Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 31, 2013

More Spring Shots!

I do love this train bridge.  It's one of my fave bridges in the USA.  I went for a walk on the Bourne side with Russell's cousin and we did 2 miles!  We're gonna try and do this as much as we can.

This cracked me up.  No, no it's not.

Under the Bourne Bridge, this is where we turned around.  I've done this walk on the other side quite a few times.

These white lilacs are in my mom's yard.  She told me that the bush was there when they moved in 1953!  It's the only white lilac I've ever seen.

I shot this pansy in Orleans.

Back in my yard, the flowers are once again putting on a beautiful show this year!
See the crescent moon on the left?

My yard smelled amazing while the lilacs were in bloom!!!  I wish lilac season was longer than that it bloomed more than once per season.

The snails are out now too.  This guy was teensy!!!!!

I have a feeling we are in for a real 'buggy' year, too.  Also, I yelped & screamed like a girl when a small snake slithered past my foot and disappeared under the truck.  That was new.  :-/   A lot of people have complained of black flies & mosquitoes, and I've been bitten every time I've been outside.  I wouldn't sit outside the other day because I saw too many inch worms.  I'm already seeing an indoor issue with ants and spiders and that is not acceptable.  And my big, tough, trucker hubby is just as afraid of spiders as I am so it's usually a, 'No, YOU do it...It's YOUR turn'-'Oh I beg to differ...' standoff whenever we see one in the house.  ;-)  I'm gonna need to make a pre-emptive strike around here to keep this from getting out of hand, especially when the crickets come out.  

How are the bugs where you are?  Notice any increase?

May 29, 2013


I recently attended the 3rd birthday party of an adorable little girl, who is Russell's great niece.  They live in Wareham on a beautiful piece of property that has a cool path to a little private beach.   

This is the beach that's part of the property.

No beach glass though.  :-(

These next few pics were taken on the walk back to the house from the beach.

Looking back at the trail

Perfect for a softball or soccer game!

I took this from the front porch of the house.

Also taken from the porch.

May 27, 2013

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window...

Sagie looking at Russell & the kids in the driveway.  He loves to look out the window.  Someday I'll have to take a picture of the way he hangs over the back of the couch with his front paws, leaving nose prints all over the glass.  Or 'pupkiss' as I call it.

May 25, 2013

Toys I Wish I Still Had

I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for toys I had when I was a kid and wish that my mom had saved them but she always gave my stuff away if I wasn't actively playing with it.  In other cases, the toy may have worn out or felt apart or got lost.

These Magic Wigglees are apparently still available.  It comes with a clear bit of fishing line you tie to the nose and work with one hand to make it look like the wigglee is moving and snaking around your hand or fingers.  I had one in the 70s.  I never mastered making it move, but it was really cute and I played with it a lot.

This was a cool toy/craft I got one year for my birthday.  It was called Chip Away, and I had the animal one.  I remember the horse.  It was basically a block of plastic with a toy chisel and mallet, and you chipped the plastic away to reveal the toy inside.  The ad makes it sound like you are actually sculpting the figurine inside but you just revealed it. I remember my dad helping me to attach the vise to the table and then I worked really hard to get that plastic block off and it was very, very hard to do and required a lot of pounding.  

I had a set of these in about 1970, but they were clear plastic.  Same colours as these, but clear.  I loved them, especially the pink, orange and yellow together.  As much as I loved this set, I don't remember having it for very long.

I enjoyed this game too.  I always thought it odd that my parents gave me, an only child, games.  Who was I going to play with?  Sometimes I could get one of them to consent to a game, or when the occasional friend came over.  I'm fairly certain I took all the marbles from this game and added them to my marble collection.

My aunt & uncle in Yonkers gave this to me, and it was called Dip-It.  They lived across from my grandmother and I remember making the leaves and flower petals on the landing just outside their apartment, because it required good ventilation, and the back door was screened and open because it was summer.  After the petals for the flowers were shaped out of the wire, they were dipped into the quick-drying plastic and then wrapped together with green florists' tape into a flower shape with the leaves.  I really loved this and got pretty good at it.  Unfortunately, over time, the plastic coating often ripped or pulled away from the wire.  If this kit is still available, I'd buy it in a heartbeat as I'd like to try again.  

I looooooved Fuzzy Felt Jungle.  The last time I remember seeing and playing with it was the summer of 76.  I had gotten a very bad case of poison ivy, which got into my bloodstream.  I had to stay out of the sun for weeks due to the medication I was on, so I spent a lot of time indoors.  I wish I could find this set again.

I also had these interlocking flowers that I kept in a Gold Rush gum bag and used to play with them in the bathtub, building stuff in the water.  

Lite Brite is still around; it's a classic game/craft.  I loved sitting in the dark diningroom or kitchen, sticking the pegs into the screen, following the design which was on paper behind the screen, with the colour initials in a pattern.  You just stuck a blue peg where you saw B, green with G, etc.  I used to put the warmed pegs in my mouth too (I was 7 or 8, not a toddler!!).  
OK this one really breaks my heart that I don't have it.  I had this amazing yo yo.  It was clear, and filled with stars, moons & glitter. I loved it....and of course I had to try digging the glitter out of it.  The last time I remember seeing this around my room and stuff was junior high.  I don't know if it broke or I really did a ton of damage to it and it got thrown away or what.  I sure wish I had it now.  It's very rare and one recently went at auction for $150.  It may be in one of my old memory boxes but somehow I think it's gone.  

Toss Across was a tick tack toe game with beanbags, and it took some skill and good aim to turn the Xs and Os over.

Oh how I wish I still had my German wooden villages and animals.

I had so many of them.

I had this green fence that I used with my wooden villages and small plastic zoo and farm animals that I had, too.

I used to have quite a few of these pink plastic piggies.

And I had zoo animals that were very similar to these.

In the early 70s, Sharon, Diane & I always got one of these unusual large, flat Crayola boxes at the beginning of the summer, along with thick activity/colouring books and a new package of construction paper.  Seeing this box reminds me of rainy days at  my aunt's house, us kids sitting around the diningroom or kitchen table and colouring.  The below set actually belongs to my former, and favourite, babysitter.  She still has it!!!  I know she's saving it for her grandbabies, or else I would have offered to buy it from her.  

I always seemed to get a set of these around Easter each year.  I keep hoping that Bic will re-release them someday.

There were more toys and crafts that I had (Easy Bake Oven, Crissy Doll, Baby Tenderlove, Hot Wheels cars), but these are the ones that really stuck with me over the years.  Now if only I can locate one of those glitter yo yos......

May 24, 2013

So Long Old Friend....

My friend CiCi passed away from breast cancer this week.  She was from a large Sandwich family with deep roots, therefore, she knew everyone and I am not exaggerating.  She went to high school with my cousin Skipper, who died in 1966.  Although she knew my family, I first met her in the summer of 1983 when I began to work as a chambermaid at the Dan'l Webster Inn.  At that time, the Catania Family was one of the biggest employers in town so I worked with a lot of my schoolmates, in housekeeping and also waitstaff, gift shop & kitchen help.  CiCi had already been working in housekeeping for years and took me under her wing.  CiCi was always friendly and chipper and laughing.  Heart of gold.  I LOVED being paired with her to clean rooms.  We chatted and gossiped, joked and laughed and put the radio on and sang and sometimes danced around.  Sometimes I called her 'Cecil'. The work always got done and we had a great time doing it.

This is a picture taken New Years Day of 1985.  CiCi is on the far left, Patty who worked with us (was off that day but stopped by to say Hi), Me and Clair.   
I have no idea why I had my camera with me that day, but a guest took this photo of us.  Patty and Clair are holding water glasses.  CiCi's and mine were on the bureau.  You see, some rather jolly guests, two couples in their 50s or 60s, invited us all in for a New Years toast.  We, of course protested.  We were just there to bring them fresh towels.  Plus drinking on the job?  We again said, 'thank you no, we really can't...' but they insisted.  We looked at each other, shrugged and accepted.  Well, the Inn was packed with people checking out or still partying from the night before.  We were slammed with rooms to clean and tidy, and everyone was checking out late.  I don't even know if we had time to stop for a real lunch break, so we were starved.  Hot & sweaty and dying of thirst.  The guest poured our waterglasses full, we clinked, said Happy New Year.....and guzzled. I was so parched and it went down real easy. We thanked them and went back to our cleaning.  The four of us swore we'd never tell.  Clair went on to finish her rooms and Patty left.  

Not 10 minutes later, we were buzzed off our asses.  CiCi and I were trying to make a bed in one of the suites and laughing so hard.  I can still see her doubled over, head on the bed, shoulders shaking.  Her laugh was infectious anyway, so I'm just howling too.  We'd shut the room door almost all the way but we were loud.  The head of housekeeping came in...a diminutive man named John who was pretty nice.  He asked, 'What the heck's going on in here?  What's so funny? Why are you two laughing so hard?'  They could hear us in the lobby.  But even John started laughing b/c she & I were so hysterical.  I started to say, 'we were just telling jokes...' when CiCi blurts out, 'OH MY GOD JOHN WE'RE SO DRUNK!'  So much for our "We take this to our graves" pact!!!  John blinked and looked at me and said, 'What?'  CiCi is still laughing so hard that tears are rolling down her face and because she's laughing, I can't stop either.  I tried to gain composure and managed to get out that guests had insisted on having us in for a New Years toast and given us 'just a little champagne', and b/c we were so thirsty we drank it too fast and it hit us a bit b/c we were so hungry.  She's still too out of control to add anything to the story thank god, like 'it was a full waterglass'.  John, fortunately, was in good humour and said, 'Well....OK....but don't let that happen again OK?  And keep it down will ya?'  It's my fave memory of CiCi.  I have a feeling I would have been sacked on the spot had I not been with CiCi.  

CiCi was the can-do person at the DW & she was fiercely loyal to that place.  Anything that was asked of her, she did.  And did well.  The Catanias treated her extremely well too (they treated all of us well - I loved my years there.  All of us did), as they valued her as an employee, even finding easier things for her to do when she had problems with her knees in later years.  I had mentioned one summer that I wished I could pick up more hours somehow, and she told me that every Monday morning, she got to work 2 hours early to polish all the good silver champagne buckets and pieces, and she'd see if I could join her.  Next thing I know, I'm asked if I want to work with her early on Mondays too.  It was nice to be at the Inn when it was so early and quiet, chatting while we polished.

My final summer at the DW was 1985.  I was going into my senior year at Emerson and it was going to be a busy one.  I decided that I probably wouldn't be able to work there on my vacations anymore, and upon graduation the following spring, I'd be looking for work in my field.  The gals in housekeeping/laundry decided to have a little going away party for me at the end of my last day.  Here's a group pic from that day - Wendy, CiCi, Clair & Cathy, with Bernadine in the background doing bunny ears.  

I ran into her a few times in the late 80s at the grocery store.  And once when I visited from California in the 90s, my parents & I went to the DW to eat and I saw her in the lobby.  I was so happy to give her a big hug and catch up a little.  

A couple of years ago, I found out she had breast cancer but she was in treatment.  It's so survivable these days that I thought for sure she'd be OK.  In the spring of 2011 when I would talk to Russell by phone, sometimes he was at the Legion and CiCi was there playing Bingo.  One day I said to him, tell her I said Hi! He did and I heard her voice loud and clear, 'Hello Joanne'.  She had a very distinctive voice and laugh.  She was 4'11"...might've been a little shorter, but she was a dynamo, ball of enthusiastic energy.  She raised 2 great kids and remained on such excellent terms with her ex husband that his new wife became CiCi's best friend, CiCi was a second mom to their kids and they even vacationed together sometimes.  Everyone knows her, everyone loves her.  Family was so important to her and she adored all of her many, many nieces and nephews.  Everyone was family to her come to think of it.

The last time I saw her was when I first moved back in 2011, at Stop & Shop with Russell.  She recognized him of course, but I wasn't sure who it was because she was so sick at the time and it had taken its toll on her - but this woman was so short that it could only be one person.  As soon as she said, 'Hello Russell!!', I immediately knew who it was.  Big hugs all around...she was so positive, brushing off her health issues, 'I'm OK I'm fine'.  But she wasn't.  She fought long and hard the last couple of years.  I was at a birthday party on Sunday and was told that her death was now down to a number of hours....a day or two if she was lucky.  She got 3 days.

This is the way I will always remember CiCi, with that high wattage grin and heart of gold.  She leaves behind a son, daughter, grandchildren, her mom, sisters, brothers, scores of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.  
I'll miss you CiCi.

May 23, 2013

Stuff for Friends

Oh, before I get to the stuff I made to send to a couple friends, here's the first successful stencil I've ever done.  I have these glittery watercolour paints that I forgot I bought years ago so I tested them out with a large metal stencil.  First time the medium didn't bleed under the holes.  

My dear friend and sister, Lady Axe, has been identifying more and more with Native American spirituality, especially the power of Mother Bear.  I found this commercially-produced arrowhead in my craft stuff and recycled the bear charm off of an old necklace of mine and made her this necklace.

I made her a medicine wheel with ribbon, beads and a feather.  It's quite small, probably 4" from top of wheel to bottom of feather.

This dreamcatcher surfaced in my supplies as well, as did the carved stone bear bead, so I added waxed linen cord with metal, glass, wood & ceramic beads, and a rawhide lace hanger.

My freshman year college roomie, Angie, is wonderfully creative and we had so much fun making stuff in our dorm room after our homework was done.  She continues to inspire me with her photos and artwork so I made this project I saw on Pinterest.  This is a small box I covered with paper, ribbon, real wood and an old key.

Inside the cover on the left and the project on the right.

She loves architecture and doors, so I used some door ephemera and made a fold out picture book, which is adhered to the bottom of the inside of the box.  Then I decorated the pages by crudely drawing doodles.

And the back side of the pages.