Monday, December 29, 2008

Castle Waiting

I had today off, so decided I should check my mail drop in York. I seem to only get there about once a month. If that.

And because I was going that far south, I asked Kemmer if I could stop at her place, a bit further south. She had been unable to join us on christmas, so we still had presents to exchange.

I took Pandora with me for the adventure. We drove the surface streets most of the way and I stopped several times just so she could get out and walk not nearly long enough to suit her.

One place we stopped at was Winnekenni Park in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Kemmer and I kept meaning to go hiking there on one of their many trails, but never quite got around to it. This time I just walked up the road to see the castle at the top of the hill and walked back down again. Pandora wanted to sniff everything. An hour at each sniffing point.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stampin' At the Savoy

Here are the vintage tv stamps I mentioned a while back. They are not as nice as I was hoping for, but I still would like to try doing envelopes for some of them. I hope they get a nice first day cancel design.

I absolutely want to do Groucho and the Lone Ranger. I might get inspired enough to also do Lassie and the two puppet stamps. Maybe some others.

Which are your favorites?

Click on the image to get a bigger view of it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family Values

We flew Carrie's brother Ross out from Arizona christmas eve so he could spend the holiday with us. It was nice that the snow didn't get all washed away by the rain and warmer temperatures. We took him out through our meadow in an attempt to do some sledding, but it didn't work out quite as easily as we'd hoped and devolved into a snow fight.

Pandora enjoyed it.

Afterwards we went for a stroll around the area. There are lots of deer tracks all over the place here. Even in our backyard. It's nice to know they're around, even if we didn't actually see any.

We also took Ross down to the Freeport port. Those are piles of lobster traps behind him and Carrie.

Then it was lunch time, so we headed to Mikado's. After lunch we went in search of a movie theater Carrie had looked up that was showing The Spirit. We're still feeling our way around the area, so it took a bit to actually figure out how to get there. We arrived in the middle of the previews, but didn't miss any of the film itself. I had a difficult time getting past it not being The Spirit as I knew the character. When I finally did, I started enjoying the movie. I want to see it again so I can watch it from the beginning in the right mindset.

Click on any picture to supersize it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Yule!

We drew this kard one of my first years in Arizona. Now we're where we can both agree it's cold.

I didn't manage to get the snowblower going yesterday. And it was snowing when I went to work. The first thing they had me do there was shovel snow. It cleared out afterward, so I didn't have to keep at it all day. In the evening we started getting some rain and so this morning we have a lot less snow outside. It didn't all melt, so we do have a white christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lord Snowed In

I was at my job at Staples when the next round of snow started. The TV had been telling everybody to get where they needed to go and then stay there because it was going to be a big storm. Well, it was in the middle of the storm when my shift ended and I had to head for home. I drove between 25 and 40 mph most of the way, but otherwise it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

The next morning I spent about an hour and a half with the snowblower clearing out most of the driveway before I decided I had to go to work. I knew I would be late, because I'd thought an hour would be more than enough to do the snow removal. Oops.

While I was wrestling with the snowblower, Carrie had our not quite a snowshovel and was getting the snow from off the porch and around the vehicles cleared away.

Hours have been cut at work because Staples isn't doing anywhere near the business they were expecting, so I was out two hours early and came home with the intention of finishing up the snowblowing. I couldn't get the bloody thing to run. I could get it started, but it wouldn't continue. So I had to shovel. The front of the driveway had been plowed under by the street plows. I had barely managed to get my car through it. So I shoveled until it got dark.

This morning I start at Pet Pantry at ten, so I am going to be outside before then with a hairdryer trying to thaw out the gaslines on the snowblower. The repair guy says that we need to use extra amounts of drygas when it gets this cold to keep things from freezing up. I hope that's all that's wrong.

But it might be wasted effort because, although it's snowing right now, it's going to turn into rain and that may melt all our snow away.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Answer, My Friend: Snowblowin' In the Wind

It finally snowed enough to use the snowblower. It took a while before Carrie and I figured out all the controls enough to get it started. We were shown how to use it, but how long ago was that? After running it for a bit I figured out some more of the controls and was getting a good idea of how to use and control it. I got the snow behind Carrie's truck cleared out along with a spot for her to turn around in the driveway, and a wide enough path to the road before it ran out of gas. I never did get around to filling up a gas can for it. Well, Carrie had to go off to work, so she couldn't go get gas for me to clear out my car. I had my car snowed in so I couldn't go get gas to clear out my car. I got to shovel my car out.

At least since I'm going in to Pet Pantry a couple of hours after they open today (they want me to stay late so they can keep the store open later) somebody else will have had to have done the shoveling there.

Except that it's started snowing again.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow News is Good News

Wednesday we got snow. Wednesday I was at Pet Pantry shoveling their walks. We still have snow on the ground and there is more on the way today. It looks like we should have a white christmas after all.

Also on Wednesday, Carrie's truck slid into a guardrail. Minor damage to the truck and no damage to Carrie. She'll be getting snow tires soon.

This picture is the view from our window of our neighbor to the north's barn. You can see the remains of a couple of our sunflowers in the foreground.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Spot the Kitty


... I wish. This is actually a photo of my Yule gift from Nancy, the adoption of a snow leopard through World Wildlife Fund. I'll be looking into the possibility of getting it to come visit.

Thanks, Nancy!

Pushing the Envelopes

Considering the weather we've had recently, I think the one smudge on the Steamboat Willie envelope quite acceptable. The scan came out really light, just like the nutcracker one I did previously, but I played with the settings a bit to make it come out closer to the original.

Unfortunately, I also got the nutcracker envelopes back. Again. The first return was because, although the Freeport Post Office felt I'd put enough postage on the bigger envelope I'd enclosed the eight nutcracker envelopes I wanted special cancels on, the Richmond, Virginia Post Office felt I needed to put more on, so sent it back. I put the additional postage on and sent it again. This time they accepted it and cancelled all the envelopes inside with the special postmark as I wanted them to. But then, instead of sending them on to the people I addressed the envelopes to, the post office stuck them all in another envelope and mailed it back to me! So today I am going to the Freeport Post Office to try and get them to take these envelopes back into the mail stream. Preferably into the no more canceling required branch so as to not obliterate the special postmark with more cancels.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's New Pussycat?

"In recognition of the Holiday Season, Nancy Freeman has sponsored an animal in your name at Friends for Life Animal Sanctuary. Instead of buying you a present, this gift in your name will remember the animals that will spend their christmas in a shelter. Thanks to sponsorships such as this one, our shelter animals will know the warmth and comfort of a safe and caring environment through the holidays."

Thank you Nancy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Power Arrangers

As always, click on the photo to enlarge it.

Freezing rain was falling all yesterday and today. At some point last night I woke up to think there was something wrong. I couldn't figure out what it was though. I looked over at the clock and couldn't see it. The power was out. All the small electrical humming from the dozens of electric and electronic devices one owns that makes a constant background noise was gone!

Okay, so no power, no alarm clock. And no lights. No radio, tv, or computer. No microwave, but the stove? It's electric too. Electric hot water heater, so no hot shower. No cold shower either, since the pump that gets our water out of the well is electric. So no flushing the toilet more than a couple of times. Thank goodness we have oil heat. Except that the apparatus to make it work is electric. No heat.

When we finally decided to get up, we used our flashlights to get out the candles and matches after rummaging around for a long time trying to find them. Carrie went off to work a little early because the roads were a bit slippery. I went shopping.

Home Depot had their emergency generator going so I could see what I was looking for and pay with my debit card. I got some batteries for the radio, a propane heater, and a propane tank. I went off to the rental center nearby since they had propane. They didn't have an emergency generator though, so had no way of providing the propane. I got directions to a home supply store in Brunswick called Downeast. They not only had propane, but were up and running with full power.

I called the landlord a couple of times during the day. Cheery news was he also had a power outage. And he said last time, people went 3 days without power. I called Pet Pantry, since I saw the main drag in Freeport was lit and I knew they knew what was happening in town. Everybody on duty today had their home power out also. The boss had called the power company and been told it would be a couple of days before power was restored.

But an hour later, just before 5, I heard the heat start up and saw the power buttons on the tv and dvd player glowing! Power is restored! And I'm blogging this in hopes I get the tale posted before we're down aga

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Puppets of the Carribbean

Carrie and I were up at a store in Brunswick we liked (but had gone in too close to closing last time to fully explore) and found they had even more puppets than last time.

When I first was playing with him, he had the usual gruff stereotypical pirate voice: "Avast ye scurvy dogs!" But then Carrie put a pair of glasses on him and suddenly he had a refined English accent: "Piracy is my avocation. No, sorry. What I meant was, Piracy be my avocation. We must get the correct pirate grammatical structure in there, musn't we."

I'm thinking his name might be Thaddeus.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"You're a Mainiac"

proclaimed Kemmer after I told her Monday that I'd gotten both my Maine driver's license and my Maine license plates. Of course, people who actually live in Maine prefer the term Mainer. Something I learned after I'd used the term Mainiac a couple of times.

As I was registering my car at the DMV, the clerk picked up the next plate from the pile and said "121 QC. That'll be easy to remember." I remarked that the second customer after me would have an even easier one to remember and she paused for a moment before exclaiming "Oh, 123! You want that one?"

I put the plates on today because today I brought my car in for the State Inspection. I needed a bulb in a tail light and the hardly tinted by Arizona standards windshield was pretty dark by Maine standards and needed a special test to make certain it wasn't too dark. I now have a certificate to that effect and can show it every year when I get my car inspected and they won't have to do the special test again.

Between these two days, we had another interesting frost on our vehicles. This time the pattern on the roof of my car was more interesting than the one on the windshield.

As always, you can click on a picture to get a bigger version.

Monday, December 1, 2008

No Business Like Snow Business

Last night as I left work in South Portland, it was lightly raining. As I drove northward home, it started coming down harder and colder. By the time I reached Freeport, it was snow! Our first snowfall in Maine!

Of course by the time it was light enough to go outside and take pictures, the snow had mixed with rain and started to melt off.

Still, our first snow in Maine!

Carrie wants me to go look at snowblowers today.