Saturday, February 27, 2010

I did it - finally.

I bought a new computer yesterday. I don't have it yet because Best Buys is going to transfer data from my old computer (minus whatever viruses I may have on it) to the new one. It will be sometime next week before that is done and I actually get the CPU. I have the screen, one of those nice flat ones, at home now, but of course it is still in the box. My new computer has wireless built in, which will be great for next summer when Kate and family come for a month. I'm sure they will bring a laptop with them, as all 5 of them use the computer regularly.

I am again at the library, but may not come over here much next week. So don't expect much blogging to happen until the new machine is set up. I have to get here before the place is too busy. Weekday mornings and early afternoons are good - before the invasion of kids from school!

This morning when I woke up, I saw snow out the window. Luckily, it wasn't much - only a dusting. I think all of us here on the East Coast have had enough snow for this winter. I'm sure glad I don't live in Pennsylvania! They really got hit recently. This will be a winter to remember for all of us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

back on line

I've been unable to post on my blog or get to my facebook page since Sunday. I was trying to download AVG on Sunday (unsuccessfully) and I guess I did something to Internet Explorer. Anyway, it's good to know that the problem is on my computer and probably fixable, once I figure out what I did. I'm at the library just now.

I had the first part of a root canal done yesterday. It was a pretty simple process and there was no pain at all. I don't know why I was so worried about it. The place where the shot went in did ache yesterday, but it's fine today. The only real problem is that I will be on an antibiotic for another week and they always make me feel a bit queasy. I'm not enjoying that, but I can live with it. Seems to go away in the afternoon. Very strange.

Our snow melted like crazy yesterday. I can see the wood of my deck now, except that it is covered with the hulls from the bird seed I threw out there when it was snow covered. I'll have a mess to clean up in a few days.

No photos until I get my own computer back working properly.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

not much to blog about

Nothing much noteworthy has happened in the last few days. I've had a problem with a tooth - infection around the root. Will have to have a root canal soon. Meanwhile, I've been on two different antibiotics. The first one caused a weird reaction - dizziness and a queasy feeling. I was afraid to drive the car, so was house-bound again! Luckily, on Friday, I got a different prescription, and so far, that one seems to be ok. At least the pills are working, as the tooth isn't sore now. I have an appointment with a specialist on Tuesday and hope to get the procedure done soon, as I am heading for Florida in March and don't want to have tooth trouble down there.

Snow here is melting at a pretty good clip. The huge package of snow hanging down from the roof next door fell yesterday. I heard a crash, but saw very little evidence of extra snow on my deck or below. Maybe most of it fell on my neighbor's deck, or maybe there wasn't all that much snow up there. (It looked like a lot when viewing it from below.) Anyway, no damage done, which is good. Today I plan to try using a hair dryer and/or boiling water to remove the patch of ice in front of the door to the deck. It's only a small patch, but is about 8 inches thick! It's fun to watch the birds skidding around on it, but I don't care to be one of the skidders, so I have not used that door recently. I need to fill the bird feeder, but am afraid to cross the icy patch to reach it. The problem with my deck is that in the winter, the sun never shines directly on it. Snow on it doesn't melt - it just sits there reminding me that we are still in the midst of WINTER!

The other thing I am planning to start today is my Income Tax paperwork. (Planning does not mean I will actually do this!) This is not something I enjoy doing, although my returns are not too complicated. It's just a hassle getting all the needed information together. I'll be fine with it, once I get up enough mental energy to start.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

blooms at my house

It may be winter outside, with huge piles of snow and icicles falling on my deck, but inside I have flowers in bloom! The supermarket had Valentine bouquets at half price this week, so I bought myself a valentine. The flowers are on the kitchen island, where I see them as I eat my meals. In the living room, a scarlet amaryllis is blooming. It has two blossoms open now, with two more almost open. Gorgeous! So it may be cold and white outside, but in my house, it's spring!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

another early morning

It's only just past 7AM and I've been up and dressed for about 2 hours. I can't seem to get my sleeping pattern back to what it should be. Last night I fell asleep in my chair around 8:30 and woke up to go to bed an hour later. Of course, I awoke around 5 this AM and couldn't get back to sleep. When I was gainfully employed I got up at 5 by necessity, but I would really like to NOT do it in retirement!

Yesterday, after my ceramics class, I stopped in at thrift store that is on my way home to drop off some clothing. Of course, I had to wander around the store a bit. It's not a well-organized store, so it's hard to find good stuff, but I got another cute bird house - never been used - and a couple of 'like new' picture frames, all for $5. I do love bargains!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

cabin fever - cured!

I did say in the last blog that I was NOT going shopping on Saturday. Well, I was wrong. Patty and I delivered her chair to the local Goodwill store and wandered around the store for a little while. Not much there that we wanted. However, Patty wanted to go to Michael's, so we headed off to Columbia. We shopped at both Michael's and JoAnn's, looking for bargains. Lots of things on sale. I didn't buy much of anything. Got some more cheap ($1) unfinished birdhouses. Something to fuss around with during the next snow. LOL After that, it was lunch time, so we treated ourselves to lunch at Applebee's. My salad was so large that I brought half of it home for dinner.
After lunch, we came back to our neighborhood and visited our local antique mall. We don't really like this mall because the prices are too high, but it was a fun way to kill an afternoon. I bought a couple of little animal figures and one glass animal - a kangaroo! It was my big purchase for the day, but not a costly one. It was just so good to get out and about.
Today will be a normal Sunday, with church duties (coffee hour and choir). I'm not sure what tomorrow will be like, but I don't think we are expecting more snow. It's a federal holiday (Presidents' Day), but I think the rec center where I teach ceramics will be open. They don't close for most holidays. So the upcoming week will progress as usual, unlike the past week that has been anything but usual!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

out and about

Yesterday, I drove down to Greenbelt (about 10 miles south) to meet a friend for lunch. Roads were fine, although lanes were a bit narrow in places. The Parkway was mostly dry, except where the sunshine was melting the snow. Parking lots at the shopping center had piles of snow, but enough parking places for customers. I imagine it will be much more crowded today. It's a bit amusing to see all these ads for sales this weekend. With it being both Valentine's and Presidents' Day weekend, it's usually a huge sale weekend. I suppose the stores will be crowded, since our roads are pretty good. However, having struggled with gridlocked streets on Tuesday, I am not planning to shop today.

Yesterday, we had TWO machines (front loaders, backhoes, whatever) scooping snow from our street and piling it up across the street. There is at least 10 feet of snow over there now, but our parking places are no longer blocked in. Probably there is ice this morning, where the snow melted in yesterday's sunshine. I haven't gone out to look. I think Patty and I are going out in a bit. She wants to drop a chair off at Goodwill, just up route 1, and I am going with her to help carry the chair. Of course, maybe the store isn't open. She's going to check this AM. I'm itching to get out again, but I hate shopping on Saturdays, so perhaps will not visit any other stores.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The worst is over, I hope

Good things happening today. It's been a beautiful day with blue skies and sunshine. The plow came by in the early AM. My neighbor helped me shovel out the snow blocking my car from the street. And now they are plowing the street again! Many of us moved our cars out to the main road, so that the plow could do its job properly. I suppose it's too much to expect no more snow for the rest of the winter, but it would be really great if we could have a couple of weeks without having to shovel any more of that white stuff. Of course, we are still worried about the huge snow overhangs on the corners of our roofs. These masses look as if they would fall at any time, but have been up there for almost a week. The important thing is NOT to be underneath when they do fall!

The roads in our development are pretty sloppy in places and tomorrow there will be icy spots, as the snow that melted today freezes overnight. Driving will be hazardous for several days, I think. However, the worst seems to be over. The federal government has been closed 4 days so far - the longest ever due to bad weather. I imagine it will be back in business tomorrow. I'm glad I'm retired and don't have to make decisions about going to work or not.

I heard something rather amusing on the news. It seems that last night, somebody in Laurel went up the road to the garage where the road maintenance equipment is kept and stole a vehicle with a plow on the front. He used it to clear his street and driveway. The police found it still parked in his driveway! Now that shows real nerve! Also a good deal of stupidity. Still, one can understand the impulse. It was hard waiting for the plows.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Here we go again! Or rather, here we do NOT go. Snow started last night, drifting down slowly to leave about 4 more inches. However, this AM it is snowing in earnest! The are predicting another 8 to 10 inches. When the wind picks up, "white out" conditions are predicted. Our street got plowed again last night - a backhoe scooped up snow from behind the parked cars and piled it across the street. We were very glad to see that, especially those folks whose cars were blocked in by piles left after the previous plowing. I wonder if our street will get plowed tomorrow. Probably not. Maybe Friday.

Yesterday, I tried to find rock salt to put on the ice covering my sidewalk. I called around and found that Home Depot had some. It's usually a 10 minute drive to the store. However, yesterday the traffic was not the usual variety. I spent ONE HOUR trying to get to that store! Traffic was at a standstill on Main Street, so I tried the back roads. Did pretty well at first, then gridlock again! When I finally got to Home Depot, (you guessed it) they were out of rock salt! I did get to the grocery store as well, yesterday. Patty went with me, as her car was still snowed in at that point. I got food, but forget to buy Valentine cards for my grandkids. I can probably get out tomorrow, but by then it will be too late to send cards to England. Hopefully, the kids will forgive me.

I really must do something productive today. So far, about all I've done is sort out another bunch of books to be donated. I'm trying to get rid of at least 100 a month. That sounds like a lot, but it's only a fraction of what I own. My tastes in books have changed (no more westerns or pioneer stories). There are many books I'll never read again. The problem is figuring out which ones are 'keepers' and which can be discarded.

No photos today. I'm tired to looking at snow pictures. Tired of looking at snow - period!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


They plowed our street yesterday afternoon! Hip, hip, hooray! Of course, this was after several enterprising and energetic young neighbors had shoveled out the 50 feet where our street connects to the main street. (The county plows the main street, but we have a contractor that plows the development streets.) Unfortunately, the plow left a 4 foot high ridge of snow in back of most everyone's cars. I got lucky there and only had a pile about a foot high. I shoveled it out yesterday and am all set to go this AM.

Unfortunately, other than the grocery store, I have nowhere to go. I was hoping my Tuesday AM ceramics class would be going on, but the senior center where it is held is closed. I will go out somewhere, just because I am getting cabin fever here. Also, I really miss my newspaper and hope to pick up a news stand copy. I hate reading the paper online. It's just not the same. I have no idea when my subscription will be delivered again. They could have brought it today, but didn't. Tomorrow, we will be snowed in again, I'm pretty sure. Oh well. I have plenty of books to read! I'll add a few pixs to this blog now. Sunrise this AM shows my car, ready to go. The evergreen tree is about 6 feet high. All that snow surrounding it is from my clearing the sidewalk, piled up on top of what had fallen. In the backyard, you can see the snow piled up on the deck steps and under the deck. I had to put the snow from the deck somewhere, so there it is. .

Monday, February 8, 2010

Enough already!

Don't get me wrong - I really do like snow. It's beautiful, clinging to the trees and bushes. It makes sculpture out of mundane things like automobiles and picnic tables. It provides exercise for couch potatoes. I would not want to live in the deep south where it never snows. Having said all that - enough is enough! Our street has NOT been plowed, although a few in the development have been. We have cleared the sidewalks in front of our houses, but the ones along the county road are snow-covered, so in order to walk anywhere, we have to walk in the road. We are almost snow-bound and are slowly going stir crazy! Here is the path to my front door. The next two photos show my car, buried under snow. One side of the car is completely covered - creating a lovely snow sculpture. The wind cleared the other side off, as you can see.

Patty and I went walking yesterday, just around the neighborhood. We took a lot of photos of snow-covered trees. Patty tried to get close to the edge of the road where it goes over our creek, in order to get some photos. The plow had left a snowbank about 6 feet wide and 5 feet deep along the road. Patty got one leg in, up to her thigh and decided not to go any further. A wise decision, as I had told her I would NOT get in there to help her out! We did get some photos however, and I will post a few.

This is the neighborhood. My house is the one in the center of the photo, with a snowman flag. Last photo is the creek, taken from a snowbank along the road.

Today the sun is shining and perhaps we will be plowed out. As there was during the December snow, there is a good deal of anger in the neighborhood concerning which streets are plowed first. No one, including the board member who lives on my street, seems to know what the criteria is for priority in street clearing. You'd think, since we are paying this company, that we could control their plowing schedule. Evidently not. I don't really care for myself, although I would like to know that I could get my car out, if I wanted to. I feel sorry for people who need to be at work. It's a great time to be retired, although I will miss my regular weekly activities.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I haven't seen the sun for two days, so it's a welcome sight this morning. It's still very cold, so I don't expect the snow to melt much, except maybe on the roof. There is a huge, scary glob of snow perched on the edge of the roof between my house and next door. It's hanging way over the edge, just waiting to come down. I hope I'm not out on the deck when it falls!

Yesterday, I couldn't get my front door open as the snow was blocking it. A neighbor who was out shoveling, shoveled his way to my door and freed me! I shoveled my walk twice yesterday, as the first time it was still snowing. Also cleared some of the snow off the deck and shoveled a pathway where I am feeding the birds, and squirrels (see photo).

Later today, I will go out and start clearing off my car. The street that goes through the development has been plowed (by the county), but the contractor we pay to plow the streets has not reached us. I'm not planning to go anywhere, even if we get plowed. It would be nice to be able to drive around tomorrow, but I imagine there will be many places not yet plowed even by then. These little birdhouses were in a sheltered area, so they only got a little snow on their roofs!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

be careful what you wish for

When Maryland got the big snow in December, I was in England. I remember saying that I wished I had been home for that. We seldom get much snow here and it would have been an adventure. Well, I'm getting my wish this weekend! It's beautiful outside! The snow and wind have turned my deck into a sculpture garden. Table and chairs, barbecue, garbage can, pots are all covered with a couple feet of snow and looks like wonderful works of art.

In the front yard, it's hard to recognize anything, although the big blob by the curb must be my car! I can't get the door open because there is snow blocking it. I can't see out the door very well because the wind blew the snow up against it and it stuck. When I first looked out front (about 7 AM), one of my neighbors was attempting to shovel out around a car. His/her sidewalk was already shoveled. I see now that the car is still covered. No point is clearing it out, as the street isn't plowed and nothing short of a snowmobile could travel on it!

I've been watching the juncos on the deck. They are small black and white birds, must not weigh much of anything, as they can walk on top of the snow drifts. I cleared a bit on top of the barbecue, right by the door, and put out some seed. They came immediately to dine. In a minute, I will go downstairs and put food out under the deck where (most likely) there isn't much snow.

Anyway, above are some photos of the "art gallery", usually known as the deck.

Friday, February 5, 2010

lots more snow

The weather forecasters seem to have hit in on the nose this time. Snow started falling about 10:30 this AM and is still coming down now (4:30 PM). It's supposed to last all night and until sometime tomorrow afternoon. The flakes are really big now and it's sticking to all the surfaces, even the sidewalks and streets where it was melting a couple of hours ago. It's a fairyland out back with snow piling up on every surface. Each tree branch now has a topping of snow. The birds are coming right up to the glass doors because that's the only place where the bird seed isn't covered with snow. I've been taking photos (from inside the house) as the snow progressed, but will have to stop soon, as it is getting dark outside. So far, not much has accumulated - maybe an inch, so it's too soon to shovel. I'll have plenty of shoveling to do tomorrow AM. This photo was taken earlier. The cardinal and a starling are arguing about whose turn it is on the feeder. I think the starling won. Here's the cardinal again, up near the doors.

The church I attend has cancelled all activities for the weekend, including Sunday services. I think the roads might be ok by Sunday, but probably the parking lot would not be plowed. Anyway, I'm just as glad to be able to stay home. Hopefully, Patty and I will be able to go out and get some really great photos in the neighborhood. Here is another one taken a few minutes ago. The brown lump in the tree is a squirrel's nest. Since I started this blog, we've gotten about a half inch more snow. It's really building up fast.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

more snow

Well, this time the weather forecasters got it right. We did get another 6 inches last night. It's beautiful out there this AM. And not all that cold. I took more photos, of course. Here are a few. I seldom see two male cardinals that close at a feeding station. When we have snow, I sweep off a path on the deck and sprinkle seed on it. It makes a mess when the snow melts, but I like to give the birds a little extra food when the gound is snow-covered. The bonus for me is that the ground feeding birds, such as juncos and white-throated sparrows and even mourning doves will come to the deck to eat. They never use the feeders, so I seldom see them. Lots of birds this morning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

a new place to shop

At the choir party last night, several people were talking about a place called 'Ollie's'. It's not far away, and today I was in that vicinity, so I stopped in. It's a huge warehouse full of overstocked items - just about anything you can imagine, from toasters to towels, sheets, books, candy, rugs, etc. A fascinating place with very low prices. Of course, one never knows what will be there on a visit, but it was fun to just wander around. The same shopping center has MOM's aka My Organic Market. I love the bread available there, and have been picking up a loaf for myself and one for a friend at the Greenbelt store. Now I know of a closer location with a much bigger and better store. Lots of good stuff at MOM's. I'll go back there when I have more time.

I used my GPS to go to the choir party last night, although I didn't need it as the woman riding with me knew the way. I also had directions from MapQuest. The GPS didn't suggest exactly the same way as MapQuest and my friend, but it was pretty close and would have gotten us there just as well. I know I will really appreciate having the system when I am driving alone, going to a new place. I find it very hard to read a map and drive at the same time! I usually get to a new location ok, but get lost trying to reverse the directions and get home. GPS will really help with that.

The weather report for tomorrow is MORE SNOW! We'll see if that actually happens. Perhaps I will be able to get out and take some photos, if we get a good snow. I took a few photos this morning, but a lot of the snow had already melted. We surely are getting our fill of winter weather this year. I'm glad I'm retired and not having to go to work every day. These photos show the creek behind my house - frozen over.