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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another Carving Throw Down, Halloween Postponed, And a New Dog Gets Named

Whew!  Lots of ground to cover today.
Grab a cup of a comforting beverage -
mine is coffee - and settle in.

New Jersey and New York are beginning the 
long, hard, sad, and expensive cleanup from Sandy.
***Note to Martha at Linderhof -- (Greenport, NY) We walked down this street and the
pier to get to Crabby Jerry's (at the end of the pier) for lunch back in September
when you and Jim visited.  Sandy tore up and destroyed the docks at Crabby Jerry's,
and flooded much of the business district where we walked and browsed.
A little different now from that beautiful Sunday we were there enjoying oysters and clams!
(Photo by Sebastian, from the Suffolk Times website.)
We grownups are heartsick over the
terrible damage and loss from this massive storm.
But kids have had something else on their minds.
Will this mean there's no Halloween?
Thank you, Graphics Fairy!

Not quite.
But it means that, at least in our town,
Halloween has been moved to Saturday.
No Trick or Treaters today.
Which might be just as well.  
Another couple of days can give me a chance to redeem myself
in a pumpkin-carving contest in which I am the only competitor.
The other participant is not competing.
Which is odd, 'cause she'd totally win.

Our efforts from a few days ago:



You see the problem?

So yesterday, because we were again home due to the storm, we
carved two more innocent pumpkins who had never done us any harm.

Okay.  Our efforts from yesterday:

Daughter Anne's.
A haunted house.  Second Empire, no less.
And to the left of the haunted house, a spooky tree . . .
 To the right of the house, a ghost perches in another tree,
above a cemetery with a weeping angel monument. 

Detail:  Mansard roofs.
This is the second pumpkin Anne has ever carved.

And now (drum roll, please!)
my own carving masterpiece:

I hope you didn't have a mouthful of coffee when you saw that.
It's supposed to be a shoe.  And I really did have a plan.
It just got lost along the way.

My detail:
A pumpkin covered in red Magic Marker lines.
Who knew that wouldn't wipe right off a damp gourd?
I am going to probably ink the whole cutout area in red MM
so you don't see my primitive scribbles.

As I said, I am the only one thinking this is a contest.
It's really not. It's me doing clumsy carving, and Anne
doing her own, patient, art-kid thing.
Ha!  My pumpkin is way bigger than Anne's.
I win.

I hope our Jack O Lanterns last until Saturday!
And don't you think it would be cool to have a
carved turkey pumpkin for Thanksgiving Day?
Now, about our new family member,
the Cavalier King Charles tricolor boy we
adopted from Cavalier Rescue on Sunday . . . 
Some of you chimed in with name preferences,
from yesterday's post, and most were for Dickens.

"Dickens?  You think I am a little Dickens?"

"I am a mighty hunter!  Go away, leave me with my fresh kill,
a fox that smells oddly of acrylic fake fur and PetCo,
and sadly has no squooshy stuff inside."

Anne and I test-drove "Dickens" as the name for our
new little guy, but he didn't seem to like it.
I liked the name "Pip."  But our dog?
He prefers Dylan.
He already answers to it.  Dylan it is.

BTW when we got into the car to drive home from Dylan's
foster home on Sunday, with the clouds and wind from
Sandy blowing in from the Atlantic, I turned on the radio, and the
first song I heard was Bob Dylan, singing "Shelter From The Storm."
"Let me in!  It's wet out here!"


I keep thinking this is Thursday, but it is not.
It's Wednesday.  And there's a chance Howard will be able
to get a bus, or maybe a car service, home from NYC tonight.
Hope so; I miss him!  -- Cass

P.S.  If you spotted a lead hooked to Dylan's collar in his bare-it-all picture, it's because he is not used to walking on lead, and thinks this snake-y thing around his neck is either a toy, or an instrument of torture that must be destroyed.  So we are letting him drag the lead around, to get used to it, and we randomly pick it up, hold it casually, then give him a little treat for not going bonkers.  Hey, I like getting treats for not going bonkers; don't you?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad Sandy, Good Dog, One Pic

Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy
roared through New Jersey yesterday.

She was not a nice guest.
At That Old House, Sandy tore hunks of roofing off and hurled them onto the sunroom roof, where they skidded to the ground,
and let me tell you, when a roof is made of translucent
poly-something-or-other, having hunks of roof
banging and skidding over it is very very noisy.

And scary.

Noisiest surprise -- a long length of gutter tore off the attic roof, 
hit the sunroom, and is still dangling half-on, half-off the house.

But many places fared far, far worse, as you know if you haven't
been hiding under a rock.  New York City is reeling.
My husband has been staying at a midtown hotel since Sunday night.
He worked 13 hours on Monday, same today,
and will maybe get home late tomorrow night.

(Update: H says it is doubtful he will get home on Wednesday.  Bummer.)

We don't know how our beach house in New York fared,
'way out on eastern Long Island's North Fork.
Southold cops closed the road leading to it --
 impassable because of floodwaters.
That's not a really good sign.

But as my Mom used to say, "If it doesn't bleed, don't worry about it."
And she was right.  Whatever happened to our beach house,
or to That Old House, is fixable.

We are all safe and sound,
including our newest family member.
Photo courtesy of Cavalier Rescue.  He has been moving too fast for me to get a good shot!

He is a 3-year old tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel,
and we adopted him Sunday afternoon from Cavalier Rescue.

He's a little bit of a boy, only 13 pounds, but he makes up for his
lack of size with loads of energy and curiosity.

And no manners.
This is not his fault.

He was given to Rescue by owners who could not
care for him, and he had about as much training (meaning none)
as a 6-month old puppy.  Only he's 3.

But we've trained lots of dogs in our time, with all sorts of issues,
and this guy needs us.  Like we need him.

He's adorably affectionate, and his favorite place to be
is curled up in someone's lap.  The closer the better.

I promise more pictures of him, and pictures of our house,
in tomorrow's blog post.  I am racing the power grid;
our electricity comes and goes; luckily for us,
it's been on for a few hours, 
that's liable to change at any moment.

Meanwhile -- please help us name our new boy!
We are changing his original name, as it might carry
"bad vibe" memories from his last home.

Anne and I have narrowed our choices to four:
1. Dylan
2. Pip
3. Hugo
4. Dickens
What's your vote?
My heartfelt sympathy to the storm veterans who have lost their homes, and in some cases family or friends, to the terrible Sandy.  To any people from Canada to North Carolina, west to Michigan, who are soldiering on in primitive conditions -- we are praying for your welfare.  Many thanks -- more than can be expressed -- to the emergency and utility workers who perform miracles in these situations, and risk their own well being to do so.
You are amazing.
-- Cass

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has already messed up my
weekend plans.  Anne and my sister Peggy and I
were supposed to be enjoying a road trip to 
Virginia, coming home on Monday.

A look at Sandy's own plans for Monday, and we decided to
stay put, right here in good ol' New Jersey.

That Old House has weathered many storms since 1832.
This is one more notch on her bedpost.

Peggy and Bill are battening down the hatches at our
beach house today.  Fingers crossed! 

To all who are in the path of what might turn out to be one
doozy of a storm . . . good luck, and let's use the good sense
God gave us to stay out of harm's way!  :-)

We are getting in our own car right now, though.
We have a date, with the little fella in the picture, above.
He's interviewing us.

Stay dry, East Coast Peeps!  -- Cass

Saturday, October 27, 2012

En Garde! A Tale Of Two Jack O'Lanterns.

It's been many years since I've hacked out a
Jack O'Lantern from an unsuspecting orange gourd.


But last night, daughter Anne and I performed
some skin-and-seed-ectomies on a couple of
plump $5 pumpkins from the local supermarket.

 We cleaned them out.
Anne helped me, as I am sort of slipshod about these things.

Carving pumpkins with my daughter is
very much like coloring Easter Eggs with her.
I take an egg, draw a lopsided bunny in white crayon, and dip it in pink dye.
She takes an egg, and inks in a facsimile of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  In living color.

I was ridiculously proud of my traditional,
goof-ball-faced, gap-toothed Jack O'Lantern.  

And then . . . I saw Anne's.

Yes, it's a raven, and it is quothing "Nevermore."

Complete with quoth marks.

(Apologies to Mr. Poe.  I'm only funning.)

(Want to read The Raven by EdgarAllen Poe?  Click here!)

No stencil.  Free hand.
Her first attempt at pumpkin carving.  

So, while my first pumpkin carving in probably 15 years
isn't exactly  a work of art, guess what?
Pumpkin carving is one of my Favorite Things.

I want to do more of them,
but Shop Rite is sold out!
We have a few leaves down at That Old House.

Howard and Annie did a lot of leaf removal today, bless their hearts.

I made meatloaf -- Cass

Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage is our hostess for
A Favorite Thing . . . on Saturdays.   Click here!

P. S.   I was going to include a recipe for an apple cake in this post, and I had better pictures of the Jack O'Lanterns, too . . . but after a few pictures loaded, Blogger would not load anymore.  It just stopped.  Dead.  Bad Blogger.  Bad, bad Blogger.  I've been having problems with very slow picture loading, but it's never just refused pictures at all before.  Anyone else have this problem?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boo! The Ghosts of That Old House Wax Poetic

In less than one week, it will be Halloween.
I have decided to focus on that, and not the
looming Thanksgiving holiday, coming up
very fast in my rearview mirror.

In 2009, I posted a Halloween tablesetting in our Parlor,
and I'm recycling it today.  Hope you enjoy it, and the 
little bit of "poetry" penned by the Ghosts of That Old House.

So, BOO!

"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."

The Spider and the Fly
Written by Mary Howitt (1799 to 1888)

Yes, come and see our curious things, dear precious readers all.
There's a table in our parlor, O so charming, O so small.
You can rest your weary skeletons upon our chairs so black. 

Do not fret about the ghosties sending shivers down your back.
Do not worry, all you pretties; you will not hear ghostly calls.
You will not hear howls or rattling chains in That Old House's walls.
For the ghosties here are kind ones, and we wish you only well.
Now sit down and sip our wine, for we've a story still to tell.

A shameless rip-of of The Spider and the Fly.
Written by the Ghosts of That Old House,


Welcome to the Parlor at That Old House. Let's play pretend.

It's Halloween, and it's drawing on to dark.

The wind whips the leaves around the lawn and up onto the porch
(what ever happened to the landscaper's promise to come two days ago?).

We begin to light the lights, and hope for Trick or Treaters.

We love Trick Or Treaters.
With a bit of good Bearnaise Sauce . . . .

Come, I've set two places at a little round table
in the Parlor: one place for you, one for me.

We're just going to have a snack, nothing fancy. Maybe a glass of wine.
Blood red, of course. Here is your special glass:

The Jack O' Lanterns are troubling the gathering darkness.

A wee little ghostie watches over us. His name is Rudy, and he has lived
with our family for almost 20 years. His story is for another post.
But you must behave when Rudy is watching. . . that's all I'm saying.

In our tablesetting, some very old plated flatware.
Just the right size to use for the children
who come knocking at your door . . . . to feed them, I mean.

An Ebay find: vintage flatware -- 1919 era -- in a charming small luncheon size.
Or, possibly, child size.

Just right for a spooky little feast.

Let's see what else we played with today. . . .

Pumpkin plates from HomeGoods.  Not dishwasher safe. Boo.

Underplates -- old restaurant dishes, white with a green stripe.
They were my Mom's.

Sterling china, in Ohio.

Napkins -- goofy Halloween print, sewed 'em myself eons ago.
Wine glasses. . . where else? Dollar Tree, 2008.
Rudy the Ghost -- from a craft fair, 20 years ago.

Black iron candlestick -- church rummage sale, 50-cents.

Pumpkin applique table runner -- can't remember! Kohl's or HomeGoods.

Dried up leaves on porch and lawn -- from Mother Nature. Free.


Happy Pea Soup Thursday, and
Happy Halloween!  -- Cass

Linky Parties!

*Join Susan at Between Naps On The Porch
for Tablescape Thursday.  Click here!
**It's Open House Party Thursday at
No Minimalist Here.  Click here!
***Join Treasure Hunt Thursday at
From My Front Porch to Yours by Clicking Here!
****Coloradolady hosts Vintage Thingies Thursday. Click here!