Thank you for finding That Old House amidst the chaos of the Internet. We are delighted that you are here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Frank, Sloppy Snow, Sniffles, And The Turkey Shirt Returns

In our prep for Happy Frank's Giving Day,
we had a serious crisis:  Howard could not find his
(in)famous Turkey Shirt.

Miraculously, it surfaced on The Big Day.

Me:  "Where did you find it?"
Howard:  "In the closet.  Hanging with my other shirts,
                 right where it was supposed to be."
Ladies, you have all been down this road before.

So here he is, Mr. Thanksgiving himself, circa 2012:

Howard and a 28-and-3/4 pound Tom,
looking way better in the picture above than it does in this one:
 Raw turkey.  Not attractive.  But such potential.

What is attractive on Thanksgiving Day?
(Other than Howard in his Turkey Shirt?)

A lineup of pies!

Getting the dessert table set up.  The whipped cream is still being, well, whipped.

 2 apple, 2 pumpkin, one cranberry, one walnut, cookies with
Hersey Kisses, and a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.
We go all out in the dessert department on Thanksgiving.

We fed 22 souls last Thursday, and no one got poisoned.
Another successful Thanksgiving!

Today, an actual snowfall.

About 3 inches by nightfall.

Little doggy Dylan is not sure about this cold white stuff. 
Out with Anne for a business trip.

"It's getting kind of nippy out here."

"Let me in!"

Houseguests Josh and Alida
went back to Los Angeles this morning.

We stuffed them like they were Strasbourg geese for a week, 
and in a month we'll welcome them back at Christmastime.  

Meanwhile, I am sniffling and sneezing.
My first head cold of the winter season.
And I hope it will be my last.  I'm so impatient with colds.
They don't make you sick enough to send you to a doctor
for some sort of magic drug, but you still feel dreadful.  Crazy.

Having doggy Dylan with me on the sofa, snuggling through a
couple of awful old movies today, was therapeutic.
He really tucks himself into the nooks and crannies, does this dog.

Oops.  I think we woke him up.

I was especially thankful this Thanksgiving
to husband Howard, daughters Anne and Alida,
and son-in-law Josh for their wonderful help in getting
Thanksgiving launched here at That Old House.

Without them, it would have been baked beans and hot dogs.

And of course, I am deeply grateful that Howard found his Turkey Shirt.
Turkey Shirt pose, 2012 Edition.
Now, my friends, it's on to Advent, and Hanukkah,
and Christmas, and the New Year, and Epiphany.  
Let the decorating and celebrating begin!  -- Cass

P.S.  Happy Frank's Giving Day?  For the newcomers to the blog, that's the name given to the Thanksgiving Holiday by our much-missed Cavalier spaniel Dion DiPoochy, years ago.  Dion often waited in vain for Happy Frank to bring him a special present, but being an honest pup he also had to admit that most years, he didn't deserve one.

He passed the tradition to our new Cavalier, Dylan.  Dylan is learning his manners fast, but he's still got a few quirks, like biting his leash in order to take himself for a walk.  We're working on that one!  It's amazing what a couple of Cheerios can do; you can't munch a snack and bite a leash at the same time.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What T.B.D.B.T. List? One Day, Folks!

There is an Old Wives' Tale - When your 
squirrels are chubby in the Fall,
you are in for a rough winter.
One of our local squirrels,
perched on a fence post outside our sunroom.

Bring on the snuggies and the galoshes, friends.
I'm abandoning all hope of a mild winter.

But tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day 2012, will be a lovely day.

Which is a mixed blessing;
brilliant afternoon sun on the west side of the house
highlights how really schmutzig the windows are.
Me?  I like a day with good cloud cover when I give thanks.

Supermarket flowers, waiting to be transformed into centerpieces.

My T.B.D.B.T List?
(To Be Done By Thanksgiving.)
Ha.  Ha.  Ha.
Between one thing and another, including this:

pretty much nothing got done.

Although we did hang the matchstick blinds in the study.
I am thankful for even that small thing.
(Which I call small, because Howard did all the work
and I just had to watch and supervise.  He loves that.)

Meanwhile, at That Old House, preparations continue for
tomorrow's feast and love fest.

Mmmm . . . chopped onions and celery, getting all
hot and bothered and ready for the stuffing.

Our biggest blessing?
A family which really enjoys family gatherings.
And, of course, a full refrigerator.
The turkey, a modest 28 pounder, is in the fridge downstairs.
So it's really two full refrigerators.  Come help us eat!

Next on the food prep list?
Hot artichoke dip, two apple pies,
one walnut pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
You lookin' at ME?

I'll be back to say Hi soon, and share a picture of
this year's pin-up boy:  Howard in his turkey shirt!
-- Cass
Dylan and Dad; a dog and his boy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Boo-Boos And Bumps

It's 7:55 on Thursday morning at That Old House,
and Howard and I are waiting for an insurance
adjuster to come at 8:00 and look at the boo-boos
on our house, left by Storm Sandy.

It's a chilly morning.
Not only is there frost on the pumpkins,
there's frost on the red minivan.

Frost is not all that is on the red minivan.
There are lots of boo-boos there, too.
And some deer hairs.

That's a pile of grille and other car parts on the right side of the picture, on the grass.

Last night, on a very dark and wooded part of Route 10
in nearby Randolph, a deer and I crossed paths.

As bad as the minivan is, it's in better shape than the poor deer.
And I am fine.
Except I keep hearing the thud, and seeing the blur of tan fur.

Our insurance company was not surprised;
they are get a lot of these calls.
New Jersey's roads are littered with deer this time of year.

I am sure there's no connection, but there were a lot of deer
in our yard this morning, including an enormous buck with
a very impressive rack.  I got a little nervous, thinking
that they'd sent their best hit man (hit deer?) to get me . . . .
After all, these are Jersey deer!  -- Cass

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gobble Gobble When? And Howard's Hieroglyphics, Part Two

There it is, in big bold type, right at the top
of this blog post.  10 days until Thanksgiving.
So what is this Happy Frank's Giving Day I keep hearing about?
 Is there really a giant roasted parakeet involved?

Ten days, people!
Woo-hoo!  Now it gets interesting.  :-)

(I work best under pressure.
In fact, I pretty much only work at all under pressure.)
For a look at this year's original TBDBT list
 click here!

On Sunday, while I was working my dealer day at
Somerville Center Antiques, my dear hubby oiled
our soapstone counters.  Bless his heart.
I can tick that off my TBDBT List.

Sigh . . . I wish they were always so uncluttered.

But part of this whole deal is putting things you took off, back!

Of course, that also means you can sort, give away,
toss, and tidy, so it's all good.
Really, Jaba the Hutch does not always look this crowded!
Sometimes, it looks worse.  (Ba-dum-dum.)
I use vintage flatware at the holidays,
which always needs polishing beforehand.
Click here, if you want to know my Lazy Lady's system,
whereby you can shine up your silver in a jiff, using stuff you
probably already have, while you relax with your feet up.
No kidding -- it's the easiest-ever silver polishing, and it works.

I bet that if you, too, are hosting Thanksgiving,
that you, too, are focusing in on what needs to be done,
and not the things on your To Be Done By Thanksgiving
list that are, well, optional.  Like, curtains!
This is the fabric that's waiting to be made into new
dining room draperies.  I just need to overcome my fear of
my new sewing machine, which now is a year and a half old!
Daughter Anne has sewn miles on my "new" machine;
I'm counting on her to get me going, and shepherd me through
this project, this week.  I've already got the panels cut out!
Anyone taking bets on this?
And . . . a followup to my October 11th post
about Howard's hieroglyphics -- now revealed.

In that post, I offered a million dollar reward
for a full and accurate translation of H's chicken scratches.
My pretend million is safe; no one got it right!

What did he scrawl?  In English?  Here goes ...
Men Cook

Believe it or not, I understand what he meant by this.
But I'd never have been able to read it!

  -- Cass

P.S.  We took Dylan Dog to Petco on Saturday to get a new collar
(he came with a PINK one -- How humiliating for him).  
Dylan cut up so badly at the store, biting his leash and whirling, 
that Howard toted him around the aisles in what we refer to as 
"The Carry of Shame."  
That's our Dylan.  A work in progress!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not A Banner Day . . . .

Some days you eat the bear.
Some days the bear eats you.
Image from Karen at The Graphics Fairy.

Today?  Not the best day.  The bear seems to be winning.
Election results?  No comment.
Weather?  It's snowing!  Just what New Jersey and New York need.
Driving?  My minivan is rear ended by a Saturn.
Our roof?  Turns out it will need to be replaced and the
starting estimate is more than my first job's annual salary.

But you know what?
We're still lucky, and that bear won't keep winning.

My sister sent more pictures of what
Sandy did at our beach house out on Long Island.

 Side yard -- full of debris from our neighbor's broken down
bulkhead that was destroyed in Hurricane Irene and should
have been repaired, but was not.  Oh well.
Now that neighbor can play Pick-Up-Sticks with what's left.

The dock, minus its steps, and looking as tipsy as a certain blonde
ABC anchorwoman appeared on election night.

Third floor, some fascia board missing its trim.

And the crawl space, flooded.

All in all, not bad.  Fixable.  Yes, lucky.

Those who need our consideration and prayers are the tens of 
thousands of people in NY and NJ who are without homes.
And the hundreds of thousands who are in their homes,
but still without power or heat. 

Some coastal people are evacuating because of
Winter Storm Athena, dropping rain and snow and quite possibly
another storm surge in the region.  Just ten days after Sandy.

Athena is a Nor'easter.
That's one very nasty kind of storm.

Why is it that every summer I totally forget what winter is like?
-- Cass

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Dock, A Dylan, A Dearth of Trick Or Treat

Since last Monday's monster storm, we've been
wondering how our family beach house, out on
the North Fork of New York's Long Island, fared.

On Sunday, my sister and her husband managed to snag a full tank
of gas, and headed out.  She sent me a couple of phone pictures.

Our dock stretches out into an inlet off Peconic Bay,
and at the end there are steps down to a floating dock.

Well, there used to be steps.
What happened was, the tides and winds came through,
raised the floating dock up to or above the level of the
stationary dock, twisted it, and tore off the steps.

Otherwise, except for water in the crawl space, and signs that there
had been water in the garage, and lots and lots of
flotsam and jetsam on the lawn . . . all's well.
Even the power was back on.  Lucky, and grateful.

After several years of having geriatric dogs in our house, 
it's a bit of a surprise to have a young, energetic pup.
At 3 years old, Dylan's got a lot of goofy in him.

Sometimes his plans don't quite pan out.
A little pictorial:
 "What do you mean - the back of the sofa
is not a good place to nap?"
 "See?  I'm hanging on . . . just fine."
 "Well, so maybe there is a little slippage."
 "Uh-oh.  I see what you mean."

Dylan is giving us a lot of laughs, and is well on his way to
walking nicely on lead, and to having acceptable house manners.
Fifth day with no belly band!

He naturally tests his limits, but he is a quick study,
and - like most dogs and husbands - he is lucky he is cute.
And what's even cuter?
Dylan, and a husband!

It's hard to get good pictures of Dylan.  He is so dark,
and moves so fast that often pictures of him turn out blurry!

Well, even though this is New Jersey's official
"Halloween," I have not seen hide nor hair of any
Trick or Treaters.  Sad.  Now, whatever will we do
with all those 3 Musketeers Fun Bars?  -- Cass