Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We are having a sort of extended Christmas this year- Sectaurs came home Saturday so we've had fun visiting and relaxing. Yes, relaxing- for the first time in forever, my presents were wrapped two days early, not at midnight Christmas Eve. We had ham last night, so it's ham rolls tonight- and spaghetti for J.

Christmas morning we drive down to R.I. as usual- we'll visit with J's side of the family that evening, and get together with my side on Wednesday afternoon. We used to try to mash everyone in one day, but that was exhausting, and left no time for games, or conversations. J is working today but has the rest of the week off, which is a first as well.

Speaking of relaxing, I shocked certain family members when I asked if they would mind not having a tree this year.  With the babysitting Ameranth does here, our living room was feeling crowded with baby stuff, and I didn't have the energy to try to decorate in a child-safe manner. I assured them I would come up with an acceptable substitute to pile presents around, and that I would use some lights.

So here is our "tree area":
 (Spruce boughs, barberry branch, our traditional Santa tree-topper, all perched on a tablecloth covered highchair)  This works for me.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Subtitles for life

A snowy day and J having several days off in a row may be making the house seem a leetle too cozy- that, or Ameranth is just feeling her oats today.

J is on the phone to his boss (and family friend) from back in the day, and catching up. I hear him explain that I retired and am unemployed now= "Living the good life" he says.

Ameranth murmurs "my burden to bear" quietly.

J next moves on to "I'm 62 now"  and again I hear the editorial "Yes, I'm an old, old man".

I'm so glad we amuse her.

J just came in laughing to show me what he tried to wear earlier, snowblowing the driveway.
He couldn't figure out why this 'hat' was so hard to get on.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Talking the Dog

Anyone who has lived with a dog learns a foreign language, as does the dog. Some dogs are whiz kids and even learn sign language, and to speak on command. Boomer and I aren't on that level- we speak pidgin dog-lish- but we manage.

Boomer is a strange study in contrasts. He loves routine, but not rules. He is insanely jealous of anyone else getting my attention, muttering under his breath when J and I sit at the table and talk, or bouncing over to me if I dare pet Anna. When I pet him, and Anna or the baby are in the room, he squirms with joy, and flaunts the love. But if Ameranth picks up the dog brush, he quickly positions himself in front of her and sits quietly, his skin rippling with pleasure as she scratches his back.

When I get up to visit the bathroom in the early hours, if it's light out, Boomer will quietly walk over and meekly say good morning. I pet him, I go back to bed, he goes back to bed. I know he's already been outside, before J went to work. However, when he feels it's time, I hear a soft whine outside my door. If I ignore him long enough, he goes upstairs and wakes Ameranth, so most days I get up and let him out.

Next, we walk out to get the paper. He is allowed out off leash because he stays around and comes when called. Mostly. Anna does not, and if she catches us, he has to stay inside too. So we have to be werry, werry qwiet. I swear, the dog tiptoes to the door. Any other time of the day, he levitates and spins in circles all the way to the door, if he thinks there's a chance of going out.

Our conversations are usually short and to the point. He comes to the computer and whines- I look at the clock and tell he's not being fed. "It's too early, you have to wait" results in him lying down on the dog bed next to my computer with a long-suffering sigh.   "OK dinnertime" means another series of pirouettes as he makes sure I get the food, add water, and deliver it. I know people say it's the tone used that sends the message, but no matter how I say the word 'dinner', he knows what it means and is happy.

If he wants to go out and I'm in the kitchen, he stands still with his head pointing toward the door, waiting until I notice him. Other times, he comes up and I'll ask if he wants to go out- ears up and tail wagging= yes. Ears laid back and slowly sinking body means no. If the dogs get a little too rambunctious at night, we'll threaten them with putting them outside, and they immediately slink off and settle down.

He watches me too. If I pick up my glass and snack, or a book, he trots off to the living room to settle down there. Sometimes it's the computer room instead. And it's not just me- If Ameranth makes a move to put shoes on (because she's usually barefoot) both dogs think there might be a walk coming-if I tighten my laces at the same time- they are positive!

Ameranth has taught Anna more commands (turn around, wrong way, come this way, and watch out!) but Anna is a husky and a pretty smart one. Boomer is neither. He frustrates me with his jealousy/anxiety and his insistence on jumping on people in excitement that we just have not been able to change, but we always end up saying, "He's a good little dog". And he is.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Art Critics

Well, well, December already! I was about to say that the year went quickly, but that's not entirely true. Parts of it, and I, went slowly indeed. Sectaurs' birthday was yesterday, and as his brother told him, he did his job getting all of their ages in a row again. 31, 32, 33, 34. Until March when Ms. M "screws it up again".

Ameranth has been experimenting with various crafts this year, and the latest is painting. She made a very cute giraffe one for So, the little boy she babysits. No picture taken before his birthday party unfortunately. They are in the 'photobomb' style, you know, where someone pops into your photo just as you shoot it, or makes a funny face in the background. Hers are like closeups of animal faces, just the top of the head with the eyes and nose- very cute.

Anyway, she's been researching ideas for grownup gifts as well, and asked me what I thought of some abstract art she'd seen. Neither of us care for that style in general, and the conversation rambled strangely.

A: She just dabbed paint on randomly but it turned out to look like something..sort of.

Me:Well, the dabs were the same size and she did choose her colors.. I guess. I've never understood the appeal of abstract art- the colors can look nice and project a certain mood, but some of it is just paint dribbled on a canvas. Like those elephants that paint. That's not art.

A: But they say the elephants and dolphins choose which color to use.

Me: Out of what they give them. That elephant is thinking "why don't they give me a nice blue-gray? It would be just the thing for Mona's trunk in my painting."

A: Yeah, the dolphin is looking at his blue and green and saying "why does HE get the red? I wanted red."

And that is what goes on around here most of the time- interesting, often funny, mostly wandering conversations, punctuated by "what was I saying, no, before that? " and "what did I come in here to do?" and "did you feed the dogs?"- but not a lot of actual stuff getting done.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Morning Smile

You wouldn't think that leftovers in dirty dishes would be a good start to the day, but this made me smile.

The engraving has worn but my daughter's name is still faintly visible. 25-30 years ago, you could send in labels from SpaghettiOs and get 3 engraved spoons. The kids liked them then, and J still buys them for a quick warm snack every once in a while. The problem was the '3'. We have 4 kids. Since Ameranth did not care for this delicacy at that age, I got spoons for the others, and when she questioned it a little later, she was told her spoon was lost in the move to Maine. So she says- I don't remember this.

But, yes, that was Ameranth's snack last night and that spoon is hers. I was lucky enough to get 6 unengraved spoons on EBay some years ago, and not only gave Ameranth her spoon, I replaced Shoeshine's which was long gone, as well as welcoming Mr C to the family with his own spoon. Thank goodness he's a good guy who doesn't mind his in-laws' quirks.

Last year I found some more spoons online, not the same design, but still SpaghettiOs. Shoeshine's family all got engraved spoons, including two sent to Ladyslipper and her halfbrother. I couldn't have her lording it over him in the future, could I?  Now, Teva is here and needs one and J still mentions the fact that he never got a spoon at all. My supply is dwindling, but I still have a few for future additions to the family.  Lucky unsuspecting souls!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Whew- October is over! What an increase in activity to our normally quiet routine, and it was fun. Shoeshine and Lady A were a little tired when they got here from Boulder, with several stops along the way to stay with relatives. They were more tired when they left a week later, after attending a friend's wedding and meeting his and her old friends on various days. Lady A had some concerns about leaving the kids with us, since we had never met them before, but all parties were agreeable, and we had a great time.

Mars was fascinated with the lawn tractor and couldn't wait until he was able to drive it. J had more on his hands than expected, trying to keep passengers seated and drivers from zigzagging, but he loved it. The weather gave us a couple of good days for outside activities, which was great for energy burning.
They wished for a swing, and bam, Grampa J built some swings. He produced two plastic swords that he had stashed in his shed, and they even had scabbards! Venus came tearing up from the pasture to announce that Mars had "caught a fish! without a pole! it was hardcore!" This was in the 12 inches of water and Shoeshine went down to check it out. I cautioned him that we had no fish, but did have some 2 inch long leeches, so he was very relieved to find Mars with a bullfrog tadpole.  Venus spent much of her time catching insects, including the "Halloween" ladybugs that spend October in Maine trying to get inside our homes for the winter.

Speaking of Halloween, J's ghouls were a great hit and a new one was made as a group effort. The kids were each allowed to pick a mask- any mask- from J's precious collection, and he was proud of them for choosing two of his 'best' ones.

 Venus learned how to make apple squares and was a big help- in fact she decided that she had done most of the work, including taste testing the 'sugar apple' mixture.

(she did not eat from the bowl- she was smelling the shortening in the above picture!)

 The baby. What a good baby Teva is, very open to being passed around a bit, and really only complained when he got hungry, or felt his mother had been out of sight for too long.
Boomer needed a little extra love too, but he was very good with Teva. Having a baby here for sitting the last 6 months has been good for him. He knows he can't chew on baby toys, and he lets S take any toy from him- which is more than he lets me do!

Teva is a solemn little boy, but he can smile and laugh too- very serious 'old' eyes. It was wonderful to get to know all of the kids and we hope to set up Skyping soon.

Venus and Mars each got to make a character and we helped them play a little Guild Wars2. They each made a ranger so they could have pets, and had a blast running around. Mars chose the largest race and the largest size, and loved hunting and getting his loot. It was a fast paced game with him.
I don't have a screenshot since Venus played on Ameranth's game, but she chose the smallest of the 5 races, and spent a great deal of time over face and hairstyle choices (as do we). She probably came up to the top of Mars' boots! She traveled to his area so they could play together but had a hard time seeing her character in the giant's landscape. After an NPC (non player character) child commented on her size, she was offended and wanted to go back to "my own people". She wandered around gathering pets and avoiding fights. Very slow pace for her. It was fun, and never too early to indoctrinate them, right?

We were sorry to see them go and hope that someday they are able to live closer to us. I don't want to forget Ladyslipper- she wasn't able to come visit, but we did get a recent picture. After 2 and a half years, she finally had enough hair to need a trim, even if it was only in the front for bangs.

Love 'em all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good year for kids, but not veggies

It's getting cooler every day. No, not my life, the outdoors. And the indoors too, sadly. We've been holding out on turning the thermostat up but have had to give in for a few hours here, a few hours there. Especially when Ameranth's babysittee is here. Yes, fall is here and winter is coming.

Remember when Ameranth and J dug this garden out for me for Mother's Day?

This is how it turned out.

This was taken in July, and the cleome and impatiens are still blooming in October, although we've come close to a frost and some more delicate flowers have succumbed already. I will definitely plant this combination again next year.

Our vegetable garden this year was so-so and kind of mysterious. J and I each planted a tray of seeds- mine had butternut squash and cucumbers and his was pumpkins and sunflowers. They sprouted merrily in our little plastic greenhouse thingy, and we planted them when appropriate.

J watched anxiously for his little green pumpkins to show up in his special patch and I planted some store-bought peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash along with the home-started plants in the official garden. The peppers did well, as did the peas and corn that we sowed directly. Vines started growing everywhere and we waited. J's mini pumpkins showed up as expected, but his other vines started producing little butternuts! Hmm, then what is that vine taking over the 'real' garden? Yup, his one and only jack-o-lantern pumpkin vine that grew was in the wrong place, and has given up only 3 pumpkins. The other squash disappeared and the cucumbers I thought I was planting turned out to be some of J's sunflowers!

We enjoyed the corn and peas, and have had a couple of the bumper crop of butternut squashes, but J is very down about his lack of pumpkins. He enjoys carving some, but even more, he likes giving them away to coworkers who have kids. No extras this year. Sad face.

BUT. Not all bad news- Shoeshine is coming for a visit this month with his family. Sadly, Ladyslipper couldn't be included this time, but we are very excited about meeting everyone else. J is planning to have Venus and Mars help with his Halloween decorations and will put those 3 pumpkins to good use with our company. 

If they ever turn orange that is. There's a slight problem with some unsightly skin blemishes, but hey, they should look scary, right?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Little shop of horrors

So, it's October and that means J is resurrecting and refurbishing his Halloween display. Shoeshine and family are making a trip out in 2 weeks and J is looking forward to having children of the right age around to appreciate them.

He's always anxious to get them out, and I always caution him about having them out in the weather too early, so they get droopy and dirty before Halloween. This was his answer to me.
A raincoated ghoul!  And the guy on the bench is a hobo, so it doesn't matter if he's grubby, I was told.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We didn't hear it fall, but it went!

The other half of our ancient oak tree fell over this week, during a very windy, rainy night. I looked out the kitchen window and thought something was different in that corner of the yard. It was hard to be sure, due to the smaller (20 footers) in front of the massive oak, but the treeline definitely had a hole in it.  I told my father I would put pictures up here for him, so here we go.

First, a picture taken the week before to show off the clean van. The oak is centered behind the car, with the branch for the rope swing showing up going off to the right.
New gap in the treetops.
Half of this tree had come down several years ago and we hoped that when this side went, it wouldn't cause any damage. It missed the power lines, the road, our neighbor's house and yard, ending up in the front of his yard, among smaller trees. It would have been better had it gone the other direction, into our yard, but it's okay. We have a neighbor who wants the wood, so will help us clean it up in a few weeks.
The trunk is actually a little wider across than it is 'tall' but you get an idea of the size. That part may not be moved, except to pull it across onto our land. J's chainsaw will not get through that trunk. I'd love to get boards made of it, if it's solid, but have no idea of how to get that done, or what it might cost.

 A couple of branches got caught and are hanging from these trees.
 The remains of our old rope swing- which looks like a noose here. It had a tire once, but evolved into that loop that the kids stuck one foot into and than swung out from the stone wall. (And that branch the rope is attached to was alive when they used it- we didn't hang a rope from a dead limb)
 This is one of the roots and the hole that was left when the tree went over. The root is about 4 inches in diameter. I'd guess the tree was at least a couple hundred years old. It's sad to see it gone.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Butterflies are free

I spent the last week of August blissfully playing my new favorite computer game, Guild Wars 2. Yes, it is finally here and Ameranth and I do the dishes, vacuum the house and walk the dogs before rewarding ourselves with some game time. If it's raining however, it's free- I don't know why, since most of the chores are inside, but that's just how it works.

Today the sun is shining and I found a delightful surprise when I hung the clothes outside:
There are little gold flecks that I couldn't get to show up in the photo. After the photo shoot I moved the pin over closer to the post for a little more protection. This is a monarch butterfly chrysalis, and from what I understand this may be the 4th generation of the year, the one who migrates south for the winter. The caterpillars eat milkweed, and apparently the adults like Joe Pye Weed, since we saw a cloud of a dozen or so flitting about last week.
Now, I'm wondering how the caterpillar got so far off course as to end up on a clothesline when it had to stop and spin its case. This butterfly might head for Canada, instead of Mexico! Good luck, little friend.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


For those non-gamers out there, orly, is shorthand for Oh, really?, and according to the urban dictionary, is generally used in a sarcastic doubting or questioning way.

So, orly, I say to my anonymous commenter on my previous post.  "We also found out she is a he"

Now, I must admit that I did consider checking online, as I wrote that post, to see if female turtle's tails are shorter than their male counterparts, because that's what my family does. Checks facts, that is. We like to see sources and several of them if possible. In fact, orly should be our family motto. But, the person who stated it has a credible expertise in reptiles, amphibians and other watery-homed animals.

 Since I have a very limited number of readers, I am fairly sure the comment is from a relative. Moreover, chances are good that it was from a limited number of relatives who were out at camp with us on Tuesday, while the snapper came to visit. Those relatives (who are not my brother, and whose husbands would be the last two people on earth, after my mother, I would expect to comment on my, or any other blog) did not dispute the 'fact' stated that it was a female turtle, because of its short tail.

 Because apparently there are two giant snappers who come to be fed bread, and the shorter tailed one also has a white spot on its head. The one I photographed did indeed have a white spot on the head, and I took their word for it that the tail was short, since I had no comparison available.

Anyway, now I wonder how someone recognized the error. I have rectified my error and googled how to tell a female snapper from a male one and since the best answer seems to be to check on the underside of the tail (the male vent is near the middle of the tail, and the female's is closer to the shell)  who the hell would try to do that? So, unless the two turtles were witnessed engaging in turtle relations (and it is totally the wrong time of year for that) I call shenanigans!  I'm sticking with my girl tag because of the white spot on her head. And her delicate snout-lifting to grab the bread. And to anyone who wants to tell me differently, I have one thing to say.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August Dog Days

The apple mint we planted to control the nettles won the day and has reached the road. It's all mint and jewelweed;  and bees, butterflies and birds.

And in other 'news' we went out to camp yesterday and saw the huge snapping turtle that our family members have been talking about. Over the last several years, crazy people, aka relatives, have been tossing bread to two large turtles, along with assorted smaller ones and fish. Why would you do this in an area in which you also swim? I'm told she goes away if people enter the water. uh huh, right.

The reflection on the water made it difficult to get good pictures, but considering that her neck can stretch out a good 8-10 inches (I saw her swimming that way) we were not getting any closer.  With her head un-stretched, she's a good two feet+ long, and her shell is easily 12 inches wide. Her head is as large as my clenched fist, just a little smaller than a regulation softball. Intimidating to say the least.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A hole for one

(Warning- I talk about death and burials, so if this is going to bother you, please skip this post)

Due to a health crisis with my father a year or so ago, (he's doing fine on dialysis now) the subject of funerals and final disposal has been discussed several times. As with anything else in my family, there are usually jokes and sarcasm involved. Mock arguments that 'you love her better' because one sister gets the extra cemetery plots, which no one else wanted anyway.

My parents each have their own desires, which in my mother's case means comfortable clothes and her glasses go in the coffin with her. She had cataract surgery and no longer needs glasses but she wears them low on her nose, because she did so for so long that it feels wrong without them. She would like a simple pine box and with a wave of her hand says "I just want to go back to nature". I tell her that J can build her a box, and would she like drain holes in the bottom so the decay will go faster? "No! I don't want worms in with me!"  What part of decay does she not understand?

My father has his own obituary written and saved on the computer. I believe it starts with "BB kicked the bucket" and we just have to fill in the date. I don't remember any specific requests he has, although he hasn't forbidden a funeral service as my mother has. An introvert to the end, she doesn't want a big production, but I think my father would like  a service with some of his favorite hymns sung.

Last month's visit saw the subject come up again and J repeated his wish to be buried in the back yard. to which I repeated my standard answer that the next owners of our house would probably not appreciate that. Since he was in the Army, he can be buried in a veteran's cemetery, as can I as his spouse. He isn't sure that he wants to be in Maine: maybe he should go in the cemetery in R.I. where his parents are buried? I told him that since he doesn't want to be cremated, then he better be happy with Maine, because I'm not driving his body down to Exeter- supposing I'm still around and driving.

I have had my organ donor sticker on my license for years and am willing to have doctors use whatever they can, then be cremated. I don't really care if I'm buried or scattered. Scattering ashes is cheaper, so that's what I would go for, I guess. I also said I was thinking of donating my body for research, since that really would be the cheapest way out. No embalming, right to the hospital or school and delivered back in ashes after they are done with me. My aunt pointed out that there was a fee or donation required, as was the case with her mother.

So, as is our wont when presented with new information, I investigated. Maine has a program for body donation for residents that doesn't cost anything, so that's good. However, the only organs that can be donated are the eyes, so I'll have to decide which way I want to go. Assuming that they can be used, donate as many body parts as I can, or the whole enchilada for students to learn on? I plan on a long time to ponder this decision.

While I was in the Internet neighborhood, I checked on private cemeteries. Once again, Maine is easy- as long as it's less than 1/4 acre, we just have to demarcate the area, and let our town office know about it. There are also no restrictions on 'green burials" so embalming in not needed, nor is a fancy coffin. We could easily build the coffins ourselves way ahead of time- a regular one for J and a wee one for my ashes.
 This would be a good place- over to the side of the lawn, next to the hay field

 The big drawback is the hole. Contrary to popular belief, there is no 6 foot deep requirement. Deep enough is a personal choice I guess. Figuring a coffin is maybe two feet high, you want a couple of feet of dirt on top so we're talking four feet anyway. Now, I plan on this taking place not any sooner than 20, better yet, 30 years from now, so who's digging the hole? Not me or J, whichever one of us is left standing. Our kids will be in their 50's, and presumably still out of state. Ameranth did point out that Sectaurs always enjoyed digging our holes and trenches for various projects. And there's only 6, maybe 7 months where hole-digging is feasible up here. Maybe the best way is to predig the holes as well, as J has for our mean rooster. There's a little pit in the chicken yard waiting for the day he attacks again and J gets a hold of him. J thinks it's a warning to him to behave.

Hmmmm. Maybe that's the way to go after all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


When J went out last month to clean out the weeds before planting his pumpkins, he was very happy to see this volunteer sunflower, with a three foot headstart.  (It's just to the right of center in this picture)
It grew and grew and he was even more happy to see an early flower appearing. Then, it opened up, and it is the smallest sunflower head on the tallest stalk we've had. Not exactly what he hoped for.
He's still thinking one of the others will be the huge blossom of his dreams.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


The almost full moon Sunday night. The sky was beautiful that night, except for one thing. No bats.

We have had bats living in our barn and shed since we moved here in 1987. I assume they were around before then too, but I can't swear to it.  One of my summer pleasures is was standing on our porch steps hearing the scrabble of tiny claws on our metal roof, and seeing the bats fly out of a tiny crack in the roof peak. They swooped out in ones and twos, some flying under the porch roof before they started eating their hundreds and thousands of mosquitoes.

An article in our paper about colonies of bats being wiped out by white nose syndrome reminded me that I hadn't done a batwatch yet this year. I went out a little too early the first time, so popped out every 15 minutes or so to watch the roofline, until it was fully dark. I checked again Monday night- nothing. I am so sad. I liked watching them fly overhead and I liked the bugs they ate. Bats just were part of our summer life and now they aren't, and there is nothing I can do to bring them back.

 I did send the bat-survey-people an email letting them know of the colony disappearance. Apparently it will take a long time for the bat population to rebound, if it can, since the females have just one pup each year. We'll have to wait and see.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Where the green grass grows

We've had some anxious moments this year, wondering if our hay would ever get cut, since our horse people no longer had access to the machinery used in the past.  They told us they were looking into possibilities....and the grass kept growing.
But Saturday, I was woken by the sound of a tractor chugging, and dogs barking at it. Our grass was cut and on the way to hay! After being tossed a few times to dry, it was raked into windrows, ready to be baled on Sunday. But the western sky was darkening and as I went out to take this picture, the rain started slowly even though there was blue sky over the far side of the road.
It didn't rain long, and the hay wasn't soaked, but it lay there as the farmer raced to get the bigger field down the road off the ground and into his barn. Ours was still waiting this morning.
But it's all gone and now the grass can start all over again. In the meantime it will be much easier to walk the dogs down to the ponds, since Boomer tended to get lost and circle around back home.
Those devil dogs did enjoy finding the shredded vole families in the cut grass, much to our dismay. After confiscating the first two, any others were quickly gulped down before we could get to them. Yuck.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


We had a very good day here yesterday, with the news that a grandson was born in CO.
Teva (blog name!) was born at home with Shoeshine "catching", to use his expression, while Lady A did the work. Everyone is doing well, much to my relief, since I had imagined all sorts of dreadful possibilities when I first heard of their plans.

Lady A also supplied us with two bonus grandchildren, Venus and Mars (also blog names, lol).
 Rounding out the family update, here's the latest photo of Ladyslipper:
Now, if they could all somehow be magically moved to Maine, I would be content!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Too much togetherness??

With just one legal vehicle in the family, Ameranth and I have been home together a lot. A lot. (Since J is working, he does get dibs on the car)

Ameranth is looking online for sandals, and wants to find something else to finally use up the credit she's had for over two years now.

A: Okay, the cheapest thing here is a $7.00 key chain. Next is underwear- Jeez, $9.00 for one pair of underwear!

Me: That's crazy.

A: They are Calvin Kleins.

Me: I don't care who they belonged to- $9.00 is way too much for used underwear!

A: Right- even if they were Ghandi's!

Me: Well...

A: And Ghandi's would be pretty dirty.

Me: But there's enough material there to almost make it worth it.

Friday, June 1, 2012


I found this in my shed when I was cleaning it earlier and hung it on the door. It happens to be our house number, but it is more than that- it's a memory.
A memory of when the kids were little, and we had a ball field carved out of a corner of the hay field.
See the scoreboard over to the right? That's where the 5 came from. We ended up with that and the canvas for the backstop when the Little League updated their field. It was a lot of fun when we had friends over and played softball, both adults and kids. 

I wish I had gotten second base lined up with the pitcher's 'mound' in the picture, but more than that, I am just glad to have this photo at all. Even if it has no people in it, I can still see the players.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I have become my father

Years ago, when I went to the same chiropractor who helped my father, and his father, with their tricky sacroiliacs, I was less than pleased to be told I had the same back as my grandfather. I loved Papa B. dearly, but I knew him as a short, round man, and if I had the choice of which genes to inherit, it would have been his size 6 feet, not his build!

I was reminded of this today when I looked in the mirror before washing my face after gardening. I would like to say that, just as in a novel, my skin was lightly bedewed with an oddly attractive sheen of moisture, but sadly, I had sweat dripping into my glasses when I was outside. Younger me used to be amazed and amused to see my father, and his brother, with the same excessive outflow, thinking it must be a man thing. Nope- genetics.

Thinking of that while I splashed my face with cold water, including my head, because I do wear my hair cut short......just like my father.  Oh no! Planting peas, I was singing, "Oats, peas, beans and barley grow", a favorite of his.  And on the way inside, thinking that a drink would be "wunnerful, wunnerful" ala Pa (and Lawrence Welk).

Luke, I am my father.

And I could do much worse.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Very Short Tale

J and I got to the Dr's office early Tuesday since they do blood work first come, first served, and we wanted to be first in line at 7:30. Yes, AM.  Fasting blood work to boot.


Sitting in the car, checking out their landscaping, I saw something odd.

Me: "Oh, that squirrel has no tail. Doesn't that look strange."

J: "Isn't that Dave?"

Me: "The squirrel has a name?!"

J: "What squirrel? Isn't that Dave walking by us and getting to the door first?"

When the door was unlocked, Dave held it for us, so we were still first.
 And lived happily ever after.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What did you say?

Ameranth and I were watching TV last night and the Kitchen Cousins were helping out the Mom Cave people. She took offense to 'Mom' Cave compared to 'Man' Cave, asking rhetorically if all women on the show had to be moms?  A: "If I were making that show, I would name it Lady Caves......Um, no I guess I wouldn't."

And a helpful hint- if you notice someone's toothbrush was not in its normal place in the holder, asking "Hey, what happened with your toothbrush anyway?" after they have started brushing, can cause your daughter to step out of the bathroom with wild eyes, her toothbrush frozen in her mouth in horror.
(nothing bad- she used the wrong space herself)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ameranth is famous (sort of)

Okay, I've been laaazy lately, waiting for sunny skies to perk me up, but something happened today that jolted me into action. Ameranth's story is featured on (our favorite game developer) ArenaNet's blog.

We couldn't mention our visit there until ArenaNet did, so we've been sitting on our giddiness since November. When we were there, we got to play Guild Wars 2, which is still in development and they told Ameranth that they wanted to put a character in game, based on her.  When we played the beta weekend in April, Sectaurs ran across the character and told us where she was, so we got to see her and her hound. Our characters stood around for a bit, in wonder that she really was there.  What a nice gesture of recognition!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kids these day!

Ameranth walked into the living room and immediately started responding (out loud and sickeningly sweetly) to the woman on the TV.

Ad: "Welcome to Tim H**rton's"
Ameranth: "Why, thank you very much!"
Ad: "How are you today?"
Ameranth: "Just peachy keen- how are you?"

Then turning to me she states" And that is how kids brought up on Dora will grow up-thinking the TV is really talking just to them, and waiting for a response!"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nerd Humor

I poured my soda into the glass a little too fast, and as the foam rose, I did the "Don't go over, don't go over" chant and sighed with triumph as it stopped just above the rim. But as I was exulting "Yay", Ameranth was commiserating with "oh no". A tiny trickle had slipped over the side opposite me.

As I wiped it up, I said that since I hadn't seen it drip, it hadn't really happened. Ameranth replied "Schrodinger's Coke?"

I do enjoy our nerdy jokes.

For my relatives who probably won't get the reference- here's a short Wikipedia explanation: Schrödinger proposed a scenario with a cat in a sealed box, wherein the cat's life or death depended on the state of a subatomic particle. According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened.

EDIT- And look at that- the next day, The Big Bang Theory has a Schrodinger's cat reference! Maybe we are geeks, not nerds, after all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hurry home, Ameranth!

Jeepers, what a week this has been since Ameranth went to Massachusetts to housesit Mabel for Ms.M and Mr. C.  Not even a whole week, just 5 days, but 3 of them had me taking care of Winston by myself. It is amazing how heavy a 15+ baby feels after just a few times picking him up. I think new parents build up to it gradually, like that old story of the boy who lifted his baby calf every day until he was a lifting a full grown bull. Bull is right!

And as if that wasn't enough, J and I decided we had to start finishing up projects. He finished the taping on the patch in the living room wall, so I can wallpaper in there as soon as I can lift my arms over my head again.  Then we started on the bathroom walls that were still lath over the tub surround since we installed the new tub, back in June, of 2010! Yikes. Hey, the shower was completely usable and we got busy. And if we had another bathroom to use, it would be easier to work on this one. Anyway, yesterday was the day.

We had to carefully loosen the surround to get the wallboard behind it (and yes I know the wallboard should be on the walls before the tub was in but that's not the way it works in this old house. The tub area takes only the smallest size with no room for extra layers of wall) It went fairly smoothly until we got to the area over the door. The lath used there was thicker than the rest and we had to remove it, and replace it with 'new' old lath that we had saved. Yucky stuff in there too, rat's nest and full size corn cobs- I don't know how they got them into the attic and down the wall.

We were racing the clock to get the mess cleaned before Winston was delivered and of course, he came early!  Stashed him in the relatively clean living room while J used the shop vac in the bathroom and kitchen. Then switched places while I vacuumed the dog hair off the living room rug.

I collapsed in a chair with the baby, while J took one more admiring glance at our handiwork. Says he: "you should take a picture of those walls"  Me: "Oh, do you think I need to hurry?"

Later, while watching Alex chat to the players on Jeopardy, one contestant said she had found (a picture of) a Japanese couple in her grandmother's old drawers. J and I looked at each other and started giggling, enjoying a silly moment without a word needed. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Let the Sun Shine In

As I opened the blinds in the living room this morning, I was singing "Let the sun shine in"- no, not the one from Hair, further back, the one where "frowners never win".  Ameranth passed through a few minutes later and commented that sunshine was a metaphor for God.  Having moved on from singing, I was momentarily confused until she said "in that song".

Since I only remember the words from the chorus, it took me a moment's thought to agree, then she continued "From the Flintstones- Pebbles and Bamm Bamm sang that song".

I was horrified that a child of mine could think Pebbles was responsible for the tune,  so was quite relieved when she replied, "No, in my head, that's where I remember that song from." Okay then.

Here's your earworm for the day:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Forgot a title- oh wells

I always knew it could would happen, snow again, I mean. Those wonderful 70+ temperatures last week were so out of character for Maine in March. Despite the snow/hail dropping outside, I still have faith that our spring will be an early one.

I didn't enjoy the warm weather to the fullest because I was down with the worst cold I can remember. Ameranth was about a day ahead of me with that, and we blame Winston, him and his baby germs entering our adult environment. Thank goodness for decongestants is all I can say. J encouraged me to go to bed early, but I had to wait for that golden moment when the sniffles and coughing slowed down and synched with tiredness so I could get to sleep as soon as I lay down. I am fighting the dregs of it still.

J was happy with the sunny weather because the hose came out from under the snow and he could wash the van. I felt bad since I was just lounging around trying to breath so offered assistance.

Me: "Do you want me to come out and help?"

J: "No."

Me: "Well, that was sort of rude- you could have hurt my feelings. I could hold the hose?"

J: "No. It  would be more than hurting your feelings. I would want to kill you! I can just see it now- 'oh let me rinse that now, you missed a spot here'. You would drive me crazy!"

Me: "Fine."

Me: "You could have just said 'No, thanks'  Geesh."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

After Midnight

On my way to the bathroom last night, I noticed lights moving in our field. Peering out the window, I couldn't tell what was going on, piquing my curiosity enough to put on my glasses and go to the back door. Our neighbor was moving logs at 3:45 AM. Hmm.

This wasn't as startling as you may think, since said neighbor had asked permission to use the end of our pasture to bring out timber from his woodlot. The snowmobile trail runs from the road across the pasture and into his woods and he planned to cut trees along the trail. He and another person have been working down there for 3 or 4 weeks now, and have stacked some big old trees down there.
My curiosity took me down there with the dogs a while ago for a closeup view.

Getting in there while the ground was frozen makes it easier to maneuver and tears the ground up less, I suppose.  You can see that he isn't clear cutting the whole area, but making an opening down this hill. Maybe he wants the snowmobile trail a little further away from his back yard.

The chains on this skidder are pretty impressive.
Our winter has been a pretty open one with each snowstorm followed by warm enough temperatures that the snow never really got a chance to build up. In other words, we've had several mini mud seasons, and I'm sick of it. Just thaw out once and for all and let spring come for good! (Not going to happen- not in March- not in Maine)

 I thought last night that he was loading up the logs, taking advantage of firmer ground during the colder nighttime temps. In fact I was pretty sure that I saw logs being lifted up with a truck crane in the spotlights down there, but there seems to be a lot of timber still there today. 

 I was awake, no matter what some people in this house may be thinking. I'll have to see if there's a repeat performance tonight, since I am sure I'll be up again at some point. And if so, maybe I should wake someone so I have independent confirmation of the sighting?