Beautiful Memories

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

I clearly remember saying that I was going to post wedding photos of my darling daughter, Niki and my much loved son-in-law, Tim.  I’m not sure why that was such a hard post to write because I had so many hundreds of beautiful photographs of that wonderful day.

Maybe it’s because I had so many images from the day to look at and sort through… so many that I could not stop staring at, remembering the precise moment and what was said at that time, and the emotions just would well up and start leaking from my eyes.

I can’t say enough about the fabulous wedding photographer who captured the beauty and emotions in that day.  And, I can’t chose which are my favorites because they all are unique moments in a day so filling with love and happiness.  Carly has such an eye and talent for using lighting and angles to compose the most beautiful photographic album that I’ll link to her blog so that you can share some of those moments with us:

I love digital photography.  You can snap away taking any number of photos not worrying about wasting film or the cost of developing.  You can crop and enhance making a photograph into a perfect portrait.  But I still spent a lot of time printing out so many of these photographs because for me, some things need to be held in my hands.  Those of my generation have great albums of special times in our lives but we also have shoe boxes full of loving memories, people who were part of our lives.  On rainy or snowy days I love opening those old shoe boxes and holding the images in my hands.  I feel as if I’m holding a loved one once again and the fading and wrinkles add a patina that grows more beautiful with age.  So, definitely embrace digital photography and be sure to have as many special photographs of important moments in your life – but print out special people and moments that you can hold in your hands and remember holding that person once again.

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

And, just as I was finally able to put words to (digital) paper, the videographer finalized the highlight film clip … and the minute I heard the music, the waterworks started all over again:
As you watch the video clip, you may not know the people but I hope that it might remind you of memories of your own and prompt you to find the shoebox of old photos or home movies that you haven’t thought about in ages.  Thanks for sharing our amazing day.

Good as new – well, almost

It’s five weeks now with my new hip and time for me to catch up in the blog-o-sphere. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and well wishes prior to my surgery. The surgery was a complete success and the hospital stay, thanks to the private upgrade, was actually not bad at all. It was a long wait to get this particular surgeon but it was well worth it since he performs the most joint surgeries in Boston, operates out of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and performs the newer anterior hip replacement approach which is much less traumatic leading to faster recovery time and no restrictions on movement after – well other than the pain of having the top of your leg sawed off. But really, I’d rather wait for a surgeon who’s done hundreds of these and not just watched a Youtube video before cutting.

The Brigham’s is a world renowned hospital with people coming from all over the world. As I was leaving, someone from the Saudi royal family was coming in and had taken three suites in the private Pavilion – one for the patient, one for family, and a another for a contingent of security. The hospital really does try to make an unpleasant experience as comfortable as possible but I did have a rather disconcerting experience when they were wheeling me down to pre-op. In an effort to enhance the ambiance and relax patients, they have people from the Boston Conservatory of Music play soothing melodies. I’m really glad that I was PRE-op and not any medications when I was wheeled around the corner to see a lady on a stool playing a harp!

Denver Harp Player FAQ

Seriously, harps are very relaxing to listen to, but can you imagine coming OUT of surgery, all groggy and seeing a lady with a harp? I mean…come on folks, even if she didn’t have wings,  would it not cross your mind that something went wrong in surgery? I suppose it’s better than being wheeled through the boiler room though and wishing that you’d maybe made some different life choices.

devil : The Devil who is about to welcome someone Illustration

Unfortunately, yes unfortunately because I couldn’t eat the day after surgery and went home on the 3rd day, I wasn’t able to taste test many of the culinary options.  I know, I know, hospital food is yucky except by booking myself into The Pavilion which is privately run and has it’s own kitchen, I had food options that rivaled the best of Boston restaurants

You may not be able to read the entrée selections on the five page menu, but they included: filet mignon, oven roasted turkey, baked stuffed chicken, spinach stuffed salmon, baked stuffed shrimp as well as a page of make your own burgers, salads and a great desert selection!

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I started with a fabulous home made chicken soup, better than what I’ve ever made…

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Not being in the coronary unit, I was able to order lobster stuffed ravioli in a delicious cream sauce…

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with a beautiful caprese salad…

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Since I could order anything I wanted at any hour day or night, my daughter couldn’t understand why I didn’t just start at the top of the menu and work my way down.  I think the kitchen might have suspected that I was feeding my family though.  I was released late in the afternoon on Friday and the kitchen very nicely made me up a great chicken salad sandwich with cranberry sauce and stuffing to take home.  All in all, no complaints on the hospital stay other than, well it being a hospital stay and they do love waking you up every 2 hours to make sure you’re still alive.

It’s great being back home although I haven’t been doing much cooking to date.  Every now and then I get bursts of energy but they don’t last long before it’s nap time.  As my friend reminded me – “you were just in a knife fight at the wrong end of the knife”.  Hopefully I’ll have more to post as recovery takes place and I do want you all to know that I’m doing my best to keep up with your posts – I’ve loved reading them all even if I haven’t had the brain in gear to respond to all of them, please know that I’m loving hearing what you’re all up to and hope to be tip top soon.

Bacon Mac & Cheese and Diane’s New Parts

I know you wouldn’t think bacon mac & cheese has anything to do with new parts but I’m finally going in tomorrow for a total hip replacement and needed some comfort food. What better comfort food than Mac & Cheese and of course when you add bacon, well everything is just better with bacon.

I’ve been a little scattered with my blog posts because it’s been hard to sit for long…or walk…or drive. Although it’s been a long process, I’m looking forward to getting rid of these broken down old bones and getting a factory authorized (no used or after market parts for me thank you) titanium hip. I’m thinking I may very well do a food blog on the hospital food – what do you think? I know the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston is world renown for it’s surgeons and technology. I’m not so sure how their cafeteria is although I’ve upgraded to a special wing with a private room which offers high tea and catered meals any time of day. In any case I will be bringing my IPad along and look forward to keeping up with your posts. Just keep in mind that if I comment, please be understanding since I’m sure I’ll be on the Koo-Koo juice 🙂

Oh, and I’ve checked with my surgeon.  He guarantees that I will be able to do this after a brief recovery and some physical therapy.

(I have no idea why links aren’t enabled right now on my account, and you’ll probably get a message that you can’t view this except on youtube, so just click that second link to see what I’ll be working on.)

To calm my nerves and leave my husband with a good batch of leftovers I made up my version of Mac & Cheese that is extra gooey on the cheese and of course enhanced by bacon.


1/2 to 1 lb.   Cooked Bacon (I bake mine for about 20 minutes in the oven at 400°)
1 1/2 Cups  Shredded Parmesan cheese
8 oz.            Fresh Mozzarella, shredded (yes, it makes a terrible mess)
2                 Eggs
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 pkg          Mini pasta shells

Drain the cooked pasta shells then dump into a large bowl.
Mix in eggs, bacon, and cheeses, then sprinkle with pepper & salt to taste.

Put everything into a baking dish and cooking at 350° for about 1/2 hour until all the cheeses just ooze together into a delish concoction.

Another variation of this that I didn’t make this time (because frankly, I just forgot) is to sauté slices carrots in some white wine until just a little tender and add to the mixture.

2014 Boston Marathon – Boston Strong, Boston Stronger

One of many winners in the 2014 Boston Marathon – Niki with the 2 most important men in her life – her Dad and fiancé, Tim who never let her lose her way.

finish line with 2 important men

I don’t have any recipe today, just a heartfelt post of appreciation and love to my daughter, Niki for her amazing accomplishment of completing the 118th Boston Marathon April 21st.

For those of you not familiar with this historic race, it is a grueling 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) course that winds through 8 Massachusetts towns. Yes, people RUN this (heck, I can’t drive 26 miles without getting all kinked up).  The course is considered one of the most difficult due to a series of hills in Newton, most notably Heartbreak Hill which is between the 20 and 21 mile mark, just as most runners are hitting the wall and their muscle glycogen stores are depleted. As a running coach once said, “If a hill has a name, you know it’s going to be a tough one”.

Difficult as the course is, there is beauty in this race thanks to the overwhelming sense of community along the entire course with spectators high 5-ing and cheering on every participant – the elite runners,  the wheelchair racers, and many, like my daughter who run for charity.

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When my daughter was a young teenager, our lives went sideways when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  I know at that age, that it affected her deeply, especially the uncertainty of not knowing how the disease would progress.  I had to reassure her that we would get through it.  I was incredibly honored when she chose to run the marathon in my honor by raising almost $6,000 in donations for research for this serious and unpredictable disease.  We both thank all of the supportive and generous friends, family and strangers who donated to this cause so that better treatments and possible cures may save other families from the anguish brought on by this disease.

Most of you remember the horror of last year’s marathon when bombs went off at the finish line in Boston, killing 3 innocent bystanders and seriously injuring many others. I still feel the chill of that day knowing that my husband, niece, and sister-in-law were somewhere near the finish line but not being able to communicate with them to find out if they were safe.  Although everyone was nervous and concerned this year with everyone’s safety, it was reassuring to know that security was tight – snipers were stationed on the roofs of downtown buildings days before the race and police and National Guard were stationed along the route.  Last year’s tragedy did not stop more than 1 million spectators from cheering on the runners.  If anything, I think it brought more people out to show that 2 sick losers could not diminish this event.

Race day conditions were perfect for the early, elite runners but as the day wore on, you could tell that the heat was seriously affecting the runners with a later start.  I am amazed at the courage and stamina of EVERY runner, no matter their finish time. For those who trained in the area this year, it was an incredibly brutal winter to prepare for this event.  Most of our winter temperatures were below zero with frigid, gusting winds that made it hard to breath, never mind run and breath.

After my husband dropped Niki off in Hopkinton at the start line, we headed into Boston to station ourselves at strategic spots along the course.  I don’t think I’ve seen my husband so emotional – near tears as he said that he hoped she would be all right.  I know everyone was on edge and I was worried too since she’d had some knee problems in her training but there was never any doubt in my mind that this girl would finish what she started out to do.

From the age of 9 years old, Niki had trained as a competitive figure skater.  We would leave in early morning darkness to drive to the rink for practice.  After a full day of school, I would pick her up for 2-3 more hours of practice after school.  Many people don’t understand the athleticism, stamina, and strength required for a figure skater to rise to the senior levels because good skaters make it look effortless.  Most people don’t see the blistered and bleeding feet when they take their skates off or sit with them in the emergency room when they split their chin open when face meets ice (multiple times).  And many skaters don’t have the opportunity to work with a world renown Olympic level coach who does not allow you to give up.  If you fall, you get up and keep going because there are no do-overs in skating and the tears have to wait for the ride home.

So was I worried about her safety?  Yes.  Was I worried that she wouldn’t finish?  Never.  Sure enough, the knee that had been bothering her before the race went out before mile 5, yet when my husband and her fiancé saw her at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill, she was still running and smiling and when I saw her at the top of Heartbreak Hill at mile 21, well that smile was still there.  But it was my turn to cry when she got to me, stopped for a hug and said “Mom this is for you”.


I know that for Niki, this marathon was not about setting a speed record.  It was about love and caring and doing something to help others.  It was also one of very few times in any of her athletic endeavors that she actually had people cheering her on every step of the way.  Figure skating can be a very beautiful sport but the dark side of it is the fact that as you step on that ice, for every person cheering you, an equal number are waiting, hoping that you fall on your ass.  Although you may skate for a club, you are not on a team where everyone contributes, helping each other out.  When your music starts playing you are on your own and every mistake is owned only by you.  Yes, running a marathon is a solo endeavor and the elite runners are definitely in it to win and beat records but for most runners, it is a chance to go out and prove to yourself that you can finish the race.  In Niki’s case, she was running as part of the MS Team but her friend and training coach stayed with her every step of the way even though her knee slowed them down.  Neither of them had any problem stopping at the top of Heartbreak Hill for a photo op with me.


heartbreak hill done

Do these three look like they’ve just run 21 miles?


And when she finished at mile 26.2, yes – the smile was even bigger if that was possible.  Alexa, her friend and training partner and John, owner of Beantown Bootcamp could not have been more of a motivating force every step of the way.

finish line with trainer

Niki, I love you <this> much – thank you for being you….love Mom

And for some smiles, this is a link to some of the many signs that people make for the runners.  Who says people from Bawston don’t have a sense of humor?







Sultry Summer Days and a Teenager’s Quest for the Perfect Job

I always wanted to be a lifeguard.  I guess every teenager wants a summer job where you can be outside all day, especially on the beach.  Mowing lawns, landscaping and construction were out of the question for girls in my day, plus that was a lot of hard, sweaty work… but being a lifeguard – that was the dream job.

Unfortunately, my father had to sit me down and give me the bad news.  Yes, the man who always told me that I could do and be whatever I wanted if I put my mind to it sat me down and told me that I couldn’t be a lifeguard!    What? Why?  Okay, other than the fact that I don’t know how to swim and that there aren’t any places around that hire lifeguards.  How often do lifeguards actually have to jump in the water to rescue someone anyway?  Plus if someone was drowning, I could always scream for help.  I tried to argue with my father but he finally convinced me that even if I were to talk my way into a job, that a lifeguard wearing swimmies on her arms probably wouldn’t instill a lot of confidence in people.  I don’t even know why I bothered to argue with him anyway since he was the guy who had tried to teach me to swim from the day I could walk.  I remember starting with the back float.  He’d position me and as soon as he pulled his arms away from me – blub, blub, blub – Diane was on the bottom sucking pond water.

Driving aimlessly around one day just looking at different places around town that I could work, I pulled in to the Esso station in town for gas and realized….hey, this is outside!  I cornered the owner and asked him to hire me to pump gas that summer.  After he was done laughing and I was still standing there waiting for an answer, he must have realized the marketing potential of having the only girl gas jockey around.  I also knew my way under the hood of a car after handing tools to my father for years.  After agreeing to wear a mini skirt, I had the job and sure enough Peter got his free advertising when the local newspaper came around for pictures.  I was trying to make out what the price of gas was back then and couldn’t but it was probably around 35 cents if I remember correctly.  I do know that you couldn’t get any free stuff by filling up a Volkswagen Beetle because you usually had to spend $5.00 to get anything and unless you were running on fumes the tank didn’t take $5.


Keep in mind though that back in the 60’s the customer did not pump his own gas – that was my job in addition to hustling around to get your front and rear windows washed, offering to check the oil, tire pressure and washer fluid.  Credit cards were hardly used so I also had to make change the old fashioned way – taking the sale amount and counting up to the amount of money the customer handed me.  Oh, and for steady customers we handed out a free spice rack with the first $5 purchase and a free bottle of McCormick spice with every purchase after.  So it wasn’t a bad summer job but then I was asked to stay on part time after school.  That was fine until winter hit.  As everyone knows how much fun it is pumping your own gas now, imagine doing this in a good old New England blizzard.  Thus ended my gas jockey career.

I considered pumping gas again the following summer but then got a great opportunity – work outdoors, set my own schedule, no boss hovering over me…I got an ice cream truck route!  Yes I did.  I had my own little white truck – not the big fancy things that you see now but basically a pick up with a freezer on the back so I had to get out at each stop and get the ice cream bars from a little door in the back.  No soft serve type cones, just the novelty bars – ice cream sandwiches, Italian ice, crunch bars, push ups, Nutty Buddy’s…

My father even installed a special outlet in the back of our house so I could plug my truck in each night and not have to drop it off every night at the place where I restocked my truck.  Of course that did bring out the neighborhood kids at all hours, knocking on the back door but it was a small price to pay for the convenience (plus I think my father felt a little guilty for not being able to teach me how to swim).  It was a great job!  I mean who doesn’t love the ice cream lady?  Well, other than a very few cranky parents but I was always careful to not come around at lunch or dinner time.  The only scare I had was on my third stop the first day of my assigned route.  Standing at the back door while the kids came running I saw this gigantic, slobbering beast galumphing at me from the back of a house.  I yelled at the kids to stay back and was ready to bolt for the cab of the truck when one of the little kids told me not to worry – “that’s just Klondike, just wait for Mrs. Carlson to come”.  Sure enough ol’ Klondike, who was the biggest Newfoundland I’ve ever met,  stood with his massive front paws on the back door until Mrs. Carlson came running up with 25 cents.  All the kids waited in line behind Klondike until he got his ice cream sandwich, then they each got theirs.  Every day, Klondike got his ice cream sandwich then went back to the little pool behind his house.  As I say, I loved that job and you cannot believe how much money there is in ice cream.  The only downside to it was that damn non-song – my truck didn’t have any particular song, it just went da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da all day long and I’d hear it in my sleep.

I don’t know if my tastes have changed much over the years or if I just got my fill of the ice cream bars but now although I still love ice cream, I favor plain old ice cream.  I love just about every flavor but my favorite ice cream treat, especially on these incredibly hot, humid days we’ve been having here in Massachusetts is this:


A good old fashioned root beer float – A&W root beer with Bryers French vanilla ice cream.

Outside my back porch…

is a jungle.

back yard pics 003

Believe it or not, that could be a beautiful hill with draping vines from the back ledge (hidden by underbrush right now), azela bushes, and flowering perennials. However Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders had an easier time taking San Juan Hill than we’ve had trying to reclaiming this area.  During the week, I try chipping away at the underbrush and weeds.  When the weekend rolls around, using my best Teddy commander’s voice I tell John to “take that hill”.  Alas, our New England weather really hasn’t cooperated.  Where else but New England do you go from turning up the heat and watching hail bounce off the roof in May to melting from 90° humid air the next day, then dropping 30° all within the same week?

You’re getting a view of my back yard because I recently found a great blog based on posts from some of my favorite bloggers – Bams Kitchen, The Bartolini Kitchens, and The Complete Cookbook, who follow Celi on The Kitchens Garden.  Celi offered a challenge to post what you see from your back (or front) door or balcony and I’ve been looking at some very lovely patios. gardens, and vistas.

So although this hill doesn’t look like much more than a bunch of overgrown weeds right now, hopefully by the end of the summer I’ll be able to post some progress.  In the meantime though, until the weather cooperates I’ll focus on fauna rather than flora.  I’ve mentioned that we live in the smallest populated town west of Boston, Massachusetts but within an hour of all that the city has to offer.  It’s a farming community with a population of fewer than 3,000 people (probably more cows and horses, but that’s just the human count) so we have plenty of interesting wildlife out here.

My most consistent visitors are the deer who walk along that ledge on the top of the hill then come down to your front yard to trim our shrubs.

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We also have some wild turkeys who wander through, sometimes pecking at people’s front doors.  They’re really strange looking creatures and huge.

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Some of my favorite visitors are the fox.  This year we have at least one female with 2 kits although I’m sure there are more.  This one loves to sun but can be hard to spot in the leaves.

the fox 004Of course everyday you’ll find Lola in the back yard.  She’s really great at retrieving the paper but it usually works out best if you get to it before she does.

lola papergirl 006And then we have Moe.  If he’s not catching some zzz’s, he’s annoying Lola.

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Why he rings the doorbell, I don’t know other than that it drives Lola crazy.

I’m not sure when my next post will be since this computer is on its last legs and the new one coming has the new Windows version.  I’m not sure what Bill Gates has cooked up in this one but I hear from others that there is a “learning curve”.

Spring – finally in New England

Just as I was ready to post a recipe for wild mushroom ragu, I got completely off track for a while with the horror in Boston.  Then last week I was going to post a really delicious paprika chicken with spaetzle and I caught “some kinda bug” that landed me in the emergency room Saturday for a couple bags of fluids. Since I’m feeling a little better but not yet in my full upright position, let’s talk about something other than food this time.

mush ragu paprika chicken 027

Like how we finally have some beautiful spring weather here in New England.  My husband’s busy flicking channels trying to catch baseball and the last games of the hockey season.  I’m not much for watching sports on tv although I don’t mind an occasional night out at Fenway Park to see a ball game.  Personally, I think there’s lots more action and fun going on down at the local Little League field.

For those of you not familiar with American baseball, it’s pretty simple to understand.  It works like this:

Somebody throws the ball (the pitcher) at someone who’s holding a bat (the batter).  Usually the batter misses and if he misses enough times he has to go back and sit down with the other guys.  If he hits the ball, somebody in the field usually catches it…and he has to go sit down.  If not he gets to jog (millionaires don’t like to run) to 1st base.  Then other guys from his team get up to hit the ball so he can move on to 2nd base, 3rd, and finally home.  It goes on like that for way too long. Of course there’s other things that happen and rules but most of it is throwing a ball, missing a ball, and guys adjusting whatever’s in their pants that for some reason always needs adjusting.

T-ball is the young kids version of the sport.  Since you don’t want a 5 year old throwing a ball at another kid’s head, there isn’t any pitcher and the batter hits off a “T” or ball holder.  They keep swinging until they finally/hopefully hit the ball and run to 1st base.  Since there’s no outs, every kid gets a chance to hit the ball until you’ve gone through everyone and then you switch sides.

Anyway, back to when we first moved here…I showed up at a meeting in town one night thinking that I was signing Niki up to play on a T-ball team and came home with my car loaded with a bag of bats, balls, Little League approved helmets, a whistle and clipboard with the list of my team.  I’m not positive that I got a whistle, that could have been when I went to sign Niki up for soccer and came home with my car full of soccer balls.  My husband thought that me being a coach was a riot until I got one of the bats.  Really, how tough is it to coach T-ball?

First thing… call all your kids’ parents to let them know when the practice and games are and what the kids should bring.  I had my list ready and figured I’d start with a friend whose son was on my team…

“Hi Sharon, I’ve got Jordan on my team and we’re having practice on Tuesday.  Have him bring his own glove and athletic shoes that stay on his feet.”

“Does he need a cup?”

“No, no, I’ve got a big water jug and I’ll bring plenty of cups for everyone… Sharon?  Are you snorting coffee through your nose?  Sharon are you ok?”

There, that went well and just 8 more calls to make.  Now in my defense, let me explain that I had 2 sisters, no brothers and 1 daughter so the only cups that I’m familiar with are sippy cups, Dixie cups, and coffee cups.  Any cups specific to little boys is not in my field of expertise.

Moving on to our first game since the first practice was cancelled due to rain.  Coaching T-ball goes like this:

“Okay guys, we’re up at bat first so everyone sit on the bench until it’s your turn to hit the ball.  Kaitlin, you’re first so put your helmet on.  Aw, I’m sorry sweetie but we only have blue helmets and everyone has to wear a helmet.

t ball 002

ADAM, only the batter can swing the bat so please put the bat down  and sit on the bench until its your turn.

Kaitlin, please put your helmet on because we have to start the game…I’m really sorry we don’t have pink…hey, how about if I put a pink sticker on a helmet  for you next time?  Excellent!

ADAM, stop swinging the bat and go sit on the bench!

Lookin’ good Kaitlin but why don’t we turn you around so you’re facing the ball – you can hit it better if you look at it”.

ADAM, Put. That. (deep breath) Bat. DOWN. and. SIT. on the BENCH.

That was so close Kaitlin, now just swing a little higher and try to hit the ball instead of the T.

ADAM take your glove out of John’s face.

You’re doing great Kaitlin, try again.  No, no don’t cry, you’re doing fine…you don’t want to play any more?  You want to try in a little while?  Well ok, if you want to go sit with Mom for a bit you go ahead and then come back when you want to play some more.

ADAM don’t pinch Jill…or anyone else.

Okay, Garin let’s have you up here buddy. You ready?”

And didn’t Garin nail it out to left field!  Wow this kid must have played ball…so why is he standing there?

“Awesome Garin, run to 1st base”.  And Garin started running.  Then he did a U-turn and came running back to me.

“Garin, that was great but you need to run to 1st base.”

So Garin’s standing there nodding and said…“Ok, but which one’s first?”  Ewww boy…just assumed we all knew that but okay need to remember to cover some basics.  He took off again after I pointed but came back to let me know…“you know I kinda figured that but I wasn’t sure so I figured I’d just check with you, thanks.”  He started off again but before I could get the next batter up, there was my pal Garin back at my side…“Umm, coach?  I got where 1st base is but after that do I run to 2nd base?  Okay, and 2nd’s that one way out there?  Good, that’s what I figured but I just wanted to check with you, thanks.  Oh yeah, then after 2nd is 3rd base?  Right got it, thanks.  Oh, when do I come back here?”

Now you might be thinking, isn’t this kid out by now?  I mean we just had a 10 minute meeting discussing all the places that Garin has to be in the next half hour or so.  First, this is T-ball so remember, there are no outs and everyone gets to run the bases.  Second, that ball that went flying out in the field?  Let’s see it went something like this…

It went between Jason and Mark who then got into a wrestling match, kept going until it landed at the feet of Amanda who didn’t notice because she was just about done making the pretty dandelion necklace for her mother and then had to run off to the sidelines to give it to her.  Brian did see the ball and ran over from the other side of the field but then threw it to 3rd base because that’s where his friend Michael was.  Their coach convinced Michael to throw it to 1st base but it only went as far Jessica who was doing a cartwheel at the time.  When she was done with the best cartwheel ever, she picked it up and rolled it past Brian on 2nd base who threw his glove at the ball then chased it and kicked it back to the outfield…you get the picture.  And although Garin had plenty of time to get to 1st base standing up, he decided to do a slide into the base which annoyed Julie who then started pushing Garin off the base because that’s where she was standing. Julie’s coach and I ran out for a quick explanation about having to share the bases and we finally got around to batter #2…whew!

Usually you play until each player on each side has hit 4 times but the other coach and I agreed that for the first game 3 innings was plenty and the mosquitoes were starting to bite.  Plus I had to get back to my bench to stop Adam from bonking the bat off the other kids heads to see how tough the helmets were.

And my husband thought I didn’t know enough about baseball to coach T-Ball!

NEMO – Who’s Nemo?

I knew we were getting a major storm, but nobody told me they had named it.  As I checked some friends on Facebook after the storm, they had pictures up with captions like “Judy with Nemo”, “Kathy playing with Nemo”… and they were all alone in the pictures!  I kept thinking huh, did Judy AND Kathy get new dogs and both name them Nemo?  And where’s Nemo?  I finally saw a post of someone shoveling Nemo…

Ooooh – they named the blizzard Nemo?  They’ve always named hurricanes, but I don’t recall ever having blizzards named.  Like the Blizzard of ’78…we called that the Blizzard of ’78 and that worked out just fine.  We were buried for almost a week, there was a ban on driving, and the best part was that it was all before the internet so no one could work!  It seems to me that storm was worse than this one but it could be because we lived in the city at the time and there was no place to put the snow.  Niki’s street in Boston just got somewhat plowed out last night and the people who don’t have off street parking should be able to get to their cars sometime in June.

Anyway, whatever they call it, we did get a lot of snow, the roads were closed as of 4:00 pm Friday and reopened at 4:00 pm Saturday.  As of Friday afternoon though I kept telling my husband that I wasn’t all that impressed with this storm.  But then when I got up Saturday morning to this…

blizzard feb2013 013I was a little more impressed.  Before I could get my jacket and boots on, Lola had already dug and tunneled her way out to the back.  I’m sure some of that was drifting but the front was pretty much the same.

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A big pile of Nemo

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Lola standing in Nemo

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Lola eating Nemo

Lola just hanging out on Nemo

Lola just hanging out with Nemo

John swearing at Nemo

John swearing at Nemo (yeah, I had another caption but I just can’t use it)

Decorating the Tree – that was the plan

So I figured I’d get a load of laundry going, do a little cleaning, and start decorating the Christmas tree.  Standing downstairs in the laundry room I looked down and figured, eh these pants should go in…and the sweatshirt too.  Just as I got the washer going, Lola went nuts barking, jumping and clawing at the front door.

Oh-oh…somebody rang the doorbell.  And I don’t have any pants on.  No shirt either. No way to get upstairs without going through the foyer and since the front door has side lights, there’s no way to go upstairs to get any clothes.  The only dry fabric available to me was a small hand towel.  So no problem, a little chilly but I’ll wait them out.  Except Lola’s still going nuts and instead of the doorbell, whoever has decided that with all the barking I might not have heard the doorbell so they decided to knock on the door.  Seriously, if I don’t come for the doorbell do you think I’ll come for the knocking?  And don’t you see what’s happening to my door and windows?

In the lull between barks I can hear a little tap-tap-tap on the side window and someone saying “aw…look a puppy…too cute”.  No it is not a puppy, it is not cute and if you don’t go away soon, I really am going to open that door naked AND let Lola out.  How fast can you run?  So please, feel free to stop by but do call first – I’d appreciate it.

The excitement of visitors over and myself dressed I finally got on with decorating the tree.  First decoration every year is usually this one.  Hey, you bring a tree into the house and things happen (better than what Lola did the first year):

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I love my tree decorations because so many have been gifts or collected while traveling.  I also have a hobby of making eggshell ornaments that started with a gift to Niki for her first Christmas from my sister in law:


Once I took a look at that I decided “I can do that!”.  And started collecting eggshells whenever I baked by cutting an oval out of the front of the egg with teeny embroidery scissors.  We did spit lots of eggshells out because I always missed a few little bits.  After cleaning them out, I coat the shell with Mod Podge, then paint, then use layers of shellac – and I always put them at least 3′ up since the Berner tail takes out everything on the lower branches every year.  These I also fasten very carefully since everything on the tree is a cat toy.

So, at the request of my blogger friend at A Detailed House (please, you have to stop by her site because she is the most talented and creative person I’ve run across) these are some of the ornaments that I’ve created over the years. Niki used to skate competitively and one of my first was this of her on ice:

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A little gift for the teacher:

eggs inventory 014And lots of just fun things using minatures, my favorite being tiny seashells (yes, that’s Chatham beach sand) that I find at the beach.

eggs inventory 019So those are just some of the ornaments but what would a tree be without the angel on top?

lola3 007Okay, so Lola wasn’t very happy playing an angel for long:

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I love these weather headlines:  Frankenstorm predicted to SLAM East coast.  A hurricane-winter storm hybrid will likely pound region early next week.  

Now New Englanders are pretty tough when it comes to weather during the winter.  But we consider our winter season to be between December and March, at which point we’re done with the snow, sleet, and freezing nose boogers.  I don’t exactly know what a hurricane-winter hybrid might be but I’ll get in line at Target with everyone else and stock up on batteries.  But Mother Nature!  Can you please give us a break?  October?  Remember when you smacked us last October – October 28th to be exact with this?

Very pretty, but since all the leaves were still on the trees, they couldn’t take the weight of the wet snow and damages were severe. Powers lines were across roads, schools of course were closed, and Halloween was cancelled.  We were very lucky that we’d just had about a dozen huge trees removed from the back hill that were leaning toward the house & would definitely have crashed on us.  Already had that happen to us once.

Last year our power was knocked out on Friday, Oct 28th.  We didn’t get it back until Tuesday of the following week.  And unlike a lot of freak storms, where we get snow and it’s gone the next day, IT WAS COLD!  Thankfully we have wonderful neighbors with generators who offered showers and food but we still had to come back into the frigid house.

We are in a very small town west of Boston and rely on electricity.  We have oil heat (which requires electricity), a well (need electricity for that too), and a septic system (which in our case has a pump to pump up to the leach field).  We can get by with limited flushing by bucket provided someone not only fills the bathtub, but also realizes that the drain isn’t slowly leaking all of the emergency water down the drain. It’s possible to ration the number of bucket flushes but you sure don’t want to guess at how full the tank is getting since a miscalculation means it’ll be coming right back at ya.

So I’m really, really hoping that this storm which is scheduled to hit on just about the same day as last year goes easy on us this time around.  You know all those pictures you see of smiling people snuggled up in front of a blazing fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate?  It’s a bunch of garbage!  A fireplace doesn’t throw any heat and unless you’re willing to stick your butt a few inches from the flames, you are not going to get warm except maybe from the energy it takes to haul logs up into the house.  Believe me, 2 layers of long underwear, fleece pants, 4 layers of sweaters, wool hat, scarf wrapped around your face and mittens isn’t all that romantic.  Even though Bernese Mountain dogs love the winter, they still like to come into a warm house when they’re done playing in the snow if only to get a Kleenex to wipe the icicles off the nose.