Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dreary days, an old wives’ tale, and hope for some

Oh my gosh – can you believe it? I’m posting two days in row here.  Maybe it’s because I’m just so darn excited to have seen the sunshine this afternoon, and maybe it’s because I just feel like I have something to say.

The sunshine ~ after more than a week of mist and rain and humidity so thick you could slice it and serve it on a plate, the sun burst forth this afternoon. But these are photos taken throughout the week.


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It has been so dreary lately and to top it off, all sorts of things seemed to be going wrong. Fortunately, they’ve turned around and gone right again.

After shelling out a little money.


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It all started when my left palm started itching earlier this week. I’m not a huge believer in old wives' tales, but more often than not when my left palm itches, I know I’m going to end up shelling out money for something.

My phone broke almost immediately.

It began doing crazy things and not letting me unlock its touch screen. Removing the battery made it work only for about 10 seconds so it was a trip to the Verizon store where I broke down and bought . . .


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A Droid X2.

At first I couldn’t figure it out, but I’ve since fallen in love with it. So that was a good thing.

The next day, I dropped the Honda Element off at the dealer for a scheduled evaluation on a couple of noises we’d been hearing lately. To my complete and utter joy (not), I found out that the torque converter needed replacing among several other things to the tune of . . . well, let’s just say it’s going to cost a lot.


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But not as much as a new car would cost. And I’m driving a nice loaner car – a 2011 Acura TL in a rich chocolate brown color with a leather interior the color of butter. It’s a beautiful car and all, but I really miss the ole Element.

Now I’m hoping that my right palm starts to itch because everyone knows that this means money coming in.

Please don’t tell me you’ve never heard of this superstition.


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Look how soggy the poor morning glories look. But better days are coming ~ the sun is making an appearance and the dank, moist air has departed.

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On the national news tonight on NBC’s ‘Making A Difference’ segment, I heard a story about a food bank in Potland, OR that asks people to step up and not just take hand-outs. I found this really interesting.

Struggling families in the Portland/Vancouver area are getting some help from an organization called Birch Community Services, a food & clothing donation center for the working poor. Families buy a membership at a cost of $50 per month and in exchange for free food are required to take courses in money management and nutrition as well as volunteering regularly at the warehouse.

What a great idea this is.

The program was created by Larry and Suzanne Birch, who believe that people are in the predicament they are sometimes because they just don’t have the tools they need to get by in the world. The poor are taught to be better stewards of what they have and to gain confidence and hope.

The organization began in 1992 when a bag of squished bread was left on the Birch’s doorstep, distributed to two single mothers who were in need of help – and today over 600 families are enrolled in the program. I just love hearing about this sort of thing.

Birch Community Services

I’m just so chatty this evening, aren’t I? Have a great weekend, all ~

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Little photographer

Some of the weekend wedding festivities included Sunday brunch at the new home of the bride and groom in Philadelphia. The food was fantastic, as always, and the mimosas were delish.

Of course, I took my camera to capture some family memories, and at one point my 8-year old nephew asked me if he could take some photos with it.

I believe I surprised a couple of people when I said yes.

I thought it was sweet that he wanted to try, so I set it to auto dial for him, put the strap around his neck and showed him how to hold the camera and take a shot. His tiny little hands could hardly reach the shutter button, but he happily (and more importantly, carefully) walked around the living room getting candid shots of family members and seeming quite proud of himself.

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This is my nephew, Josh, dressed up for the wedding on Saturday.

He’s my brother, Pete’s boy.

(how cute is he?)

When viewing the photos later, I found it interesting how people sometimes react to a child taking their picture.

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Wild woman Dani. She is so much fun.

(She’s Ginny’s girl).

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My sister, Ginny, on the left next to my son, Matt. Next to Matt is Judy’s daughter, Mel, and her boyfriend, Alex.

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The groom.

(his name is Joe).

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Emily (the bride) and her sister, Samantha.

(They’re Charlotte’s girls).

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Josh even snapped a photo of his aunts.

Char, me and Judy with Ginny in the front.

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I have no idea what this is all about.

It may have had something to do with the mimosas, though.

But all in all, I think Josh did a pretty good job at being photographer for a little while.

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Hey, Joshie . . .

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“Hey, Aunt Katy!”

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It’s not that often that I get to spend time with my family like we did last weekend and the one before and I thank God and my lucky stars for the people I love.

Can you tell I’m still on a high from it all?

* smiles *

Until the next time, my friends . . .
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The whole world smiles with you

I have had a lovely weekend – one which centered around the wedding of my niece, Emily. She and the groom put on a really cool Philadelphia-themed affair that was held at the historic German Society of Pennsylvania on Spring Garden Street.

Most of the family stayed in hotels in Center City. We drove back and forth from Maryland because it was only an hour away.


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Broad Street looking towards City Hall in the center. That’s William Penn that you can see there at the top of the building and until 1987, a gentleman’s agreement stated that the Art Commission would approve no building taller than the statue.


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This is what the skyline of Philadelphia looks like today. I took this photo Sunday morning at the bride & groom’s new digs. I love their new house and the rooftop deck.

But back to the wedding . . .


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I don’t want to share my personal family photos here but I will tell you that in all the years I have been going to weddings (and that would be many), this was the best I have ever attended. From the vows that left guests asking for copies, to the toasts and affirmations of love from good friends and family, to the complete and utter surprises – it has left an indelible mark on my life.

My niece, the younger sister of the bride, stood up to speak after the sister of the groom had just given a heart-felt, eloquent tribute to her big brother and his new wife. But instead of speaking, my niece took out a ukulele and proceeded to sing a tender but amusing little song she had written in honor of the bride & groom.

It brought the house down and left grown men in tears.

I kid you not.


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And about an hour later, this brought the house down again.

The Mummers came to the reception to perform!


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The Uptown String Band came and performed and their act was so much fun. And if you’ve never heard of The Mummers, it’s a huge Philadelphia tradition. Just to give you an idea of how they sounded, this is one of the songs they played (although it’s done by another band).

When You’re Smiling


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Please note the bride’s jewelry. It was created by Colleen Lehr, her high school art teacher and family friend. But I believe it was designed by my niece. It was absolutely stunning.

KCR Lehr Studio

And then there was even more dancing.


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These are three of my nieces, and Danielle (in the blue) is a wild woman. She can dance the pants off a kangaroo.

She’s a hoot, too.

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The extra touches, like the Philly pretzels and home-brewed beer at the bar downstairs and the gorgeous hand-made accoutrements prepared by the bride made this a wedding that I’ll never forget.

I mean, look at these sweet cakes and pies . . .


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Each one had a topper and this is the spitting image of the happy couple. How fun!

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One more thing before I sign off ~ I just want to say that I know you’re used to me posting each and every week day. My life is just too overwhelming sometimes and this is working for me. Thanks for understanding and for sticking around now that I’m just down to a few posts a week.

Until next time . . .

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weekly dose of George: Vintage series

Continuing with the theme of photos taken of my border collie, George, I submit this one for your viewing pleasure.

If you can find him, that is.

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This photo was taken in October 2007, when George was about 3 1/2 months old. Can you see him there, just to the left of center?

The sun was rising in the mist on that early October morning and George was watching my husband through the fence.

Taken off my back porch on the horse farm where we lived at the time, using a point-and-shoot camera - my trusty little Sony Cybershot. And because it was still a little dark, the flash went off.

Have a great day, all. Thanks for your visits – it’s always nice to have you stop by.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Favorite things: Vintage inspired jewelry

I believe I’ve mentioned the big doings planned for this weekend, when virtually every member of my family will be in Philadelphia to attend the wedding of my niece. Some of us are so excited we can barely contain ourselves, especially now that Ginny & Jay are in town for the week in advance.

When my sister, Char (the mother of the bride) came out this weekend, she brought several pieces of jewelry and wanted our help in deciding which one she should wear to the wedding. The jewelry was designed by a friend of hers who created the signature piece to be worn by the bride this weekend.

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Colleen Lehr is the designer and owner of KCR Lehr Studio, and her vintage-style creations are unique and inspired.

I took these photos rather quickly while my sister was upstairs packing to go home on Sunday, and my other sister, Ginny, helped me with the styling. We used her white scarf as a backdrop.

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I love the color of these stones. And that clasp.


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This one’s fun and kicky.

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But this is the one that I wanted for myself.

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So pretty.

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And this one’s so unique.

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The jewelry we were looking at was chosen because it complimented the mother of the bride’s dress, which is a shade of lavender.

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And I believe it was this one that my sister ended up choosing.

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If you like vintage-style artisan jewelry, check out Colleen’s shop. She also sells DIY kits on her site and teaches the art of jewelry making in York, Pennsylvania.

KCR Lehr Studio

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Before I sign off, I’m going to share another little family photo with you. And this time, it’s the family of the bride. I hope they don’t mind me posting this but it’s one of my favorites because it’s so them.
Taken during a family celebration in the summer of 2010, this is my sister, Char’s family. What surprised me about this photo was that out of the four of them, three decided to make faces at the very last second – leaving Emily (in the front) looking like the normal one of the bunch.

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Or did they forget to include her in on the joke?

Or maybe she is the normal one of the bunch.

I’ll never tell ~

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

A whole lotta love

My sister and her husband flew out from CA to spend the weekend at our place, and the coming week visiting with relatives and friends. It will all culminate in the big wedding celebration of my niece, Emily, this coming Saturday. The wedding will be held in Philadelphia and members of my family are flying or driving in from all over the country.

We picked up Ginny & Jay from the airport in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, and after we got home my sister and I stayed up talking until 6 AM.

I can’t remember the last time I ever stayed awake that long and I was incredibly exhausted, yet didn’t want to go to sleep.


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Later that day, my sister Char came out. She would be spending the night and then taking Gin & Jay back to her house and eventually to NJ to visit old friends.

I had the most wonderful time with my family, and so did my husband who usually likes to keep to himself. I wish we could do things like this more often.

Saturday afternoon, Christine’s husband John came over to work on the gutter system that was ripped off during the hurricane a couple of weeks ago. When he was done, we invited him and his wife to dinner, which turned out to be really fun. But I was kind of nervous, to tell you the truth.

You see, my husband does all the cooking around here. But this weekend, I was doing all the cooking. I went round and round about what to serve for dinner Saturday night and in the end, I ended up making a dish that I knew well and had made several times before. I didn’t want to spend all my visiting time in the kitchen, pouring over a cookbook and trying out some new recipe. I wanted to be able to visit with my sisters and do something easy. And so we had:

Roast chicken stuffed with lemon & rosemary

Roasted root vegetables

Baked yams

Marinated tomato slices w/basil

Warm apple pie & ice cream for dessert

My sisters helped me chop and prepare and everything was absolutely scrumptious. In fact, if I must say, it was divine.

Unfortunately, I think my husband is beginning to wonder why I don’t cook more often.


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The photos of the sky were taken on Friday evening and are basically SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera). I think the clouds look like peach sherbet.

We all watched the Phillies game on Saturday night and much to our delight (and especially my sister, Char’s) they are now the National League’s Eastern Division Champions and someone was jumping up and down in her seat yelling things like “That’s what I’m talkin’ about”, and “Oh, yeah baybee”.

It was not me, believe me.


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While I was making Sunday breakfast for us, my husband called my sisters and I to the breakfast nook window to show us a bird he’d never seen before.

We all looked it up and believe it to be a juvenile male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

Please contain your excitement. Thank you.


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And finally, a small family photo. L to R: me, my husband, Char, Jay, Gin. And of course, George. And by the way, this is my husband’s happy face.

Lotsa love,

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Full moon

I set up the tripod the other night to get some photos of the full moon. I was not pleased with my results, however, but that’s never stopped me from posting before.

I completely forgot how to set the metering mode in my camera and it didn’t help that the only camera manual I have for it is in Spanish. Googled it but was in a rush, so I just fooled around with the ISO settings and different modes.

But I will tell you that the sky didn't really look like this.

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I use textures all the time and never have any qualms about doing so. But somehow, when I finished editing this ohoto, I was questioning myself.

It’s not my usual stuff.

But I like how it looks and am standing by it. Besides, I believe the print will look cool for my Halloween display at school.

Especially if I do something like this.

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(the kids will love it.)

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But you know what?

The plain moon is quite lovely on its own.

I guess I was just wantin’ a little somethin’ somethin’.

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The weather turned cool today and it’s really refreshing. I’m actually in a sweater and have my thick wooly socks on. Oh, I am so looking forward to autumn.

Busy weekend here ~ my sister (Ginny) and her husband are flying out from California, and my other sister (Char) arrives the next day. My husband is really looking forward to having Char watch the Phillies game with him. And I’m just looking forward to seeing my family.

Hope your weekend is a good one. Until next time, my friends . . .

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I saw autumn in the misty morn

A thick fog blanketed my part of the world this morning and I just happened to have my camera with me.

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The first thing I saw when I pulled into the school driveway was this spider web along the fence line.

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I used the macro lens for these first two shots.

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And then the school came into view.

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You can hardly see the building from this vantage point, the fog was so thick.

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It was a little difficult to get shots without cars because it was morning drop-off time.

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The middle school flag brigade has already gotten their job done.

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Parents were driving by and waving, many rolled down their windows to tell me either that they wished they had their cameras, or that I was lucky to have brought mine. I think many of us were awed at the beauty of this morning, and the school building enshrouded in the mist.

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The mist and the dew thick on the grass made the morning special.

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And I’m glad to call this place home.

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"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence."
- Thomas Hood

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