Monday, October 17, 2011


Wow, I have neglected the blog lately, haven't I? Needless to say, it has been a crazy, busy, at times, hectic, summer. And it is actually fall now, so it continues....

We recently had windows replaced. It was the hope that we could refurbish the originals, instead of replacing. But time didn't allow for that. So we shopped, got estimates and sticker shock, but finally found windows that we could live with architecturally and fiscally. Our old, wavy glass, century old portals to the world are gone. I see architectural salvage in their future, if only I had the time to do the research. The old windows are resting comfortably in Garage Mahal.

Gone are teh 'breezes' that used to pass through the old windows. Even when they were closed, which was most of the time because only a few opened. We joked in advance of the replacement that we would suddenly be getting sick all the time because the new windows would seal properly and there wouldn't be any fresh air circulation indoors.

I joked, but was a little serious, too. So yesterday we went out and brought home some new house plants, to help improve the indoor air quality as a result of the tightly sealed up windows. Just the basics to start. Must see how the cat responds first. Hopefully she won't bother with them. We now have a fern, an African violet, cactii and an orchid, as well as another random green plant with no tag.

The fern came to be just because I like them. The cactii are inspired by our recent Arizona vacation. The violet is in honor of my Grandma, who had many and they all looked great. And the orchid is for some showy, shameless flowers. The random green plant is because I like to give homes to strays from time to time.

I also repotted my Grandmother's old spider plants. Again. They have been with me since she died in 1994. Scott's fig tree, which I named Stavros, will be coming indoors for the winter pretty soon. And I still need to find a peace lily. Just because I like them and have never had one.

So here's hoping for a warm house with great views and healthy air this winter!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I read about these rebel knitters that knit up bikinis for trees and booties for USPS post boxes in NYC. They go out at night and dress them up, so to speak. But I spotted these in West Chester, PA. Tree love. If I had free time, I would do the same. Someday....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Jones'

We have had such little rain and such very hot, humid, oppressive weather this summer. I just was out tending to the veggie patch. But tonight is actually comfortable. Not August at all. First, the hum of one person's mower, then another, then another. The Jones are out in force hacking and wacking at their green spaces, whether it needs it or not. They keep up with one another, like they think they should.

Just because there was some rain, the brown has begun to turn a little green again and the 80 degree at 7:30 PM weather feels like long pants time compared to what we have had, does not mean we need to mow just yet. Give the keeping up a rest and enjoy the pleasant weather instead. The grass can wait, and surely will go brown again. It is August, after all.

Dear Jones', the air quality police will give you a gold star if you just say no to the mow. At least for now. Instead, after the next rain, look for all the mushrooms that have sprouted.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I think it is very entertaining when you realize that you have become like some ancestor, even if just in a small way. The older I get, the more things I notice.

Today I went to the local dairy/vegetable/ice cream store, Merrymeade Farms ( to get milk to make ricotta cheese. I have a recipe planned for it that I will make over the weekend. It is a rainy day and I put on my rain boots to head out. When I got there, instead of heading indoors to just get milk, I was drawn in to the garden center area by a sign telling of organic herb plants ahead. Mind you, I just spent last weekend planting 23 veggies and 35 perennials, with help from Scott. The last thing I need is more plants. But I had to go there....

I perused a very extensive collection of herbs and such, but what drew me was the beets and brussel sprouts. I decided I needed them and headed in to pay. Then I found fresh asparagus, another ingredient necessary for my recipe. As I was putting my stuff in the car, I realized that my veggie patch consisted of all the things my Grandma Rose seemed to eat a lot of. When I was young, however, I wouldn't touch the stuff. I thought she was nuts and didn't understand why she would slave over a hot stove to cook beets forever when she could have just grabbed a Ho-Ho instead!

Our veggie patch was heavily influenced by Scott's foodie tendencies, too. We eat and cook together. So how is it that so many things Grandma used to eat are now regular counter clutterers in my house? Genes.

Maybe she is proud of me and maybe she is just looking at me, shaking her gray head thinking, "Finally, this kid has smartened up." Whatever the case, I should thank her. After all, she was right. Tea is good. Beets, rhubarb, brussel sprouts and asparagus are really good things. I am happy to finally have a tiny, but hopefully productive veggie patch again. I haven't done one since NY. I attribute my gardening gene to her. Those Swiss gardening and farming genes. Who knows, maybe that is why I am a landscape architect, too.

On the other side of the family, I get the feistiness from my Grandma C. She was a redhead until she passed, no matter that she wasn't a true redhead. I love to tease Scott. I do it all the time, whether he likes it or not. It isn't mean-intentioned. I have often wondered where this came from. Grandma C is the answer to that. She was always good for bantering back and forth with the men of the family.

My list of similarities goes on. I am proud that I have become like my Grandmas in at least some ways. They were hard-working, good ladies. Not bad trees to fall from.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Green Day

How do you like my Still Life in Green?

Today was a Pretty Green day, both Prettier and Greener than most. First, it was a Pretty, sun-filled and clear, yet chilly spring day. A crisp reminder from Mother Nature that winter may be forgotten, but she hasn't left just yet. Then I took the train into the city, also very Green. And then I went to the grocery store and laid out all my pickings on the conveyor belt at the cashier only to realize that everything was Green. Even the daffodils, Green because they haven't yet opened. Okay, everything except the bread and potatoes. And that is not unusual at all.

I came home, put away the groceries and discovered that there are TONS of Green things in the fridge. Kale, my new favorite veg, Green onions, Green olives, cilantro, pickles, the list goes on. All the good stuff. An avocado sits ready for eating on the Green granite counter with the Green glass backsplash. And that is not unusual at all.

And I write this from my green painted living room with green curtains. My mouse has a green mousepad. And that is not unusual at all.

And I am wearing Green pants. And that is not unusual at all.

Green Day!

Friday, February 25, 2011


So, you know I can't get enough snow. This has been a pretty nice, snowy winter here in the southeastern PA region. Lots of little snow storms early in the year. But it all melted in the last few weeks and the spring rains have come, I fear, early. The words, 'early spring' are curse words to me.

But I love rain, too. I knew rain was forecasted and it actually was raining at bedtime last night. I woke up and just knew it was still raining. This prospect was enough to get me out of bed quick. I ran to the window and was happy to see the stuff falling from the sky.

Today I had a breakfast date with friends. I ran downstairs and kissed Scott good morning and declared how happy I was that it was raining. A good day for rain boots, even. The giddiness continued thanks to my reverse seasonal affective disorder, my term for my love of bad weather and dislike of perfect sparkly sunny days and warm weather.

Our breakfast destination was closed because of a blown transformer. So we went to another place. Then I went to K-Mart and I wasn't there 5 minutes and the power went out, forcing me to seek a new place to shop. BTW, it gets pretty dark in the back of K-Mart when the power is out.

Now, I should be doing all kinds of things, but the sun showed up and sucked out all that good serotonin that was keeping me happy and productive. I had slumped in a chair and was accomplishing nothing for a few minutes when I realized what had happened.

But, to my appreciation, the clouds rolled back in, this time with lots of wind. The rain will come again, I am sure, maybe even thunder. And I will go on being productive, crossing things off my list, as my serotonin kicks back in with the promise of puddles and worms.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


We just got back from a very relaxing vacation in Costa Rica. It was kind of a rough trip back and we both had to work the next day. I am putting effort forth to preserve the feeling of vacation, even though we are back home, looking forward to the next vacation in a few weeks.

So, with my morning free time before work, I made brownies. The old-fashioned, easy kind from a box. I was just too sleepy to do it last night after getting home at 3:30 AM! But now I can look forward to them all day at work. It will be a nice treat to come home to.

Friday, January 7, 2011


This is a new kind of ski tale for me. It doesn't involve some high altitude locale. No fancy gear or magnificent vistas. I sent 2010 out on the slopes, kicking it retro-stylie. So get ready for a blast from my past.

On a recent visit to Rochester, NY to see family, we were invited to Bristol. Mountain . I spent a lot of ski team time there as a teen. Before I had capacity to ski the big mountains. At the time, I preferred Swain, though. I had a theme - do not follow the Herd. The Herd went to Bristol, but I never understood why. Swain was in the Southern Tier, which had a bad rap. The income bracket was lower, the roads less traveled and the lift attendants didn't look like they came out of a GAP ad. But the snow was as good as it gets in that neck of the NY woods, the crowds, if any were small and that is where my school ski clubs and ski teams went. So that was where I spent most of my time.

Growing up in the snow belt of upstate or Western NY, you either loved the white stuff or hated it. As you know, I love it. There were tons of things to do outdoors in the winter. Otherwise, you spent potentially six months indoors. Sledding, ice skating, skiing. I love it all.

Despite the fact that I have skied since I was five years old, I have only owned 2 pairs of skis. The many years of ski club were spent renting. And my sister was kind enough to donate her minimally used skis to me when I wanted to join the ski team. So I used them for years, lovingly caring for them, sharpening and waxing them and treating them as precious cargo. Eventually I gave them back to her and got my own. Thanks, Sis! Circa 1992, if memory serves me correctly.

So, pre-road trip back home, I decided to pull out my old skis in an attempt to be frugal. This ski trip was anticipated to be more social than anything else. It would probably only last a few hours. Why not save the money and use the vintage straight Rossignols? Scott and I cannot recall the last time I had used them. Since 2000, we have always had to fly to ski, so it was cheaper and easier to rent great skis at local shops. I did take them to Utah for an amazing Christmas ski trip in 2002. But I cannot recall when I have used them since. Maybe I haven't. I thought I took them to Austria. That was in 2004. I upgraded to new boots then. Traded in the old rear entry Salomons. Anyway, it had been a long time.

So we get to Bristol and it is 50+ degrees! But there is snow. If you look at the photo on top, you can see the top of the mountain behind me. That's it. No more. I go to put on my skis and break one binding, then the other. Perhaps they were not fit to my new boots? Either way, they were finished. RIP Rossi's. You served me well. You took me all over the US and Canada for many years. You were great skis. It was a good run.

Off to the rental shop to get a pair for the evening. Luckily, it was only $12 because of the holiday. These Elans were the biggest,fattest parabolic curve I have ever seen. I was skeptical. But they worked well. Take a look at the chunk missing from the edge of one!

Expectations were exceeded. Fun was had. The snow was good. It was fun to catch up with family. And somehow, Bristol Mountain grew to twice its size since last I was there. It didn't get any higher, but there were a lot more runs to choose from. Hanging in the old neighborhood, pulling out the old skis, and skiing at night under the lights. All in all, it was a very good evening.

Just like in Switzerland, people were celebrating Winter, doing what they love in the snow. Even though I wasn't in the Alps, I was loving the one I was with. Snow is snow, wherever it falls.

And the Elans, despite their girth and melanomas, they were lightweight and responsive. Being at Bristol again brought back a few memories. And this trip, a ski appetizer, allowed me, on New Year's Eve, to look at last year, look at life in general and see from where I have come.