Friday, December 31, 2010

And on to a new year!

My resolution: I really, really really resolve to pay more attention to blogging. It has always been somewhat therapeutic for me to write - anywhere, anytime - and now that AI do it for a living, I seem to have let my blog fall by the wayside. But this is a new year and I'm going to try harder to keep up with my little corner of the blog world.

Also, very much to my surprise, I got a camera for Christmas which will replace my "old unfaithful" that would only let me upload oh, I'd say, once out of every 11 attempts. ACK.
So if you have resolutions, I hope you keep them. I probably won't (for the other ones, anyway.... I really will pop in more often to visit blogs I like!), but there may be hope for the rest of you. :) I just checked on my old resolutions from last year, and I did at least keep #1.

And now for the year in mini-review:
Girls grew older.
Time flew by.
Love the job, still.
Buffy the fluffy dog and Noopie the sweet weiner-dog both passed away. The cats are still with us.
I learned how to do canning.
The oldest, 17, got to go to art camp, the middle one, 14, won a math competition, the youngest, 12, is learning to play guitar and wants to be a movie director when she grows up.
My oldest entered her senior year - that makes me the mom of a graduate soon, for the first time.
We went on vacation to visit my sister in NH, good times.
The middle child rode a motorcycle for the first time, with her uncle. Slowly.
An older extended family member passed, and a very young one (she is 5)is now fighting leukemia.
We are thankful for every day we can wake up and look at the sunshine.
The youngest is on a train right now, heading south with her grandmother to visit her great-grandmother and other members of my family.
Time continues to fly.
But we're in PJ's today and enjoying the day off.

I've added a few holiday pics from over the past few days (none of the girls though, because there is always another friend in the photo! oops!)! Happy new year my friends!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Busy summer, welcome to fall!

I want to share pictures of my summer!
It worries me when bloggers just seem to fall off the face of the planet; I kept thinking I'd better post soon, but my camera refused to cooperate - and I have all these PICTURES that I wanted to share!! I kept getting messages when trying to upload: "Camera already in use, try again later." And I thought, DUH, it's in use by ME... what's the problem?
So anyway today, Oldest Daughter figured out that we could upload directly from the camer'as memory card to her laptop, put the pics online, then I could grab them from there. Ta da!
I've been waiting weeks to share these pics, sort of a snapshot of my summer garden and canning attempts (came out BEAUTIFULLY, after I covered a class on how to can safely, for my newspaper - and came away with mission to can my own pickles and applesauce this year). Not sharing the family vaca pics since the kids are all old enough to not want to be shown. No problem! But we did go to New Hampshire to visit my sister, which was great, and to the historical village, and a couple other places - fun stuff - before school started again. I now have a middle-schooler and two high-schoolers!! WHOA where does the time go...?
Over the summer our much-loved dog Buffy passed away, which hurt, but time heals. Also the oldest daughter was chosen for a week-long art camp at a university 4 hours from here, which was fantastic. Otherwise we worked and enjoyed the warm weather and gardened and lived and loved and counted our blessings, what else can you do? :)
Anyway, today is the day I will hopefully have enough time to go visiting to all my favorite blogs (there are a lot) before the TV installation guy shows up. Summer's over -the TV goes back on today - not that that's a great thing, but we had a summer "off" from it, and the kids played outdoors... also got in some sewing for my shop (new grocery totes and very COOL buckwheat-hull pincushions going in shortly, now that I can upload photos!!), jewelry making, and all-around family relaxing - and had a great time! :)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 3monthiversary to me!


Just back from a 3-day craft show / talent show / Bry*an Adams tribute concert in which I was, well, more like a side dish. Kind of like the canteen selling poutine down the hall. But anyway.
It was a big summer festival in a tiny nearby town and my sister-in-law was running part of it and asked me if I could come do a table. Sure, I said, as she's family and I could maybe sell a few pieces, and so I sat there Thursday evening (talent show), Friday evening (talent show finals) and all day Saturday (nothing... nothing.... poutine and water for lunch... everybody outside playing ballgame tournaments... the big and little band doing stagechecks... me hanging with the big band since no one else came in to the stadium until about 8 p.m...) and it finally got busy when it got dark. Actually I had to march up to one of the guys from town, setting up, and ask for lighting, since it's kind of hard to see gemstones and crystals in the dark! So I had a string of Christmas lights behind me till I left at about 1 a.m.
The talent show was great, mostly, as we have some big voices up here. But.... I have to say... there was a dance studio that put on several performances. The teeny tots dressed as elephants - cute! The kids as flowers - sweet! The two dance numbers, both extremely hot and sexy, would have been fine except that one of the groups was about 19-24 yrs old and the other group - same moves - was 12-13. There were guys in the back holding beers and cat-calling. UMMMM..... can we say "inappropriate?" Ew, no, not good.
Otherwise, the littler kids running around were great fans of the chalk mats I make, since I leave one out to doodle on. They kept coming by, making a new picture, erasing the old ones, doodling their names,etc.. One little girl kept erasing the "try me" I kept writing on the corner, and she had a little mad expression every time. It was funny.
A few brought their parents over to buy one, which was nice. During the big concert last night, there were very few kids - the jewelry was popular though, lots of ladies all dressed up stopping by the table with their friends and going "OOOOH! WOW!"
Anyway, it's all packed up now until the big Thanksgiving weekend craft fair, and time to reopen my Etsy shop until then. Need to take photos of all the new sparkly pretty things I've just made recently!!
Other than that, I plan to go check on my poor garden, which I have not gotten to in 4 days or so - good thing it's been raining off and on every day. It looks from the window like it's doing fine without me, though!
Oh, and at work, I just reached my 3-month-iversary! :) And still loving it! :)
Till next time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dandelion Greens a l'Acadien!!

I have not posted since April?? OMG! It may because I type most of the day at the office (when I'm not chasing down a story, giving an interview, etc etc... have I mentioned today that I LOVE my job?). Well I guess it's time to catch up with my posting!
I made dandelion greens with salt pork, a traditional Acadian recipe, the other day, and it turned out quite yummy but a little bitter. Next time I'll add a touch more baking soda, I think. which cuts the bitter. Posting photos here of the process. I showed the pics to my publisher, while at the office, and they ended up in the paper in a very cute special column. :) Because you can only make these at certain times of the year, ya know!

Very simply, you go out somewhere that people and animals don't go if possible, and forage for little baby dandelion greens (up here they are relatively young) that have NOT produced a flower, then pick and wash thoroughly. (ADVICE - if you want to feed 4 or 5 people, you'll need to pick a bucket-full! I only picked a bowl full and ended up with roughly one cup of cooked greens!!)

Then you boil them in water with about 1/2 tsp of baking soda, and when done in abt 10 min, you drain and you pour the salt pork, drippings and all, into the greens and let sit for abt 5 min and serve. I only used about 1/3 of the drippings for health reasons! I served them with biscuits.
If you don't have salt pork you can use bacon or leftover meaty/fatty pieces from a baked ham, which is what I did (we only ate the meat bits, of course!).
I got the recipe from an Acadian cookbook made in 1989, it's full of great stuff like Cretons, Ployes, Snow Cake, "herbes salees" (salted herbs and scallions, which I am making tonight thanks to a kind farmer I interviewed - I was going to buy some from him afterward, but he sent me home with a bagful, on the house!). It's a treasure of a cookbook - I lent it to a friend but when I get it back I may share some of those recipes.
Anyway, the recipe is visible in most of the photos in case I left anything out.

So.... anyway... here at the house, I've tilled the garden thanks to a neighbor who lent us his tiller (well... actually the hubs did it, but the girls and I picked out rocks and weeds) and I've purchased a *#$%load of seeds, so I plan to plant the garden this Sunday. Really this is about the earliest we can do it - even the farmers are just now starting to plant the potato fields. I really look forward to my garden growing!

So that's it for now, and I have to catch up with my favorite bloggers this weekend. I'm going to sit here with my cup of coffee and do nothing but catch up with blogs. Well, in between the city-wide garage sale happening nearby, and taking the girls rollerskating, and planting the garden!!! Yee haw, this is going to be a fun weekend.

Smile! It's Spring! :)


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Once upon a time...

I *used* to be a blogger. I used to blog all the time. "Blog" was a verb for me, not a noun. And now it feels like, well, like it's that place I try to go to now and then to catch up with old friends, but only when I'm not at work or not catching up with laundry, and only when someone else is not using the computer, since that's my only doorway to see those friends... ouff. I'm going to have to try harder, I feel like I'm not here often enough. When did that happen? Not that my life is especially busy or crazy - yes I do work full time, yes I do have three kids and a dog and two cats, and a house bursting with activity, but so what? So does everyone else, so big whoop.
So anyway I'm going to TRY to get on here more often. That's my rant for today, thanks for listening, world.

So... here's the scoop: I left my job with the telecommunications company.

Oh yes I DID.

But for a super-good reason - I recently came across a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (cleverly disguised as a want-ad) for a full-time reporter, and I pounced like a mama lion. I had that resume, cover letter and several samples of my writing ready to go in less than 24 hours... I wanted that job SOOOO BAD. I was thinking about it all the time! For several days, every hour, almost every minute of the DAY I was thinking about it. I swear, I've never wanted a certain job so strongly in my entire life.


I am happily working now in that office, and sometimes I'm out on the road while investigating new happenings in the area for a story, or trying to get an interview (I'm naturally curious, and I don't usually take no for an answer, but I'm also extremely aware of the objectivity, clarity, responsibility and discretion needed in the world of journalism, especially in small communities... so this is the perfect fit for me). So um.... what was I saying... oh yes, I remember... YAY!!!!

:) So that's an update for me. Otherwise the world is progressing as usual. The two oldest kids are laughing and arguing in the kitchen while doing their chores (sure, why not), the youngest is visiting with my dear friend who is like an auntie to her, and the shaggy dog went to the "beauty spa" to get his haircut yesterday so he can see again, thank goodness. Oh, and the snow hills are almost melted in my backyard.

Have a great day, and I wish you enough sunshine and rain to grow flowers (but not enough to call for a state of emergency). Think I might just take a nap today!

Happy Sunday! Later! :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dorki one Binorki

Saturday night.

My eldest daughter is playing a video game. She says to me, about her game, "Mum... look... that character there is Okie."

I reply (without looking at the screen first), "Is it Okie Ben Binoki?

She looks at me with one eyebrow raised, somewhat puzzled.

I say, "Oh I mean, I mean is it Orkie Ben Binorkie?" I am still totally serious, trying to remember why this sounds familiar.

She squints at the TV screen for a second, then looks at me with a classic lifetime-of-patience expression...
and says slowly, "Are you... referring... to Obi-Wan Kenobi?"

I say "Yes! Right! From Star Trek, right."

Her eyes not wavering from her game, she deadpans: "STAR WARS".

So....I'm officially a dork with a bad memory. *And I LOVED Star Wars.* !?!???!!??

Guess I better start doing brain-enhancing activities before it gets worse...
I hear video games are good for that. :)


Monday, March 01, 2010

What to do, what to do...

Yeah.... in my dreams.

Good morning, world. I just had a ham cheese and tomato sandwich on wheat with mustard for breakfast, I've poured my first cup, and we need to talk.

Does anyone out there work from home? I don't mean hobbies and crafting, I do that already (see the lovely photo boxes on the right hand side). I mean like for their companies. Like at a computer, at home, connected to the office database, and talking to clients over the phone, right from home. I mean, I know that people do that, and in my company we have about 60-90 already working from home.... and they've just recently started for the most part. But I'm just looking for feedback, opinions, stories of success or even challenges from those who've been doing this a while - I'm thinking of taking the leap.

OK here's the thing - I work for a large telecommunications company, doing customer care mostly. My office is about 8 minutes to drive from my house. Not bad at all, even on the same road.

However in the middle of winter, when I'm scraping ice off my windshield and the wind is trying to remove my coat for me, sometimes I think, AH if I could only stay home! Even stay home and be working... at least I'd be warm right now!

So here is the requirement: ya gotta have a private place to work - A home office or room where you can close the door and be undisturbed. Check. ya gotta have a fire extinguisher. Check. Ya gotta have quarterly inspections. No prob. Ya gotta have a quiet work environment because clients will hear kids or dog in the background.... uh oh, Houston we have a problem.

My kids are 12 and up, so they get the whole do not disturb thing .... in theory. I worry they'll be slipping notes under the door with dire messages such as DAD SAYS WE CAN'T WATCH AMERICAN IDOL >( :( >( HELP. Etc etc.
And I worry that while Noopie is gone (bless her heart) and she was the yappy one, there are still time when Buffy the lhasa apso will see a cat whirl by and bark after the cat for a minute. Just enough to be loud, but that sound comes through to my room, where I've sectioned off one deep closet for desk and chair. So yep, I can close the door and it's private. Nope, haven't figured out how to make it QUIET. Thinking of buying sound-absorbing curtains like in recording studios, but that's kinda expensive. So... maybe I could Mike-Holmes-ify my one finished basement room, which at this point is actually a mildew-friendly and windowless storage room. EWW.

Sigh... I'll have to think on the logistics some more. Until I can figure out the noise part, anybody who works from home on the phone and who likes it? Hates it? Benefits/ crap that comes with it? I'm asking my friends and anyone else who happens along. More the merrier. **Except for the one person who keeps spam-linking to some ad site - CUT THAT SHIT OUT.

The rest of you, hope to hear from you soon! :)


Friday, February 19, 2010

RIP Noopie

Well, Blogger is not letting me add photos, and sadly my pasts posts have been erased so I can't bring up any photos from there.

However for those of you who "knew" her through this blog, my little brown doxie dog Penelope (known to us by her nickname Noopie) has passed away at home last Thursday, surrounded by her family. She was 8 and a half years old.

Rest in Peace, Noopie-doopie, we love ya. We'll see you again in heaven. OXOXOXO

Monday, January 25, 2010

And Now About That Hole.

Ok so just a brief (as brief as I can ever be) rundown on our lovely sinkhole.

Oh... this was about 3 weeks ago I guess. I'm inside, it's late morning, I'm still in my nightgown.
Kids 1, 2, and 3 (ages 11, 13, & 16 respectively) are all outside playing, in snowsuits, having been kicked out of the house by Mean-Mom after waaaay too much video-game playing.
I hear a wail.
It's not the she-threw-a-snowball-at-me kind of wail.
It's the alarm-bells kind of wail. I'm thinking, did she fall down, get hurt?
I open the back door for a first news report and yell, "What happened?"
No answer, but Kid 2 is running over to the side yard and Kid 1 is looking bewildered.
I yell again, "Is someone hurt? WHAT HAPPENED??"
By this time I am also throwing on my coat and sticking my bare feet into my Birkenstocks, the closest and quickest footwear I can put on.
I run out the door in the direction Kid 2 was headed.
I see the side year... I see the line of pine trees which marches from the road to the back of our yard... I see what looks like Kid 3 sitting on the other side of the snowbank by the driveway, in between two pine trees.
She is crying, she is wailing, she is howling, but she can't tell me what's wrong as I'm running over - it is the sound of TERROR. I arrive and look at her from above, now.
She is not sitting.... she has fallen into a hole.
A big, deep, unexplainable sink-hole, about 4 ft across and from all I can gather, bottomless... I can't see the bottom, I can only grasp that my child has one leg dangling deeply into the pit and one leg bent high over the snow and two arms grasping the snow on both sides and WAAAIIIIIILING for her very life, it sounds like. Most of her is in the pit, which is also under about 2 feet of snow on all sides.
My brain goes into freeze-dried automatic control. Kid 2 is with me, Kid 1 (the youngest) is hovering on the driveway uncertainly, afraid.
I tell Kid 2, BRING ME ROPE. AND MY BOOTS. She runs for the house. I just don't know how deep this damn thing goes.
Then I take back control of my brain and think (in about 1/100th of a second) What would I do if she were falling through a frozen pond? I step into the snowbank and then I tell Kid 2, Hook your arm under her right arm, and I'm gonna hook my arm under her left arm, and then on three we're going to pull her out (keep in mind that Kid 2 is 13, and a thin little slip of a girl.... kid 3 is 16 and more athletically built).

And darn if we didn't pull that teenager out of that pit. And back, and back, till we were nearly on the other side of the driveway. And then when we were all breathing again (and bless her heart, here came Youngest with the rope and boots...) we asked Kid 3 what happened.

She says, wiping her tears, "I just stepped off the driveway, over the snowbank and into the yard!! And then my foot kept going down and down and I thought 'something's not right' and then I didn't know what to do other than hang on with my hands and holler for help!"

POOR KID! Jeesh!!! Must have been heart-stopping!!

So we did go back and look, and Kid 2 (the photographer) took some snapshots, and we figure it's probably 7 or 8 feet deep - just some kind of unexplained sinkhole. I need to call the city to see if they have any old pipe systems or whatnot. We live in the oldest house in this village, from what we've been told (1920's or so) so they'll need to investigate.

But she's fine, and has quite the story to tell the grandkids someday! ;) So that's what THAT was all about.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm not Irish after all.

Turns out I'm a Scot! Would you like to see the family castle?? Of course it's much fancier nowadays than it would have started out... :)

I sent an email to my father a few days ago, as I'd recalled a long-ago story that we were of Irish descent and had a castle in the family, at some point long ago. Well, that was too vague and has been a hovering question in my mind recently (did we have Irish roots or not?) , so I emailed Dad and asked him to clarify the old story.

He replied back that it's not Ireland, it's Scotland, and he explained the genealogy of how we go back (yes, I should have asked earlier, but we don't get the chance to talk that often).

So.... it turns out that I, through my Dad, and him through his Dad, and him through his Grandma, are direct descendants of Clan Ross of the Scottish Highlands. WOW. And we did in fact have a castle in the family (there was a clan chief in our Rosses for about 300 years) which is called Balnagown Castle (traditional spelling is Balnagowan). The castle still stands, in Kildary, Ross-shire, as an estate.

The current owner, an Egyptian millionaire (ever hear of Harrods? That's the man) lets out the surrounding cottages in the summer for high-paying guests, from what I understand, and the castle is his summer home. The castle was actually still in the family up until 1972, when the taxes were too high and the family could no longer afford them... that is when the new owner bought the castle and has really done a beautiful job of fixing it back up again, restoration, and repair.

With the name provided by my Dad, I was able to locate photos and the website for the castle. I would love to visit someday, even to walk around! I always wondered what that branch of the family tree held, and it feels very good to finally have details. Scottish! Imagine! My husband said to me when he found out, "Well that explains a lot!!" Wonder what the hell does he mean by that? HA! And you know what? When I found out, not only was I very happy, but also it struck a very familiar, comfortable sort of cord... I mean, almost like my mind went, WELL OF COURSE! As if I had known all along (but I hadn't)..... Interesting.

So like all of us, I'm a great blend... Portuguese and Scottish on my Dad's side, Russian/Latvian and Canadian on my Mom's side, and here I am a blended American married to a Canadian who's family is French. Cue the music.... it's a small world, after all! I'm going to start saving nickels for a trip to Scotland. Should have enough nickels by the time I'm 50 or so.

Oh and... also we had a big sinkhole in my side yard between 2 pine trees. Looks so deep my kids' friends are joking it's a portal to Narnia. We're investigating the "why". But more on that later! :)

Have a good day!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Oh King Julian, you are so funny...

Remember that guy?? heh heh....

SO! Anybody catch the People's Choice Awards last night?

Oh I should mention I finally relented and got TV turned back on. :)

I only caught the last 30 minutes, dangit, but I did arrive in time to see the great and silver-tongued (and often twisted) Sacha Baron Cohen deliver an introduction to Johnny Depp. WOW. Awesome.

It sort of highlighted his pirate and his Wonka days ("Sir William Wonka," said Cohen) in the wittiest of manners, ever the gentleman in his delivery. And in regards to his upcoming role as the Mad Hatter, he said something like "....and thank you for making it acceptable for creepy middle-aged men to invite young girls to tea and give them hallucinogenic drugs"... which while the content is not funny for a mom like me of course, still had me literally giggling uncontrollably, it's just the way he said it all, oh ma godd. The guy is just a genius.

And then the Depp man appeared in person to the roars and whistles of the crowd, rather than accepting via live giant-screen from France. That was very cool.

He did talk a bit like his pirate, though, which made me wonder if he is filming something at the moment and still immersed in his character. Or maybe he's caught the nearly-British-accent for good, perhaps from years of movie-making, not sure... I don't remember him speaking like that years ago, but then neither did Madonna. LOL. But I'll watch him speak however he wants to. ;)

So yeah I'm sure I had other stuff I wanted to talk about today, but it has been eclipsed. Them's the breaks.

Off to work and then we go in for Phase 2 of Middle Girl's Braces fitting! Wish us luck!!


Friday, January 01, 2010


Wow, been too long.

As I was brewing coffee and doing dishes this morning, I felt a blog post forming in my head like a storm cloud. It was regarding resolutions. When that happens, I need to go write or I'll forget everything I was thinking about!

Well, 2010. Go figure. Make any resolutions?

It's more about resolve than resolutions, don't you think? We can make New Years resolutions out the wahoo and they do not mean a thing if they are vague... like, I'll lose weight. I'll be nicer. I'll get a raise... meaningless if they are lightweight, puffy ideas that we don't really think about after 2 weeks. And that's how it's always, always been with me. I admit it.

Puffy resolution makers anonymous, here I come.

So I thought this year, I will not make any.

But then Dick Clark changed my mind. Dammit. If he can still show up to drop the big ball in Times Square, looking dapper in a suit and witty as ever, then I can at least try to make some New year's resolutions. OK, FINE.

So I thought it over, and then I thought it over better, and with more effort. Here are my real, actual, swear-to-God-cross-my-heart RESOLUTIONS FOR 2010:

I will pay more attention to my business: It's a tiny little thing, but it needs more love and care. I have lots of sparkling new things I could put in there (keep in mind, it's an online-only shop) but I'm slow to list them (quick to ship, though!!). SO, I will list new things more often. I will try to advertise where it seems like a good idea. Because my dearest dream is to rent a little storefront someday and let people walk right in to browse!!

I will get rid of my extra clutter: I have too much junk, most people do. I will slowly, and casually, continue going through the clutter-magnet areas of my home, and drop things into the trash or make a Goodwill bag as it applies. Not a big tornado of cleaning; I don't have time for that, but just little things, every time I come across them. I've already started the kids doing this with their rooms before Christmas so they have an easier time with giving things away or tossing out what we just don't need (little-kid toys, last years worn out lunchboxes, snowsuits that are beyond patching up, the dollar-store figurines that no one claim as theirs, etc, etc). And I'll work on our shared living areas.

And finally, I will avoid sugars and white breads most of the time.
Aha, see how I worded that?
Not that I will NEVER eat sugar again, because that would be ridiculous for me and self-defeating. So instead, I'll keep this sort of mantra in the forefront of my mind..."stay away from sugars, just find an alternative, that's crap. And I am eating to live, not living to eat".
I'm typing this while enjoying my Light Thick & Creamy 100-calorie, fat-free Orange Creme yogurt. Which tastes like a creamsicle, but I can taste the Splenda in it, and that works for me. YUM.

OK off to get a cup of fresh coffee and tidy up, got family coming over to visit. And I'll be making crackers-creamcheese-and-eggs for lunch, and yes crackers have white flour in them. It's a traditional brunch thing we do, so I'm not skipping it. This is where "most of the time" comes into play....gotta pick my battles. :)

So my friends.... Have a safe, healthy, stress-free, happy, financially-secure, loving, peaceful NEW YEAR.

Mouah!! OXO