Saturday, August 11, 2007

News from "Down Under.."

Which makes me wonder...who was it, that decided north would be the north and south would be south ?

Anyway.......just signing in to tell you that we have had some magical spring days here and that the garden has come back to life. There are buds appearing everywhere and even a few brave flowers coming out in the garden. Sooooo encouraging after such a cold and wet July..

Jane I loved hearing about your grandson's visit. They seem such nice young men and obviously love coming to stay with you. Had to smile as the story of the trip to the movies unfolded ! You MUST have seen that one coming !!

Anna, I too have been disappointed by the cost of having fabric sent from America. It all looks so lovely in the catalogues and at such a good price but by the time the postage is added it doesn't seem such a good idea. I regret the passing of the "land/sea" mail option. Everything is Air Mail these days. It took a lot longer but was so much cheaper. With family in England I always used it and it became second nature for me to have things ready to mail 6/8wks before birthdays etc. I used to send my mother a Christmas cake every year. In the new year she would fill the tin with all sorts of goodies and return it . That tin was very well travelled and became part of the family folk-lore !

I can't imagine how you are all coping with the heat. It rarely gets above 30deg C here,I find that difficult enough to deal with. It's still winter ofcourse, so we average about 12 deg most days. We did have two days this week up around 20 which was just lovely..

Time to go, here's wishing you happy days..

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have a business and sometimes send cards, patches, etc overseas. I am currently charging a flat rate of $12 ($11 for Global Priority Mail and $1 handling.) I use the flat rate envelope, which is 8.5 by 11 inches. I don't know if that would work for your medallion, but it would certainly fit inside. It could even be bubble wrapped and still fit.
My car was so hot when I got in it after school today that the reflective sun screen was almost hot enough to burn my fingers. That is with the windows cracked, and two sun screens up, one in the windshield and another on the west side of the car, propped up by the front visor, the passenger seat, and some stuff in the back seat.
I'm thinking of driving up to Nashville to the AQS show on Saturday. Is anyone going to be there?
Laura in Alabama

International postage

ANNA IN SPAIN - according to the U.S. Post Office website, which you can access yourself and check the postage at, Priority Mail International for a 1 lb. package would cost $20.00. I don't know what insurance would cost, as I have never been allowed to insure an internationally mailed package.

Int'l postage has always been high and now it is horrendous. Last Xmas I mailed a box to Sweden and I think the postage cost more than what was in it. Not the first time that has happened. USPS has also done away with the "ground international" (read: slow boat to china method) that takes up to 6 weeks to arrive but was lots cheaper. I think rising gasoline costs have been behind this hike. Even shipping UPS (United Parcel Service) has gotten horribly expensive.

HEAT WAVE - We had a record of 104° F yesterday. It's cooler today with a high of 99. LOL Actually I have become acclimated to it because the humidity is rather low. NOT a good thing considering the awful drought we are in. Back in early May we were 9 inches below our rainfall for the calendar year, and we've only gotten perhaps two inches of rain since then. Trees are dying, lawns are dead (ours included), rather dire stuff here. I am ever so grateful for air conditioning!!!

Y'all stay cool,
Doris W. in TN

Postage rates, postings

ANNA-Yes the postage in the USA is through the roof. If I could send it for you please let me know. If it could go under "Media" it would be much cheaper, but don't know if it would qualify.
JANE- It is supposed to be 100 or more here today. I can only guess people are busy getting the grands/kids ready for back to school. It's too hot to do anything outside here unless it is before 8:00 AM or after 7:00 PM.
I did go for a dip in the neighbor's pool yesterday, it was like bath water. After than came home and took a nap.
My quilty GF who just came back from the SC/NC mountains said it was cool there in the evenings. They are looking at property to build their dream home on. He loves to golf, and will retire as an OB/GYN in 2 years. At least she is going to have a "loft" room to have for her quilting. I can't wait to go visit her in the mountains in August. We could have about 4 women there with our own little quilt retreat.
Meeting a landscape person at 10:30 AM for ideas on the back yard. I have a Southern Living mag. page 50, that I want to re-create in the back yard, if not too much $$$. Nix on the pond, it would be over $6,000.00.
I went to the vascular sergeon this week to see about removing some vericose veins. Will have the appt. on Sept. 18th. Outpatient, with lasar stuff. I have to wear the heavy, hot stockings for 2 weeks after, but at least it will be done. Seems I have a "backflow" problem.
OK, off to cut out a binding.
Sara in hot, sweaty, Florida

Going postal over the post!!

OK this is an odd question I don't have anyone I can ask here.I want to order something from the States and the postal charges from the website seem completely extreme. It would be a small medallion and a rosary mounted on a card. Price $17. Not bad, says I, well worth ordering for a gift I want to give. Postage from GA to Spain--another $17? When postage within the States is like $3?Surely this is excessive? It doesn't say anything about "next day mail" or "priority" or even "registered." Considering the fact that it can not be all that heavy, would I be better off askign someone stateside to get it for me and send it on? I can't quite justify 35 bucks for something I know will not be very high quality. (I don't know what "silver oxide" means but I bet it ain't sterling.) Considering that it doubles the price of the item...Any ideas?

I will post some musings later but thank goodness, I am working a lot of hrs this month and have a class "right quick."

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Did I scare everybody away with my novel posted below? You can't be outdoors tending a garden or playing golf or tennis. It's too darned hot almost everywhere in the country. Mid 90s in the midday in town. Just a mere 91 here at the house this afternoon. At 10:15 PM it's down to 73 so I think I'll take Shadow out for our evening constitutional around the yard before bed.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I hope this isn't repetitious. It seemed familiar as I drafted it on Word but here goes.

Hi everyone. I haven’t commented on the DGSs’ visit although I have drafted a post in my head several times. The visit left me behind in a lot of ways so it’s taking a while to get caught up. I don’t seem to be managing that very well.

The boys (twins, age 15) arrived by air in Asheville, 70 miles away for me. The first thing that morning DD called from Rochester saying their flight was delayed 2 hrs so the connecting flight from Charlotte had a different number than the one I had. Then of course, as usual, when I left the house I had no time to spare. Less than halfway there I ran into a two lane backup due to an accident involving a semi quite a few miles down Interstate 40. On top of that there is a major road construction job in the same area so I sat there moving now and then from 4 to 10 mph. As the arrival time for their flight was close I called one of them on the cell phone leaving a message telling them they’d best just get something to eat and to cool it in the baggage pick up area. As soon as they hit the airport, fortunately, they checked the phones and called me back acknowledging receipt of the call. This was a bit after 2PM. When the traffic jam cleared a long time later I had to stop at a bathroom and got there (the bathroom, that is) just in the nick of time. Emerging from there I called them with an estimated time of arrival. They were waiting for me outside at the pick up so I didn’t have to park. They were in splendid spirits so we went merrily on our way home. That was the first time in my life I thought the possession of a cell phone served any useful purpose in the four or five years I’ve had one.

The visit was a delight. I only had two excursions planned and they insisted that suited them just fine. They stayed up late and slept late as teenagers are wont to do but they rarely get the chance. The two of them spent a lot of time playing cribbage (a two handed game taught to them years ago by Al). When I suggested that they could do that at home they pointed out that they never do so as they never have time to just chill out. Then, at the hottest part of the day they decided to get their exercise. Neighbors had offered the use of their top of the line mountain bikes. Greg, who was recovering from a stress fracture in a foot, was under orders not to run til August so he road that bite nine miles down the road and the same back up quite a steep grade the likes of which does not exist in their part of the country. Pete was at the same time running about half way and back. They have the cross country season coming up and were under orders to start getting into shape. They also run the mile in track which season is in the spring. There was considerable target practice in the yard with an old .22 revolver of Al’s and a much lighter new short barreled on of mine. They went through the recycle basket to get shampoo bottle and some other plastic containers and set them up against a bank. After shutting up the dog for her own safety they had a ball. I joined them in one of their sessions and Pete challenged me to a contest. We are currently tied and he says he’s keeping the score for the next visit. My house is fairly isolated and far, far out of range for this practice to create any threat of danger to anyone else. I’m almost a half mile off the public road.

We went to see “Unto These Hills”, a drama presented by the Cherokee Nation up in Cherokee during the summer. I’d heard great things about it for years and never got around to seeing it. I’d also heard that it had been “updated” last year and again this year. Boo. I was a huge disappointment to me. I don’t consider the synthesizer a traditional Cherokee instrument. The performance is out doors in and amphitheater and the sound effects and music must be amplified but it was all produced by artificial means. There was a little dancing but none of the colorful ceremonial ones I expected and that I know had been part of the show in the past. The acting was a bit wooden but that didn’t surprise me. There was a pretty good narrator who took us through several hundred years of their history most of which I’d already read. The boys didn’t know the history so it had some interest for them.

The other planned activity was attendance at a chamber music performance I was determined to attend with or without them. It was devoted to wind ensembles. One of the pieces I had never heard before and I was afraid to tell them about in advance for fear they would consider it beneath them. It was a professionally read performance of the first in the Babar the Elephant series beloved by pre-schoolers world wide. Francis Poulenc, a 20th century French composer has written incidental piano music to be performed with Babar. I’m somewhat familiar with a few of Poulenc’s works and knew it would be lively and witty. It turned out to be the absolute favorite of the entire audience including yours truly and the kids. They loved the whole concert. The performance was ideal. Afterward we went out for a lovely dinner at a nearby place that serves on a very large covered deck. The concert had been at 5 so at 7:30 it was still light out but comfortably cooled off. BOY, can those boys eat!! This place offers rather fine food and was worth every nickel. I never dreamed the kids and I would have such a spontaneously happy time together.

The night before the concert of course, was the date of the midnight release of the last of the Harry Potter series. Pete had hounded me all day to go to the 10 – midnight party scheduled party at a local book store. I put my foot down on that and promised him we’d be at the book store at the crack of dawn to pick up the copy I’d ordered for myself. Each of their parents, now divorced, had ordered a copy so it’s not as if there wouldn’t be two copies waiting for them in Rochester. I did say I wanted to see the recently released movie of one of the earlier books. There was a showing at 6:40 and 9:40 and I insisted that the late show was just about past my bedtime. They dawdled around so that of course we couldn’t make the early show. I knew I was being had. After more begging and manipulating when I suggested we skip the movie a chink was made in my armor so I suggested that we draw cards from the cribbage deck and that the high card would decide. Guess who won the draw, with an ace yet. Sooo, being the good sport that I am we went to the late show which JUST HAPPENED to finish at midnight. I’m sure that the theater owner was in cahoots with the bookstore owner. Off we went to the book store and Peter was out of the car before I had it parked. I’d already paid by credit card so all he had to do was pick it up. I’m so glad we went. The whole store staff was in costume and there were mobs of excited kids, most of them in the same age range as my guys. They are known by the store people as that is a must stop whenever they come here. We got home at 1 AM. (I’m 20 very mountainous miles from town). That was Friday, Saturday was the concert and by fairly early Sunday afternoon Peter had finished it. Oh how I wish I could read at half his speed. I attribute their love of reading (and that of their sister) partly do to what they have in the way of intellectual raw material but possibly more to the fact that their parents have from day one severely restricted TV and computer time. They have always made reading a family affair and until the past few years read every evening taking turns between them reading out loud. DD still refuses to have cable and DSIL has it but uses it primarily for news, business programs and sports. Despite marital problems they have done a fantastic job with these kids. That Sunday as we hugged good bye in the airport I had a few tears in the eye and had no sensation of having been serving a prison term as I thought I would. I’ve never enjoyed them so much. The thank you notes I received both mentioned the chamber music as the favorite activity and the age of the audience. Greg said that aside from the two toddlers he saw he and Pete were the only two audience members under the age of 60. Pete said “despite all the old people....”.I couldn’t wait to share that with the regular season ticket holders with whom I’ve become acquainted. Both boys’ observations on the average age there were a bit exaggerated.

Now I have to figure out a way to get their sister here alone or with them next summer. They are always here in April with one parent or the other. The boys will be working no doubt and have driving permits then. Yikes!

Enough for now. Will post a much briefer report on other stuff at a later time.

Jane in NC

Where is everyone?

Is everyone on vaction? Or is it too hot to think of anything to post?
Sara in Fla.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

There's no place like home

Good Sunday evening to everyone.
It is SO good to be home and sleep in my own bed. I forgot what a comfortable home I have.
ANNA-so glad to hear from you at last. Glad you have an A/C unit to sleep by. It sounds like you have been busy. Also glad to hear your DH finally got what is due to him. Your government/business red tape sounds just like the US.
It was fun in Charleston, and Mt. Pleasant, S.C. The beach was nothing great, but DH had fun playing golf. I did a bit of damage with the credit card, buying end of the summer dresses, T shirts, etc. It may be the end of summer in S. C. but it is still going strong here in Fla. We did a bit of bike riding, not too much. One day we kayaked in 2 different places. Wow, my arms were sore the next day. One place was the Francis Marion swamp. We did see one aligator, but he was about 6 ft. away from us and kept his distance. We signed up for a trip, and had 4 other people with us that time. It was great to have a guide who was from the area and could tell about the old plantations, plant life, etc.
Ate ourselves silly. Also gained 6 lbs. The best fresh shrimp we had was at a little hole in the wall place on U.S. 17, called Buckshot's. We were the only white people in there, and oh, my the food was grand.
The best grits was at a place called Charleston Crab House, yum.
Only hit the downtown Charleston area once, as the other day it rained all day.
Did some laundry today, visited the grands, and took in the Bourne movie. It was DH's pick, lots of shooting, car chases, and the like. If I was a nail bitter, I'd have bitten them off to the wrists, but closed my eyes during some of it.
Off to flop on the couch.
Going to pull weeds in the early morning, and go back to working out.
I did print out the NFL football schedule for our team. Can you believe football starts in just a week? Yea!
Sara in Fla., catching up

Weighing In

Okay, when I got back from my Michigan trip, I had gained 5 pounds in 6 days! All the yummy fruit did me in. I ate Michigan blueberries, cherries, peaches, etc., way in excess. Plus I had other things that would have Dr. Atkins spinning in his grave, LOL. So, when I got home, I went back to the induction phase. This morning I've gotten rid of that 5 pounds, plus one more. Since I started in October last year, I'm down 37 pounds, and from my all-time high weight a couple of years ago, I'm down 49 pounds. I hope to lose another 49 pounds eventually. Since last October 1, I've lost 5.25 inches off my bust, 8.25 inches off my waist, 4.5 inches off my behind, 2.75 inches off my upper arm and my thigh, and an inch off my calf and half an inch off my ankle. I think it is helping me stick to it knowing that I have to report to you here and to a couple of diet buddies in Michigan and Canada every week. Hope the dieters here are doing well, or at least holding their own.

Pat in Rockport, TX