Archive | December, 2008

Snowy Days and Wednesdays

December 31, 2008

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We had a freaky, surprise snowstorm this morning (the third consecutive storm on a Wednesday). It was unexpected (well, that just means we didn’t know it was coming until forecasters started chattering about it on Monday). Usually we have a good four to five days before we know a “big one” is on the way. I think this caught everyone by surprise. I remember hearing 1-2 inches on Monday’s forecast, then by Tuesday afternoon it magically became 6-8 inches!

I got up extremely early- 4:30am. Just couldn’t get back to sleep. So as the daylight appeared, I went out to snap a few photos.

Snow in Front Yard

House Front Snow

I like snowy mornings. Everything is so hushed. The street lights cast a warm, mellow glow on the streets, and even though it’s cold outside, you really don’t notice the chill. I wish my camera could have captured the scene. It was beautiful, with great big wet snowflakes spraying down, and illuminated by theΒ  golden-yellow street lamps. And not a sound in the air except the very faint whirring of falling snow. Very peaceful.

Those are my yews, sagging sadly with the snow. Poor things. I considered, for a fleeting moment, of diving into the deep snow and shaking them free from their icy burdens, but I realized that to do so, the snow would transfer from them to me. Um. The yews are to be sacrificed for the greater good: me. Heehee.

Covered Yews

This is the view of my arbor, from the back of the yard. I couldn’t get any closer because I didn’t want to trudge through a foot of snow. I’m so lazy at 6:30am! But all that trudging might give me Plantar Fasciitis or something! lol.

Snowy Arbor

So we’re in the house again, today. It’s pretty cold (10 degrees F), probably too cold to shove the kids outside to play (and shovel). We’ll see. Maybe I can bribe them with the prospect of sparkling hot cider and hot chocolate…

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A Terrific Casserole Recipe Book

December 31, 2008

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Happy New Year!

How’s it working, with you using up all those leftovers from the holiday meals?

Yeah, me neither.

Well, I have some good news for you. I was scouting out deals at local stores (I tend to do my yearly gift-giving shopping after the holdays, when sales are to be had), and found this:

recipe

This is THE best casserole recipe book, ever! I just *hate* casseroles. :-p They are usually too heavy, too creamy, and too dry. So I rarely make them. But what else can you do with leftovers?! I found this book, Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Casseroles. It was in the clearance shelf at TJ Maxx (amongst the stale candles, ice cream makers and mini air tools). It was selling for $20 there, originally, but I got it for $5.99! Not even Amazon can top that price!

The recipes are pretty good, and are organized into meatless, potluck, side dish, poultry, bread, dessert, and etc. There are some good tips and resources in the front of the book. Looks like a good one, with over 380 recipes! Not too bad for $6, eh?

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The Times, They Really ARE A-Changin’

December 29, 2008

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So, you think 2009 will ring in at 12:59:59? Think again! The world’s time keepers are going to be adding 1 second to December 31st, 2008. This is to continue to remain in sync with the Earth’s rotation, which has been slowing. The previous leap second added to the calendar occured on December 31, 2005. I’ll bet you didn’t even notice, did you? Me, I felt nothing. lol.

Leap seconds are added because atomic clocks– those clocks that rule our lives and IRS deadlines so, so stringently– operate at a slightly different speed than the rotation of the Earth, which historically had been the traditional timekeeper.

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The U.S. Naval Observatory’s Master Clock Facility in Washington will add a “leap second” Dec. 31 in coordination with the world’s atomic clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

This corresponds to 6:59:59 pm Eastern Standard Time, when the extra second will be inserted. This marks the 24th leap second to be added to UTC, a uniform time-scale kept by atomic clocks around the world, since 1972.

Historically, time was based on the mean rotation of Earth relative to celestial bodies, and the second was defined in this reference frame. However, the invention of atomic clocks defined a much more precise “atomic time” scale and a second that is independent of Earth’s rotation.

I found a good video that explains all the gory details, if you want to know. I find the topic fascinating.

A second is such a minscule element in our lives filled with minutes, hours, and years, and it seems insignificant to have to reset our replica watches. But think about this- if these seconds to time were not adjusted, over the centuries, the people in the future will be rising and sleeping to totally different times of day to us!

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A Very Cool Little Tool

December 25, 2008

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At DIY Network, they offer cash prizes for everyday folks who have invented cool tools. Some of the tools are indeed very, very cool! This one is one of the best. I couldn’t stop saying “WOW” as I watched the video.

The guy invented a way to twist electrical wires. I wish I had something like ehis last summer, when I wired my living room, upstairs bedroom, and upstairs lights! Oh my gosh, day after day, twisting, twisting, twisting– it’s AGONY. I still hurt, a year later, from all that twisting wire and drilling holes. Every once in a while, my pinched nerve flares up even when doing the simplest things like adjusting the bed frames or sweeping the floor. This tool gets a thumbs up from me!

If you have a cool invention, you can take a video of yourself and upload it to the website. You may find yourself a little richer.

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The Mystique of Lake Effect

December 22, 2008

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Weird. It’s WEIRD, people. Lake effect is that weird weather pattern that swoops down from the Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) onto the unsuspecting citizens of Upstate New York.

About 15 minutes after I posted this post with this photo– showing ZERO visibility during heavy snow squalls with vicious winds…

Backyard Snow2

This appeared out my window. Five minutes later. Wild!

Snow1

Before:

Backyard Snow1

After:

Snow2

There’s an old saying here in Upstate: If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. LOL!

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Visibility: ZERO

December 22, 2008

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Snow, snow, snow. After a fast of snow for November and early December, it’s come strong and sudden. Winter storm alerts are popping up everywhere. Last Wednesday we were hit (5 inches+), then Sunday (5+), and now, today (6-8 iches expected). And guess what? We’ve got more up and coming for Wednesday (sleet! yuk!) and Friday.

I looked out my window about a half-hour ago, and saw this unwelcome site:

Backyard Snow2

Backyard Snow1

DowntheStreet2

DowntheStreet

When I went on the front porch to take photos, I couldn’t see past 50 yards. Driving is terrible. It’s 15 degrees F here right now, but the wind is whipping around so the wind chill is about 25-below-zero. BRRRR!

The mailmen are out in this today. πŸ™ They are always getting stuck in the snow. Please be sure to shovel out your mailboxes, eh?

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Cat Looking For Head

December 20, 2008

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Look at these photos. Doesn’t it look like my kitty has lost her head, and she’s looking for it?

Livvy is Hungry

Look a little closer. Doesn’t it look like my cat’s head is printed on the bag? ROFL! She’s looking for her head in the bag of heads! Ahhhh, where did it go?!

Head in Bag

My kitten, Livvy, is growing up to be quite the eater. She eats ALL DAY LONG. She’d better cut down on her intake or pop some diet pill, or else she is going to lose her girlish figure. :-p

I leave dry cat food in her dish throughout the day for her to eat as she pleases, but she’s somehow got it into her “head” that there’s always something better somewhere else. Like in the cat chow bag. lol!

She’s content, eating it out of the bag, so I don’t care. At least she’s no longer following me around all day, mewing in my ears and tangling between my feet, begging for more food. As long as she doesn’t lose her head over it. Get it? Lose her head?! Hahahahahahahaa!
Photobucket

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We Are Getting Slammed

December 19, 2008

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Snow! After nothing for months, it hits with full force this week. We’d already been pummeled by a snowstorm last Sunday (and the Sunday before that). That gave us about 5 inches, but it most of it melted away by Tuesday. Today, starting about noon, this whopper hit. And this is just the beginning of it!

Snow Slam

This is definitely North Face weather! The able-bodied members of the family are out shoveling. The snow is very fine, like ice crystals. The wind is blowing and therefore the ice crystals jab into the skin with its tiny frigid razors. Not very pleasant. So, wow. I have chili con carne simmering in the crockpot. We’ll make a day of it, shoveling and sipping hot coffee and cocoa, and shoveling and sipping, and probably more shoveling and sipping. lol

Forecast for today, 6-10 inches, coming within 6-8 hours’ time. There are whiteout conditions in several counties (ours included). We’re used to this kind of weather, so most people either drive very slowly and carefully, or avoid driving altogether. I think back to my younger years, when not even a storm like this could have kept me off the roads. Now, I look back and wonder how I could have been so crazy!

Another storm is expected to strike Sunday, too, but that (according to the weathermen) will be a quick-moving storm. Local businesses and all the school have closed. (the Post Office is still delivering mail, though!) So I guess we will definintely have a white Christmas. I like the snow, I like the coziness. I don’t mind being out in it, either, although I can’t shovel anymore. It’s a nice feeling to be out in the elements, and then come in to a warm, cozy home with the smell of coffee and pumpkin-spice candles. Eat your heart out, you in Bermuda! πŸ˜‰

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Make Your Own Tin Ceiling

December 18, 2008

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This house was built in 1855, and it has seen very little renovation since then (except for a horrifying kitchen redo in 1970 and a tsunami of wall paneling from the 1960s). I like to open up the walls and ceilings, here and there, to see what’s behind. (Any excuse to ditch that lousy wall paneling)

A few summers ago, I took down the sagging, water-laden drop-ceiling panels from my garage (we’d sprung a leak in our garage roof that year), and found an old tin ceiling above. Wow! It was beautiful!

Old Tin Ceiling

Unfortunately, very little is salvageable. It has a lot of rust and water damage. I peeled off a few panels but they cracked when doing so. So far, most of the old tin ceiling remains in place; I’ll probably take it all down when I renovate the garage into a family room or something.

The garage used to be a kitchen, way back when– before they had cars, lol. There are still remains of the very old wallpaper from the late 1800s behind the 1960s paneling. It’s like stepping back in time! There are several layers, and some of the old wallpaper is flocked, or has gilded, hand-painted flecks, and such.

I like the tin ceiling effect. I was disappointed that I couldn’t reuse the pressed tin from the garage. I have a very large dining room, and I wanted to “do up” the ceiling with tin. But the tin is way beyond my budget. I got this bright idea to use textured wallpaper on the ceiling, to simulate pressed tin.

I did this several years ago (WHAT A JOB that was! You think it’s hard hanging wallpaper on walls, lol! Try a ceiling! It will burn fat faster than you can say “Leptovox.” Thankfully, ithe job was made easier when I got some helpers involved). So several years later, the wallpaper is holding up remarkably well!

Wallpaper Ceiling

Dining Room Ceiling

My dining room is a beautiful, warm ruby red. The deep dark color helps to stabilize the room, because this room has four windows and six doors. It’s a busy room. I painted the wallpapered ceiling with just a whisper of pink paint. The room glows.

That green garland you see is my makeshift crown moulding (which is on my To Do List yet). The garland is wrapped around the perimeter of the room to hide the ugly wallpaper seams against the top of the wall. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. And it’s cheap!

So if you have a hankering for those nice old pressed tin ceilings but can’t afford to cough up the big bucks, try textured wallpaper. I just love the effect, and everyone comments how nice it is.

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Gorgeous Goodies at Gemz N Gold

December 13, 2008

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I just LOVE browsing this store, Gemz N Gold. The deals are just phenomenal. I’ve been looking for a new gold chain for my pendant, and saw… THIS!

Wowee. That’s a 14-carat gold and natural garnet necklace, on sale for $42.52! It’s drop-dead gorgeous, don’t you think? It has earrings to match, too. You can see this collection here. Be prepared for some serious drooling– cover your keyboard, k? Maybe I’ll skip that gold chain and go for something nicer… lol.

Gemz N Gold is a top-of-the-line wholesale jewelry store. They are based in Los Angeles, California, and all their jewelry is made right here in the USA. Their prices are fabulous and they are a top-notch company with great customer service. What else can a girl ask for?

Well, how about a great deal?

HA! I thought you’d never ask.

πŸ˜€

Gemz N Gold is having a holiday special until December 22– get 15% off your entire purchase using this coupon code: e2g9i. Type it in the discount code box during your checkout. 15% in this economy is a good savings, especially when the deals are already so good at Gemz N Gold. Check them out– you will be impressed!

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