Friday, January 30, 2009

The Sewing Machine -- jcarolek

Perseverance. I learned perseverance from an old Singer sewing machine.

I believe I was in 9th grade the year my sister received a sewing machine for Christmas. I'm not sure whether she'd asked for it, or whether is was one of those gifts that Dad and Mom just decided was what we "really" would like, instead of the silly wish list items we'd documented in that annual ritual. Nevertheless, under the tree was a Kenmore sewing machine. As I recall, on the card, "Santa" had suggested that Jeannie might consider sharing her gift with her mother and younger sister (me).

Mom had an old Singer sewing machine...

Monday, January 26, 2009

What is a box? -- jcarolek

We moved to England when I was 10. "We" included Mom and Dad, my sister, one year my senior, my four younger brothers and our pet monkey, Chico. The plane ride over was, of course, an exciting one for us. All humans rode in the passenger section of the plane, and poor little Chico rode in the cargo section. When we arrived in London, we traveled by bus to Cheltenham, to the hotel where we'd stay while we awaited the delivery of our household goods and our move into our house on Griffiths Ave.

Staying in the hotel was a lot of fun, I admit, but getting into the house was more fun. The moving van arrived loaded with gigantic wooden crates from which our belongings

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Possum in a Bucket -- jcarolek

Last night we went out into the garage to take a look at the wiring of the satellite. We'd been working inside all evening and I'd heard no odd sounds coming from the garage, but almost as soon as we stepped out there, I noticed my dog was trying to squeeze herself through the lower shelf of the shoe rack and under the three-step stair leading from the kitchen into the garage. The cats were watching with cautious interest, not venturing near Killian nor the steps.

Realizing there was clearly something of interest under those steps, we got the flashlight and tried to see... sure enough, reflecting the flashlight's beam back were those eyes... the distinctive eyes of the opossum. It was not the largest, but certainly not the smallest of these critters that has made its way onto my property, only to be rudely "escorted off" by Killian. But usually these guys stay outside. Finding its way into the garage and under the steps seemed pretty brazen to me, considering three animals live in that garage.

Nevertheless, Killian was making herself into a pretzel trying to get to the critter and I decided to try to help the confused animal out by opening a "get away"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two Months Ago and Across the Pond -- jcarolek

Two months ago I wrote a post in which I reminisced about some sweet treats we used to enjoy as children when I lived in England. I couldn't recall exactly what they were called, but my "charades" memory taunted me with "sounds like Java Orange Cakes." Of course, in my memory, these were actually cookies, but I digress. So, I posted, having been reminded of these tasty delights by some candy a friend had sent me.

kiriyamabattleroyale read my post and she commented, letting me know that these "cakes" from my memory really do still exist and are called Jaffa Cakes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No, it wasn't what I'd expected -- jcarolek

In early December I was very much looking forward to an adventure. I'd never driven across the US and I had the opportunity, time and inclination to do so. So it was that, after a final, rushed week in Kansas for work, I flew out to CA where I met up with my friend who was to join me in this adventure.

Before we could leave, we had to pack our load. We were bringing a fair amount of product I'd secured out in CA, back to VA. All we needed was a little good weather to accommodate our packing and we'd be on our way. Genuinely ignorant of CA's diverse weather, I was a little surprised when my friend cautioned me that flights in and out of Fresno

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Driving Diversity -- jcarolek

It's been nearly a month since I left home for work travel and then on to CA for personal "fun travel." We are on the way home now, delayed by the weather for several weeks in CA. It has been, to say the least, an interesting end to 2008 and beginning to 2009.

The road back to VA has offered us many additional weather challenges, and I am thankful that I am able to actually work from pretty much anywhere on the road. We have seen more accidents on this single trip than on any trip we can recall. Yesterday alone, as we made our way through unbelievably icy Texas, we saw at least eight accidents, cars totally spun off the road on the slick icy patches. More of the same today through Louisiana and Mississippi, though this time torrential downpours with standing water on the roads is the culprit. Just a few minutes ago I thought we'd be delayed dealing with an accident ourselves, as a lightweight pickup truck spun out on standing water, and very nearly spun into us. Thank goodness I am the passenger, as I doubt I would have been as successful in getting past the spinning truck. I don't know what happened behind us, as it is really too dark and visibility too limited to determine, but one thing is for certain, we suddenly had no traffic behind us. I hope the driver and the other drivers in the vehicles around him fared well.

I guess when I said I was looking forward to an adventure, I should have been more clear on my definition of adventure. Still, I really cannot complain. I have had a lot of fun, both in CA and on the road back to VA. One thing is clear to me. This is a trip we will have to repeat in better weather, and when we have more time.

A lot of our driving has been at night, out of necessity, since we got such a delayed start, so I have been able to take only limited pictures. Still, I do have some that will forever trigger memories of this road trip.

Joshua Trees at Sunrise in CA

Arizona morning

Arizona Afternoon....

Wheelsicles in Texas