Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all! Hope yours was as wonderful as mine!

On Wednesday, I had planned to do some shopping, and take Amanda's sister with me when she got off work. Angie and I went out in the morning - about 9 a.m. - it started snowing and continued all day. I really had not wanted to drive in those conditions, but I did - Took Jaime, and Cody (navigator) and finished all our shopping. Had no problems driving, but stayed the other end of town - away from the mall crowds. Yes, even this little town has a mall - big one, too. But, you know - there were no real crowds. No worse than our malls in non holiday seasons.

Santa brought me booster cables for my car, and other safety equipment, a telescope so I can look at the stars when I'm in the great outdoors, and a hat, fitting for Granny to travel in.

Cody (16) was trying to be so cool about having only 3 gifts under the tree. He really put on a brave front. Then, in his stocking, of all places was a gift certificate to his dream world. He was all smiles and hugs the whole day! He even hugged Dan - such an unheard of thing, poor Dan didn't know how to react. Cody even delivered several bear hugs to his hug deprived granny.

Brayden managed to knock a tooth out - trying to impatiently bite open a package.

Santa brought a "Beetles Rock Band" set up for the "little kids" Let me just say, the "little Kids" didn't get much time at it. Granny even had her turn at it!

Even the dogs got gifts - size appropriate toys. Sani, being still a puppy, had a blast, running around, fetching, playing tug-a-war, and generally raising the energy level. Mocha, being much more mature, played quietly. Sani kept taking Mocha's toy. At one point, Sani had Mocha's toy, and Mocha was looking beseechingly at me. It seems Sani caught the look, came over and dropped the toy right under Mocha's nose, and walked away.

Angie's computer crashed, so mine is (almost) the only one in the house. There is a desk top upstairs, but has dial-up, so of course no-one wants to use it. Anyway, It seems like everyone is addicted to on-line games- including Granny - so, last nite I was on the puter until 3 a.m. for my game time!

If anyone thought this blog was going to be full of insight and soul-searching, well it ain't gonna happen, at least not yet, anyway!

Now that the big day is over, it's time to start my sewing projects - narrowed it down to about 6 must finish projects - the other 100 pounds of fabric will just be stuffed back into the car and taken back to my storage unit. What was I thinking???!!!

One last thought on small town living - especially when your home backs up to the woods. When I let Mocha in this morning, I caught the distinctive smell of skunk. By the time the realization hit, Mocha was headed for someone's bed. I figured if Mocha tangled with a skunk, it was the bed-owner's problem, and I went back to bed.

Til next time......

Bear Hugs

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm not sure what order these photos will be on the blog - But, they are of Dan playing a video game, Braydon and Neo decorating a gingerbread house, and Braydon overseeing breakfast!

The "Historic Blizzard of 2009" hasn't affected up-state NY, But it has impacted on Brooke. She was driving from Michigan to DC for a job interview. We just talked with her - she had to leave the car (4 wheel drive) just off the road. She got to her friend's house on foot, but the snow plow came through and her car is now buried in snow. I'm not certain DC will be operational by tomorrow for her interview.

It's a balmy day here in Glens Falls. 22 degrees when I got up, and it is expected to warm up to a whopping 24 this afternoon. It's been from -4 to 4 in the mornings the last few days. I'm getting used to it, I'm not even putting socks on in the mornings any more!

I've misplaced the keys to my car. They just aren't where I put them. Luckily I had 2 copies made, unfortunately, I can't figure out where I put them. But, I did come across my original spare key - so at least I can go out and warm up the car on a regular basis.

Then, last nite, I noticed my phone # sheet was missing from the desk. So, now I'm beginning to suspect a little gremlin is out to get me. I've been adding phone #'s to my contact info in gmail, but I haven't finished, so, I'm sort of sunk.

Some excitement here this week! I've been out of touch with my step-son for several years. The other nite I searched the internet and found him. Scary, isn't it. Anyway, I called, talked with him and his delightful wife and learned they have 2 small boys. The last time I spoke with him, was just before his wedding. Angie and Brooke are ecstatic about locating their long-lost brother, and I'm looking forward to visiting them in the spring!!!

The baking and candymaking is all finished - finally! 25# of sugar, 20# of flour, 20# of choclate, 12# of nuts, and various other items. Instead of putting on sweatpants this morning, I put on my jeans. Oops. I can wear them, but they are not as baggy as they were. Time to ramp up the exercise. Surprisingly, it's not the chocolates that get me - I've only had 2, but the old favorits, peanut brittle, almond roca, and cookies, those darn cookies. Let's see - snickerdoodles on my left thigh, molasses cookies on my right thigh - oops, a little off balance. Must need some more snickerdoodles to even it out!

Speaking of peanut brittle. I have to be very careful about it. I have to check to see where Sani is. He loves peanut butter, and if he smells peanut brittle on me, he's up in my lap, begging.

Speaking of Sani. Yesterday without any warning, he started growling and barking, hackles raised at the mantle. It took a few minutes, but we finally realized the an 8 x 10 of Braydon had been put on the mantle the day before, and he was just noticing it for the first time. Wierd, adn Wierder. We let him smell it, and he finally quieted down.

The local amusement park - the Great Escape! Really, that is what it is called. It's a 6 flag park. Anyway, they are all decorated for Christmas, with lights and activities daily - so that is going to be our light festival for this year. I'm looking forward to it Should be fun.

Well, nothing else to say today - soon as I sign off, I'll remember all the stuff I was thinking about posting.

Bear Hugs,


Monday, December 14, 2009

Hey, Hey, Hey! Micki has joined my followers! Micki is my niece. I should be in your neck of the woods sometime in March. Can't be any more specific than that. I had planned to leave here on January 27, however Angie reminded me her birthday was on the 29th! (my face is red) What was I thinking, planning to leave 2 days before her birthday!!!

I'm waiting to hear from Myra the end of the month to find out what their plans will be. If there are no changes, I'll be meeting up with her and JT in southern Georgia, and heading for the Florida Keys. I have 2 stops in Florida, 1 in Alabama, 1 in Texas, 1 in Oklahoma - and don't know how long I'll be at any one place. In any event, I'll be seeing you in the spring, and plan to be hanging around for awhile, before heading for California. The only set date I have for the next year is the weekend of August 14 in Great Falls. (That's Montana for you Virginians who also have a Great Falls) I'll see you there, too, Micki!

There are two more members of this household I haven't mentioned yet. Mocha and Sani - the 4-legged kids. Sani (short for TeSani Sakima - White Buffalo King) is a collie pup - about 9 months old, and full of energy - wants to play all the time. My computer table is against the stairwell. Sani just went half-way up the stairs, and dropped his toy on my keyboard. Think he's trying to tell me something?

Mocha is 5 years old - a min-pin mix. I fell in love with him when I was here 2 years ago. He's very quiet - unless there is need to warn the household of something. He loves to cuddle, and spends a lot of time snuggled up to me. Usually he sleeps upstairs with the boys and I don't see him til late morning. But early this morning, he came to my bedside and asked permission to crawl in with me. (Yes, he did - you could see it in his eyes!) Little did I know that he had just come in from his morning constitutional. Jipes!!!!! His feet were like ice cubes!

It's going to be quite a nice day today - temperature in mid 30's. It snowed again yesterday and Amanda added another jump to the sledding run - about half way down the slope. So it's, slide, fly, slide, fly and bump! It's so funny to watch (from the warmth of the living room)

Before the snows arrived, I volunteered to take Dan to a job interview at a ski-lift. I prepared for a long drive. Can you believe it! The lift was 5 miles from the house. 5 miles! They have tubing in the winter. I want to go! I'm not allowed to sled in the back yard - I'm older than I think I am, but younger than Angie thinks I am. They are afraid I'll break something. Maybe I will, but what fun I'll have doing it!

OK, now for the serious part of this post. My head is hanging in defeat. I've been bested! Angie's fudge is better than mine! Not only better, but faster and easier to make! Angie is doing the victory dance, and moon-walking, singing "My fudge is better than Mom's! She is very gracious, though, she gave me her recipe. I've already used her recipe to make dark chocolate and milk chocolate fudge. My next try will be for Black Forest fudge. Dark Chocolate, chopped marachino cherries, cherry flavoring, and a "swish" of marshmallow cream through the top. Yes, I am still making candy! I haven't had an opportunity to do it for a long, long time with so many tasters present to save me from myself.

Angie surprised me by saying she learned how to cook from me. (OK, Ladies, don't bust a gut laughing!) Everyone knows I can't cook (except baking and candy making) But Angie says I CAN cook, I just quit one day. The Ladies may beg to differ with her!

Angie started cooking at 5 years old. I was out tending the horses one day, and when I came in the house, she had opened a can of tomato soup, turned on the (gas) stove to heat it, and made a sandwich to go with it. And she never stopped cooking to this day. Me? Well, as a newlywed - I managed to burn cream of wheat. INSTANT cream of wheat! What does that tell you?

Well, Ladies - what are you all up to? I'm guessing Betsy is in NC, I know Holly is doing shows, what about the rest of you?

Time is flying by - I'll be back in Virginia before you know it.

Bear Hugs

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow Games

Braydon cleaning the snow off Madame'.
This is Braydon's form of snowboarding! This was taken during the first snow. Now there is about 8-10 inches or more of snow all over the area.
This house sits on the end of a dead-end street. At the corner of the house, the street takes a deep dive to the bottom of the back yard - the front of the house is at street level, the back is full day-light basement. The drive is paved to the bottom which makes for a wonderful sledding hill when covered with snow.

The snow plow clears this little street (This is the only house on this side of the street) and piles the snow at the top of the drive. After spending most of the day shoveling the walkway and parking spots, Amanda tackled the pile of snow and built a ramp at the bottom of the drive. It was dark by the time it was finished, but there is a street light right at the top of the drive - perfect for night-time snow sports.

The two little boys, Braydon and neighbor Neo, got out their saucer sleds and had at it. No pictures cause I was all cozy in my froggy p.j.s and wasn't going to suit-up for the outside. I could watch from the window, though, and it was hilarious. They can't sled unless there is an adult at to bottom to keep them from zipping into the puckerbrush. (Don't you just love that word?)

Let me introduce Amanda. She is Angie's very significant other. She is small of stature, compared to the Trainer amazons. Shes a very hard worker, works harder than many men I've known. She cooks, she cleans, and is highly intelligent (honor roll last semester). As you may have surmised, she is an outdoor person, athletic - well not so much since Braydon arrived, (but that's a story for another time) and the best part ..................... are you ready for this?............... She never leaves the toilet seat up!!!! What can be better than that? (unless, of course it's a 6' + 2 1/4 Teddy Bear).

Yesterday Angie and I ran errands. Angie kept complaining about how cold it was. I just didn't get it. It was 22 degrees, and I was dressed properly so I wasn't cold. In the afternoon, we took Braydon and Neo to see Disney's Christmas Carol (another nightmare - not the movie, the rug-rats) When we came out at about 7 p.m. - Wow! It was bitterly cold. The wind was blowing, reminding me of not so fond memories of winter in Montana while I was growing up.

Oh, and to answer Holly's comment: Neo is 5; Braydon will be 5 on January 5.

Yesterday, I was treated to a jam session between Danny and a friend of his. Danny is a very talented guitar player - not my kind of music - it's heavy metal, but by listening for awhile, I could tell that it was good. Anyway, they were jamming away, and during a lull, I heard one of them swear. A small voice piped up indignantly: "Hey, I'm here! (sitting on the landing outside Dan's room), followed by "oh, that's ok, I'm five now". as if it mattered.

Well, it's a not so early Saturday morning. Not sure what is on the agenda for today, but chili is in the pot for dinner!
That's all F-f-f-f-folks!
Bear Hugs

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Snow

This was the view out the back window. It was beautiful, and brought back many fond memories. I didn't see any deer. Amanda says there is a small group that sleeps at the bottom of the slope.
I've spent a week baking - and mixing cookie dough to be baked the week before Christmas. And, the last week I spent making chocolates. I've been having a blast. I've tried out a couple of new fudge recipes, to varying degrees of success. Amanda wants to make truffles. Hey, I'm all for it!
The food in this establishment is great. Both Amanda and Angie are good cooks. I particularly liked the angel hair pasta with Cajun chicken and roasted pepper sauce. yum! Last nite we had halibut. Ladies, remember the few pieces of precious wild Alaskan halibut I brought home for our lunch? Well, since Brooke was moving, she had to clear out her freezer so she was handing it out left and right. Angie brought home a cooler full of it We've had it twice so far, and shows no signs of running out.
Last nite one of their friends came over and we played a card game, called "5 Crowns" We'll have to check it out for a Ladies' Nite. I didn't do too badly, but that could have been because they were on their 3rd or 4th pitcher of pina coladas by the time we started playing.
I have to interject a message for Braydon here. Please bear with me.
Braydon, many years from now, when we both are much, much older, you may come across a tattered old scrapbook of my adventures. When you do, I want you to get this message:
You are DEMON SPAWN. Do you hear me? DEMON SPAWN!!!! Now, when you are looking at this scrapbook in the distance future, and you read this message, you may have a couple curtain climbers of your own who are driving you nuts. Just remember, it's Hereditary!!!!!
Paybacks are hell!
On the other hand, this morning in the clear, cold hours of the pre-dawn, a small Angel voice breathed into my ear: "Granny, I'm afraid, can I come in bed with you?" And the hug that followed made up for it all!
We picked up a Christmas tree yesterday. The plan was to go out and cut one, but the tree farms are only open on the weekends, and we wouldn't have been able to do it this weekend. We are going to put lights on the tree, but everything else will be handmade - mostly by Braydon and his friend Neo. We'll string popcorn, make paperchains, and I've cut out a bunch of shapes - stars, trees, bells, etc from posterboard for them to color and decorate.
Today we are being battered by a winter storm that has affected the whole country. It wasn't snowing yet at 4 a.m., but by 8 we had about 6 inches of snow. Temperature isn't bad - 25 - 30 I'd say. There are more photos I'd like to share with you, but they are in Angie's camera so I'll put them in the next post. Amanda has been shoveling snow for about 3 hours - but the snow is still falling heavily - so by the time she finishes, she'll have to start over.
I got out my Trek Sticks and struggled down to the next street. With all the clothes I had on and the amount of snow, it was very slow going. It took about 20 minutes for that normally 5 minute walk.
Well, that's about it. I have to go make some Almond Roca. Catch you'all later.
Bear Hugs

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Small Town Christmas

Friday night was the annual Christmas tree lighting in Glens Falls. The tree was placed in the center of a Gazebo - in the park in front of City Hall - Stores were dressed in their Holiday best.
The sidewalks were crowded, but not to the point you couldn't move. Everyone was in a good mood - the kids were having a great time. - Groups broke into song spontaneously while waiting in line for the most popular events. (Talking to Santa and the horse drawn wagon ride throughout town) Everything was FREE! Do you hear me? FREE!!!! Even the wagon ride.

Stores and organizations provided everything from wine tasting and hot cider to cookies and cake. Hot chocolate stations, samples of peppermint tea, music. Santa boogied down the sidewalk playing a sax. The Theatre (Capital T) gave free (there's that word again) one act performances. There was music playing, Chorales singing. Make it and take it projects for the little ones, Clowns, and face painting, Ice skating, Coloring books and candy canes. Popcorn and passes to the Theatre. Reindeer to pet, Oh, my gosh!!!! It was incredible!

And all this was FREE!!, FREE!!, FREE! (I've been living in the city too, too long!)
What a great family event!

I talked with Corliss today, telling her some of this - She warned me not to get any ideas about moving up here. I don't know, it sure would be tempting!!

Bear Hugs

Saturday, November 28, 2009

November, 2009

I'm going to try to bring this up to date - now that I have a table for my computer. It may be called a "lap"top, but since I don't like the keyboard I use a separate keyboard, and also my own mouse - which is a roller ball device. - Oh, and don't forget the majicjack phone. Trying to juggle all this on my lap was impossible - as soon as I'd get settled, I'd need to get up for some reason - or the mouse would tip over and the ball go rolling across the floor!

November 21 was my daughter's retirement ceremony, celebrating 20 years in the Navy. So, a hearty congratulations to Chief Autumn Brooke Trainer!!! The ceremony was awesome - It was a very impressive event. Several speakers, many certificates and plaques. It started with a slide show of her career - photos from each of her duty stations. She spent half her career on overseas duty stations. There were bouquets of roses for me and her sisters, as well as certificates of appreciation.

After the ceremony, a good sized group retired to Brooke's house for a party, and what a party it was. It flowed in and out of the house, from deck to living room to kitchen to dining room for hours. It started shortly after 2 p.m., and I gave it up at 9 - the others continued until midnite, then retired to another party until 3 a.m. The music was loud, the dancing wild, and the food and drinks free flowing. Not being much of a drinker, I stuck with my glass of Sangria - adding more Fresca everytime the glass was half empty, But! I did have to try a "chocolate Cake" Shots of Vanilla Vodka and Creme d'cocoa! Something to try, but not make a habit of!

And Brooke's stories!!! Well, let me say if I'd heard of them when they happened, I'd be totally white haired. Some people will always have Paris. Brooke will always have Easter!

Sunday morning found us re-packing Madame' to make room for Angie and Amanda and their luggage. If I thought she was loaded before, I was wrong. I had printed a google map from Dahlgren to Glens Falls, NY, which just happened to take us through Pennsylvania Dutch country. We stopped there for a late lunch. By the time we left the restaurant, it was dark. We decided to cut across country about 10 miles to get to the turnpike. Picture this! narrow 2 lane road, double - no passing - line, no lights, sharp curves, steep hills, and horse-drawn buggies. And "little" jogs. At one of the jogs, Angie commented on my "little" jogs, and by the time she had finished the comment, she had already passed the next turn - so we had to turn around. On we went, on, and on, and on, we went - Aha! there's the road we want, except, wait a minute, there is no way to get to it! We can go over it, but not get on it - Now we were lost for sure. We finally found someone walking down a driveway, along a really dark, narrow country road. He headed us in the right direction - we were within 5 minutes of an on-ramp to the turnpike. Our 10 mile short-cut took us over 2 hours.

Just before getting on the turnpike, there was a Dunkin Donut shop - so we stopped for coffee. When we returned to the car, it wouldn't start, and besides, under the hood was a sound like a heavy fan running - even though the ignition was off. I mentioned that it was probably and automatic cooling fan - but these two young ladies had never driven a car with that feature - So, Angie called Kevin - her ex, and he calmed her down, and we stood around for 15-20 minutes to give the car a chance to cool down - And then we were on our way again - with no further problems. I have to say Madame' was really overloaded by that time - In addition to all the stuff I was taking to NY, add 2 more people and their luggage. A miracle that was the only problem we had.

In any event, we arrived at Angie's at about 2 a.m - 15 hours into an 8 hour drive according to Google.

A couple days recovering, and finding my space in their home, and it's time to get ready for Turkey Day! Amanda doesn't like jello at all, but at Brooke's she reluctantly discovered jello shots! Angie made up several batches at home, and when I mentioned to someone later in the day that they had started with jello shots at 7:30 a.m., she hotly denied it, but when I changed to a starting time of 7:35, she demurred. In any event, the turkey turned out delicious - I accused Amanda of injecting it with jello shots, but she denied it.

I'm enjoying getting re-acquainted with my grandchildren. Cody who skipped school cause "Granny's coming", then left to spend the holiday with his Dad at the farm (He's 16), 20 year old Dan sleeps all day, then leaves for some Tom-catting - I've said hello, to him a couple times. Then there is 5 year old Braydon - a perpetual motion machine with no "off" button, nor volume control.

Yesterday was "Black" Friday. No, I didn't join the crowds, but about noon, Amanda needed to go to Wal-mart. I told her she was nuts. But I went along for the ride. Wow! Noon, and the rush was over - the parking lot was full, but no standing in line to check out! I'm impressed.

Let me tell you a little about Glens Falls. NY - It has a population of less than 15,000. However, it is cheek by jowl to several other small towns that have all grown together. Touristy - being 5 miles from Lake George, and nestled along the Adirondack mountains. Full of huge Victorian and early 20th century homes. Lots of parks, intriguing down town.

I went out solo for the first time today - where to? Jo-Ann's of course! But Holly, honest! I only spent $11.00!!!!

And, also for Holly - Angie has a down parka that fits me just fine, I picked up some sweatshirts, and snow boots - so I am well equipped for any cold weather I CHOOSE to be out in.

I also picked up a domino set - Betsy - on the shelf right next to the game were sets of wooden domino trays - $5 for 4 trays!!!! I had asked Amanda to make some for me - but for $5 - I bought them instead.

It's quiet around here today - Amanda went out hunting this a.m., Braydon is watching a movie, Angie is playing with her new Mystery Case File game - I keep hearing groans from her direction - it's harder than she thought it would be. Dan is still sleeping, Cody is still at his Dad's
and, I'm done talking for today

I think I'll make some cookies - I refuse to play solitaire all day today.

Bear Hugs
Love, Boots

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 17 - 20, 2009

Finally! I have left the apartment. Thought I'd never get done. Left Virginia Beach about 3 p.m. & drove to Drewryville to visit Myra. Ended up spending the night and left for Brooke's about 7 a.m. - and arrived in Dahlgren about 3 hours later. The drive was very pleasant, and Madame' performed quite well even with the load she was carrying. It was much colder in Dahlgren than it has been in VB - Brooke seemed to be immune to the cold! No heat, and doors wide open!

The next morning we drove the 2 hours to BWI to pickup Angie and Amanda - and, the 2 hours back - then it was time to move into action to start getting ready for the retirement ceremony for Saturday.

Let me introduce Brooke - she is my middle daughter, and lives up to the designation. She is the original party girl, and has never met a stranger. She has friends, strong, loyal friends all over the world from her 20 years in the Navy. Some of the stories I heard over these few days, no wonder my hair has turned white!

Needless to say, Brooke, Angie and Amanda started rehearsing for the party right away.

bear hugs

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 4, 2009

The plan for today was to wash clothes, make chocolates, and sew. So far it's a bust!! I started melting chocolate, and realized I was missing some key ingredients - went to my "supplier", and they were out of what I needed most - so, I guess I'll just pack up the most necessary equipment and supplies and make the chocolates when I get to NY. My car is going to be stuffed full by the time I leave, what with taking quilting fabric, baking stuff, and now chocolate stuff. Oh, well, I certainly won't run out of things to do while up there!

Guess I'll do the laundry and get in some sewing. But, Hark!!! Is that the mailman? Season 2 of NCIS has just arrived via Netflix. Well, another change in plans - only questions is - which do I do first, laundry and sewing? or NCIS. No mystery there. NCIS comes first!!!

Bear Hugs,


Friday, October 30, 2009

October 30, 2009

Not much to add. This weekend I'll be moving all the stuff I have in storage to a new - unleaking - unit. Once that is done, I can really concentrate on packing everything in the house.

I'm going to have to make lists - I can't seem to find a place to start - my normal reaction would be to crawl back in bed - but since I'm no longer working, I can't think of a good excuse to do it.

I have boxes of stuff for different people, waiting for them to come and pick up. I need to start another box for the thrift store. Decide what I'm taking to Angies, and separate out the stuff I'll be picking up in January for the trip.

Dr.'s visit went great yesterday. Blood pressure is down, and Doc says to keep doing what ever it is that I'm doing and it will be fine.

I've decided to take all my khaki work pants with me - and toss as I wear out. Actually, I think I'll "ungrow" them before I come close to wearing them out.

Well, time to go - Gotta make up that list, and start doing it!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

To hear the Meadowlark sing

This blog is to follow my journey of re-discovery over the next year. The actually journey will not begin until the end of January, 2010. I'm going to spent the interim at daughter Angie's in upstate New York.

In the meantime, I must clear out of my apartment, place everything I want to keep in storage, and leave here no later than November 15. I have 5 days left at my job - I return from a shift so exhausted, I spend most of the day in bed, which is putting me in a real bind for getting everything done on time. But, I know everything will work out.

Today is October 23, 2009. Perhaps if I post what I accomplish each day til I leave, I'll feel pride bound to get more done.

Please bear with me, as this is my first experience at blogging, and I hit a wrong button during set-up and can't seem to find my way back!!!