Thursday, December 31, 2009

Checking in

Been busy, but I feel as though I should acknowledge the end of the year, and start of another. And is this the end of the decade, since it started with 2000, or was it 2001, so 2010 will end the decade?  I mean, I do know that a decade is ten years, but we had no year 0, right? so 10 was the first decade, which means 2011 starts the next one. It doesn't matter anyway, because I believe the popular belief is that January 1st starts the 'teens'.  Enough of this gibberish!  On to Christmas- the one we just had, that is.

It was a good one. The visiting in RI was a bit hectic, and since only Ameranth spent the night, we felt like we didn't get to see enough of our chil'ns.  We did get to meet Sectaurs' lady friend, who is very nice, and acted as though she was not at all overwhelmed by meeting both sides of his family. She was introduced to roughly 35 people at 3 houses in 5 hours. And that's about half of the family we have. She has none, so quite a difference.

I did get some new earrings, so have had a few adventures there. Wouldn't you think that after 6 months, they would be completely healed? Yes, I would too, but they aren't.  Not to be too graphic, but it's unsettling when the post doesn't slide through to the back, but gets lost in the cartilage (is that even cartilage in the ear lobe?) and wanders in circles. Ameranth refused to help me out, even though I reminded her that I had done it for her years ago.  Anyway, I successfully changed them myself today and now sport yellow turtles.

J gave me a neat decoration:

Isn't that pretty? I think it will go on our porch wall this summer. (The body is about a foot long)  Ms M gave me a waffle iron, so I can now indulge once in a while and Sectaurs can keep the one he borrowed 3 years ago. This one is better anyway, but don't tell him. He doesn't read this, since he says he shouldn't have to look online to see what his mother is doing, so I can say anything I want to about him! :)

We are starting the new year off with a 3-4 day snowstorm, so there will be lots of relaxing time, interspersed with bouts of snow shoveling-and-blowing. We parked the cars in the widest part of the driveway, which is a pain to clear, hoping the snow in that area to a minimum.  We have gas for the blower and the generator- we know we'll need the former, and hope not to use the latter. We are in the area forecast to get the lion's share of the snowfall, so we will see how that plays out.

Best of wishes for the New Year!

Oh, oh! I had to edit this. I forgot to mention that J got me a new camera!  A little Canon, in a pretty pale pink. Now, as Ameranth said, I don't have to have everyone hold still for 7 seconds while my old camera slooowly clicked in.  (It was a hand-me-down and I loved having a digital camera, but now I have a better one, so I  gave it to my parents to play with).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warmth in my heart..and my feet, finally.

So, it turns out that it's not just that my van has sucky heat. Nope, it had a thermostat that was stuck open. And now for 12.95 for the part and a bit more for the joy of having someone else fix it, I no longer arrive to work with a cherry red nose, and white fingers.

And just so we don't sound like complete idiots, it had been a  gradual loss of heat, so I thought well, duh it's getting colder outside.  But suddenly last week,  turning on the heat would stop the struggling rise of the heat gauge and cause it to flatline.

On to the warmth in my heart. First, I have tonight off!  Woo hoo! I can't remember the last time I didn't work Christmas Eve. We had a choice of the day before or after off, and I always chose after, since we drove to RI.  This year, I have both off and I am enjoying it.

My wrapping is now finished, and I am about to make some snickerdoodles. (Those are cookies, guys. cookies) Tomorrow all of our MA kids will meet us at Grandma's and we'll exchange gifts. Then off to visit J's side of the family, finally finishing up the day at #3's for the rest-of-my-family gathering. 

We won't be able to visit with J's sister Re, since she can't take the risk of germs right now. She's just finished a grueling course of chemo treatment for breast cancer, and has a few weeks off before she starts radiation. Re caught some virus and had to spend a few days in the hospital, being re-hydrated, but went home today, so that's good news.

Shoeshine called today to let me know he had sent a birthday present that should arrive today. The UPS man showed up while we talked, so I was able to thank him right away for the very nice earrings he sent. My first dangly pair! I had to have J help get one in, since I couldn't see the right angle to aim for! So, now I look a little strange as I randomly shake my head to feel them.

Merry Christmas to anyone and everyone!  It will be a quick trip down and back, but we are lucky to have so much family near enough to visit. As well as family we want to visit!

Lucky to have so much family, period.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decorating with Mr Crazy

J and I both had Friday and Saturday off this week, so were able to wrap up a few holiday chores.  Being the cheapskate thrifty shopper that I am, we walked the perimeter of our pasture yesterday, looking for one we could cut, that was on our side of the stone wall. No luck, although the dogs enjoyed the outing. I really hate paying anything a lot for a tree.

We set out this morning to get the best bargain we could, which would mean J looking high and me low for one we could agree on. Lo and behold, we drove past a neighbor's driveway and saw a tree stuck in the snowbank, with a cardboard sign stating "FREE".  We looked at each other and turned to get it. Wow, 30 seconds from home and done already!

J stopped and waited, until I told him to be the man and get out and grab the tree. I waved out the window in case our friends saw us taking their discard. He popped it on top of the truck cover whereupon I asked him did he think it was going to stay  there?  600 feet home? No problem!  5 seconds later, he stopped the truck and hopped out to pick it up off the road, while I was saying that the driver behind us was laughing at us.

Cut the bottom off, lopped a few branches and stuck it in the stand with water while we set out once more. We hoped the limbs would thaw and drop down out of the barrel shape into a more traditional A-line. (They never did) I think this was a tree some male cut down and when some female saw it, he was told to get rid of it and get a better one.

J suggested that after Christmas, we put it back where we found it, with a "Thanks" sign, an idea which amused us greatly. Then he paused and asked, "Was that guy in the truck really laughing at us?"  No, dear.

After we reset his truck clock, which was off because he got a new battery Friday, he turned the radio on, then off after I said it was too loud.  I said I was afraid his hearing was getting worse, and he asked me why. "Because yesterday, you didn't hear most of what I said to you!"
"Oh.....When were you talking to me?"
All friggin' day, that's when!

I was on the phone with Ameranth last night, when I moved to the kitchen doorway.
"Jeepers, Dad has been decorating and I can't see out the kitchen sink window anymore"

Ameranth inherited her Dad's love of holiday festiveness and said "Oh, I have a lot of those stickon window decorations. I have been restraining myself since Sectaurs thinks less is more."

"I don't even recognize some of them. There's a big snowball fort with snowmen all around that covers the whole top pane"

"Hey, those are mine!... well, I guess Sectaurs doesn't have to worry about my restraint now."

We have a built-in hutch across from my seat at the kitchen table and while eating tonight, my gaze fell upon one of the decorative ducks that live there with our dishes.  Nothing is safe from J.

The dogs were very interested in the tree, and our decorations. I worry a bit about Boomer, since he loves any ball he finds. So far, no casualties, although it came close when J tried to get the dogs to pose in front of the tree. Rosie's tail almost undid all of our work.  Boomer did not get the whole sit nice idea. But see how patiently Rosie sits there?

            Until all of that energy had to go somewhere.

J proudly told Sectaurs about scoring the free tree, and told me all he said was "Oh, you guys". Some of our kids think we tend to accept too much of other people's castoffs but hey, we could use this right away, and we get rid of it in a couple of weeks! Now that's efficient.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Such exciting goings-on!

Not really, sorry I got your hopes up.  But it is exciting to me- My ranger got her Legendary Cartographer title last night, in Guild Wars. That mean she has explored 100% of all 3 continents in the game, a goal where a little OCD helps a lot.

Ok, moving on. This is what my dogs have going on today in their big backyard. (Ranger Rick, anyone?)

Sniffing excitedly: Wow, oh wow, do you smell that, Boomer?
Running frantically on shorter legs: Yes, yes, yes, I do. What can it be?
Let's run back and forth from the tree to the fence to see if the smell will turn up a body!

Looking skyward into the tree, whispering(whining): Oh, it's up there, it is. I see it flicking it's tail at us.

Sadly: No, it wasn't really there at all. It's gone. Over the fence and back to the woods.  Let's go inside. Mom's calling us.

Excitedly sniffing under the stairs: Oh, Oh do you smell that? Something was here too!  Oh, if we could only fit under there! How come we always miss the good stuff?

Excitedly jumping up on the closed door: Hey! Hey! Mom, you shut the door before we got to it!  Hey!  Mom? Let us in?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snips and Snails and puppy dog tales

Busy, busy in my temporary return to customer service. And, boy howdy, are there a lot of disgruntled, feeling entitled people out there!  Merry Christmas to you too.

Moving along to bits from this week.

J leaves for work at 4:30 and the dogs generally wake me up around 6 to go outside, where they stay until I get up for good, usually 10 or so. (I work nights, all of you who were tsk, tsking).  I got up one morning to find Rosie anxiously bouncing to get inside, but Boomer nowhere in sight. I could hear him however. He was (once again) stuck in the timeout yard.

I had piled our porch furniture at the end, covered with tarps, and made a hay nest out of the wind for the dogs. Boomer apparently climbed the pile and launched himself over the rail and into prison. Rosie was extremely upset that I took the time to get dressed (we had 10 inches of snow fall the day before) and Boomer wouldn't sit still for a picture.

Got a couple of packages in the mail and that's always fun. One was a box of Kenyon Mills Johnny Cake White Corn Meal, sent by my parents.  We looked for some when we were in RI last month, but the grocery stores no longer carry it. One of my sisters lives near the mill and small store, so my folks swung by on a visit and got us a box full of corn meal goodness.

If you're not familiar with johnny cakes, they are thick pancake-like gems, cooked on a griddle, crispy outside and mushy inside, that taste wonderful with butter and maple syrup.  I've been told that the mushy part is akin to grits.  Growing up we would have these for supper sometimes, with bacon and scrambled eggs. Mmm Mmm. To this day I put maple syrup on my scrambled eggs. This might be what's for dinner tomorrow.

We went out shopping today. Us and a couple of thousand other people. Walking out of Marden's I commented that I thought $9.99 was a little much for the kissing balls, considering their size.  J did a doubletake, only to be disappointed when he realized I meant the evergreen decorations nearby.

Driving home past a "novelty lingerie" shop, J read their sign and wondered aloud "What kind of board games would the M******t Boutique sell?"
Me:  "Short ones"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here be beavers (or at least it looks like it)

I took these pictures the day before snow covered the ground here. What timing! I've been noticing felled trees on the way to work, with the little pointy stumps that say "Beavers at work". No big surprise since there are several dams making 3 ponds that I can see, but these big trees are across the road, and the railroad tracks, from the pond.

I assume they trim off the smaller branches and haul them back to their pantry, but are they dragging them across the road, up the slope to the tracks and back down again?  It looks like there is a culvert, so probably they use that, but the end looked like it had collapsed a bit. I saw a six foot length of birch floating that had to be four inches in diameter- that would be tough to drag.

Did you see the size of the trees they are downing?  Bit off more than they can chew. Hah!

Beavers are nocturnal, so I think I better be careful driving past here at 1 AM. If they get a work party going, it could look like the Ents are marching. Talk about an adrenaline rush!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Out from under the weather

Sooo, last week lasted about a month, and not in a good way. The funeral, coming home, getting ready for Thanksgiving (which was a high point, by the way) then dealing with a nasty GI disturbance. I am finally feeling better, and trying to adjust to working full time, for the rest of the month. I know, I know, most people work at least one full time job, or more, but this is my blog and I can whine if I want to.

A few tidbits that I can pull out of my scatter-brain:

Driving by that organic farm near us, out of the blue, J says "That little piggy went to market"  I didn't comment, figuring he must have seen the pigs frolicking in the field, as we often do. Topping the hill, we see a cloud of smoke billowing from behind the farm store, but couldn't figure out if it was their smoker, or a brush fire.
Opening the window, we sniff and both say "Bacon, mmmm".

While in RI, we drove to Jamestown, an island in Narragansett Bay, between North Kingstown and Newport. When we were kids there were ferries, which have long since been replaced by bridges. J and I don't like driving over bridges. Long time phobia for me, J just joined in a few years ago. Seems strange for a guy who jumped out of airplanes in the Army.

The old bridge was one of those that had the metal grating on the top, but did have the high arched sides as well.  The new one is flatter, and is concrete roadway with low sides. As a passenger, I thought it was much better. J reported feeling as though he were driving straight up and off the top.  On the way home, I suggested that he might  feel better driving in the inside lane, away from the edge. "Okay" and the van immediately swerved into that lane. "Whoa, just a suggestion, big boy!"  He says he looked behind him first, but I don't think so.

We drove out to Beavertail and the lighthouse there, and around the parks at two forts built there many wars ago. It was a nice Sunday morning, and we saw lots of couples and some family groups walking together.
"Why didn't we ever get into walking together as a family on Sunday mornings, J?"
"I guess we were too busy sleeping late"

It was close to 20 years since we'd been out there, I think. It was one of the first places we went while dating. I was trying to remember where it was that we had gotten out and had our first daytime-not-end-of-date kiss. I guess I hadn't paid much attention to the landscape, and I don't know if J even remembered the occasion.

So, we got out at one park, and walked down towards the sea. It was high cliffs here and I could hear water rushing through a gorge, so I wanted a closer look. Staying about 6 feet from the edge, I checked it out and heard J from 20 feet behind me.
"This is close enough for me"
Me: "Okay let's go back to the car"
J heads back up the gravelly slope without a backwards glance to be sure I was not falling to my death.
Me: "This is why we never did family walks!"