Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Belted Galloways

Taken at a local farm here in Massachusetts.
"Belted Galloway" Cows, aka Oreo Cookie Cows

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

Today was both.

My energy level is directly tied to weather. On a sunny day I'm out of bed, rarin' to go, and I get so much accomplished! But a dark, rainy day and I'm a slug. No amount of caffeine will jump start me.

I lived my first 25 years in the state of Oregon. Rain Central. Rain is such a part of life in Oregon that the two major universities have water creatures as mascots...

I don't remember feeling lethargic on rainy days growing up. Of course I had youth on my side. But still. When you live with rain as a part of daily life, it becomes a non-issue.

Maybe it's a symptom of middle age. Maybe it's part of menopause. I don't really know - but a day like today and I feel like I'm slogging through Jello.

What's discouraging is that rain is predicted all week! I don't stand a chance.

In keeping with the theme of this post, I offer you this - sing along if you wish!

My TV Boyfriend

I like to walk on the wild side...

Idea stolen from Latte Mommy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Unlucky 13

True story: On the day The Hubs and I brought our Darling Daughter home from the hospital, I had a major crying fit. The Hubs asked why I was crying and I replied, "Because in 13 years she's going to hate me!"

I love my Darling Daughter with all my heart and soul. She's the best gift I've ever received. I want to be clear on that.

But we're now at the point I dreaded 13 years ago. Her whole attitude has changed. I suspect if you asked her, she'd say I was the one who changed...I can't do anything right, and I don't know very much.

It's like we have a stranger living in our house. A tall stranger who thinks I'm an idiot.

She's an only child, and The Hubs is a workaholic, so all these years it's mostly been just her and I. It's hard to have my constant little companion of all these years suddenly turn on me. I can't do anything right. Condescension rolls off her in waves. The sweet little girl that came to me for comfort and hugs now tends to roll her eyes and sigh in exasperation at my old fashioned ideas.

Ideas like wearing jeans that don't expose your arse to the world. Or wearing a color other than black. (She loves the Goth look as a fashion statement). She spends her allowance on Japanese Anime books. We went away this weekend and her choice of souvenir was a necklace with a skull on it.

When did our paths deviate so drastically?

I know my mother is reading this and laughing. (I can remember when MY mom "turned stupid". Seems like I was about 13 years old. Hmmm...)

I'm told that just about the time they grow out of this stage and become people you really want to hang out with, they leave home. Off to college, off to their own grown-up lives.

Fortunately, every now and then I get a little reprieve. I'm grateful each time this tall stranger has a brief relapse to childhood. Last night we sat and watched the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movie, and laughed together, and she accepted my arm around her shoulders while we watched. We both enjoyed our time together.

I suspect our warm and cuddly feeling will last until tomorrow morning, when she gets dressed for school, and I make her change her jeans.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

...and we're BACK!

We are back from our time away. It was fabulous! I wish we could hav stayed longer - somehow it seems it takes three days for the stress to leave my shoulders and to get into "relax mode".

Had to get back, as Friday I'm back to work - as a church secretary, that Sunday bulletin needs to be done!

The weather couldn't have been any better. The kids were outside almost the whole time. We adults mostly relaxed, caught up on some reading, and hit the nearby outlet stores.

We were very near the New York state line and we couldn't let that Kodak Moment pass us by!

One sign, viewed from either side...

One foot in New York, one foot in Massachusetts!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Break in Massachusetts - YEAH!

It's finally Spring Break here in New England and the weather is great! I'm taking Darlng Daughter and her BFF off to the Berkshires for a few days. I'm taking the laptop along but I'm not sure if they have a wireless connection or not.

Every time we visit the Berkshires we do a lot of "kid" stuff but I always manage to squeeze in a of visit or two to places on MY list. Here's my selection of places to drag the kids to absorb some history and culture for this trip (with links in case you want to look them up):

Lunch at the Red Lion Inn

Hancock Shaker Village

The Emily Dickinson Homestead and Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA

The Mount - Home of Edith Wharton

And here's another thing we celebrate here in Massachusetts today...


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring is in the air...along with some

Spring has sprung,

the grass has riz

The flowers are a-bloomin',

The days are warm,

my toes are bare

I finally feel HUMAN.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sad news in our house

Our house is reeling from some bad news.

Our cat Cheerios has been acting very lethargic. At first I thought the reason she spent so much time sleeping on the kitchen chair was because it was a cold winter, and the chair was near the heat. She still looked the same. Then I happened to pick her up and she was so light. I weighed her and she was down to 7.5 lbs from her usual 11. Then I knew something was wrong.

We took her to the vet on Wednesday. The doctor said her white blood cell count was the highest she has ever seen on any animal. They did further testing and have concluded she has Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). There is no cure for feline infectious peritonitis. Mortality is high, close to 100 percent.

This news alone has been difficult. But it gets worse.

The virus is transmitted through cat box and saliva (water & food bowls). Though we have more than one of each, all our cats use all that are available. To try to quarantine Cheerios from our other two cats at this point is like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

Today I had a talk with our Vet, and was told that she expects our other two cats to come down with FIP too. And that after all our cats have died from this disease, we are to throw out all food and water dishes and the cat boxes, and we should not get another cat for at least six months - the virus is that strong.

What an awful prospect, to think of watching the slow demise of all of our beloved pets.

This is a very sad household this evening.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Archeological Dig

Disintegrated or eroded matter: the detritus of past civilizations.
Accumulated material; debris: "Poems, engravings, press releases—he eagerly scrutinizes the detritus of fame"

Our attic runs the full length and width of our old house. For several days now, I have spent a good portion of my time working on clearing it out. This is no easy feat. We are a household of three packrats.

Since the attic is not insulated or heated, and 95% of the year it is either too hot or too cold, in the past I've not spent more than a few minutes up there at a time. Hauling out the beach cottage supplies; stowing away holiday decorations.

My husband bought this old house in 1978. I moved across the country to marry him in 1993. Hubs has 30 years of treasures junk in this attic; I have 15 years of junk treasures. Then there's the stuff left behind from the previous tenants - who themselves built this house in 1917.

Are you getting a feel for what I'm up against? I'm talking an attic piled so high and thick with stuff you'd have to step outside to change your mind.

I have discovered that the boxes of possessions form a ring around the attic door, much like the rings of a tree. The more I haul out, the deeper I go in the attic, the farther back in time it takes me.

I've already attacked the holiday ornaments, and thinned those out considerably.

I've dispensed with various unused and discarded sporting paraphrenalia of both Darling Daughter and The Hubs. Other sports draw their attention now - and the often-used basketball and field hockey stick are kept in a handier spot down below.

I've dealt with the Rubbermaid tub of favorite stuffed animals, packed away when Darling Daughter was very young and not looked at since. They've landed in the dumpster (although in a black garbage bag first so as not to upset D.D. No sense tempting fate.)

Rubbermaid tubs of Fisher-Price toddler toys, still in great shape and perhaps destined to be "classics" one day. I kept a couple favorites and got rid of the rest.

Now I'm getting into emotional territory. Boxes of baby clothes that I didn't think I could part with 12 years ago. I closed my eyes and tossed it all, with the exception of the outfit we brought her home from the hospital in, and the pair of little black velvet Mary Janes she wore for her 2nd Christmas.

Still deeper I go. Now I'm finding boxes of my own Grandma's items, given to me after her death. Her pie plates. Her mixing bowls. Things well used by the hands of a woman I deeply loved, placed there at a time when I was too emotional to use them. These things will finally find their way down to my own kitchen, and I will have nothing but good memories when I use them.

I continue my trip back in time. Love letters from a young man I occasionally think of with fondness, yet haven't seen or spoken to in 20 years. The small box that still holds the rose I carried at my high school graduation 32 years ago, along with my senior picture and graduation announcement. I don't even remember saving the rose. When my daughter's a little older, I'll give her the photo.

Why did I hang on to all of this? Why did I think I needed THINGS to remind me of special people, special times? I gathered items around me as if to ward off the sadness of saying goodbye. Comforting myself, afraid that if I discarded the STUFF I was discarding the memories; discarding the person who meant so much to me.

But an attic full of dusty old momentos is not the legacy I want to leave my daughter. I don't want her to have to spend six months of her life sorting through the detritus after I'm gone.

One thing I've learned in my hours spent in the attic. I don't need this STUFF, so much of which I'd forgotten was even up there. The memories of the people and the good times are with me always.

And if I've forgotten a few, maybe that's okay too.
My dad emailed me this - I thought it was worth sharing.


The story begins with the rescuers finding this poor little guy they named Ralphie. Someone had already taken him under their wing but weren't equipped to adopt;

Ralphie, scared and starved, joined his rescuers...

I wouldn't think anything could live thru this... but we were wrong.

This little lady also survived that wreckage.

Here she is just placed in the car - scared, but safe.

And then...they are no longer alone!

Instant friends, they comforted each other while in the car.

Add two more beagles found after that...the more, the merrier!

Oh boy, a new traveler to add to the mix... (note the cat coming over the seat needing shelter) now just how is this going to work??? (and remember they are all strange to one another)

It's going to work just fine, thank you very much!

Wow! The things we learn from our animal friends... If only all of mankind could learn such valuable lessons as this. Lessons of instant friendship.

Of peace and harmony by way of respect for one another -- no matter one's color or creed. These animals tell you...'It's just good to be alive and with others.' Yes, it surely is.
So...Live, love, laugh.
'Life's a Gift...Unwrap It!'

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pets are funny

For the life of me, I can't imagine NOT having pets. Not only do they give love and comfort, their entertainment value is priceless!

Hazel's new favorite spot is on TOP of my armoire.

Lucky is not happy with the food in his bowl
so decides to eat straight out of the bag.
Even though it's the same food as in the bowl.

Can you see his head fully in the bag,
by way of the hole chewed in the side of the bag?

(Sorry for the poor quality-used my cell phone camera)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another telephone rant

in the
Dead Zone.

And before you go all Stephen King on me I should explain that I mean Dead Zone in the technology aspect. Specifically, cell phone signal.

(Just for the record let me state
that I do lYves me some Stephen King.)

Yes, I live in a small town in rural New England. But walk two blocks from my house to the center of the village and there's great signal strength. I make calls, send photos, text messages - I can do it all. But at my house? Nada. Bupkis. Nuttin' honey.

How is this possible? It's not like I'm in the middle of the Great Outback. (Heck, for all I know, Crocodile Dundee has a great signal. Tony, maybe you could clear that up for me?) There are two major freeways within five miles of my house, and there is full cell signal strength up and down their lengths.

It's not just Verizon, the service I use. I've had friends come over who have different carriers and they report the same problem.

What never ceases to amaze me is how there seems to be enough signal for my phone to let me know that someone has left me a voice message, but never enough to actually pick up the message.

This is beyond annoying. Not because I make so many phone calls. I've already documented my lack of affection for telephones. But it seems the rest of the world DOES have a cell signal everywhere they wander. I have found that when people always have a cell signal, they can not fathom a place on earth that doesn't have a signal.

This usually leads to a convoluted one-sided conversation of explaining that "I don't have a cell signal at my home, so if you call the cell number and leave a voicemail, but I'm home, I'm not going to get the message until the next time I leave home." Way too boring, way too much information. People zone me out long before they understand the situation. I've probably already lost YOU , dear readers reader.

The most maddening was when I was trying to set up my online Verizon account. The Verizon website said the password was being texted to my cell phone. But I don't have a signal.

After going over the paper bill with a magnifying glass I finally located a telephone number to call a real person. They said they would text me the password. I told them I have no signal, couldn't they just email it to me? No, if not a text message it would have to go in the snail mail and I could expect to receive it within two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

I told them to text it to me. Then I grabbed my cell phone and ran up the street to the corner - got a signal, message came in, ran back to my house, entered the password at their website...and it said too much time had elapsed between time texted to cell and time entered on computer!! ARGH!

I had to repeat this sequence THREE TIMES before I managed to get back to the house and get it entered in the alotted time.

I really do need more exercise, and I admit I have a hard time finding the motivation for it. Now I'm thinking that if Verizon forced me to change my password twice a day I'd be in pretty good shape by the end of the year.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Haiku Saturday

mama's tired and sore
from cleaning out the attic
but it must be done

thank god a friend's son
so young and strong and helpful
came to help me out

so energetic
up, down, up, down attic stairs
youthful knees I envy

now he's off to party
with hours to go before sleep
stamina to spare

one old, tired mama
trying to write for her blog
ready for a nap

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Life in a small New England town, Chapter 3

With only the town and street names changed, this is my small town's police log as printed in the local paper:

Wednesday, March 26
6:41 a.m.: motor vehicle went off the road through a split rail fence.
4:02 p.m.: keys found; were brought to the station.
7 p.m.: license plate found on the side of the road was turned in to the station.
7:15 p.m.: resident reported a lost cat.

Friday, March 28
6:14 a.m.: ambulance needed, patient was taken to the hospital.
5:20 p.m.: assisted neighboring town's Police Department with a motor vehicle accident.

Saturday, March 29
11:07 a.m.: motor vehicle accident with injury.
4:14 p.m.: ambulance needed, patient was taken to the hospital.

Sunday, March 30
12:41 a.m.: resident reported a lost dog.
5:35 a.m.: ambulance needed, patient was taken to the hospital.

Monday, March 31
7 a.m.: report of a structure fire. (turned out to be a chicken coop)
7:28 p.m.: motor vehicle accident with injury.

Does this sound like Mayberry or WHAT!?

All kidding aside, I feel so lucky to be able to raise my daughter in such a safe place.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pardon me, Ma'am, your age is showing

I talk when I drive. To myself. To the air. To the world in general. I realize I'm setting a bad example for my teenager, as most of what is spoken is criticism of other drivers.

"Come on, it's the pedal on the RIGHT, buddy!"

"Jeez, make the turn already, you had plenty of time!"

"Oh my GAWD, could you possible go any slower?!?"

I'm not proud of this - yet the words slip from my mouth before my brain is fully engaged.

When did I become the cranky old lady driver? Granted, the big FIVE-OH is close enough on the horizon I can see it from here. The crest of THE HILL, so to speak. Even so, I don't necessarily think of myself as OLD.

Recently I saw a bumper sticker:

It was. So I must be.

Today as I was driving out of the post office, I came to a stop before pulling out. I was well within the post office driveway. I came to a full stop. I looked left, then right. Coming from my right was an elderly gentleman about to turn into the post office driveway.

I'm guessing my blunder was stopping too close to the edge of the road than he would have liked. He had a scowl on his face and a fist clenched on the steering wheel. I fully expected to see the puff of a thought bubble over his head with the words "Damn you kids and your crazy driving!"

It made me feel about 17 years old.

And I have to admit, it felt pretty good.

This post is merely an observation on age, and not encouragement to get out there and drive like a reckless kid!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Life with Mr. Wizard

Sometimes it's hard being married to a smart guy.

I don't mean your average smartness. I mean, dual major, physics and engineering. Smarty McSmartypants. I refer to him as The Human Calculator.

You'd think having a husband with the ability to cut the ingredients of a recipe by 3/8's in mere seconds without pencil or calculator would be a handy thing. But noooo. I can't simply receive the answer and move along with my recipe. He thinks this is an opportunity to TEACH me something. He doesn't understand that I don't want a lesson - I just want the answer, and pronto!

Living with The Human Calculator does come in handy at times. When Darling Daughter has science homework, it isn't ME she comes to with questions. [I should rephrase that. It isn't me she comes to for ANSWERS.]

Despite my lack of interest in refining my ability to recalculate recipes, I have learned an awful lot being married to The Hubs. I now freely use terms like "solar gain" and "depth of vision" with an air of authority. I know how to add more RAM to my computer.

On the down side, when he hung my spice racks, instead of placing them where they would be handy, he hung them where it "structurally made more sense" . (I was out at the time.) I've also been told I don't scoop ice cream out of the carton the proper way.

It's hard work being married to an engineer. I truly believe engineers are born not made. They have a completely different way of looking at everything. It's kind of like living with Mr. Spock. ("Beam me up Scotty" Mr. Spock, not "Don't spank your children" Dr. Spock) I baffle him, as I tend to approach things from an emotional point of view, and logic rules his world. He calls me his "loose cannon".

When it comes to gift giving, the thought of giving something that people want (and ask for) just doesn't occur to him. He gives what HE thinks you need or would benefit from. I've spoken to other wives of engineers and they report similar stories. Every time he gets me a gift that doesn't suit me, or doesn't get me a birthday gift at ALL (because I really don't NEED anything- yeah, right!) I go out and buy myself something nice. Nicer than he would have spent! With all his intelligence, The Hubs HASN'T figured this out yet.

So much for Mr. Wizard!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Mother's Revenge...


how to turn the tides

and drive your teenager nuts.

When they are playing
"Legends of Rock",

and all the songs
are from your own teenage years,

Sing along.
With much reverb and jazz hands.