Monday, December 31, 2012

Cleaning up the blogs

Here we are, at the end of 2012!  Can you believe it??  This year went by so quickly.  It's true what they say, the older you get, the faster time goes.

Well, one thing I wanted to do was to catch up on some blogs I've had sitting on the back burner.  I have a lot of ideas that I want to write about and I have files of pictures I want to post but that's as far as it's gone.  So, tonight I'm trying to sit here and clear out the cache of blogs that were stuck in my head!

This was a great photo taking opportunity.  I know I've mentioned before that I love a cemetery.  The last time Cathie was here I told her about Lakeview Cemetery over in Cleveland by Little Italy.  I love this cemetery and every time I go there, I see something new and interesting.  The workmanship on the stones is unbelievable.  It's really a peaceful place and I think if you need to be in a cemetery this seems to be a good one to be in. 

Cathie and I loaded up our cameras and headed east.  There isn't much of a story to tell here, just a lot of photos of a beautiful place.  We started at the President Garfield Monument.  It is absolutely amazing.  I've posted pictures before of this monument, so I tried to pick a couple of different pictures that I don't think I've posted before.

And what still gives me goosebumps, is the actual resting place of President Garfield.  His casket is the one with the flag and the other casket is his wife.  The two urns at the end hold their daughter and her husband.

As we were leaving the President Garfield Monument, I saw my mandatory Macro for Mark!  This little guy was on the walkway right outside of the monument!

We headed over to the Wade Chapel.  We got to hear the story of the chapel and I could never do it justice to retell it here.  You really need to make a day of it and go check out this cemetery on your own.  It's worth the stop.  Keep in mind, I still don't know how to do everything I want to do with my camera.  This is really the only picture at the Wade Chapel that turned out half way decent.  This is titled "The Resurrection".

After the chapel, Cathie and I just walked around the cemetery.  Again, the workmanship is just phenomenal.  I could have taken pictures all day long and posted ten times as many pictures as I have here today.  I want to start with my absolute favorite!  And this picture does NOT do him justice.

This statue is so lifelike it is scary.  I wish I would have taken pictures of his eyes.  For real, it was like he was looking right at me.  I don't know who he is, I've googled him and the only thing I could find is a mention of this monument at the cemetery.  Here is a picture of the plaque with the artist's name.  He deserved a shout out!

Here are just random markers that I thought were blog worthy.  Trust me, Cathie and I only walked a little piece of the cemetery.  There is so much more I haven't even seen there yet.  First picture is Cathie, checking out the monuments.  Isn't she cute?!! 

We had a beautiful day to walk around and take pictures.  Here are some of those pictures!


I need more adjectives because all I can think of is that this is one amazing place.  And, if you are driving all the way over to Lakeview Cemetery, on the way back you really should at BD's Mongolian BBQ.  I really do like this place!  But it's a far drive over to Coventry.  Like I said, if you're over there, it's another place that I totally recommend.

The best part of our lunch at BD's was the deep fried oreos.  For REAL people!  This is what they look like!

Honestly, Cathie liked them more than I did but that's ok.  I like the vanilla ice cream that came with it!  Our waiter, I hope his name was James, told me that if Cathie ordered the deep fried oreos, she'd never get back on the plane and go home!  I told him he would be my new best friend if he could get Cathie to stay in Ohio!  Here is me and my new best friend James!

We had such a good time with him that day!  And hey, have you seen my finger?  That joke will be much funnier after you read the next post on this blog!  Remember, you heard it here first!  Anyway, James is holding up the deep fried oreos while helping me mug for the camera!

While Cathie liked the oreos much better than I did, it wasn't enough to make her stay.  That's ok, we had a great time while she was here.  We shopped until we dropped, went sight seeing at a cemetery, ate, ate, ate and just enjoyed sister time.

Once again, thanks for coming to visit, my sister!  I love you!

No Sharp Objects For Me!

Trust me, if you are queasy and don't want to see bloody pictures, STOP READING THIS POST!!!

Don't say you weren't warned!

I have a few blogs that have been on the back burner since the beginning of November when my sister Cathie was visiting from California.  Talk about dragging my feet, huh?  I've been blogging-challenged lately as you can tell.  Well, it's now December 31st and I have vowed to clean up my blog backlog and start the new year out fresh.  Hence, a blog post that is a couple of months old.  That's ok, it's still a good story!

Cathie and I spent one day out shopping.  We went to one of my favorite shopping places, Bed Bath & Beyond.  This store has to be shopped slowly.  You can't just run into BB&B and pick up one or two things and leave and go back about your day.  NO.  You must plan a few hours to put aside to thoroughly go through this store correctly.

Cathie and I had breakfast, then headed out into the jungle.  I mean, Bed Bath & Beyond!

Like I said, to do this store right, you need to set aside a lot of time.  Put on some good supportive shoes and some loose clothing.  You need to be comfortable while at BB&B.  Cathie and I looked at every freaking thing in that store.  We walked up and down every aisle, tested, touched, turned over almost every item in the kitchen wares department.  For a woman that is not a shopper, I was in absolute shopper's heaven!  We were in that store for hours. 

Let me tell you, when you are in a store for hours, touching everything, giggling and laughing, eventually you have management taking notice and wondering if they should call the police.  The manager finally came up and started to talking to us.  Personally, I think he was just trying to get a better look to decide if he should call for reinforcements, but I digress.

As we were standing there talking, I noticed this contraption right in front of us. It was a contraption to make home made potato chips in the microwave.  This contraption came with a mandolin.  In case you don't know what a mandolin is, it's a razor blade held in place by a piece of plastic.  You run your potato (or any other vegetable) up and down this razor blade and each slice is exactly the same width.  For making potato chips in the microwave, this would be very important.  I bought one.

Cathie and I grabbed a sweet potato, and I went to try out the mandolin.  If you know anyone with a mandolin, I am SURE they have their own story of cutting off fingers or at least needing stitches or staples.  They are that dangerous.  The mandolins come with a hand guard, but being a cheap mandolin, it was a cheap hand guard.  It really did not grip the potato, so I was just going to hold the potato in my hand and try to be careful.  Yeah, right.

Remember when this post started and I warned  you not to look any farther if you were squeamish?  I MEAN it.  Stop reading if you don't want to see!  It's gross!

Anyway, I was doing fine with the slicing of the potato until Cathie said the magic words "be careful!"  AARGH and I thought she loved me!  So no sooner uttered those words and turned around, and BAM.  My hand slipped and the top of my knuckle went right across that damn razor blade.

This sucker did not want to quit bleeding.  (by the way, I told you it was gross!)  As you can see, I just took off the top of my knuckle.  That means there was nothing there to stitch back up, so there was nothing I could do but live through it.  GEEZ this f-er hurt.

But, Cathie did her good deed and did some great first aid on me.  When the bleeding finally slowed down to a trickle, she put on a pressure dressing.

This sucker took forever to heal.  Unfortunately, because of where the injury was, every time I moved my finger, I'd break it back open.  This was the next day when at least the bleeding had stopped.

Still gross, huh?  It took over a month for this to close up.  It was such a stupid move and I have always said that stupidity should be painful.  Well, this was sure painful, and of course stupid!

The good thing is that it was my middle finger and I did have it bandaged for a long time.  I got as much mileage out of it as I could as I'd flip the bird to just about everyone I knew saying "have you seen my finger??"  Hey, I have to get my enjoyment where I can sometimes!

That was that week's bonehead move.  It was worth it though.  Cathie and I had a great time shopping that day and I gotta tell you, once you threw out the potatoes with the blood and the piece of finger on them, in three minutes, I had some GREAT potato chips made with no oil!  You can't beat that!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Christmas is not a happy, joyous time for everyone.  I've been trying to write this blog for two weeks now and this is as far as I've gotten.  So, the hell with it.   I'll just post the pictures and I'll tell the rest of the story another time.

Last year, brother Jim brought me a few boxes from the attic at home.  I accepted them gratefully but put them up in my attic and thought I'd process this gift next year, which is now this year.  Christmas used to be a big deal in my family.  Here are the boxes that Jim brought over.

My Dad was a big believer of leaving instructions!  As you can tell, this is the box of old tree trimmings.  I asked the brothers if they wanted anything from the box, and Cathie took home with her what she wanted the last time she was here.  The rest of the box is mine now!  The second box:

You gotta love my Dad!  Nothing left to chance.  This box contained the Nativity set that my brother and his wife made for my parents shortly after they were married.  I always loved this set.  Here was Dad's note on the box and here was Mom's two cents worth.

It's a weathered note but it does say that the set was being passed to me, and the trimmings are to be split amongst us kids.  See?  This is how easy it is when you're poor!  There were a few pictures in the house that my Mom put notes on years ago for when she and my Dad passed away, who she wanted to have the pictures.  This Nativity set was also marked.   Gotta love her.

In case you missed the note on the outside of the box, here was a note that Dad wrote that was just inside of the box.

Overkill was my Dad's middle name!

By the way, here is the "new" newspaper in the box.  Yeah, this has been in Jim's attic for a long time!

I knew opening these boxes wasn't going to be easy but thinking of them in my attic actually put the bug in my butt that I wanted to get my very first Christmas tree.  After all, now I had something to put ON the tree as well as under it.   I bought a tree and waited for the right weekend to finally set it into place.

Ron and Phil helped put the tree together, then I started opening the boxes.  It was an emotional day but it was worth it, I guess.

Opening the box of trimmings was not easy.  Putting the tree up every year was one of the things that my Dad and I did together every year.  He's put the artificial tree together, and string the lights.  Remember, I go back to the days where the artificial trees did NOT have the lights built right into them.  After the lights were on, Dad and I would put all of the trimmings on the tree.  I did look forward to this night every year.

When I was unpacking the trimmings, each and every bulb brought back a memory.  I remembered each and every bulb.  Ok, they are older now, and the tops and hooks are a bit rusted.  But I used them anyway and cried over each and every one!  Here are the old trimmings:

This one was my all time favorite.  I looked forward to hanging this one in a place of honor every year.  This one was always at eye level right in the front.  I always loved this one.

And more from our past:

And, I went out and brought some new trimmings for MY tree.

Cathie sent me one from her tree!

Another new one for me.  I went with a little bling this hear.  These snowflakes are covered in glitter.

And here is what you get when you put it all together:

I was very happy with how this turned out.  I'm jiggy with it.

The 14 pieces of the Nativity set were all found intact and set out!

I see now that I missed a few characters in this picture.  There is one more sheep and a camel that didn't make the picture.  Hey, they must have gone for a walk!  Trust me, they are there!

The cats love the tree!  I have had all three of them under there individually and together.  So far, a few sheep have gotten knocked over and one of the new non-breakable ornaments have been knocked off.  All things considered, I'm pretty happy with how the cats have done with the tree.

I couldn't ask for better presents than Benny and Ava, under my tree!

Since I'm talking of the ghosts of Christmas past, I took these pictures a few days after I put the tree up.  I was just trying to take a decent daytime shot of the tree where you could see all of the ornaments without the lights on.

I took the first picture and as soon as the image came up on the screen, I could see the large shadow in the bottom left corner.  I took the second picture seven seconds later, no shadow.  I don't know what caused the shadow but I can tell you I don't think it was me or my finger.  It's too big to be a cat.

If it was a ghost of my past, thanks for stopping by, you all have been on my mind.

To the rest of you, Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate, or don't celebrate.  May we all have the strength to get through this very difficult time.