So, Did You Catch the Lunar Eclipse?

 These are my humble-blurry submissions of moon shots last night.

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I had told Ben about the eclipse and he thought it might be a really cool idea to take a chair out on the front porch so he could watch the phases. WRONG! It was so blasphemously FRIGID, my poor fingers felt like they were going to break and fall off as I worked with a stubborn tripod and monopod last night.

I got the monopod first, thinking it would be enough to stablize the camera. Truth be told, my shivering body could not be modified by a mere monopod. So, I trudged back inside the house, grabbing the tripod.  I set it up in the warmth of the living room. I thought perhaps if I got *really* warm by the woodstove, going into the temperature hovering just above ZERO (I believe that would be close to -15 or -17 celsius for my UK friends) wouldn’t seem quite so offensive.

Ben sat on his chair for a total of maybe about 45 seconds, then brought it back in! He (being the wiser of the two of us) decided it was much cozier (cosier) and warmer to watch the Buffalo Sabres game with Mark.  And so, I shivered, and ran in and out of the house several times.

I deleted the (several) photos that I took freehand that looked like slugs against a black setting! I am usually able to take a decent handheld shot, but with my body pulsating in fits of chills, it was nigh to impossible on this night!

Having read all the information about the various coloration (colouration) of the moon in the lunar phase, I guess the color (colour) we saw was not all that impressive. It remained a orangish color (colour) the entire time.

I missed the hockey game but when Mark told me about it, I wish I would have snuggled up near the television. It was a great game, with the Sabres looking as though they were going to lose right up until the game was tied in the final period! We clinched the game in overtime with Thomas Vanek managing his second hat trick in two games! GO BUFFALO!

*Giggle*!

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I really don’t know if anyone else derives a great deal of pleasure from their pets, but I would venture most folks who have pets do indeed enjoy their antics.

I had posted the previous entry (Angus Ears) just a short time before getting up to speak with Mark.  When I returned to the table where I was working, Angus was perched up on the chair, face poked into my laptop as though he was about to comandeer the thing!

Sorry, I just couldn’t help but post this, as I found my “little boy’s” interest so humorous!!!!

Watching the Skies!

Since I was absent on Valentine’s Day, here is a delightful red rose just for you, my dear readers!

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We are currently enjoying a bright and sunny winter’s day here in the Bristolwood.  It is so sunny, but the temperature is cold and to go outside makes one feel totally “cheated”! After all, HOW could it be so beautiful through the windows, and so COLD outside?  Upon returning from getting the mail,  my nose hurt for a bit, as the wind must have chilled it quite well!

Clouds are making their way across the western sky, causing me concern….Tonight is a total eclipse of the moon, and I was so anxious to witness this. I am hoping that the gathering clouds will not thicken to the point of obstructing visibility.  ‘I guess all one can do is watch and wait to see what happens!  NASA has a page set up with charts on times to look heavenward…..

My kids are acting so nutty today….I would gladly give them away to the first takers!  It has been a day with little direction….the kids have off for a winter break, and if I had known just how crazy lack of motivation would drive them, I would never have given them ANY time off!

Great Minds *Do* Think Alike!

Wow…two posts in one day!  But before I address the title of this post, here is a look at one of my beautiful “Valentine Day Cactus flowers”!  Okay, so it is really nothing more than my (confused) Christmas Cactus! I still have a few more flowers left, too.

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Soooo, I went to Bill in Scotland’s blog a bit ago, and was amused to see his latest post regarding “reflections”. This brought to mind the last photo I had taken…last Friday, as I was getting ready to go out shopping for Ben’s party,  I looked in the mirror and laughed aloud. I was wearing a plaid jumper, a patterned Norwegian sweater,  and my little “granny boots”. (as my Dad refers to them!)  I decided I should show my dear readers and friends just how eclectic my dress is.

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I actually took three shots in this self-portrait attempt, but none showed my clothing very well. This particular shot doesn’t show my boots, either, but as I enlarged it, I found it rather amusing that inside “me”, I could see through the glass into the living room!  If you look closely, you can see a Scottie picture by a dear friend and artist, Marion Krupp. You can also see a wheelchair in the center of the room.  As I sat staring at this photo,  I realized that I had actually given a little glimpse into my heart!

As an aside to my clothing……that jumper was one I had wanted after someone on one of my Scottie lists told about it. It is, I believe, a pretty stewart plaid and at the time, it was well over $30.  And, at that time, $30 might just have well been $300.  About a year after seeing it in a catalogue, we stopped at a Salvation Army store.  Curious about what was inside (a friend told me they had the most beautiful clothes for practically nothing!) I wandered in to poke through the racks. As I spotted bright red jumpers and dresses, I  walked over and there was *my* jumper! It looked like brand new…the tags inside looked as though it had never been worn.  The price was $4.99! Needless to say, the jumper went home with me!  Oh, and the Norwegian-style sweater is one I knit when Benjamin was a wee baby.  My neighbor had encouraged me to start knitting, and after I started, I would awaken in the middle of the night to work with no distractions!

And, totally off topic, I thought I would share a photo of tonight’s dinner!

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When I got up this morning, I looked through my little paperback Crockpot cookbook. I had planned to make meatloaf for dinner, but when I spotted a Hamburger Soup recipe, I became interested as I read the ingredients. I pulled out the Crockpot and placed all the goodies inside. As it simmered throughout the day, everyone made comments on how good it smelled! This afternoon, I  placed the ingredients for dinner rolls in my food processor and within two minutes, I had a ball of the most beautiful looking dough!  I have already written about that Kitchen Aid processor I picked up for a song, but now I think I am loving that machine! So, here is some virtual soup and a roll for YOU!

Here I Am!

I must apologize  (rather profusely, methinks) for coming up missing the past several days. Life has been so busy, but I have said that! (numerous times!)

 The root canal I had has healed nicely. No more bruised cheek. I cannot even tell I had any work done on the tooth, even if I “bang” my teeth together.  The contacts I got have been so comfortable, I am now wearing them 12 hours a day with no problem at all.  If I realized just how comfortable they really are, I think I would have gotten them long before this!  In my little domain, glasses mean trouble….they are always (okay, maybe “frequently”) lost or broken!  Lastly, I never got sick with the cold-like thing that Ben, Michelle, then Mark got! This is most amazing, as it seems this time each year, I am taken down for at least a couple of days with flu-like somethingorother!

Last Friday, we were preparing for a little get-together for Ben’s friends, as Saturday was Ben’s 13th birthday.  We did a lot of running around, buying all the goodies that make a birthday dinner good!

On Saturday, Ben’s friends arrived at about 1:00.  They had a good time, just hanging out…playing foosball and air hockey.  They *had* to watch Monty Python’s Holy Grail.Gads, when was that film made? It seems like it has been around forever. Almost like a “teen culture” thing!  Ah well….I made up spinach dip that was a real hit. Can you even imagine teens enjoying spinach? (asks Popeye, hehehe!!!) The kids ate at about 5:45…..I made cheeseburgers and fresh french fries. For dessert, we had a chocolate torte. No, I did not make it….I actually bought it!  The kids went in and watched another movie, but two lingered in the dining room and chatted with Mark and me.  Even though these kids live in a range of seven to thirty-five miles away from us, and range in age up to 19, they are all very amiable and interestingly, all were homeschooled. 

Ben’s party began when he (disgustingly to moi!) “decorated” each guest as they arrived, with silly string.  I personally hate that stuff, but it was Ben’s birthday……One of our guests is a fellow with very long hair and I must have spent a good 10 minutes removing tiny pieces from his hair.  Everyone was in good humor, though, and didn’t really mind at all. I was concerned about the lad with the long locks, as he and his twin brother had an engagement to view the Kremlin Orchestra (I think?) that evening.  Somehow, little remnants of pink, blue, and green silly string  would not have gone well. His twin brother is studying piano with a college professor, in the hopes of becoming a concert pianist.

After all the fun and excitement of the party, I was quite tired on Sunday. I dragged about and spent much of my time resting! And, it was a good thing I did rest!

Yesterday was an insanely busy day again. I was up shortly after 5 am to wash dishes from the night before and to clean up the kitchen. I had to get everyone up and out the door by 7 and we pulled into the Chevy garage at 7:30.  After having the truck fail the emissions part of inspection nearly two weeks ago, we have had to drive about with no inspection sticker….thankfully, no police officer spotted us! The truck needed to be re-inspected, and Mark had several warranty issues he wanted looked at before the warranty runs out.

We dropped the truck, then headed north to get some breakfast for those who were hungry. After that, I returned a zillion bottles and soda cans from the party to the store, then we headed off to the office supply store.  We spent some time browsing about and Mark bought a couple of items he needed.  When we got back to the Explorer, Mark called the place I had my eyes examined and asked if I might get in then, instead of waiting for my appointment today. (Tuesday) Happily, there was an appointment open, but it was for 4 in the afternoon. 

Michelle was getting hungry just after noon, (she and I did not have breakfast) and wanted Chinese food. I balked, so the family all decided it best to dump me off at the mall and go get Chinese.  If only they knew how their plan would backfire! I went into the mall and began looking about…..all by myself! Wow! I haven’t done that in ages!

I had so much fun looking through racks and racks of marked-down clothing.  I suddenly had an idea that I had no winter “dress” boots, so cruised over to see what I might find. As I looked through the display,  my eyes landed on the prettiest pair of Born boots….tall ones with a 2″ heel. I dug around through the boxes and after looking for several minutes,  I found a box! As I pulled it out from the others, it became evident the box was empty.  As I was ready to walk away, I thought perhaps I should check the size of the boots on display. Sure enough, they were both the right size!

Feeling quite smug about paying about 1/4 of the retail price, I walked towards the outerwear. I have an old black parka that I can no longer wear in public as last year, I slipped in the garage, and landed with the cuffs on the hot woodstove. Miraculously, my hands were drawn up inside as they were cold! Otherwise, my hands might have melted as the coat did!  That parka is now delegated to home service, such as running out to get firewood….its “stuffing” (polyester fiberfill) bulging from crispy melted fabric surrounding it!  I found a beautiful blue Columbia jacket for under $50.00 with its discounts.

After my wild shopping excursion, I meandered my way over to the food court and bought a (meager) little lunch.  I found myself feeling almost too overly self-indulgent, as I rarely spend money on clothing.  The last pair of boots I bought were about 5 years ago at TJ Maxx,  and they were a real bargain at $15.00. I still wear them but my father giggles when he sees me wearing my “granny boots”.  I like to think of them as “hiking” style boots myself!

I spent some more time grazing about the mall, although I must admit the box my boots were in was so tall, it made walking a bit awkward! After a while, I couldn’t believe how heavy a pair of boots and a coat could become! I met Mark at Sears at about 3, as I was anxious to look at treadmills.  We looked about half an hour, then I headed to my 4 o’clock appointment with the eye doctor.  I was nearing ecstatic when they took me right in! The doctor checked, and when I expressed I needed better closeup vision, he went to look for the prescription contacts he wanted to try. Unfortunately, they were out, so he changed my left lens to a bit stronger and I was off and running again!

We picked up the truck at about 5 and then Mark and the kids went out for dinner, while I went home to get a fire in the woodstove and to relax after my long day out! I haven”t had so much “alone” time in years, and it felt so good to just take my time getting things done and doing what I needed (can’t say ‘wanted’).

By the time Mark and the kids arrived home, I was so sleepy, I could hardly keep my eyes open!  The house had gotten so cold, since we had no fire for nearly 24 hours.  The temperature was about 60, and even though that really isn’t that cold, it felt freezing with the wind blowing wildly outside!

Hopefully, I will get back to taking some photos again…..I haven’t taken any in days, as I grow weary of the same little birds and dogs and trees and snow!

Some Winter Scenes

Since Mark was feeling a little under the weather today, the driveway remained unplowed from the now we got last night. I watched for the UPS man, and when he came, I walked my package to be sent down to him. As we talked, I was awestruck by the beautiful scenery at the end of our driveway. Just across from us is the highest point in the county. The sn was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds and it made for some exceptional scenery. The top of the hill was glistening from the ice from a few days ago, and the sky was just fantastic…

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Scotties in the Bush

I know I have once again been missing, but there has been much going on and I haven’t been taking many pictures. The kids had a cold “thing” and now Mark is feeling kind of miserable.

Yesterday Mark and I had eye examinations that seemed to take forever! I decided that I would like to try multifocal contacts, as my far sight needed a bit of correction. The doctor had me try on a pair of soft contacts, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. I am so excited about these contacts and am building up my wear time. The doctor told me if they aren’t exactly what I hoped for to not get disappointed, as he would “tweak” them until they are right. I want a little more reading power, so I know we will already need some adjustments. I am just so happy at the thought of getting rid of glasses. Every pair of glasses I have had seem to get lost or broken! Contacts will be a bit easier to manage.

We got some snow last night and as I shoveled this morning, although it was below freezing, it was raining. (again)

This afternoon, Michelle took the Scots out and I followed behind with my camera. I have no idea what Angus was onto, but I thought this series of pictures were pretty cute!

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I wanted to include a (happy) update on Richard Zednik, the hockey player that was badly injured in the game with the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night.  Buffalo played again last night, and during an intermission, there was an interview with the doctors that worked with and on him.  One of the doctors at the hospital said his carotid artery was cut to the point where it was hanging on “by a thread”. She commended the Sabres’ doctor for his proper attention to the injury….the Sabres doctor said Richard was alert and conscious the entire time, complaining about the pressure being exerted on his neck. Thankfully, this is such a great ending to an injury that looked so frightening. It was quick reaction by the doctor at the rink that saved this player’s life!

Brrrr….

Yes, that is certainly how it feels here…Now, my cell phone is reading 4 degrees Fahrenheit and *my* thermometer is reading about -4 Fahrenheit. The discrepancy arises from the fact that the reading on the phone is taken about 8 miles south of here. We are the “higher elevations”, so we are always cooler. (or colder!) Either way, that is chilly. For my UK readers, that 4 degree reading is -15 Celsius. The missing element in that reading is the wind chill, as the winds are currently about 17 miles per hour.

Mark was antsy late this morning, wanting to get out of the house. Michelle was feeling poorly, so I told Mark if Ben would go with him, I would stay home.  I couldn’t believe he really went out into this weather. It was bitterly, bitterly cold! (coming from the one who delights in winter!)

The two guys went shopping for a few groceries and then drove to the mall to return a pair of pants Ben just bought the other day. The zipper broke on them after he only wore them for a few hours. I hate it when things like that happen, but Mark said he would take Ben to the store.

The Sabres had a game this evening at 6, so I anxiously awaited Mark and Ben’s arrival home. They also had some subs for dinner,  and I was really hungry! As I looked out the front window, Angus came over to look, too. When I asked him if Mark was home, he began to wag his little tail, but stopped when the truck wasn’t in the driveway.  He then went into “vigil” mode, his head propped on the windowsill, face peering into the darkness.

When Mark and Ben came back, we swiftly unloaded the bags and put everything away. The wind and cold was like someone slapping one on the back, knocking their wind out!

We ate, then settled in to watch the Sabres game. Buffalo was doing well, but then the Florida Panthers caught us with a 3-3 tie.  In the third period the most horrible accident happened. One of the Panthers was checked by a Sabre, and he fell to the ice. As he fell, his skate went into the air and pierced into the neck of one of his teammates. I have no idea how, but the injured player made his way to the bench, leaving a terrible trail of blood behind.  The arena became so quiet as everyone awaited word if the player was okay.  After about 15 minutes, the crowd was told that the Sabres doctor had hurried and placed pressure on the man’s neck. He was in stable condition and was being taken to the hospital. I could not feature how the rest of the game could go on, but it did. Buffalo took the win with a final score of 5-3.  It seemed that even in the win, it was hard to celebrate. I only pray that Richard Zednik will be okay.

I suppose morning will come very early tomorrow, as the stove will be needing a load! For those nearby, keep warm!

Oh, and one footnote! Late this afternoon as I was looking out the window at the birds, I spotted *two* Red-Bellied Woodpeckers!  The bird that I thought was becoming less intimidated by me was probably the *other* bird!  How exciting! Perhaps this spring, we will have more woodpeckers added to the population!