Monday, April 29, 2024

What You've Been Missing - Swedish Chef

Growing up in the 1970's, one of my fond memories is of the muppets.  A documentary directed by Ron Howard is coming out soon about their creator Jim Henson, a puppeteer and truly a creative genius.  You can read about the documentary here  -->  Idea Man   

I remember going to The Muppet Movie, which was truly entertaining if you were already familiar with muppet characters and won awards for its music.  At the beginning of the The Muppet Movie, there is a wonderful song by Kermit the Frog - "The Rainbow Connection".  

But the main point of this post is to make sure you have a few laughs watching Swedish Chef, one of the characters from The Muppet Show (which preceded the movie).  So please spend a few minutes enjoying these short clips, maybe a post will follow about Dr Bunson Honeydew and Beaker which are Steve's favorite muppets.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Starting Your Day with a Mad Scramble

At our house, as you know we have rodent visitors in the spring.  Kind of odd, shouldn't this happen during the fall instead?  Small meeces come up from the basement underneath the dishwasher, where there's a large gap that a platoon of mice could deploy from (and results in nasty drafts of cold air in the winter).  They are lured in by Oren & Rambo's food dishes. The first sign of trouble is noticing kitty interest in watching this area of the kitchen.  

We use a "tupperware live catch - feline assisted" control process.  Quite comical, really.  Plus not very efficient, since it's likely that some of the mice come back.  We rely a lot on our resident expert mouse catcher Rob.  The mousy container is brought out from the cabinet under the kitchen sink, and it's off to the races.  Yesterday Oren the Great Hunter had not arrived for breakfast, which was unusual.  Turns out he was in the front hallway staring suspiciously underneath the treadmill.  Earlier this year, we had some good luck with this same situation - Steve lifted up the deck, I held open the front door and a mouse ran outside then scurried off into the bushes.  Once again, there was a mouse but unfortunately Oren immediately caught it.  He prowled around the first floor including behind the couch, growling and rightfully proud of himself.  First he had the mouse by the tail, then he switched to the body with the tail sticking out.  The chase was on, of course Steve and I had no luck.  So Rob, you were woken from slumbers around 7:30 a.m. to your familiar duty.  By the time you left your room, Oren had run upstairs (I especially hate when this happens) into Alex's room.  Presumably you guys have watched Tom & Jerry cartoons....

By the time I got there, you were already holding Oren with mousy.  I closed the door, then put the tupperware container in front of Oren and told him to "drop it!".  At our house, cats periodically get lectures from Steve (about coming to eat when called, not venturing into the big bad world outside, how to use the kitty door to the basement which Oren struggles with).  Of course Oren didn't let go.  So next I held Oren, while Rob you massaged his jaw (a techique you showed me later) and the mouse was free.  He ran into the corner, where you missed catching him and then under the baseboard heating unit.  After fierce wriggling, I put Oren down and he investigated.  The mouse squeaked a bit - finally he ran across the room under the desk, where Rob you got him into the container.  Yay!

He rested in the kitchen, probably stunned, for some time.  (Oren is primarily interested in playing like batting the mouse into the air, thankfully there is no sign of eating it.)  Normally we deposit meeces by the garage.  But this time, the mouse went off to pursue his education at college about 20 miles away.  Rob, you let him out of the tupperware in grass by the LCCC parking lot - there was no sign of him after class was over.  

As you mentioned, perhaps live mice removal could be listed as a skill on your resume.  After you go off to ESF this fall, we'll probably change our methodology to a regular live catch mouse trap.  For now, we'll hope the 2024 mouse visitation season is over.  While we were in St Augustine last month, it was a treat to get your text with this picture of the previous (and maybe the same!) mouse you & Oren captured.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Leaping Through 2024

Yes, it's a leap year.  Which means that Hallie Stark had a 'real' birthday on Feb. 29th, I'd guess she turned 6 this year.  Here is an update on various things that are happening with all of us....

  • Moving Out - It happened in February !  Alex, you moved in to your North Street house after 6 months of wallpaper removal, painting, ceiling replacement, rug replacement, flooring installation, basement water remediation (kind of), various repairs including plumbing and last-but-not-least cleaning.  I will say it felt more like "our" communal house for a while, but you have now taken over.  A bit of unpacking and furniture set-up still to come, but you are mostly set.  You are the lucky recipient of living room couches and tables from your realtor Jill, also Aunt Pam's kitchen table and chairs.  Nice end tables repaired by Furniture Doctor and many kitchen items including an entire dish set came from Aunt Julie and Mark.  Bathroom accessories from Aunt Pam.  A gaming chair and your bedroom furniture from Montgomery Ave.  A microwave from Steve, bedroom rug from me - along with numerous remodeling supplies that we both contributed.  I must be forgetting some things....  You are now considering a lawn mower purchase and ductless air conditioning system, likely to be the last "major" investments for a while.  You had a good time in Cincinatti last week for AZEK work meetings, networking and team building including a Red's baseball game. 
  • Moving On Up - Over the past couple months, Rob you applied to and were accepted as a transfer student at ESF in Syracuse (after being accepted as a high school senior, and taking courses at LCCC as advised by ESF).  We'll be going to an Accepted Students day next month.  This is fantastic following a few rough years!  I am so, so happy that you are feeling pretty well.  Kudos to you for sticking with your college plans in spite of health challenges.  It's truly awesome (I rarely use that word).  This spring semester, you are taking two classes at LCC and working at Cracker Barrell most Saturdays/Sundays.  A couple weeks ago, as a member of the LCC History Club you co-presented on the interesting topic of Ancient Greece (including about Aristotle, Diogenese, the Antikythera mechanism, and knowledge of solar system).  Your latest Chemistry lab project was tye dying shirts for Steve and me - can't wait to see them.  Next week, you are invited to a reception with the LCC Board of Trustees.  Congrats!
  • Meeces (2.05)- Similar to other spring seasons, the kitties spend a lot of time watching the gap under the dishwasher.  To date this year, Oren has caught (or almost caught) two whole mice with all their parts.  As a bonus, Rob you noticed an odd-looking leathery sort of strip on the dining room floor - upon inspection, we decided it was a mouse tail. 😖
  • Muddah -  In January, I became the treasurer for Trinity Church across the street.  It's been nice getting to know a new group of people, and helping the church get re-established after it was closed for a time.  I'm still trying to spend one weekend a month with Grammie & Grandad.  Grandad has limited strength and mobility at this point, it's sad and difficult.  Grammie has household and nursing support, and is dealing with stress as best she can.  Some changes are coming up at work, but I'm expecting things will work out ok even if I'm no longer working at Prudential.  Lastly, Steve and I spent a long weekend in St. Augustine visiting Laura & Ron last month.  It's a treat to spend time in Florida in late winter.
  • Fadduh ("male parent" is too non-descript) - After Steve handled wall repairs, both of us re-painted your room Alex.  It's now the yellow-almond color that you originally picked for your living room - but later decided against.  The room looks great on video conferences !  Currently, Steve has a nasty cold that he apparently picked up from you Rob.  Today he tried out a new, cordless lawn mower that replaces the gas mower I seriously damaged last fall by running over one of the wheels.  It's not a terrible loss, since we brought it over from Sharpe Street.  Good thing we are no longer dealing with a plug-in mower, it's a minor miracle that we never ran over the cord when cutting the grass in Wyoming.  After a long engagement, Korin and Alex suddenly got married in a civil service - thrilled for them!  Shortly before that, Steve got me these lovely, pale pink roses for Valentine's Day.  

  • Moggies - To complete my "m" theme....  did you know, a "moggie" is a UK term for a mixed-breed cat?  I had no idea.  Anyway, here are some recent pictures of our favorite moggies.

The striking and photogenic Martha posing (again) on the upstairs railing in Wyncote.

Rambo waking up from a snooze on the couch.

Oren keeping company while church bills are paid.

Oren investigating the new desk arrangements in my "office" (adorable!).

Oren helping with Prudential work (note lovely room color).

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Thoughts on the Past Year - Alex

Alex, there was so much going on in 2023!  Moving home to Montgomery Ave (not exactly your first choice, but it worked out ok), a trip to Scotland, buying a house and then so much effort fixing it up.  The break-up with Taylor a year ago was rough.  I'm not sure if you saw the email below - I didn't realize until recently that you don't use this gmail address any more.  

What started with an abrupt change in March ultimately led to big decisions and commitments, that's for sure!  I'm proud of what you've accomplished in such a short time.

From: Christine Rivers
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2023 8:02 PM
To: Alex Carroll <>
Subject: This week
Hi Alex,

This email may ramble a bit, I wanted to share my thoughts as you are leaving someone who has meant an awful lot to you.  It is so hard, I know.  Although you were not married and thankfully owned little property together, there is a huge emotional void.  Taylor has your special person for a long time, and you will always have fond memories knowing that you grew up together.  She's a good role model in some ways, you complimented each other and I know you enjoyed doing a lot of things together.  It's good to recognize what she has meant, and you are grieving for the loss of it.  But as you've matured, seems that she's not the right partner for you anymore.  It's painful & you don't know what the next chapter in your life will hold.

You deserve to have a "true" partner who you love and who loves you for exactly who you are.  Someone healthy who you genuinely like & respect, will laugh and have fun with but who also shares the work of running a household & being an adult.  I think you will find that person in time.

In the meantime, take one day at a time.  Focus on your routine & doing a good job at work, taking care of yourself since you will be drained and dealing with transition for a while to come, enjoying your friends, being sure to go fishing this spring and remember that things will get better over time.  Plus let your family help you in any ways we can - ask for what you need, we are here for you.  I love you.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Top Songs - Jan 2024

Well, I haven't been keeping up on posts.  About 2 months ago, I had a chance to ask all of us about favorite songs.  Now I'm finally getting around to posting videos.  So without any further comments, at long last here they are !





Monday, January 15, 2024

On Turning 59

A couple weeks ago I turned 59.  Once again, Steve and I are the same age!  Not exactly looking forward to a "0" birthday next January, 2025....  However, many good things are coming along.  Like practicing chords on the new ukulele Steve gave me as a birthday present.  

And thinking about a trip back to Europe.  Steve and my 10th wedding anniversary.  Getting a little closer to retirement.  Continuing to be enjoy being your Mom, with the daydream of grandchildren in the future.  I have noticed a drop in my overall energy level, but as long as I pace myself can still get plenty done.  Not overly fond of driving longer distances (maybe the concentration makes me tired?), 5-6 hours a day is preferable.  I appreciate simple things like good coffee, a warm (or cool) house, comfortable car (love my Chevy Equinox), and relaxing in the living room easy chair.  Still have trouble with pronouncing a few words....  like coupon.  Should it be koo-pon or kyoo-pon?

Another joy is listening to music.  In thinking about what can be accomplished over a lifetime, I find older artists to be inspirational.  Cher, Dolly Parton, Brian May and Paul McCartney are examples.  On our way to Wyncote on Saturday, we listened to this classic 1972 song by the Eagles.  Here's a wonderful, kind of mesmerizing performance of Take It Easy performed by this mature, incredible band in the mid 1990's.  Watch the guitar player!


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Mid-Summer Surprise

Um, I forgot something.... (!!)  Last weekend as I was writing away, I apologize Alex - I didn't think about the incredible tattoo you got last summer!  It's your second one, quite different in style from the Scottish broadsword on your forearm.  One July (or August?) evening, Steve and I were sitting on the front porch.  You asked us to come in, and pulled up your sleeve to show the outline of a "Mom" tattoo on your upper arm - featuring a dragonfly with a heart.  It was SO unexpected, I was practically speechless.  Obviously, I recognize how much thought you put into the design including bright colors.  You know I love dragonfiles, and at the Susquehanna River where you often fish you've seen many over the summers.  Dragonfiles here are usually a slightly irridescent, dusky blue color - sometimes they ride along with us on canoes.  With ink colors added later on, below is the completed artwork.  I'm still suprised and truly honored that you want to "take me along" in this special way.   Thank you Alex!!!