Monday, June 23, 2008

At Home With Faith

come visit my new site...

I've imported these older posts, so if you are now just finding me, you can see it all over there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A trip down memory lane

The house I grew up in was the house my father grew up in. It was the house his mother grew up in (and so on, and so on - just like that shampoo commercial!). The house is now over two hundred years old and has always been in our family.

My parents took in foster kids. Some of them were fairly temporary (the shortest stay was 3 days); some were medium stays (up to a year or so) and then there were a few that were supposed to be forever. I say supposed to be because there were some circumstances that changed plans, either on the birth parents side or on the child's.

One of the longer term foster kids was Liz. Liz was an interesting case, for lots of reasons. She was a few years older then me. I think I was in second or third grade when she came to live with us.

She was quite the convincer. She could have me believing just about anything. And apparently one of her favorite things to convince me of was that the house was haunted.

She "noticed" that the corners of the rooms were always much colder than the rest of the rooms. This, of course, was just one of the sure signs a house was haunted. She would take me room by room to make me feel the difference between the corners of that particular room versus the center of the room.

Now, since this house is over 200 years old, it has some, shall we say, less than weather tight windows and doors. It has a forced air heating system - with the blowers in the interior walls. So of course the corners were colder - the heat hardly ever got over to them, and whatever heat may have tried to get there was sucked out the windows and doors.

But she had me convinced, because everyone knew that cold corners meant a haunted house.

The house also made noises. It creaked; it moaned; it must be the spirits roaming the rooms! It couldn't possibly be the hardwood floors needed to be nailed down a bit after a hundred years or so, could it? Or that after years of use, the floors were worn down and squeaked when you walked on them? Definitely haunted!

There was also a fireplace in the house. It was used as the main source of heat in the early days, and was even equipped with a bread baking oven next to it. Over the fireplace mantel was a small cabinet. It was too high for me to reach, so I never really knew what was in there.

But Liz did.

It was a HAND. Yup, a hand skeleton. In a jar. Apparently my parents were hiding it up there so I wouldn't know about it. (Why else would it be so high up that I couldn't find it?)

I did eventually get wise to Liz and her fabulous tales. But every once in awhile, I'd be in the house alone... and start to think... could it be haunted?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cats and Dogs

I have a favorite website (actually, it's two of them) - and

Submitters send in pictures of either their cats or dogs with "stuff" on them. The first site created was the cat one. My understanding is that you were literally supposed to put "stuff" on you cat - "stacks" in the correct lingo. You can find pictures of cats with remotes, toy soldiers, pez dispensers, coins, bottle tops, you name it, all "stacked" on them. They are a bit lax and will take pictures with other critters or in costumes. They are generally submitted with captions, and the cat's (or cats') names.
After success with the cat site, they introduced the mutt site, using the same principals for pictures.

I have been itching to get either our cat or our dogs onto the site, but whenever they are doing something that is maybe "postable" - my camera is either two rooms away or if I moved, they would stop doing whatever they were doing and follow me.

I should just get the camera out and try to "force" them to sit still for pictures, but I don't see that being very productive. If you have ever visited, she has her "Daily Chuck" photo where she makes her puppy Chuck (and now the new dog Coco) wait for a "scooby snack" while she snaps a picture of some cute setup. I can't tell if I just don't have that much patience or if I think my puppies don't!

I try to look at the site once every couple of weeks. That gives me a ton of pictures to look at and go "I could do that!". Of course, I still haven't!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Schedule

Ok, summer schedule is definitely here.

You all know how it goes... during the school year, you have your "regular" schedule. You get the kids off to school, go to work, go to the store, etc., etc. - pretty much the same thing all the time. Every once in awhile something pops up - hey, let's go to Jo's for dinner! - but really, you live your schedule.

Then, out of nowhere - well, actually, out of May - it starts. There are half days of school. End of school trips and parties. And before you know it, summer has hit you. Now you've got the little kiddie(s) with you ALL THE TIME.

Gone is the ... hmmm, I feel like having a nice light, small lunch at 1:30. I am running my errands whenever I feel like it (anytime before 3 anyway!) It's ok if my stop at my parents takes 45 minutes instead of 5 minutes.

Nope... it's: hey, mom, I'm gonna play video games while you are working. And when is lunch? And how come it's so late? And I don't like what you're having. And when will you be back? And when are you going?

Now, don't get me wrong. The Boy is great, he really is. I think we have raised him to be pretty self sufficient. He doesn't pester. He has learned to clue me into his plans early so I am not surprised by them and if I am not happy about them, we have time to discuss them.

But, the "carefree" days are gone. Summer Schedule has hit.

But there is an upside. We get to talk about stuff more. He isn't rushed with school work so he's got plenty of time to be social with me during the day. He really hasn't come down with that teenager attitude of "no way am I talking to my parents". Of course, since he doesn't have siblings, who else is there to talk to at home?

Monday, June 16, 2008


So today was my first kickboxing class. Well, technically, it wasn't my first, but it was the first in what I am planning to be a long string of classes.

At our karate school, they started the kickboxing classes about a year or so ago. Hubby joined - he wanted some cardio to go with his regular karate classes. He pestered me to go, but i really wasn't that interested. He finally wore me down and I agreed to go to a class. I liked it - but not enough that I said, hey let's go every day!

Classes are every weekday except Friday - either at 5:30 or 6:15 pm and then there is a 8:30 am class on Saturday.

At the beginning of the year, I made a "non-New Year's resolution" to join the kickboxing class. By that I mean, I told several of the staff that I was going to start coming. I must have told Hubby before that since he got me some workout clothes for Christmas. Anyway, it just never seemed to happen.

Weekdays were difficult. The Boy gets dropped off anywhere between 4:30 and 5:00 on a regular day; and for the last month he was at play practice anywhere from 7 pm to 9 pm. So getting to either a 5:30 or 6:15 class seemed to really put the stress on - so I didn't try. Saturday mornings are typically the one morning I don't have an alarm clock wake me up, so I was not anxious to start.

But I made this promise to myself that I would go to class. So I have been waiting and planning and thinking about how I was going to make it happen. I decided that today would be my "first" class since The Boy is now in exam prep/exam schedule at his high school and does not have the theater school now. So I had him picked up by 11:45 this morning - certainly enough time to get ready for a 5:30 kickboxing class.

I was planning to surprise Hubby with my decision during the day when we talked. We usually talk a few times during the day, but today I don't think I talked to him on the phone at all until 4:30, so that kind of blew that idea. He came home at 5 and I was dressed for class. He looked at me a bit strange, and then a bit stranger when I told him I planned to go to class. He decided to come with me instead of going to his karate class tonight.

So we had a good time. I did sweat - so I guess that is good. I had to put gloves on about half way through the bag work - I really should have bought them before class, but oh well! My skin will recover - nothing too bad like broken skin or anything - just sore knuckles.

I am thinking that I will go to Kickboxing on Mondays, Wednesdays and possibly Saturdays (although I am still not convinced about the getting up part). I will still do my Tai Chi on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I will be getting the cardio I need and the training on breathing/strengthening/de-stressing I want.

And today is our 18th wedding anniversary. Still happily married after all this time (although some people would say it isn't that long of a time!).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

We aren't doing much today. We went out to dinner last night to celebrate Hubby's birthday (10th), Father's Day (today) and our anniversary (on the 16th - married 18 years).

I went to church this morning and we had our hymn sing. Once every two or three months we start the church service ten minutes earlier and get to shout out our favorite hymns to sing. My parents and I go to the same church, so I called out for hymn #144, This is My Father's World. It is my father's favorite hymn, and was very appropriate for Father's Day.

Came home from church, made a light lunch and have just basically putzing about since then. I did however, accomplish one goal: I got the sides of my tomato planter up. I bought this "miracle tomato" grower thingie. Ok, not a very technical term there - but this is a special planter designed to grow your tomatoes on a deck or patio with a minimum of fuss and square footage. We always like fresh tomatoes, so I am hoping that I can grow a decent amount and always have fresh on hand.

So I got some tomato plants from my uncle, and planted them. He also generously gave me 8 heads of lettuce and 4 pepper plants. I wasn't really expecting anything else besides the tomato plants, so I had to do some scurrying around to find pots for them. I'm not that big into peppers and I don't know if I gave them enough room to grow effectively - so that is another experiment in process. I put the lettuce in some hanger baskets and they seem to be doing well.

Anyway, back to the tomato planter: I got the plants in and have been watering it at least every other day. It seems to have been raining at least once a day or every other day, so it hasn't been hard to keep the soil moist. They have grown pretty quickly so far. But I didn't have time and energy to put up the "cage" for them to grow on. So, I got that all put together and now my tomatoes have something to grow on.

I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A rainbow

"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Trees

We built our house in the lot behind my parents' lot (actually there is a lot in between their backyard and our property). From the time my brothers and I were kids our parents told us we could have a lot of land to build a house on when we got married. My oldest brother almost got to that point; but his first marriage ended in divorce and the house never got built. My other brother moved to MA and now lives there with his wife and three sons, so the odds of them building a house here are slim. So, of the three of us, only I and my husband have been able to take them up on their generous offer.

So, since Dad was getting those trees cut in his backyard, I asked if he would ask the guys to look at our big trees and see how much it would be to cut them down. Now, these are HUGE trees. Unfortunately, they are also very OLD trees. So Hubby and I have worried (on and off) about the safety of the trees. They aren't particularly close to the house, so we didn't think they would knock our house down or anything. But the thought of a heavy limb falling on a car or someone walking down the driveway crossed our minds now and again.

After some deliberations, we went ahead with the tree removal at our house.

One of the trees was very "crumbly" at the base. It was like balsa wood that you could just pull off the tree.

Above - the view looking down the driveway towards the house. You can kind of see the first tree where they just cut some large branches but not the whole tree (in the sunlit area).

The tree trunk was so large, they used a chain saw to cut it - they would go around and around the tree trunk cutting their way in. The pieces were so heavy they used the bucket to knock off the "slices".

So, now we have less trees up at the edge of our driveway, but there is still enough shade from the other trees. We are still in our own little world in our back lot, which is just the way we like it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


My sister in law laughs when the family gets together. We generally have two topics that we can spend hours talking about: how did someone get to the place we are (routes, traffic, new back roads found, etc.) and trees.
I don't know why we find it so interesting, but we can go on and on about either subject (just ask anyone who has married into the family - they probably can't figure it out either!)

So, at my parents house, there is a huge silver maple tree. It is in the back yard, but it hangs over the house, near the kitchen (downstairs) and my parent's room (upstairs). Several years ago( ok - probably 15 years ago) my dad had my brother climb up the tree and cut down some of the branches. But, the tree continued to grow ( as trees tend to do), so it became more and more of an issue. Should any hurricane come by (it's been a good 20 or 25 years or so since we got hit with one, so we are overdue) chances are good that there would be tree parts flying, and my parents were not particularly happy about the thought of a tree in their house. (Parents are funny that way, aren't they?)

So, my dad had some tree work done at a cemetery where he is now caretaker (he's retired now, so obviously he needs something to do!). He talked to the tree guys and they agreed to take care of the silver maple for him after they finished at the cemetery. So here are some pictures of the great big silver maple tree at my parents house going down.

This is the first day. In this picture (above) they had already cut some branches off.

In the above picture, my dad (grey sweatshirt) is taking a look at some the debris from the cutting. They had a chipper right there to take care of the branches and leaves - they were pretty good about cleanup.

Above - a piece goes swinging. It looks like it could hit the house in this picture, but it really wasn't anywhere near it.

Here is what is left of the tree. Dad even had the guys do some more work in his backyard when they were done with the silver maple. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but it has totally opened up the view into his backyard. You can now clearly see the outhouse from the road (time to get that door back on there!) and even see to the lot in back of the yard.