Thursday, July 28, 2011

Work in progress - Sistahood of the traveling sketchbooks

I haven't had a chance yet to post this, well actually I was hoping to get more done on it before I posted this but oh well here is some artwork that I've managed to create in the midst of gardening mayhem for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbooks. Canning jars are cooling behind me as I write this. More beans. And more work is to be done on this tonight (hopefully).

Here is another shot, including my feet... hee hee

This is for a June installment in Kathy's book. I've gotta crank out July as quick as I can... we're a little behind due to the Canadian Post Office strike.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Yay! Thermo-O-Ware

I had to share my excitement with everyone. I have finally found my favorite cups that I drink absolutely everything out of except milk. I like a glass with milk. Look at that happy orange color! These are actually a tiny bit different from the ones I've used since I was 7. I was using Bolero brand and these are Olympian brand but they are both Therm-o-ware types. The main thing is the mouth rim is the same. I think I even like this Olympian brand better because the base is more flat so it doesn't fall over easily. I got these for a steal, just $3 for a set of 5. I've been looking on ebay and those people are crazy for what they are asking for their cups. I'm not a "collector", these are just my most favorite cups to drink out of ever! Just thought I'd share ;)


My favorite drink with my favorite cup! Iced tea :)
Have a great day!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Is your grass greener?

Do you ever think about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? I do sometimes. It always cracks me up to see horses and cows stretching and creenin' their neck to eat a little something greener on the other side of the fence.

So my greener side of the fence is this: Since I'm almost in the throws of peek tomato season. They are just waiting to turn red (and yellow and mixed)! *squeals* and I am already eating them as they come in. I was wondering when tomato season was down south. I'm thinking they've got this yummy goodness all year round, right? While we hafta eat hard tasteless impostors from October through July. Up here in Zone 6b, it's a mad rush to get them in the ground about the last of April, pray for good rain but not too much and pray again to get maters by July 4th which I did this year - yay!  By September they are slowing down and kinda get a wonky taste by October if a early frost doesn't get em first.

Mom used to pick all her green ones before a frost and put 'em in brown paper bags and we'd have tomatoes till almost Christmas if we rationed them. To her and I a feast during the summer was cornbread, fried potatoes, doctored up pork n beans and a big plate full of garden fresh tomatoes. Oh man, that is making my mouth water just thinking about it. Heaven!

Off to go paint something in my Sistah hood books :)
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Let's Stroll

Isn't inspiration and beauty everywhere? As I take these pictures of the beautiful flowers around my house I always have plans of painting or drawing them. I'm building quite a reference file. Ironically, keeping all these beauties going is time consuming thus taking away from some creative time.... Ah well, I need to have these around me. Literally, my soul needs to have green growing things around me that require my attention, touch and love.

I came by it naturally, maybe even genetically. The nut didn't fall too far from the tree. My mom was a gardener and I have the fondest memories of her digging in the dirt. Even when the dirt came by the way of just being pots on our apartment balcony. She always had gobs of plants inside and out and had the greenest thumb of anyone I've ever known. That woman could put a stick in the ground and it would grow. I miss talking plants with her as I walk my paths that I always walk, looking at my summertime beauties. When I would visit her she would always take my arm and we'd stroll through her garden together even though we had just done the same thing a couple days before. There is always something new and exciting popping up somewhere, you just have to slow down and look. Whenever I'd ask her "where did you get that?" She'd reply "A little bird brought it to me". I'm fairly certain she stole that line from my grandpa, her dad, cause I remember him saying that too. Her nut didn't fall far from his tree either, he was a great gardener and had the most beautiful and bountiful sweet peas. They still remind me of him.

Well I have no idea where I'm getting the energy for this. I did corn all day today then it was trash day, plus I cleaned out the freezers (had to cause there was no room for more corn!). While doing that, I didn't have room to put a pie crust back in without assaulting it, so I made an apple pie! Last night I didn't go to bed until 3:30 and now here it is 2:20 and I'm still awake. Granted, I'm sitting in my most comfy chair and not doing much but letting my mind wander and fingers do the walking. I should be upstairs in my art studio creating something in my journals for the Sitsterhood and PPF but that would require the stairs and I'm far too lazy for that. In fact, I think I'll go to sleep now.

Oh, but first take my arm and stroll around my gardens with me.... won't you?
be still my beating heart ~ a glorious Zinnia
The boys follow me as I give you the tour for this year but I think we're getting the cold shoulder at the moment
Sunflowers make me happy
my greenhouse
inside plant getting a summer vacation outside
huba huba ~ doesn't this Mandevilla look like the sexpot of the flower world?
I love to have color all around even if there aren't many flowers and these coleus are tried and true
Ditch lilies ~ love 'em
see my little toad house in the background? Vacancy...
sweet little guy ~ look at his little antennas, precious!
Coral Bells
never mind the Johnson grass...
look at me! the bouganvilla screams

Alright tour's over... good night!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beans and corn and corn and corn and beans

Sweet Corn - temperatures so hot the camera kept fogging up - but how cute is my little helper?!
So the garden has come in and in a big way. Every year about this time, gardening... vegetable gardening that is, becomes hard work and makes me want to give up quit and just buy grocery store food. Between the mosquitoes that think I'm a free all-you-can-eat smorgasbord for them and my sensitive skin blistering up from just rubbing against the leaves and weeds it's been a trying season.

Especially like the last couple days. I've picked beans, snapped beans, canned beans and they never end. Hours and hours of beans. Yesterday in the sweltering 98 degrees (F) with heat indexs of about 105+ we picked corn, cut down the corn, schucked the corn blanched the corn and wrapped each cob in Saran wrap and then froze the corn.

Today... still more corn to schuck, blanch and this time cut the corn with this blood thirsty little machine that sliced me up good all to get the kernels off and then freeze for creamed corn (but don't freeze the bloody corn). Now the dang beans need to be picked again. I feel like Jack and the Beanstalk, only it's the beans that just keep coming and coming. Oh and guess what I'm doing Thursday (today technically after I go to bed and wake up)... you guessed it, more corn. Plus, the tomatoes are just coming in too so that means salsa and canning tomatoes and maybe some sauce. Wow, no wonder I've got no time for creating any new art!

Yeah, yeah I can hear you all now saying Dang... she's crazy! Well, yes. Yes I am. I've turned into Psycho Suzie Homemaker haha... living off the land but bitchin' about it the whole time. But come December when I'm cracking open those jars of home grown green beans and heating up that sweet corn that tastes like I just picked it I'll be feeling pretty good about myself... haha.  Not to mention munching tortilla chips with my to die for Dee-licious Salsa! Yummy! see it here cooking

Jaime's Dee-Licious Salsa
Makes 8 pints + a half pint to eat right then! ;oP

9 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained (I don't bother seeding, but you can)
2 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups green peppers
1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar ( I like apple cider vinegar)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste

Mix all together and bring to a slow boil for 10 minutes. I can it and I've also froze it in jelly jars with great results. It smells divine and you'll have to beat off the people with a big stick to get them to leave you alone trying to get you to make more. But believe me, you'll wanna make more.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Waverly Hills Sanatorium Investigation

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Last Saturday, the 9th of July, I investigated Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky with my friend Robin. Waverly Hills is an old tuberculosis hospital and was later a geriatrics center and is said to be one of the most haunted places in America.

Gargoyle seen from rooftop (5th floor)
We arrived at Waverly just minutes before midnight which is when the investigation/tour began. Running behind as usual, I'm loading mini DV into my recorder and loading film in an old film camera while Robin stands behind me and already is having exciting things happen. She had gotten her phone out and was viewing through the small phone screen and could see these lights whizzing around us but these lights could not be seen with our naked eyes! Excited, but late we had no time to record our findings and ran up to the door to join others and begin our tour.

We entered into what was called the "safe room" to be briefed and split into smaller groups. They allow 40 people on a tour and then split them into smaller groups for each of the 5 floors. The volunteers gave us all the juicy tidbits, experiences and the rules for the place and we were off! The investigation was to last 8 hours. I have to admit, I wondered what kind of people I'd see there at the tour. I envisioned men in their 40's still living at home with their mother, freaky gothic like kids, ghost hunting fanatics, etc and was pleasantly surprised to see mostly ordinary people like us... haha.

Our guide Tiffany took our group up to the 5th floor where she told us what all had happened there and when and also told us of some other people's experiences as well as her own. This was the floor for the infamous room 502 where a nurse had supposedly hung herself. Apparently, it was shrouded in secrecy and there may have been some wrong doing there as she was pregnant. My smaller group got to investigate this floor first. There were 6 of us. the rest was split into the other floors. We all had the floor for about an hour. They told us of many shadow people and that the best way to get these shots are with your flash off and then manipulate your pictures in a photo program later to see if anything shows up.

Robin at Room 502

I took a lot of photos and Robin got out her video camera right away and I also used my phone to record audio. We tried our best to imitate Ghost Hunters (snicker, snort) and we laughed most of the time. It was a beautiful night and the warm breeze was blowing on the top floor nicely. The sanatorium is run down and the windows are missing out of most of it. They are using tour money to restore the magnificent old building... a huge undertaking. It didn't take long for us to get bored since we were not having much going on. Robin did experience her battery being drained almost completely within a very short time, something she says has not happened in the past. Admittedly, I have not gone through most of our recordings very closely so there may be something I haven't found yet.
Boo! just me
There was a nice couple there a few years older than us who had some fancy equipment and also two guys, which I thought to be rather "stoner" types but were friendly enough. It didn't take long to figure out we wanted to hang kinda close to the married couple. They had a "spirit box" and that really intrigued me. A spirit box is a contraption that uses am/fm radio to communicate with spirits. I am skeptical, but it was pretty neat and creepy and added to the ambience of the evening. It sounds like those machines that people who have their voice box removed and talk through a device... creepy. This spirit box went crazy at different times of the investigation. Sometimes, where you would think it would be talking up a storm it would do nothing. It really was mostly gibberish from what we heard of it.

After we sat talking for a while it was finally time to go down to the 4th floor which was exciting because the couple had told us they had been here before and had caught "evidence" and had experiences on the 4th floor. So after walking around and snapping pictures, listening intently and asking questions we did have a few things I am going to report, so here it is and no I'm not crazy well, at least not enough to be in a rubber room...yet.

My friend Robin had found a coveted chair and I am standing behind her with my body open to this room and I remember not feeling comfortable with my body facing that way. I didn't say anything to her at that time, I just moved my body closer to her and stood more to her left leaving her more exposed to the door (what a friend, huh? haha) It was mostly an unconscious thing but I distinctly remember feeling a little uneasy. I am recording audio with my phone at this time (hear it here) and begin to speak when all of a sudden I feel a sensation on my upper right thigh. Just below where your pocket is. I asked her and you can hear me ask her on the audio if she touched me. It was slight, but definitely felt it. It kinda felt like my skin crawling only in just this one small spot. So there is my experience #1.

Room next to chair where I felt other worldly touch

We also had an experience together on another floor and I want to say it was the 3rd, but I was losing track of where we were and what time it was. We were tired so we had found some chairs at the end of a hallway and decided to just do some audio to try to get evp's. We had our flash lights off and our eyes had adjusted quite a bit to the dark. We must've both been looking out at the same direction because we both saw three large windows get the light blocked out of them. We investigated to make sure it wasn't another investigator and it wasn't. In fact others had reported the same thing happened to them. Experience #2.

Experience #3 (maybe), I'm more on the fence with only because I am rather skeptical. I just find it hard to get my mind wrapped around this. We were sitting back in those chairs and heard a baby cry. So loudly in fact that we thought someone was playing a trick. It took a minute and I asked her if she heard that and she said yes, it sounded like a cat, and I said no I thought it sounded like a baby. It wasn't no time and we heard it again, the exact same cry. This time she said "you're right that was a baby cry". We immediately got up to see what was going on. We found our way to the married couple and Robin asked them "ok, who's got the Baby App?" The woman said she thought it was us. They heard it too. We found the two guys and they had not heard it. They had been out on the balcony. I am still reluctant to count this as a 100% experience because I question those two guys. Robin and the lady both agreed they thought the two guys were too stupid to fool us all like that. Good point... haha. Who knows. Of course I didn't have my audio going at that moment :(

Experience #4 happened and we didn't even know it until the tour was over. We had been exploring the 3rd or 4th floor, can't remember and smelled something dead. I looked around for a dead mouse or bird or something and never found anything but we just went on and didn't question it. Later we found out that there has been an apparition that has appeared with a foul dead animal smell with it. We didn't see any apparition, but did smell the funk.

One place that was supposed to be scary and most talked about was on the 1st floor, it had the "Death Tunnel or Body Chute" on it. As you guessed, it was used to move the dead down the hill to a waiting hearse. During the height of TB, people died everyday and this was a convenient way to move them. Nothing happened here for me to report other than bats flying by my head. One was so close it blew my hair as it flew by! I'm not afraid of ghosts, but now if a bat got caught in my hair, that would freak me out.
Death Tunnel or Body Chute - see how dark!

Also on the first floor is (was) a gift shop that is supposedly very active. Nothing for us. Plus the morgue, where a lot of people would put themselves on the slabs and have someone push them in. It made this horrible screeeech sound. No thank you. I only want to encounter being on a cold slab once and I better be dead when it happens. Not tempting fate in this case! Robin didn't either.

So we complained about not seeing any shadow people or hearing anything that we felt was real but really all in all we had quite a few unexplainable things happen to us. Towards the end, many had left and they let us have run of the place. It was becoming daylight and we found another small group and asked if they had encountered anything and they were actually recording stuff right then. It was told to us that if you had a flashlight, unscrewed it a bit and laid it on the floor and asked questions, that the ghost would turn it off and on in according to their response. They claimed they were communicating with a ghost and I think her name was Mary. I actually got this on my mini DV recorder. As soon as I figure out how to post it I will. 

I found this picture I took with my flash on in the stairway, can't remember where, but I didn't see anything until I saw it on the computer. Looks like a green orb. I do have a few pictures that have circles on them, but I don't know if they are dust or orbs. The green orb seems to glow a bit.
Green orb middle left of picture - untouched photo
This was taken outside of the building in the morning as we were leaving. Funny how light transforms everything. It just looks like a cool old building now, not the spooky haunted hospital it was hours before. It was fun and has me itching for more experiences perhaps a day trip with my ghost hunting friend. My husband didn't want to have anything to do with it. In fact he's not even asked me what if anything happened. Oh well, it'll just be mine and hers thing :) 

My son had an experience a few mornings after I was back. He came running into my room and asked why I had just blew in his ear to wake him up. I was still in bed. He seemed very awake and alert so who knows? I do feel strange feelings sometimes in his room. I did in fact worry about bringing anything (as in spirits) home with me, but I have yet to experience anything since I've been back home except for Asher's story.
One more thing, I asked the tour guide Tiffany if she ever had anything follow her home and she said she occasionally did but the one that sticks out in my mind was the "creepy crawler" as she called it. Apparently when it was a TB hospital they let the patients roam around no matter their condition and there were strange experiments to try to cure them and one spirit that has been reported is this creepy crawler. He was someone who could not walk so he crawled around. I don't know if he had legs or not. But now that might freak me out if I saw that. I'm not afraid of spirits because I know they were just people at one time but something about that creeps me out.

She also told us of a "doppelganger" which is a tangible double of another person usually evil, that is present. We didn't encounter that either but I don't really want to encounter something evil so I wasn't bothered by that! All in all, we had fun and Robin has even said she wants to go back. Maybe, but I'd like to see something else if I'm going to spend the money.
Fearless Ghost Hunters - haha
So I hope you've enjoyed my ghost tour! I'll be back with more of the video when I can. See ya soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Koi Pond - small update adding plants

Not much has progressed with our koi pond since we first started. Life gets in the way. But I did manage to pot up some plants for the pond today. Also, I noticed we have baby fish!! I'm so excited! I can't believe they've made it with no where for them to hide, so that kinda spurred me on to do the pots. I had the plants there and waiting on me, just hadn't done it. Now I'm so glad I did. I am quite pleased with the way they look and maybe it will push my hubby back into "pond mode"... haha

Anyway, enjoy the pics :)

This waterfall spills into the lake
Main waterfall getting some character with the algae
Pot is on concrete block in middle of pond

another view of plants in middle of pond
Plants in a pot on a pond shelf we made, almost not big enough!
another view of shelf plant
Here's a picture I took today of the twins Thunder and Lightning. Can you believe how much they've grown? They are 10 months old now and look like regular cats, not the cute cuddly little fur balls they were. But I still love 'em. They've been booted outside, so I don't get many pics of them anymore.

Thunder (l) and Lightning (r) now 10 months old
And look at Zoey posing just as pretty as a picture.

Zoey in the summer grass
Happy Friday and Happy Independence Day Weekend everyone!
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