Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Boy Turns 11

This boy of mine keeps getting older and older and I don't like it. I keep saying that every year so I don't think it's going to change. This year he turned 11. 

As always, he wanted to have his birthday dinner out at the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth where he always has a hot dog and fries. 
 Afterwards, there is plenty of time for rock climbing and shell collecting. 

 Of course,  we had some presents to open too. 
The past few years have been all about Lego's and that didn't change this year. 
 Even the cake (which he helped make) had Lego candles. He doesn't want to have his birthday party until the summer when we can do a backyard tent sleepover with some of his friends. 

He graduates from elementary school in a few weeks and moves onto junior high. He's taking up running this year and seems to want to keep it up. He's a great kid and we are lucky to have him. If only he would just stop growing up so fast!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Owen, Owen , Owen

 There are no more cats living in our house. At one time, we had 3 cats and Owen was the baby. 
 In 1998, he showed up in the hallway of our apartment building. I don't know if he came from another apartment or came in from the outside. He was out there all day or so looking sad so we finally took him inside. No one ever came looking for him so we kept him. He was our unplanned cat. Three is a lot of cats at once. 

 If there was a box to get into, he would get in it. 
 He loved to sleep all stretched out. 

He also was a devil cat. Once he pulled the curtains right out of the wall, rod, screws and all. Another time he pushed against the window screen and fell right out. He rode that screen down 3 stories and landed on the grass just fine. 
 He calmed down as he got older. He was always the young one though even when our other 2 cats were gone. Maybe it was because he was so much tinier than them. He was also the only cat we allowed to go outside. He was almost a year when we got him and he was used to being outside. He would stick around the neighborhood and would even walk the kids to the bus stop. He would come when I called for him outside and sometimes he had a dead mouse or a bird as a present. 
When the dogs showed up, Owen was too old to adjust and the dogs were too young to understand he wasn't a toy to be chased. We had to keep them separated and so Owen permanently lived upstairs. We called him Anne Frank because he was trapped up there. He loved to sit on the stairs and stare at them to make them lose their minds. 
He did great for 17 years and then it all caught up to him. He started having trouble walking and it progressively got worse. Then he finally lost all control of his back legs and we knew it was time. We took him outside for one last afternoon and then Tim took him to the vets. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Long Life Well Lived

This is my father, Charles Henry DeGroot. 
He was born December 21, 1928. 
That was so long ago, there are only a few pictures of him and they all look like they were taken in the 1800's.  
I don't know how old he is here but all I see is Declan. 
He grew up and got a job at a grocery store where he met this girl, Noreen.
 I think the story is they were on a double date but with other people. They ended up together. He was an only child and she was one of ten kids. They had a bit of culture shock with each other. 
They had a big Catholic wedding in 1953. 
They lived in New Jersey with his mother in her house but they built a house in Maine as a place of their own. They immediately had 4 children back in the black & white photography days. 

 Then they accidentally had a 5th kid in the color photography days. 
They eventually were able to move to Maine in 1979 and then they ended up full time in their Rangeley house once their nest was empty. They were busy raising kids from 1954 to 1990ish. Charles and Noreen were married for 60 years. 
 He retired as a NJ firefighter and then from a Maine antique store. He had 9 grandchildren and 1 great grandson. 

His health problems started back in 1999 and probably would have taken down most people sooner. The man had an almost entirely artificial aorta. We called him the $6 Million Dollar Man.  He wanted to die at home in Rangeley but unfortunately, that just couldn't happen. He died on April 7th, 2014. His ashes are going back to Rangeley. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Patrick's Day 2014

Once again, it was just Declan and I going to the Portland St. Patrick's Day parade. For years its been just our tradition. Tim almost came with us this year but didn't in the end. It was very cold and blustery especially right next to the harbor but we stuck it out.
Declan Patrick Charles McMahon was very excited for the parade. Mostly excited for people to throw candy at him. 
 Once again, we vowed to someday own an Irish Wolfhound. We make this vow every year and it hasn't happened yet. I think Taco would just love it. This one in the parade isn't even full grown. 
 I love the bagpipes. I could listen to them for hours. I also love men in kilts. 
 That is Senator Mike Michaud there on the left. Declan started cheering very loudly for him when I told him he was running for Governor of Maine and had a very good chance of making the current embarrassment in office go away. 
The parade always ends with the Irish Step Dancers. There is a big school of Irish dancing here in Portland. I don't understand the need for the curly wigs or the gaudy outfits but its still fun to watch. 
The parade always goes by too fast and we got out of there in search of heat and hot chocolate. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

There is an indoor flea market on the road to my parent's nursing home. Every time I drive past it, I always say I'm going to stop. Yesterday, the whole family was with me when we went to visit and I mentioned I always wanted to stop there. For some reason, Grace really liked the idea of going there. I think she wanted to search for some vintage Pokemon stuff. Tim turned the car right around and we finally went inside. 
 I expected to see lunchboxes but I've never seen a Sigmund and the Sea Monster one! It had the thermos inside and everything. I put it back reluctantly. 
I didn't get this kitchen scale either but this one is really haunting me. If its there the next time I go, I'm going to have to get it. I have no use or space for it which means I totally have to have it.

Here is Declan placing a phone call to 1976. 
 The place was also full of old typewriters. They are the cool vintage thing to own and their prices reflect that. This one was $75 I think. I had been looking online for one for years but always refused to pay those prices. I really had given up owning one and then Tim mentioned there was one on the floor underneath a table. 
 That was when I finally found my typewriter. It was in its original carrying case and the price tag said $20! Nothing on it seemed broken. It basically looked like it has spent the last 30 years at the bottom of someones closet. It wasn't even dirty. 
 It looked like it was from the 50's and I love it. 
 It's the Smith Corona Silent Super. I looked it up online and its worth $100. 

Even the old ribbon still had some ink left in it. I've already ordered a new ribbon for it. Some genius on Etsy realized that everyone buying these would want the ribbons and they are actually making brand new typewriter ribbons and I'm expected it in the mail later this week.

When I took it out of the case, I discovered it still had its original tags on it. The only thing I'm missing is the instruction manual and I'm sure I can find that online. You forget what all those keys and levers do.. 
 Of course I couldn't leave the place without checking for any Royal Family stuff. Right after I found the typewriter, I found this candy tin. That's the Queen Mother and the stuttering King from The King's Speech. You might know them as Queen Elizabeth's parents. 

 Its from England and held Rum & Butter Toffees. 

 Apparently Their Majesties visited the area in 1939 and this candy tin was a souvenir. For $8, it was coming home with me to join my collection. 

 The best surprise of the day was when I went up to the cash register. The owner informed me that the typewriter was 40% off that day which made it only $12 and basically made the tin free. Tim was very excited that the receipt was on old print paper off a dot matrix printer. 
The kids have been playing with it for 2 days. They had a hard time understanding that you really had to pound on the keys to make them work and that there was no delete or spellcheck. I can't wait for my ribbon to arrive so I can type something. I might do something crazy like start writing letters again. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Favorite Things 2014

 I feel like I have mentioned this tray before but I'm not sure. Anyway, after watching so much Downton Abbey, I decided I needed an antique wooden tray. So, apparently, did the rest of the world because all the ones I found on EBay were crazy expensive. I went onto to Etsy and didn't have much more luck but I saw this metal tray. I don't know why but I had to have it. It lives on my desk and holds all the stuff I need to get to and deal with. 

 At the after Christmas sale at Joanne's Fabric, I discovered their porcelain cable knit collection. I immediately bought it all because I loved it and it was crazy discounted. The little churches even light up inside. I didn't pack them up with the other Christmas decorations because I think I can get away with them year round. 
 I'm not much of a mystery reader but I am a sucker for historic British girl mysteries. Right now I'm all about the Royal Spyness series and the Flavia de Luce series. Thanks to Half.com, I buy all of them for next to nothing. I just don't have any room for them on my shelves. 

 I swear I'm not going to be one of those crazy old ladies collecting little houses but I find these every time I go into Goodwill. I love these little British houses but I will hold back from getting too many. 

 One of my Christmas presents was this floor cleaner. The mop always seemed sort of a gross way to clean my floors. This thing cleans the kitchen floor and the hardwoods and sucks up the water right away so the floors are dry. You should see the grossness it collects. I saw this in a commercial and Tim says my eyes lit up like he had never seen. Those dogs track in a lot of gross stuff so I need this. 
I just bought myself a new phone case. I bought a pretty generic one when I upgraded my phone last year but I was never in love with it and it was getting worn and dirty. I've been obsessing over these British telephone booth ones on Etsy and I finally just bought myself one. I couldn't be happier with it.