Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Winter Won't Let Go


We had snow overnight Sunday.  Almost 2 inches when we got up on Monday morning. As I write this on Tuesday afternoon the icicles are still hanging on and snow still sits on the ground where the sun hasn't gotten to it. It didn't get above freezing on either Monday or Tuesday.  Wind chill is 3ยบ

Below was the strange sight on the roof of the barn on Monday afternoon - a checkerboard pattern.

Wishing for warmer weather.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Haines Shoe House

 Ever since I was little and the family would travel from Maryland to Lancaster, PA I would see a very large shoe house on a hill overlooking US 30 - Lincoln Highway.  We never stopped to investigate what it was until last week.  On our way to meet Dan's brother for dinner outside of Reading PA we had time to spare so we went to find out what it was.

It is the Haines Shoe House built in 1948 by Mahlon N. Haines, the Shoe Wizard of York, PA.

It is modeled after a high topped work shoe and measures 48 ft long and 17 ft wide at widest part.  It's 25 ft  high.  It has 5 levels with 3 bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room.  I know all this from the brochure.  The shoe house was closed on this Monday.

There are shoes on the fence and the mailbox is a shoe!

Only in America!

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sibling Reunion

 The last time all my brothers and sisters were together was August 2018 when we gathered to celebrate what would have been the 100th year of my parents birth.

Saturday March 19th we gathered at my youngest sister's home in Northern Virginia.  It was a marvelous reunion. 

From left to right: Suzie, Marie, Steve, Phil, Bonnie and me.

My oldest brother turned 80 in January and we had planned to meet that month but Omicron canceled those plans. My other brother who lives the farthest was able to change his plane reservations from Arizona to come in March.

Dan and I drove 12.5 hours the Friday before and made it just in time for dinner. All of us but one sister arrived Friday and spent two nights there. The sister and her husband living near Charlottesville, Virginia arrived early Saturday morning and left that evening.

We would have been 12 gathering but my sister in law in Arizona chose not to travel.

We plan to do it again and my youngest sister is willing to host it.

On our trip home, which we did over two days, Dan and I stopped in Strasburg, PA to visit my parents gravesite.  Their presence in spirit was strong at our gathering.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Sent to me by my oldest brother who I got to see last weekend for the first time since Nov. 2019. 


I've been MIA in commenting on your blogs.  We were gone for 5 days visiting family in Virginia and now are just getting back to normal life though tending to needs of granddaughters as daughter recovers from surgery on her collar bone and son in law tries to work and manage the household.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Successes with Instant Pot

 For those of you wondering what I've been making in the Instant Pot I got recently here goes.

One day I used the slow cook to make Hoisin Boneless Pork Ribs. This was an adapted recipe from my cookbook.  Nice feature of the Instant Pot is you can saute ingredients like onions and garlic then switch over to slow cook feature.

I started with one onion

Added garlic and ginger.

Recipe I was adapting called for Five Spice powder and hoisin sauce.

I used one pound of country style boneless pork ribs.

Dipped the pork into the sauce that was created from saute setting and then set the pot to slow cook for 5 hours.

Here are my notes on what I did so I'll remember next time.

Forgot to take a plated photo but here are the leftovers which I froze for another meal.

When I was in Buffalo I used my daughter's pot to make a variation of this dish.

And made this dish too.

Since coming home I've made this:

I used the pressure cooking setting and it was fast.

And this though since I had no green beans I used canned black beans.  This also was using pressure cooking setting.  It called for tumeric which I didn't have so I sent Dan to Emily's to borrow some.

I like to make notes in my cookbooks to help me remember if we liked the dish or not.  As you can see Dan did like this one.  It did make a lot! And even after having it for lunch one day I froze the rest.

I heartedly recommend getting the cookbook I'm using. For those who commented that they knew family members who had one but hadn't used it, get the cookbook for them.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Puzzle Done

 Completed on Wednesday of this week. This one took 2 1/2 weeks to complete with no help from anyone.  It's one a granddaughter picked out for me.  And it does glow in the dark sort of.

I have an assortment to choose from for the next one. Can't be out gardening yet so if I'm not reading I'm doing a puzzle for relaxation.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Good for a Laugh or Two

 Contemplations of Seniors...

My tolerance for idiots is extremely low today. 

I used to have some immunity built up, 

but obviously there is a new strain out there.

As I watch this generation try and rewrite our history, 

one thing I'm sure of … 

it will be misspelled and have no punctuation.

Me: Sobbing my heart out,

 "I can't see you anymore … 

I'm not going to let you hurt me again.”
Trainer: "It was one sit-up. ”

Sorry I haven't gotten anything done today.

 I've been in the Produce Department 

trying to open this stupid plastic bag.

Turns out that being a “senior” 

is mostly just googling how to do stuff. 

Do you ever get up in the morning, 

look in the mirror and think 

"That can't be accurate." 

I want to be 14 again and

ruin my life differently.

 I have new ideas. 


Give me a sentence which includes 

the words: defense, defeat, detail.

When a horse jumps over defense, 

defeat go first and then detail.

God promised men that good and obedient wives 

would be found in all corners of the world. 

Then he made the earth round…

and laughed and laughed and laughed.

I'm on two diets. 

I wasn't getting enough food on one.

Apparently RSVPing to a wedding invitation 

"Maybe next time," isn't the correct response.

I put my scale in the bathroom corner 

and that's where the little liar 

will stay until it apologizes. 

Felt uncomfortable driving into the cemetery. 

The GPS blurted out 

"You have reached your final destination."

My mind is like an internet browser. 

At least 19 open tabs, 

3 of them are frozen 

and I have no clue where 

the music is coming from.

Hard to believe I once had a phone 

attached to a wall, and when it rang, 

I picked it up without knowing 

who was calling, and I'm still alive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Does This Happen to You?

 I use Shutterfly to create yearly albums and make prints of photos I want enlarged.  Periodically they will send me photos from the past reminding me of a time gone by.

These photos came recently from 2011. The Philadelphia Flower Show!  I took my mother there from Maryland on a bus trip sponsored by Dan's employer.  My mother was 92! We did a lot of walking but she was quite a trooper.

Don't ask me what the other three photos are.   Must be some exhibits at the show.

Mom died 2 1/2 years later.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Winter Not Letting Go Here


I'm envious of bloggers living south of me showing photos of spring blooms.

This was the scene last Wednesday afternoon. Only a couple of inches but letting me know it's still winter here in New Hampshire.

Here's the scene Monday morning after it snowed all day on Saturday and never got above freezing on Sunday.

It will be a wait before I see any green shoots from bulbs I planted last fall.

In the meantime the small red squirrel that chatters at us from the hemlock trees bordering the driveway has found the bird feeder. If it empties it there will not be another filling because I have to take it down at the end of the month because of bears coming out of hibernation.

The squirrel is a cute thing and we enjoy his/her antics.

The new puppy is adjusting admirably at daughter's house. Granddaughter #2 is an early riser so she takes Maple out in the morning. Maple sleeps in a crate and the word is she sleeps through the night!

Friday, March 11, 2022

New Grand Dog

Heard of a Cavapoo?  It's a cross between poodle and Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

There is one now at my daughter's home and Dan has labeled it our "grand dog". 

She's definitely not grand size-wise.  She weighs less than granddaughter #4 who is one month old this week.

We brought grand dog to her new home on Thursday.  Everyone is in love with her.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

New Gadget in the Kitchen

I gave daughter Sarah, in Buffalo, one of these Instant Pots for her birthday.  When I was there in February being the chief cook I had a chance to use it for slow cooking instead of a crock pot.  

It works great and I decided to get one for my kitchen.  It's my anniversary present Dan says! That happens at the end of March # 48.

A recipe book came with it but I went to Books A Million on Sunday to get the book Sarah had checked out from the library that I used.  I'm going through it now to mark recipes to try. I did do green beans in the pressure cooker setting. Yummy.  Will try a chicken recipe tomorrow.

Life has been a bit crazy of late - 3 hour drive to Albany to bring home NH family members who had been in a car accident on Sunday afternoon after picking up a new puppy. One broken collar bone, some sore muscles and scraps, and a totaled car.  All will heal. Puppy back at breeder after accident but will join the family on Thursday when we go to meet breeder halfway from here. Puppy's a mix of King Charles Spaniel and standard poodle. A tiny bit of a thing.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

New Addition

 Three photos from our time in Buffalo.

Granddaughter #4 arrives home and I get to hold her with Dan and Granddaughter #3 looking on.

Granddaughter #3 is thrilled to be a big sister.

The whole family with babe at almost three weeks.

Faces are blurred at request of daughter.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Surprises at Home and Other Tidbits

I got home from a month in Buffalo helping daughter Sarah and family which has now added a new member.  New baby arrived the week after we arrived. Dan stayed until baby was one week old and I stayed till she was almost 3 weeks old. I'll share some photos with faces blurred on another post.

One surprise when I got home was this new puzzle selected by one of the granddaughters who live nearby at a local puzzle swap.

The puzzle was dumped out on the puzzle table - not my typical method for starting a puzzle.  It's supposed to glow in the dark.  I think I'm committed to doing it and have in fact assembled the border.

These icicles are unlike any I've seen before.

Views out the windows continue to be dominated by winter.

The other surprise was this tuba. Dan didn't say anything to me about getting it from his younger brother who unfortunately is terminally ill and now in hospice. Dan went to VA from Buffalo to help make his brother's move from the hospital to assisted living.  From there he came home.
 On the day we arrived home I heard Dan buzzing on his tuba mouthpiece. [It was the only part of a tuba he had kept after majoring in music at Peabody Conservatory and being the principal tuba of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for 10 years.  He moved on to another occupation after getting an MBA and found other outlets for his creativity.]

Next I heard a tuba playing and rushed up to his study where he sat playing this tuba.  I knew it had to his brother's who also went to Peabody but didn't take his degree in music any further.  I started laughing to hear him play.  The sound brings back lots of memories.  Getting as far as he did on the tuba required lots of practicing. He even took it on our honeymoon!

He also has this guitar in his study and has been teaching himself to play for years.  He does well.

Other creative outlets were barbershop quartet singing, glassblowing, wood working, and oil painting.

He hasn't painted anything since we moved here.  He says he's been wearing a construction manager hat for the last year, culminating with the barn work.  With that done he wondered how he was going to fill his time.  I did suggest buying a tuba again but he pooh poohed that suggestion as too expensive.

Now he has the tuba and is finding it very easy to get his technique back.  He's someone who has always needed a challenge. This will keep him occupied for awhile though I hope he goes back to painting, too.