Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Music

I always love hearing Christmas music. At least I thought that I did until today. This morning I got in my car to take my finished quilt top over to the local quilt shop and turned on the radio like I always do. There are at least three stations in my pre-programmed twenty channels that are playing Christmas music full time and have been since at least November 12th. Two of the stations made all the local news broadcasts around that time about how they started the Christmas music broadcasts earlier than in previous years. I've even activated all the Christmas music in my ITunes to play on my Ipod. As I sat driving over to Grafton this morning I realized, "I am sick of Christmas music. Even the Vince Guaraldi Trio's 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'." These thoughts left me feeling like Scrooge. How could I be sick of Christmas music with ten days to go before Christmas? How is this possible? Glumly I decided that it must have been listening to the music so early before Thanksgiving.

While I realize it's a little over two weeks away, I am making a New Years' resolution. In 2008, I will not listen to any Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving. And if necessary, I'll change my car radio pre-sets to something else like Talk Radio or a Sports Talk Radio, so I'm not tempted by the sound of sleigh bells too early!

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2007

72 Hours of Insanity, More Commonly Known as My Life As I Know It

I knew before the weekend started it would be crazy. No, I wasn't going to any Black Friday sales (see previous rant). Friday night we had plans to take J to his first rock 'n' roll concert. We took him into Boston to the Orpheum Theatre to see the Brian Setzer Orchestra. We planned on going in early to have dinner at Fajitas & Ritas. Good plan until we got in, parked and realized we couldn't find the restaurant. This restaurant is on the cusp of the Downtown Crossing shopping area. The same area that night that was having their tree lighting ceremony with a chorus of angelic children singing their little hearts out before Santa arrived. Luckily the Gods were smiling down upon us when we accidentally found the restaurant. No sooner were we seated and placed our drink order when the giant influx of cold, tree lighting observers came FLOODING in. Yay us, we got a table! After filling ourselves with nice hot food we headed to the Orpheum. Now even though it's not the greatest sounding venue, it is by far my favorite place to see a show. It's small with red velvet seats, gilded relief images, a balcony and box seats. It was a great place to see the BSO and we all had a rockin' good time! Saturday morning despite being tired, J & I went to my high school alma mater, Algonquin Regional High School for a tour of the improved school. The National Honor Society student who took us around was very sweet and indulged me in "When I was here, this corridor was the ...... department." I ran into classmates on the tour, including some of my fellow reunion committee members. But I ran into one fellow who I used to be sweet on in eighth grade. Little did I know then that he was gay. He's a love of a guy and he gave me the biggest hug, shook J's hand and said he couldn't wait for the reunion that evening. Saturday afternoon afforded us nap time. Knowing J would be sleeping over at Mum's house, I figured it would be best to have him rested from his wild concert exertions the night before. Right, 4PM, drop him off at Mum & Dad's. Now it's time to get beautiful and look like a grown-up. I had touched up my hair colors after we got back from the tour of The Reeg. So now it was time for spackle, paint and a fun dress with my (bitch) boots. The reunion was a blast. Here it is 2 days later and I still have the sore, swollen feet and knees to prove it. We danced, partied, nibbled bad appetizers and drank extremely watered down drinks but it was great. I saw friends that I hadn't seen in years.

Me, Kimmy and Joe dancing with the crowd!

But what truly touched my heart was a woman who came up to me and said "Hi Jenn. Do you remember me?" I looked into the hopeful face knowing that we'd met before, but my brain failed me when it came to saying, "Of course I do! How are you........?" Instead I pleaded insanity and said I knew the face, but my brain was addled by the warmth of the room and the alcohol. She said, "I'm Rhonda from elementary school. I am so glad that you are here tonight because I've been wanting to say something to you for some time now." Now that's the sort of lead in that you can take one of two ways. One is "Really?" The second is, "Where's the nearest exit and do I have room to defend myself should this get ugly quickly." It turns out that we were in kindergarten together. She had not originally been on the beginning of the school year bus route, but was added in later on. We were sitting together on the bus and the bus driver apparently had forgotten her stop. She was so painfully shy (by her own admission) that she was afraid to go tell the driver and she begged me with tears running down her face to go say something to the driver. And I did. Then I went back to my seat and held her hand to tell her it would be all right. She says growing up she always thought I was a nice person, but it wasn't until she became a mother to a very shy girl herself that she fully appreciated what I had done for her. As she told me all this, my eyes filled with tears and I got a lump in my throat. Heck I'll admit that as I sit here typing this, it's hard to read the screen for the tears that I've got in my eyes. Rhonda gave me a kiss and a hug and thanked me for being such a sweet person who cares about others. That will stay with me for a long time. As will the sore knees and feet from four hours of dancing like a maniac.

Me & My Sweetie

Sunday was a quiet day. Mum & Dad brought J home just after 9:30 AM. He had a wonderful sleep over at their house. He was good as gold and had 10 mini pancakes with 4 slices of bacon for his breakfast. The night before he tried 3 new foods and declared them all delicious. The one real downer of the day, I woke up with a migraine. Never a good thing to wake up with one. Those are the ones that I can barely bring under control, if at all. Steven on the other hand he was starting to feel achey and cold. We were both among the walking wounded. I did manage to go out to the market and pick up a few things, but that exhausted me to no end. So much so, that despite the fact that the Patriots were on, I went to bed around 10PM. I was vaguely aware of Steven coming to bed, but more aware of him tossing and turning than anything. Finally at 2:00 AM he woke me up because he wasn't feeling right. He said that his neck was real stiff and that he felt like something was wrong. Not, "Call 911" wrong, but just wrong. So we wake up J and the three of us head to the emergency room. We spent a little under four hours there with labs and a CT scan to show that he probably has a virus, but because his right ear had been aching for nearly 2 weeks, here are some antibiotics just to cover the bases. We got home this morning at almost 6:30 AM. Oy vey. We all went back to bed with J lobbying to go to school late--yeah, like that was going to happen after missing the last three days of school before Thanksgiving. I set the alarm and got him up later than normal and knowing it would be a tough sell to go to school on time, had stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a box of Munchkins to have for breakfast since he had been so good at the hospital all night long. Got him off to school, got Steven's prescription filled, bought some yogurt to keep his stomach settled and went home to crash for three hours. This is my life. It's insane. It's fun. It's touching. And it's filled with wonderful people. I am truly blessed!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Insanity of Black Friday

I just don't understand why people would want to line up in the middle of the night in the name of a bargain. I'm all for saving a few bucks, but people seem to be losing their bloody minds over this stuff. Yes, the economy isn't great and rising gas prices are eating into people's disposable income, but is that reason enough to forget decorum, manners and a good night's sleep? Not in my mind.

Monday, November 19, 2007

They Still Got It After All These Years

Even after all these years Duran Duran still has it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Holidays Are Upon Us

The last few years I've let the holidays overwhelm me. This year I went back to my "old" ways and started my Christmas shopping early. My shopping is nearly done and it's less than a week before Thanksgiving. What I haven't bought yet, I've at least planned out and that makes me feel good.

Thanksgiving will be low-key this year with Steve's family celebrating it in Florida. But with my 20th high school reunion that weekend, we're staying put. Plus we're taking J to his first "real" concert next week, the Brian Setzer Orchestra. They are a band I've wanted to see for over 10 years and for one reason or another, I've not been able to. J has loved their music since he was a toddler. I can't wait to see his face when we get to the venue next week.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Am The Empress

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents, beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fifteen Years

For the last fifteen years, I've woken up next to my best friend every morning (okay, almost every morning). I have rented to own a clue with him. I've gripped his hand so tightly when we take off and land in an airplane that I've thought one of us would have broken bones by the end of the trip. I've cried on his shoulder. I've laughed so hard that I've snarfed, sometimes multiple times to the point of startling small animals and children. I've melted countless times when he's walking towards me with "that smile" that turns my knees to rubber.

For the last fifteen years, I've been married to my soulmate. I love you Steven.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Creature of Habit

I will be the first person to admit that I am a creature of habit. I like routine. And I loathe not having one that I can settle into. It took almost three weeks to settle into a back to school routine. And that makes for a very cranky me when life is like that. Now I'm not such a Pollyana to think that every day has to be a carbon copy of the previous day, but it's been a long road getting settled down.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Second Grade

J is in the middle of his first day of second grade today. I walked him into school to have a quick word with his teacher this morning. It's been fun to see kids from his kindergarten class and see how much they've changed since then. J is anxious about second grade and whether or not he'll be able to keep up. He struggles with reading and writing, yet he's a math & science whiz. But those problems undermine his confidence in himself and that is what breaks my heart. He was a little disappointed to find out that there is no gym class on Tuesdays anymore. I think he was hoping to start the school year off in his favorite subject.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do You Hear That?

It's the sound of complete & utter silence--except for the cicadas doing whatever it is they are doing. J is in Boston with Grammy & Grampy today and currently is on a Boston Duck Tour boat. I am really looking forward to school next Tuesday. But more so, I'm looking forward to the peace that will envelope my home for six hours a day.

I've got my list of things that I want to do once school starts. Some here, some outside the house. It will be nice to come and go as I want. Go check out the new age store when the spirits prod me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's No Mystery

It really is no mystery to me as to why I am such a mystery novel junkie. This is the book that started it all. There used to be a book store in Westboro called The Book Corner. It was not unusual to go there on a weekend with Mum & Dad. It was a small bookstore and back in the day, you could let a small child wander the store without fear of predators. Naturally I always went to the kids section first. In June 1977, Dad mentioned that these Nancy Drew books had been around when he was a kid and that he thought that some of his sisters had read some of them. I was intrigued. So on that fateful day a little over thirty years ago, my parents bought me my first mystery novel. I loved those books. I devoured the book, figuring out from the clues what the mystery was all about. It took me a few years, but I went through the whole series.

As I got older, I continued to read some mystery books, but mostly fiction. Then the school years dictated what kinds of books I read for reports.

During the last couple of years I found myself wanting to read something that I could use my brain on. The mystery section called to me in the local Borders. First I found a series by Monica Ferris set in a needlework shop called Crewel World. It is a fabulous series with a wonderful cast of characters. Now I'm to the point that when something bad happens to a beloved character I'm shouting to the book, "Oh no Betsy!" or "Poor Goddy." Since discovering that series, I also found a few other series, the tea shop series by Laura Childs, as well as her scrapbooking series, and the Mrs. Malory mysteries set in a small English village by Hazel Holt.

This past spring I found myself at a terrible crossroads. I had read all my beloved characters stories. Often I look on Amazon to see if one of my favorites has something on the horizon, but back in the spring after reading Laura Childs' Dragonwell Dead, nothing new would be coming out until the autumn. Sigh.

This meant either not reading or finding some new authors. Not reading was not an option for me. My cousin had given me a few Diane Mott Davidson books when her library had thinned out their collection. So I started with the first one, Catering to Nobody and really liked it. I would visit Borders and start at the beginning of the mystery section pulling books off the shelf and reading the first few pages. Either they would grab my attention or they wouldn't. This summer I've discovered some wonderful new (to me) authors Madolyn Alt, Kate Kingsbury, India Ink, Ann Purser and
M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin series, not Hamish MacBeth--he doesn't do it for me).

Now I start haunting not only Borders, but the local used bookstores for the titles in the series. The Annie's Book Stop in Marlboro has one of the best mystery sections around. One day I hit a treasure trove of 3 Aggie's, 4 of the Kate Kingsbury books in both the Pennyfoot Hotel as well as the Manor House series, and an Ann Purser.

It's no mystery to me why these books make me happy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rest In Peace Merv

Merv Griffin
July 6, 1925 - August 12, 2007

When I was a little girl, the first house we lived in was a Cape-style house. What was supposed to be a dining room was my playroom until I was old enough to have a playroom in the finished basement. The living room, like the dining room, was in the front of the house to the left of the stairway, the dining room to the right. Mum would have the television on throughout the day, but for the most part, I wasn't allowed to watch anything but the occasional cartoon. But when the theme music for The Merv Griffin Show would begin, I would shout, "Merv! Merv!" This was Mum's cue to turn the television towards the dining/playroom so that I could sit and watch this wonderful, entertaining show.

Today I was saddened to see that Mr. Griffin passed away from prostate cancer. The first thing I did was call Mum, who agreed with me that it was ever so sad.

Rest in Peace Merv

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Keepsake Quilting

So this is where I spent a majority of my 38th birthday, at
Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH. And it was a great way to spend said birthday, with my cousin Susie no less!

Last year, when I got into quilting, my aunt Susan introduced me to this wonderful company, giving me a copy of a catalog--the equivalent of giving a small child a catalog to a chocolate factory's contents. My cousin Susie had also seen this catalog. After I placed an initial order, I told her what I had bought and she started poking around their website. Back in April, she suggested that we should meet up there for a day trip. My response, why not go for a whole weekend. And wouldn't that be a fun way to spend one of our birthday weekends? Immediately we started researching area hotels. Our first two choices were already booked solid. Susie found a hotel in Laconia, NH called The Margate and booked us for my birthday weekend. In the months that followed, I saved $20 a week and sold some collectibles on Ebay that I no longer had interest in.

Last week seemed to drag by so slow. We exchanged emails back and forth counting down the number of sleeps until our trip, what we were going to pack, I had lists going of what I wanted to bring. My parents took me birthday shopping for a new Vera Bradley bag and I opted for a satchel in the new Kensington pattern. I now had a nice overnight bag that I would want to travel with.
Arrangements were made for J to spend Friday morning with Mum so I could hit the road. Steven would take the afternoon off and most likely, they would head to the boat for the weekend with my in-laws.

Susie & I planned our respective departures to arrive around Noon. My journey would take about two-and-a-half hours, hers about four. Just as J & I were about to walk out to go to Mummy's the phone rang and it was Susie. She was running very late. Uh-oh. I dropped J off and said that I would probably delay my departure, but Mummy convinced me that it was Friday and that the traffic could be horrible. Yeah, good point, better hit the road and kill time up there, rather than be stuck on Route 495.

It was 9:00 AM. My car was packed. I had a basket on the front seat with water, a map book, directions to Center Harbor, my purse and my charged up iPod. I was ready to go! Then Mummy handed me two envelopes, one with my name and one with Susie's. There was a note written on both that said, "Not to be opened until the two of you are together, sitting down with a drinky-poo in hand." And there was a verbal direction, "Do NOT lose those!" Okay! Stored away safely in my purse and I hit the road.

As a side note, I decided that I would put together a little bag of goodies for J, that Mummy would give him after I left. It had fun things like Pokémon cards, a fun pad with markers, stickers, a couple of Hot Wheels cars, a Disney Adventures magazine, Sour Patch Kids and bubble gum among other things. While I was on the road, my cell phone rang and when I answered it I heard, "You are the coolest mommy ever! I got some very rare, legendary Pokémon cards. Thank you for all the fun stuff Mommy!" I was thrilled that he was so excited about his fun stuff.

Traffic, despite it being a Friday, was pretty light when I travelled. I made it to Center Harbor, in two-and-a-half hours just like the directions said. It was HOT there. I had hoped there would be a nice breeze blowing off the lake, but the air was so humid you couldn't see across the lake very well. Susie & I had made a promise that we would not go into Keepsake Quilting without the other, so I knew I had time to kill. I found a great little antique shop called Zinnia Cottage. It was a great little shop full of shabby chic antiques. I managed to find a nice old Kodak camera to display in my office for not a lot of money. I was thrilled at this find. There were no lunch places to be had, except for one that was very dirty looking, so I went into the local supermarket and ended up with the ultra-gourmet Oscar Meyer Lunchables (ick)--beggars can't be choosers when you don't have access to a microwave. As I sat eating, Susie called me to say she was at least another hour away and that I should go into Keepsake Quilting without her. I hated doing that, but since it was so bloody hot, I decided that it wasn't the worst idea I'd ever heard. So in I went.....

I was told by more than one quilter, prepare yourself to be overwhelmed. They were not kidding. I had my little notebook of fabric requirements for various projects with a mind to shop for them. Yeah, right. I decided that Friday would be shopping for the sake of shopping. And shop I did! The store has a desk near the cutting area that you can take a beanbag out of a flower pot and put on top of what you've selected so far. Yeah, I made good use of that.

Susie made it to the store around 1:30 or so. She'd had no lunch on the way and was starving, but was determined to shop a bit before we headed towards Laconia to where the Margate was. Now I should say that I am a colorful person and Susie is a muted, neutral color person. We've both been our respective ways our whole lives. The running joke between us is that Susie needs to embrace her inner purple. While I was sitting waiting for her, she found these lovely lavender filled stuffed critters.

Ultimately she embraced her inner purple with a super soft purple teddy bear and I opted for a sweet white floppy bunny with lavender blossoms in her ears. So Smelly Bear and Stinky Bunny are parts of our homes now! Smelly Bear was feeling shy and would not pose for a photo. I've always loved the scent of lavender and the added bonus to Stinky Bunny is she can be microwaved for 30 seconds and can be used for sore muscles because she's got flax seed inside her to transfer the heat.

Sorry, I digressed into scented stuffed animals when the task at hand is quilting, quilting and more quilting supplies! We both had a good smash & grab as my Aunt Val-Val used to say. While we didn't have drinky-poos in hand, we opened our envelopes together to find that Mummy & Daddy had given each of us $50 mad money, so we could both celebrate my birthday in style! Yeah, that money went quick!

After Susie finished shopping, we got one of the staff members, Gloria to take our photo in the store. I ought to add at this point, that Gloria, Catherine and several other store employees were on a first name basis with us by the end of the weekend! The staff there are a wonderful bunch of ladies and ever so helpful.

By now it was close to 3:00 p.m. and we were both starving--Lunchables just don't provide the nutrition of a meal. So we headed back to Meredith, NH in search of lunch. We ended up at the Mill Falls shopping & hotel area. This was where we wanted to stay, but by April the area was booked up. Next time we'll make our reservations sooner so we can stay there. Lunch was at a fun little Italian restaurant called Guiseppe's. We then wandered around the stores there. I found a lovely glass paperweight for Daddy's birthday. I just knew I'd find the right thing for him up there! After shopping for a while we headed to Laconia to check into the Margate.

We caravanned over to the Margate and it was very easy to find our way. We checked in and were put over in the Inn Building across the street from the main building. That was fine with us because it seemed quieter than being right next to the lake. We were located on the first floor, which made unloading our cars easy. First things first, we looked over our loot. We compared things we each bought, I think probably inspiring the other to buy something the next day!
After a while we went across the street to have dinner at the Gazebo Beach Bar. The margaritas were cold and the food was good. Life was good. We finished our dinner and went back to the hotel room, where we got settled in for the night.

The next morning we were up and at the hotel restaurant, Blackstones for the breakfast buffet. It wasn't the best meal we've ever had, but it was cheap & cheerful at $6.95 a person! Then we set out for Keepsake Quilting, with a stop at the Meredith Harley Davidson store. This is where we shopped for our guys. For Jonathan, we both bought him some little toy truck & motorcycle sets.

For Steven I bought a great new bottle opener with a skull on it. Our old Corona bottle had broken a few weeks back and this is a good solid opener and ought to last a while. Susie picked out a couple of shirts for Dennis. While we were there, we got to watch a motorcycle club that had gathered leave for their Saturday ride. It's pretty cool to listen to all these bikes fired up and watch them slowly roll out. After we left Meredith Harley Davidson, we went to Mecca--umm, I mean Keepsake Quilting. With our minds cleared and fun shopping out of the way we were able to think about projects and buy supplies for those projects.

I chose some lovely fall color fabrics to make some table runners with an Atkinson Design pattern called Square Meal
. I was determined that I was going to make some Christmas place mats out of some of the fabulous Christmas prints available, but nothing grabbed me int he Christmas fabrics. Instead I found myself drawn to the Oriental fabrics and opted for a nice palette of blues, creams and lilacs to make my placemats out of. Susie also wanted to make some table runners from a book that I have used previously.

She bought her fabrics, we both selected some Medley packs of fabrics that we had seen the day before and had ruminated on for our fabric stash. Once we were done shopping, we went back to the Mill in Meredith and had a fun lunch at The Broken Antler. We poked around the Mill stores a bit more, but it was so hot that we were quite tired by 3:30. So we opted to go back to the hotel for a rest before a nice birthday dinner.

While sitting in the delightfully air conditioned hotel room, we realized that Susie had not purchased enough fabric for her place mat project! Ack! So this time we went back to Keepsake Quilting for our third--yes, third--trip of the weekend. The girls in the store just started laughing when we walked through the doors and suffice to say, we closed the place for the day!

After driving around for a while in Laconia, we had dinner at a Chinese/Japanese restaurant before heading back to the hotel for the night. We went over all of our goodies from the weekend, we sat and read our respective books and my favorite part of the night was when we got silly with Stinky Bunny.
Lavender has been one of my favorite scents since I was a little girl.

Our Nana Summerbell always had a little bottle of lavender perfume on her bureau and if we were good, she would dab a bit on our wrists and behind our ears.
We had a bit of trouble sleeping that night being on the first floor, we kept hearing the upstairs neighbor walking, running, jumping up and down in their room until about 3:00 a.m.

We were both awake by 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. Saturday I had seen a sign for a local motorcycle ride for charity that would occur on Sunday. Yeah, we opted to get out of Dodge early. We had breakfast at McDonald's on our way to the highway. Traffic was light, thankfully at that time of day and I was back in Shrewsbury by 9:30 and enjoying a cuppa at Mummy & Daddy's.

So what all did I buy? Here are some pictures of "The Haul":

Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Necessarily New, But Definitely Improved--IMO

It was time for a change of pace. I did the red streaks back in April and what's left was looking rather sad & pathetic. So here I sit with Atomic Turquoise streaks/swaths (I say swaths because there was lot of grey to cover up in the front). I emailed Steve a picture and then called him to see if he had read the email yet, but he's not at his desk--the nerve!

Tried to get Jonathan to take a picture of my new do, but he get taking a close up of my face only. So I had to do the self-portrait in the mirror trick. I think this weekend I'll have Steve do some real pictures of me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows

Is it time yet? I still have not decided whether or not to go to the Grand Hallows Ball at Borders on Friday night. Part of me wants to go because it's the last one of it's kind. Then the practical side of me says, "It's going to be hot in the store (after all, it is July) and there will be no place to sit while waiting." So there is the sensible side of me dictating that I just go on Saturday morning--then lock myself in my air conditioned bedroom reading all day. And night. And the next day. I really cannot wait to see how Ms. Rowling wraps up this amazing series of books.

I've got lovely memories of these books. Mum & Dad gave me the first three books at once. They had already read them and knew I would love them. I scoffed, after all, they were children's books and I was 30 years old. But they read them. I didn't start reading them until J was born. The evening routine would be get him down for the night, spend some time with Steven, and then go to bed around 9:30. J would wake up for his 10PM bottle, which Steven would give to him. Then we would have a quick cuddle before we both settled in to sleep. And while I'd go to bed early, I would read these enchanting books. Once I started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone I was hooked. Simply hooked. There's no turning back now.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wait a Minute!

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon with my parents and two of my dad's three sisters. They were up for a visit from Connecticut. One of the conversations of the afternoon was about how we have been getting all sorts of wildlife through our yards here these last few months. I've had wild turkeys and rabbits. Mum has had an opossum up on her deck looking in the sliding glass door one morning when she got up, to various birds at the feeders, to a coyote at the edge of the lawn snagging a big of leftover bird suet.

Once I came home I decided to tackle cleaning up the kitchen. I glanced out of the kitchen window and thought I saw a wild turkey. Not an unusual sight, but upon further investigation, it turned out to be a pair of red-tailed hawks.
Unfortunately this meant the untimely demise of one of our wild rabbits. Mrs. Hawk was so intent on feeding--there must be a nest somewhere nearby--she was not the least bit fazed when I got within six feet of her and Mr. Hawk. He was patiently standing by, almost sentry like, but he didn't move a muscle while she fed on the poor bunny. They sat there for well over an hour and a half. Eventually, she lumbered off and after a few minutes of looking around, he finished the rabbit off.

It was one of those experiences that was thrilling and upsetting at the same time. I was sad for our little bunny rabbit. It is always fun to watch them hopping around the backyard. But at the same time it was utterly glorious and amazing to watch these two magnificent birds of prey in my yard, withing a few short feet of me. I've always been fascinated by birds of prey, ever since I was ten years old when my parents took me to the birds of prey exhibit at the public library. Red-Tailed Hawks specifically been one of my all time favorite raptors.

For more information about hawks like these, please visit the Vermont Raptor Center website to learn more about their work with these beautiful creatures.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Family That Gets Sick Together....

...sticks together. Or at least cleans up the aftermath together. Some nasty stomach flu has taken hold of our home. Ugh. I wasn't feeling great on Saturday during the day, but the boys were fine and they went up to NHIS. They got back around 8PM and J crashed hard in bed. Around 11PM he got up and walked down the hall in tears, crying, "I don't feel so good." Steve's first instinct was to pick him up to cuddle him. Yeah, that's a good way to get covered in vomit. Not only did J hose down Steve, but the wall, the floor, the jackets and our karate gis on the railing, down the cellar stairs, the carpet. What occurred in a matter of a few seconds took an hour and a half to clean up. By the next morning we were all even more miserable. Steve stayed home yesterday, but did go to work today. Suffice to say, J & I are feeling like wrung out dishrags today. The thought of getting in the shower is exhausting me, never mind the actual action of that. Oy vey!

Happy 4th of July folks!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Twenty Years Ago

Twenty years ago today Steven & I went on our first date. It wasn't planned as such, but it ended up being that. In Worcester on Friday nights, there used to be a thing called Friday Night Cruisin'. It's where local hot rod enthusiasts could get together and show off their cars. It was a cheap night out. A bunch of us went, Keith, Di, little Kevin (driving his Mustang convertible), Steve & myself. Keith & Di ditched us to go say good-bye to a friend who was leaving for the summer. Steve, Kev & I decided to go to the movies and see Dragnet--the Tom Hanks/Dan Ackroyd version. After seeing a late show, we ended up at Harry's diner in Westboro for shakes & mozzarella sticks. Mmm..... By then though, I was flat broke and Steve paid for my snacks. He & I had driven around together all night and there was that spark that was the beginning of love. The next morning, we headed to the Cape to see my grandparents and aunt. Upon our return on Sunday, Steve called me to see if I wanted to go to the Beach Boys concert at the then named Great Woods, down in Mansfield, the next night. I was over the moon. And here we are twenty years later, married for fifteen of those years, more in love than every. Life is good.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Schools Out for Summer!!!

Yesterday was the last day of first grade. So not only am I the mother of a seven-year-old, but said child is now officially a second grader! Man oh man! That is exciting stuff.

Second grade for me was one of my favorite school years. I had a wonderful teacher Mrs. St. Andre. She looked out for me from being teased by the other children. When I was having a tough day, she would remind me how special I was and remind me of my strengths such as reading and writing. Second grade was also the year that I had to take remedial gym. Yes, you read that correctly, there is such a thing as remedial gym, I am living proof of that. I was so uncoordinated, I couldn't even jump rope like a normal little girl. Ironically, by the end of the year on field day, I came in first place with my friend Jean Cripe in the three-legged race. Second grade was the year I learned how to write in cursive handwriting. To this day, my writing is far from perfect, but it is unique to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Surrounded by Color


I've always been drawn to color. Whether it was a box of 64 Crayola crayons, fun pens that I found while on shopping expeditions with Val-Val, or just walking into a scrapbooking store where racks of Bazzill beckon me. I know you can never truly remember a color, but I've got a knack for being pretty darn close. I love colors and certain colors are just me. Brights and soft pastels surprisingly get to me the most. I'm not one for dark or muted colors. Browns & yellows are my least favorite, despite the fact that we painted our bedroom yellow this year--it's a lovely, cheery tropical yellow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My Baby Really Isn't A Baby Anymore

J technically does not turn 7 until 2:34PM today, but my baby is 7 years old today. I'm having a hard time with 7. I think it's because 7 years ago I had put the final touches on the Winnie-the-Pooh nursery. I had carefully collected all the Classic Pooh characters. In the last few days before his arrival, I had managed to find Kanga & Owl. It was a lovely feeling to have all those "friends" to look over my sweet baby. We transitioned the room a little bit a few years ago to Thomas the Tank Engine curtains and comforter, along with ALL the Thomas toys known to mankind. Now the train table and Thomas toy box are gone. The Pooh characters are all packed up in a box downstairs to someday be passed along to a grandson or granddaughter. The space theme border is sitting in my office ready to cover up the Pooh border and the fabric I bought from my quilt lady is ready to be turned into curtains.

He's so grown up to me, even with the missing front teeth. He reads, he's really good at math (thank goodness he inherited that from Steven), he is passionate about Pokemon, he holds a blue belt in karate and he's just a funny, funny kid.

Seven years ago I was not a mummy yet. Now I am mummy to a wonderful boy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Public Service Announcement: Air Travel

We just came back from eight days in Florida. This required round trip air travel. The following is a Public Service Announcement:

  • When you are waiting in the terminal for your flight and are unable to control your multitude of children, it really is not necessary to screech their names 75 times each. If you can't control them, please don't fly.
  • Again, when waiting in the terminal that has too few seats in the waiting area, it is not necessary for you to spread all your carry-on crap over multiple chairs, one chair per person
  • Regarding personal hygeine, it is a delicate balance. While it is nice to your fellow passengers to actually you know, bathe before traveling, it is not necessary to dump the entire bottle of cologne or perfume on yourself before you leave home or freshen it up in close proximity to everyone else.
  • Once you've boarded the plane and before you depart the gate, I realize that cell phones are still allowed to be used, but is it really necessary for you to call every one of your business contacts and tell them all about Phase 2 of your latest project, interjecting the words "Phase two" every third word? You really aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things and no one around you cares about how important you think you are.
  • While on the plane, the people around you don't really want to hear about how your friend is taking flying lessons and survived a crash landing. Really, they don't.
  • Your fellow passengers, many of whom are children on their way to Disney World (the Happiest Place on Earth), don't need to hear racist jokes. And there is no need to be offended when one of your fellow passengers tells you to shut up because clearly, if you are telling racist jokes, you are an idiot.
  • While in flight, if the seat belt sign is on and there is turbulence, the pilot and flight attendants really do want you to be sitting in your seat with your seat belt fastened. This is not the time to wander around the plane to talk to your friend who is not sitting with you because you boarded the plane at the last minute. And when the flight attendant politely asks you to take your seat, an eye roll & sigh in reply is not necessary. Really, it isn't.


It's been ages since I've blogged. Imagine the chuckle I just gave myself over my previous post. Yes folks, you have my official permission to smack me silly next time you see me. At the Cub Scout Blue & Gold Banquet I agreed to lead the scout den again next year. I called my Aunt Mary when we got home and gave her a good laugh about it. Her words, "See, I told you that you'd be in it until he's an Eagle Scout." Well, that is a long way off, but oh good grief!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Smack Me Silly If Next Year....

....I agree to be the Den Mother for J's Cub Scout den. Currently, I'm the Tiger Cub mummy. Including J, there are 8 boys total. Fortunately, because of cold & flu season, we've not had a full house in a couple of months. Yeah, yeah, you gasp in horror as I am glad for plague & pestulance on small children, you too would wish it too if you were dealing with eight 6/7-year-olds. Trust me, I know of what I speak. Don't get me wrong, I am the first one cheering when one of them earns a belt loop or a badge, but they can suck the life out of me faster than you can say "Pinewood Derby". The first thing I did when I walked in the door was to pull out the ice cube tray and cocktail shaker.

It's been a long night, and my glass is almost empty. Got to rectify that situation right now!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What's gone on with my blog? With my life?

Sad to say, I have lapsed sorely in my blogging duties. Truly pathetic I know. So, you ask, what the hell have you been doing since the end of August?

Cliff Notes version:

  • Sent my J off to first grade with a big grin on his face, only to have that grin change when he lost one of his upper teeth.
  • Got to go behind the scenes at the NASCAR race in Loudon, NH--stood within feet of Kevin Harvick, the Cat in the Hat, and Benny Parsons (rest in peace BP, who passed away on the 16th of this month).
  • Became the den mum for J's Tiger Cub Scout den--Lord help me!
  • Steven & I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary quietly--hopefully our 15th will be rockin' in Vegas baby!
  • Visited my aunts down in Connecticut and shopped while down there for quilt fabrics for J's quilt.
  • Both J & I tested for karate belts. We both earned our yellow major stripe. Only accomplished one board break with my foot and possibly broke a few bones in my fingers (too stubborn to actually go find out since there would be nothing they could do for that anyway).
  • Spent Thanksgiving week in Florida at my in-laws new house with the whole fam damnily! You know I need to escape when on Thanksgiving I took the car and went to Wal-Mart for peace & quiet. No. I'm not kidding.
  • While in Florida, lived a life dream by going to the Kennedy Space Center. One of the few times in my life I felt tiny in the universe while standing under a Saturn V rocket.
  • Steven finally painted our bedroom a beautiful yellow (Benjamin Moore Mellow Yellow #2020-50)! Can't wait to finish decorating it!
  • Tested for and earned my blue belt in karate. Accomplished both board breaks for the first time (I RULE!). Took a nasty, uncontrolled kick in the abdomen from an opponent during sparring. Stupid git never apologized.

  • Partied last night with the karate chicks.
There! Almost five months of catching up in one post! What's next?
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