Sunday, September 30, 2007

My purple Schwinn ! ! ! -- a classy gal ! !

This is a GREAT bike !!! Let me introduce you to my purple Schwinn Hollywood bike (I think I'll call her Sally Star, after my favorite cow girl TV star from when I was about 4 or 5 years old -- a perfect name for a perfect bike !) I got Sally for Christmas when I was 10 years old WAY back in 1968 . By today's standards , this is a pretty primitive bike -- no gears, no hand brakes -- (when you saw a hill coming up you started pedaling like crazy before the hill to build up some steam, then did the old stand up and pedal thing until you couldn't do it any more, then you just got off and walked your bike up the hill. For brakes, you just pushed backward on the pedals -- simple ! ) I put alot of miles on that baby riding around the old neighborhood with my pal and partner in crime , Suzy. Just about every Saturday, after we begged for our allowance (which was about a buck's worth of quarters), Suzy and I would take off on our bikes up to Schilling's Pharmacy where they had an entire wall display of candy. We'd always get a Sugar Daddy, a Charms Pop , and a Milky Way Bar -- and bubble gum. We'd stuff our bag of loot in our bike baskets and tear outta there to Old Man Fredrickson's apple orchard -- to our favorite tree -- had the best climbing and sitting branches of all the trees -- not to mention good apples. We'd happily sit there in our tree and eat all that junk -- followed by a couple of not yet ripe apples right out of the tree. Then, fearing that we'd be caught by Old Man Fredrickson, who was rumored to shoot at kids with rock salt -- supposedly the kid next door got it in the butt once --- we high-tailed it outta there , jumped on our trusty bikes and rode through the woods down to the "crick". We'd hang out down there for awhile, try and catch a few salamanders, then decide to go home and play Barbies. That would last a short while, then we'd decide that Barbie and Ken would love to go for a drive -- so we'd put them in their turquoise Barbie convertable car and tie it to the back of one of our bikes with a jump rope. Then we'd go tearing down Beechwood Street with Barbie and Ken bouncing along behind -- eventually flipping over in their convertable and getting dragged face first down Ardmore Ave. Other times, Suzy and I would be cool, mod girl spies (as in Austin Powers' chicks) and our bikes would be our motor cycles -- we had hats that had sunglasses built in that you pulled down over your eyes -- and those were our "motor cycle helmets" -- no bike helmets in those days -- just alot of imagination!

Well, after high school, poor Sally Star stayed in my parents' garage when I went off to college. I would occasionally take her for a spin when I occasionally came home -- but more and more, poor Sally just got shoved to the far end of the garage. There have been other bikes -- the road bikes hubby and I bought out in Pasadena, California when we were newly weds and brave enough to ride bikes in the bike lanes all around Pasadena -- and also up and down the hills in Sierra Madre where we lived. Then there have been a couple of mountain bikes since we moved back home to the Pa mountains (one is a new one, but doesn't get much road time from me at the moment....), When the kids were babies, I rode them around in the bike baby seats; then I'd ride with them when they had their own bikes with training wheels; then we graduated to occasional family bike rides on some of the local bike paths along the canal when the kids could ride without training wheels. Lately, however, all bike rides are male testosterone driven ones with the now teenage sons trying to out do their very experienced bike riding dad , who is trying to prove that he is still as athletic as his teenage sons. ---- so, that usually means I get left in the dust !!!That's OK -- I prefer a leisurely bike ride where I can actually enjoy the scenery -- although zooming down a hill still has it's thrills (don't know, however, if I'm brave enough to let go of the handle bars like I did back in the day!)

ANYHOW, a couple of years ago I decided to get Sally out of my parents' garage and bring her over to my house. I took her out for a spin -- her tires needed to be pumped up a bit, she was a little rusty around the edges, and has quite a few creaks and squeaks -- just like me ! -- but in spite of all that, we had a nice ride -- just like old times. After our ride, I put her in our garage -- where 3 dirtbikes, a motor scooter and about 7 or 8 bicycles (all up to the minute, sporty jobs) live. Life got busy, as usual, and I didn't have time to take Sally, or my new mountain bike out for a spin. One day when I walked into the garage, I noticed that not only was my new mountain bike missing, but so was Sally !!!! The kids informed me that , since I didn't seem interested in riding either bike, hubby - dear decided to put both of my bikes down in the back room of our basement !!! which, to a bike, is even worse than the back corner of the garage !! (not to mention a real pain to drag it out of there when and if I decide to go for a bike ride ). Well, I've decided that poor Sally deserves a much more dignified retirement than the back room of the basement !!!! SO...... I decided to clean her up , buy her a new basket and some pretty fall flowers and put her right out in the front yard for everybody to see !!!....... and ..... there she is !!!!! She's still a classy gal !!!!!

(P.S. -- and, yes, there was more drawing being done instead of paperwork, as usual ....)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jack Frost is back in town !

Well, Jack Frost has been busy around here -- not quite at full speed, but dabbling here and there -- especially in the higher elevations. I took these pictures yesterday while "up on the mountain" seeing some of my homecare patients. I wanted to wish you all a Happy First Day of Fall this past Sunday, but I was busy with kid #1's dirt bike race and these shennanigans!. Anyhow, Jack inspired me to get out my trusty colored pencils again and do a little drawing/coloring (and , yes, I was supposed to be doing that dreaded paperwork instead) -- but, the drawing/coloring is just so much more fun!!!! Don't you just LOVE those colors Jack puts out there every year !!! They're gorgeous! glorious !! PERFECT !!!!!!!

Happy Fall/Autumn !! ENJOY !

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here's a little tip . . . .

When you're the younger brother, it is best NOT to mention to the older brother and his friend (who are both wrestlers) that you are so HOT that you'd like to stick your head in a bucket of water -- they most likely will be more than happy to oblige !!!! (that's Evan being dunked by Ed, the friend, while brother Matt stands by looking oh so innocent -- don't think for a minute that he didn't help with this stunt !!!!) -- this all occurred after their dirt bike race yesterday.

(P.S. no younger brothers were harmed in the filming of these shennanigans -- in fact, he was nice and cool!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lookie what I WON !!!!!

Look what I won from Pam Kitty Morning !!!!! Alex Anderson's new book on working with neutrals --- Pam has a quilt in the book !!!! YEAH PAM !!! (and she picked my name out of a hat, I guess it was a hat), anyhow ..... I'm the WINNER !!!!! THANKS Pam !!!!!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Finish What You Have ! That's an ORDER !!

Gimme an "F" -- F ! Gimme a "W" -- W ! Gimme a "Y" -- Y ! Gimme an "H" -- H ! What does it spell? "FWYH !" What does it mean ? "FINISH WHAT YOU HAVE ! (i.e. GET THE LEAD OUT !!! -- THIS MEANS YOU -- I mean ME !!) This is Vicki's brainstorm -- check out her blog Turkey Feathers where she first talked about it.

So, as we all know, I have quite a few projects that fit into this category .... and there's one in particular that I really want to get finished for a sweetie pie niece's upcoming birthday (I'm hoping this year's birthday, but let's not write that in stone just yet! ) SO........ Gimme a "T" -- T ! Gimme an "I" -- I ! Gimme an "A" -- A! Gimme an "R" -- R ! Gimme an "A" -- A ! Gimme an "S"--S! What does it spell? Tiaras ! What does it mean? That Ifinally finished sewing on "Sparkly Tiaras" but I still have to finish machine appliqueing on "Fuzzy slippers" ! then, quilt and bind the whole quilt, too........ Ok, so here's the plan .... a weekend sewing marathon!!! If I do that, I know I'll finish at least sewing on "Fuzzy Slippers"! Oops, wait a minute -- it's already 2:30 Saturday afternoon (soccer practice and laundry have taken up the first half of the day).. OK, so here's the revised plan -- if I start now, I can at least get "Fuzzy Slip" sewn on ! Oops, wait a minute -- I still have to finish up paperwork for my job left over , as usual, from the past week and get to the grocery store since most of tomorrow will be taken up by yet another one of Kid #1's dirt bike races ...... OK, so here's the revised revision of the original plan --- If I sew a little bit tonight and a little bit tomorrow night (as in a total of 1 hour , I can at least get "Fuz" sewn on !! ....... OK !! NOW We're talkin' !!!! How's THAT for progress?!?!!!!! Just Zoomin' right along !!!!! To be continued .....

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here's a fun little quiz !

You Belong in 1955

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

I spotted this quiz over on Heather's blog. What fun! Take it and see what year you belong in. ( Anybody that really knows me wouldn't be surprised that , according to this quiz, I belong in 1955 --- Lucy and Ethel, here I come !!!!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Soup's on ! C'mon in ! ! !

It's been kinda chilly the past few nights -- actually, it's been downright cold for September (30's and 40's at night.) So..... I figured it was time to get the soup pot out and make some of Mom's Beef Vegetable Soup. My mother has been making this soup for as long as I can remember -- whenever I smell it simmering on the stove , it just smells like home ! I'm thrilled that my 2 picky eaters also love it --- they've even said it tastes as good as Gimma's (that's my mom). So, here's the recipe:

Mom's Beef Vegetable Soup:


lean chuck or rump roast (about 2 pounds)
1 or 2 onions
carrots (lots)
celery (also lots)
pepper corns (a few)
large can of tomato juice
beef bouillon cubes (3)
noodles (optional)

Cover meat with water and bring to boil. (skim the "suds" off the top). Cut 2 onions in quarters and add. Add salt and peppercorns (4 or 5). Add tomato juice (to taste -- 1/2 to a whole can). Peel, wash and slice lots of carrots; wash and slice lots of celery. Add to soup. Add 3 beef bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Then simmer on low for 2 - 3 hours. Add cooked noodles to individual soup bowls, pour soup over noodles. (I don't always add noodles -- sometimes I just serve the soup with some real good crusty Italian bread -- YUM!) ENJOY !

(P.S. -- just so you know, the soup looks much more appetizing in person than in my pictures ---- HONEST !)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

LUCY ! !! What did you buy ?!?!

Now Ricky, don't get mad -- I needed this stuff (not really) and it was on sale (nuh uh) -- and Ricky, Ricky, look what pretty things I'll be able to make --- and those Debbie Macomber books -- I just LOVE her books, Ricky -- don't make me send all this great stuff back -- Ricky, PLEEEEEEASE !!!!!!!! You can take it out of my allowance, I'll budget, Ricky, I promise I will ........................

As our heroine continues to whine and beg (a scene all too familiar when it comes to "splaining" my excessive quilt/craft related purchases) let me tell you about all this fun stuff that the mail person (sometimes it's a guy, sometimes it's a gal) brought to my mailbox this week. First is "Living the Dream" quilting, stitchery, scrapbooking book from Leanne's House. I just LOVE her stuff -- she's one of the talented designers from Australia. Next, there's another quilt pattern booklet (also has wool applique projects and punchneedle projects and pillow, and loads of cute, cute stuff) from Need'l Love called Daylily Days. Then there's that darling pattern from Vanilla House Designs "French Laundry" -- isn't that the cutest clothes pin holder!?! (after all, if your going to hang out your dingy socks and underwear, you might as well add a bit of class to the whole scene !) OK, on to our next item --- the "Quick Yo-Yo Maker" from Clover. I can't wait to try this out -- I love making yo-yo's , and this looks like it'll make the whole process go a bit faster. I'll let you know after I get a chance to take it for a spin. My final purchase for the week (well, maybe) are those great Debbie Macomber books -- Can't wait to start reading (although I'm not quite sure when that's gonna happen!)

So....... in conclusion ...... this online shopping is FUN, FUN, FUN !!! but it's killing my budget !!!!(as it stands now, I've probably taken advances on my "allowance" until the year 2057 ..... oh well, I'll just go talk to my best friend Ethel and see if we can come up with some kind of hair brained money making scheme .) (P.S. I'm open to suggestions!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey baby, wanna see my obelisk ?

Sounds like that famous pick-up line from college days :"Hey baby, wanna come back to my dorm room and see my etchings?" (what the heck are etchings anyway?) Actually, I've never gotten approached with that line -- usually I was approached with "Hey, you, who's your friend?" .....oh well ..... Anyhow, when I first heard the word "obelisk" I wondered if it was something I had heard way back in anatomy class. So, I hauled out one of my college anatomy books and looked through it ....let's see, olecranon, occiput, auditory ossicles, orbicularis oculi ..... nope, doesn't seem to be an obelisk anywhere in the human body. So, I thought , geometry --- sounds like a geometry word. So, I looked through kid #1's geometry notes from last year .....hmmmmmm.... hexagon, trapezoid, rhombus, octagon ..... nope, not in the geometry notes. So, I looked it up in good ol' Webster's dictionary , and this is what Webster had to say : a 4-sided pillar that tapers toward the top and ends in a pyramid ( with a metal bird on the top --- at least mine has a metal bird on the top!)

Anyhow, I didn't find my obelisk in my anatomy book, or my kid's geometry notes from last year -- but, I did find it (actually I found 2 of them) at Lowe's end of season sale in their garden dept for HALF price !!!! --- and look at the dandy job they're doing holding up my droopy coneflowers ! (which reminds me, I need to go shopping for a new bra ......)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Weekend update

Yesterday, Matt (aka Kid #1)had another dirt bike race. There were 32 racers in his class and Matt came in 8th !!!!!!! YEAH MATT !!!! (There's his trophy which he is quite happy with -- I'm quite happy that he came away from yet another race without any injuries -- this sport does nothing to help maintain my youthful appearance -- my hair is turning gray at warp speed!)

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What I've been up to this weekend .....

Well, let's see .... (now, hold onto your hats -- this just may be too exciting for some of you ...) first, there was laundry (especially a particular soccer uniform). Then, there was a soccer game (the second one this week). There he is,my younger kid, Evan ... #27 in the red shirt , about to kick the ball to his team mates -- they won that game 1-0 ! Yeah Olympians JV soccer !!!! OK, then there was more laundry and some grocery shopping (because , and I quote "we don't have anything good to eat at our house".) Then there was some football game watching --- Penn State beating the pants off of Notre Dame to be exact --- GO PENN STATE !! (there are quite a few die hard Penn Staters in my family -- sorry to any of you who are Notre Dame fans ...)

OK, so that was Saturday -- the excitement continued today. First, there was laundry (BIG sigh.....), then there was paperwork left over from last week that had to get finished today (picture #3). Ummmm, OK, ..... so, as usual, I was procrastinating / easily distracted, whatever -- and was reading this very funny book Stash Envy by Lisa Boyer. This is the second book of hers that I'm reading -- the first one was "That Dorky Homemade Look!" OH!! HOW I CAN RELATE TO EVERYTHING THIS WOMAN WRITES !!! It's like she's hiding behind piles of clutter in my house, spying on me, then writing it all down!!! For example, the title of one of the chapters is "Quilt Interrupted". She goes on and on about how she tries and tries to eek out a chunk of time to spend in her sewing room working on a quilt, but, alas, it's not gonna happen -- everybody and their cousin needs something, can't find something, broke something, spilled something, has some monumental crisis, etc, etc, etc......SHEESH
!!! (well, at least it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who can't seem to get it together!) Anyhow, some of the other chapters are "Grandma's Crummy Quilt Top" , "Ask Not for Whom the Vision Blurs", "Fired from the Quilt Factory" and "I Married a Nerd". OMG -- she CRACKS ME UP !!!! she chuckled me right out of my bored with paperwork and laundry stupor that I find myself in almost every weekend.

OK, on with my exciting Sunday, there was .... (drum roll please.....) yes, you guessed it ---- more laundry ... and a tiny smidgen of sewing (picture #2). Yes, Miss Maura , I was working on your quilt!!(Maura is one of my very patient nieces --- poor kid --- I started a quilt for her about 5 years ago for her First Communion --- and, as usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to keep adding stuff to this once very simple quilt,which could have been finished a couple of years ago -- so, now I'm trying to finish it for her 13th birthday which is coming up VERY SOON in October - - 38 letters appliqued on, only 15 more to go!!!) ANYWAY -- my "thrill - a - minute" weekend continued (yawn) with --- any guesses here? --- if you said laundry, followed by another run to the grocery store, you would unfortunately be correct.

.... but, through it all, I had two of my favorite "friends" keeping me company -- Lucy and Ethel !!!(picture #4) I've seen every one of the "I Love Lucy " shows so many times that I don't usually sit down and actually watch them any more -- but having them on in the background, hearing their voices and ridiculous predicaments they get into is just like sitting down to some comfort food -- ahhh yes, Lucy and Ethel -- just like macaroni and cheese or chicken pot pie served by Grandma !

Mary Anne (aka Mare)


Thursday, September 6, 2007

My swell lunch box !!

This is my swell lunch box !!!(Pat Sloan was talking about lunch boxes over on her blog and she got me thinking about them.) Remember when lunch boxes were always metal with a hinge and came with a matching breakable thermos AND had your favorite super hero or Barbie on the front? (if you don't remember , don't tell me because that means you're younger than me and I don't want to hear it !) Back in the stone age when I was in elementary school there was no cafeteria and everybody brought their lunch (except for the kids that lived within a block of the school -- they went home for lunch.) When the bell rang at Hometown Elementary School (yes, that really is the name of it), we'd walk to the back of the classroom (and yes , there was a classroom for each grade -- this was NOT a one room schoolhouse -- I'm not THAT old, for Pete sake !!) - anyhow, we'd walk to the back of the classroom to the "cloak room" to get our lunch boxes. Then we'd sit at our desks and eat lunch. Sometimes I had a salami sandwich or a turkey sandwich (except on Fridays, we'd always get a PB&J -- no meat on Fridays for us Catholic kids). In the winter, mom would also pack a thermos with hot soup (she didn't need to pack a drink since we all brought our "milk money" and got a carton of milk -- sometimes they even had chocolate milk!) To go with my sandwich, mom would also put in a small bag of chips (Charles Chips !!) , an apple, AND Tastycakes !!( sometimes butterscotch krimpets, sometimes chocolate cupcakes with the cream in the centers!!). After school, when we got off the bus and had to walk down a big hill , those metal lunch boxes doubled as a sled in the winter -- didn't do much for the breakable thermos inside, though -- I went through quite a few of those!

AH, yea, those were the days -- the Beaver Cleaver 1960's elementary school lunch boxes and lunches! Now my every day lunch box (i.e. the one I have to use because my lunch sits in a hot car all day while I drive all over timbucktu to see my homecare patients) is one of those insulated , hi-tech sporty jobs --- and even more depressing is the lunch my ever slowing , hormonal metabolism allows me to eat and not gain a thousand pounds -- a cheese stick , a can of V-8 juice, some blue organic tortilla chips, and a Kashi bar for a snack . (BIG SIGH ......) Maybe, today, just for fun I'll pack up my metal "I Love Lucy" lunchbox with a good ol' PB&J on WHITE BREAD (horrors!), and throw in some butterscotch krimpets for good measure !!! OH BLISS !!!!!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Summer ....going, going ...........gone (sigh)

Well, summer certainly flew by --- I still have my Star Spangled Garland hanging up!(and here it is practically time to put the pumpkins out! -- and if you go by the big chain store calendars, it's time to put Santa and the elves out -- now that really drives me crazy!) ANYHOW, I took those first 2 pictures at Mauch Chunk Lake , which is just a few miles from where I live... and, I really can't believe this , but the other day when I took those pictures was the only time I got to the lake this summer! (and then for only 15 or 20 minutes right as they were closing at 7 PM) -- as I said, the summer FLEW by -- I guess on one hand that's a good thing (i.e. I didn't have to worry about squeezing this body into a bathing suit except for the one time we went swimming in the crick !)

.....AND, just like the fleeting summer didn't give me a chance to get to the lake to swim, it also didn't give me a chance to start yet another bright idea of a project. See that yellow striped tote/beach bag hanging on the life guard chair? I made that last summer. This summer I had planned to make another one . See that shower curtain with the palm trees on it ?(picture #3) -- I bought that at a thrift shop a few years ago. My bright idea was to make another summer tote/beach bag using parts of that palm tree shower curtain and that cute sea shell fabric and green stripe fabric (picture #4) --- oh well, the lake closes as of this Monday -- and.... I guess I'll put that palm tree beach bag project on HOLD , again, until next spring!

Have a fun and safe Labor Day holiday!

Mary Anne (aka Mare)