Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Belated {Virtual Coffee}

Happy Wednesday, Coffee Friends!
I'm sorry that I'm late for our Virtual Coffee date-- but there's a very good reason.

Her name is IRENE.  (As in Hurricane Irene).
By the time she reached us late Saturday night, she was downgraded to a Tropical Storm-- but believe you me-- she was still plenty scary!
And still did PLENTY of damage!
   (For those of you way out in the blogosphere, we live about an hour northeast of New York City in south central Connecticut, about two towns inland from the shore).

Did you get hit by the storm? Or feel any of its effects?
Irene may not have been as powerful as some of the other hurricanes that have hit this area in the past, but she was very large in size and duration.  In places close to rivers and along the shore, she has caused serious flooding.

At the moment, my family and I (and the dog, too!) are staying in the comforts of a Holiday Inn.
They have complementary coffee here, which is all very nice, but it is just AWFUL!!
Thankfully, there is a Dunkin Donuts about a half-mile down the road in one direction, and a Starbucks the other way.
The kids love it here!  (There's a pool).
And I'm happy to have internet connection (not to mention a shower and running water!!)
I guess we'll have to consider it an unplanned summer vacation as we did not take one this season!

We are still without power at home.
Come, let me take you on a quick tour of our yard...
   BIG limb fell on wires in the front:
   Might be hard to see in the photo, but the wires go right across our driveway and attach to the pole on the right.
    In the back, we have some woods and this road (in which one lane is currently passable).
   Close up of tree above:
   An uprooted tree that is leaning agains another (bigger, healthier) tree:
This is what it looks like all over town.
Thankfully, for us, no damage to the house or cars (other than broken gutters in many places and lots of debris to clean up.  Oh, and the refrigerator and freezer to empty, which I've already done). 

If we were really meeting for coffee..
I'd have to say that I have really missed being in touch with my blogland friends!!  I have LOTS of catching up on reading to do!  And I am looking forward to it.

Remember last week (I posted here) how I was so looking forward to the start of school and a regular routine??
School was supposed to start yesterday, but they have now postponed the opening a whole week until next Tuesday!!
"Calgon, take me away..." 
    [Does anyone else remember that commercial, or am I dating myself here?]

Anyway, I hope all is well in your world!  
I'm very happy to have managed a post from this end-- so that's a good start to the day!  
Even though I'm late, I'll be linking over at Amy's blog for Virtual Coffee!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

   I-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-t's Coffee Time!! 
   Good morning! 
   So glad to have your company!  
How was your week?  
Has school started in your area?
   We're still doing the end-of-summer thing here.  School will start next week-- and I'm very much looking forward to having more structured days and a regular schedule.

   In the last week, I've made a conclusive observation about my kids:  
If there's a bug outdoors, its the most amazing thing and they want to capture it and observe it and keep it and give it a home.  
BUT if there's a bug in the house... it's all about freaking out:  "MOM!!  THERE'S A BUG/SPIDER/YOU-NAME-IT HERE!! COME AND GET IT!!"
   Does this happen with your kids, too? 
 Its an interesting phenomena.

   We had my daughter's 9th birthday party this weekend.  
   My daughter loves animals, so we held her party at the  Audubon Coastal Center and they did a program called, "Feathers, Fur & Scales". 
 Here's the Hissing Cockroach:
 Here's a sea turtle shell:

 A horned lizard:
 A beautiful view of the salt marsh:
 [Not captured: the osprey nest, which is on WebCam -- you'll have to click the link on the page that opens]
 Listening to the wisdom of the shell...
 Decorate-you-own [allergy-free] cupcake:
   Word of advice: if you want a good turnout, don't schedule a birthday party the last free week before school starts.  Everyone is away.  Nobody can come. It happens every year-- you think I'd learn.  We had 3 friends, 2 cousins, my son and one of his friends.  But I have to say, it was actually a nice intimate group.

What's going on in your world?  How are you feeling?
   I've found this week that I've been feeling rather quiet.  I've been reading all the regular blogs I follow and am so impressed and inspired by what everyone has to say and share... And I'm just feeling like I don't really have much at all to say.  I feel like everyone is better than me.  It sounds silly, I know.
Do you ever get that way?  
   For me, I think it has to do with being fried tired of doing the kids [almost] 24/7 this last month.  All the bickering...  Rarely being able to finish a sentence  or complete a task without interruption... Trying to find something that interests both a 3 yr old and a 9 yr old.
   At least I know that once school starts next week, I'll be able to regenerate and catch up on things around the house, do some quilting... etc...  So I only have one more week of insanity.

   Well, that's enough about me for now.  I'm going to hop on over to Amy's blog for some more humorous and uplifting {Virtual Coffee} company.  Please feel free to link up, too.

Have a great week!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chicken Pox & "Icky Yucky Goo"

Hi All--
Here's a fun post for a rainy Sunday.

   We went to visit The Cousins on Friday, and brought Buddy (our new dog) with us.  They live in the hills of northwestern CT-- it is beautiful up there.  Buddy got along splendidly with my sister's dogs.  They cavorted in the woods, and Buddy emerged looking like he had a case of the [green] chicken pox!

No fears, though-- he's made a speedy recovery!
Thankfully, the little burrs brushed out easily.

   My daughter stayed on for an overnight with The Cousins, and I spent some time weeding and pruning in the garden, while Sammy worked hard at creating mud puddles, which then evolved into "Icky, Yucky Goo".  He firmly instructed me that I was NOT allowed to use the hose until it got dark. 

I hope you all are enjoying the end of summer as much as we are!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Small Sendoff for My Stepson

    Well, today's the day we sadly take my stepson to the train station so he can visit with his mother for a week before heading back to college at University of New Mexico.

   I wanted him to have something homemade and useful, so I made him a laptop sleeve for his Dell.

   This is the back side.  Dave and I selected the dragon fabric online from Blue Bamboo (one of my favorite sources for Asian fabrics).
   Here is the view with the flap closed.  I embellished it with a collage of Asian fabrics in my stash.
    The next view shows the flap open, with the lining exposed.
     Below is a detail of the collage.  After fusing the pieces to the background, I used a machine blanket stitch to secure them.
   I used this tutorial from amy a la mode blog.  However, in the interest of the limited time I had to finish it, I used velcro instead of buttons.
   It has been a wonderful summer with you Dave.  The kids and I (and of course your Dad) will miss you terribly!  Have a great semester and we look forward to seeing you over winter break.  I hope your new laptop case holds up.  Many hugs!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Virtual Coffee

   Good morning!  I hope you all had a good week!
Linking up today, and every Tuesday, over at Amy's for Virtual Coffee.
Can you believe it is August already??  I'm in complete shock and denial.
 Time is flying by, but I guess that indicates that we are having a fun summer.

I'm sipping on a new blend of coffee today.  I ran out of my usual Starbucks Caffe Verona bold blend and purchased this at Whole Foods this week:
I love the name!
 I absolutely LOVE it!  I am now converted.  I highly recommend it.
 (Of course, don't forget that I do half decaf with it as well, because otherwise I'd be off the wall).

What's in your mug (or glass, as the case may be) this morning?

I have an exciting tale with a happy ending to share today.  It's about this little guy (or gal-- hard to tell at this age):
immature Broad-winged hawk
    About two weeks ago, I was driving the kids to camp, and saw an injured hawk on the side of the road.  I didn't know if it was dead or alive, but I knew it wasn't going to last very long where it was.  So I turned around, pulled off to the side behind it and put on my hazards. 
    I studied environmental education in graduate school, and one of my internships included wildlife rehabilitation.  Obviously, you cannot pick up a bird of prey with its sharp pointy beak and powerful set of talons with your bare hands-- but you can use a towel, which I just so happened to have in my son's backpack.  The bird was alive, so I swiftly wrapped it in the towel, which calms the bird and prevents it from struggling.  It was an immature hawk, and the parents were calling (in protest) nearby.  It didn't seem t be too badly injured-- but it was stunned for sure.  After a number of phone calls, I was able to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator.
    Fast forward to yesterday: Release Day.  I met the rehabilitator and we drove to a slightly safer side road directly across from the main road where the little guy was injured.  I took a few shots of our friend before we released him/her.

No sooner did she step out on the lawn with the bird, than we heard the adults calling nearby!!
Off you go little fella, back to your family.
The adults nearby came out and flew around.

   I'm so happy that it was reunited with its family!  Broad-winged hawks are in the Buteo family, which includes Red-tailed hawks and Red-shouldered hawks.  What distinguishes the Broad-wingeds is that they are slightly smaller in size and they migrate to South America for the winter and return again in the spring to nest.
   Good luck, little guy!!  It was amazing to meet you!

   At this point in the summer, both of my kids have finished camp and we have three weeks until school resumes,  Will I go insane??  Will I come up with enough fun activities and playdates?  Will I manage any quilting?  I always wonder about those stay-at-home Moms with 3+ kids do it all-- and especially those that home school.  It perpetually amazes me.

   What's happening in your world this week?

   My stepson is returning to school in New Mexico tomorrow.  We will all miss him.  It's been great having him home for the summer.

   And my daughter is turning nine on Friday!  Eight is still young (at least in my mind, but nine is so grown up!

   We are still fully enjoying our new guy, Buddy.  He is just the sweetest and we have all fallen in love.
      We took Buddy to the vet this week for a check-up and he tested positive for heartworm.  The good news is that there are no outward signs (like coughing), which means it is not too advanced, but he will have to be treated.  I'm waiting to hear from the vet.
   Well its onward and upward with the day now!  Looking forward to visiting you Virtual Coffee linkers and reading about your week!  Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Virtual Coffee

Top o' the Mornin', Virtual Coffee & Tea Drinkers!!
   I wish I was abroad at this very moment, in Ireland...  Maybe someday. (I'm hoping that the above is an Irish saying; it just occurred to me that it could be British.  Anyone know for sure?) The Hubster has never been [to Ireland] and I would love to surprise him with a trip there someday, since he is part Irish.  But for now, I'll have to live vicariously through movies like P.S. I Love You (which is partially filmed in Ireland). Its a great movie and has a great soundtrack-- including The Pogues, which I've been singing for days now.
   How are you today?  Are you sipping hot coffee, iced coffee, tea or Hpnotiq (the latter may be spelled incorrectly-- I learned about it on a recent post by Bodhi Chicklet-- link here).  I'm having the usual: a pot of brewed coffee (Starbucks)-- half decaf, half regular, with a little bit of half and half.
   It is 5:18am as I write this, and the house is quiet and it is still dark outside.  Everyone is asleep (shhhhhh!!) except for this little guy, who joined our family this week:

   Allow me to introduce you to our new dog, Buddy.  He is a 1 1/2 year old male Pomeranian and he is the SWEETEST thing.  We've had him since Thursday and I've heard him bark maybe 4 times.  We are all in love-- including my husband.  When we lost our 15 year old yellow Lab at the end of March, my husband and I SWORE that we would not get another dog until my son was in Kindergarten.  We've been loving the poop-free lawn, and the lack of hair everywhere... But this little guy just won us over.  He is so mellow and follows us all around everywhere (and he does his thing outside-- not in the house!)

 The kids fight over who's turn it is to walk him.  This is Sammy when it was Dana's turn:
   Buddy is sitting at my feet right now while I type this.  Such a cutie!!

   How has your week been?  Has the heat relented?  It's been hot and humid, but not as bad as that crazy heat wave we had a few weeks back.

   If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd have to comment on the heavy rain and thunderstorms we had yesterday evening (which was much appreciated by my plants).  Check out these clouds in the sky beforehand:

   If we were really meeting for coffee, I'd want to hear about what's been going on with YOU.  But I guess I'll get all your news when I link over to Virtual Coffee at Amy's blog and read all your posts.
   And I'd have a couple updates to share...
   1)  My sprained thumb is healing, slowly, but it still hurts when I'm not wearing the brace.  So I dropped in last week at a physical therapy place just down the hill.  My ligament is really stretched out and he's not sure if its fractured because its still too swollen to tell.  In order to help it heal properly and work on the scar tissue, I went 2 times last week, and I'm scheduled for 3 visits this week.  They do some heat/electrode therapy and then ultrasound (different kind than when you're pregnant) and I have 2 sheets of exercises to do for it every day.  Glad I went, so I won't have early arthritis or be in pain months down the line from it not healing properly.
   2)  A small victory in my garden: lots of tiny green tomatoes and 1 tiny clematis bloom!
Let's hope my son doesn't pick this before it's ripe!
   Can you believe it is August already??  It is amazing how the summer is flying by.  I hope all of you had a fun week and I look forward to catching up with  you!