Monday, August 31, 2009

Aaawww Tedy's going

Pooh. Tedy Bruschi's retiring. Good for him, but bummer for Patriots' fans. Without Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison, and Tedy, the defensive line will sure look different. Which isn't all bad, since they were getting up there in age (football age that is), but now I have to learn different names to root for.

I'm not a football fanatic, and couldn't even name all of the positions probably, but I do enjoy watching NFL games. Well, mostly games with the Patriots playing. But Bruschi is/was a pretty classy player, IMHO. Not too big, but boy, he could move fast and get to where he needed to be.When he wasn't on the field, you could see him on the sidelines pumping energy into his teammates. He was with NE all of his professional career too. I'll miss watching him and wish him and his family all the best.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sober Sunday

No, I don't mean I haven't been drinking. Although I haven't been. I have been trying to figure out what to write for one of Wendy's Small Town Sunday Snapshot posts. When I review the past week, the only thing I can think of is the murder last Monday, and that is not a typical post subject.

But, there you have it. An 80 year old woman was found dead in her bed, and her son, who lived with her, has been arrested for murder. He says she was alive when he left at 3 AM. I realize that terrible things happen every minute, in towns all over, but it's true what all those neighbors always say. "Nobody would think he would kill anybody. He was quiet, a bit 'slow'."

This is a small town, population approximately 4000, and although we moved here in 1987, we certainly don't know everyone, or even half of everyone. I didn't know the victim, but did know her son. Neither drove, so he could often be seen walking the 3 or 4 miles to the library, where he signed up for computer time to look up Star Trek information. The past few years he worked at the transfer station, where he was very diligent about who threw what where. He was not one of the people who would let you dump a little stuff in the demolition trailer without a fee. We tried to bypass him when possible.

The neighbors said they knew something was wrong when the shades weren't up by 7:30 and the wash wasn't out on the line. Their house looks very neat and tidy behind the yellow police tape. The judge ordered psychiatric and psychological testing, and I expect he may be found not competent to be tried in court. I think if it were my family involved I would hope that would be the case. Because how terrible would it be if a sane person did that?

So, I am sorry for the Debbie Downer story, and I hope that writing this will let it slip to the back of my mind. Also hoping for a much better week coming up.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, August 28, 2009


A long weekend in RI resulted in a low energy week here, so not much to record. I figured I'd just do some updating.

Around the neighborhood, there have been changes since my original nosiness observations in July- look here - but sadly no definitive answers. The hole in the ground was closed up the next day, and our best guess is that they were looking for the septic tank cover prior to having it pumped. We have played that game before, and it is never where we remember it being, although we got pretty close last time.

The house with the opening in the kitchen wall was closed in with a pair of french doors, but with no sign of either stairs or a deck, right now it's a 3 foot drop to the lawn. That one's a slow moving project, unlike the foundation mystery. First, we saw the orange tubing of radiant floor heating, which seemed odd for a garage, but then framing went up. One end is (almost) definitely a garage, but has a wall and stairs which separate it from the rest of the space. Then a second floor went up and now there are roof trusses over the living space. Since it was built extremely close to the end of the original house, we assume that will be torn down later. Still unsure about the west end of the ground floor- living space or more garage doors? Home business?

Another update concerns goodies J brought home from RI. The J should stand for Junkman, since he embodies the statement "one man's trash is another man's treasure". This time it was two garden benches that his sister was going to throw out, but ended up in our van. He has sanded and varnished one already, and it's ready for duty. I am shocked at the fast turnaround!

Last update to mention is my computer. I bought two 1 GB sticks of RAM last month and ever since my machine crashes several times a day. I updated drivers, cleaned the dust and reseated the memory, with little change. I finally took it to our computer guy, who found one stick was bad. Bad RAM! Behave yourself.

Of course I could have paid a little more and just gotten it from TMAC, but I had bought it online. And of course it was over the 30 day return timeframe, so I have to go through the manufacturer, and have to return both sticks for replacement, leaving me with the paltry 768 MB I've been living with. Plus, paying for the return postage negates the free shipping I'd scored originally.

The good news is that I think I'll be getting a new computer instead of upgrading mine. Woohoo! But, since Windows 7 and DirectX11 are coming out at the end of October, I may wait until then, to bypass Vista. J is jealous that mine will be newer than his, but I've dealt with that for 4 years, so he can take his turn now.

End of the updates- except for the weather. 3 weeks of summer is apparently all we are allotted this year, since we are back to temps in the 60s this week. Actually, the last two days have been very nice, but it's back to jeans, not shorts for me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Warning- Poking fun at puppy alert

J and I spent the weekend in RI, attending an annual summer party at the house of J's youngest brother. All of our kids made an appearance (except Colorado Shoeshine, of course) and the weather cooperated nicely. Hurricane Bill caused Maine to have a wet weekend, but we had only an overnight wetting down south.

The dogs were well behaved, especially after we added two feet of height to the dog run at my parent's house. It had been unoccupied and they fixed it up last year for us to use while visiting. However, after Rosie leaped over the 4 foot fence from a sit, she had to be tied outside. This made Boomer a lonely boy, lonely and blue, all alone with nothing to do- except bark.

So, 200 feet of chicken wire later, they were back together. And Rosie checked every inch of the fence too, before resigning herself to containment. Grandma and Grandpa didn't mind babysitting then, and we could go off to socialize. Ameranth brought her dog, who is much better trained and who charmed everyone at the party. (Anna is two months older than Rosie and that makes a huge difference at her age- almost 2).

Anyway, getting on to the puppy poking. J's sister Trish has recently adopted 2 dogs to keep her mini dachshund company. Why 2? I think there was a 10 lb. minimum. One is a 7 year old chihuahua who was rescued from a puppy mill, and the other is a 6 month old puggle.

Now, I don't know if all puggles look like this one or not, but her body is as long as the dachshund's, which is fine, until you see the little pug face attached to an extraordinarily long neck. I don't think the picture does it justice.

All I could think of was the Neverending Story- Anyone else thinking Falkor?

Bella is a sweetie, though. I never thought I would say this, but I wouldn't mind a little dog like her, if I didn't have the heffalump and whirling dervish I do now. And Chloe the chihuahua isn't naked like the Taco Bell dog, so she's much cuter than expected as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Eliza or Dr?

All I want are dogs I can walk,
and dogs that listen when I talk.
Two obedient dogs,
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

Who fetch a ball, then give it back,
Who don't think kittens are their snacks,
Don't barf in my van back.
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Geekiness galore

Big news this week for Guild Wars fans. Finally we have been told there may be a trailer released Thursday for Guild Wars 2, the new game we have been waiting for. Hoping for some news about beta and release dates too.

Then, I found this catchy music video featuring Felicia Day and The GUILD members. The Guild is a Webisode about a group of online gamers, and I am looking forward to their 3rd season.
Do you want to date my avatar.

It's been very hot and humid this week, so I have been doing a lot of reading. After I found out the Diana Gabaldon's newest book in her "Outlander" series is due out in September, I decided to reread them all. If you've read these, you know they are huge books, 900 to 1000 pages. I'm on the fifth one now, one more to go. It's been long enough since I read them for me to remember the broad strokes of the story, but not all the details. I read pretty quickly and can finish most novels in a (long) day if I want, so it makes it hard to put these down, thinking if I read one more hour, I'll be done. Not happening.

We've also been working on our porch stairs, and that has been hot, hot work. Rosie got tired just watching.
Rosie and porch stairs

Any other spare time I have has been spent browsing Blogger, finding so many interesting people out there!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Saturday night

This week was a busy one for me, since I had to be somewhere at a specific time on 4 of the 5 weekdays. Unusual for this summer, but I managed to still make time to check out the blogosphere. I came across this post at Suldog, which incorporates the lyrics to a Pink Floyd song and struck a chord with me(no pun intended). Not because I was a Pink Floyd fan in the 70's -I wasn't- but because my son was, in the 90's when his life was not taking a path we would have chosen. (He's doing just fine now, thanks).

I was thinking of how those lyrics immediately brought my son to mind, and how much a part of our memories different songs are. Just like certain scents, a song can bring me back years to a day, an event or person long forgotten. The soundtracks of our lives, I guess. Here are the greatest hits of mine.

My father likes marches, and so do I. We love a parade. When I was around 10, he was a volunteer fireman and was on the team that went to musters with the old fashioned hand pump trucks. These had long handles on either side which were hand pumped to generate the force to pump water through the fire hoses and the longest distance measured won the day. There would generally be a parade through town before the muster started, and teams of men pulled the trucks along. I marched in front holding one end of our banner, with the son of another fireman on the other end. We wore khaki uniforms, complete with hats. I can't remember if it was just one summer, or more that I did this. To this day, a bass drum thrills me to my toes.

(This link: Muster explains what a hand tub muster looks like, if anyone is curious.)

Moving right along to my mother- her musical talent, or lack thereof, is what most of us inherited, but, like the rest of us, it didn't stop her from singing around the house. "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts" was a favorite, as well as "K-K-K-Katy" and "Onward Christian Soldiers".

When I hear "I Want to Hold Your Hand" I see my brother holding his little transistor radio to his ear."The Things We Do For Love" was popular when J and I were dating. When I said/sang to him "a bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck" I meant I love you, although I didn't sing that part, since neither of us had admitted to that yet. I have never asked him if he knew that song- I don't think he did.

Our kids, so many to choose from- songs, not kids. I think they remember me singing "You are my sunshine". Everybody hated "Don't take the girl" and liked "Goodbye Earl". Then "Maneater"- that's Ms M and her friends singing in a second grade show (what was that teacher thinking?) "Nice day for a white wedding" and I see a video Sectaurs and friends made in high school about WWII using that as the background music. (Think Germans in snow)

Any Schoolhouse Rock song is Ameranth. I think she used it to study for her SATs, lol. Any Nirvana tune-is that an oxymoron?- is like an old favorite, except I only recognize the music, never could understand the lyrics. That came from Shoeshine playing it at high volume for several years upstairs.

The music played at high volume downstairs was often the Makem and Clancy Irish rebellion/drinking songs. The kids can sing along to most of them still, I'm sure. The "Wild Colonial Boy", "Four Green Fields", "Brennan on the Moor," "Jug of Punch," "Finnegan's Wake," and "Moonshiner" among many others.

I just remembered a greatest hits ad from the 90's that all the kids would sing on the school bus. They knew two lines each from a bunch of songs including "Wildfire", "She made love to me in my Chevy van", "I heard my Mama cry the night Chicago died" and "Hooked on a feeling"- the ooga chuka version.

Let the good times roll.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tripping the light fantastic

Tripping the light fantastic- so who's old enough to remember that? East side, west side? Anyone?

Driving to Freeport today, I heard Footloose on the radio. That song always makes me feel like I can dance, and I enjoyed bopping my hand out the open window, pretending I was keeping up with the rhythm. I can't really dance, but over the years with J, I have progressed to the point where we can look okay and we have fun.

dancing at the wedding

Looks sweet, doesn't he? However sometimes we look as though we are wrestling, as I hiss in his ear to remember that we are out in public and redirect his hand.

dirty dancing

Ms M was amazed at our skill and took videos, which thankfully I have not yet seen. She said she had never seen us dancing before, by which she meant dressed up and properly dancing. When I reminded her that we had danced at her wedding reception, her reply was that she was so nervous that she doesn't remember. But I have proof- and she and Shoeshine are there too:

How could she forget it was Mr C's first(and probably only) toilet paper dance?

What's that? You don't know the toilet paper dance? Lucky you, my kids would say. It started out innocently enough- J and his sisters liked to entertain their family and friends with a routine (loosely speaking) created in their teens. Lip synching to songs like The Great Pretender with exaggerated hand motions- "I'm wearing my heart like a crown" with their hands above their heads, etc. This crowd is very Irish and also loved the Irish rebellion songs made popular by Tommy Makem and the Clancy brothers.

One night, the celebrations took a new turn. Singing, alcohol, laughter and the need for decorations combined with a roll of toilet paper being used as ties, hair bows, necklaces and boas. A new tradition was born, one that was guaranteed to embarrass any offspring in the area. Even worse, when the relatives all came for Ms M's high school graduation, they brought a 12 pack of Scott's tissue (the official TP dancer's choice) to initiate her into adulthood. The leftover rolls were put to good use in their original role, and I discovered how much longer the 1000 sheets of one-ply lasted. We changed despite bitter complaints.

I don't know how Ms M's friends knew about the toilet paper dance, but when they came to her reception, they wanted to see it. No problem!

toilet paper dance

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Small town Sunday attempt

Wendy at On The Front Porch hosts Small Town Sundays and I am attempting to join in, but I am not sure I will be able to handle the linky part, we shall see.

Our day went smoothly today- mostly. We put up a small shed we had been planning, and all of the measurements and angles came out right. Yay for math.... and measuring at least twice and cutting once.

During one break, I startled J by looking behind him and doing a doubletake- He thought something was ready to pounce, but it was just our neighbor's huge goofy black lab. He was so happy to have us say hello, and offer to walk him home down the hill. His owner was grateful- the dog had been gone an hour and he had driven by several times looking for him. J just thought he was being friendly, waving each time he saw him go by.

Later we turned our dogs loose in the pasture, hoping Rosie would not take off to the woods. She was very good, and thank goodness no turkeys or deer showed up to lead her astray. They found some feathers to chew on, plus a little grass here and there, and came to us to go back in. I am sure this good behavior was just a fluke.
dogs in pasture

It's nice to have a day that goes pretty much as planned. The only part that was not so smooth was J's haircut, which I do. It is not as simple as mine, since he has a 'regular' men's haircut- you know parted and combed over to one side. It's always a pleasant surprise when I get the curve right over his forehead- sometimes it's too short, etc. So, when he got up I saw that it was still too long right in front. Instead of having him sit down again, I reached up with little sharp pointy scissors to trim it, hoping I didn't poke him in the eyeball. Suddenly he bent his knees and I thought it was to see the TV and got mad because I did almost jab him. He got mad because I was and stomped off to the mirror. We each explained why we snapped and storm was over. They pass much more quickly now than in years past! It would be nice to think we have matured, but it could be it's not worth the energy to fight.

Anyway, that was our Sunday- not much about our small town, but I have been stressing about the linking, and hope to do better next week.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blast from the past

Have you ever wondered if the white tape-type of electric fence wire was just for show, so the horses could see the fence? It's not.

We walked the dogs up through the pasture tonight and saw the regular wire had been run across the corner, making a triangle. We naturally assumed that was the live wire(and it could be- we ducked under without touching it) and got to the corner with just two lines strung. I figured I could pull the white tape up, making space to go between and avoid the crawl through the damp grass. ZAP! J didn't believe me and tested it himself. ZAP! We crawled under.

That zap immediately sent me back about 45 years, to my grandfather's vegetable garden and my brother. Papa O told us that if we held onto the electric fence, we wouldn't feel it, and demonstrated. It could even be true, I never could bring myself to grab it to see. 2 tried again and again, each time Papa shouting to make him jump, and laughing. This grandfather had a strange sense of humor, and loved practical jokes. His youngest son is three years older than I am, so is more like a brother than an uncle. 2 and I spent a lot of time up the road with Chucky and 2 bore the brunt of the teasing, being the youngest. That's a whole other post (or three) though.

Speaking of being younger, I had occasion recently to marvel at young love, and not in a good way. Turning a corner last week, we saw a 'couple' walking up the road in front of us. I assume they were a couple but the guy was about 20 feet in front of the girl, and both were walking energetically, with stormy faces. We passed and looked back to see the girl had laid herself down across the travel lane, like Nell Fenwick across a railroad track. A car was headed that way, and the guy turned around to march back to her, but sadly a hill cut off our view and we could only imagine the dramatic ending. If only J had been driving more slowly!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home again, home again jiggity jig

I made it. Through a week of cleaning, driving, hosting, visiting, shopping, driving, more visiting, and more driving. That's about 10 times my normal activity. If I were an animal, I would be a cat, not a dog, that's for sure.

It was very nice having my folks up here to visit and to go to our reunion. And, with great timing, an old school friend who lives in Las Vegas was in RI visiting her mother, so we were able to get together on Tuesday after I drove my parents home. Another friend, Eleanor, came as well, and we went through our high school yearbook comparing memories and updates. Karen's teenage boys were amazed at how long we "gabbed". Although we don't talk frequently, we always pick up where we left off with no problem. Now that Karen has been dragged into the 21st century, as she described getting a personal email address, we can keep in touch more often, I hope.

The dogs did not appreciate being in the yard all day while J was at work, nor the 2 hour delay in getting their dinner. Rosie told us this by chewing the arm off a living room chair, while J was out mowing the lawn. Bad dog.

Oh hey, we did get our bed problem fixed, sort of. We returned the skyscraper rails and got the basic metal frame that attaches to any headboard. Hah! not ours of course. The screw spaces in the frame do not lineup with the predrilled holes in the headboard. Easy enough to fix, sometime. For now, the headboard is braced against the wall, and the footboard is held in place by a desk we had there. We don't need the footboard, but we like it, both for looks and practicality. The afghan can be hung over the end and our towels hung on the posts.

In weather news, we have had sunshine. That's it- 6 sunny days in August- amazing, eh? My mother kept saying, "at least everything is lush and green". Yes, and that includes our gravel driveway which has almost completely disappeared from view, thanks to the rain forest climate we've had. I wonder how folks in the Northwest deal with the constant gray drizzlies? I couldn't take it for months, never mind year after year. I saw on the news that Seattle area stores had sold out of fans and air conditioners due to the steady sunshine and intense heat wave. Some residents seemed baffled that summer should be so hot. We're baffled that it could be so wet.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Family reunion

The reunion has come and gone, successfully by all accounts. The weather was beautiful and with a detour around downtown Rockland and the Lobster Festival, the trip went smoothly.

About 37 people showed up, about half of whom I had not seen in at least 40 years, if at all. Two cousins did a great job of having a family tree put together, plus a slide show of all the extended members. The oldest person was my father's aunt, who will be 99 next month, and the youngest under 6. We had color coded name tags, which were great, and group pictures were taken.

One surprise was J finding out he was related to a frequent customer of his, a cousin I had never met before today. Small world.

All in all, a nice family gathering, one of several we've had this summer with different branches of both sides, and all have left us with a good feeling. We are very lucky that we have very little drama at this type of thing. I know many people who have no family interactions, and like it that way, but I would find that very sad. My sister's 3 adopted sons, all teenagers now, were thrilled to find out about so many relatives they had never met, and to see pictures dating back over 100 years. After being told who was in one picture, one boy's reply- "that's my great- great grandfather?" Yes it is.