Sunday, August 31, 2008

Apparently, I kick a**

Late last week, I heard that Jeannelle, over at Midlife by Farmlight (the name of which I love, by the way) had awarded me the Kick Ass Blogger award.

Thanks, Jeannelle!

According to the guidelines, which were developed by Mamma Dawg, the blog to be awarded must have any of the following criteria:
a mixture of incredible, original content,
overflowing with creativity,
a blog that enables you to become a better blogger,
a bloggy friend you know you can count on,
someone who inspires you to become a better person,
someone who sends you to the floor, laughing your a** off.

Well, heck, Jeannelle, if you think I possess even one of the stringent guideline criteria listed here, then I'll say ding dang diddly, which happens to be one of my favorite things to say (much to the chagrin of my husband). Oh, don't worry. I don't say it at cocktail parties, or when I'm entertaining royalty. I do enjoy saying it at all other times, however.

You also need to know that all award recipients are to choose 5 award winners.
I am choosing three because I like the number 3. And they are Mary at Little Red House, Debra at Georgia Rector's and Olivia at Parvum Opus. I'm choosing these three because I'm in a photography kind of mood. Each one possesses photographic skills that leave me breathless at times, jealous at other times (although I'm not really a jealous sort-of person) and just plain feeling good all the time. So please go give them all a visit, when you're able.

Mary, Debra and Olivia should contact the recipients they, in turn, choose, link to them, then link back to, at this post, and put their name on the Mr. Linky list there. Did you notice how many commas there were in this sentence? It's got a plethora of commas. I also like saying the word plethora, in case you hadn't gathered that.

Until tomorrow, my friends.

Jewel Weed: The hiker's friend

This is a bloom from a tall and gangly weed that grows all around the hedgerows and borders of the woods here in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The excellent thing about Jewel Weed is that it's the best cure for stinging nettles, poison ivy and a host of other irritating plants. I know it works because I've used it often. The stems should be broken open and the gel applied to the affected area.
Jewel Weed usually always grows around sources of water, and can also be found growing around poison ivy and stinging nettles. A sure test to determine if it's really the plant you seek is to take a leaf and push it gently underwater. The underside of the leaf will turn a liquid silver. (Hence the name!)
Oh, and if you click the link, don't mind the author. I think he's just a horny guy.
Until tomorrow, my friends.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

George has his eye on the ball

These polaroid-type photos were produced at a fun site that I heard about from a blogger friend, Daryl. Thanks, Daryl!
The site is and it's got a photo enhancing section, and lots of cool things to play around with. There's no program to download, and it's free to join.

So if Photoshop crosses your eyes and gives you a headache, then you may find a friend in this user-friendly program. The pics in this post are SOOC (straight out of camera). I didn't bother enhancing them with the program, but I slight sharpened 3 of them because they were a tad bit fuzzy.

And I always like an excuse to post about George.

Now here's a shout out to Terrie and her co-workers at Johns Hopkins Hospital: Go and tell the nurses you work with to gather round tonight because I've got some new George photos to share!
Until tomorrow, my friends.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday humor

I received these in an e-mail today from my friend, Jeff. Maybe I was just punch-tired, but I couldn't stop laughing. I mean, laughing so hard that people gathered 'round my desk. Before I knew it, I had about 6 or 7 teachers, and we all couldn't stop laughing! I found these on icanhascheezburger and I don't know . . . maybe it's just me. But I just find these irrestibly hilarious.


humorous pictures


Humorous Pictures




Ok. I'll stop now. My husband is giving me the eye as he's sitting over on the couch. He already thinks I'm crazy and now I am laughing and can't stop. Is something wrong with me? You'd think he would want to come over and see what is so funny. Is it because he's British?
I want to thank everyone who left a comment to my decorating question yesterday. I've got some really good ideas to pour over and sift through. So thanks, all.
Until tomorrow, my friends. (Oh, heavens, I am still laughing).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's just too much

My pictures are taking over my house. I took this photograph to send to my sisters to ask them if it looked crappy. But then I decided to just throw it out there and ask you how you handle all your pictures.
I've been taking photographs for oh, probably 25 years or so. I never thought they were great, but some were good enough to frame and showcase in our home. So I've collected way too many pictures and to tell the truth, many many old ones are in boxes. In frames. Most of the frames aren't great, but enough already!
My pictures have even invaded my bookcases. This is only one of the bookcases. The other is back in one of the guest rooms. I barely have room for the books. And now that I look at it like this, on this page, I think it looks terribly cluttered!
There are pictures on my mantle, and on top of the TV cabinet. They're everywhere. And now that I'm taking pictures of things other than my children, and landscapes, my macro shots are piling up on the walls. I mean, I don't have many of them printed, mainly because I have nowhere to put them!
Note: we're getting rid of the clock. For lack of anywhere else to put it in the living room, we stuck it up over the mantle for now. Same with the pictures there, and the candlesticks. I took them out of a box and stuck them there just to get rid of the boxes. And there they still are. And that picture I had done at is still sitting where I last took a picture of it for this post. Oy!

So, tell me. What do you do with all of your photography?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I took George for a good long walk after I got home from work today and I've been noticing more and more leaves on the ground lately. There is a definite chill in the air this evening, as I write this, and I may have to get my lap blanket while I read on the couch tonight.
Oh, my gosh. I just read those last two sentences back and can't believe how unbelievably exciting my life is. Zoinks!

So I'm walking in the woods, under the canopy road. This is a road that's covered with low-hanging trees and runs along a good portion of the property of this farm and a property next door that has a big herd of black angus on it. It was perfect walking weather and as I came around the bend where you get a big glimpse of the cattle, I hit a warm patch and this wonderful scent suddenly hit me. I immediately felt like I hadn't a care in the world, that everything was great, and then it passed. And I stopped.
It was weird. I walked back to the spot at which I felt this way, and realized that it was the scent that had overcome me. It was of freshly mown grass that had been lying in the sun. And it had taken me back to my childhood for a few seconds!

I smiled, and continued on and remembered an old M.A.S.H. episode that had something to do with olefactory overkill. I mean, not that this was, because it was a good thing for me.
But in the M.A.S.H. episode, Hawkeye Pierce suddenly begins sneezing. And it's not funny, because he can't seem to stop. Finally, Col. Potter calls in the psychiatrist, and through digging in Hawkeye's past, he finally discovers that it was a scent that had triggered this response. I looked online for the script to this episode, and came up empty handed. I do know that it's called "Bless You, Hawkeye" but I think I'm getting it confused with "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", the last episode.
Hawkeye had been on a bus that had broken down or something, and he was working on a soldier who'd been hurt and a Korean woman had a baby who was crying. They had to be quiet, because there were enemy troops nearby. Hawkeye told her to make it stop. He said it over and over, but in his memory, he replaced the baby as a chicken. It wasn't until the army psychiatrist made him remember that it was actually a child that had been smothered in order to protect everyone on the bus, that he was able to move on.
Does anyone else remember this episode?

Does anyone else have any idea why I'm rambling on so much?
Oh, and these pictures don't have anything to do with this post. But I think you've already figured that one out.
Until tomorrow, my friends.

The Ice Cream Man Cometh (Rescue Me)

I have a confession to make. It's about my favorite show on TV. And most of you probably have never seen it.
It plays on the FX channel and it's not a 'chick flick'. It's more of a guy show, but I can't get enough. My favorite show is Rescue Me, and stars Denis Leary.

I know, tie me up and call me raunchy. But I LOVE this show.

Rescue Me centers on the inner workings of Engine 62, a New York City firehouse, and the personal and emotional battles of its members in a post 9-11 world. The show's main character is Tommy Gavin, played by Denis Leary. He's a mess, but he's the best fireman going. I love the grittiness of this show and find it fascinating to watch because it's like no life I've ever known.
And I especially like that I'm constantly reminded of the firefighters who gave their lives during one of our country's most horrible tragedies.
I haven't seen a new episode for about a year, and Season 5 isn't scheduled to air until March of 2009! But until then, they're apparently taping 'minisodes' that I came across on YouTube this weekend.
This is the first time I've ever done this on my blog, but it's my blog so I can do what I want. I will warn you, however, that there is cursing in this one. And I've found the least raunchy one to show you. In fact, this mini-clip is almost 'cute'.
Now you know my dark secret. Please, don't judge me.

And you thought this was going to be a sweet Country Girl post.
Until tomorrow, my friends. Or until the ice cream man comes again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunshine and open buggies: perfect together

On Saturday, after he worked all morning, my husband came home and asked if I was ready to go shopping. I was not as I had just spent the entire morning cleaning the house, which was now gleaming, but I cheerfully said, "yeah, sure! I'll go shopping with you." He might remember me saying it differently, but I recall being tired and wanting to relax for a bit and the last thing I wanted to do was to go shopping. But then he told me where we were going and we'd be heading west, into Amish country, so I grabbed the camera with the zoom lens and off we went.
These photos aren't the best because all of them were taken through the window of the car, but there's a little trick I've learned, so bear with me, ok?
Because September is coming, I'm in a vintage sort-of mood. I've been taking a lot of pictures and working in Photoshop (if you want to call it work, that is) with PW's vintage action and then doubling it with her fresh and colorful on top of it. I think it turns the pictures into an autumnal version. The vintage action is great to use if you've got pictures that aren't the sharpest. And when you're shooting through a car window, and one that's not that clean to boot, your shots aren't going to be great. So my trick is to turn them vintage.
The sun was shining and the buggies were out in full force on Saturday. I would never drive by and force my camera face-on to the Amish; it's just rude, you know. That's why all these are from the rear.
I used to live much closer to Amish country when I ran a little local newspaper in Morgantown, PA. This was light years ago, back in the the late 70's-early 80's. I worked with Mennonites, too. In fact, my boss was black-bumper Mennonite. So I met Amish, knew Amish, hung out with some and went out clubbing with them, too. Totally not on those last two; I just wanted to make sure you were still with me. But I did know Amish and found out many interesting things about them.
While we were out on Saturday, we shopped at our favorite grocery store in East Earl, PA. Then we visited the store next to it, but my husband's search there for a new Carhart jacket was in vain. So we travelled north, further into Lancaster County and ended up in Fivepointville at one of the best stores to buy homespun, and farm-related products. And ding-dang-diddly, did they have one huge selection of Carhart jackets and pants! My husband was happy and found exactly what he wanted at Weaver's Store.
And I got to say ding-dang-diddly.
This barn surprised me. I mean, the picture actually turning decently out surprised me. We had driven by on the way to the store, and it was so fast, that I didn't have time to take off my lens cap. So I timed it on the way back, shooting this from the passenger seat through the driver's side window. My husband didn't even slow down because I didn't tell him what I was up to. I was really happy that it turned out this well! I was trying to shoot all the tobacco we saw growing, too, but everything came out blurry.
We stopped for a late lunch at a great little Mennonite-owned deli where the food is excellent and the service is really friendly. I know I sound like an advertisement, but it really is that good. Then we began the ride back home.
Did you know that a favorite mode of Amish transportation is the scooter? Everybody has a scooter in their garage. It's much quicker than walking and easy on the budget. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.
To see the top photo in a Watercolor/Paint Daub look, visit my daily photo blog, A Picture A Day.

Oh, and before I go, let me explain the black bumper thing: There are many different sects in the Mennonite religion. My boss was Automobile Old Order. They could have cars, but they were required to be black. Even the bumpers. Chrome was showy and showy equals vanity. On the opposite extreme, I also worked with a Mennonite girl who dressed exactly like me, was living with her boyfriend in an apartment, and was on the pill. So, you see, big difference in the different sects.
Until tomorrow, my friends.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

All the basic food groups

My husband has weird taste sometimes. I mean, the Corona and the cream cheese are fine, but the marmite? Ew! Has anyone out there ever tried this concoction?
Marmite is a British product, similar to the Australian vegemite which was made popular in the Men At Work song, "Down Under".
Buying bread from a man in brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscles
I said, do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich

And he said,I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Cant you hear, cant you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.

My husband, who is British, by the way (hence the penchant for marmite) had just opened a Corona, stuck a lime in it and pronounced that he had a hankering for a marmite sandwich. To me, marmite tastes like tar. Salty tar. It looks like tar, too. It's a sticky, dark brown paste with a distinctive, powerful yeasty flavor which is extremely salty. You either love it or hate it, which is also the company's marketing slogan!
The Australian version is called vegemite and is very similar in taste to marmite. A vegemite sandwich to an Australian kid is the equivalent of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich to an American kid, but what a difference in flavor!
Ew. And yuck.
My husband likes his marmite sandwich on toast with some cream cheese. He also put some on crackers with the cream cheese and actually tried to offer it to me. What is he, kidding? I'm opting for the beer today. Just keep the marmite away.

Happy Birthday, my sister

Gin Gin. Ginny. Virginia. My baby sister celebrates her birthday today.
She lives in California with her husband, Jay, and our father, Clarke. Jay and Ginny care for my dad and we don't know what we'd do without them.
Ginny was always the most vivacious of the four girls in our family. She is the youngest of our seven, and always outspoken.
I left a picture for you on the Picture A Day blog, Ginny. I love you and miss you. I wish we lived closer.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Here's to the weekend

Do you know what I was thinking as I was driving home on Friday? Ok, well I'll tell you. I was remembering my weekend guessing game that I used to host on this site. I gave it up and figured it was a good thing because no one mentioned it, save for a couple of friends. It was getting hairy there for awhile, trying to come up with an interesting picture to post, so if you don't mind, I'm letting it go for now. Maybe I'll start it up again this winter. We'll see. Today I took George for a walk along the usual route, which is up the hill and then down the road with the canopy of trees surrounding it. It's really quite beautiful, and I don't think the photos do it justice here.
Thanks to everyone for their input about posting pictures on this site. A couple of posts down, I asked readers for their views on publishing photos of animals that I do not own, specifically horses, on this site. You're right, I've always been respectful of the privacy of others and was thinking that it should pertain to the owners of these horses as well.
The horses here aren't famous, at least not yet. It's not to say that the famous have not lived here, though. And I'd have a problem about publishing pictures of well-known racehorses. I wouldn't be the only one with the problem, though. I am sure the owners wouldn't like it one bit. So thanks for your input on this query. And as for my nun story (below), you need to know that I harbor no ill feelings against her. I received an excellent education in the Catholic schools I attended in my youth. And for that, I am grateful.
I think I need to insert a couple photos of George in here. So here's one.

And here's another. Until tomorrow, my friends.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't mess with the nuns

I was talking with someone today and the subject of discipline in the schools came up. She said that she had just read somewhere that human rights groups are calling for the banning of corporal punishment after a recent finding that shows the practice is still widely prevalent in the country today. I had no idea!

There are many places, apparently, that still practice this archaic enforcement of discipline, most notably in the poor, rural south. Mississippi has the highest percentage. It's so sad, really.

But this post isn't about corporal punishment in the present, but rather in my personal past. And it brought up a funny, although a bit disturbing memory for me. I have a lot of disturbing memories but for the most part, I'm over them.

My friend had asked me if I had ever been punished in school and immediately I answered that no, I hadn't. But then, I remembered that I had indeed. I must have buried this memory but it came pouring back. Oh, the horror.

When I was in the sixth grade, I attended a Catholic school in Somers Point, NJ. We were taught by sisters and also by lay teachers. But, for the most part, it was the sisters who were our teachers. And the nun I had for sixth grade, Sister Agatha, was a piece of work.

I did not like Sister Agatha. None of us did. She was not a happy person and always had a scowl on her face. She assigned seats on a monthly basis and one month, I was the unhappy recipient of the desk directly in the front of the room at the beginning of the middle row. A most unfortunate seating arrangement, because we all knew that this was the person that would receive most of her wrath.

I was a good little Catholic girl in grade school, for the most part, because I knew if I went out of line, my parents would hear of it and I'd be in even worse trouble. But one day, Sister Agatha let me have it. Her name evoked something wicked and for a long time, I disliked the letter "A".

I remember sitting in my seat, working on something, when sister asked a question. No one was raising their hand, but I thought I knew the answer. Unfortunately, the boy she called on in the back row said something very funny and I made the mistake of laughing. And before I knew it (and this is the absolute truth) I was pulled BY MY HAIR out of my chair and THROWN TO THE FLOOR.

Think about that for a minute. Could you see this happening in your child's school today? I don't think so.

I was not what you'd call a strong-willed child, but I had a backbone and knew what was right and what was wrong for a teacher to do and I felt a righteous indignation at what she had done to me. With all my might, I got to my feet, put my hands on my hips and said in my loudest voice, "How dare you treat me like that by throwing me to the floor! My mother is the president of the PTA and she's going to hear about this tonight."

I was promptly told to shut my mouth and sit back down in my seat. Which I did, immediately. They had paddy sticks, too, and I didn't want one of them used on me.
That night, of course I told my mother, who was on the phone immediately to Mother Superior. And the following day, before class began, Mother Superior and Sister Agatha were waiting for me and there was an apology from the teacher. I didn't trust this apology, and rightly so, because sister Agatha, well she got me back. She humiliated me in front of the whole class.

Men, you may want to stop reading, because this is just a little bit personal. And I know you don't enjoy stories about women's things. But it so happened that directly after this little fiasco, I well, got something. And my mother (bless her, damnit) came to see sister Agatha to ask her to let me use the bathroom as often as needed. You see, sister Agatha didn't believe in letting her pupils use the bathroom outside of designated bathroom breaks. But I needed to visit it more than once a day for a few days and my mother took up my cause and asked for this favor. Isn't this freaking ridiculous?

Anyway, sister condescended to allowing me to visit the restroom and later that morning, when our math lesson was finished, she cleared her throat and announced to the entire class, "now put your math book away while Kathleen takes her visit to the ladies room. Go ahead, Kathleen, do what you need to do and don't forget your purse."

My God in heaven, I was mortified. The boys all found out what it was all about and teased me in the recess yard, the morons. And damn that nun. This was my life in sixth grade.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Photo courtesy Olahus at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Days end

What a sterling day we had here in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This morning dawned crisp and clear and I had a desire to don some warm socks. But then it passed. The desire, I mean.
When I got home, it was nice to sit and read in the sunshine rather than the shade and after dinner, I took a walk with the camera by myself. My husband had already taken George and they were off somewhere else on the property.
He went with the owner, her daughter and children today to pick up a mare and foal. I don't know what the whole story is, but it was boarding over at another farm about 8 miles or so away. The foal has had her coat shaved for something medical, I assume. But these aren't my horses, so it's best to stay out of it. I haven't asked the owner for permission to show any of her horses on my blog because I really don't want to even tell them I have a blog. It's my business. But if I'm posting pictures of other people's horses, I somehow don't feel right about that.
At the farm we lived prior to this, none of the horses belonged to the farm owners. They were all boarders and came to be bred, foaled out and then bred back. I didn't feel so bad posting pictures as long as I never mentioned the farm's name or its location, which I did not.
But this, in my opinion, is different, and I'd actually like to hear your take on it. For these pictures, I tried something I learned today on PW's Photography site. I used her Vintage action, then lowered the opacity to about 50-60% then flattened and used fresh & colorful on top of it, adjusting until I liked it. I think my favorite is the top photo.
I posted a fun pic over at Paintbox Pictures tonight, too. It's called I love New York.
Well, my husband's got that dog show on the TV. It's pretty funny, and of course we're routing for the border collie. It's called America's Greatest Dog. I only half watch it. If it was Project Runway, I'd be glued to the set.
Well, until tomorrow, my friends.