a child
The jewel on a necklace of string

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Found It!

On Saturday, we finally got to do something we had been planning for a long, long time. We went geocaching. And it was so much fun, I feel myself being instantly obsessed with and addicted to it. If you are not familiar with it, geocaching is where you are looking for a cache (small to large size container) which is hidden (usually a wooded area), using the GPS coordinates. Once you find the cache, there is usually a log to sign and there may be little treasures to swap. You don't need a big, fancy GPS device either. We just have a little handheld unit, nothing like the navigation systems that are so popular today. It just needs to give you the coordinates.

We had a lot of errands to run on Saturday, so we thought we would stick something fun in the middle of it to break up the day. We went to
North Park and had time to look for two caches. The first brought us by an old fountain. It was so beautiful there, with ferns and mosses everywhere. John found the first hidden cache. It was a micro-cache with just a log, so we signed it and re-hid it. Here are some pictures from the first find.

"I found it!"

Well Hidden

Lots of ferns

The Fountain of Youth

Now we're ready for our next one. We head over to the swimming pool parking area and start looking. We head back on a nice trail, we're at the right coordinates, and after some searching - We found it. This was a much larger container with a log book and all sorts of neat things to swap. So we left a little stretchy frog toy and took a Nemo light toy. After this find we had to continue on our way, but we're already planning our next adventure. Here are some more pictures.

"We found it !"

"What's this doing here ?!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A Thunderstorm
by Emily Dickinson

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, -
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.

The other day we had an afternoon thunderstorm. Thunderstorm is an understatement. It was severe storming, with hail, lots of thunder and lightning, and flooding. While this was going on, I was safe in my home and I started thinking about thunderstorms and how although they can be very awe inspiring, they can also be very destructive.

I know many people who love thunderstorms. They love to watch them blow up in the summertime or come in from sea. And while the best places to experience this is somewhere flat, like the mid-west or the coast, not necessarily Western Pennsylvania, I still know many people who just love storms. And I have to admit I am one of them, at least I used to be, now as I think about it, I'm not too sure if I still am.

If you have nothing to lose in a storm or the chances of the storm causing you some lingering pain and suffering are very slim, then it is easy to just enjoy these demonstrations of Mother Nature's awesome power. But if that 20 minute storm has the potential to change your life, and not for the better, you have a different attitude towards it. Just ask any one of the thousands of Iowans affected by the recent floods; or someone whose house caught on fire after being hit with lightning; or someone who had a tree fall on their car.

As this storm started pounding the house with rain, I worried: is the roof going to leak, will we lose power and the basement fill up with water because the sump pump can't run, or will a tree fall over and cause untold damage. This picture shows one of our Willow trees after a brief summer storm three years ago. And this wasn't the only damage.

I guess I wish I could still enjoy thunderstorms like I used to, but life's funny ways have stolen that from me. Even if I am traveling away from home I doubt I can enjoy them as I used to. No matter where you are, it's someones home.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


As I went to put some mail in the mailbox the other day, I noticed this butterfly on one of the trees down there and since I had the camera with me, I was able to get some photos. This reminded me of some butterfly photos I took at the beach in North Carolina a couple of years ago. Both times the butterfly stuck around for a while, although both times they kept changing position and both times it was hard to get just the right shot with the digital camera.

Here are my results.
These are from North Carolina in September 2006.

And these are from Pennsylvania in June 2008.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cold Ice on a Hot Day

Well with the air conditioning not working and the inspection able to be done on our one car, this was the week it was going to the shop. A car with no air conditioning is not worth much in 90 degree heat. So Sunday night we make the trek down to the shop. And what a pleasant surprise, the Rita's Ice that was just built right next to the shop was open ! And they were giving away FREE regular ice. It was pretty busy but they were serving everyone pretty fast (I guess when you don't have to collect money it goes a little faster). Although they were still making money as several people ordered their other items. I had the Georgia Peach ice which was good - not too sweet and not too peachy. It was very refreshing.

Well, Monday we had to go and pick the car back up (air conditioning not fixed, but car inspected). And it was another hot, hot day. I had just been mowing the grass so I was quite hot. And low and behold, they were still having FREE ice. So this time I had a Mango ice. Ahhh, so good and refreshing. I'm sure we will be stopping back in when we bring the other car for inspection next month.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Craft (a.k.a. Pool) Party !

Saturday was a crafting day at Peg's house. Well, it was intended to be a crafting day, but who wants to craft in 90 degree weather when there is a beautiful pool nearby. So it was a pool party. Peg has a beautiful pool with a huge deck that her husband Mike built last year. He did a really nice job. I forgot my camera or I could show you a picture of it. We also got to meet Virgil their new puppy. He is a yellow lab and is adorable.

It was great to see all the girlfriends and catch up. Maureen, Joanne, and Kathy were there (along with Peg and myself) and one new girlfriend - Lisa, Peg's cousin. Lisa had brought along an old quilt from her family (her Great-Grandmother's I think) that was in need of some repair. So we were trying to advise her on it.

First we munched on spinach dip and tapenade. Then Peg had delicious rotisserie chicken, tabbouleh, and coleslaw. It was all so good. Finally we had Rita's ice for dessert. That was very refreshing.

I can't wait until we all get together again. Hopefully in a few weeks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Big Brown Triple Crown ?

This Saturday is the third leg of the Triple Crown of Horse racing - The Belmont Stakes. And if Big Brown wins, it will be the end of a 30 year draught for a Triple Crown winner.

So get out your party hats and have some fun.

Try a Belmont Breeze - here is the original recipe by Dale DeGroff

1.5 oz. Gentleman Jack (Jack Daniels)
.75 oz. Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz. Simple Syrup
1.5 oz. Fresh Orange juice
1.5 oz. Cranberry juice

Shake ingredients with ice and top with half 7up and half soda, approx. one ounce of each. Garnish with fresh strawberry, mint sprig and a lemon wedge.

Decorate your table with White Carnations - they are the official flower of the Belmont and the winner is draped with a blanket of approximately 350 of them.

While you're waiting for the post time you can pitch horseshoes.
If you have young children, you can play pin the tail on the horse.

For snacks / food you can always go with a Western (Cowboy) theme. Some ideas would be chips and salsa and any type of barbecue with lots of tasty sauce. Baked beans and corn on the cob would be tasty side dishes.

Have lots of fun but don't forget to watch the race. It could be the first Triple Crown winner in thirty years.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Faith, Family, Fun

This was Lillian's Baptism weekend so it was a weekend full of family and fun. It all went by too fast. Friday started out with lunch in Irwin with the Grandparents who had traveled from Eastern PA. Then later, (much later) that evening the Godparents arrived from Philadelphia.

Saturday was a lazy day, spent just hanging out enjoying time with everyone. This included a highly competitive game of croquet which was won by Angie, with Pete finishing second.

Sunday brought the Baptism and then a cookout before all the visitors had to take their departure. It's always sad when everyone leaves. But we have the memories and lots of photos. Here are a few to help us remember the good times.

"But Aunt Angie, I want to take some pictures with your camera."

"Oh, I'm so tuckered out. It's hard work being a baby"

"Please feed me Grandpop, they starve me!"

"Why do I have to wear this dress, it makes it hard for me to get around."