Murphy, Why are You so Cute, Anyway?

One day while shopping at Sam’s Club,  I saw a beautiful sheepskin that caught my eye.  The tag stated that the skin originated with sheep from Australia or New Zealand.  When I saw the price was about 1/3 the price it had previously been, I bought one!  They are supposed to be sheepskin rugs, but I would never put anything light colored on my floors!  No, no, no!

Thus,the  lovely sheepskin hangs on the back of a navy blue sofa in the bedroom.  As I was working in the room, I noticed Murphy was lying on the sofa.   I decided to pull the sheepskin off the back of the sofa and have Murphy sit on it.  Angus is the most terrific little “ham” when it comes to photographing him, but Murphy just doesn’t “get it”!

I tried to get the little laddie to sit nicely so I could get a lovely photo of him. Nope.  I worked with the pup for a long time and it became obvious he was not going to cooperate with me.  So…I decided to just let the little fellow do his own thing and I would follow.

After working for quite a while, Murphy just had enough!  I am not sure whether he was trying to hide from the camera or if he suddenly realized the skin was an animal skin, but….

he burrowed his face deeply under the sheepskin!

Did You See the Moon Last Night?

Oh-my-GOODNESS!  What an amazing moon!! Perhaps it wasn’t so much that the moon was*so* amazing.  It might have been the bone-chilling air that made it stand out even more.  You know, the kind of cold that if you breathe deeply, you can actually make your nostrils close and stick together?

I am so thankful for the Jotul woodstove when the temperature plunges from cold to “frigid”! I don’t mind going out into the cold so long as I have the proper attire, but it is always such a treat to walk into the house and feel any chill just fall away as the warm air wraps around you like a blanket.  That’s it, you know….a furnace might heat the house, but as the temperature begins to fall before the next cycle kicks the furnace back on,  you can actually feel chilled!  Not here.  The Jotul really is like a blanket. There are no “dead spots”.  No cold corners.  Everything is just…warm!

Jotul should pay me, you realize. 

So, back to the moon. 

Mark was busy last night, and I had to help him from time to time.  So, in between,  I would sneak out onto the back deck,  Nikon mounted to my Manfrotto monopod. This is what I got.

That last photo was a *very* long exposure!  I had kind of  secured my body and the monopod to a vertical post on the deck, hoping that “we” would not shiver too much and cause the camera to shake!

Now, earlier in the evening, just before the sun totally disapeared behind the hills to our west, the skies put on a nice exhibit of color…..breathtaking sunsets are really at a premium here in the woods, due to all the trees!

This morning, as I am writing this,  I looked out the bedroom window, and that gorgeous moon was playing peekaboo in the western sky!

As I opened the window to take that one last photo, the sky was suddenly filled with yellow plumage, as a flock of Goldfinches spooked and took off in unison. In the distance, the drone of snow-making hydrants filled the frigid air. The blast was pretty shocking, but not to fear.  The Jotul *does* have it covered, after all!

Fruitcakes…..

I just never will understand this family of mine.

Mark’s dad was born in the USA to Italian immigrants. Mark often talks about the delicious foods his grandmother prepared every year for Christmas and other special events.  He fondly recalls her cheese pie and all the tasty Italian dishes she made.

Being a “Heinz 57” blend myself,  I am not sold on any ethnic dishes, really.  My Ukrainian grandmother made all manner of specialties that just smelled horrible to me.  Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that,  but many times the house smelled strongly of sauerkraut and being a picky eater as a kid, cabbage was one of the last foods I would have wanted to try…..especially “fermented”!  Or, maybe I was just spoiled, as my mom, (maybe fearful I would shrivel up and blow away) often relented and silently placed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my plate, ending my vigorous protests! I am a much better eater today…..however, there is a line I will not cross when it comes to “exotic” foods!

So, this morning,  I decided I would prepare some Crockpot Lasagna.  I don’t crave Italian foods too often, but since it is bitterly cold and windy outside,  I figured this would be a great day for a filling and tasty dish.  Mark tells me he really doesn’t like lasagna.  Nor do the kids.

I wasn’t the least discouraged by my family.  No sir!  I scrambled up a pound of ground beef and then mixed up my cheese blend.  I had bought some no-boil lasagna noodles the other day when I shopped at Wegman’s, and Mark thought I had lost my mind.  He insisted in his bachelor days when he made up Lasagna (WHO was he making it for, anyway, if he doesn’t even like it?)  he used regular noodles and never cooked them before putting them in the pan. Debatable, say I!

I placed my layers in the waiting Crockpot and turned the button to “low”.  Within about two hours, I tested the noodles and they seemed tender to me.  I turned the pot to “off” and pulled the plug.  Ben walked past the pot and turned his nose in the air, while Michelle insisted she had just had a meal of Ramen Noodles and mixed veggies(GAG!!!) a short time before.  I decided to dish up a serving, sit down, and enjoy.

I sat at the table and with the first bite,   exclaimed to any listening ears, this Lasagna was exquisite!  It really was!  I ate one serving and was stuffed.  As I went back to the kitchen,  I looked into the pot and felt so overwhelmed…..

This is a whole lotta leftover Lasagna!  Mark made his way to the kitchen,  looking for something for lunch, rejecting mine!  I got so bent out of shape,  I decided to go upstairs and read for awhile as the dish cooled so I could put it in the refrigerator.  Mark called up, several minutes later…..Could you fry up some chicken sausages for lunch for me?

With clenched jaw, I headed down the stairs, mumbling that my family is nothing short of a collection of fruitcakes!  As I entered the kitchen,  Mark was sitting in the wheelchair with his back to me.  It was clear he was holding something in his lap, however, and upon looking,  there sat that huge stoneware with the Lasagna in it….on his lap….and a fork in his hand! 

Upon being found out, Mark looked me in the eye and told me….This is the best Lasagna I have ever tasted!

Ugh.  How does one win, anyway?  He then went on to tell me the dish would have been better if I served a salad and some bread with it.

Fruitcakes, I tell ya! Fruitcakes, one and all!

On Such a Winter’s Day!

Egads! I took Michelle to college today and as we were going along, the snow, which had just begun, began coming down harder and harder! After dropping Michelle off, I went to WalMart for a few minutes, then decided to go to the City Pier.

I giggled out loud as I noted two huge trucks parked roadside, with new toys boats for he 2010 boating season. (Not looking so probable at the moment!!!)

Once I got back on the roads to drive home, conditions degraded as I drove!

This is the road I turned on to head up our hill!

I have to admit that I was ready to bend down and kiss the ground upon arriving safely home!  I haven’t driven in such poor conditions in years!  Since the snow came so rapidly,  the plows weren’t really able to clean the roads fast enough!

Yesterday, I was thinking about how unusual it is that we had no snow!  Just a couple of days ago, we had rain, rain, and more rain!  Now, the weather forecast is calling for blasts of Arctic air and snow.

When I got home, the snow stopped after awhile and the sun even poked out.  I got to thinking the worst was now behind us.  Then, as I began writing this entry, this….

Oh, hibernation sounds sooo enticing right now.  But realistically, our Michelle is sixteen miles from home, and someone will have to pick her up in a few hours!

See Katya Run….

Run, Katya, run!

Argh….I am by no stretch of the imagination “lazy”,  but there are times when I wish that I had a house that, when cleaned,  stayed that way!  Having a husband and kids home 24/7 with me is sometimes overwhelming!  Well, it isn’t quite that bad, perhaps, but every time I walk into the kitchen, it seems the counters are actually growing dirty dishes!

Okay, I’ll stop the kvetching!

Michelle’s college studies resumed today and we were off early this morning. Yesterday’s temperatures rose well above freezing, melting all the snow we had on the ground.  This would have been serious enough to cause flooding in low-lying areas, but add to that a driving rain and flooding did indeed become the big headlines across New York and Pennsylvania today.  When we left this morning, however, it was snowing somewhat briskly and the roads were not in very good condition!

I drove up our road and it had been narrowly plowed with a small plow on a pickup truck…I found myself gripping the steering wheel tightly.  I thought that the county and state roads would be in better condition, but they were snow covered and I was concerned about black ice.  Fortunately, as we came nearer to Canandaigua, the roads were in much better shape.

Since I was in no rush to head back toward home with the roads in less than good shape,  I took a little drive, then filled the gas tank.  After that,  I headed to Wegman’s and bought groceries.  While I was driving,  I came upon a lovely farm and the sun was trying to poke through the seemingly endless cloud cover…

By the time I started back home at about 9:00, the roads were greatly improved.  I got home, took all the groceries in the house, put them away, did four loads of laundry including drying and folding and putting away,  then made some great soup for dinner.  By the time I finished making the soup, it was nearly 4:30 and time to run back to Canandaigua once again!

I left late to get Michelle, but that didn’t stop me from taking a photo along the way….the sunset was impressive! (too bad I wasn’t near the WalMart parking lot as I think this would have been so pretty)

I was late picking Michelle up, but only by a few minutes and she was with her friends, Jacob and Jeffrey.  After picking her up, we headed over to WalMart and grabbed a fresh loaf of Italian bread.  We got back home and ate….the soup and bread were a real hit and when Michelle brought out the football-shaped Snickers ice cream cake we found at WalMart, everyone was thrilled!

I forgot to mention a text message I got from Michelle this morning….she explained her statistics professor was from India and has “quite an accent”.   She went out to say that when the professor said “checks and balances”, all she heard was “chicken bottoms”…..she hoped the professor wasn’t upset with her giggling!  Oh my…perhaps this semester will offer a bit more of a challenge to the girl, eh?

Chicken bottoms, indeed!  And Michelle? She was sprawled out and sound asleep by 8 pm!

Total Nonsense!

After my serious post last night, I figured I would show you the nonsense I pull with my camera from sheer boredom! (did I say that???)

The Christmas wreath still hangs on the front of the garage, but if you have read here during previous Christmas seasons,  you will know that it is very difficult for me to remove said wreath each  year.  Oh, it isn’t actually “hard” physically….it is just that we seem to have some warped emotional attachment that renders it hard to take down and put away the pretty bright lights of brilliant colors!  But then again, with lights malfuctioning after a year in storage, perhaps there is a subconcious reason, reckoning that we had best enjoy ALL the lights while they are still **lit** since next season,  I will probably threaten to throw them into the trash! (No….the replacements this year are LED’s and they are supposed to last a very, very long time….which we shall see!)

Surely, I digress…..

Yes, it was fun, winging the camera about in circular motions.  But don’t tell Mark….he wouldn’t understand! After all, this is purely artistic!

Evening Fun

Just for the sheer fun of it,  I sometimes go outside with camera in hand and shoot at the sky to see how steady (or otherwise!) my hand is.  Yes,  I actually turn the flash off and press the camera as tightly as I can to my face and exhale…..then, snap!

Here are some photos from this evening…..

I do have a handy dandy monopod that Mark and the kids got me but sometimes it is just fun to try one’s hand to test stability!

I Have Wanted….

to do this for a long time.

I forgot, though, how *cold* it is here….

looking across the way to a foreign land.

Wow…I cannot imagine riding on a ferris wheel in twmperatures below freezing!  Of course,  I cannot imagine riding a ferris wheel.  I just don’t care for them!

The falls would have been more exciting to see from the other side, but we don’t have passports!  I was concerned my fingers were going to be stuck to the shutter button….it was so cold.  But I think I mentioned that. Earlier!