May 26, 2009

hi auntie!

Today is May 27th and the birthday of Aunt Helen, who would be 87 today if she were still alive. She passed away in 2004, and I think about her all the time.

Her essence, I think, lives on in many of the people whose lives she touched, but it especially lives on in my two sisters and me. She used to say, "Some day you will want to bite your elbow, and you won't be able to." She'd give us this knowing look with her playful eyes. I never knew what she meant back then, but I think I do now.

Let me just list a few of the things I miss about her.

1. Her loyalty. She was always on my side. If I cried, she cried.

2. Her undying energy, she was the antithesis of laziness. I often think of her when I am pushing myself really hard, especially around the house.

3. Her love of family and her insistence and hard work to ensure that we (our siblings) always stick together (we do!)

4. Her courage to face so many hardships and still forge on.

5. The slight overbite that she'd get while laughing.

6. Her dedication to her appearance. I NEVER saw her in slacks. She never left the house (as I often do) unkempt or improperly dressed. I have to admit that often I thought it was vanity to a fault, but now, when I realize how hard she worked, I must admire her dedication.

7. Her ability to always make me feel better, no matter how sad or angry or desperate or hurt I felt.

8. Her cooking and dedication to the comfort and value of good, slow food, plus the joy she instilled in me of big family meals. And her ability to welcome anybody to the table.

9. The smell of her house, which was always pristine. I can still smell that smell on a few of her things, especially the beaver hat which is still in the box. I have not worn it in a year, but I refuse to throw it away. Sorry to break that one-year rule she taught me (must admit I break it quite a lot).

Hi up there in Heaven and happy birthday, Auntie. I miss you!

Aunt Helen (right) and her best friend Margaret. They did everything together.

Cousin Anne, another of her dear friends (left), with Charlie, and Aunt Helen, with newborn Cynthia.

Aunt Helen in our Swedish house, with Ceasar (who fell in love with her!) and Patti.

Aunt Helen with Charlie at Cathy's house.

Name that blog!

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We've started a farm. Yes we have. A nearby historic farm estate ( has a small community garden, where we have a 10 ft x 10 ft plot. It is going to be so cute. So far we only have pototoes in, but more stuff will come this week, probably tomatoes, garlic, and something else. It will be completely organic, yay.

Yesterday, as we were planting, Ulf looked up and said to me, "I love this!"

It made me so happy.

Ulf and I are going to start a blog together to celebrate and report on our little garden plot. What should we name the new blog?

Here are some choices-- Please vote for your favorite or suggest your own (click on COMMENTS below). If you make a suggestion we end up going with, there's a surprise in it for you! But if you don't feel like thinking please vote! Vote as much as you like.

Mostly gardens
The plot thickens
Our Harriton Patch
Harriton Garden
Colony Lot
Garden Adventure
First-time farmers
Go as you grow

Help!!! Thanks in advance!

(Photo above is from a recent visit to a nursery in Lancaster County, but I was playing with some settings)

May 15, 2009

Mostly covers

My goodness, how time slips away. Sorry for my long absence. 

First there was that ten-day rainy period, and I couldn't bring myself to make a list! 

Then I broke my Ipod at the gym, which was sad but it was an antique so I didn't really mind. I went to the Mac store to replace it and bought a monster Ipod Classic, with 120 GB of space. Woo hoo! 

But when I went to sync my Itunes library I was so depressed because it was such a mess, and the thought of introducing so much crap to my nice, new Ipod was bringing me down.

So I researched a few solutions and I bought a nifty program called TuneUp. It magically cleans up your dirty music files. This project took days and days,  because I had over 7,000 songs, and  many of them were called Track x, or had the wrong artist, made no sense, no rhyme, no reason. After I cleaned up all my dirty tracks I was able to delete most duplicates. And now my Itunes library is in great shape and fit for my spanking new Ipod.

One of the things that made this project take so long is that I have re-familiarized myself with all my music. As I was looking for duplicates, it made me realize how many covers I have, and what a big covers fan I am. It is a reinterpretation that lets you listen to the lyrics in a whole new way!

Here is my list for today, called Mostly Covers. It is in no particular order. And the songs at the end (*) that are not covers are some favorites I like hearing right now. And as a bonus to anyone who has managed to read this boring blog to its end, I will burn a cd of the songlist below upon request (leave a comment). The first ten to reply get a cd. And if you don't live nearby, don't worry. I promise to mail it!

Mostly Covers playlist

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Cat Power

When Doves Cry, The Be Good Tanyas

Gold Digger, Kanye West Feat. Jamie Foxx

Ghost Train, Counting Crows

Like The Sun, Zucchero with Macy Gray

Muoio Per Te, Zucchero with Sting

Big in Japan, Ane Brun

Desperado, Johnny Cash

Wlndmills of Your  Mind, Sting

Staying Alive, Wyclef Jean

I Will Survive, CAKE

Gin And Juice, The Gourds

One, Badi Assad

In The Sun, Joseph Arthur*

Dogs, Damien Rice*

Consequence Of Sounds, Regina Spektor*

Is A Woman, Lambchop*

May 1, 2009


So many reasons to love puppies!

Cathy & Andy got a new puppy. They used to have two dogs, but their faithful beagle Jake died a few weeks ago. So they wanted to get another beagle to keep their Yellow Lab Maggie company. The new puppy's name (I think) is Max. He is adorable. He thinks he can do anything Maggie can do! Maggie is so loving and gentle with him. It's so sweet. 

Welcome to the family, Max!