Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008 Bloodwork & Emily's Dad

So as I may or may not have posted last week I had my yearly physical with my primary. It was the usual, blood pressure 122/70, pulse 74, weight 166lbs. Asked me how everything is, and except for a small unhealed mark on my back everything is great. (he's going to remove it the end of October) and 5 minutes later I was out the door with my bloodwork order. I know the routine so I fasted that morning and went directly over to C-lab. I was called up the counter, ushered into the vampire chair, poked and sent home. My appointment with Doc B was at 9am, we left C-lab at 9:02.
So this morning I called for my bloodwork results. My diet has been so restricted I was concerned that I might have deficiencies. Turns out everything came back better then good.
My blood sugar was 87
My cholesterol is 129
Triglicerides 43
HDL 41
LDL 79
Pap- normal
I was pleased with the results especially since we spent an hour of our day yesterday at RI Hospital visiting Emily's dad who had a heart attack last Tuesday. He spent 3 days in ICU before he was sent down stairs. He's expecting to go home tomorrow. He had a blood clot that went to his lungs and made it nearly impossible to breath. He had some pain in his left hip a few days before so the doctors surmise that's where it started. He also found out he has diabetes. When he arrived at the hospital his blood sugar was over 600. He's only 10 years older then me and it really hit home that nows the time to get healthy, because it's only going to get harder as the years go by.
This afternoon I had an appointment with Cape Cod ENT. In some strange turn of events instead of being scheduled for the vestibular test, I was sent to see another ENT. He was very nice, and wrote up the paperwork for the VNG, ran a couple of tests and asked if I'd ever been tested for lyme disease. When I said no, he said he thought it was a good idea. He also asked if there was anything that I do that can bring an episode on, and I explained that sometime rubbing or pressing the back of my neck could trigger an attack. He contemplated that for a moment and suggested that this whole thing might be caused by a pinched nerve. I don't like the idea of chronic lyme disease at all, but a pinched nerve? What's the treatment for that, daily massages??? I'm voting for pinched nerve hands down! I went over to C-lab to be poked once more, then to the grocery store to pick up some bananas for dessert. Emily's itching to make something sweet so I challenged her to find something somewhat healthy involving fruit. She chose banana's foster sans the rum. It'll balance out the fried chicken and french fries!

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008 Hurricane Kyle

Em's Our cottage guests were great to have around. Wendy was very nice. On Saturday morning she came by just as I was making Dan pancakes and joined us for breakfast. Danny really enjoyed the maple syrup she brought. I worked Saturday night but Mike hosted them for a t-bone and lamb chop supper, and they helped Mike and Emily unload a ton of pellets into the basement in the pouring rain.
Sunday morning was quiet. Wendy called and we planned to take a ride into Sandwich, have some lunch and Seafood Sam's then take a walk on the canal if Hurricane Kyle cooperated. We walked to the Sagamore bridge and half way back before the rain really began to fall. Another family walked with us as well, and their son and Danny kept swapping Dan's bike for Nicholas' ride in the wagon. It worked out great, and was enough variation to keep Dan interested. We got home in time to dry off, say goodbye to the stirts, then to work I went.
Monday morning was quiet as well. We deemed it Emily day since everything seemed to revolve around her. We made a trip to RI to visit her dad in the hospital, went shopping at the outlet mall where she bought 2 shirts, then to the orthodontist for her check up, to the grocery store to get the fixings for her favorite American chop suey, and finally I ended my night sitting in a two hour parents drivers ed class.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September 27, 2008 The Stirts and Facebook

Mikey is the President of Cape Cod Woodturners. Every year the club hires a professional turner to come to the Cape and do a demonstration for a weekend. This year they hired Al Stirt. http://www.alstirt.com/ He's a little bit of a man, quiet and reserved but with a quick smile. He's tremendously talented and Mike can't wait to see him in action again. They met in Virginia this past June when Mike went to the woodturners symposium in Richmond, VA. Anyway, with the cottage on the hill, and nobody in it this weekend Mike offered it to him and his wife. They accepted and after a few minutes of trying to break into it in the pouring rain I managed to open it back up. Suzanne, Mike's cousin, had all but closed it down for the winter, so I spent a half hour or so turning the gas back on to the stove, lighting pilots, turning the water back on, plugging everything back in, making sure the electric fireplace worked. etc. We had a no name tropical storm blow through yesterday which made the opening that much more eventful. Since they were in town just a few hours before dinner time we invited them to join us. They live in upstate Vermont and don't get to enjoy seafood fresh from the sea very often so we treated them, and us, to a seafood feast. Mike took Dan to Wayne's house to set up for the demo, while I went shopping for everything we would need. We finished our chores right around lunch time and decided we'd meet at Marshland too again. Last time I was there I enjoyed some swordfish tips, rice and butternut squash, and asked Mike to order that for me again since they got there before I did. However they didn't have any so I was forced to pick something else. They had a fried oyster and fish platter which I chose with rice and squash again. It tasted great, the fish was perfect, the oysters succulent. The plate was huge but I couldn't help but eat it all. I left feeling too full.
We went back to the house and started getting ready for the night. I'd picked up 2 lobsters , one for Emmy and the other for Wendy, Al's wife, at the Mashpee Lobster mart, since I was on that side of town, but they wanted $5.99 lbs for steamers and I was sure we could do better at Joes. Mike picked up 4lbs of steamers ($2.99lb) and 3lbs of mussels from Joe's Lobster mart. http://www.joeslobstermart.com/index.htm Joe's is right on the canal, has the best prices around and everything is as fresh as it can be. We also planned Shrimp fettuccine Alfredo, cesear salad, warmed Parisian bread and for dessert baked apples with walnuts, raisins and french vanilla ice cream.
The Stirts arrived right on time, brought with them a quart of fresh Vermont maple syrup and we enjoyed a great dinner. They are a very nice couple and conversation was fun and easy. After dinner Mike took them on a quick tour of the shop before coffee and dessert. We finished the night with a Wii demonstration. Em showed Wendy how guitar hero worked, and although she got booted off stage twice was a good sport. Lots of people are too intimidated to even try it. Next we built Al and Wendy Mii's which was pretty amusing, Wendy and I had a couple of good games of tennis and we finished the evening with a wii fit demonstration. It was 8:30 pm. Mike agreed to pick Al up at 7:30am and we retired for the night.

Which brings us to now.....it's 4:24am. I've updated my new facebook account with some recent pictures of the kids and puppies. I was introduced to facebook in a discussion box in my sociology book when studying at the playground on Thursday, and checked it while Danny napped. It's amazing how many people I know there. I quickly contacted 8 or 9 old high school classmates. When you enter data about where you've gone to school, worked, etc it automatically finds other people with the same information. That's how I found Andruis Dilba. Andy (he's Lithuanian) and I went to college together. He was roommates with Chuck and very good friends with an old fiance Craig who I dated during and after college. We spent lots of time together those couple of years and I learned to ski at two Smugglers Notch trips with them. I know that shortly after Craig and I broke up he started dating another girl from the ski trip and eventually they got married and had a son. I think I was in touch with Craig's brother Chris some years ago and he gave me the information. Still I was curious what became of these three guys I knew so well. So I was thrilled when Andy sent me back a message that he was doing great, teaching in Boston and that he was still in touch with both Chuck and Craig who are also doing well. It was nice to catch up a little bit.
Janet who I used to work with at Pickles is also a regular on facebook and I was happy to see pictures of her girls. Janets daughter Paige is the same age as Emily and for quite a while when Em was younger Janet took care of her for me, so she and Paige were pretty close. I think I still have pictures of the two of them in a bubble bath somewhere! I'm also attempting to contact an old friend from High school, named Fiona Bancroft. I think I found her and did send her a message but haven't heard back. If I wasn't already internet obsessed, I am now!

So the reason I was awake at 2:45am is because of a gallbladder attack. I had them on occasion going through high school. Looking back, it's no wonder considering my french fry and suzie Q lunch everyday. I think my mother chalked it up to growing pains and it would eventually subside. I was never taken to the doctor for it as a teenager. It happened again in my 20's, mostly I found, after I'd eaten Burger King and eventually one time it was so bad an lasted so long I finally went to the ER to see what was going on. They called it a gallbladder attack, gave me some meds and sent me home. I was offered the option of surgery to remove it, but at that stage of my life, and still for that matter pride myself on having never had surgery and did what I could to avoid it. I did some research and learned if I avoided fat (apparently Burger King's in particular) I could avoid further problems....and for the most part I have.

I think one of the significant side effects, other then the weight loss, to avoiding so many foods is that now my body is getting used to not having them. I had buttered popcorn while watching Another Cinderella story with Em, TJ and Sarah last Saturday and spent the next couple of hours in the bathroom. There wasn't really that much butter in there, but I guess it was enough because the results were dramatic. Yesterday I had the fried seafood and although it took a while to come on, but by 9:45pm I was in enough pain that I took 4 Advil, which I rarely, if ever do. 3 months ago fried seafood wouldn't have bothered me. I was planning for the most part that this diet change to be temporary, but I'm not sure my body is going to allow it....good thing I like vegetables...alot!

Wendy came down the hill and joined Dan for pancakes, then retreated to finish up some school work. She's a reading teacher and had lesson plans to do. The kids and I took a trip to Hyannis. Em was interested in getting a snake but abruptly changed her mind when she saw a pinkie mouse in one of the snake cages. Next we went to Old Navy. The kids and I are going down to Disney world for two weeks starting the end of February. It occured to me a few days ago that with my weight loss and the time of year I might run into problems finding clothes to wear while I'm there. So I made it my mission to scour the clearance rack for summer clothes. I quickly found several pairs of shorts ranging in size from 2 to 10 and settled on 8's. It's good to have a goal. Once I fit into those shorts I'll know I've met it. Even better was that since they were on clearance I got them for $4.99 each. In the end I bought 3 pairs of shorts, 2 skirts, 4 shirts, and a cardigan...with the sale they were running this weekend I got all of it for $50. Emily also made out well, she spent over $200 but with the sale she saved over $94. She got 4 pairs of pants, a dress and several shirts. We came home to relax, Mike arrived home just as I was walking out the door for work and announced he was on his way to pick up our second ton of pellets. With hurricane Kyle coming up the coast, pouring rain and after a full day of playing videographer for Al Stirt he still had the energy to not only get them but unload them with only Emily's help. As I type he's snoring on the couch next to me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 A new days dawns....

I awoke this morning to the faint smell of wood smoke and immediately knew the stove was lit. Lately the house has been about 68 degrees when we wake up and I inwardly moan a few times before throwing off my 4 layers of blankets to brave the cold. This morning I climbed out barely awake and curled up next to my wonderful husband on the couch. He can't wait for a frost, but knows how much I detest the cold. Since Emily has to be to work early everyday this week for inventory, he knew I'd be up and since the house was down to 67 he was kind enough to warm it up for me before my alarm went off.
We contemplated our respective days, pretty light for both of us, showered, dressed and wished each other a good day. Dan and I took Em to work then made a quick stop at the grocery store for....you guessed it....more apples. Our area isn't a big farming community. Although we do have a few farm stands and a weekly farmer's markets, most of our produce is still bought at the local stop and shop. I do, however, look for foods that are grown at least close by. Yesterday we bought concord grapes from Concord, MA, and today a sugar pumpkin from Hanson, MA. I bought Gala's yesterday that were grown in NH, but wasn't as happy with the flavor as I might have been with the Macintosh's so I sucked up the distance (and the price) and bought Macintosh's from NY. 12 big ones. Since Danny's reaction last night was very similar to his cousin Jonathan's I thought I might try another late evening canning extravaganza, then remembered....tonight is the season premiere of Survivor. I've requested both Wednesday and Thursday nights off until further notice to cover school and our survivor obsession. It's the one hour all week that we all sit in front of the TV with the lights turned off, and bowls of popcorn in our laps. Survivor is one of the few things I like about the start of fall.
Dan and I brought our apples home, I grabbed my school bag and back out the door we went so Dan could "socialize" at the playground. As I alternated between watching him play with a large group of boys, and studied, I pondered the idea of socialization some more. I understand the purpose, and I can appreciate the sheer chaos that would ensue if we didn't have it. Even as much as I hate to be stereotyped I understand how nearly completely socialized I am. And in the grand scheme of things I'm OK with it. I just like to retain a sense of uniqueness that seems to be lacking in my lessons thus far. Maybe chapter 6 will be enlightening.
As the playground cleared out, Dan and I agreed it was time for lunch, he'd played hard for nearly 2 hours and I'd read most of chapter 5...two birds, one stone. We came home to make lunch. Dan chose a bologna and cheese sandwich with a bowl of soup. Remembering the left over applesauce in the fridge, I asked him if he'd like some, and he said "please!" Since I didn't taste it the night before I decided to try a small spoonful, and that's when it hit me. I'm not generally a fan of anything apple but this small mouthful was wonderful. Not since making baby food have I gotten so much satisfaction out of providing nutrition for my family. And I have 2 more jars just like it in the pantry. It's official, I'm addicted...I'll be doing alot more canning!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24, 2008....still.... Sociology test

So here it is, hours after my first big test in 20 years. Class started promptly at 6:30pm. After a 45 minute lecture our professor offered us 15 minutes of study time or the option of taking the test immediately. I confidently raised my hand to request the test and began. 6 questions total, of them we were to choose 3 and since we were given a study guide with 9 questions, none of them were any surprise. I quickly regurgitated the answers, stood, handed my test to the professor, wished him a good week, and left the room. I was out the door by 7:45. There will be 4 tests, each 25% of our grade. There is an optional bonus paper we can write if we want to bring our grade up. Need it or not I plan on writing it. Apparently, I like to write. I wonder if he'd take it in blog form.
I arrived home with energy to spare, and since Mike adamantly refused to join me in reenacting the movie Mama Mia, I decided to make applesauce from the apples we bought at the farm stand this morning. Nearly 12 hours after finishing the second jar of grape goo nothing has happened. I considered adding it to the apple sauce for a unique flavor but might instead use it as pancake syrup as Kristin suggested. Since we have pancakes and french toast often, the grape goo might be a nice change from the maple syrup. With 2 jars to use I'm sure at some point I will do both. I peeled and cut 10 apples (not 40lbs) boiled them until they were soft, added some cinnamon, nutmeg and a little brown sugar and then mashed. After 20 minutes in the boiling hot water bath, 2 jars of canned spiced applesauce emerged to be cooled and stored. I waited impatiently for the satisfying pop, then retired to the living room to join Mike and Dan who were captivated in a ninja warrior episode.
I can't help but think, after reading Kristin's latest comments, that she and Mike are unwittingly the victims of the Silveira roller coaster. Thankfully they are both easy going, fun loving individuals who might otherwise not put up with our wild antics and/or crazy ideas. Adam and I, and I might also add our brother Ed, who's equally insane, are all lucky that way. Maybe we're even rubbing off on our spouses a little. Kristin's been showing signs of insanity for some time now and, who knows, a few more years with Mike. there might be chickens, and maybe a goat at the Gould ranch yet!
As for free thinking and social defiance maybe I can try focus my attentions on more global issues. Maybe work on world peace, or the abysmal state of our economy. Maybe our nations answers are in the jar.

life with the silveira's - my comments to lisa's post

September 24, 2008 More canning and wandering minds

Thanks Kristin for your tip. As you suspected in your comment, the regular pectin did not work. So Dan and I went to the store this morning, bought a box of liquid pectin and since they had some concord grapes we grabbed them too. Came home boiled down the grapes, added our grape soup from yesterday to the pectin, boiled it, put it in jars, and re-bathed them. As I type this they're sitting on the cutting board still soup. How long does it take to "harden"?

Dan's napping and I should be studying for my sociology test tonight, but feel the need to blog instead. After all, I've done the homework, taken the notes, and listened to every moment of my professors lectures. It's sociology, how hard can it be? As the weeks go by, I find myself more then a little agitated at the end of each class. Last week, enough so, that I sparked a debate. I resent the fact that sociologist suggest that we're all a bunch of cattle being raised with the same social standards and depending on our income, sex, race, education, etc. are expected to act in a predictable manner. As if there is no room for free thinking, or imagination. I've always found myself to be, more often then not, on the odd side of any social norm, and wonder why that is, and how a sociologist would account for it.

Take canning for example. Not the social norm. Most people go to the grocery store, buy a jar of grape jelly, pay for it, bring it home and it's done. However, I knew I'd like canning before I started. It's homey, it makes the house smell great and for the most part it's not very thought provoking. Well, right now it is because I don't know what I'm doing. But I suspect somewhere in the near future I'll have the logistics figured out and when faced with 40lbs of apples to peel, after about the 4th one, the hands will take over and free my mind to wander. I get the same effect from hanging clothes on the line, lying quietly in a hot bath or going for a long run. Somewhere there is a disconnect from being a person with a body, to just a mind going where it wants, when it wants. It's in these times, where I can really think things through for what they are and not for what I've been told they should be, that my most significant decisions have been made. Having Danny at home, deciding to home school Emily, going back to school myself are all recent events that have happened and are a direct result of many accumulated hours of a wandering mind. I wonder what my next social defiance will be. Whatever it is, you can be sure that hours of canning will have been involved. In the end, who wants to be a foregone conclusion, or just a social norm...I'm more interested in free thinking....I'm in good company ! Kristin, was that 100 chickens? I think my brother might need less nails to bang, apparently he's letting his mind wander farther then mine! Or maybe we can just blame our rebellious ways on genetics...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008 Otha Day and Oh no....canning....

I woke up this morning, walked into the kitchen, poured a cup of black coffee, and glanced at the very red tomatoes sitting on the kitchen window sill. We grow tomatoes every year. Most years we get one or two, due to a faulty raised garden I'll tell you about some other time. However this year, with the new garden, the tomatoes, even though mostly neglected have grown to an enormous size and are producing show quality tomatoes. Ironically, nobody in our house, except Dan, likes them. So we bring them in, put them in the window sill until they start turning brown, and I put them in the compost bin. I vowed today would be different and armed myself with my cookbook on the way out the door. As fearful as I am of becoming addicted to canning, I'm even more saddened by our wasteful ways.
Today we planned to see Otha Day http://www.drumtothebeat.com/otha-dayat Heritage Gardens. Buzz and the girls met us there and Dan had a great time hanging out with Seneca. Otha is a one man band, amazingly patient, and extremely talented. He arrived with more then 10 big drums, 8 tambourines, and lots of Moroccas. He encourage the kids to make lots of noise and taught us some fun songs.
Afterward we decided to take a trip down to the outlet mall to see if we could figure out what canning was all about. The lady manning the Corning Ware store was very helpful and within 10 minutes I had a new pot with a canning rack, an assortment of canning utensils and some canning jars. I had no idea what to do with my newly acquired assortment of kitchen ware but felt certain that in a pinch I could call Kristin and she'd steer me in the right direction. Next stop was the grocery store because I hadn't spent enough money to save any yet. We picked up some spices, onions and garlic for the spaghetti sauce, and while there I optimistically grabbed a box of pectin. On my run last Friday I came around the corner to the fire road and smelled one of my favorite smells. For just a couple of weeks a year this one area is fragrant with the smell of ripe grapes. I run faster thinking of the smell that I'll be rewarded with more quickly for a little extra effort. So I thought that this afternoon the kids and I would take a walk down there to see if there were any left. There were nearly two cups and I thought it was surely enough to make at least one jar of jelly. We arrived home, quickly switched laundry on and off the. It didn't take me long to make the sauce. I read the recipe to late to omit the skins and seeds but I'll remember next time. The sauce cooked down for 30 minutes or so. Meanwhile I sterilized the jars, lids, and rings. Once the sauce was ready I extracted the hot jars from their bath, filled them, covered them, secured the metal ring and put them in the canning pot on top of the rack filled with water. A few minutes later 4 jars were filled and in the pot. I covered the pot, and set it to boil for 35 minutes. While those worked their magic I started working on the grapes. Dan mashed them, I added water and boiled them for 10 minutes, strained the liquid and put the juice back in the pan, with some sugar and pectin and boiled it for the instructed 1 more minute, before filling the jar and immersing it into the hot water bath. The sauce had only moments before been removed from said bath and as Dan opened the kitchen door the jars one by one made the desired popping noise letting me know that a least for now they were properly sealed. They sit now on a cutting board on my kitchen table, cooling for the night. I'm curious to see if the great tasting grape soup will be jelly by morning.

I rescued this guy from Emily's bedroom. I believe he's a spotted tussock moth.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sept 22, 2008 First day of Fall and Wii Fit

Yesterday started off fairly quiet. Em had driving at 10am and Mike, Dan and I were planning on going over to the Harvest Festival at the Barnstable Fair Grounds. Since it was 9am and I was dressed and ready to go, I decided to take a quick trip to Hyannis. We've needed a Trader Joe's trip for about a week and I've just been putting it off. I don't buy lots of products there, but the ones I do, I really like, either because they're cheaper or because of their "good for you" qualities. We buy Dog food, soap, laundry and dish detergent, toothpaste, toilet paper and paper towels, and coffee there religiously. Since I was going in that direction anyway I decided to make a quick stop into Best Buy to see if they have any Wii fits. I've been looking at them for months, and am just never in the right place at the right time. I walked into the mall to find out they don't open till 11am. Defeated I went and did my shopping then returned a little after 10am to see if they at least got any in. Sure enough they did, but I didn't know how many and just couldn't justify sitting in the mall for an hour while Mike and Dan were at home waiting for me to go to the fair. Sadly I headed home. Arrived there to find Mike just getting out of the shower, Danny not dressed and thought I could have waited after all. We got in the van and drove over to the fair grounds to find out that the Harvest Festival is next weekend. With nothing to do and curiousity getting the better of me I called Best Buy to see if they'd hold a machine for me, surprisingly they would and with a new mission we went back to Hyannis. Turns out they had over 30 of them in stock. While there, Mike picked up a new John Hiatt CD and I the new Mama Mia soundtrack. We got Mike home just in time to go up to Leone's to watch the Patriots loose to Miami. Dan, Em and I played with the new game. I weighed in at 170lbs and a BMI of 27. We skiied, did yoga, hula hooped and ran virtual Mii style. It was fun, an expensive scale to be sure, but what other scale can you surf on?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008 Scallop Festival

Today Mike's going up to New Hampshire to his mothers house for 2 reasons. One, to bring home our dog, and two, because the porch on his mothers house is threatening to fall down the hill in front of it, so he's going to see what he can do to reattach it.
The kids and I are going over to Wareham to the laundry mat because now that we don't have a dryer, Emily is boycotting doing laundry and has piles to be washed. Since we're on that side of the bridge we're going to check out the scallop festival in Buzzards bay, then pick up Emily's friend TJ on our way home and she, TJ and Sarah are going to spend the afternoon hanging out.

Danny found this cool moth called a Large Tolype Velleda on the deck this morning. http://bugguide.net/node/view/3054

Danny's napping.....Em, Sarah and TJ are sitting in the living room watching Another Cinderella story, and I'm blogging.
We got an early start this morning, but not quite as early as Mike was hoping and he got out the door a little before 8am. The kids and I left around 9, arrived at Delkin laundry mat, started 3 loads of laundry and then Dan and I walked over to Walmart for sugar. We left there 30 minutes later with a winter coat, a Patriots warm up suit, two tee shirts, and a pair of pants for Dan. Two new red towels for the bathroom, Dan picked the color, our bathroom walls are chocolate brown & two new bras. I was hopeful when I chose 36C (11 weeks ago I was 38DD) and was thrilled when I got home, tried them on and they fit. We did remember the sugar thankfully and made it back to the laundry mat in time to put the clothes in the dryer. I've decided that the laundry mat is the way to go. In just over an hour we had 3 loads washed, dryed and folded. I might rethink buying a dryer and just plan to take a trip to Wareham every couple of weeks once the weather gets too cold for line drying.
We left there a little before 11 and arrived at the scallop festival just in time to get one of the last parking spots in their lot. Dan couldn't wait to try some rides, and originally thought he wanted to ride the ferris wheel until he stood under it and realized how tall it was, at which time he decided maybe he wanted to ride the bumper cars instead.
He also rode the serphent coaster, the slide, and made his way through the fun house. Then we went over to the Comcast booth where they were taking free pictures.and then onto the Banknorth kiosk for a spin the wheel contest where I won some hand sanitizer and to a name that tune contest that Em and I competed in. I won but just barely. We both won a free music upload card. We decided to take a walk through the craft tent and we quickly came upon an airbrush tattoo stand and Dan immediately decided he wanted a shark tattoo. Em chose a rose. We had just enough time to get back to the van and drive over the bridge to IHOP to pick up TJ.
We got home, fed Dan some lunch and sent him to bed for a rest.

Mike and Marley arrived home a at 10pm. Marley is shedding like crazy and left tufts of fur here and there as she came barreling into the house. She's been kennel dog for the last two weeks so she's pretty happy to be up on the couch, bed and Mikey's lap. Nettie kept one of Marley's puppies and named her Harlow. Every once in a while Marley lets out a little whimper....I wonder if she misses her babies....

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 The pellet stove runs once more...

I woke this morning at a little after 6am, walked into the living room, and checked the temperature in the house. Brrr....66 degrees. When we used oil we kept the heat set at 68 degrees. So 66 was definitely below even Mikey's standard. (I know anonymous, if we got rid of the gas guzzler....) Anyway, between my running partner being up in New Hampshire and the new tattoo, I haven't gone out for a run in more then two weeks, and I was definitely itching to get back to it. I quickly suited up, and set out the door. It was an easy 46 minute run, and I made it home just in time to take Em to work. Mike had a dentist appt in Mashpee this morning. We all have been going to Dr. Durudogan in Middletown (his father was the obstetrician that delivered me) but since Mike has transferred to Taunton it didn't make any sense for him to continue in Middletown. Dan and I went to Green Briar to feed the animals. We hadn't been to Critter capers in a few weeks and Dan was so happy to see everybody they all got hugs!

With the ammunition of waking to up 66 degrees and with the temperatures forecasted to drop into the 40's on Saturday night, I begged Mike to clean the pipes on the pellet stove and light it up just to make sure it was really going to work when we needed it. We cleaned it, we lit it and sure enough a glitch. I'm glad we checked it first! Something about a seal that needs to be replaced.
We bought this stove two springs ago from a farmer down the road who'd used it for a few years for alternative heat, but was looking to get rid of it because it was just too much work for him to haul pellets. Laurie saw it in his driveway for $100 and called us. We took a quick trip down the road, wrote the check and brought it home. There was quite a bit of work to do to it, but Mike ordered the parts and rebuilt in just in time for the install on Thanksgiving day 2007. Last years heating seasons we used 3 tons of pellets at about $230 a ton. Usually we use 2 tanks of oil one winter, and 3 tanks the next. Since last year was a 3 tank year we estimated we save over $2000. The only pitfall to the pellet stove is that the living room is very warm (the way I like it, about 75 degrees) and the rest of the house (which consists of the kitchen, bathroom, 2 bedrooms and a loft and is 600sq feet total) are quite a bit cooler. Even still we spend more time together in the living room as a family, enjoy more movies and puzzle building and have the nice ambiance of fire with the wintry smell of wood smoke. I couldn't wait to light it again, as I type this it's up to a balmy 75 degrees....shhhh....don't tell Mikey!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 18, 2008 Dad's cell phone and baked apples

We spent Wednesday catching up. Dan stayed in his PJ's most of the morning, while I caught up on housework, bill paying, and laundry. It was a nice quiet day right up until 4:00 when my Dad called. He and Kathy have spent the last couple of week in the Azores with his brother and his family.
They returned home on Tuesday and was calling to check in. Very nice I thought, Dad wants me to know he's ok. Then came the question. I was left one task as he left here, one lowly mission for a daughter to do for her father. He asked me to take an envelope (containing his cell phone) to the post office and mail it to his house. "Simple... no problem" I thought. I put it in my van so I wouldn't forget. Turns out the place I picked to put it "so I wouldn't forget" was exactly the place I forgot. So when he called to ask, I insisted it must be there, I must have mailed it. But I couldn't remember actually doing it. With my cell phone in hand I went out to the car, opened the first stow and go compartment....and there it was. I'm sorry Dad!!! Our post office was already closed for the day but I promised to get there first thing tomorrow, I apologized and said goodbye. Today, I took Emily to work for 9am, then went immediately to the post office, walked up to the counter and told the clerk I wanted to overnight this envelope. He looked at the address, then looked at his screen, then looked at the address again and said, it's rural...best I can do is 2 days. Hmmm...I thought, 2 days...ok, I can deal with that. Then he realizes it's going to a PO Box and says that he can't guarantee it would be there before they closed on Saturday which would mean it probably wouldn't get there until Monday. Now we're up to 5 days and I'm wondering if regular mail would suffice. Had I been thinking, since FEDEX was an option, I would have just had it shipped to his house. Unfortunately I didn't think of that until after the postage was affixed, and Dan and I were headed down the road to the playground. I'm guessing, next time, one of my overly competent sister-in-law's will be given the task of mailing back the phone!

Dan and I went to the playground and were thrilled when Jen and the girls met us there. It's amazing how much children can grow when you haven't seen them in a couple of months. Seneca's little girl look is all but gone, Ruby's gotten very tall, and Joey's lost her babyish features, although she did give me a nice snuggle at the end. Dan was happy to play with the girls again and Jen and I had a chance to catch up. Hopefully we can make a regular plan to get together! Dan and I came home for lunch and nap. When he woke I showed him a recipe in our Family Fun magazine for baked apples. He thought they looked good so we decided to take a quick detour to the grocery store on our way to pick up Emily.
Emily had a good day, and was excited that she was assigned a radio (walkie talkie) at work. She was asked if she'd like to cashier as well as work greenhouse, and seemed excited to be learning something new. Progeny isn't hiring a receptionist right now, but when the do Emily is the first in line.
We arrived home and finished watching Goonies which we rented on Sunday but didn't finish watching a few nights ago because we didn't want Dan to have nightmares.
When it was over we got started with dessert. Generally I cook Monday-Wednesday nights and then we eat leftovers on Thursday, so it was a perfect night to make dessert. Dan had a great time trying to peel the apples and filling them with raisins and walnuts. Our baked apples cook while we ate dinner. Dan and Mike helped me clear the table while Em did dishes. Then we reset the table. I'm glad we made all 4 because they were really good! A little vanilla ice cream on top made them perfect. We all agreed we'd have to save this recipe for a special occasion. Dan was wearing most of it, so off to the bath he went. We washed him up, dressed him in footy pajamas and since he wanted to watch Indian in a cupboard I went up to the loft with him and set the up movie. He decided he wanted to have a black and white party, so he grabbed all his black and white stuffed animals and lined them up on his bed. I left a happy boy watching his movie with his best friends!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 Sturbridge Village

I've never milked a real cow, this plastic one will have to do!

6am: It's Homeschoolers day at Sturbridge village which means that the usual admission of $20 is just $7 today. Emily isn't working so she'll be able to join us. I haven't been since I was a little girl and am looking foward to it!

6pm: We had a great time at Sturbridge village. Laurie picked us up a little after 8am and we traveled up 495N, to the Mass pike then to 84. Sturbridge village is right off the highway and we made it there in just over an hour and a half. The day was cool and overcast and as we pulled in I noticed a beautiful pine forest, perfect for cicada nymph hunting. We paid our $7 each admission and began exploring.
As we walked through the doors, back in time, I couldn't help but think this was the time I was meant to live in. The dirt road sloped up hill. To the left was a rustic rail fence and beyond a garden filled with corn, and pumpkins. To the right a stone wall, then trees for as far as the eyes could see. On the left past the garden was a laborer's house, a simple two room. The women were sitting, talking and knitting. They were dressed in simple dresses and bonnets, neither the same, but neither too different either. Children ran around and even though the children are raised in today's society, somehow being in these surroundings inspired a sense of safety and the ability to be carefree, their only really concern was not getting in the way of the horses when the carriage came by. They ran around with abandon. I could easily imagine Laurie and I being those two women. Both Mikes working down at the saw mill. She and I spinning wool, making butter, or tending the animals. Emmy and Dan sitting in the one room school house, then running home to do their chores so they could meet their friends for a game in the common. My sister-in-law Kristin toiling away with her canning just down the street, chickens running around her feet. Early family dinners and slow nights sitting by the fire. How great it all seems....until I think of those cold New England nights and the outhouse that is truly out. That's when my craving for the old is replaced by my appreciation for the new. I don't know who invented indoor plumbing, but I'd like to shake his hand!

It was really a remarkable place, and much bigger then I remember it being when I was in Junior High. If your interested their website offers a pretty interesting tour of everything we saw. http://www.osv.org/explore_learn/village_tour.html The highlights were the blacksmith who was doing a welding demonstration and really interacted with the kids, and a woman who was dying hand spun yarn with soaked and cooked tree heartwood.
We broke for lunch right around noon and Emily chose my pine forest for a picnic. I had a few minutes afterI finished eating to check some of the trees and found nothing to my dismay.We went back into the village to see a butter churning demonstation, the grist and saw mills, we walked under a cover bridge, check out the Parson's house, lawyers office and the mercantile, which was really amazing. On our way out we stopped at the gift shop to purchase some fudge that was calling to us. They had about 20 different varieties. We settled on a bar of chocolate, one bar of Chocolate raspberry and a bar of my favorite, Chocolate Peanut butter. We enjoyed every delicious calorie sitting outside the gift shop in the cool but wood scented air. We all had a great time!

Cool caterpillars we found in Sturbridge Village

The first picture is of a Spotted tussock moth caterpillar & the second is a Southern pine sphinx caterpillar.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15, 2008 Can redemption and the raft comes in!

We woke up this morning to a glorious summers day. The sun was shining through the trees, a gentle breeze was blowing, the air was humid. I quickly hung one load of laundry on the line and started another. Our dryer broke this summer so now we dry on the line exclusively on the whim of Mother nature. Em and I made several attempts at starting both our lawnmowers to no avail, and instead decided we'd get rid of our ever growing pile of cans and bottles.
For the last 3 years I've collected cans and bottles from the neighborhood and all the proceeds go to the playground fund to buy things like playground equipment, or beach toys. It's worked out great and we've averaged about $100 a year. We had two barrels and 3 garbages bags full. Since we have a redemption center I decided to check that out before we headed down to the local package store to put them into a machine 1 by 1. The redemption center was great and would happily take all our cans and plastics. However, to recycle glass they require you bring them in boxes. Hmm....we didn't have any boxes, so opting to get rid of the cans and plastics I sorted them in the parking lots and made $17 there. Next we went down to the package store to get ride of our bottles, a barrel and a half full. Pulled up and there was no one there, perfect I thought, got out and looked at the machine, which said insert bottle, great the machine works. 5 bottles in and the machine is acting funny and moving very slow.....not good. After the 8th bottle the machine told me it was full and spit out my coupon for 40 cents. I walked into the store to ask if there was someone who might be able to empty the machine and of course there wasn't. I told them if they gave me the key, I'd do it...I desperately didn't want to take all these dirty bottles home. Eventually we found the key, and opened the machine. I took the two full barrels out and replaced them with two empty ones, closed the door and the machine said Insert bottle. Great I thought, all set. The ladies went back in the building, I started loading the machine once more, it took 7 more bottles and said it was full. Frustrated I walked back inside to let the ladies know what was going on. We agreed that I would box and count my bottles to redeem them that way. I had 165 and made $8.25 so a total of 25.25 for the mornings work, but I went home with empty barrels so it was all worth it.
We arrived home to find Richard on the beach starting to bring in the raft for the year. Feeling presidental pressure to help and being drawn to the pond because of the warm weather, Dan and I went down to help him out. The sun was hot, and the water perfect. Dan and I enjoyed a later summers beach day. Later, Dan and Em watched Spiderwick Cronicicles while I did some studying before work at 5.

10:47pm update. Work sucked and I nearly gave notice twice. I work, most nights, with a woman who speaks Brazilian Portuguese nearly exclusively with the exception of anything to do with coffee, bagels, or donuts. She doesn't do any paperwork but counts money flawlessly. She's overweight and moves very slowly. I just assume work alone, however the humor Gods would much rather watch me work around her for 5 hours. While I stocked, swept and waited on customers she counted money..... I gave her my headset at break and never gave her the opportunity to give it back, after that the night improved dramatically, and we walked out the door just a few minutes after 10.

This is what happens when Mom goes to work, maybe I should considering staying home again after all!

As I closed down the house for the night I reflected on what a strange day it had been. A bright, perfectly round orb shinned brightly down on the pond casting it's silvery glow and I thought
"Of course, that explains everything..."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September 14, 2008 Monkey muffins and Blog obsession

While shopping the other day, Dan and I picked up the ingredients for Monkey muffins. Dan found the recipe in his High-5 magazine and couldn't wait to try it out. With nothing to do on this rainy cold morning we decided today would be the day.

Danny mashing the bananas

Adding the flour...

baking soda next...

Lining the muffin pan

adding the eggs

and the vanilla

measuring the sour cream

adding the flour

and finally scooping the muffins

I put the muffins in the oven and waited the 20 minutes it took them to bake. Emily is scheduled for driving lessons from noon till 3pm, and since we wanted to watch Nim's island today we decided this morning was the best time. The kids and I watched the movie and enjoyed monkey muffins for breakfast. Emily brought up a good point as I was taking a picture of her buttering a muffin. She asked when I was going to start photographing her going into the bathroom. Evidently my blogging has become a bit of an obsession. I told her point well taken and promised to try to quell the urge to pursue private images. She might be right I might be taking blogging a bit too far...

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008

Friday started of quietly. Dan pulled out his piggy bank and asked Emily to help him count what was in there. It turned into a lengthy lesson in counting money. I weeded the front gardens, the pea patch and the tomato garden. We did a dump run and cleared the playground from toys that children over 4 no longer use.

Mom arrived and took Emily to Sweet tomatoes http://sweettomatoesinc.com/index.htm for lunch, while I showered and Mike, Dan and I went over to Marshland 2 to meet Wayne for lunch. Dan had beanies and weinies, I had grilled swordfish tips, with mashed sweet potatoes and rice, and Mike had an enormous bacon burger. As I watched him take his first bite, grease dripping from the bacon sticking out the bottom I thought... YUCK. It's been 10 weeks since I've eaten any meat, and my reaction to that burger makes me wonder if I'll ever eat it again.
I took Dan home for a nap, while Mike went to Waynes house to firm up some details for the Cranberry festival and the Al Stirt Demo next weekend. I read quite a bit of Chapter 3 in Sociology before Mom arrived. After lunch, Emily drove her to Mashpee High School to pick up her friend TJ from school. Mom let Emily drive TJ from the High School to the common's which admittedly is only a mile down the road, however I've yet to allow Emily to drive anybody except Mike, Dan and I. Sarah met Em and TJ there and brought her home when they were done. Dan woke from his nap and he, Mom and I took seperate cars up to Stop and Shop. She needed Chocolate chip cookie fixings and we needed to shop for men's night and football. Who ever has men's night is respondsible for providing GAK on Sunday for football. It's a dip made from hamburger, onions, olives, green peppers, salsa, and cheese whiz, served with corn chips. It looks like vomit, so we named it GAK.
For men's night we decided on fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cesear salad, and brownie sundae's for dessert. The night went well, Diane and I did some research on a nudist campground http://www.sandyterraces.com/ down the road since she was appalled that the newspaper was always running it's ads. Everybody went home and I quickly fell asleep on the couch. Dan however was wide awake and Mike put him to bed sometime later.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008 COMM Firestation memorial and tour

We arrived this morning at the COMM (Centerville, Osterville and Marston Mills) Fire Department in time to witness their Sept 11 Memorial to the lost Fire Fighters in the World Trade Center attacks. The firemen were lined up neatly in a row, one was lowering the flag. Dan was going about his business of collecting dandelions with flagrant disregard. I pulled him aside and explained to him what had happened 7 years ago today, and found it curious that I hadn't talked about it with him before. Did I forget, or was it more, that I didn't want to share with my very young child the horrors that all Americans experienced that day.
He stood solemnly through the rest of the service.
It seems like just yesterday. I was driving down Rt 130, newly married and enjoying my first foray into life as a stay at home Mom. I was embarking on my first quilting project, and was excitedly heading home with my newly chosen fabric. Emily was in school and I was enjoying a life of leisure. I remember hearing the report of the first plane hitting the tower and the how the reporter made it sound as if it was just a freak accident. Pulling into my driveway I heard the report of the second plane, and the whole essence of the broadcast changed. Two F-16 Fighter jets scrambled out of Otis...It wasn't just an accident, we were under attack. By whom, why, and when would it end?
Mike called and asked if I wanted him to come home. Laurie called as well and asked if she could come over, just so we weren't alone. The kids were released from school early. We were glued to the TV, that afternoon, evening and every day that closely followed. The skies were eerily quiet. The jets were the only sounds heard for the next few days. Instead of the feeling of freedom we usually felt hearing them, all of a sudden it was the sound of fear.
I will never forget...

We were at the Fire Department this morning for a Home Schooler's tour. Firefighter Frank was terrific with the kids, asked them lots of questions and the kids asked some pretty good questions too. We helped him get dressed in the right order, we learned what to do if your ever in your bedroom and there's a fire (Dan was the assistant for this demonstration) we climbed, over, around, and inside a Fire truck, then took an amazing tour of their facilities. Their kitchen, bedrooms, gym, and communications center. Our tour was nearly 2 hours long, and while we were there, there were 2, 911 calls and we watched as the Fire Fighters suited up and left on call.
Danny demonstrating to the group how to check to see if a door is hot.

Firefighter Frank passing out Fire hats to the kids

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 10, 2008 The "Not back to school Picnic"

Another lazy morning, even though Emily had to be to work by 9, we had more then enough time to dress, eat and get out the door with time to spare. Today was the day of the Homeschoolers "Not back to school picnic" at Hamblin Pond in Marston's Mills. It's was a beautiful day but breezy and cool, not a beach day if the wind wasn't blowing just right. As we arrived we noticed the chop and knew it was going to be chilly. Thankfully Dan and I packed sweatshirts just in case and had a terrific day. There were lots of people we didn't know, but quite a few we did. We enjoyed catching up with the other Moms and Dads, comparing notes, and planning events for the fall. Dan had a great time playing with all the kids. One of my favorite parts of the homeschooling events is all the different age ranges. For Dan it really seems to benefit him playing with boys that are a bit older. They seem to diffuse or at least match his aggressiveness and suddenly it becomes a non-issue. Dan had a great time playing and learning how he should behave and I had a good time talking with other Moms, knowing that he was having fun.

Dan had a great time playing on the life guard chair with the other kids, and especially Nina. Later on he climbed a tree with some bigger boys, everything was going fine until he lost his balance and fell. A quick band aid solved the problem. Dan usually fights a nap but when we got home he was done and willingly climbed up into his little nest and fell asleep.

Emily's been reading alot about England. She's frantically studying anything and everything she can get her hands on relating to the British country side, culture, customs and history, in hopes she can convince her grandparents to take her there before some of the other grandchildren come of age. She was privileged enough to join them on a trip to France just before her 15th birthday.

Danny spent the day socializing at the picnic and working on patterns.