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Home & Gardening

Regina personal blog

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring 2017 Plants, Indoor & Out...

Years ago [about 17 or so], my niece and I created the house plant arrangement discussed in this post. The arrangement has grown so much, this weekend I decided to transplant one of the plants to a separate planter.

My irises are a little late this year. I think it is because of the warm weather false start in our area earlier this year.

Other things I have been up to?

Hope my irises start blooming this week...


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016...

Christmas morning, I was showered and dressed by 6:00 am- and ready to prepare the dessert [chocolate cake] for the day. After everyone arrived, we opened gifts [around 11:00 am] and then had cake. Dinner was later.

It was a nice Christmas.

This morning, I went by the bank to deposit my gift money, because the banks were closed yesterday [December 26th- in observance of the holiday]. Other than that, I really did not get out much over the weekend.

I started reading Philip Roth's "Indignation" Friday night and though a short novel, read a bit each night and finished last night. I like period pieces like this and this was a very interesting read.

Closing out the year, I will work on my sites, look into filing my taxes, update the stores [see upper right sidebar] and work on the HanoverMD Businesses page on Facebook.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

thought it would never get here...

Seems like it took forever for December to arrive. Maybe I feel this way because this year, Thanksgiving fell so early in the month and I have completed my holiday shopping.

I think we are putting up the rest of the holiday decorations, the end of next week. Sister stopped by Sunday, with the Poinsettia.

Other things I have been up to:

Miscellaneous photos of things going on around here...

How are your plans shaping up?


Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving, Then and Now...

Yesterday morning [Thanksgiving], I was up and dressed by 7:00 am and the turkey was on by 7:30 am.

In years past, because my parents' home was the site of so many festive Thanksgiving gatherings, I try to provide photos of the events going on now. Does anyone remember my Mother's beautiful holiday trivets?

I like the quiet holiday we now enjoy. In the past, I always felt I simply stopped in to have dinner, greet visiting relatives and old friends, and then left. I may have returned over the holiday weekend for "extended family" shopping trips or leftover dinners, however really just a visitor.

Now, I am much more the event planner. Before, my career was very important to me-- and I went to an office everyday. I hosted very few parties in my own home. An office Thanksgiving party was also a big event, also planned by others [in this case, office staff].

This more to say, although Thanksgiving is now different-- it is not bad. I love working and now I combine work with holiday planning. In the past, holiday planning was done for me. Believe it or not-- I used to give my Mother money to purchase the holiday gifts I gave. Now I do all of that.

This morning, I had plans to be at Arundel Mills for the beginning of Black Friday shopping, for a Hanover MD, Businesses project. I cancelled when I realized the Mall opened yesterday at 6:00 pm and has been open ever since.

I am almost done with my holiday gift purchases. Later today, I will be wrapping more gifts. By the second week in December, I will finish all of my shopping and we will start putting up the decorations and tree.

This year, I want to get out and enjoy the season more, however have no definite plans. Are you still looking for gift ideas?

Today, I am working and having leftovers for lunch.

Sometimes, I simply cannot believe I make my own turkey and dressing with all of the trimmings...


Monday, October 31, 2016

October 2016

We have had a beautiful October. Peak Autumn color is all around.


I have been eyeing this jacket since I added it to my Career Dressing Category and when it went on sale earlier this month- I decided I had to have it.


It wears like a heavier jacket and I have found a number of items to pair it with. Also, if I lose weight-- because of the jacket's weight and belt, I will be able to wear it no matter my size [assuming I only lose weight]. When ordering online, I tend to like larger sizes.

Recent meals.... It is getting a little cooler and I am having more tea...


Are you a tea lover too? I added several gifts for tea lovers to the Gift Ideas Category. Our area [Arundel Mills], has a tea speciality shop, Teavana which also carries a lot of items.

More October photos...


This October, I have also done quite a bit of research for my stores. I think I have found some great ideas-- so see what you think:

Hope you have a safe and happy Halloween....


Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Cuisinart Knives...

The latest circular from Costco showed a set of Cuisinart knives that I decided I needed.

I had an eclectic mix of knives and sharpeners-- along with a complete set in the storage block next to the stove...

however, I always seemed to be looking for a clean knife to dice up vegetables, chicken, or fruit for stir fry or something else I thought to make.

I have had the knives since Wednesday [Oct. 19, 2016], and have to say-- "they are great".


Autumn is slowly making an appearance. For the past 3 or 4 days we have had 75-80 degree weather. That said-- a little "fall" is coming in...


What else?

  • Updating my Amazon Stores, see here, here and here.
  • New blog post on Tumblr.
  • Updated the profile image on the Facebook HanoverMD Biz Page.
  • Movies: "Spectre" [2015]. Later today: "By the Sea" w/Jolie & Pitt.
  • Set up DoubleClick for different areas of qisoftware.com. I may write an entry about this for Remix, later. Have you used DoubleClick for Publishers?

I did not get out as much as I wanted this week-- however, hope to reset and get going, next week.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hyper-Extended Knee? Not Sure How.

Last Thursday, while changing a light bulb in one of the lamps above the garage doors, I missed a step on the step-ladder and briefly lost my balance. I was also trying to avoid the hose caddy I left sitting right next to the ladder-- so when I stepped off [skipping the lower step] I saw the hose caddy and this caused more of a scare. Somehow I picked up the ladder in this balancing act-- and was finally able to gain control of both the ladder and me without harm- or so I thought.

Long story, short-- though I did not realize I strained my left knee during this balancing act-- I must have, because I have been hobbling around for the last 3 days. The pain did not start until several hours after the incident-- and that first night I was in excruciating pain. Almost impossible to walk without support. Today, is the first day-- the knee feels almost normal again.

Because of this, I have been either in front of a television or working on a computer for most of the weekend.

What have I been up to?

  • Updating my Amazon Stores- see here, here, and here.
  • Shown in the photo above-- the Washington Redskins game is on.
  • Movies: "Insomnia" and "Manglehorn" both w/ Al Pacino and "Joy" w/Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro.
  • Taking photos of my Fall Gardens... [see below].
  • Watching the new cub twin pandas at the Atlanta Zoo
  • Shopping for gifts. My mother's birthday is next month and of course, Christmas is coming. I always start researching this early in the season because [1] I order most things online and want to make sure I have time to return if I make a mistake and [2] I like researching for my Amazon Stores.

My Fall Blooms... [referenced above].


This year, I seem to think I need big ticket items and have added them to my Just Want category, however have added what I think are nice ideas [with lower price tags] under the Gift Ideas category. Are you spending big this holiday season?


Sunday, June 26, 2016

New Roof Installation

On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 the shingles for the new roof were delivered. Before that evening, I am not sure how I thought that worked, however was a bit surprised a crane was lifted a couple of times to get the tiles onto the roof.




The next day [Wednesday, June 22, 2016], workers arrived around 6:30 am to start work.


The workers were finished by 2:00 pm. Again, I was a little surprised in that the installation did not take longer.

This was a big check-mark off our to-do list, and we are happy with the results.


Sunday, June 05, 2016

Security Door Guard Installation...

For sometime, I have wanted to add more security to the front door. We had only a deadbolt and a regular door lock as installed by the builder when my parents purchased their new home in 1984.

Several years ago I stayed at a hotel which used Security Door Guards on the doors, so I decided this might be the right solution. Since my Mother was going to Lowes on Friday anyway, I asked her to pick one up- after first "sharing" the item via Amazon [had one in my cart, picture is worth a thousand words].

She returned with the brass version [for some reason I chose antique brass] shown in the final installation photos below. Cost about the same as that on Amazon.

It has been awhile since I have pulled out my drill and worked on projects around the house, however I did not think I would have any problems. Boy was I wrong.

I got out all of the tools I would need:

  • Marked all of the holes with a pencil-- 7 holes total.
  • Drill
  • Phillips Head Drill Bit
  • Level

After installing the left side of the guard without a hitch-- I was ready to start on the right. The first problem? I broke the screw shown on the right. How? The door is steel.

So I had to find drill bits that would allow me to make pilot holes. I thought we had some because my Father used to have a lot of things like that but I had no idea where. Right after my Father died, My Aunt Judy [Virginia Johnson] came to visit and she installed the peephole you see in the photo, of the door [above]. She used my Father's tools to do this.

I searched for awhile and finally find the two bits shown below. I searched on the internet for steel penetrating bits and found most were gold so I knew I was looking for gold bits.

The two sizes I found:

  • 1/8
  • 3/32

The lock guard package indicated I would need to drill 3/32 pilot holes so I thought I was good to go. Boy was I wrong.

Though I was able to drill a hole with the 3/32 drill bit-- the screws that came with the lock would only go in about 1/8 of the way. So then I thought I would try the larger bit [1/8]. Same problem. The screws that came with the lock would not screw in all the way.

Again Internet research saved the day.

I ended up using the larger bit and smaller brass screws we had around the house. [We keep lots of things like this]. I think the instructions are for wood doors and not steel doors, that said-- I did not need to drill pilot holes in the wood frame for the left side installation of the lock.

By the time I finished around 6:00 pm Friday evening, I was frazzled. I think I am just not used to doing things like this anymore. I used to hang curtains, art, cornice boards, etc., without the problems I had Friday-- but none of those earlier tasks involved a steel door.

FYI: I owned property in Bowie, MD and that is where I lived until February 1996. I moved to Hanover, MD at that time. In 1989 when my Father died, only my Mother and Sister lived at the home I now reside in. My sister moved- late 2005. Just my Mother and I now.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend- 2016

The sun is shining and I had an early lunch of leftovers because we cooked yesterday.


Also this weekend:

  • Movie: "The Intern" with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro
  • Movie: "The Last Days of Disco"
  • Earlier in the week; Movie: "21 Grams"
  • Movie: "All the King's Men"
  • The French Open.. Rainy in Paris.
  • Playing around with video production.
  • Paid the quarterly web hosting tab for qisoftware.com

I will probably go out later today. Hope you are having a nice weekend.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Mother's Day Projects

I ordered my Mother's gift ages ago, so this week I thought I would design a card using a photo I took late last month of one of her Azalea bushes. For some reason, I hate buying greeting cards.

In this case, I am using MS Publisher, however could have used iPhoto on my Macbook to create a similar card. These days, I use my Macbook only when absolutely necessary. My software development projects and Business Blog Remix are maintained on that system-- and I cannot afford to replace it at this time.

iPhoto comes with most versions of Apple's OSX operating system, whereas the MS Publisher version I am using shipped with my Professional Microsoft Office 2000 Suite software.

I am not sure if I am going to give her this card, however I think she will like her gift. I printed draft copies of the card to both color and black & white laser printers to see if everything is lining up and to ensure the accent colors match the photograph.

Also this week...

Bei Bei, makes me laugh...

What are you doing for Mother's Day? Washington, DC's Race for the Cure is also Sunday.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

How Are My Houseplants... 5/1/16

Last week I noticed a new leaf on my Banana Plant. I am so pleased about this because two years ago I replanted the tree in a larger container and since then, no new leaves have appeared.

In prior years, at least two new leaves appeared annually and I am hoping the new growth process will start again.

My niece and I created the arrangement shown below about 17 years ago. I keep thinking it is getting too large for the ceramic planter, however I like knowing it is just as we started it.

When I purchased the Peace Lily shown in the photo on the right, I did not know they're commonly used at funerals-- nevertheless I think they are wonderful houseplants.

Other things I have been up to...

  • Movie: "The Parallax View" w/Warren Beatty
  • Tennis: Early round coverage Madrid Open
  • Updating my Amazon Stores:
  • Acquiring new memory for my Windows XP Desktop-- opened the box to see the current configuration. Added memory in March 2010 but forget the remaining number of slots. Took a photo this time.
  • Researching web hosting issues.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Expecting Changes

So far this Spring, we have had more delightful weather than not. Photos of the house and yard- taken over the last two weeks or so.

I have not been getting as much done as I would like, however I am staying busy. Out and about in Hanover yesterday. A little yard work. Researching several legal issues...

Anyway, do you shop Costco? I love Costco brands, especially Kirkland Chocolate Covered Raisins.

I also love those SkinnyCow Ice Cream Sandwiches.

I cleaned the grill last week so maybe I will do a little grilling later this week.

I am expecting a slight change to my situation in the near future, and think that is why I am a little hesitant about taking on new projects. Until the change is actually a tangible- my plans are more thoughtful, rather than anything else. Nevertheless, I am researching various options based on this expected change.

This sounds a little mysterious I know. It really is not.. It simply explains why I have been sitting around thinking about my options in more detail and not getting a lot done.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beautiful Weather Here...

Ordered my Mother's gift for Mother's Day last week and the package arrived yesterday.

Included in the package was a USB stereo adapter I wanted for my Netbook because the onboard system connectors are a little unstable. I think something is loose, however thought I might have done more damage if I opened the case to investigate.

This seemed like a great idea-- and yes I was right. The gadget worked straight out of the box. My 2010 Acer Netbook does not support Bluetooth.

The weather is great... I have been sitting near the open back door, working and listening to music.

Other things I have been up to...

  • Added a great video capture utility [AZScreen Recorder] to my tablet. [see video below]
  • Potted the Marigolds in various outdoor planters.
  • Movie: Cinderella w/Cate Blanchett
  • Movie: Lilith w/Warren Beatty

Still looking for Mother's Day gift ideas?

National Zoo's Cam a little fuzzy when I grabbed this video..

Hope you are having a nice weekend.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sleep Makes Me Happy

It was mostly an uneventful week. A lot of tennis [watching], more sleep than in recent weeks and several items I ordered arrived - including the watch shown in the second set of photos for this post. I originally purchased the watch as a gift-- but decided to keep it for myself. I am almost ashamed of the great deal I got on the watch and think I can pair it with a lot of things in my closet.

Sometimes I just take photos of things I am eating. Lunch one day last week and snacks over the course of the week.

Last week, I was really pleased to find a new setting for my Canon PowerShot A590 [I've only had it since 2008] which allows me to record video using vivid color. After a video I shot and loaded to my Facebook account in February showing the effects of a recent wind/snow storm- I looked into getting a new video camera.

The short video I posted was almost black and white. I used the wrong setting. I have decided I do not need a new video camera just yet.

I am so pleased with how sharp the video- produced by my camera, I have been playing around with AVI video conversions to MP4 and WEBM formats for use with HTML5. AVI the format my camera uses to record video.

In recent weeks, including the week before last, I appear so tired in the photos, I was a little worried. Last week I did get more sleep. Photos taken over the week showing a less tired me. Why post? Documentation. I no longer post the seemingly endless news about why this happened-- only the effects it is still having on me.

Normally, I do my hair and makeup everyday. For some reason, I got busy doing something else and stayed in my PJs with my hair up all day. I'll get back to normal tomorrow.

Some family going out of town for Easter so it will be a quiet holiday here.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring is on the way....

Did you set your clocks an hour later before going to bed last night? This task was mine this morning. This included the Grandfather clock that has to be set counter-clockwise, i.e., move the big hand back eleven hours.

This week provided a preview of Spring-like weather which I was very pleased about. So was Bei Bei, the Panda Cub at the National Zoo. Of course, this would be his first experience to climb a tree in Spring. And boy did he climb.

Spring emerging around here...

Issues that came up last week?

In 2012, because I felt there was an ongoing full investigation into my affairs, including my business- I removed instructions that blocked a lot of IPs from accessing qisoftware.com. Why would anyone do anything malicious while the FBI and DOJ were on the case?

The IPs that were being blocked through early 2012, according to my domain stats- were initiating a lot of bots that caused too much "false traffic".

Yesterday [Saturday], I discovered that one of my cgi programs was being exploited, so I installed the instructions that blocked the set of IPs causing the new problem along with the earlier instructions for IPs I was blocking through early 2012.

This should not cause a problem for most, however if you are experiencing issues accessing qisoftware.com from different locations-- this is offered in explanation.

How malicious was this? Unbeknownst to me-- the problem started in late February 2016 and used up over a 100MB of disc space. Internal emails to the domain account, which are not sent--explaining a quota problem. FBI-- you are there right? Yes, this problem was mine-- however this was too malicious and in "your" face, too. And, I solved this problem long ago... What are we investigating, now?

In other news, we are having a spring shower today.

This week I also watched "Babel" via FiOS' onDemand and several tennis matches.

You may have noticed, I post more infrequently now, so I tend to discuss often unrelated topics in my weekly posts. I have always blogged as if I were writing an online diary so this is really no different, just less often.


Monday, March 07, 2016

Still Hanging In There

Last week was kind of odd. Little things that were out of the ordinary, however nothing I am going to discuss here.

Things I will discuss?

Thursday morning, I woke up to a beautiful snowy day, that was made even more so, in that all of the snow had melted by noon. This is not odd in our area for this time of the year.

Friday night, I was home alone so I decided to try on sweaters and coats I have not had a chance to wear this winter. Yes, in the photo I purposely poofed up my hair to create a look similar to something I saw earlier in the day, while perusing fashion sites.

The series of photos [above], taken through the weekend and today.

In late February [2016], a regularly scheduled business expense was due, which for the first two months of the year sidelined other purchases I wanted to make. The remittance of the payment last week, to my credit card company, enabled me to feel comfortable about replacing somethings I needed.

I ordered 8 items on Saturday, and much to my surprise the first package arrived today. Shown in the group of photos above, the package that arrived today.

Plans for the rest of the week? Two Masters Tennis Tournaments are upcoming. Indian Wells starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday after next. The Miami Tournament starts the Wednesday after the end of Indian Wells.

I am not sure why these two tournaments are scheduled so closely together, however I plan on catching a lot of the action. WatchESPN and The TennisChannel are providing a lot of the live coverage.

Also tomorrow evening, I want to catch the 2006 movie "Babel" with Brad Pitt. It is airing on Showtime.

I am not getting out as much as I would like, so I provide details of what I am doing... and how it's hanging. This week, I thought I was going to cut back insofar as eating, however my Mother went to the market today, and purchased a lot of my favorites.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Amazon Home Services

Last Friday, for the first time- I noticed an Amazon Service Truck in my neighborhood.

A little research provided the answer for this. Amazon now offers Home Services for customer purchases. I am not sure how long they have offered these services, however I love this idea.

Some of the items I list in my stores are big ticket items and in most cases need to be put together or installed after delivery.

One of my Amazon purchases [not listed], an elliptical- took about 3-4 hours to put together and required two people to line up the rather heavy fly-wheel.

My mother and I, though handy with a screw-driver really would prefer someone else do it. This option [Amazon Home Services], given Amazon is one of our favorite online shopping destinations is perfect for us.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Bowie/Basement Home Offices

Though I seldom work in the basement these days, I do have an office down there, too.

The Gateway Desktop, now in my bedroom used to be down there, along with my exercise equipment.

Mobile computing gives me the flexibility to work from anywhere in the house. The Verizon FiOS router located in my upstairs office provides coverage all over the house, yard and halfway down the block. This the reason I seldom work in the basement.

That said, before coming here-- the home office I set up in my Bowie place was in the spare bedroom. I had the huge black desk shown in the photo above. I purchased the place new and as it was my first real estate purchase, I was into decorative details.

I still have the computer chair I used in my Bowie Home Office. The other [left in photo below], is the chair I purchased when I moved here. I used to keep the larger chair in the basement-- however have since, moved it to the upstairs office.

I also kept the love seat from the first set of living room furniture I purchased when I moved away from home after college. I covered the love seat with a black cover I purchased from Ikea for the new home office in Bowie. The office was mostly black with dusty rose accents-- to match the carpet. Some of the art work that used to hang in my Bowie home office.

This artwork now hangs in the bedroom in the basement. Nothing here tea rose. Not sure why I keep things like this. Maybe to remind me of life before I came here.

Notable this past week? Caught two movies I thought very interesting.

  • Movie: Weight of Water w/Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley
  • Movie: The House of Flying Daggers [romance story like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon].
  • Updated the Amazon Widget in the upper sidebar of this blog.

Two or three weeks ago, I started watching Showtime's new series, Billions. Are you watching this series? The US Attorneys portrayed in the series had me a little worried... however, I am still watching.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snowed In...

A week ago, the National Weather Service predicted the Washington, D.C. area, along with most of the East Coast of the United States-- would be under a Blizzard Storm Watch by Friday, January 22, 2016. They were right.

It is beautiful, however I am glad I do not have to be anywhere- anytime soon.

It is also very cold, so I am not sure how long it is going to take to melt.

We installed an Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer several years ago. The outdoor sensor is under the porch overhang and the companion device that measures indoor temps and reports both readings, sits on the wall adjacent to the front door and hall closet.

Pay no attention to the time reading, I reset the device last week and forgot to set the time.

In preparation for the blizzard, we stocked the fridge, freezer and pantry with an assortment of my favorites.

So what have I been doing for most of the weekend?

By the way, did I tell you that last week, when I updated the Verizon FiOS Mobile app on my Android, the problem I was having viewing television programs disappeared? I watched "The Imitation Game" using my Android. I am happy this feature is working again.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Holiday Tree 2015, Meals...

I have been cooking more since Thanksgiving. Last week I made pork chops, candied yams, macaroni and cheese and cornbread for lunch on Monday and had leftovers Tuesday and Wednesday.


I am also planning meals for Christmas, the days following and New Years Day.One of the desserts we will be trying, this Chocolate Layer Cake, [Update: 12.20.15 I had no success with this recipe]. I have most of the recipe's ingredients on hand, however needed to get baking chocolate and cocoa.


I also need Buttermilk, something else I do not keep on hand. In addition to planning meals, our holiday decorations went up this week.


Sometime ago, I noticed a television ad featuring a Balsam Hill Blue Spruce. I thought it so nice, I added the tree to the Gift Ideas Amazon Store. Need more ideas? [Amazon Holiday Ordering and Return Deadlines [U.S.]]


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Holiday decorating, tight squeeze this year...

Have you started decorating for the holidays? I wish, I could say "I have". The other day, I rode past the house shown below, and thought I really should get started on our decorations. New piece of furniture in the living room since last December, causing a minor issue.



So today, I got started and quickly found something else to do...


That said, I have most of my gifts wrapped and ready to go under the tree when it finally goes up. Right now, the gifts are stored in the guest bedroom.


Earlier this evening, I went out to see what others were doing insofar as holiday decorations and happy to report I am not alone in this procrastination.

I also went by the outdoor garden center in Jessup, MD on RT 175, just past the BW Parkway Exits and found several shoppers getting their trees.


What else have I been up to?

  • Paying bills:
    • Quarterly bill for qisoftware.com web hosting.
    • Credit card bill for holiday gifts.
    • Cell phone bill.
  • Out and about, including Arundel Mills Mall Thursday afternoon. Went by I & N Jewelers to get a battery for one of my watches I could not get open. They did it without a problem...
  • In search of more gift ideas.

Still looking for last minute gifts like me? See some of my ideas:

Next week I will tackle the decorations... and holiday meal planning. I think I am going to try this cake.




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