Today’s view of the pond

I’ve been wanting to write.  Honest.  I just can’t seem to find the time.  So, in the meantime, a view or two of the pond will have to do.

The weather has been weird today, typical of March.  We started out warm and sunny, moved on to blustery and rainy, with snow in the forecast (“a slushy accumulation”) for tonight.  The temperature has been going down, down, down all day.

One of these days I’ll write more than a weather report.  Soon, I hope.


Spring has sprung

(Today’s view of the pond.  All photos © 2009 by Robin.)

M and I were off on another adventure, traveling east to see family and friends.  We left last Tuesday and came back on Sunday.  It was a quick trip but we fit in almost everything we wanted to do.

Mom continues to fight her battle.  The aggressive treatment phase is over (for now and hopefully for good).  Now she needs to rest up, eat healthy, and build up her strength once again.

(Norristown Arts Building.  Norristown, PA.)

While we were in the area, we stopped by the Pagus Gallery in Norristown, Pennsylvania to see an exhibit (“Works on Paper”) by a good friend, the artist Jenna Hannum.   I really wish we could have attended the reception on March 8th, but we were unable to make it.  I am, however, glad we got to go when we did as we were able to take our time without any kind of distractions.  I was particularly fascinated at the glimpse of how Jenna’s work has evolved over the past few years.

If you’re in the area, stop by and have a look.  The exhibit runs through April 11th.  The  gallery is a little difficult to find, but you should have no problems if you follow the directions on the Pagus Gallery website.

(Graffiti on the Norristown Arts Building.)

From Norristown we made our way to Lancaster county to visit with M’s sister and to attend M’s high school reunion on Saturday night.

(From the top of a hill in Lancaster county, PA.)

The visit with M’s sister was, as always, good.  And the reunion was fun, too.  It was held in a bar that the reunion committee rented for the evening, set up so people could just come and go as they liked.  It seemed to work out pretty well.

(Another view from the same hill.)

As you can see from the above photo, some of the farms in Lancaster county are getting squeezed in by the housing, shopping, and industrial developments.  This was taken pretty close to the city of Lancaster.


One of the things we did while in Lancaster was visit the Central Market in Penn Square.  I didn’t realize, until looking it up just now, that it is the oldest farmers’ market building in the U.S.  People have been selling their wares on that site since the 1730’s.  The building itself, designed by James H. Warner, was built in 1889.    I did not have my camera with me at the time so you’ll have to wait until the next trip for photos from me.  Someday, when the weather is warmer than it was that day, M and I are going to take a walking tour of Lancaster.  I’m sure I’ll come back from that with tons of photos to share.

You can find a photo of a portion of the outside of the building and a little more information about it here, the City of Lancaster official website.  They have some scenes from the market here.

We left the market with some vegetables, a few crab cakes (which were delicious!), and a small bag full of spices, herbs, and tea.  The veggies and crab cakes were dinner that night.  The spices, herbs, and teas came home with me.

I also did some more shopping for The Dress.  Yes, I know.  I bought a dress already.  But I wasn’t entirely happy with it.  For one thing, it appeared to swallow me.  It was either going to need some major alterations or I was going to have to take it back and hope they have it in a smaller size.  I decided that I might as well have a look around while we were in Lancaster.  I’m glad I did.  I found another dress that I really like.  It fits, too.  We’ll be traveling back to Sharon, PA sometime this week to return the first dress.  I’m sort of relieved.  I was worried about wearing something that cost as much as the dress did.  Knowing me and my natural klutziness, something would have ended up spilled all over it.  Or I’d have hooked the heel of my shoe in the hem and ripped it.  Believe me, something would have happened.  I just know it.

While we were away there were some changes here in the Bogs.  The crocuses were blooming full-out when we returned.  The daffodils poked their heads up out of the ground, and spring officially arrived.  Our dead elm trees were cut down a day or two before our return.  The loss of the elm trees has changed our view dramatically.  As soon as I can find some time to go back through old photos, I’ll post some before and after shots.

(Former elm tree turned firewood.)

One of the guys that helped cut down the trees said he thought the biggest one (stretched out in the above photo) was over 100 years old.  I’m a little saddened by their loss, but also know that death is part of the package.  Nothing lives forever.  The trees will heat us well next winter.  They’ll also help us burn some calories and strengthen our bodies as we haul the wood and stack it.

(More crocuses.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  I’m going out to haul some of that wood around and get the stacking started.

A Good Weekend

On Saturday night M and I went to the Kent Stage for the Rusted Root concert.  If you’re not sure who Rusted Root are, have a listen to this song.  It might be familiar to you.  The band formed in Pittsburgh in the late 1980’s.  Their music is described as being similar to the Grateful Dead in that they have long jam sessions (I read somewhere that the band doesn’t like to be referred to as a jam band), the core of which is a strong percussion section.  They have a new album/CD coming out in May (sooner if you buy it digitally on Stereo Rodeo).

We had a great time.  Rusted Root keeps the audience on their feet and dancing.  If you get the chance to see/hear them, go.  You’ll have fun.  I’m sure of it.

Yesterday we went to Sharon, Pennsylvania on the Great Dress Hunt.  I had my hair cut last week and poured out my mother-of-the-groom dress woes to my stylist who recommended I get myself to Sharon, PA and check out The Winner.  So I did.  And guess what?  I found a dress I like.  Yay!

All I need now is approval on the color and I’ll be good to go.  My only regret, and it’s a big one, is the amount of money I spent on the dress.  I have never, ever spent that much money on a dress.  Never.  Ever.  It’s a beautiful, designer dress, but still.  I will only wear it once.  My hope is that I can sell it at a consignment shop or something after the wedding.  I can’t imagine I’ll ever have an occasion to wear it again.

If the color is not a good one, then I’ll return the dress next weekend and start the Great Dress Hunt all over again. I may continue shopping around this week, just to make sure I didn’t miss something equally as good at less cost.

Want to see the dress?  Here it is, but in a different color.  I bought it in a shade of blue.

M and I have a lot going on this week, and I have tons to do before we get started on our adventures.  I’ll update as and when I can.

DRUMLine Live

On Sunday evening M and I went to see the show DRUMLine Live at the E. J. Thomas Hall in Akron.  DRUMLine Live is a show based on the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band tradition.

The show was fun, lively, and entertaining.  It was a lot like watching an extended halftime show at a college football game.  In other words, it was pretty much as described in the advertising.

At the end of the first act, as the intermission started, I turned to M and asked, “But… where’s the drumline???”  He laughed and said he was going to ask the same question.  They had a guy playing a trap set at the back of center stage, but there was very little sign of the actual drumline.  I wondered if the stage was too small to accomodate the drumline along with the rest of the band.  M didn’t seem to think so.  He was right.  We saw more of the drumline, along with the rest of the band, during the second act.

Although I would have enjoyed seeing and hearing more of and from the drumline, it’s more true to the tradition the way things were presented.  After all, the drumline doesn’t hog an entire halftime show.

The music of the show ranged from Motown, to Big Band and Swing, to Gospel, to television sit-com theme songs.  I particularly liked the Motown music since Motown is part of the soundtrack of my childhood and teen years.  I have been a Motown fan for many years.

At the end of the show the band/cast members marched the audience out to the lobby where they played another song and then hung around so the audience members could meet the cast of the show.  Plenty of adults talked to and posed with cast members for pictures, but what I enjoyed seeing was the way the cast interacted with the young children in the crowd.

All in all, I’d recommend it if you enjoy marching bands, drum and bugle corps, etc.  Even if you aren’t all that familiar with marching bands, you might like DRUMLine Live for the energy and enthusiasm of the show that transfers well to the audience.  If E. J. Thomas Hall didn’t have rules about dancing in the aisles, I suspect many people would have been doing just that throughout the show.

March deluge

As you can see from the video (taken yesterday morning), we’ve been having some rain here in the Bogs.  It warmed up (to almost 70!) yesterday.  With the warm-up came the rains.  The snow and ice have all turned to water and mud.  It’s raining like crazy today and we woke up to find that not only had we lost an hour of time by springing forward, but the basement was flooding again.  It continues to rain and flood as I type.

In all likelihood, the warm-up won’t last too long.  We’re only eight days into March.  I’m sure winter will stop by with some more snow and ice before the season is over.  However, I think the back of winter is broken or almost broken.  The crocuses are blooming and the green spears of the daffodils are shooting up out of the earth.  I would post a few photos of the crocuses, but they’re currently drowning in the rain.  It’s neither a pretty picture nor one I want to risk my camera to shoot.  I find it difficult to hold an umbrella and take macro shots at the same time.

After the relatively quiet months of January and February, life is going to start picking up again for us.  We have tickets to concerts or shows or something almost every weekend in March and a few in April.  There are trips planned for the near future.  And soon it will be time to start working in the garden.

Tonight we’re going to see DrumLine, Live in Akron.  Although it’s not my choice, I’m sure it will be fun.  This is one of those things M enjoys since he plays (or at least used to play) the drums and he was in band.

My search for a dress for M the Younger’s wedding continues.  Still no luck.  I did try on one dress on Friday that I liked as far as color, fit, and most of the cut.  Unfortunately it involved way too much cleavage.  Not at all a tasteful mother-of-the-groom dress.  I’m trying not to get discouraged, but I’m not entirely sure there’s a dress out there somewhere that will suit me.  Perhaps I’m too picky or else it’s just difficult to find something that walks the fine line between too young and too old.  I may be a grandmother but I don’t have to look old.  Do I??

Yesterday was a run-around kind of day for M and me.  We took a big load of books to the local library.  I’ve had to make some hard choices regarding my book collection.  We just don’t have the room for all the books I’ve hoarded over the years.  I’m sure the folks at the library appreciated the donation, making it feel good to let them go.  No matter how much I might want to think I’m going to go back and reread some of those books, I know deep down it’s not going to happen.  My stack of new books to read continues to grow.  Finding time to read those is hard enough.  I did set aside some old favorites that I’m likely to reread, but most of the books we brought down from the attic now belong to the local library.  There are more boxes (and boxes!) of books up in the attic so I suspect the library will be seeing us on a fairly regular basis as I sort through them.

We also went in search of a storage solution for my art supplies.  I want to set something up so that when the Exquisite E comes to visit she’ll have a place where she can draw, paint, color, collage, or whatever.  It will also be nice to have that place/space for myself.  We spent an hour or so at a local antiques mall and found a leather-topped desk that I really like.  It’s a little beat up, but I think it will work out well.

Mission accomplished

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Today I successfully completed the two 30-day goals I signed up for on February 2nd.  I’ve been alcohol-free for 30 days and I walked over 100 miles in that same time period.

I’m enjoying, as Garrison Keillor put in his advice to the newly 50, the vacation from alcohol.  The loss of the empty (non-nutritious) calories has been a big bonus.  It leaves room for other non-nutritious calories such as Starburst Jelly Beans or Cadbury Caramel Eggs.  Not on a regular basis, mind you.  Just as the occasional treat.

(Jelly beans and sunlight.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I have to walk more to make up for the jelly beans and caramel eggs.  😉

After taking today off as a kind of rest day (I walked only 2 miles), I’m looking for a new challenge.  I plan to stay alcohol-free for a while as I whittle away the excess weight.  (Less jelly beans, more walking!)

I made a risotto with butternut squash and feta cheese for dinner last night.  Yummy stuff, but it didn’t photograph well.

(Unphotogenic risotto.)

I’m not sure more light would have helped in this instance.  Perhaps I didn’t pose it well.

The weather here in the Bogs continues to be bitterly cold.  I’m a little weary of the cold and being cold.  This is the first winter that the cold has bothered me.  I’m beginning to have a little more sympathy for those who always want the heat turned up.

It’s supposed to get above freezing tomorrow.  That will be a nice change of pace.

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Hope you’re finding some way to play and have fun today (even if it is a Monday!).