Adventures with a dog . . .

Today Daisy and I were quite busy. We went and bought a bike, no, not for her. I got a really good deal on it, almost 60% off the original price. After showing it off to Jason’s Dad, we went home and baked bread. One smallish. loaf of spelt and another of applesauce. We’ll see how they go. If that wasn’t enough adventure, we then rearranged the living room, the couch is now at a 45° angle to the television. I’m not sure what I think about the living room yet. The couch extends onto the kitchen floor in order to give the recliners enough room to recline. The kitchen is going to seem a little small having to navigate around the couch. We also cleaned a set of cupboards so that there are no milk products at all, and the wheat without milk is separated into a different area. Anyone need any wheat/milk/yeast products? At seven, it’s time for my shower so I can go meet Jason and Nate for Mexican.

I made some progress on the flowerbeds this week, but I still have stones to move. I’m not really sure I want to redistribute the stones knowing that I’d like to redo all of the beds eventually.

Honeymoon the Second: Chapter Seven

We wandered back to Arch between 5th and 6th to visit the National Constitution Center. We were unable to take pictures for the dramatic telling of the Constitution story, but it was cool and informative, nonetheless. After the dramatic presentation, we played a trivia game in which we were the players and the pieces and took some pictures in a ten dollar bill. In the gift shop, we discovered a penny book that had a “We the People” penny and I thought about buying it, at the time we had only seen one penny squisher in the gift shop, and it did not have that penny. Thankfully, we found the other machine on the opposite side of the entrance from the first machine. This saved me some money, we obtained a “We the People” and a feather quill squished penny.

Thus ends the chronicle of our journey through the historic district of Philadelphia. We exited the city around 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon. The traffic was quite thick due to 8th street at the ramp for the highway in Philadelphia being closed. As we drove I felt a milk-migraine coming on, my best guess was the bruschetta from dinner the night before, although some sausage can cause it as well. What ever I ate had milk product it in. We arrived at the Gettysburg at 10 after 5, the Visitor’s Center closed at 5P.M. We headed back route 30 to a Super 8 we found as we came through. We splurged again on a king-sized bed and tried to nap for a little bit. We found dinner at Bella Italia, absolutely yummy considering I had to avoid milk products, my first just attempt to eat out at an Italian restaurant. Our server seemed to understand my dilemma and assured me that my choices were milk-free. If it weren’t for the headache, I would have asked her more questions. We walked back to the hotel/motel and watched a little more Law and Order before calling it a night. I would just like to say that this trip taught me a lot about traveling with a milk allergy. I am going to pack a larger supply edible food and not gamble at all on bread and sausage products. I am going to pack single serving rice milk and a jar of peanut butter with some crackers, as well as the standard granola bars. Ok, side note here nearly a month after I wrote this, I have found single serving peanut butter containers packaged like applesauce.

Friday morning we traveled back to the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center to purchase an audio car tour CD. We had previously discussed a walking tour using an iPod after ripping a CD, but by Friday morning, we were both “walked out”. I don’t think anyone does a walking tour of the battlefield. We had several choices for a car tour, two different 2 hour ones, a 3 hour one and a 4 hour one. I didn’t say anything, but I secretly hoped that Jason would pick the 3 hour tour. Does this sound like the theme song to sitcom long since in syndication? We opted for the concise 2 hour tour, 16 stops (but 3 of the 16 were optional). I’m not a huge Civil War buff; I have opinions about the causes and results of the war. I know where battles were mostly fought, but not any of the fancy moves or shapes the lines created in an attempt to win. I liked studying the analysis of the causes, the actual battles were of little consequence to me, so a longer tour to me, seemed like a good crash course in battles. Thankfully, we didn’t go with the longer one. We were on the road by after a short program of “The Electric Map”. Does that sound like something out of the 50s? It very well may have been. It was a cool display of the various front lines and formations of the two sides, as well as reinforcements and leaders. Various lights lit as the recorded voice told of the battle, keeping the Visitor’s Center constantly lit, flashing occasionally to remind us of our position relative to the war. It was of considerable benefit to me as I previously was clueless as to the specifics of various battles. As we toured the sites by car, it made much more sense after the map show. I’ll not go into specifics of the “Auto Tour,” other than to say, I took lots of pictures of each stop and the sign so I could remember which site was which in reference to the tour. Devil’s Den was coolie, I’m always a big fan of unique geological formations. Some where around stop 12, we decided we were just about done with the tour whether it was done or not. We skipped the first optional stop and then 13 and 14 as well. I took lots of pictures. I think we decided that the 3 hour tour would have been the same 16 stops, just more information. I’ll caption the pictures so that you can tour Gettysburg at your leisure.

We departed Gettysburg and headed across route 30 to I70/I76. The nature sights were fantaboulous as previously noted at the beginning of this chronicle. I took many more random pictures, but missed a few shots because of trees and trucks. I did take come video footage of our time in the tunnel, why? Because I could.

As for the trip home, it was ripe with penny squishing! We stopped at a random rest stop in PA and found a machine. I promptly selected the one displaying Pittsburg Three Rivers and the Incline-have to look that up. In northern Ohio, we stopped and purchased on at another random rest stop, one of Dayton, home of flight. We were no where near Dayton, but I liked the penny. We stayed at another Super 8, at the “junction” of 80 with 23/475 in Toledo. That Super 8 had wireless high speed, so I brought in my laptop and surfed for a while. My first check of email in almost a week, as well as a nice visit to the penny collecting website listed on the back of the collector album. I discovered that we missed a lot of penny opportunity in Gettysburg, but that’s ok. I don’t want to collect every penny, just the ones I think are cool.

In summary, we squished some pennies, did some things and saw some stuff. At this point in the journey, we have arrived in SE GR to waste some time before we can retrieve my furries from my friend Ruth, which is about where I started this chronicle.

Stay tuned for my random thoughts and investigations on thoughts, ideas and questions resulting from our trip

**note: If links are broken, please check the original post at, the link may have been updated. If you are still unable to view the image, please let me know by using the email address of debra at proefrocks dot net.

~~The End~~

Another wonderful weekend . . .

We started on Friday with dinner at the local Mexican eatery and then we rented a couple of movies.

We had a slightly busy, slightly relaxed weekend, it was great. Sat. we had a get together with our small group, a baby shower, one of the attenders of the shower dropped me off at the church so I could join Jason. Jason had to leave early for a church deal. From there we hit a grocery store for a couple of things and headed home. We managed to find some dairy free, gluten free, egg free ice cream. Rather expensive, at least that’s what I would have said 6 months ago. As it turned out, it was money well spent. It was wonderful. I chose the vanilla, while Jason grabbed up the chocolate.

He moved the mailbox to our side of the road. We received a note in the box last week indicating that the mailbox isn’t up to proper specifications, it needed to be a little higher. We didn’t have enough post in the ground for that, so since the post was completely out of the ground, the only difficulty is digging a completely new hole. Jason was a wonderful husband. He borrowed a phd (post hole digger) and went to work. All that’s left is to notify the mail carrier, though when she tries to put the mail in the box, I think she’ll have figured it out herself.

While Jason was digging a hole, I made some cookies. I have had some difficulty with the switch from butter to non-dairy butter like products. There is one brand of unsalted margarine that seems to not work well with the cookies, but that may have been my mistake. I noticed the directions read “beat until fluffy,” which I’m not sure I did. If it’s not fluffy, the sugar is not well mixed into the butter and things may not gel correctly, but I’m not completely convinced.

I don’t know what we did with the early evening, but by 7 or so we were watching one of the movies we rented. Dinner at 8:30 was bacon and some random snacks.

After church, we stopped a chain home supply store and were charged three times for one item. I’ll deal with that tomorrow. We had pork chops for lunch and dinner with the family. We had to modify the compost box. When the box is full, I can barely balance it and put things in it. So we added a couple of handles and some hooks with chain. I can now balance it. Actually, we decided to leave it hooked and unhook it to rotate it.

After dinner, we played a few rounds of hearts without keeping score. That’s very sad. I was actually able to run, with 4 aces 2 or 3 kings, 2 or three queens, 2 or 3 jacks and a lot of hearts. When I saw the high cards before the trade, I decided to keep them all and throw away small “ducking” cards that I usually covet. I was traded several nice high cards to achieve the above mentioned hand.

Knitting, ah, knitting. Well, what can I say, I would have fancied myself an intermediate level knitter, but I seem to be struggling with what should be simple concepts because I taught myself “the rest”. My mother, and later a few friends, showed me how to cast on and execute a knit stitch. I chose a horrid little set of directions to try to start my socks. Virtually undecipherable for me, even with my dictionary and the internet. So tonight, after searching a little better, knowing what to look for, I found a nice cast on for toes, two socks at a time. No real directions for what to do after that, I think I can find info on the same site for the rest. I know I’ve seen things about turning the heel. My “fun” project turns out to be extremely difficult as well. Luckily, I found a nice picture set to compare my knitting to since the original tutorial seems to be MIA. I am going to try to hunt it down, a cached version may proved useful.

I will try to post some pictures this week. I’ve been taking random pictures of the colors around here as well as other interesting kitties.

Harry Potter & Socks

So I’ve been obsessively hunting sock patterns before I begin. I know I should want to pay money for good patterns, but at this point I only want to try making socks and would hate to invest too much money if I don’t like it. That said, I’ve been using a lot of internet bandwidth hunting and found a sock swap with a Harry Potter theme. They linked to some other fun sites, such as a name generator (beware, there is one for boys and one for girls). My name came up as Emma McGonagall, while my old name came up as Lily Wigworthy, I kinda like the combination, Emma Lily McGongall.

I had a wonderful delivery today from the UPS guy. He brought me my new knitting book. There are two or three patterns I can’t wait to tackle. But I have a schedule, so socks must come first!

With the spare time . . . oh wait!

So I finally got the desktop working again. For some reason my motherboard doesn’t like cable select, so I went to the old-fashioned way of specifying which hdd is in which position. I am wondering if this is the same problem for the cd/dvd drives, yup, it is the same problem. I let a friend install the drive last time, mostly I begged not to have to do it myself, so I have no idea what the original configuration was. For a while, when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, I stopped doing computer hardware and just pawned it off on willing victims friends. So the upshot, I have access to my files again. I need to back up the music drive and rebuild the machine. I was able to format the new small drive to be used as OS holder. Quite excited actually, apparently it still had remnants of an old OS so it wouldn’t boot properly, nor let me add a different OS. I am contemplating server install as well as standard and some Linux flavors, we’ll see what I am motivated to when time comes.

Other than a blanket (which was supposed to be a sweater), my needles are empty, so I am ready to cast on socks. I am going to use generic toe-up instructions with a simple K1-P1, P1-K1 pattern for Jason. It shall be my first pair of socks, though I’d rather make them for me in case it goes horribly wrong I can hide it.


My poor flowerbeds . . . I had such high hopes for them. As a “welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift,” I received two huge bags of bulbs to plant, daffodil and tulips. Jason and I agreed on a shrub bed I could transform into a flowerbed. I wish I had taken a picture of it before I began ripping it the invasive little ground cover. Now I have the task of removing the red stones so that I can find usable dirt under there, somewhere. I filled half the wheelbarrow today with stones and I would estimate that I haven’t scratched the surface. I decided I needed to get some gloves for playing with the rocks or there will be no skin left on my hands. So hopefully the saga will continue tomorrow and by the end of the week I will have bulbs in the ground awaiting spring.

I have fancy new gloves that we found on sale for cheap at a local national chain store, I will try them out tomorrow.

April 29, 2008:
It turns out that the days grew very cold very quickly and the bed was not readied until Spring. Hopefully next year I will have flowers.

Honeymoon the Second: Chapter Six

We spent Thursday morning and early afternoon finishing up our self-guided tour of the city. We began with the Philadelphia Mint because it was across from the hotel on Arch. We are not allowed to bring cameras, camera phones or bags into the Mint, so it made sense to do visit at the start of the day, close to the hotel. When we arrived, we travelled up two escalators to the third floor, then wound our way back to the first on the self-guided tour. The final escalator dumped us right into gift shop, where we purchased a couple of postcards. While it was a very informative tour and I learned a lot about how coins are minted, I was also able to see first hand how much money that government agency is allowed to waste.

Did you know . . .

We broke fast at a Starbucks, quite Philadelphian of us. From there we rejoined the self-guided tour map at stop 24, the Betsy Ross House. Surprisingly, Ross was her first husband’s name, she married two more times, each husband dying before she did. Her grave stone says Betsy Ross and John Claypoole. When she should have been learning to tend a house and mind a family, she apprenticed with an upholsterer. Could this have lead to her progressive ideals: marrying out of her faith, eventually joining the Revolutionaries mending things, making cartridges and bullets? John Ross, her first husband, was an Anglican which was scandalous to her family, they were Friends. She was read out at the next meeting of the Friends after she was married. At the house, there was a charming fountain, which was not spurting water at the time. The sculptor placed the most adorable kittens in various playful positions. I attempted to take pictures of all the kitties, but was unable to due to the presence of others. I also took many pictures of the raised beds, again with the gardening fascination. In the gift shop, I found a collector’s book for squished pennies and three squisher machines. We squished one of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Sometimes the penny mold has the location of the squisher machine on it, I like that. The penny book came with a Philly, Penn. LOVE squished penny, but I think I’d have to destroy the cover of the book to get it out.

Our journey continued at Elfreth’s Alley (23), it is the oldest continuously occupied residential street in the country, 1702. We did not walk through the museum, just took pictures of the alley and walked through the gift shop. I almost purchased a tin whistle, I thought maybe I would find one somewhere else, so I didn’t. The houses were quite colorful; a few of them still displayed the fire insurance emblem on the fronts. Many of the original houses did not survive, but were rebuilt.

We chose to forgo the Declaration (Graff) House, it was only open 11A.M. to noon, while we were in the city, and we would have had to give up a couple of sites to do that one. We instead trekked back toward the hotel to visit the Church of Christ Burial Court (cemetery). The main attraction there was the burial site of Benjamin Franklin. On our walk to the Ross house that morning, we saw people throwing coins on the grave of Benjamin Franklin. We asked on our way out about that tradition. Apparently, it’s good luck. Somewhere along the way, brides decided it was good luck for the marriage and then others decided it was good fort hem too. One of the attendants said it may relate to the phrase, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” I had a hard time with that because throwing a penny onto a grave is not a penny saved. One of guides at Independence Square mentioned that the Revolutionary War pitted brother against brother, fathers against sons. He alluded to Benjamin Franklin losing a son to that, the only son we saw buried with him was “Frankie,” but he died just over a year old.

Life, blogging and what’s not getting accomplished

As often happens with plans, life gets in the way. I tried to make these detailed lists for this week about what to get done each day and I am failing miserably. This blog, while chronicling adventures, seems to also be turning in to a monument to unfinished or unstarted dreams/projects/tasks. It’s Thursday morning, I’m still awake and haven’t gotten to half my list this week. I have done a lot of reading, bonding with Daisy and some knitting. Daisy has taken to walking in the last inconvenient place across books, knitting, and computers to place herself strategically in my lap. While I am beginning to adore her, she’s not what I would call a lap dog.

My list for tomorrow is short: pick up some meds, visit a couple yarn shops in Big Rapids, have fun with Patty, get my cell phone updated, do some crafting, and arrive safe and sound at home. To those of you reading this, I apologize for lack of interesting content, please bear with me. I need to create adventures for myself so that I have something, anything to write about that may grab your attention.

Honeymoon the Second: Chapter Five

So my random thought, which I promised would be often and random-we rented a G6 from Enterprise for the trip. It’s been a pleasant ride, but slightly disconcerting for the passenger. The airbag for the passenger turns on at the beginning of a journey if it senses that a passenger is present in the seat. I read the manual about it on the way out because the bag would turn on and off. At first I thought it was a short in the system being aggravated by my use of the cigarette adapter. I am using a different one on the way back and it’s turning on and off with bumps in the road. I think this may be why Jason won’t let me drive; he wants the airbag to work where he sits 😉 Luckily, I don’t have life insurance, unless it is a benefit that comes with being married to him.

On to The Second Bank of the United States, stop 10, you will notice it looks similar to the first bank. I don’t know why the National Park Service has two different pages, other than this one is labeled “archive,” I do like the picture better. Close by was Library Hall (9), open only to researchers and students of a specific school. There is some interesting information around half way down the page. Our next stop was Washington Square Park, memorial to unknown soldier(s) from the Revolutionary War and an eternal flame of peace. (8) I believe it is technically named in the singular sense, but the plaques all over the park indicate that there are hundreds if not thousands buried in mass unmarked graves.

As our story continues, we are on an adventure in Philadelphia, Penn. It is the sunny Wednesday, afternoon of September 12. From Washington Square we walked by the Independence Hall buildings, collectively referred to as Independence Square. From the park, we saw barriers with armed guards and the same from the street side. Unable to discover how to enter, we settled for pictures and started to move on to other stops. Some where we saw a sign that sent us to Independence Visitor Center for tickets. After meeting a smart-alecky, but slightly humorous park ranger, I obtained two tickets for the 2:30 showing. We went straight back and managed to get in on the 2:15 tour. We had a lovely guided tour of Independence Hall (4), after going through a rather thorough security check point. Our park ranger was very informative; unfortunately, I did not retain his name. Independence Hall in colonial times was a government seat for Britain’s laws/courts. While independence was being planned, it served as a meeting place for the framers. Much was argued and debated, ratification was voted upon, and states participated, boycotted or abstained. I did a little more learn about the division of power intended by the framers when we toured Congress Hall (5) with a different ranger, Bob King. I already knew that many of the framers wanted a decentralized federal government with more states’ rights, so we ended up with three branches and no one entity or person as a final authority. I learned on the original purpose of a bicameral congress. The Senate was supposed to be sure that the states’ rights were always represented in legislation matters, while the House was supposed to represent the people’s rights/interests in legislation. In this manner, the states were not more important than the people, nor were the people more important than the states. In between the two guided tours, we self toured the west wing of Independence Hall. Much of the furnishings in the buildings were reproductions, some was original, often less than 50%, the rangers liked to talk in percentages, it probably sounds better than the actual number of pieces. If they reproduced it, they tried to match the original. On display in the Old City Hall were several copies of various documents: The Declaration of Independence as distributed to the masses, typeset, Articles of Confederation, Constitution of the United States and an ink stand; we did this as a self-guided tour. Philosophical Hall was a part of Independence Square, however, tours were limited to a specific time or purpose as it was privately held.

Across the street (Chestnut) from Independence Hall, we visited the Liberty Bell, which we learned used to be the Penn. State bell. That was a bit disappointing. I had been under the false impression that it was cast for the purpose of celebrating our independence from Britain. The hall was huge, had exhibits on various groups that latched on to the Liberty Bell as a symbol of the cause. I did enjoy the history of the bell.

After an absolutely yummy dinner at the hotel, we tried to do the Lights of Liberty tour. It was supposed to be a tour of 5 or so landmarks with coolie lights on the building a headset to explain something. We visited in the afternoon and found out what time it started. Unfortunately, the unhelpful information desk woman did not tell us we needed reservations in advance and two people were not going to be enough for them to do a whole show. We decided to continue to wander the historical district at night. We managed to find some ginger lemon tea for Granny at a fun little corner shop. That area of Philly didn’t seem to have supermarkets, just small stores that carried some basics, but what more do you need? On our way back to the hotel, we realized it was Wednesday evening and could have attended the Wednesday evening meeting at the Friend’s Church directly across 4th (right next to the hotel), by the time we realized it, it was rounding on 9P.M., so we went back to the hotel and cleaned my white had that got stained, as mentioned previously. A washcloth and bar of soap made short work of most of the stain, it is still stained, but passable. While in the bathroom, Jason hollered at me about something about having something of mine and was sure I would want to know about it. I asked as many questions as I could in a vain attempt to determine what he had. He knows how the seemingly simplest clue can give it away, so he was deliberately vague. When I finally gave up, I hadn’t left or misplaced anything recently; he showed me my nice, shiny, silvery ring that I lost last February, presumably in my car or his driveway. Apparently I lost it in his house; it had fallen or found its way into his duffel bag. He only found it because he knew that things often made their way under the hard bottom and had checked to see what treasures lay beneath. So my ring is back on my finger.

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