Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Little Surprises

I'm off work until Monday, January 4. Today I have decided to stay home and not venture out. I watched a Netflix movie, did some laundry, and I'm trying to talk myself into clearing the driveway of snow.

But there is one thing I did, hardly without even thinking, that brought a smile to my face. I got a new picture of my three grandsons for Christmas. I walked past my dresser and saw it laying there and decided to put it in a frame. So I picked up a frame off the chest of drawers that had an older picture of the three boys and decided that picture should be replaced. I opened up the back of the frame, removed the cardboard and three pictures fell out. The two that were underneath, and not showing in the frame, are what grabbed my attention. The first one was a picture of Kevin as a baby, sitting up holding a big baseball glove and a baseball. The second one, with Kevin maybe a couple of years old, showed him sitting in front of the camera with a darling smile on his face. Was Kevin ever THAT small??? It is hard to imagine that far back. . . even back before Jake and Andrew came along. Kevin was born in 2000. Where does time go?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My most unique Christmas present

I got a lot of nice things for Christmas - a new picture of my grandsons, earrings, a new cookbook (that I didn't already have!. . . more on that in a minute), clothes. But the most unusual one that I got is a bookmark! One of Marisa's friends makes these and sells them at craft fairs. When I first opened it up, I thought it was a piece of jewelry and in my mind, I was scrambling to think, "How do you wear this???" I'll bet you have never seen anything like this! I hadn't.

It really is a lot nicer than these pictures show.

Oh! As for the cookbook! It is a joke in my family about my cookbooks. I guess you can say I'm a "cookbookaholic". . . when I see a new cookbook that looks good, I just can't let go of it! I must have well over 100. . . I've had a lot of them for over 40 years. I've never taken the time to count them all. I got "the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook" No, Marisa and Michael, I didn't already have this one!!!

And while we are on the subject of unique gifts, check out Marisa's website, She makes wonderful bath products that you will love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How'd that happen???

Ugghh. . . I needed a few things from Wegmans (groceries). So I hurried there before the crowds got bad. . . after all, it is Christmas Eve and the last minute shoppers are out in force. The two main things I needed were milk and eggs. I distinctly remember putting a gallon container of milk in my cart.

At the checkout, I made a mistake in the little machine where you swipe your Wegmans Shoppers card and then my debit card. I've never done that before and I was frustrated, so my attention was focused on getting it right. The attendent managed to get all my purchases in one re-usable bag. I had bought a cantalope, so the weight of the bag didn't tip me off that something was wrong.

It wasn't until I got home and was unpacking the bag of groceries that I realized there was no milk. I was dumbfounded. I ran to the car because I had left the cash register receipt on the front seat. There was no milk listed as a purchase!

Somewhere between putting the milk in my shopping cart at the dairy case and checking out, that gallon of milk grew legs and walked away.

I refuse to go back today. . . I'm not totally out of milk and I can survive until the weekend. The crowds were growing by the minute when I was leaving and I don't do crowds!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ah! The package is in the mail!

Can't tell you how good it feels to know that I finally got the Christmas package going to the "Southern Contingent of the Bennett Family" in the mail tonight. I had everyone's present except for Kevin, my oldest grandson. I ordered his present online over a week ago and I was beginning to wonder what happened to it. I was going to mail the rest of the packages on Saturday and send Kevin's whenever it came. Well, we all know what happened in the Mid-Atlantic States on Saturday! Deep snow! Ten inches of snow in the South is much worse than ten inches up here. They don't have the equipment to deal with it down there like we do.

Then I couldn't decide if it would be best to wait till conditions cleared down there to mail it or not. Kevin's package came today. After work I quickly put the presents in a box, stuffed packing paper in the box so the presents wouldn't get knocked around inside and drove to the post office. Thankfully, they are open till 7:00 pm this week.

I still have Michael and Marisa's presents to wrap. But they are here in Rochester so there is no stress getting their presents out the door!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Midtown Plaza

Those outside of Rochester won't be able to understand my feelings.

Midtown Plaza, the country's first indoor mall, was built in the 1960's. I moved to Rochester in 1974 and at that time downtown Rochester was a fun place to go - day or night.

Through the 70's and 80's, downtown Rochester thrived. Then, like a lot of other big cities, Rochester slowly became a place you didn't want to go to.

On the local news these days, they are talking about the tearing down of Midtown Plaza. It brings tears to my eyes. Yes, it has been closed for years now, and this day was inevitable. But still, it hurts.

I have a lot of memories of that place over the years. I remember evenings out to dinner with friends at the Top of the Plaza, a very nice restaurant at the top of the Midtown tower. When I was a suburban housewife in the 1970's and early 1980's, there were the Sibleys and McCurdy's department stores. . . THE place to shop for quality and variety of merchandise. The suburban Sibleys and McCurdy's just didn't have the extensive variety that the anchor stores downtown had.

There was the monorail and Magic Mountain with Santa at Midtown Plaza every Christmas. We took John and Michael when they were just little guys to ride the monorail. Thinking back, the two of them fit into one car. . . now looking at them, it is hard to imagine even one of them fitting inside one of those "tiny" cars!

In later years, when I was in real estate, many of my closings were at law offices in downtown Rochester. I always went to closings with my buyer clients and I loved showing my out of town clients downtown Rochester. . . showing them the Clock of Nations at Midtown and telling them all the fun things there were to do and see downtown.

You could find unique shops downtown that you couldn't find anywhere else. Nowadays there is a different class of people that hang out downtown. Most of the professional offices have moved out to the suburbs.

Back in those days, I could never imagine doing most of my shopping on the "internet"! Facebook, e-mail, online banking, and computer solitaire were unheard of in my life! I didn't even know what a personal computer was back then.

Times change. I sincerely hope that someday downtown Rochester can be the thriving, fun place to go AND SAFE place to go that it once was.


We had about 2 or 3 inches of snow overnight. I opened my front door to take in the beauty of the fresh fallen snow in the dark of night this morning. About 4 feet from my front door were deer tracks and rabbit tracks. Deer are a common sight around here. They roam our neighborhood with no fear of humans.

Friday, December 11, 2009

War stories

I am sure the office will be abuzz this morning with people's horror stories of getting home last night. It took me an hour and ten minutes to drive what usually is a 5 minute drive home. It was BAD! I can't imagine people who live further away than I do.

The last few hours I was at work, I watched the expressway outside my window. . . it was a parking lot. Cars, bumper to bumper, were moving at a crawl. At times, there were total white out conditions leaving the visibility to zero. I was a basket case by the time I got to the peace and comfort of my home.

We only got a few inches of snow, but it was the blowing and drifting that was causing the problems. When I turned into my neighborhood, the streets hadn't been plowed yet and it was treacherous.

Today it is calm out. . . let's hope it stays that way till I get home tonight!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter wreaks havoc in Western New York

Some parts of Rochester and surrounding areas today got hit hard with huge falling trees, icy, slippery roads, widespread power outages, and a heavy wet snow this morning that later turned to rain and slush. In Irondequoit, a town in the northern part of Rochester, a tree 5 feet in diameter fell on a house.

As for me, I escaped all the ugliness, other than walking through slush to get to my car this afternoon. My drive to and from work was uneventful and I didn't lose electricity at home.

I came home to a crockpot full of chili. Hhhmmm. . . wish I had garlic bread to go with it, but it wasn't worth trudging out to the store to get a loaf.

Welcome to winter in New York!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Serious snow is on the way!

Ugh. . . the snow I last posted about? That was just a teaser. Nothing to get excited about unless you live where you don't often see snow. Now there is that nasty storm coming in from the west coast that should arrive here mid-week. I was watching the local news tonight on TV and they warned viewers to look for your snow scraper/brush. . . for those of you that don't know what that is. . . well, if you ever came out of work and your car is covered in 5 inches or more of heavy wet snow and your windshield is encrusted in ice underneath the snow. . . you will learn to appreciate this inexpensive but "worth-its-weight-in-gold" piece of equipment.

I found mine underneath the driver's seat in my car.

This has been an unusually mild fall. That is just going to make this storm even more difficult to deal with! Ahh. . . in just three months I will be on my way South to meet up with my cousins again like we did last spring.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today is December 1st and we have snow! There is just enough to barely cover the ground and we aren't expected to get much more than that today. It is the big puffy kind that clings to trees and bushes. . . and Molly when she goes outside.

I just snapped this picture of the tree in my front yard. Pretty, huh? It is not quite 6:30 am here and is still dark out.
Update: 7:30 am Okay, this blog thing doesn't want to cooperate. I was trying to rearrange the pictures but it didn't work. Anyway! For the benefit of my cousins down South and Granny in Australia, all of whom rarely see real snow, here is a new picture I just snapped now that daylight has come.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Turkey Chowder

This is one of my favorite ways to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas. I've been making it for years and everyone loves it.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups cubed uncooked potatoes
1 10 oz. package lima beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
16 oz. can of tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large pot, combine potatoes, limas, onion, celery, and salt and pepper.

Blend water and soup and pour into vegetables. Cook, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in undrained tomatoes, turkey, poultry seasoning, and garlic salt. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

At serving, sprinkle cheddar over each bowl.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alabama 26 - Auburn 21

An e-mail I received from a cousin today stated, "You must write on your blog about the GAME."

It's no secret that I love football, in particular college football. While there are a lot of teams I follow, there is only one that I truly get excited about - the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. No, I did not attend the University of Alabama. I graduated from a women's college (or at least it was all women when I was there), Mississippi University for Women, in Columbus. I am old enough to remember watching the immortal, Paul Bear Bryant, coach the Crimson Tide.

Football is a strong attraction in the South, where I was born and raised. So it is no wonder I enjoy football so much. I think the Southeastern Conference of college football is the best in the nation.

Last night's game between Alabama and Auburn was supposed to be a yawn. That's not the way it turned out! Auburn, hard pressed to win a game this year, came out with a shocking 14 - 0 lead in the first quarter. Their onside kick after the first touchdown, in my opinion, was lame. You do trick plays like that in the waning minutes of a game to pull an upset, not in the first quarter.

The game came down to the final 10 seconds with Auburn threatening to score. With less than 10 seconds left, the Auburn quarterback threw a Hail Mary pass toward the end zone which was met by a wall of Alabama players, one of whom batted the ball away from the end zone. The game was over. Alabama won. I was having chest pains! Go ahead and laugh, but I told you, I take my football seriously!

Next week, undefeated Alabama plays undefeated Florida in the SEC Championship game. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unbelievable. . .

Here we are, two days away from Thanksgiving and I have yet to see a single snowflake. . . I have not taken my heavy winter coat out of the closet and I don't even know where my boots are. Does this mean we are in for a mild winter? I wouldn't complain about that! The deer hunters can't be happy - tracking a deer with snow on the ground is easier than no snow.

The forecast for the next 5 days is for falling temperatures into the high 30's - rain with a possible snowflake here and there.

I have lived in Rochester for 35 years. During that time, we have had maybe three or four really severe winters. Yes, I will admit, the first major snowfall of the year is fun. . . and Molly gets excited when she sees snow for the first time. . . but when it gets so deep that I have to shovel a path in the backyard for her to go potty, well then it's no fun anymore. And when March comes and you are hit with a major snowstorm, that's when you start screaming!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Slowly settling in

I've been in my new job now for five weeks. I still have a lot to learn but I am starting to feel the new-kid-on-the-block jitters fade away. I had my first monthly meeting with my supervisor yesterday. This guy knows how to manage people. During the hour long meeting, I was given a draft of his proposed goals and achievements for me to accomplish in the next one to three months. We talked about them and I was given a chance to offer feedback. When it comes time for my performance evaluation, material from these meetings will be used to evaluate my job performance.

He fully understands that if I get bored or don't feel I am allowed to work to my potential, I can become a problem child. I never made a secret of that. This week I took a course in Contribute, which is the software the University uses to produce and manage its many websites. Man! I was like a kid on Christmas morning. I loved learning how to do that. When I feel comfortable, I will take over the management and production of our division's website.

THEN we talked about our division's newsletter. Now, folks, I know newsletters! I have a lot of experience and training and I know how to use newsletters to showcase whatever it is you are doing, whether it be selling homes in real estate, promoting a chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, or letting the world know the value of the Clinical Translational Science Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center! I bounced a few thoughts off him and he readily agreed with me. He allowed me to be editor as opposed to someone who just collects articles from people and plops them into a newsletter. That really made my day. I want the focus of the newsletter to be toward the lay person who, although intelligent, most likely does not have a technical background nor understand clinical research jargon, but who will understand when you tell them, "this is what this research is going to do for YOU." People know about cancer and heart research and they are willing to donate to those causes. But even many people that work at the Medical Center don't have a good understanding of how the CTSI can benefit them. I hope the newsletters that I produce will put the spotlight on the CTSI in the community.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is this weather for real???

Here we are well into November and we are still having mild weather, little or no rain and no snow. . . yet! Can this mean we are in for a mild winter? I haven't even taken my heavy winter coat out of the closet this year and several days lately I didn't need my lightweight coat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dolly Rugg

A real life saint died this weekend. Dolly Rugg, a dear lady in her late 80's, was a member of my church, Asbury First United Methodist. I first met Dolly about ten years ago. I had been asked to Chair the Asbury Storehouse, an outreach group that gives clothing and household items to those in need. At that time, I knew Dolly only by reputation and I knew if I wanted to learn about the Storehouse, she was the one to see. I walked into the Storehouse that day. There was Dolly, all by herself, working at sorting clothes and getting them out on the racks and shelves.

"Hi! I'm Sherry Bennett and I'm the new Storehouse Chair. Mind if I look around?" Dolly immediately dropped what she was doing and began showing me every nook and cranny of the Storehouse. I could sense the pride she had in that place. It was as if she was showing me her own cherished home. Dolly and three other women founded the Storehouse back in 1965 when it was nothing more than a large closet in another building on the church grounds. It has grown to its current state of serving over 5000 individuals a year who are in need. These are battered women, families whose home has been destroyed by fire, those who have lost their income, and others. She worked tirelessly until a few years ago when health problems prevented her from coming in.

She explained to me the four women who started the Storehouse wanted a place that was cheerful and where those who came would be served with dignity and respect.

During the three years I served as Chair, I developed a great deal of admiration for Dolly. Her Irish stubborness showed its true colors more than a few times. I started a Wednesday night session at the Storehouse. This allowed us to tap into more volunteers and serve those who had day jobs. I didn't want Dolly to be a part of the Wednesday night shift because I didn't think she should be driving late at night. But that didn't stop Dolly. One really brutal winter night, as we closed up shop after 9:00 pm, the driving conditions were just nasty. There was a heavy wet blinding snow whipping around. "Dolly, I will drive you home and bring you back tomorrow to pick up your car."

"Sherry, I am perfectly capable of driving myself home!" she let me know in that strong, independent tone of hers.

I realized this was one argument I was not going to win. "Okay, then I will follow you to make sure you get home safely."

As the years went by, Dolly became frail and her memory wasn't what it used to be. I think the last time I saw her was in church one Sunday morning about two years ago. She was sitting in the pew but didn't seem aware of her surroundings. I waved and smiled at her but I am not sure she knew who I was. How sad.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Looking forward to a great weekend

Tomorrow I will be going to Pittsford Musicals' production of Carousel with my good friends, Harold and Juanita, and then to dinner with them after the show. If you have never seen a Pittsford Musicals performance, you don't know what you are missing. They are very good.

On Sunday afternoon I am having other friends, Robert and Nancy, over for dinner.

It is so easy to get caught in the trap of using the weekend to get things done around the house or run errands that I can't do on weekdays. There is always something that needs to be done. This weekend, short of the usual laundry, grocery shopping, and basic cleaning, I'm going to have fun.

I hope each of you will take time to have fun this weekend. Do something YOU want to do. You will be a better person for it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Time for cleaning and decluttering

It is hard to imagine a day in November when you can open your windows in Western New York. I lingered over my coffee this morning, cooked a nice cheese and fresh kale omelet for breakfast, then took Molly for a walk. After that it was time to get serious. I began getting rid of excess junk and doing some major cleaning. I cleared cobwebs from the 3-season room and cleaned the floor. . . that vinyl flooring is long overdue for replacement but that will come in time. In between this I've kept the washer and dryer running nonstop. Still have dusting to do, vacuuming, and if my energy doesn't give out, there is the last of the leaves to rake in the front yard.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My window

Nothing gets my work day started off better than walking to my workstation and seeing this huge window looking out over the surrounding area. I am on the third floor and right up close to the window is the top of a big tree that right now is a beautiful shade of crimson. . . I have decreed that those red leaves are going to stay there all winter to brighten my day!!! Just beyond that is the 390 expressway and past the highway, an expansive area of trees. And then there are the clouds. Oh, my goodness, some mornings I come in and the sky looks like it was painted by an artist! It is pleasing to watch the day progress. Yesterday I saw everything from bright sunshine, to dark rain clouds, to snow pellets beating against my window.

Why am I so excited about a window? In my previous job, when we moved to the new cancer center building in May of 2008, I was in a cubicle jungle and could not see the outside from my work area. I would often eat my lunch in the second floor atrium with its massive wall of windows, just to get my "window time" for the day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eggplant Skillet Dinner

I made this delicious and quick skillet dinner tonight and loved it. Here is the recipe:
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 small eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar
In a large skillet, brown beef with onion; drain. Sprinkle flour over beef; stir to mix. Add next five ingredients; mix well. Season eggplant with salt and pepper; lay slices over meat mixture. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar; Cover and cook until cheese melts.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It was an uneventful Halloween on my street last night, except that I almost ran out of candy. There were a lot of the cutest little kids dressed up for Halloween. One little toddler, 19 months old, was dressed in a Curious George costume. Another little girl was in a pumpkin costume with a hat made to look like the top of the pumpkin with the stalk. Molly, my Black Lab, loves Halloween. She has to get out the door and lick all the kids. Some of them laugh at her, others are scared. Some of them, the more she licks them in the face, the more they laugh!

Granny, do you have Halloween in Australia or is that just an American thing?

I never know how much candy to buy. Some years I have had well over 100 kids come to the door, others maybe 20 or less. I think, a lot of parents, out of security concerns, plan Halloween parties for kids rather than letting them go door to door.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote for the Day

The reason a dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gone until next spring. . .

Remember those big beautiful blooms on the shrubs in my backyard that I posted pictures of, first when they were white and then this fall when they turned pink? They are now an ugly brown and sitting in a pile by the road waiting for the Town truck to come by Monday and pick them up. Those shrubs really grew by leaps and bounds this spring and summer and I loved looking at those blooms. But the frost killed them in the last week and they have to be cut and tossed. My friend, Nancy, says the term is "deadheading." Now the plants look naked and small.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My new job

I am very grateful for everyone who has called or e-mailed and asked how my new job is going. After 5 days on the job, this one's a keeper!!!

Thanks to everyone for caring!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ahh. . . Saturday morning!

I allowed myself the luxury of making a second pot of coffee this morning. There is something about sitting in the quiet comfort of my home. . . well, "quiet comfort" doesn't include a 50 pound Lab that decides to take residence in my lap as I drink my coffee. . . but anyway, drinking coffee chases away the stress and anxiety of everyday life. My first day of my new job went well yesterday. I'll just be glad when I get past being the new kid on the block. . . learn everyone's name and what their job is, learn to do my job without instruction, not to mention get my work area looking like ME! Hey, if it took several days to remove all my personal items from my old job, it's going to take awhile to get set up with my framed pictures of my children and grandchildren, my jade plant, and all the other "stuff" that makes me feel comfortable! I am excited that I have a big window to enjoy while sitting at my desk. There are acres and acres of trees that I can watch change colors as fall progresses.

In talking with my new boss yesterday, we discovered that we have a long time mutual friend in Robert Lauterbach - they used to work together at RG&E years ago and still stay in contact. Robert and Nancy and I go back a long way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A new chapter

Today was the last day of the job I have held at the University of Rochester Medical Center for almost 4 years. Tomorrow I begin a new chapter in the Life and Times of Sherry Bennett with a promotion and a nice pay increase!

The last week has been a blur. I have tried to tie up loose ends in my current job, yesterday I began training my replacement, I was taken to lunch twice - it's nice to be appreciated!

I am leaving behind a lot of good co-workers, many of whom came by to give me a hug at the end of the day.

Now I look forward to getting to know the new people I will be working with. It's an energetic, friendly group. Onward!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The picture isn't as great as they are in real life!!!

Awhile back I posted a picture of these when the blooms were white. As fall approaches, they gradually turn to pink. These shrubs are in the hydrangea family and are so full of great big beautiful blooms that some of the branches are weighed down by them. When the frost kills the blooms, they have to be cut off. . . cutting all of them off is gonna take awhile!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Granny and Popa

Yesterday, my little cousin sent me this picture. Actually, she's forty-something with both her sons in college, so why do I still think of her as my little cousin? Old habits have a way of hanging on, I suppose. Anyway, she had just visited Granny and Popa's grave and took this picture with her cell phone.
I was at work when the picture flashed across my screen. In an instant, I was swept from the rat race of the modern day world back to a slower, simpler time.
Granny and Popa were my father's parents. Both were colorful characters and you are unfortunate if you did not know them. Popa was a prosperous cotton farmer in rural Alabama until one day the family, which included my dad, his two brothers and one sister, returned home from church in their horse and buggy, to find their home burned to the ground. To add to the loss, Granny and Popa did not believe in banks, having lived through the Great Depression. All of their money was inside the home.
There was no government welfare in those days. Even if there had been, my grandparents would not have accepted it. My family tree is firmly rooted in proud, hard working Scotch-Irish people who believed in the notion that if you find yourself in a hole, you dig yourself out. The neighbors came together and donated what clothing they could spare. My father told of having to wear a girls' blouse to school. As a child, I took pleasure in teasing him about that. My own two sons carried on that tradition quite nicely!
Granny made quilts from discarded clothing and whatever scraps of fabric she could come by. One of these quilts, a postage stamp pattern, is one of my prized possessions. As a young child, I watched her hand sew one inch square pieces of fabric into a beautiful quilt large enough to cover a double size bed. I don't remember how long it took her to finish that quilt. But I do remember Popa watching her make it and complaining that she was wasting her time on it. He could not invision the finished product or the fact that one day I would hold that quilt in such high regard.
In his advancing years, Popa often spoke of the Great Depression and the hard times people had during that era. I look back now and think what a real-life connection to history my cousins and I had, even if we didn't realize it at the time.
An urgent e-mail that popped up on my computer screen jolted me back to the modern day world and I was off to take care of yet another issue. But somewhere deep inside my being I held on to the thought of how lucky I am to have been influenced in my growing up years by Granny and Popa.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A wet and dreary evening

It is nights like tonight that I am thankful for my freezer in the basement. I have had a very busy week. My brain and my body are tired. And I'm hungry. Often on nights like this I will make a plate of fresh veggies and fruit and have it along with my glass of wine. But tonight I don't have any fresh fruit or vegetables in the house. I looked in my freezer to see if there was anything that appealed to me. . . my homemade swiss chard and artichoke soup? No, I just had a bowl of that not too long ago. . . ah! I found a ziploc bag of my homemade chili! Perfect! So as I write this, my chili is heating up on the stove.

I took my big red dolly to work today to begin bringing home some of my personal items around my work area. Next Friday I begin my new job. . . yeah, I know. It's crazy to start a new job on a Friday! But our payroll department would not allow my transfer until the end of the pay period. As I was walking along the sidewalk with four big boxes strapped to the dolly, a woman looked at me and said, "I hope you aren't taking all that home to work over the weekend!" That made me laugh! "No", I answered, "just moving to a new job next week and it's gonna take awhile to bring all my things home." Even though I'm staying within the University where I have worked for six years, my new job is in another location. So it is not a matter of putting my belongings on a cart and carrying them down the hall.

Mmmm. . . I can smell the chili. . . now I"m really hungry!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quote for the Day

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm back home!

Had a wonderful four days with my son and daughter-in-law and grandsons in Virginia. Just got home a little while ago. Ugh, that's a long drive and add to it a continuous stream of road construction. . . I'm tired!

I met my new granddog, Bingo! Bingo joined the family two months ago. She was a rescue dog. Now I am not a fan of taking in a rescue dog, having witnessed many disasters with "shelter dogs" in my lifetime. But Bingo is an exception. She is well behaved and very loveable. She found a good home and I am happy for her and for my grandsons who pour lots of attention on her. I took a picture of the three boys with Bingo but once I got it on my computer screen, I decided I didn't like it. So I won't post it here. But trust me, Bingo is a cute little dog.

Saturday was a busy day. We had Jake's soccer game. . . he scored a goal and got a head ball! It was also Kevin's 9th birthday! How is possible my oldest grandchild is not a baby anymore???

The time flew by much too quickly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Susie Horwitz

Someone that I knew through my work at the University of Rochester Medical Center died this week of a brain tumor, about a month after being diagnosed. Susan Horwitz was a therapist and educator whose focus was domestic violence. She was passionate about her work and had enormous success in helping families in distress. I was fortunate to know Susie personally. She and I were the same age and both Republicans. She even tried to play matchmaker once and introduce me to a man she knew. While that didn't work out, I was grateful to her for caring. Susie was one of those people that everyone liked. It just seems unfair that someone who had so much to offer the world would die so young. It reminds me of a quote that I think sums up Susie's life. . . It is not how many years in your life that matters, but how much life you put into your years.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jen!

Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday. Happy birthday, Jen. See you in a few days.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti

You will never be served spaghetti out of a jar in my house! This afternoon I put a big pot of it on to simmer for the rest of the afternoon.

Recipe? There is no recipe! But here is what I put in it:

olive oil
6 or 8 cloves garlic, chopped
one large onion, chopped

Heat the oil in a large cast iron dutch oven. Then cook the garlic and onion for a few minutes.

Next add a pound of good quality ground beef (at least 95% lean)

When the meat is brown, add a large can of tomatoe sauce, medium size can of tomatoe paste, and a large can of tomatoes.

Stir to combine.

Now add basil, oregano, 4 bay leaves, salt, brown sugar, and a dash or two of ground cinnamon.

If I have red wine [today I don't], I will add about a half a cup of that.

The longer it simmers, the better the flavor.

A committee that I co-chair is having a pot luck dinner meeting in a few weeks. Several of the participants responded that they would come but due to time constraints, they would just stop at the grocery store and bring something. I certainly understand that and don't think less of them for doing it. [After all, not everyone shares my love of cooking and baking]. But, on the other hand, I think it is sad that our world has become so complex and busy that more and more people have turned away from a good homecooked meal.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Promotion at Work

Two weeks from yesterday I will leave my current job and move to the Clinical Translational Science Institute within the University of Rochester Medical Center where I have worked for six years. I am excited over this new assignment.

About a year or so back, the University was one of 12 in the country to receive a 40 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to form the CTSI. The work there involves bringing new research "from bench to bedside" as quickly as possible. Of course, it is much more involved than that, but that is the layman's term! Traditionally the UofR is among the top 10 funded research institutions in the country. Guess that means we are doing something right!!!

I found the interview process I went through for this job quite notable. I had been looking for a new challenge for some time. Many times I would submit a resume and never even be called for an interview. That hurt, even though I realize for every job opening there are often over 100 applicants. Then I would get interviews and things just didn't click and I knew this wasn't going anywhere. It seemed between the jobs I rejected and the ones that rejected me, I would never find the right match.

This one was different! I had two interviews with three different people. Both interviews went very well. I sensed a strong connection here. The interviews felt more like a conversation than an interview. I felt we were on the same page.

The next two weeks will be busy as I tie up loose ends in my current job and leave detailed instructions of what I do so that things can run smoothly there. It is amazing how many personal belongings I have around my work area, two framed family pictures, two potted plants, various dictionaries and reference books, even my compact refrigerator. . . the list seems endless. In the middle of all this, I'm taking a previously planned two-day vacation and have a class I have to attend. I won't have time to be bored!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jake!

My grandson, Jake, is 7 years old today! Happy Birthday, Jake! I am convinced Jake is going to be a corporate CEO or a lawyer. He has amazing powers of persuasion!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deer Prevention

Now that I've cut down my black-eyed-susans and coneflowers and lamb's ears for the winter, all plants that are offensive to deer, I have to use other measures to keep them away from my burning bushes, which they love to chomp on. One method is to sprinkle shavings of Irish Spring soap around the plants. That seems to work. Another method is to place human or dog hair around the plants.

The deer totally eliminated a holly bush I had by the front of the house one year - ate it right down to the ground. I also learned the hard way that I cannot plant red tulips in my front yard. Deer love the big red blooms.

Genesee Valley Park is not far from my house and there is a large deer population there that frequently wanders throughout my neighborhood, even in the middle of the day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A fantastic salad recipe

Wanted to share with you a corn salad recipe I discovered this weekend when I was invited over to the Lauterbach's house for a cookout. Try it! It is colorful, delicious and full of good nutrition.

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
4 cups corn
1 bunch scallions chopped
8 to 16 oz. mozarella, cubed
fresh basil to taste
avacados to taste, cubed

Combine the first four ingredients and set aside.

Mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over and mix well. Chill.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Something that tickled my funny bone

I was watching CNN this morning and there was a story about a man in Colorado whose passion is golf. He loves golf so much that he built a very nice putting green in his yard. Each day he would leave a dozen or more golf balls on the putting green when he finished practicing. Then, mysteriously, these golf balls began to disappear. Every night, something or someone, was taking the golf balls from the putting green. He estimates he lost about 70 balls.

He installed a video security camera aimed at the putting green. Can you believe it? Every night a wolf was coming by and taking away the golf balls!


Monday, September 14, 2009


Until the day I die, I will not forget the look on a co-worker’s face recently when she found out I am a gun enthusiast. “You are the LAST person I would pick to be interested in guns!”

I think I was as shocked to hear this as she was to find I enjoy handguns.

I gave her time to get over her shock and then I went to her cubicle in a calm manner. I said, “Jane (not her real name), yes, I do own handguns and yes, I enjoy target shooting, and God forbid, the time ever comes, I am ready and willing and fully capable of defending myself with deadly force.” She was still a bit startled but she remained calm. I then told her that there are MANY people who are law abiding, mature individuals who carry a concealed weapon and these people are not radical trouble makers or hoodlums from the inner city. I also added that the overwhelming majority of responsible gun owners, prepared though they may be, will never be faced with defending themselves with a gun. It’s like having insurance. . . you may pay your premiums all your life and never need it.

I don’t remember the exact script of our conversation. She seemed to understand and accept my point of view. I told her I have been around guns all my life. As a teenager, I enjoyed going to the clay pits in my hometown, stacking up tin cans and shooting at them with an old .32 caliber revolver. There is family land in rural Alabama that has been in my family for close to 150 years where my grandparents once raised cotton. For decades, we have gone there and enjoyed target shooting.

Then she said something that surprised me. She said, “You know, it is a cruel world out there and I have often thought about owning a gun for protection but I just don’t know anything about guns.” I told her if she wants to do that, that’s fine. . . I would even be a reference for her on her pistol permit. I also told her if that’s what she wants to do, she needs to learn as much as she can about guns and take a course or two in the safe handling and use of one, adding that there are plenty of venues for appropriate gun training here in Rochester.

This woman is not an ignorant, narrow minded person. She is educated and holds a very responsible job. Yet, all too often many people like her have been duped by the anti-gun radicals out there that think people that carry guns are bad and should have their guns confiscated. Someone else who I work very closely with – no names and don’t ask! – once said, in reference to yet another gun crime in Rochester, “We need to get all the guns confiscated. There are too many guns out there.”

New York State, where I live, has some of the toughest gun ownership laws in the country. And I fully support those laws. It is a lengthy, time-consuming process to even get a pistol permit in this state. And to purchase a gun is a real pain! Awhile ago, as I was purchasing a new gun, I was standing patiently in the gun shop as the owner completed the mass of paperwork involved in transferring ownership of the gun to me. I commented to him, “Here I am, going through legal channels to own this gun and a thug in the city can go out and get a gun in half an hour and kill someone with it in the time it takes me to get a gun.” The man said to me, “Not even half an hour.”

I have a collection of guns that I value greatly. They are locked up and inaccessible. It is my hope they will be passed on to my grandsons when I die, assuming they will take the time to learn the proper use and handling of them.

Why am I writing this? Those who follow my blog know that I don’t venture into controversial subjects here. Jane’s initial comments to me made me realize that too many people truly don’t understand the whole issue of guns. I want to help set the record straight. Yes, Jane, I am a tax paying, law abiding homeowner and grandmother who goes to church on Sunday, practices my religion on a daily basis, and goes to work everyday to support myself. From the day they were born till they were adults, I took the time and interest to raise my two sons to be outstanding citizens AND I like guns!

End of the Season

Yesterday I tore down my flower gardens. It's a sad time for me. This summer, especially, they were just beautiful with more blooms than in past years. They attracted butterflies and hummingbirds. But when they start to droop and turn drab, well, there is no other choice. Now all that is left on the big garden out by the road are my two Burning Bushes. In a couple of weeks, they will be bright crimson. After that comes winter. We haven't had a killing frost here yet, or any frost for that matter. There is just a slight hint of fall in the air and here and there are patches of fall colors on the trees.

In the back yard, my hydrangea bushes still have large pink blooms on them that look healthy. They will last till the frost kills them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Now, be honest, do you know what a sturgeon is? I didn't until last night. I went to a presentation on reintroducing the Sturgeon to the Genesee River located in Rochester, NY. It turned out to be quite an entertaining presentation. This was the September program for the local chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, of which I am a long time member. More on that later.

A Sturgeon is a rather ugly looking fish that dates back to the dinosaur era and was almost extinct. Through a collaborative program that includes the University of Rochester, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seneca Park Zoo, efforts have been underway to increase the Sturgeon population.

It has been a difficult process for a number of reasons. Although a male Sturgeon can live up to 55 years and the female up to 150 years, they don't begin to spawn until they are 7 or 8 years old and then only about every two years.

A Sturgeon can get up to 10 ft long and 300 pounds. One picture in the presentation showed a large group of men holding up a big one with the caption, "It took 8 hours, 10 men, and 4 6-packs of beer to pull this one in!"

If you live in Rochester, the Seneca Park Zoo has a large exhibit on these efforts that appeals to both children and adults.

Now, more on the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The ADK is an organization with over 20 chapters and 20,000 members in the Northeast that promotes outdoor education, recreation, and conservation. I have been a member since the mid-1980s and have spent many enjoyable days participating in outdoor activities - hiking, backpacking, canoe camping, kayaking, and cross country skiing. Our local chapter meets the second Wednesday of every month from September through June and the meeting programs usually center around an outdoor topic. If this kind of thing interests you, check us out. Visitors are welcome at meetings and most activities. The website for the Rochester chapter is

I am proud to be Co-Chair of the ADK Outdoor Expo Committee which presents the annual Expo every June in Rochester. Here you can learn about opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Rochester area. It gets bigger every year so come and join us on June 12, 2010. Come and try out a kayak or canoe, learn about bicycle repair, backpacking techniques, camp cooking, or take a hike through Mendon Ponds Park or any number of other activities.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Web surfing

It is amazing what you can find when you start poking around on the web. Here are a few sites I have found and check in on from time to time. This one is all about child movie stars from the past and what they are doing today. A how-to site with loads of good information An inspirational site from Max Lucado Who is Alive and Who is Dead. Have you ever wondered, "I haven't heard about _______ in awhile. I wonder if he/she is still around?" This site lists famous people by categories. A really cute game. It begins with a pyramid of teddy bears. As you move your mouse across the pyramid, the teddy bears topple down and then spring back in place. The sound effects are humorous. A good no-brainer for a rainy day! This is a satellite view of the earth showing daylight and darkness. A reliable source of information on grass fed beef and where to find farms that raise and sell it.

How did we ever live without the internet and all it offers???

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Football season is here!

I love football , especially college football. I guess you could say football is in my blood. My parents took me to high school football games in Pensacola, Florida when I was just a toddler. I remember how hard it was for me to climb those big concrete steps in the stands with my little legs. I remember being scared to death the first time I experienced everyone around me standing up and screaming wildly because somebody on the field outran everyone else with a football in his arms, running the length of the field into what I learned was the end zone. Back then my only interest in football was the halftime show with the bands and the majorettes. "Is it time for halftime yet?", I would ask impatiently. But I soon learned that a touchdown or a first down was a good thing if your team was the one that made the touchdown or a first down.

As I grew older I began to feel the excitement of the game. I was in the stands once when the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant was coaching the University of Alabama. He wore a light blue pullover sweater that day with his trademark houndstooth hat. That was back in the days when it was still easy to get a ticket to a college game!

When I was in grade school, my father took me to see the Rose Bowl Stadium on a vacation to California. There wasn't a game that day and the stadium was empty and quiet. To this day, everytime I watch a game on TV from the Rose Bowl, I recall that day my father and I were standing at the gates. I sensed the obvious pride he had in showing me the Rose Bowl.

My favorite college team is the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. I think the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is among the very best football conferences in the country. Why? Because every Southern boy grows up wanting to play football for an SEC team! I think it's something in the water down there. Whatever it is, there are many exceptional football players born and raised in the South.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac. . .

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts the Northeast is in for a bitter winter this year. All the more reason to make the most of the remaining days of summer and the nice days of fall. I am really looking forward to the 3-day Labor Day Weekend this week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September!

I can't believe I have published over 80 posts and have lasted more than a few months at this blogging thing. I let Jeph, from Jeph's Spot, talk me into blogging. He used to maintain my website - actually, I should say "websites" since I had a professional one for my real estate business and then later on added a personal one. When I left real estate a number of years back, I held on to my personal website for a time.

I also enjoy following dozens of blogs on any number of subjects. There is granny in Australia, Going Country in upstate New York. . . the list goes on and on. There are a lot of interesting blogs out there where I find recipes and ideas for all kinds of things. The ones on my blog list here (to the right of your screen) are only the tip of the iceberg of what I read regularly. A few years ago I had never heard of blogs. Now I can't live without them!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hotel for Dogs, the movie

Hey, folks, if you like dogs and fantasy movies, you simply must see Hotel for Dogs. I borrowed it from Netflix. The storyline centers around a homeless brother and sister who are moved around from one miserable foster home to another. They find an abandoned, run down hotel and. . . well, they start out with one dog, then three and then dozens! It is an adorable movie with a happy ending but lots of nail-biting suspense in between. Check it out! It's a kids movie that I'm not ashamed to tell you I loved!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Update on the shrubbery in the backyard

Not too long ago, I posted a picture of my beautiful plants in the backyard with the big white blooms. Now the blooms are in the process of turning pink as fall approaches. This is not a pretty time for them! While they are making the transition in color, they have a drab, ugly appearance! It looks like someone threw dirt on the blooms. Once the pink color takes over they once again are an eye catching plant. I'm amazed at how much they have grown this year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm alive and well!

When I opened my new e-mails this morning, there was a note from a frequent reader of my blog that said, "Can't believe you haven't written in your blog in so long."

There is no particular reason for this other than I need to be "inspired" to write. I could never be a professional writer with a deadline. I can only write what I feel.

Just a quick update on what's been going on in my life since my last entry over a week ago. . . not much! I did enjoy a very nice evening out with my friends, Robert and Nancy, last week. We first went to an Irish Pub just down the street from their home. This pub had the look and feel of the pubs in Ireland. Maybe that is because the young man who owns and operates the pub is the son of Irish immigrants. I enjoyed talking with him about Ireland, a country I have visited twice and really love.

From there, we walked a short distance down the street to a rather unique place called Mise en Place. It is a small grocery store but in one corner, and on the sidewalk in front, they serve meals. The food was delicious.

These two places that we visited are in an area of the city of Rochester called the South Wedge. There are efforts here to revitalize this area and make it into a thriving destination with small boutiques and coffee shops. I hope they succeed.

I have been trying to make the most of the final days of summer, getting outside as much as possible. . . even if only to mow the lawn or pull weeds!

Monday, August 17, 2009

An unbelievable day

My day got off to a horrifying start. I am dog sitting for a neighbor. Let me begin by telling you when it comes to keys, especially other people's keys, I am a fanatic about being careful - keeping them in the same place so that they don't get lost. At 6:00 am I went over to let Casey out and feed her. Then about 7:30 am, I started back over there to let her out one more time before I left for work. I could not find the key. I walked over to their house, thinking possibly I had dropped the key or even worse, left it in the lock. Nothing. I ran back to my house and in ten minutes time literally tore my house apart looking everywhere I had been this morning. Nothing. I had been wearing my bath robe the first time I went over there this morning so I frantically checked those pockets, even shook my robe in case the key had somehow found its way out of the pockets and onto my bed where the robe was laying. Still nothing. Panic set in. I didn't want to call my neighbors that early. After all, they are away and I thought they could be sleeping late. I honestly do not remember driving to work this morning. I got to my desk and just could not shake the feeling of anxiety and despair. Finally I called their cell number. I told him what had happened and asked if they had a key hidden somewhere outside. "Oh, sure!," he said and then told me where it was.

I left work about 10:30 to come back to their house, found the key and let Casey out to go potty before hurrying back to work. I was too upset to eat my lunch until later in the afternoon and found it very difficult to concentrate today at work.

After work, I again searched my house. This time the panic wasn't there because at least I had a way of getting into their house now. I took their spare key and had two copies made. The new keys both worked beautifully.

I took the sheets out of the dryer that I had washed and dried before I went to work this morning. Now, why, you are thinking, amd I telling you THAT? Well, I laid the sheets on my bed to begin folding them. . . and guess what happened? I heard a slight tinkling sound. I couldn't believe my eyes! The lost key was in the sheets that had gone through the washer and dryer this morning!

Unbelievable. I should sleep well tonight. My brain is exhausted from anxiety.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Seriously HOT!

This part of New York State is under an ozone warning today, and probably tomorrow also due to the heat and humidity. Nevertheless, my yard needed mowing, no matter what. For the last week, when I had the time to mow, it was raining or the grass was wet. I waited until about 2:30 to start mowing the front lawn. Half way into it I began having trouble breathing. I didn't care, one way or the other the front lawn was going to get done and it did! I had a bottle of water in my pocket and I went through that in no time. Tomorrow the back yard. Thankfully, the back yard is much smaller and won't take as long. I went to BJs this morning to stock up on the things I buy there - kleenex tissues, Molly's special treats, a big bag of almonds and another one of walnuts, a big container of blueberries, and a few other things. Tomorrow I'm headed to Wegmans. I'll have to take a cooler with ice in it. It is so hot that I don't even want to chance losing a container of milk or eggs for the short drive home. Oh! For those of you not from this area, Wegmans is the most wonderful grocery store in the whole world. They have the very best produce year round. Their customer service is great too, something that is important to me. No matter what ingredient you need for a recipe, you will find it at Wegmans.

This morning I had my new garage door opener installed. Next Saturday the oven repair guy will be here. When I baked zucchini bread and on another occasion, peach cobbler, I knew something was wrong. The zucchini bread (two loaves) fell in the middle and the peach cobbler never got brown, even though I left it in longer than called for. After buying an oven thermometer, I discovered my oven is 70 degrees off. I'm told it is a simple repair - hope that translates to "not expensive"!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quote for the day

Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot about little puppies.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Backyard shrubbery

I planted these shrubs three summers ago when they weren't much over 2 feet high. Now they are all taller than I am. They are a type of hydrangea. They bloom in mid summer with large white blooms which gradually turn pink going into the fall. These are against the fence at the back of my backyard. Along the east side, I planted lilac bushes two years ago. You can see one of them to the far left of the picture above. They were covered with blooms this past spring.


How can it be August already? Why is it that summer flies by so fast and winter drags on forever? August reminds me that summer is almost over and I better grab the last bit of summer fun that I can. God grant that we don't have another winter like the one we had last year.

For the next week and a half, I will be dog and cat sitting. My friends, Nancy and Robert, will be down at Keuka Lake for a week so I will stop in every other day to take care of their cats. One of their cats, Lily, is friendly and likes attention - the other one I keep my distance from!

Then beginning next Saturday, into Wednesday of the following week, I will be taking care of Casey, my neighbors' dog, while they are visiting colleges with their oldest son.

I've had my new dishwasher for a week now, have used it three times, and I'm really glad to be free of hand washing dishes!

Friday, August 7, 2009


A co-worker yesterday gave me two large zucchini from her garden. Fresh picked! Thanks, Louise! I planned to make zucchini bread with some of it last night but discovered I didn't have enough of all the ingredients. I love this time of year when fresh produce is so plentiful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Zucchini vegetarian dish

Here is a vegetarian meal I enjoy. Another idea to deal with the over abundance of zucchini this time of year!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup rottini pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 can tomatoe sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a skillet, cook the zucchini, onion, and bell pepper for 4 or 5 minutes. Add the tomatoe sauce, cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the kidney beans and pasta and heat through.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Poison Ivy

As many of you know, I got into poison ivy a couple of weeks back on a canoe camping trip in the Adirondacks. When, two days after I returned home, I was still itching and scratching uncontrollably, I finally called my doctor's office. What I thought were insect bites turned out to be poison ivy. "Those tiny pinhole clusters aren't insect bites," I was told by the nurse practitioner who examined me.

I always thought I was immune to it. I have spent a lot of time in the woods in my lifetime and never got it.

Through my doctor and the pharmacist, I learned a lot about poison ivy. First, you can become allergic to it over time. You can also contract it from touching a dog who has come in contact with it, or by handling wood or other objects that poison ivy has touched.

There is a product called Ivy Block, available through your pharmacist, that you can use if you think you may be in an area where there is poison ivy. This coats your skin and covers the pores to keep out the infection. It has to be washed off, though, after several hours as it isn't safe to leave on long term.

Another over the counter product, Sarna Lotion, is a good temporary relief solution for the itching.

In my case, they gave me a package of pills to take for six days. Even though the itching stopped soon after I began taking the pills, I still had to finish all of the supply. I was fortunate that I didn't experience any of the possible side effects of these pills.

The other thing I didn't know is that the appearance of poison ivy changes with the seasons. It goes from green to dark red from spring through fall. I always thought of it as a green three pointed leaf with jagged edges.

The next time you are in the woods, remember, "Leaves of three, leave it be!"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Detour on a Saturday morning

Buying a new dishwasher was not exactly what I had planned to do this morning. A day or two ago, I noticed my dishes weren't clean and the soap capsule in the dishwasher wasn't fully dissolved. That should have been a red flag. This morning I tried again. Nothing. Since the dishwasher is 12+ years old and the life expectancy of a dishwasher is 8 to 12 years, I opted to buy a new one rather than call a repairman in to tell me I needed a new dishwasher! I went to Charlotte Appliance, a family owned company that has been around for generations in Rochester. Over the 35 years that I have lived in Rochester, every major appliance I have owned has come from there. The chain stores come and go but Charlotte lasts. Their prices are always competitive with the chains.

I got another Maytag. I learned that Whirlpool bought out Maytag. However, the Maytag dishwashers are still built the same way they were when Maytag owned the company. All other Maytag appliances are now built by Whirlpool.

In thinking back, I think I paid about the same for this new one as I paid for the Maytag I bought over 12 years ago.

Okay, now I'm off to catch up for lost time this morning!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Why didn't I think of this before?

I love to cook/bake in a camp dutch oven. I'm good at it. Until now, the only time I ever do it is on canoe camping trips, at most twice a year, and oh, yeah, at my family reunion this past April down South. As I was sitting and enjoying my morning coffee one day this week, my mind was wandering aimlessly. All of a sudden, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me! Why don't I do this in my backyard? I can take advantage of being outside more, clean up is easy. . . there are a lot of advantages and I can't think of any disadvantages. So this weekend I plan to prepare a small section of my backyard to use my camp dutch oven. If you don't know what camp dutch oven cooking is, e-mail me and I'll tell you enough to get you started on your own.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quick and easy eggplant dinner

I enjoy this recipe year round. Slice an eggplant crosswise (in circles) about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Brush each slice with olive oil. Place a slice of fresh tomato on top. Sprinkle with salt. Top with shredded mozzarella and basil. Bake in a 350 oven on a cookie sheet until the cheese begins to bubble, about 5 to 7 minutes. That's it! These are really good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The picture of Kevin and Bingo in the post below really tugs at my heart! I have always felt sorry for anyone who doesn't like dogs or doesn't have one in their life. Even my father, who put up a strong "I don't like dogs in the house" exterior, melted with Molly once. We were sitting at the kitchen table. Molly, very quietly, was sitting beside Daddy's chair looking up at him. He would look at her and then look away. Finally, he would say, "Go on, Dog, I don't love you." Molly would just sit there staring back at him. Then he said, as if continuing his sentence, ". . . even with those eyes, I don't want you." Then why, at a later time, when we took Molly for a walk, did he want to hold her leash???? His attempts that day to discipline her with his verbal commands make me laugh even to this day.

We all need a dog in our life. Dogs are all about unconditional love and acceptance. When you come home and the world has treated you like dirt, a dog is there to let you know, "I'm glad you're home!"

Kids grow up and move away and don't need you anymore. But a dog needs you always.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meet Bingo!

Here is Bingo. Bingo has just been adopted by John, Jen, Kevin, Jake, and Andrew. Trust me, this dog will never lack for attention!!! I can't wait to see her in person!

What a real ego trip!

Today was the last class of the Presentations Skills class I have been taking at work every Tuesday morning for the last 4 weeks. Our assignment for today was to prepare and present a 5 minute segment of a 30 minute presentation, using the skills we have learned in class. I chose to do my presentation on camp dutch oven cooking.

The class was very receptive to the presentation, not only being complimentary of my presentation skills but also asking questions and making comments on the topic. They liked it!

Some of the comments I got on my evaluations from the class members:
  • Very calm and deliberate, like you were sharing a secret
  • Able to answer questions appropriately. I learned a lot in your 5 minutes of fame!
  • Very good presentation, made you want to learn more
  • Interesting material

At the end of the class as I was walking out the door, one man came up to me and said, "You know, your presentation could have been much improved if you had cooked a meal and served us!!!"

Definitely made carrying a heavy cast iron dutch oven and tools around this large medical center campus very worthwhile! Even my smallest dutch oven isn't lightweight.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Duh. . . I can't believe I gave in to the Facebook craze, but I did. I don't need another addiction. Aren't the blogs that I can't live without enough? I've been pressured from all sides from people I know that are on it. Finally gave in last night when I wanted to see Marisa's latest pictures. Why couldn't she just e-mail me the pictures?

Well, anyway, it has already provided a few laughs. I merely stated on my page that I still preferred my blog, began typing in the link to here and SHAZAAM, the link to my blog and my blog profile shows up out of no where.

Then it started "suggesting" friends - many I have known for years and others I never heard of.

How simple life was when we only had three TV channels to choose from, the word, "computer" didn't exist. . . well, I would tell you I can remember living in a home without TV, but then you would really think I am ancient. Notice I didn't tell you in yesterday's entry how old my boys are! But wait! I'm not old enough to sign up for Medicare. . . doesn't that count for something???

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, John and Michael

Today is my twin sons birthday. Happy Birthday, boys!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Garden update

Wanted to show you how my gardens are doing. The coneflowers were a little beaten down by the heavy rains today but they always spring back in place.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More photos of that wonderful weekend!

I hope the photos I have shown in these past few posts will give you an idea of just how pretty the area is and how much fun we had. My thanks to Rick for most of these photos. He took them with his iPhone and provided the rest of us with entertainment on all the things an iPhone can do!!!! They should pay him for his marketing efforts!


Found out yesterday that the incessant itching I have from the canoe trip wasn't insect bites, but poison ivy! I called my doctor's office begging for a prescription for anything that would give me relief. They wanted to see me. When I heard "poison Ivy", I was stunned. I've spent a lot of time in the woods in my life and never have had poison ivy so I thought I was immune to it. I'm told you can develop an allergy to it even if, in the past, you weren't bothered by it. When I took the prescription to be filled, I was told there is a higher incidence of poison ivy problems this year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More canoe trip photos

Here are more photos from our canoe/kayak trip! You see Ginger looking over a gigantic slice of pie (it was every bit as big as it looks!) at the Buffalo Head Inn, me sitting and enjoying the view (I had no idea Rick was snapping that shot!), another shot of Ginger at our campsite, the bacon wrapped water chestnuts I made in my camp dutch oven, and lastly, my poor, underprivileged dog, Molly, going hyperspaz because I was leaving. You can see it in her eyes, "Please, Please, can I go???? I'll be good, I promise!"