Thursday, July 30, 2009

Noah Lee Goff Is Born

Our very close friends Jim and Joyce Blakeslee are celebrating the recent arrival of their first grandchild. Noah Lee Goff arrived at the Fair Oaks Hospital in Centreville, VA on Tuesday, July
28, 2009 at 7:38 P.M. The happy and relieved parents are doing just fine and so are the elated grandparents. Congratulations and lots of love goes out to everyone. Love him to pieces! He is so little and adorable!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Lilies Are Going Fast

Last week in July and the last week for my various lilies in the lily bed. The ones that have a heavenly scent have already lost their scent. We are down to the last blooms and the spent blooms. August will mean time to cut back the stalks that are leaning and let the remaining stalks gather energy for next year. In the meantime I have lots of crepe myrtle bushes that should be in bloom come August. This year's botanical play is marching on in the July heat and humidity.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Sunday Another Baby Shower

I've reached the age where the children of my friends are starting families. Case in point is in the above photo that shows mommy-to-be Natalie with her mother-in-law and my good friend Anne. Thirty five years ago Anne threw me a bridal shower in Germany. And yesterday Anne threw a very lovely baby shower for Natalie.
From left to right: Natalie's Mom, Natalie and Anne. This will be the first grandchild for both grandmothers-to-be. Are they ever excited!

There were lots of packages and bags to open.
Don't they make the cutest gift bags these days.

There was lots of yummy food at the brunch. The food finale was this cake decorated in pink.
Have you picked up yet that Natalie is going to have a little girl come October?

Anne's son Patrick, the daddy-to-be had to work but Anne's other two children were there to salute Natalie. From left to right: Michael, Anne and Michele.

And here's Mary and Tony who used to live right down the hill from us in Burke Centre in the 1980's. Tony retired and he and Mary moved to Atlanta to be closer to their two married daughters. They also have a son who has become a caterer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Just had to add a photo of this gift that someone brought for the baby girl that's coming soon. Isn't this the most adorable piggy bank complete with tutu and ballet shoes. What little girl wouldn't enjoy putting her small change in this piggy bank.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday July 26

This is the last Sunday in July for 2009. Wow! Summer is flying by quickly. It is also the last day for the famous Tour de France Bike Race for 2009. I have enjoyed watching the riders bike thru France. Beautiful landscapes from the mountain alps to the flat farmlands featured each day and charming old towns and villages in the midst of it all. My favorite day was when the riders rode thru French-Comte where both my material and paternal ancestors immigrated to the U.S. Both the Dapores (Despoires) and Garietys (Cariteys) came from Frahier, France which is in French-Comte and not far from the city of Besencon, France where the race rode thru the city and to the finish line for the day. I've learned that Besencon has been a famous clockmaking center in Europe for generations. Probably because French-Comte is very close to Swizerland which is also a famous clockmaking center for Europe.

Since I'm talking about my French ancestry I want to acknowledge a lady from my home town of Russia, Ohio who is doing research on the local St. Remy Catholic Cemetery in Russia, Ohio. Becky Plieman is the lady's name and she hopes to create an online database for the local church that will include the names of all those buried in St. Remy's Cemetery with history and photos. Quite a big project to say the least. But Becky has come across some interesting info.

The first person to be buried at St. Remy's is a man by the name of Pierre Joseph Stanislas Roy (Roi) who was buried in 1852. Pierre Roy was from Belfort, France ((I've been to Belfort!) and came by ship to America in 1848. While on the ship Pierre's son, Stanislas Roy, was born. Stanislas Roy grew up in Ohio and became a soldier. He fought with General Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn and was one of the few to live to tell about it. He also served with the military in Maryland, Missouri, Arizona and Cuba. I believe that Stanislas Roy is buried in a cemetery in Greenville, Ohio.

I love history and research and can't wait to find out what Becky Pleiman discovers next. And if by chance you have some info on St. Remy cemetery and the people buried there that you think might be of interest to Becky in her research please contact her by snail mail. I know any letter addressed to Becky Pleiman, Russia, Ohio would reach her because it is a small village post office.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Take A Look

Take a look at this trio of runners from left to right: D.J., Maura and Cindy. These three super moms and members of my local book club ran in a local 5 mile? race. Now that's the way to stay in shape. Awesome ladies. You rock!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday = Blue Skies Over The Castle

Skywatch Friday = Blue Skies Over The Castle
I took these photos on June 26. The day Jack and I attended the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival in D.C. The brick sidewalk in the foreground leads to a beautiful garden by the Smithsonian Castle. Beautiful blue skies like Arizona. And hot dry weather like Arizona. We need rain badly. So I really wish that in the last month we would have had a few more clouds in the sky that would have given us a shower or two. Every day now the weatherman on TV predicts rain but again just like Arizona we sit and wait and wait for the rains to come. Meanwhile we might as well look at the pics below.

Jack and I walked inside the Smithsonian Castle and discovered this pile of junk. What's this I wondered to myself. (You never know what the Smithsonian will put on display next.) This pile of junk was a marketing scheme for the IMAX movie currently playing at the Smithsonian: The Night at the Museum. Have you seen the movie? I haven't but the trailer for it says that Larry Daley a security guard sneaks into the Smithsonian to rescue Jededivah and Octavious who were shipped to the Smithsonian Castle by mistake.

Next to that pile of junk Jack and I discovered this authentic judge's table from past American Idol shows. Apparently American Idol donated this table when they had to create a bigger table this past season for the fourth American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi.

If you read the above sign you will learn that the Smithsonian has a personal connection to American Idol thru a final contestant this season Anoop Desai. Anoop has worked on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival for the last three years.
Well, that's another Skywatch Friday post from Joann and Jack. Now please go visit some more Skywatch Friday memes by clicking here:
And have a great summer weekend! Unless you live in the southern hemisphere in which case have a great winter weekend.

This Is For Aunt Esther

Here's an old photo circa 1952/53.

The little girl with the long black hair is yours truly and the lady laughing is my sister-in-law Esther who was waitingfor Carl to finish Air Force duty so that she could marry him. That was back when we still had that beautiful collie dog. And before my father tore off the back porch and summer kitchen to build a family room and big garage addition to our Sears four square house. The summer kitchen is to the left. This is where we would dress butchered pigs in the winter and can food in the summer on the big black and chrome wood stove.You can see in the photo a reguler barn sliding door on this summer kitchen. That was to make it easy for delivery of all the firewood that big old wood stove used when it was in operation. There was a narrow curved staircase that led to a low ceiling attic in the the summer kitchen and that's where my mom stored all her canning jars and extra junk. I always was a little squeamish up in that attic because I had heard my father say that long ago a man had hanged himself up in that attic.

The porch connected the summer kitchen to the main house. It didn't have glass windows---just screens. It was very cold in the winter and but very nice in the summer. When a rain would cancel a day in the field my father liked sitting on an old walnut church pew on the porch. Below the porch was a cistern where we collected rain water for special uses since this part of Ohio has always had very very hard well water.

Now the well was just to the side of the old summer kitchen but you can't see it in the picture. We kept a tin cup by this well and everybody used the same tin cup to get a drink from the well. But nobody got sick from drinking from the same cup. Seems strange now. When we had well problems we called Joe Voisard to come out. Joe was the local plumber and the father of one of my classmates Steve Voisard. When Joe Voisard and my father were working on the well I stayed away because both would be fired up to solve the well problem.

The porch had a hand pump for pulling rainwater up from the cistern. We did lots of pumping with that green hand pump. Mom had a mirror on the wall next to the pump. I can remember my Mom combing her hair here and then putting on her hairnet. She always wore a hairnet! This is also where Dad and the boys would wash up before coming into the main house after being out in the fields harvesting hay and straw. When we had hay making and silage making days the hired hands (local boys around Russia) would also clean up here before coming in for a big lunch of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and at least three vegetables plus homemade bread, pie and cake. And if the field work went on till early evening we had another big meal with the same type of food for dinner. Mashed potatoes and gravy twice a day at our house in those days. LOL! And we never had a dishwasher or an automatic clothes dryer. My father always had the latest farm machinery but the house was a different story. I washed and dried many a dish behind those three windows to the far right. The view from those windows was of our old tobacco barn that my father used to store grain, the nursing cows with calves and the last horses on the farm. But that's a story for another day.

Final note: Carl and Esther's oldest son Tom and his family now reside in this turn of the century farmhouse. If walls could talk, there would be lots of stories this house could tell. Like the time my brother Harold who was a sleepwalker climbed out of the boys room bedroom and was walking around the roof of that porch in his sleep. Good thing harold was asleep because he had a fear of heights.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It Comes In Threes

They say it comes in threes. Well, I guess it has. This summer the home break downs have come in threes. First, Memorial Day weekend when I had house guests the air conditioning up and quit. It took about five days to find and get a repairman to fix it. Then last week both the refrigerator and the dishwasher in the kitchen stopped working. We have been trotting down to the basement each day to put food in the extra fridge we keep there just for "crisis use" and we have been washing all our dishes by hand. I forgot what that was like! It takes time and I think more water and soap. So yesterday we had two different Sears repairman at our door. It cost $70 just to have them come out to the house to tell you what your problem is and then it cost a lot more for them to fix the problem. Jack was hoping that one man could repair both items but no such luck. So twice yesterday we paid $70 for that Sears truck to pull into our driveway. But now we have a refrigerator that keeps food cool in the hot summer heat and a dishwasher that not only stores dirty dishes but washes and rinses them too. So I hope we have no more "it comes in threes" this summer. By the way, do you like my little black French frogs sitting by the front step? I 'm so grateful that I once again have working appliances that I feel like hopping around like a frog chasing a bug. Now look below.
Jennifer had these yellow lilies at her old house and they were gorgeous. We'll have to plant some Asiatic lilies at her new home soon. Have a great Wednesday everyone. As for me I'm going to put some food in the fridge and throw some dirty dishes in the dishwasher today.

Final thought: The second Sears repairman who has been doing this line of work for over 31 years after being an electrician for ten years was quite a talker and he talked the whole time that he was working. He said that a lot of people today who are going to college but then having a hard time finding a job afterwards might just be better off attending a good trade school to become a electrician, plumber, heating and cooling technician, etc. But he noted that you have to be willing to go to work every day and work hard for long hours.
This man lives near Winchester, VA and he stated that it is hard to find the average white American willing to do his work. His company that gets hired out to Sears for these repairs has begun to train men from El Salvador to do this work. He said that the El Salvadorans are such hard workers that they just keep working and working till they get the job done while the white Americans are always demanding 30 minute breaks twice a day and asking for extra days off. And on top of that the white Americans usually quit after only a month or two on the job. Makes you stop and think. What does this portend for the future of our country? Not good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My World Tuesday = A Plug For NARFE

How many of you doing this My World Tuesday meme happen to be U.S. federal employees? If so, have you heard of NARFE? NARFE is the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees. It is the only organization that is working to preserve and protect the retirement benefits of active and retired federal employees. Besides doing that the organization is a great way for retired federal employees to get together to both socialize and to become educated on current issues. The Manassas Chapter of NARFE has had some very interesting speakers this summer.

Above is a photo of Roz Minett and Sandy Rigsbee from Capital Hospice who came to our July meeting and spoke about the advantages of hospice care for end of life patients and their families.

Here is Commander John D. Hooper, USCG who spoke to the Manassas chapter in June on how the U.S. Coast Guard is protecting our maritime frontier here at home and overseas.

The speaker for our May NARFE meeting was Venessa Lacey who is the Field Service Account Manager, Northern Virginia Region Federal Employee Program Anthem-Blue Cross Shield and she explained the health program as it stands currently and what changes may be coming in the near future.
I would like to suggest that if you are a federal employee, retired federal employee or spouse of a federal employee that you look into joining NARFE. It is a great organization and it has a great humanitarian component---it raises funds each year for research for a cure for Alzheimer's.
My husband is a retired federal employee so NARFE is a part of My World each and every Tuesday. Now that I have given a plug to NARFE go visit some other My World Tuesday memes and find out what else is happening around the world. Click here:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jack Aidan's Birthday in the Park

Our Adventure Story
Yesterday Jack and I rode with our favorite little family to Burke Lake Park
to meet up with Jeanine and Bryan in Mickey Mouse ears

and Jeanine's roomie, Maria, also in Mickey Mouse ears

to have a Thomas the Train Birthday Party for little Jack.
It was a brunch party so there were Manhattan bagels with cream cheese, cold fresh shrimp with dip, a fruit pizza and of course this cute Thomas the Train cake.

So what did little Jack Aidan promptly do?
He fell off this picnic table, bumped his head on the floor and started crying!
But lots of family hugs and kisses got him back in the game,
especially after some snuggle time with Mommy.

Then it was time to check out that cake with Daddy

and put your hand in the icing while trying to grab that little blue train.

Aunt Gigi (Jeanine) was recording all this with her Canon Sure Shot.

And so was Mommy with her Canon Sure Shot.
Sidenote: I took these pics with my little old cheap Sony camera.

Now Jack Aidan can be the repairman on a Thomas Train with all his new work tools.
Do as Sarah Palin says Jack: "Drill, drill, drill!"

And when little Jack gets tired of drilling he can run to the dining car on the Thomas train and
use his barbecue grill to make shish-ka-bobs for the passengers.
(Haven't toys come along way. On the farm I had to pretend that some left over barn roof shingles and bathroom ceramic tiles were my plates and cooking gear.)
Then it was time to get in the very long line to ride the train at Burke Lake Park.
The best part of the ride was chugging alongside the lake and screaming while going thru the dark, dark tunnel. OoooooooooooWeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
When we debarked the grey haired train conducter gave
Jack a Hi-Five.

Then it was time for Jack and the gang to ride the old carousel while Daddy and Bryan did some shooting with the Canon Sure Shots. Smile this time you come around. Understand?

Grandpa brought two blue frisbees along to the park for Terry and Bryan to be boys.It was fun throwing the frisbees in the shade of the tall trees.

Here Terry is using a fast curve throw in hopes that Bryan will miss the catch.

But somehow our little man ends up with both blue frisbees.
Bryan says "Ok, kid, give one up please."
On the ride home for a nap Jack Aidan fell asleep in the car and didn't even wake up when Mommy picked him up and took him in to his little bed.
That was a lot of birthday party for a little two year old.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who Turned Off The Water Spigot?

All of June had an abundance of rainfall. July the first came and someone turned off the water spigot.
Nothing like no real rain in three weeks to make me start to water the yard. Yep, we have turned our underground sprinklers back on to water deeply three times a week. And I have been pulling out the hose to water newly planted plants like these Creeping Jennys by the black Ohio goose.
I have also been watering some newly emerged plants like the pink zinnias in the bird feeder bed. Even the birds like the fresh wet ground for digging in the dirt for worms. But notice how our grass is no longer spring green. It has that middle of July look and will no doubt look even worse before the September rains kick in. Virginia soil is clay soil so when you get a dry spell you are walking around on clay bricks. Hard, hard, hard.

This is our reproduction of that famous Savannah statue that figured in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Hmmmmmmmm.......maybe that title also describes my garden. LOL!
The original statue down in Savannah was in a famous cemetery there but had to be moved to the Savannah Art Museum because so many people were vandalizing it. As you can see in the above photo I put fresh water in the two bowls the little girl is carrying. I swear that every time I look at that statue it reminds me of my daughter Jeanine when she was about seven years old. Jeanine doesn't want to agree with my observation. Maybe because the birds drink and bathe from each bowl and then stand on the little girl's head to dry their feathers and poop! Another reason I'm always hosing down The Bird Girl. In real life a seagull at Myrtle Beach one year did the very same thing to little Jeanine.
I want rain but not this morning because we have an outdoor birthday party planned for Jack Aidan. And yes, you all will hear about it tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday Birthday Party For Jack Aidan

Jack and I couldn't wait to give Jack Aidan his train set so we went over, gave it to him and stayed for an impromtu birthday dinner. Smile for the camera everyone.
Impromtu birthday cake was a breakfast muffin with two tall green candles. Jack is getting excited now!

Then Mom and Dad decided that he could open one more gift. A Bob the Builder tool kit has a hardhat and a tool belt. Soon as little Jack saw the picture on the box he said "Bob"!

Here's our little builder in his hardhat.

Final note: Jack Aidan tries to say I'm two. It comes out I'm you! LOL!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Jack Aidan

Happy Birthday Jack Aidan!
Grandma and Grandpa can't wait to celebrate at your party on Saturday.
But today is the birthday boy's actual birthday.
You came into our world and made it so very special.
Here's to you, Jackie Bear.
Now can you say I'm two?
I'm two!
I'm two!
I'm two!
Look at you.
I know. Your wondering what present you might get for your birthday.
Grandma knows but she can't tell you yet.
You have to wait till Saturday.
But today you get to play with your favorite buddy, Kyle.
So have fun and give your Mommy and Daddy big, big hugs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day July 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day
July 15, 2009
My First Time To Participate In This Meme.
After Viewing My Blooms Please Head Here To
View More Blooms For