Friday, January 23, 2009

Princeton Friends Meeting

Pictures of Princeton Friends Meeting's Stonybook Meetinghouse taken during my December visit. The meeting house was first built in 1726 and rebuilt in 1760. It's a lovely old building and each December morning when I have visited there has been a welcoming fire in the fire place.

click on pictures to view them larger
Note that the bags on the porch are not trash, but clothing donations.



Interior light fixture
Note the width of the floor boards.
The old glass really entertains me.
Simple benches.
The black square to the left if the fireplace.

Thursday Challenge: Experimental

Back in December I was taking pictures of our Christmas tree and started playing with taking unfocused pictures of the lights. This is my favorite. The white snowflake shaped blob is one of the snowflake lights in the window behind the tree.

In photography terms this is called bokeh.

See more Thursday Challenge here.

Friday, January 16, 2009


snowy pine
I realize this may make you all roll your eyes, but I love the squeeking sound that snow makes when it's really cold. It's cold here, but not as cold as a whole lot of other places. I spoke to a colleague in Minneapolis this morning - it was -20 there which makes the 8 degrees when we left the house a veritable heat wave. Keep warm!

(This picture was taken during one of the December storms.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Moody Monday: Athletic

My nephew D during wrestling practice.
You can read more about the program he wrestles with here.

See more Moody Monday here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Taking Thanksgiving on the Road

We are somewhat notorious for making plans for major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas...) at the last minute. Way back in November Amy headed off to Arkansas to visit her mother leaving me to determine how we were going to spend Thanksgiving. My little brother and I had already begun how to figure out how to provide Thanksgiving dinner for my parents and grandmother, without my mother having to clean her house or cook. (My brother lives near my parents, while I'm 160+ miles away.)

My brother lives in a small, second floor apartment which wasn't an option. Transporting my parents and grandmother to Boston also wasn't an option. At some point my brother said he wished we could rent an apartment for a day. That's when it hit me - that's what Residence Inn style hotels are. We'd stayed in a Residence Inn while visiting in New Jersey and it was quite spacious. So I did a search and discovered two relatively close to my parents and a room was reserved.

Amy learned of the plan when she returned from her trip the week before Thanksgiving. Planning began immediately. As much of the food as possible would be made before hand and be taken to heat up when we got there. Amy'd been reading up on cooking turkey, reading recipes is one of her favorite entertainments, and was eager to try brining a turkey. This presented a challenge. The plan was to head west Wednesday evening. The turkey needed to brine for 4-6 hours. The drive takes 3 1/2 hours. So, we decided that we would brine the turkey on the drive. The next challenge was figuring out what container to transport the brining turkey in. We have several large coolers - all of which would hold the turkey and it's brine. Amy was concerned though because any of those would require increasing the quantity of brine and since this was the first try at this method she was reluctant to make that change. The solution - a 5 gallon bucket lined with plastic bags.

The easiest part of the packing was our clothes. It was to be a quick trip so we didn't need much in the way of clothing. The rest of the packing was to accommodate the dozen people we were expecting (my parents, my grandmother, my younger brother, his wife and son, my older brother, his wife, son and daughter and Amy and me). The Residence Inn's provide kitchen equipment but not for that many people. We packed plates, glasses, silverware, kitchen equipment that Amy (who was doing most of the on-site cooking) couldn't live without, food - rolls, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, stuffing, vegetables, pumpkin pie, crackers, two card tables and eight folding chairs, napkins and table cloths.
Just to make things even more interesting Amy came down with the head cold I'd been fighting for weeks the week of Thanksgiving. The crowd ended up slightly smaller than anticipated - my brother and co-conspirator succumbed to the stomach bug that his son brought home from school, my older brother's wife was too exhausted to spend 5+ hours (round-trip) in a car and my oldest nephew needed to stay in Montreal (where it wasn't a holiday) and go to class. (For those keeping track that gave us a crowd of 9.
The crowd
After dinner my nephew, N, who is five and my niece, S, who is 16 and I went down to the lobby to play Sorry. At one point N was frustrated because he wasn't doing so well, S and I were chatting about something (probably her swim season) and he decided we weren't taking the game seriously enough. He announced "stop talking and concentrate on the game". I smile every time I think about it, partly because it shows how much he's matured since July when he got frustrated by a game we were playing and wanted to quit.

A good time was had by all, though I don't know that we'll ever try it again.

(I do know that this post is month's overdue, but I didn't want to let this go undocumented.)

Clear Your Car Roof

Yesterday I became a poster child for why you should always clear the snow off your car roof. The weather yesterday was cold, wet and generally yucky. There were about 2 inches of snow on the ground when we got up. By the time we headed out to clear the cars (or more correctly by the time Amy headed out to clear the cars) the snow had turned to sleet. Even though we were driving into work together both cars needed to be cleared because her car doesn't have 4 wheel drive and has to be parked at the top of our steep driveway and we were driving to work in my car which does have 4 wheel drive. I've been nursing a sore knee this week (it's getting better but I'm not very steady on my feet) so she did the bulk of the work.

When I got out I finished clearing my windshield, but skipped clearing the roof because there was only 1/2 inch of icy frozen stuff on it. The drive was basically uneventful, except perhaps dodging the chunks of frozen stuff flying off trucks on the Turnpike, and the constant rain. As is typical the off ramp was clogged with traffic. As we stopped at the first traffic light (there are two before crossing the river) a small amount of icy stuff slid off the roof. It was easily removed by the wipers, which were on because of the rain. However, when we stopped for the second the bottom third of the windshield was suddenly filled. This wouldn't have been too bad except that the wipers tried to clear it and because it was icy about 3 inches of the driver's side wiper got shredded. Once across the river I pulled into a gas station and cleared the accumulated snow and ice from the windshield. The wiper was clearing enough of the windshield for me to see so I continued on to drop Amy off at work.

Then I headed directly to the car dealer. The service guys were nice enough not to turn me away, and I spent just over an hour watching tv and reading old magazines. The only repair was the wiper blade, and because it's a new car and the service guys like me they didn't even charge me for it. It could have been worse - not only could there have been more damage to the car (one of the service guys mentioned that another customer's car had required body work when ice came crashing off his roof) but it could have caused an accident.

And so we add another rule to the Chelle/Shelley's (pronounced the same) rules of driving: no leaving the neighborhood without clearing any accumulated snow or ice off the roof of the car.