Odds and Ends Archives

October 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Teddy Roosevelt


Today is Teddy Roosevelt's 148th birthday. He was one of our most beloved presidents and for good reason. During his eight years in office, he acted against monopolies that dominated business, industry and politics; was a great conservationist and acquired western lands for our public parks; initiated construction for the Panama Canal; won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his efforts to end the Russo-Japanese war; and finally, was responsible, an a roundabout way, for your Teddy Bear.

While Teddy Roosevelt was hunting in Mississippi in 1905, he just wasn't having a successful hunt and wasn't getting any animals. Fearing his disappointment, some of his aids managed to catch a young bear cub and tie it to a tree so he could "bag himself a bare" (hmmmm...maybe that was Davy Crockett). Well, anyway, Teddy drew the line at that and let the bear go. Shortly after, a cartoon depicting the event appeared in the Washington Post.


A toy maker in New York City heard the story and asked his wife, who was handy with a sewing machine, to make stuffed bears to sell. They were popular so the toymaker wrote to President Roosevelt for permission to use his name. The rest is history, as they say.

So....think of Teddy Roosevelt today and what he gave us..........




(Oh give me a home...)


hug your Teddy Bear..........


(or in the case of Julie and me....take him with you on a trip).


(Teddy Roosevelt would be proud!)

Happy Birthday, Mr. President, and thank you.

October 29, 2006

Christmas Before Halloween?'s not even Halloween and yet my Christmas Cactus plants are in full bloom. What's up with that? Oh, well. Might as well enjoy.


November 15, 2006

The Real Story


Remember my "Mother of the Year" blog back in October? Well, I hate to admit it but, along with millions of other people on the web, I was snookered. While the photos were real (and I guess that's what we all liked looking at anyway), the story was fiction. I usually check out emails like the one I go before sending them to others. In this case, I didn't. Sorry. If you are interested, check out the real story on The website is below.

January 22, 2007

Connecticut Blues

Hey, Florida's not the only state with the "blues." Connecticut has its fair share,, watch out Sunshine State. Here they come . (Don't get jealous now, Heather.)

We've got blue fish, too...

and blue water that, as you can see, lots of people are enjoying...

People love the color blue for their clothing up here....

Popular color in class...

stunning in all shades....

It is popular on the playground...

on the basketball court (that boy in black wishes he had a blue jacket) ...

and in the playhouse (don't bother looking at that hot pink; check out the cool blue)

Our blue hats are popular with polar bears (top that one)...

and our dragons like to lie on a field of blue (betcha you don't have them either)...

Even watercolor students like working with blues...

You can't deny that snow looks much better against a blue background...

Ahhhh, cool blues......

In fact blue is so popular in CT, even our vacuum cleaners are blue!

And check out this hot little number!

And our school sign...what color did we choose to do it in....yep, blue. It stands out so well against the grey sky.

Yes, eat your heart out....we have our own Connecticut blues. The only picture I have yet to show you is our beautiful blue Connecticut sky.......which I'll send to you in 5 days, when we see it.

March 18, 2007

What I Did During My Spring Vacation

After getting over my jealousy regarding all the warm places my third grade students were traveling to this March (Hawaii, Bahamas, Florida, Nevis), I decided to try and be productive.

Several years ago I found a chair tossed out at the dump. It was old, in horrible shape, and covered in ugly green fabric that was worn through in spots but there was something I liked about it (besides the price). So I took it. It's been living in the basement for years. In fact I think I planned to recover it for one of the kids while they were at college. Well that didn't happen but several months ago when I noticed the overstuffed arm chair in Patrick's apartment had a broken arm, I thought, "Ah ha!"

And so, having to babysit Lady and knowing that snow was coming, what better thing to do than stay inside and upholster a chair? (Well, Nevis would have been nice.)

I wish I had taken a photo of the whole chair before starting. It would have helped me with some of the details I forgot. I did take some of areas where I thought I'd need reminders.

Outside side view

Inside view

Worn out

Taking it apart

Inside it was a little more complicated than chairs I had done before.

And the chair was old.

Again, I wish I had taken photos of the chair stripped down but had no intentions of doing a blog on it. Once stripped down I had to reweb the bottom. I decided the springs were in ok shape. They probably could have been a little tighter but not having experience with tieing them, I decided to leave them alone. (This is called avoidance.)

I was able to keep some of the insides also, specifically the stuffing on the arms and the inside back.

I did the deck, then one of the inside arms and then the back. I forgot that I should have done both inside arms before the back and this kept me from getting the back really tight later on the right side.

Putting on the outside arms is always fun as the chair begins to look like something.

I worked on the chair on the ping pong table so I wouldn't have to bend over and kill my back.



Then moved it to the floor to finish sewing the cording to the fabric. I didn't want to make my own welting so bought some decorative cording. This resulted in having to go to three stores to find enough for the chair. Ugh. Here are some close-ups of the trim.


Hmm...I see a little something to correct.

Voila, the finished product...except for the cushion which I've discovered has disintegrated due to age, so off to the store again to buy a new cushion.



Watch for the final photo in a few days.

March 23, 2007

Planet Earth, Discovery Channel, 8 pm, March 25

If you haven’t heard about it by now, I’m here to urge you to watch Planet Earth, an 11-part series about this gorgeous planet, which airs on Discovery 8 pm Eastern and Pacific Time (check your local listings). I know I sound like a commercial but this promises to be spectacular. Four years in the filming all over the world to view our animals as we’ve never seen them before. 204 locations shoots in 62 countries, capturing rare shots of animals, habitats, and unique geographic perspectives above, under and on the planet’s surface.

For the USA article on March 22 go to

Please tell your friends. My ulterior motive? We have got to get serious about protecting this astonishing world of ours. Hopefully this will help us all to get on board.

August 9, 2007

Trust Your Gut

Why don't I follow my own advice? I tell my third graders to do this all the time when it comes to taking a risk in class or having to answer a question on a quiz. So what was I thinking last month?

On the second to last day in Idaho, while on the river, I slipped on some slick rocks in the Middle Fork. I reached for a line on the raft to break my fall. It didn't, and as I continued on down into the water, my wrist got bent backwards and I heard a crackle (clue 1). "Ouch!" and "Damn!" I thought. Then, not wanting to make a big deal about it, was helped up by Tony and got back into the raft. There was a moment when I felt that hot rush that leads to a fainting spell and I remember wondering if I would have such a feeling for a mere sprain (clue 2). Guide, Guy, and Tim Flaherty who's an EMT, immobilzed my hand when I got to camp and though uncomfortable, I made it home and went to our local clinic on Sunday.

And here's perhaps where I should have been more insistent. The clinic took x-rays but only two and I thought they missed an angle that might have shown the affected area better. I did not say anything. As weeks went on and the discomfort didn't seem to diminish (daily clues), I didn't listen to my gut and go back to the doctor. Because the clinic told me it was a sprain and that I should use it to the extent that I could, I did. Not a good idea and while I wasn't stupid enough to overdo it, I'm sure that didn't help the mending process.

This week, almost four weeks after my fall, I went to the doctor to discover my wrist had indeed been broken. And so I'm in a brace since it's too late to cast it now. And I'm still having to put up with the discomfort (buy stock in Advil).

What did I learn? My gut was right. Next time, I'm going to be more outspoken.

Thank you Guy and Tim for taking care of the "sore paw."

August 21, 2007

Last Days of Summer

As summer marches on and I continue to avoid thinking about school, here at Thirsty Boots, I'm squeezing out every last bit of fun.

John and I took a couple of days and went to Cape Cod to visit Joan McDermott who spoiled us. It was a great visit.

The horses took advantage of an early fall-like day to soak up the sun.

Alex Nagy and Rhodes Ponser came up with Patrick for the Thirsty Boots party. The flamingo looks lovely, Rhodes!

And I enjoyed a visit from my 3 favorite great-nieces and their mom, Marnie.'s the end of August. Two weeks of summer left. It's been a great far! Still have a few days left!

September 22, 2007

Two Months Later

Who would have thought that two months later the hand would look the same?

July 15

September 22

A simple slip on some river rocks in Idaho resulted in a broken arm in July. Unfortunately my local clinic told me I had only sprained it so I walked around for four weeks until a hand doctor informed me differently. It was too late for a cast at that point. Then more bad luck as a week later the thumb tendon ruptured from rubbing back and forth over the break or mendng scar tissue. I could no longer lift my thmb and I quickly learned how valuable that digit is. Yep, it was the old lesson of "You don't realize how important something is until you lose it."

Yesterday I had surgery to replace the damaged tendon and voila!... back to bulky bandages.

An unfortnate series of events, yes, but when I think and look back at the photos of our was worth it.



October 12, 2007

When Things HIt Home

We've been living with the Irag War far too long and the continued chaos over there discourages and doesn't sit well with most Americans. The war has finally reached out it's dark arm to steal from the small community of Killingworth. It has taken it's 25-year-old son, and foster son of Jon and Kathy Miller, Jason Lantieri. Jason Lantieri, a kid with normal ups and downs and a My Space page. The war touches us all.

February 13, 2008

Why I Love My Job

February 12 was Abraham Lincoln's birthday and to celebrate, the third graders made these log cabins out of chocolate frosting, pretzels, graham crackers and wheat thins (thank you, Martha Stewart). And, I might add, that licking our fingers and "doing away with" the chocolate frosting was fun, too!



P.s. The foundation for the structure? An orange juice container!

February 24, 2008


Last week, John, Julie, Dave and I attended a fund-raiser for BRAYCE, an organization that brings underprivileged young people already in established programs in Rio de Janeiro to Camp Hazen in Connecticut, where they enhance their life and leadership skills before returning to apply them on projects in their own communities. We had a blast dancing the samba but the requirement of a mask was the fun part.

Terry Schreiber had a dinner ahead of time. I had great expectations of wearing a glamorous mask, like my two friends, but of course saw this chicken mask and had to have it.

Marion, Helen and yours truly

Mary Devins and John

Kathy, Jeff and Mary

then it was on to the party. Julie and Dave made their masks. Julie's was gorgeous! Dave's was spooky as you couldn't tell if he was smiling or scowling. And after several photos, I finally realized I did not have to smile for the camera!


January 22, 2009

One Minute of Happiness

I couldn't help it. I had to download this so I could play it whenever I feel gloomy.

October 18, 2009

An Old Lyme Gem

We are 20 minutes from Old Lyme, a quiet, unassuming town on the Connecticut shoreline. Old Lyme harbors several little surprises, one of which is the Florence Griswold Museum. Who was Florence Griswold? The internet tells us:

Florence Griswold (generally called Miss Florence) herself was born in 1850 to an established Old Lyme, Connecticut family. Her father was a ship captain when Old Lyme was a New England hub of shipbuilding and seafaring trade. The Griswolds owned a 12 acre estate and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, until the United States experienced economic changes and the shifting of commerce toward more modern forms of transport. To make ends meet, the Griswold home was at first used as a school and then a boardinghouse, with Miss Florence eventually being the only member of her family left to run the roost.

A visit from artist Henry Ward Ranger in 1899 brought new energy and life to the Griswold house. Ranger was searching for a spot to cultivate a new school of natural and landscape painting that would establish American artists on an equal footing with their European counterparts — and he found it at Old Lyme. Other painters like Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf and Matilda Browne (to name just a few) joined the group, which ultimately became known as the Lyme Art Colony. Old Lyme’s beautiful surroundings, the lively presence of the artists, and Miss Florence’s total devotion to her guests and their work proved to be a wonderful combination and the colony thrived into the 1920s.

Now her home is little treasure and a museum that houses American impressionist art. Presently (for the month of October 2009) they are exhibiting the Wee Faerie Village and Julie and I went to check it out. We were captivated.

Here are just some of the Faerie residences that local artists created for the special exhibit:
















This one had a water wheel.


You have to look closely here.


These photos don't do the "wee" houses justice. They are worth a visit to Old Lyme.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to in the Odds and Ends category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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