Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Little Pumpkin

     Happy Halloween! Now before you think I've gone round the bend, let me explain about the costume.  I was in Pet Smart the other day to replace Katie's worn out dog bed, and they had a big sale on these pumpkin costumes, 75% off. What a bargain!!! This outfit cost me under $5.00, so really, how could I resist? No, Katie will not be out trick or treating tomorrow night, I just thought it would make a cute picture for my blog. Katie didn't seem to share my enthusiasm for the outfit as you can see by the disgusted look on her face in the photo below.

     We didn't get much snow from the storm which blanketed areas all along the East Coast last night.  Some places in western MA received two feet of snow and a few hundred thousand customers are still without power. Unbelievable. Here are a couple of shots that I took this morning when I was out and about.

I sure hope this isn't a clue to the type of winter we will be having.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arabella, The Good Witch

      A couple of years ago I took a doll making class with Sandi Bard at the Herring Run Quilt Guild in Norwell, MA. The project that time was a winter inspired doll which I completed. At that time, I also purchased a pattern for this witch. The body was completed at least a year ago, but I didn't get around to finishing it until this Halloween season. Stiffy was used to coat the hat to get it to stand up. I love how the hat turned out! I decided to name her Arabella because that seemed to be a good name for a good witch. The pattern is actually called "Willow and Licorice," and you can visit Sandi Bard's website for information should you wish to obtain this pattern.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


     On Thursday, I met friends for lunch and then went to see Moneyball starring Brad Pitt. The movie centers on Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane's use of computer generated statistics to assemble a winning baseball team. Now, I'm not really a baseball fan, so I thought that while the movie was interesting, it was also very slow moving. My friends are baseball fans, and I think they felt the same way about this film. I would give it only a B-.
     Later that evening, I attended a concert at Boston College sponsored by the Gaelic Roots program. Monsignor Charlie Coen from New York played traditional Irish music on his concertina, tin whistle, and flute. He was very entertaining. I believe that he said he was eighty-seven, but you should have heard him delivering jokes. There was a joke it seemed between each musical selection. What a memory he has for stories and, of course, the music. Being a flute player myself, I particularly enjoyed those pieces, but I was equally amazed by the music he coaxed from his concertina. For more information, visit the Gaelic Roots Program.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Surprise of a Lifetime

     On Tuesday, I attended an assembly at Waltham High where one unsuspecting teacher received the surprise of a lifetime. Dr. Jane Foley from the Milken Family Foundation in Santa Monica, California, and Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester were there to announce that history teacher Derek Vandegrift had been named a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. Derek became our state's thirty-ninth Milken Educator.

     Along with this prestigious award, Derek will receive a monetary award of twenty-five thousand dollars. Pictured above are Derek, Dr. Foley, Commissioner Mitchell and eight other veteran Milken Educators. It is always a great thrill to attend these notifications ceremonies as it brings back such wonderful memories of when I, too, received this surprise of a lifetime in 1999.
     To learn more about this award, please go to Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to the Bogs

     Since the weather was again beautiful, I headed back down to Carver this morning and found another bog being worked. Here's the type of machine that I mentioned yesterday which is used to churn the berries off of the plants. It was just completing this area.

Once the berries were floating on the surface, the men began corralling the berries.

     On the way home, I stopped at the Lobster Hut for lunch. While my friend and I were eating, I saw people gathering on the dock. Thinking they might be watching a seal, I grabbed my camera and headed outside. To my amazement, a small whale was swimming near the boats in the harbor.

While it was remarkable to see, I was concerned that the whale was far too close to the shore.  Later today, a spokesperson from the New England Aquarium said on TV that this was a young pilot whale which had become separated from its pod. He went on to indicate that this whale should not even have been in these cold waters. He also said that by law, they were not allowed to intervene. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this creature is not good.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Bog on My Blog

    Leaving Mass this morning, I glanced up at a brilliant blue sky filled with white puffy clouds. Now I had many things that I had planned to do today, but instead I went home, grabbed my camera bag, called a friend, and headed down to Carver in hopes of finding a cranberry bog being worked. After driving the back roads for a while, we finally found a bog being worked right along one of the main roads.

     If you have never seen a bog being harvested, let me attempt to explain the process.  First, the bog is flooded. Then a machine comes in which works similar to a giant egg beater to loosen the berries from the plants. The berries float to the surface.  The workers then corral the berries, which are then suctioned up and shot into a large truck which hauls them to the processing plant.

     On the way home, we stopped at Peaceful Meadows in Whitman for perhaps the last ice cream cone of the season. That was where this shot was taken.

     All in all, it was a great weekend as yesterday I attended the birthday party of my cousin's triplets. It was a joyous, boisterous, fun afternoon. For entertainment, there was even a wonderful juggler who delighted everyone both young and old.
     It's hard to believe that these beautiful children are now six years old. Amazing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Harvest Wagon

     Over the Columbus Day weekend we had phenomenal weather, sunny and very warm for early October. That's why we really cannot complain about the rainy, drizzly weather we are currently having.  This afternoon I did some shopping at the Derby Street stores in Hingham. No matter what the season, the entire area is always beautifully decorated. The photo below was taken there in the afternoon drizzle.

     Happy news . . . The vet called yesterday with confirmation from the biopsy that the growth that was removed from Katie last week was benign. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two Things

     I haven't been blogging for a few days since Katie, my miniature schnauzer, had to have surgery on Friday to remove a growth on her inner back leg. There is a two inch incision with many stitches, but our wonderful vet assures me that Katie will be just fine.  She is not too thrilled, however, with the collar that she has to wear until the incision heals.

Collar or not, she maintains her post, ever vigilant at the back door and goes into full alert mode sounding the alarm when a squirrel is spotted.

   On another note, I just have to say that I really missed Andy Rooney last night on 60 Minutes. While he lacked the avuncular charm of say a Walter Croncite, there was a certain curmudgeonly perdictability to Mr. Rooney which I always appreciated. His musings were sometimes thought provoking while other times amusing. At the age of ninety I guess he has every right to give up his day job, but his commentary  always provided the period at the end of the sentence and 60 Minutes won't be the same without him.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mums the Word

  That's chrysanthemums at this time of year. One of the many thing that I like about New England is that we experience four very distinct seasons, and yes, I even enjoy the winter. 

It seems that everyone is decorating his or her doorsteps with pumpkins and colorful mums in rich, autumnal colors. 
     On the way to the gym this morning, I saw something interesting while stopped at the intersection near Roche Brothers grocery store on Quincy Avenue. A young man had climbed a ladder to the base of the billboard and was in the midst of changing the billboard display. I guess I had never thought about how this was done. The sign he was hanging was one very large piece which was bunched up along the base of the sign. It appeared to have loops of some kind along the top at regular intervals. The man was using a long pole to place the loops onto hooks at the top of the billboard. At this point, the piece was loosely hanging  askew. I'm not exactly sure what he did next, but it looked as if he then began pulling ropes or loops at the bottom. As the light changed and I proceeded on my way, the whole piece tightened up into place. It was a fascinating process to watch. Who knew this was how they changed billboards?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2011

     This morning under cloudy skies, three friends and I stepped out in the American Cancer Society's 19th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Boston. This was our third time walking in the event since my diagnosis in 2007. As you can see, my friend Maribeth is also a survivor and we both proudly wore the sashes provided to us. Such a lovely word, survivor, and there were many, many of us there today.

     We added the pink boas which molted as we walked and the mardi gras beads for a festive touch. Part of the fun each year is to see what various teams are wearing. There were even some dogs sporting pink bandanas.

Left to right: Marilyn, Donna, Me, Maribeth

    Our friend Liz had also intended to walk with us, but she was unable to do so this morning. Here are my teammates enjoying a few moments of rest after the walk.

     Through the generosity of our friends and families, our team, the Wednesday Night Quilters, as of this morning had raised $1,163.  Isn't that wonderful!!!  There is still time to make a donation should you wish to do so by simply going to Wednesday Night Quilters Team Page