Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Want Fondue for Every Meal

Last month, hubby & I went to dinner at The Melting Pot with another couple and had a very fun and delicious fondue dinner. After doing the lion's share of food prep at a family gathering recently (my poor MIL was laid up with a torn hamstring), MIL offered to take me wherever I wanted for dinner. I chose Melting Pot and we had another yummy, fun meal. Why can't I have dinner like that every night?

Friday, September 26, 2008

My First Camera

We were talking about cameras tonight and J's little digital camera. He's 8 years old, which was how I was when I got my first camera. It was a Kodak Instamatic X-15F.

I loved that little camera. It utilized Kodak's then new Flipflash technology. More often than not the flash wouldn't fire and that was always frustrating. Somewhere I've got very exciting pictures of our cat Ling-Ling sitting in a window, my mum & dad sitting in very stiff poses dressed in 70s finest fashions, or very low resolution shots of the front of Nana & Grandad's house. Perhaps I'll get Steve to scan some of those shots and share them in another entry. I loved that little camera and would save my allowance to buy the 126 film, a flipflash and then be able to pay for the photo processing.

That little camera has been gone for years. I would love to find one to put on display next to my antique Kodak that I found last summer in an antique shop. Maybe I'll go check out Ebay.....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Back to Normal

Okay, before you laugh yourself silly at my title--because we all know that I am as far from Normal as possible, I just have to say it's nice to be normal again. J went back to school 2 weeks ago. We're working on getting his back to normal routine consistent, but that's okay.

I, for one, have jumped in with both feet at my daily routine. This time last year, I was struggling every day with what I was going to do and when. This year, routine has fallen neatly into place and I couldn't be happier. It's great to drop J at school and get on with my day the way I want to. It's also lovely to enjoy the peace & quiet of my house once school starts in the mornings. There is no constant barrage of questions, video game requests, etc. It's just nice to have my own thoughts to myself again.

So much so, that I find all sorts of new creative thoughts abounding in my brain. It will be great to start doing some writing on a regular basis.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Photographer's Right

Sometimes I am amazed at the genius that business owners exhibit, in order to promote their businesses. Often times I've seen an advertisement in a magazine, a commercial on TV or just heard about a business idea through word-of-mouth and think, "That was brilliant!"

Similarly, I am equally amazed at people's stupidity when it comes their businesses. Case-in-point, yesterday my family & I traveled up to Hillsborough, New Hampshire for their annual Hot Air Balloon Festival & Fair. Both Steven & I were each armed with one of DSLR's, he the Canon 40D and me with the Canon 20D.

It was a pretty day, the fair was busy and we were making photographs of things that caught our interest. Now the fairgrounds have a Midway with carnival rides and games, as well as a vendor faire. We came across this really neat booth where a woman was selling decorative fabric hot air balloons. There was something for everyone, be it for a nursery, a race car fan, a sailing enthusiast, or just a colorful souvenir of a day at the fair and festival. We both raised our cameras to take pictures of these little balloons because it would have made for a great photograph. As soon as the owner saw us with our cameras, she came rushing out and told us what we were doing was illegal and we were not allowed to photograph her work. My husband, being the well-studied man that he is, told her very politely that we were within our legal rights as this was a public place. She started spouting off rather snottily about how she sells these things all over the world and she knows her rights and ours wherever she sells them and we were not permitted to do so. We argued the point with her for a few minutes and finally I said, "You know what dear, we know what our rights are. We could give her some free publicity on our photo and blog sites, but she's too short-sighted to see the bigger picture. That's her problem." We walked away...for a while.

Needless to say, I am not one to take things lying down and walked past her booth and exercised my rights several times. If she wasn't so small minded, I would have normally provided her information & examples of her work for people to enjoy, potentially contact her and purchase. But since she couldn't see the big picture, she won't get any free advertising from me.

Hindsight is 20-20 as we all know. If we had really wanted to push the issue, we should have asked a local police officer to come over and explain our rights to her. We should have also made use of the fact that WMUR Channel 9 of New Hampshire had a reporter on scene to report on the balloon festival, and made our point in the court of public opinion. Woulda, coulda, shoulda....

As I reviewed our photos today I came across the ones I took of this lady's booth and decided to voice my rights for all to see. From now on, I will carry the following document with me to present to an offended party, The Photographer's Right published by attorney Bert P. Krages II of Portland, Oregon.

If you are a photographer or even a person who just likes taking snapshots, keep a copy of this with your camera. If challenged, I encourage you to stand up for your rights.

Peace, Jennifer

Monday, June 30, 2008


Neila tagged me this morning to make a mosaic about myself. Here goes:

1. Jenn Kastner - bowl5981, 2. Orange and yellow floral cupcakes, 3. Algonquin Park Sunrise, 4. Soft purple, 5. Bono 1, 6. The fluke of a whale as it dives, 7. London from the Stone Gallery, 8. mini cakes taste samples (for a wedding cake), 9. bookshelf spectrum, revisited, 10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull “I am ready,” he said at last. And Jonathan Livingston Seagull rose with the two star-bright gulls to disappear into a perfect dark sky., 11. Cd Art, 12. Driftwood in Ocean Park, Maine

Go to and type your answers to the following questions (one at a time) into the Search Box.

The questions are:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favourite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favourite colour?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favourite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favourite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Choose 1 image from the FIRST page of results, remember the image you choose doesn't have to be exactly what you were looking for - just the image you like best from the first page.

Copy your URLs to the Mosaic Maker here and publish your mosaic to your blog.

I tag Kathy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jack from Project Runway

Sometimes you see something on You Tube that you know you must avert your eyes because of the burning, but this I think takes the cake. I sat and watched all 2 minutes and 52 seconds like a deer caught in the headlights.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tower Hill

Hadn't been up to Tower Hill in a while, so my trip up with friends, Kathy & Deb on Saturday was wonderful. They'd never been there and I gave them a guided tour of the place. We were fortunate enough to find this male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly feasting on the Mountain Laurel in bloom.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

I have loved Led Zepplin's music all my life, from the time I was a little girl, it grabbed me. I've seen Robert Plant on one of his solo tours, and when he's toured with Jimmy Page. So it was a treat when he recorded an album with bluegrass artist, Alison Krauss.

The show was A-MA-ZING! They opened with some songs from their album, Raising Sand. But when they ever launched into Zepp's "Battle of Evermore" I just about passed out! That has always been my most favorite song by them. I find it haunting and beautiful and just incredible. It was a wonderful song last night and I found myself with tears in my eyes during the performance of it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lily Belle!

My sister-in-law gave birth this morning to Lily Belle, weighing in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces (originally reported as 7 pounds, 1 ounce like her big cousin Jonathan, but that was erroneous), 19-3/4" long.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Back in December, I was able to get us tickets for Saturday's Red Sox game versus the Texas Rangers. The months passed slowly, but all of a sudden, our day was upon us!

Our plan had been to go in at 5PM to watch batting practice, but we also wanted some time in the team store. So we got to the park a little after 4PM. We moused around the store, I got a new hat and Jonathan got a Jonathan Papelbon t-shirt.

About 4:30 or so, they close of Yawkey Way from pedestrian traffic. This allows them to set up the security check points. There we were standing in line waiting for things to open. Jonathan is bored and sitting on the ground because half an hour lasts about 8 hours when you are 7 years old. Just minutes before the gates open, a Fenway Ambassador walks up and asks Jonathan, "Do you want to be the kid who yells 'Play ball!'?" My immediate reaction, "Of course he does!" We explain it quickly to Jonathan and he says, "Sure!" We're quickly ushered through the crowd to another Ambassador named Nina. She had us write down Jonathan's information, our address, age and our seat assignments. She explains they will take a picture of him saying "Play ball!" and that they will try to deliver it to our seats before the game ends, otherwise they will mail it to us. Nina tells us that we'll be allowed to hang out on the warning track within the ropes (basically running from dug out to dug out) while batting practice is going on. Then at the appropriate time, Jonathan will join the honorary ball boy & girl behind home plate while we wait off to the side.

It was so surreal, and because no one can go in and out without permission, it was safe to let Jonathan wander around without us being right by his side. He had his glove with him and had a couple of players sign his glove, and I had bought 2 team packs of Topps baseball cards, so we had those handy when Mike Lowell came out of the dug out. Now, when I bought the tickets back in December I was all excited because they were right across from third base and I really like Mike Lowell. Then he got injured a few weeks ago. Which meant Kevin Youkilis would be playing third base. Because Mike L. was injured, he was in the dug out when the rest of the team was still in the clubhouse. He was doing some interviews and then came out. That's how we got him to sign our baseball cards and I asked if he'd pose for a photo. He was most gracious and said yes he would. If he hadn't been on the DL, that probably would not have happened.

At the appropriate they had the kids line up and we were shuffled off to the side. Now the honorary ball boy & girl were siblings from Fairfax, VA who had been wearing Livestrong t-shirts. Lance Armstrong was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch (he's in town to run the Boston Marathon today). That's how they got picked out of the crowd. Their mom, Laura was videotaping everything. So we exchanged mailing addresses and have promised to send each other our pictures and her video. It was incredible. Jonathan did so well and the Ambassadors said he was one of the best. Apparently kids get up there and get stage fright or are so quiet they are barely heard. Not our Jonathan!

After he started the game we were ushered off the field. As we were walking up the aisle to get to the walkway, people were high-fiving him, congratulating him, and cheering for him. That's when I started tearing up. At one point the foot traffic stopped and a couple about my folks age were telling him what a good job he did and the wife noticed me with tears in my eyes. She patted me on the shoulder and told me to savor the moment. I told her I had hoped my folks were watching the game, but it wasn't likely to be broadcast at home. She said she was a grandmother, so she was proud for him. That was very sweet. We got to our seats and were surrounded by a lot of really nice families. We lucked out in that we didn't have any drunken chuckleheads being obnoxious around us. When the Fenway Ambassador came to deliver the photo everyone around wanted to see it as they had heard what Jonathan had done.

The one drawback of the night was it was cold. I had worn shorts thinking I'd be too warm. It wasn't bad for me, but poor Mr. Jonathan was quite cold and tired by the time it ended. He did get his energy back when Closer, Jonathan Papelbon, came out to pitch the 9th inning (we were up by 2 at that point). Papelbon does this funky dance during celebratory times after games. Because we were right on a walkway, Jonathan got down and danced to Papelbon's theme music (Dropkick Murphy's "I'm Shipping Off to Boston") and that got the crowd all ramped up and giving him more high fives.

The other fun thing, Matthew McConnaghey was at the game, sitting not far from us in the VIP section next to the Rangers dugout.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's All In How You Look At Life

A few years ago I never would have posted what I am about to post. Instead, I've changed how I approach the way I look at life.

For instance, a few years back this is how I would look at things:

  • These last few months we've been trying to get Steve's thyroid nodule diagnosed. It is cancer and he has to have surgery to remove at least part, if not all of his thyroid and the tumor.
  • My friend Cheryl had cancer throughout her body and died this week. She left two young daughters.
  • My mother-in-law's psycho secretary quit this week and I was thrown back into working in an industry I haven't worked in for over 17 years.
Now, I look at my life and this is how I see things:

  • Steve has a very treatable form of cancer and it's the only one not treated by an oncologist, but an endocrinologist.
  • Cheryl is free from pain and weakness now. She can watch over her beautiful girls wherever they go.
  • My mother-in-law felt that I had the skill set to get the job done. And I did. I amazed even myself with what I remembered about the job.
It's all in how you look at life. That's the secret to getting you through it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lookee! It's My New Brain!!!!

Check it out! My new brain arrived today! I have long been a PDA kind of girl. My first was a Palm, can't remember what model it was, but it was a handy little thing. Back in the day when Steve worked for Compaq, he bought me an iPAQ 3835. That was nearly seven years ago. Lately it's been a bit dodgy. We tried a new battery, but it still continued to waffle, especially with the change in Daylight Savings Time. That was just ugly in terms of booking appointments and synching them with my calendar in Outlook.

I looked into other PDA type technologies. I was hard pressed to find the technology that did not include a cell phone. It's all well and good to combine the technologies, but I love my little pink Motorola phone that is only about 6 months old. And there are times when I don't want to carry all of my technology at one time. But I did check out a Samsung phone that just didn't do it for me.

Having a Windows interface with Excel was critical. I am a list maker, always have been, probably always will be. Sure enough, my heart and head were led back to the iPAQ technology. got my new iPAQ 111 (a/k/a My Brain) shipped out with lightning speed. So here it sits on my desk, communicating with my Outlook to load all the data in. There have been a few hiccups, but I've yet to meet a new piece of technology where there weren't any.

Ahh, my Brain feels whole again......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Here was our entertainment for today!
How cute are these kids?!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Ever Changing Aura

I've been helping some friends interpret their aura photos taken over the weekend and thought I would share mine. I started having aura photos taken almost two years ago.

My first one was on 7/29/2006 at The Grateful Heart in Wickford, RI. It's a great new age book store. At the time I knew nothing about aura photos and had gone into it with a friend.

There is A LOT of red in this photo. Red entering on my left is the Force of Will representing stop lights, warning lights and pushing limits. It represents living life to the fullest and doing things with fun ahead. The high red over my head is also a Force of Will and my urge to achieve results. It represents desire, excitability, domination and passion. Then I give it all back, although it gets a bit muddied on the way out which represents overstimulation, inflammation and imbalance. At that point in my life, I was overwhelmed and off kilter because of a relationship among two other friends.

Picture #2 was taken in August 2006 at a local shop called Taproot in West Boylston, MA.

Lots of yellow and orange in this one. Coming in the energy is cheerful and giving in that yellow tinged with green (hard to see in the scan), but represented an awareness that my ideas and interpretations would be changing and growing. The yellow over my head represented the joy and happiness that I was finding with my new growth, and the curiosity & hunger for new ideas. The orange coming out of my right side shows the world that I am creative and artistic. That people around me see me as an upbeat, happy, capable and creative person.

What is interesting about this photos is I asked my spirit guide to sit with me. Something that when I had my first photo taken, I didn't know to do. The swishing marks you see on my right show a very playful spirit guide who did not want to sit still for a photo. It also may have had to do with the energy in the shop that day, there was definitely a vibration going on that I had to force myself to ground myself from.

Picture #3 was also taken at The Grateful Heart, this one on November 4, 2006.

This one is an interesting mix of the two previous, lots of Force of Will coming in and represented in the now of that moment, but being turned out in a creative and artistic way.

But what was fascinating was the violet "spot" on my left shoulder. About a month before I had this picture taken my friend Kim performed reiki on me. After she finished she sat very quietly at my side while I roused. She had a look on her face and I asked what was up. She then asked me, "I have something to share that came to me while working on you. Do you want to hear it?" I said sure. She said over and over while she was working on me that the presence of two spirit guides came to her telling her that they were named Hal & Don. She asked me if that meant anything to me and at the time it didn't. About a week and a half later I found myself feeling very tired in the afternoon. I had some time before J would be out of school, so I lay down to rest. I fell immediately to sleep, which is not like me at all. In my dream Hal & Don came to me, but not in a way that I had expected. Hal said that Kim had gotten the name wrong and that it was Val, as in my late aunt Val-Val and that Don was her husband Gordon (hence the -don) who had come with her to check on me. She told me that everything was okay and that she was so pleased that J was born on her birthday like Nana had said he would be (Nana had predicted that J would be born on Val's birthday--Val was her oldest child, Mum's older sister--who died at age 57, when I was 19). She also told me that Nana & Grandad were with me but Nana had "assigned" Val to me. I woke up in a complete sweat and very shaken. I immediately called Kim and stuttered into the phone, about the dream. Kim said very simply, "I had a feeling, but couldn't get a clearer picture." I had a real hard time wrapping my brain around this information. So when I sat for this photo, I invited my spirit guide(s) to sit with me. Specifically I addressed my aunt. I said that if my spirit guide was my Aunt Val-Val, to please sit on my left shoulder. The moment I saw the developed photo I started crying. After I calmed down I explained to the owner what had shaken me and she said that she was glad that I had received such a wonderful visit from someone so special. Once I got into my car, I called Kim and again, she was not surprised at all.

Picture #4 was taken at The Grateful Heart on May 13, 2007--Mother's Day.

Again I have a lot of orange and red in this photo with a tinge of violet high over the left side of my head. Guess my spirit guide, whoever it was that day, wasn't interested in being in the photo. But there was a lot of green healing energy coming out of me that day. It is an expression of firmness, constancy and resistance to change (most definitely me), sort of an elastic tension. Possession is regarding as increasing both security and self esteem. This vibration represents the willingness to work to gain wealth in terms of education and cultural attainments. Because it was not a large amount of green energy, it represented some self-doubt that I was going through at that time.

Picture #5 is my favorite. It was taken at The Grateful Heart on June 9, 2007 with my mother, Hilary sitting on my right knee.

Again, before sitting I asked my spirit guides, especially Val-Val to join us. The violet area over the left side of my lap was HUGE compared to previous photos. It was my aunt sitting for a photo with her sister and this is one of the highest vibrational frequency that can be distributed to a person on this earth. The energy above us is a force of will that turned to creativity and having fun.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Recipe For Jenn

3 parts Sweetness

2 parts Mania

1 part Genius

Splash of Friendship

Shake vigorously

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good-Bye 2007, Hello 2008

The last month of 2007 could have been a lot better in many ways. Too many to enumerate here, but I thought I would share how despite the tough times, we enjoyed a lovely holiday together.

Here I am, in all my TechniColor glory (soon to be reverted back to a bubbly brunette shade):

My dear 'ole dad, who after 40+ years at his company, will be a retiree this coming summer:

And then there is the J-Man. When he lost his gap-toothed baby teeth I was sad, but his grown-up teeth are just as gapped as the old ones. Isn't he cute?

Me & Mum, if only my greys would look as graceful & beautiful as hers do.

And then there is Steven. What can I say about a man who tortures Mr. Bill, other than to say, he is all mine girls and I'm not sharing!

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