Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall is in the air

There is a hint of fall all around if you look closely.  Although I haven't turned my heater on yet, there is a light chill in the early morning.  There are tiny patches of red and orange leaves on the larger trees.  And there is FOOTBALL!!!

This time of year in the North Country, you cherish every nice day because you know that before long the cold and snow will set in seemingly forever.  It takes longer to drive to work with the snow and ice.  It takes longer once you get to work to settle in because you have to unwrap and change from your boots into your shoes!

As much as I complain about winter, especially into January and February, it is a part of the four seasons.  I have learned to appreciate the good and the bad of each season.  It is a part of life.  I grew up in the South where there was a long hot summer and a cold damp, rainy winter. . . just two seasons!

Morgan loves playing in the snow!  Sometimes, when it gets really deep, I have to dig a path for her in the backyard.  Then she will find a way to break away from that path and make her own paths!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Morgan's new toy

I picked this up at the pet store yesterday.  I had no idea how much she would like it!  You fill the inside with food (yogurt, peanut butter, etc) and then put it in the freezer.  It's the same idea as the Kong, only this one is tougher and she can't chew it up quickly.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A lazy Saturday morning

Morgan was sleeping, laying with her head in my lap as I enjoyed my coffee while watching Fox and Friends.  As I reached for my iPhone to take these pictures, I disturbed her sleep.  Those eyes are saying, "Did you have to disturb my sleep with that thing?"

Monday, September 1, 2014

A quiet but joyful holiday weekend

As I sat with my glass of wine and a bowl full of fresh cherries tonight, I let my mind wander.  Morgan and I had just played a rough game of tug of war - she loves that! - and she had settled onto the couch next to me with her head in my lap.

Hey, I had a great 31/2 day weekend (I took the afternoon off from work on Friday) and yet it was a mundane, no frills weekend!  On Friday afternoon, Morgan had to go to the vet to update her annual shots.  Next it was a quick trip to pick up my meat order from the farmer I buy all my meat and eggs from - last Friday of the month.  On Saturday and Sunday, I never put on makeup since I didn't plan to leave the house.  Instead, I did several chores around the house.  I put some things from the garage into the shed out back.  I did the usual cleaning and laundry.  But mostly it was "me" time.  I made a large dent in the book I'm reading now, a historical saga by Eugenia Price. . . I love to get lost in a good, long book.

Even though I have a good job that I like, still, the day to day politics and high stress environment can take a toll on your body and your mind.  So a few days of sleeping late and just doing whatever I want to, when I want to, is good for the soul.  And Morgan has enjoyed having me home all day!  She follows me around the house and when she thinks she isn't getting enough attention, a slap on my arm brings me back to what really matters in life!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Taking down the big evergreen tree

The evergreen tree next to my shed had grown out of control, probably 50 to 60 feet high.  It was infringing on my shed.  For a long time, I would get on a ladder each year with a hand saw and cut back the branches that were touching the shed roof.  That got to be more than I could handle.  Not to mention, the tree was preventing me from getting DirecTV because it blocked the southwest sky.  Finally, I called in a tree expert.   I couldn't imagine how they could take down this tree without damaging my house or the shed, but they did!

The neighbors enjoyed the show!  Here is Atraiu, the little boy from across the street, just spellbound watching the man high up in the tree.  Limbs were cut down as he climbed higher.  Then, about 20 feet from the top, he tied a rope around the tree, cut a wedge with a chain saw, and those on the ground pulled it down with precision accuracy!

All the limbs were put into this machine and in the blink of an eye, large branches came out the other end in ground up wood chips!

And there you have the Saturday morning entertainment on my street yesterday!  They did a nice job, including grinding up the stump and raking up the smaller branches.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The candy basket revisited!

Recently I wrote a post on the candy basket at work.  You will recall, we previously had an "old-ladyish" glass "thing" that was way too small.  I grew tired of it and I thought people would appreciate a variety of candy.  Even I had no idea how my new basket filled with dozens of different pieces would take off.

Here you see one of our young Neonatologists (that's a doctor that specializes in newborns) looking for her favorite - Andes mint candy.  I told her I thought those were all gone until I made a trip to Wegmans.

Her persistence paid off!  She dug down far enough and actually pulled two of them out.  Her face tells the rest of the story!

I don't know who has enjoyed that candy basket more, me or the people that find their way to my office!  Some people, following a meeting with my boss, in the room on the other side of the wall from me, will walk past, grab whatever their fingers touch first, say, "Thanks for the candy," and be on their way.  Others make that basket a destination!  They will look at what's on top, then dig down to see what else is available.  When they find what they really like, the look on their face is worth a million bucks!

That basket has become a symbol of joy and respite for me.  We work in a high pressure environment.  If, for only a moment, I can make someone forget the day-to-day stress we all encounter, then that really makes my day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pear and Parsnip Soup

This is a soup I like to make.  It is simple to put together with only three ingredients and it tastes wonderful.

3 or 4 large parsnips, peeled and cut up
3 or 4 large pears, peeled, cored, and cut up
about 6 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pears and parsnips in the chicken broth in a large pot until tender.  With a food processor or hand blender, puree until you get a smooth consistency.

Done!  I told you it was simple.

The flavor is so good alone, that I don't add salt and pepper

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wall of blooms

A number of years ago, I planted these bushes along the fence in my backyard when they were just about 3 feet tall.  This is a member of the hydrangea family.  The blooms start out as huge white blossoms and gradually turn pink over the summer.

All the bushes are over my head and provide a beautiful wall of privacy during the summer and early fall.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Update on Nancy

In a recent post, I wrote about my long time friend, Nancy, who had surgery for cancer last week.  I am pleased to report she is home now and no longer confined to the hospital.

She is sending text messages and has even been on facebook!  It isn't going to be an overnight recovery but she is doing well and improving.  She has strong support from her family and friends and that is so very important.  Equally important, she is going to do everything she can to beat this thing.  Attitude, family and friends support, the best medical care available. . . a winning combination.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Candy Basket

When I came to my current job at the Medical Center three years ago, I was told it was my job to keep the candy jar full. . . and only with special dark Hershey kisses!  I inherited a small glass candy jar with a lid, something you would expect to find in the home of an elderly lady.

Well, I like variety and I never liked that candy jar!  And I have a reputation for stirring up the pot on occasion.  About two weeks ago, I came into work carrying the basket above filled with a variety of candy. . . I had it inside a white plastic bag so that I wouldn't get mugged on the way in from the parking lot.

It was an instant sensation!  "Now THAT'S a candy basket!" one young doctor proclaimed on first finding it!

It has become a popular gathering place and to be honest, I enjoy watching people dig through it to find that perfect piece of candy.  I fill it with everything from hard candy (butterscotch, peppermint, sour balls, lifesavers) to all kinds of chocolate.  I go through the bulk candy department at Wegmans and grab a handful of this and a handful of that.  Taffy is another popular treasure people like to find.

Working in a top ranked major medical center is a big source of stress.  I hope the candy basket can brighten everyone's day and it appears that is just what it does.