Archive | October, 2010

Find the Kitty Friday 10/28

October 28, 2010


The Princess decided to go BEHIND the computer monitor this time, instead of her customary IN FRONT of it, licking the screen and driving me bananas. Staring at me in the face drives me bananas, too. :S


Look at that face! lol!

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Pink Guitars and Other Nifty Stuff

October 28, 2010

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I saw this guitar while shopping at OH. MY. GOSH. !!! lol!!! I kinda like it! πŸ˜€

We are a musical family. My husband is a superb guitar player. The kids are following in his footsteps. We currently have *AHEM*: TWO electric guitars, ONE bass guitar; SIX acoustic guitars, FOUR amplifiers; ONE keyboard; ONE microphone and stand; TWO amplifier stands…. and just one tiny little guitar stand. :S And six people who are CAH-RAZY about music!


In all my meticulous planning for the renovation, I did not think of a place to store all that stuff. Oops. So it’s all piled up in the dining room and in the kids’ rooms. *sigh* Well, next year, I hope we can gut the garage and convert it into a music room (I’m calling it The Conservatory). I will rig up a super high-def sound system in there. We’ll have nooks and crannies for all the instruments, comfy places to sit and play, and all the gear to record stuff.

Anyway. Back to the pink guitar. Cute, huh? has a lot of nice musical instruments for beginners (and advanced musicians). They have a special page of musical instruments under $50, just in time for the holidays. Things at sell VERY quickly, believe me. I might get an email in the morning, showcasing their special deals, and if I procrastinate to the next day, stuff is sometimes gone. Right now, there are sales on all sorts of very nice instruments: guitars, keyboards, bongos, maracas, cabasas, accordions, violins, etc. They also have stuff for the music studio: microphones, headphones, mixers, equalizers, cables, and more. After I get the garage converted, I’ll be looking at mixers and recording equipment.

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Just a Little Walk Around the Gardens

October 26, 2010


We’re in the bowels of autumn now. I tore myself away from the computer to go out and see how my gardens have been doing. I ignored them ALL spring and summer. Thank God gardens bounce back. I will attend to them in the spring.

My Secret Garden looks very forlorn.


Leaves collecting on the porch steps. I had every intention of painting the porch this summer, but the kitchen renovation got in the way. lol. I am glad we did the kitchen, though. It needed it. The porch can wait.


My turtleheads are tired. Their bloom time was short this year. I hardly noticed.


The Rose of Sharon pods. I love Rose of Sharon, but woo! can it spread. I did not pull out all the little saplings that shot up over the summer. Its gonna be fun yanking them out next spring. Looks like more are on the way, too. I like Rose of Sharon because the bushes grow thickly and shield the view of the neighbor’s buildings.


Overgrown Swiss Chard in the garden.


And poor, poor Livvy, stuck in the house while the leaves are having all the fun!


How does it look where you are?

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Orchid Season

October 26, 2010

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We took a trip out to our local Home Depot recently. Haven’t been there in a while (like, a week!). During the renovation, I was going so frequently, that the employees and I were greeting each other by name. πŸ˜€

We saw some absolutely brilliant plants in pots by the checkout. They were HUGE. My son, who had never seen the plant before, gasped a little and asked me what on earth was that? I told him they were orchids. They are lovely plants.

Photo from Dr. Carlos Costales TerΓ‘n on Wikipedia.

As fond as a gardener I am, I never liked orchids much (although I LOVE vanilla– vanilla comes from the orchid family). I always thought they required to much babying. I don’t like to baby plants, and that’s why my home and gardens are filled with mainly native perennials. But seeing that brilliantly enormous orchid got me wondering. How difficult is it, really, to care for orchids?

Orchids in the Northeast are indoor plants, but the blog has information about planting them outdoors. Hmm. I don’t think they’d last long in our cold Zone 4 clime, but I do think that having a house full of the Vanilla planifolia would be heavenly. Mmmm.

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October 23, 2010

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Aww. I snapped this photo the other day.


It’s been a chilly week, as evidenced by the heater, blanket, and cuddly kitty. I hadn’t turned the heat on at all upstairs, and was surprised to see the thermometer read 49 degrees in one of the rooms! Weird thing is, the weather dudes are predicting we will experience a mini-heat wave with Tuesday perhaps getting up to 70!

I am happy to see the temps go up a little, still. I have to install exterior trim around the window, and would prefer to do it in above-freezing temperatures.

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Home Security

October 23, 2010

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How seriously do you take home security? I have lived in rural or suburban areas most of my life. We never really had to worry much about locking the doors or windows, or having systems installed. My step-dad was a gun dealer, and he was an excellent shot. So I can’t say I had too many fears of burglary as a kid! But even so, burglary was something that happened to “other” people, far away, and in the movies.

Today, it’s a different story. Crime is reaching into the usually quiet rural and suburban areas. I live very near a city, and we hear of numerous reports of break-ins. But there are ways to secure your home without having to wave a big gun around. You can rely on preventative actions to protect your property.

Install motion detector lights.
These devices activate lights when they sense movement. Crooks are much less likely to skulk around your home if they know there’s the chance they may be seen.

Be aware of your neighborhood activity.
I think this is extremely important. Develop rapport with your neighbors, and commit to keeping an eye on each others’ properties. I have chased away a few thugs from my neighbor’s property. He was very appreciative, and I know he keeps an eye on my home.

Install deadbolt locks.
These locks are much more difficult to break. Of course, if you have a deadbolt lock on a door with a glass window, all the crook has to do is break the glass to get to the lock. So get a good, solid door, too.

Install home security systems.
These are expensive, but in an area of crime, they may be worth it. Many systems are now wirelessly connected, to prevent crooks from slicing wires and deactivating the security system.

An older home is especially susceptible to robbery. Century-old windows, basement access doors, shadowy porches and eaves make the home an easy target. But most security systems are easily retrofitted. What do you think about home security, especially the fancy systems that are available? Do you need something like it for your neighborhood? If you have one, has it ever saved your home from a robbery? How did it work?

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Is This Livvy on the Cat Food Bag??

October 22, 2010


I bought a bag of Dad’s cat food yesterday. I flipped the bag into the shopping cart and did a triple-take when I spotted the photo of this cat:


Holy cow!!! Is that my cat?!?!?!

I came home and the kids and I closely inspected the picture. Everyone said it was Livvy except my daughter, who said the nose was too long. But the cat in the photo has the same pink nose with brown “trim” all around it, the same little kink at the end of the tail, the same polydactyl toes, and the same markings. WHOA! We looked through our online photos of Livvy for a copy. The closest I could find was this:


Isn’t she absolutely BEAUTIFUL?!??! πŸ˜€ My heart turned to mush. πŸ™‚

But no, I guess the Dad’s cat is not Livvy. The markings under the eye and on the nose are a TINY bit different. And the stripes on the Dad’s cat legs are not as pronounced as Livvy’s are. I’m rather relieved. I didn’t want to have to contact Dad’s and ask them what the heck are they doing with my beautiful cat!

All my photos are protected by copyright. I will share them, but people must ask permission and give me credit before using them. I’ve already had one photo taken– and the guy even removed my watermark! :-p

Anyway, it’s really weird to think that Livvy has a “twin” somewhere. I’d heard that people also have “twins”- somewhere on this planet there walks another person who looks strikingly similar to you, someone who can pass off as you on camera or driver’s license! :-p Maybe I have seen too many “In Search Of” episodes as a kid. But it is a fact that I have been approached by strangers, asking if I was so-and-so. It’s happened several times in my life. Apparently, I look like a number of other people. When I was in New York City, in drama school, my Theatre History teacher confessed that I looked just like the young lady who had run off with her husband. Shocked, I exclaimed, “Well, it wasn’t me!” So it’s creepy to have a “twin,” I think.

ANYWAY. Boy, did I get off on a tangent. LOL. So Livvy has a “twin,” or something pretty close. That photo threw me for a loop, I tell you. But I guess you could say the Cat’s On the Bag.

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Tree Removal- NOT a DIY Project

October 22, 2010

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I’ve done some DIY tree removal, believe it or not. As a teenager, we lived on top of a forested mountain, Spencer’s Mountain style– living off the land as much as possible. We relied on wild game for food and on wood for our winter heating fuel. It was an interesting few years for me. While I liked living off the land and being self-sufficient, I didn’t want to be dirt-poor, and i had ambitions as a kid, so I left after I grew up. But I look back on those years with a fondness for homesteading. Maybe I’ll do it again, someday.

We used to fell our own trees. My stepdad would pack up the three boys and me into his rusty old pickup truck, and off we go into the forest. My mom always had conniptions when we left. She remembered the scene in Spencer’s Mountain where the tree falls on the dad. Well, that wouldn’t happen with my stepdad. Because he had us fell the trees while he supervised. lol But I do remember one close call where my brother cut too deep an angle, and the tree was going right toward him. He moved out of the way, but it was a scary time.

I found this video that so exemplifies how difficult tree removal is. Oopsie! Oh dear. πŸ™

The kids and I felled a tree on this property a few years ago, but it was a small (25 feet) ornamental tree. Still, little trees are HEAVY. Tree felling is serious business. We had to have a huge, huge dead maple removed from the front yard a few years ago (the thing was about 50 feet tall, and only about 20 feet from the house. It dropped HUGE limbs onto the front yard from time to time. The limbs only occasionally glanced the roof– thank God it never damaged it seriously. There was NO WAY I was going to let The Hubs take it down. We hired an arborist and he took it down. It took him two days, but the guy did it and he was amazing. The kids loved watching him swing around on the rope! He was like an acrobat!

So tree removal is serious stuff. You should always contact a pro, or look in the yellow pages for an experienced arborist. Some professionals can also offer some good tips on pruning trees and caring for trees.

I love to DIY, but tree removal is for the birds. Ugh.

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Find the Kitty Friday 10.22

October 22, 2010


Find the Kitty Friday

This is her new favorite place to explore in the kitchen. Can you find her?


Of course you can find her. It’s where cats ALWAYS hide. Especially the Siamese kind. Spooky eyes!


She’s a very smart little lady. She will hop up onto the kitchen island (or an obliging back of one of the kids– she’s very good at jumping on you when you are bent over to get something out of the cabinets!), then she will leap onto the counters. Up she scales the refrigerator and onto the very top of the cabinets. I have yet to see her scale the window to get to the other side of the cabinets over the stove, but I’ve seen her look that way with a little glint in her eye. We’ll see. She’d better accomplish it the first time she tries it!

We actually considered building little cat shelves– like a cat walk– all around the kitchen perimeter, above the cabinets. The Japanese do such crazy things as that for their cats. I think Livvy would love it. But we never got around to it, with so many other pressing projects around the house. But maybe someday, when I have some spare time.

BWAHAHAHAAH! Oh that’s a funny one!

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Your Tiny Home Away From Home

October 20, 2010


Oh my word. I was researching PDA gadgets recently, and lookie what I found!

It’s an HP mini-mini computer! I love it!

The hardest part about being a technology researcher and writer is seeing ALL these delicious gadgets. I DO SO want to try them out! I love this thing!

It’s a PDA, or Personal Digital Assistant. Kind of like a mini “home away from home” gadget. I like those. I am joined at the hip to the Internet (it’s my career). When I travel or am away from the computer, I have to be able to check in on my email and assignments. I have my iPod (which I adore), and I can connect to wireless hotspots, where available. I have no desire to find a replacement for my iPod just yet. I’m very happy with it. But I think eventually I will upgrade to something more. The iPaq is nice because it’s Windows-based (has Windows Mail, Windows Mobile Office Outlook, MSN Messenger, etc). And it takes an SD card for adding more memory (something the iPod seriously lacks). If I ever want to upgrade to something like an iPaq, I can give my iPod away to one of the kids (oh wouldn’t they love that! They love my iPod!) and get an iPaq and claim in for my business. That’s the nice thing about being self-employed– you can get gadgets and claim them for the business. πŸ˜€ Tax deductible. πŸ˜€ has the best price I’ve seen on these babies– under $400. That’s still a very very pretty penny. Not in my immediate future, that’s for sure. But it’s nice to know that there’s something out there waiting for me. πŸ˜‰ See more deals at

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