"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, September 19, 2011

STITCH ALONG UPDATE

Whoops, I never posted last week's update (week 4), I'd saved it as a Draft waiting for the last update.  

So, here's week 5, I'm getting left in the dust by these stitchers.  
Rose Week 5--Rose and I are neck and neck. 

Denise Week 5.  Wow.  



Shari Week 5.  Wow. 






Me Week 5.  I'm obviously out of my league but am enjoying myself and like the way this piece is turning out.  


TURKEY ON THE FENCE

We've had a male turkey hanging around our yard, coming in for a drink from our waterfall and bath in our pond.  I've been trying to shoot the gobbler (with a camera, that is) for weeks, and finally got him this morning.  He was standing on our fence preening after a bath, and every once in a while he fanned his lovely tail feathers.  



Isn't he simply grand?  I'm not sure how long he'll stick around our area, as there's no girls around here for him.  They are all on the other side of town, I hope he can get to them!




Monday, September 12, 2011

A BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE

There were so many moving tributes on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This is the one that touched me the most. There's something very special about children's voices raised in song.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

THE GREEN EGG

For birthday and Father's Day last spring, I got Dave a Green Egg.  If you don't know what a Green Egg is, it's time to Google.  

It is an amazing smoker, grille, slow cooker, using lump charcoal as fuel, often with special wood chips on top to add flavor to the food being cooked.  Due to it's design, it behaves much like a convection oven, using movement of hot air to cook.  

After some fear of cooking failure, Dave took to it like a duck to water, and quickly got our old gas grille out of the area.  He has been turning out some amazing meals on his Green Egg, and is always looking at new ideas, recipes, methods.  My favorite is when he slaps a split chicken or small whole chicken on it.  The breast meat is juicy succulent in a way I've never seen achieved with any other cooking method.  

Last night I made a pizza for dinner, and Dave took his first stab at cooking pizza on the Green Egg.  As you can see, the results were beautiful.... and delicious.  

I make what we call "inside out" pizza, a recipe given to me by one of my Mom's friends.  The mozzarella is under the sauce, then the veggies and parmesan are on the top.  Never have to worry about burning the mozzarella.  
And, here's the Green Egg with it's custom table.  I bought it for Dave but have found out that it's best gift I've ever given myself.  Dave loves to cook on it, and that works really well for me. 

A CROSS-COUNTRY DRIVE

David and Anna recently drove cross-country, from the East Coast to the West.  Anna has a senior year college internship in California, and you cannot live in Orange County without a car, so off they went.  I stayed home for the obvious reason of we didn't want any homicide charges to be brought against anyone.  Also, there was no room in the car for me.  

Along the way, they stopped at Niagara Falls, had lunch with my brother Mark and his wife Karen in Glenwood Springs, Colorado (no pictures taken!) and the biggest side trip of all was to the Skywalk on the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.  

For those of you who are not familiar with the Skywalk, here it is


The Skwalk is owned by and is on land of an American Indian Tribe.  To get to it, you must drive over 10 miles of dirt roads.  David said that the abject poverty they saw along the reservation roads was enough to break your heart.  Hopefully the addition of this Skywalk will bring needed income to this Tribe.  

You are not allowed to take pictures on the Skywalk, that is allowed only by Skywalk photographers, who will snap your photo for a price.  So, we have no pictures of being out on the Skywalk, but have a lot of descriptions, ranging from "it is really a long way down when you look through the glass floor," to "the beauty of the surroundings silences and takes your breath away."  Also, "that sucker moves when the wind blows."

Dave and Anna did visit another scenic overlook at the Canyon, and snapped their photos there
Anna reported that it was 100 degrees while at the canyon, and does not go along with the idea "but it's a dry heat."  In her book 100 dusty degrees is just as unpleasant as 100 humid degrees. 
Just another good reason for leaving me home.  
That's better.  

Dave flew home after spending a couple of days helping Anna get settled into her apartment and get familiar with the area.  I told him what a great gift this was for Anna, this cross-country drive with her Dad.  She will remember this for her entire life, and often it is these memories that sustain us. 

THESE ARE THE MOMENTS I THANK GOD THAT I'M ALIVE

Every day there are moments when I thank God for my life.  This summer contained an abundance of those moments, starting with a week visiting Dave's first cousins at their homes on the Allegheny River in Western, Pennsylvania, continuing with our trip to North Carolina for a niece's wedding, visiting our son Paul at his college home in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he is thriving in the classroom, the great outdoors and among good friends, and ending with another visit to the cousins, this second visit with Paul and Anna along, so they would not miss the tradition of spending a week on the river with their cousins.  

David is an only child, but you would never know that when you see him amid the sea of Mourer cousins who were his brothers and sisters as they grew up in the small town of Chicora, Pennsylvania.  Two of those cousins own homes side by side on the Allegheny River and we have been going there for a week every summer for a very long time.  Our children have grown up with their children, and it has been, and continues to be, a total blast.   Every moment at the river, the beauty of nature and family surrounds you, and so there are many moments that make me thankful. 
 

Here are some pictures of those moments, pictures of unfettered joy and celebration. 

Paul and Anna got to enjoy some brother-sister time before the cousins joined us at the river.  

Some of that time together was spent in Paul convincing Anna that floating this beached 500 pound tree would be a good idea. 

She did not necessarily agree with the importance of this project and here is pleading for someone end the madness.    (The log could not be moved, in spite of a back-breaking effort.)


Since they were very small children Anna (middle) and cousins Lori and Nicole have ridden a tube together.  This tradition continues, and I suspect when they are 50 years old, they will still be jamming themselves onto one tube.

They have added a few stunts to their tubing excursions.  

They've learned how to relax a bit now, which was not the case for many years, when they had to be in motion for every second of every day at the river.  
And, let's not forget the boys.  Paul (flying through the air) and cousin Kevin on the shore have a tradition of inventing what I call "stupid boy tricks."  As you can see by this photo, at ages 23 and 22, they do not disappoint.  Visiting this rope swing is an important tradition that continues in spite of sore arms, backs, and belly flops. 


Kevin on the Rope Swing.

Anna is not to be outdone by the boys. 
Another fun spot on the river is this old bridge abutment, which is a great diving platform.  This year Kevin did the back flops to end all back flops, returning to the house on the river with a slapped red back which was very sore for a few days.  I did not witness it, but Dave described it as the stuff that heart attacks are made out of.  
And, last, but not least, Kevin, Lori and Nicole's little brother "Little Paul."  He gets braver and braver every summer, following in his siblings' and cousins' footsteps.  Perhaps not a great idea, but lots of fun. 
How very grateful I am to be a part of Dave's first cousins' lives.  They have embraced our family and turned me, this City Girl from New England, into a cousin. We love these Mourers, young and old and in between, and they love us back. 
I could not ask for more.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

MONDAY UPDATE ON STITCH ALONG

Well, I'm glad this stitch along is not a competitive sport where a pot of gold is awarded to the winner, because I wouldn't even come close to winning it.  My fellow stitchers can make serious progress in a week.  

Now, in my defense, I have to say that they didn't need to make a Baptismal Quilt last week, and they aren't stitching with numb fingertips (I'm really pulling out all the stops now) and there's other things I had to do but I can't remember them.  

Any how, here's how we are all doing:  

Denise Week 3.  I don't know what she's taking that makes her stitch so fast, but I want some of it. 

Rose Week 3.  Now, this is a bit more like my speed. 

Shari Week 3.  I think she's taking the same stuff as Denise. 

And, here's Mine.  I'm going along at my usual clip.  And, I'm enjoying it!
 It's fun to be stitching together, and I like seeing where I'm headed.  This week we all commented "I'm running out of the color for the letters."  I know I had bought only one skein, and that's just about gone.  Don't know about the others.  

It's just another fun thing to do in cyber space.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

BLOGGING FRIENDS

As I mentioned in a recent post, one of my favorite parts of blogging is the wonderful people I "meet" and talk to and learn from.  They give me support, and I give them support.  I think of them often, and perhaps they do the same for me.  

Have you met Barbara of  Pinelands Treasures?  She makes very special dolls she has named "Spirit Dolls."  Each one is very unique with amazing details and colors.   I love them.  


She has an Etsy site, and I visited that and she had for sale an adorable court jester's hat that is a thread catcher or a little container for all kinds of little things--packets of sewing needles, etc.  I had to have it, because I love her work so much.  I just wanted a piece of Barbara in my home!  So, I bought it.  


This afternoon my door bell rings and there is a woman who looks vaguely familiar, and she is holding a packet with my name and address, and a return address from New Jersey.  She asked "are you Angela Mourer?" "Yes."  Then I looked again at the packet and the connection was made.  It is Barbara, my spirit doll hero, right here on my porch delivering my purchase!!!  Oh, what fun, and a big hug.  


She had packaged my jester hat to ship before heading to Massachusetts to visit her daughter, but the post office was closed and it did not get mailed.  It just so happened that her husband has relatives in my city, and they came here to visit, and while they were at it they took the time to drop off my package.  


It made my day!!!  Hugs all around, and Barbara reports I'm the first blogging friend she's met in person.  And, Barbara is the first blogging friend I've met in person.  She couldn't linger for a visit, they were on the run, but what a delight it was.  


And, here's my wonderful jester's hat and also a gift that Barbara included:  


Isn't the jester's hat simply delightful and fun?  I can think of a million different little thingamagigs that will go in it over the years.  As for the kittens with sparkle beads on them, that will get a very special spot in my sewing room, and when I see it I will think of Barbara and her kindness.  

I look forward to meeting other blogging friends in person as the years go by.