Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Babies in 2009

Well, friends, you didn't beat last year's record of 12 baby boys born, but you did keep busy. This year, our friends produced 10 bouncing babies—5 boys, 5 girls. Next year, there's already 5 pregnancies announced. The adults are starting to be outnumbered!!!

I present to you "the babes of oh nine." Don't you think the last one is just the cutest??
The next time you hear from me, it will be 2010 (WHAT????). J and I leave tomorrow morning for our yurt vacation. What's a yurt, you ask? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The rest of our 1500-mile road trip in pictures

We're back in New Hampshire after a long 9 days and many miles in Jersey!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blizzard of 2009

When people ask what I was doing during the blizzard of 2009 (Saturday, Dec. 19), I will have to say at a concert of course. I mean, when the state of NJ gets a whopping 2 feet of snow and high winds, why wouldn't I be out and about gallivanting?

So we put on our boots ... Thanks to theMakeupArtist for modeling her cool boots for the sake of the blog

and braved the snow ...

with 30 of J's friends from the Prep (and wives and siblings and uncles and cats and dogs) ...

and survived.
In all seriousness, J had pretty much the time of his life. Oh wait, he says that about every concert experience. But this band, From Good Homes, broke up in 1999 and this was their reunion show. J has seen probably about 150 of their shows from 1994 to 1999, so this should tell you how much he big puffy hearts them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ho Ho Who?

December is a busy month for recreation. Tonight, J is judging houses for the Holiday Lights Contest and tomorrow, he is holding his Santa Calling program.

Santa Calling is a program Danville did and it was so great, J introduced it here. Parents fill out forms about their kids—ages, what they want (and are getting) for Christmas from Santa and any special messages. My job as Mrs. Claus is to call and confirm some things, such as the pronunciation of the kid’s name or if the kid really is getting a BMW 750Li Sedan from Santa or just the remote-controlled model.

Some pretty funny stuff comes out of Santa Calling.

The most humor usually comes from the “special messages” that parents request, like clean your room or do your homework. This year, a parent requested that Santa commend the 6-year-old child for being vegan because it’s a really good choice. A few years back in Danville, Santa, played by J, had to tell a child that daddy was looking down at him from heaven and was very proud of him. I never realized the connections Santa had …

But the best Santa Calling story happened in Danville when we were calling Shakaria. I confirmed the pronunciation (exactly how it’s spelled) and passed the phone to J.

“Is it snowing in Danville because it’s snowing up here in the North Pole,” J says, interjecting a hearty ho ho ho here and there. “And have you been a good little boy Shakaria?”

Then there was silence. And little Shak says with all the attitude in the world, “Santa, I’m a girl!”

“Of course you are,” J says, “ho ho ho, I knew that!” Shak quickly forgives Santa once he tells her he’ll be bringing her a book about baseball (SHE wanted that).

He gets off the phone and says, what gives Mrs. Claus??? We look at the form more closely and realize for sex, the parent filled in “B,” which I assumed was B for boy. Apparently, it was “B” for black?


Friday, December 11, 2009

Old McDonald had a ...

I almost forgot to tell you, Internets, about the special town meeting J’s town had on Saturday. No worries. It was not an attempt to vote out the recreation department. We save that for March, you know, when I start shaking in my Uggs*.

*Actually, I don't own Uggs. I owe the knockoff brand Ulu.

Anyways, this meeting was about a farm.

J did not attend. He was too busy making gingerbread houses with all the kiddies in town. But I did. Not because I love farms (but I do, I think), but because his town hired me to take the minutes of the meeting (again).

I’m blogging about this because, once again, I find J’s town kind of amazing and oh-so-desirable to live in (why don't we live there again? Oh, that's right, it costs more limbs than we are willing to sacrifice to live there).

The town was voting whether or not to contribute $360,000 to preserve a dairy farm in town. Not that the farm was going anywhere. But the owners wanted some help maintaining it. There are several farms in town in fact; three of them are dairy. The farms mean open space and no commercial development. J’s town is all mom-and-pop (okay, except for the Sunoco station). One quarter of the land is UNdeveloped. We call that gorgeous around these parts.

I’m really not sure what makes this farm so special that they get to be subsidized (remember, I do not do politics), but the town voted and long live the farm! There was a record turnout in voters and it was a landslide. Man these people love their open space and conservation. That’s NH for ya!

Fingers crossed that J’s budget gets the same kind of support come March. I mean, come on, he gave up his Saturday morning to build gingerbread houses with kids last Saturday and will be serving Breakfast with Santa this Saturday. And J big puffy hearts sleeping in, so it’s a sacrifice for him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bye bye Marlboro

OMG. This piece of news floored me. I was convinced we might be getting around in Jetson-style vehicles before this happened.

Danville restaurants go smoke-free under new law

I grew up in a smoky home. In the days when the warnings on smoking were less OBVIOUS, ShortonCoffee would smoke in the car with us. My sister and I would sit in the backseat hanging our heads out the window like Golden Retrievers to get fresh air. I never realized just how much I hated the smell of smoke until I went away to college. I got a taste of the smoke-free world and never looked back. ShortonCoffee still smokes, but not inside the house. Though you just can’t get rid of that smell. When J and I open packages from my mom, we actually see a billow of smoke emerge from the box and feel our lungs blacken.

J and I moved to Virginia from Arizona, where there was a statewide ban on smoking. It was disappointing that Virginia allowed smoking, but we rationalized that it was the South, so they make take some time to catch up. Or they may never. Danville is to smoking like Bert is to Ernie.

So we survived our 3 years in smoky Virginia. My favorite experience was when I was coaching high school cross country and I was waiting on the bus for the kids. The bus driver and I got to chatting, then she proceeded to light up. I guess my face looked a little perplexed (appalled?) because she said, “oh, does it bother you if I smoke?” I strapped on my set of balls and said something along the lines of it being a very bad idea to smoke on the bus that the kids—the ones who were trying to live a healthy lifestyle and just ran 3 miles in a race—will be riding on shortly. She extinguished her cigarette (and glared at me the whole ride home). I’m sure those kids were used to the cigarette smoke, and may have even smoked themselves, but call me crazy, but that seemed so 1970s. For J, his favorite experience was going to his haircut lady. "Git o'er hare in this hare chair, sonny," she'd say in her raspy voice. Cut, cut, ash, cut, cut, ash. He came home with a few singed hairs. Fire hazard? Rude?

Upon moving to NH, another smoke-free state, we felt liberated. However, every time we go back to Danville, we have to bring our masks. We spend most of our time in restaurants during our Danville visits because we stay at our house, which is usually missing water or electricity. Plus, food is so darn cheap down there, even according to J’s standards.

So, five years later, they caught up. What’s next? Are they going to ban Moonshine? Biscuits? Sweet Tea?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

O Christmas Tree

When J and I moved to NH, we donated our fake tree—the one I bought when I was single in 2001—to his senior center. Because we were in NH and married, so we should get a real tree!

So that first year, we set out to go buy one, but ShortShorts stopped us. He said they cost too much! At that time, we didn't know he was the tree-cutting expert, but he offered to cut us one for FREE. You know how we like free. The tree ended up being a little bit Charlie Brownish—even our friends made fun of it—but it did just fine.
In 2008, I was down in the dumps and we were tight with money, so we settled for a Christmas branch. It was splendid.This year, we will be spending a great deal of time in our favorite state (cough, cough) of NJ, so we thought about not even bothering with a real tree. We could definitely find a branch again in the backyard ... But, we just couldn't resist. There's a cute Christmas Tree farm close to our house and we found our perfect tree for just $25. Well worth every penny.
How pretty after our first snowfall!

J & I still have debates about the ornaments. He is a little bit of a pack rat when it comes to the ornaments, especially since both his Mom and Dad gave him all of his ornaments from his youth and it seems he owns 100s. I guess I can't complain, my mom has yet to pass on my stash ...

So I present to you, our 2009 tree in all its glory.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tree hugger

I've often said that my office window faces the backyard. Well, I've had a hard time working this morning because freakin ShortShorts is up in this tree cutting branches. My palms are all sweaty and my heart is racing because I am so afraid for him. Here's a picture of the holy mother of a tree and he seriously climbed up to the tippy top. I took the picture when he was on a break because I didn't want to blind him with the flash and be responsible for his fall.
I guess the good news is that we will have a Christmas "branch" again this year to put our ornaments on.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fernando hit 100,000 miles!

My car Fernando (or Isabella as J calls HIM) has been around the block once, twice, 14 million times. And here is his memoir.I bought Fernando in January 2002 brand spanking new in Arizona. He was born ghetto. After I signed the paperwork, the car dealership called and said they already put on racing rims and tinted the windows and they wouldn’t charge me, but is that okay? I was fine with that; surely tinted windows was a good idea in Phoenix! Little did I know that the rims and tinting would cause me angst later in life.

Fernando has had many hiccups in his life.

In November 2003, on Thanksgiving morning, I was driving to meet my running group at 6 a.m., which led to incident #1. I was actually on the phone with my mom wishing her a happy Thanksgiving (it was later on the East coast). So I’m driving and talking on my cell phone, paying full attention to the road--of course--and BAM! POP! POP! I may have dropped the F-bomb in my conversation with my mom.

As it turns out, I ran over some large metal piece that was lying across the road. The police came and a tow truck eventually arrived because Fernando was not driveable. As we were standing there watching the tow truck do its duty, the police said, “hey, doesn’t that metal piece you ran over look like it belongs to this tow truck?” Sure enough, the driver reported a loose piece that day and didn’t even know it broke off his truck just one hour before I drove down that road. As luck would have it, the same tow truck out of the umpteen that do rounds in Phoenix responded to my call! So, Fernando got fixed up courtesy of the towing company. But I swear he was never the same.

Also in Phoenix, Fernando got broken into. His tinted windows and racing rims looked like he was hiding some drugs or something, apparently. I’ve told this story before … the police tracked down the thief and he eventually paid me retribution for the damage (still waiting on the rest of that).

Next up, Fernando afforded one flat tire in Arizona and Connecticut, within a 1-year period. J and I used to take him off-roading a lot. That could be why.

Moving on to Virginia, Fernando got broken into again. The damn tinting and the rims. Or maybe it’s just the damn neighborhoods I chose to reside in.

Fernando had two other very odd incidents in Danville.

One time, I was driving with SILMeow and PrivateEye (a friend that was renting a room from us) and it felt like a bowling ball hit the back end of the car. SILMeow turned around and saw a deer running away. So naturally we pulled over to assess the damage. And couldn’t find any. All we found were two barely noticeable hoof prints and some deer spit above the wheel well. I could just picture the deer galloping into my car, then continuing on like nothing happened.

Next up came the time I was working at home and “heard such a clatter. I ran to the window to see what was a matter.” Some hillbilly was driving up our street with a truck full of metal crap and a piece fell out, right onto the edge of my car, cracking the bumper. Insurance paid out and I promptly put the money toward our wedding. Fernando could deal with his scar.

New Hampshire has not been as problematic, yet. There was the time another driver swerved into my lane and I swerved into the shoulder, hit a patch of ice and spun into the snow bank. Now he had a scar on the front too. No insurance money for that, sadly, but I did have to pay for a tow out.

As you can see, Fernando and I have been through a lot. He’s driven me through at least 25 states and very extreme temperatures.

This is the oldest car I’ve owned. Growing up, my dad worked for GMAC and we got a new car every year. Our cars didn’t go past 30,000. My last car hit 80,000 miles before I turned it in and that seemed a lot to me. J, on the other hand, put 180,000 miles on his Toyota Corolla and still sold it for $4,000!

Anyways, here’s to another 100,000 for Fernando! He just a clean bill of health in September after getting new tires and a new voice box (horn). I have high expectations for him!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving feast

Watch as ShortonCoffee performs some magic.

Now you see the food.

Now you don’t.

So now she weighs 98 lbs, instead of the previous 95. And she had 6 cups of coffee during dinner. Just thought you should know that. Oh, and J did not eat any turkey. He just couldn't do it.

It wasn’t the Thanksgiving we originally planned—hosting both my parents in NH—but it turned out just fine with ShortonCoffee in NJ. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Happy TG everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To the Cuse we went

In keeping with J’s motto—will travel anywhere for a concert—J and I continued from Mohegan Sun to Syracuse, NY, for a Phish show. Cause, you know, we were already on the road. And the stupid Phish lottery he entered gave him front row tickets in an arena of 7,000 people where they haven’t played since 1994 and “that’s a chance in a lifetime!” (According to J). Anyways, I’m just glad he didn’t get tickets for the show in Detroit or something. I could handle Syracuse especially since we have a friend there!!!

So to the north we drove. And boy is Syracuse north. Did you ever notice when you’re way up north in NY or Canada, all the squirrels have black fur? It’s so strange. But I digress (Beef).

DancingandPrancing is a cronie from Danville who moved up to the Cuse to get her master’s in forest management, or some variation of that. She and her boyfriend (a PhD student in forestry or some variation) did a great job of showing us around (it was my first time in the Cuse). So while J went off to the show, DancingandPrancing and I did all sorts of catching up—talking about everything from global warming to the best deals on

Us with DancingandPrancing at Phish pre-party

After all that, J said it was not the best Phish show he went to. In his words, “good energy, good venue, good show.” Hey buddy, next time we drive 5 hours for a concert, you better use stronger adjectives than that!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wastin’ Away in Margaritaville

While we’re experiencing a real Indian summer here in NH (of course the 50-degree temps will probably come to an end very soon), it was only fitting that we saw Jimmy Buffet Saturday. With my winning tickets from the casino last weekend!

I must say, out of the 3 Buffet concerts I’ve now been too, this was the best. Normally, I go to the Buffet concerts for the tailgating, which is quite a trip. This time, it was all about the music. And the venue was smaller than what he usually plays (5,000 vs. 30,000+), so we were close enough to see the lack of wrinkles on his 60-year-old face!

Anyways, it was a great trip. Free tickets. Extremely discounted meal (thanks to J’s comp points from gambling). Free hotel using points. You can’t beat all that! Oh wait, J did make a significant donation to the casino in the hour we had to gamble. I lost a whopping $14.

Part III of the 800-mile weekend road trip to come next!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gobble, Gobble, Croak

Disclaimer: Do NOT read this post if you are squeamish or if you love animals.

I am not a vegetarian. I love me some beef. I also try to live life to the fullest and try everything once. So when J told me our friend Bean was raising turkeys and invited us to the “kill party,” I thought, hey, why not? When else am I am going to learn to do this? And who knows? Maybe I’ll end up one day on Survivor or in a situation where we live off the land and have to do this. Experience is everything!

Bean raised these turkeys staring in August. He fed them beer and grew them to 20+ pounds. A famous restaurant in Boston was set to buy the 75 he raised.
It was quite a fascinating process once you got past the fact that you are slaughtering turkeys. First the turkeys quiver in the corner because they know what’s happening (that’s sad). Then they go into this device that keeps them still so you can cut off their heads (yes, I tried that once). Then they get defeathered. Then you take out all the gizzards and such (which get rebagged). That was pretty cool because I felt like I was doing surgery. Cut the neck, take out the intestines, find the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. The smell was the only bothersome thing. Oh, and my turkey’s intestinal system was still working, so he kept pooping on me!J sat out on this one. He said the live turkeys were giving him a look of mercy. He also said he doesn’t think he can eat turkey for Thanksgiving this year.

Stay tuned for Part II (there are three parts to this weekend) when we head to the islands!

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to not spend any money in a casino

Step 1: Use casino-provided vouchers on your first bet. Place $10 down on #10 for the big wheel spin. Win $100.

Step 2: Using your second casino-provided voucher, place $10 on #5. Collect winnings of $50.

Step 3: Put winnings away. Go home.

Trust me, leave your ATM card at home and just come with me. I have all the discipline. I rarely win anything, but when I do, I know how to hold onto it. Sunday was my day to win.

I'm not a gambler. I just can't part with my money. I play $5 here and there on penny slots. That’s as girls-gone-wild-at-the-casino as I get. I go to the casino for the buffets and people-watching.

J, on the other hand, is into gambling almost as much as he's into concerts and hookers. Okay, just concerts. He’s not into hookers folks.

Usually I have to drag J out of the casino kicking and screaming. When we’ve gone to Laughlin, I leave J at a table to hit the hay for the night and he says "I'll be up in an hour." Which is a blatant lie. Try 5:30 in the a.m. buddy. He aspires to be a dealer. Or in the World Series Poker. Whichever opportunity presents itself first.

Of course, half the time J plays he wins big. This weekend, he won. Not big to him, but big to me (take into consideration I think $5 is a monster takeaway).

Anyways, my winnings stemmed from J’s work (wink, wink) trip to Mohegan Sun Casino. The trip costs $40, which includes the bus ride, 3 bet vouchers to use on the big wheel, and a $15 lunch buffet coupon. So basically, you get your money back. Especially when you play like me. And it’s good for J because there’s a “forced” discipline. He must leave by 4 p.m.

So anyways, I took my $150 and gave $75 to J (good wife I am). In his defense, he did give me his vouchers to play with since he had to make a mad rush for the Texas Hold’Em table. I then put $40 aside as the money I paid to go on the trip. Gambled with the rest and still walked away with an extra $60!

Oh, did I mention I also won concert tickets ($400 face value) to Jimmy Buffet through the casino? I just might be on the luckiest streak of my life. Who wants to rub me? For luck I mean …

Trip down memory lane ... J's biggest win in Laughlin in 2005

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can I make a suggestion?

I came across this study from and thought I'd share. They always have the funniest polls and I cover a lot of them for a publication I write about corporate health and productivity.

In this day and age when jobs are hard to come by, you would think the employer has the upper hand. What? We're not getting health coverage in 2010? Oh that's okay. Here's an awkward high five and thank you for letting me keep my job.

Anyways, this report proves that employees think there's no harm in making requests for ...
  • beer in the vending machine
  • jail time be covered under family medical leave
  • bikini Fridays (I do this all the time already)
  • a special smoking area for medical marijuana
  • replace desks with a futon so employees could lay down and work (I have a futon in my office!!! I can lay down and work!)

Right now, my biggest request of my company is that they close between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. They have in past years and this year, it doesn't look like it will happen. I can use PTO of course, but I'm just going to whine about having to "waste" it. I just can't work that week. Nothing in health care happens. I can write about how yummy holiday foods make you gain some lbs, but that takes all the fun out of this time of year.

Anyways, in November, the month of gratitude, I have to remind myself I am grateful to have A job. It may have dropped on my "love it" scale, but I am appreciative. Now if they would just listen to the employee requests ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

REI scores

There was another REI garage sale on Saturday, so we had to go, we just had to. Even though it was 27 degrees when we got on line at 7:30 in the morning (we were number 20 or so), it was worth it as usual. I went in with a budget in mind and only exceeded it by $20. J, on the other had no budget, and exceeded it. I'm glad we decided to go because there were a lot of "photo shoot" items, which means they were unused, but still 75% off.

The things I got that I "needed" were for my new biking hobby. Every time we biked, my buns were in pain, but good bike shorts with padding usually run in the $65-$95 range. I got mine for $9.83. I also got a new bike helmet. The one I had been using was falling to pieces. It's seen me through many miles and many crashes, but it was time to update. I also picked up snowshoes. Yeah, definitely didn't need those, but it was too sweet of a deal to pass up. Regularly price $180 ... I paid $40. I fully admit I am a gear junkie.

J got a lot of things for our future AT thru hike. It seems like everything he picks up these days, he says, "this is totally going on the trail with me." I can't wait to see him pack his bag and keep it under 35 lbs. His best buy was probably his AT trail backpack, which was about 70% off. He's been trying out different packs and this seems like it will be "the one." It was rated backpack of the year and has all the bells and whistles--hydration compatable, sleeping bag compartment, carbon fiber frame and tons of pockets. For any fellow gear junkies out there, it's the Gregory Baltoro 70.

J and I decided that for the next REI garage sale (in January), we are just going to stay at home because we clearly have an addiction problem!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Whose Got My Extra????

So those are the words I hear all the time when I (J) attend Phish or Grateful Dead concerts. In case you didn't know by now, I'm a big fan of music.

Well, Phish has been on what they call a hiatus for a couple of years and last summer they decided to get back together. I went to a couple of shows, but tickets were very hard to get. Phish has system called the lottery, where they sell their own tickets before they get released to Ticketbastard. I entered along with many of my friends and family and got NOTHING!! They are going on a fall tour, so I thought the lottery would be the same. I put in for all 10 shows (NY, PA, ME, MI, OH etc) with the intention of trading them for a show I wanted to go to.

SILmeow entered for me and got nothing. My wife (the Former PK) entered and holy cow, she got two tickets for Portland, Maine!! I was so stoked (she was not) and was ready to go (she was not). But, alas …. I also got one floor seat for Portland. And, get ready for this …. 2 front row seats for Syracuse, NY.

I knew I'd be going to the Syracuse show, but I was unsure about the 3 tix to Portland Maine …. I only need one. I am not a scalper and never believed in that. I wanted to take a unique approach and not sell these tickets. I paid $120 for the pair. So I put an ad up on craiglist saying that I had two extra tickets for Portland and did not want money but wanted a trade. I encouraged people to come up with something unusual. Most people were selling these highly desirable tickets for hundreds over cost … (I call them #^%hole scalpers!!)

So for several days I got many responses and thought I would share them with you.

- 2 tickets to the Albany Phish show

- Desktop PC

- Blackberry Storm

- Electric Scooter

- 25lbs of Organic Pork, being butchered this weekend (when I told PK about this, she responded, what, do we live in a commune??)

- A music artist would write and record an original song for me of my choice (like "My feet need a rubbin")

- A feature page on a dog Web site with the dog of my choice

- Real Russian Soviet World War II cold war helmet (tempting)

- Freelance photographer services

- Web site deign services

- Rake my leaves

- House painting service

- Good Karma (tempting)

- Snowboard

- Guitar

- Framed concert posters

- Fly fishing flies, hand tied

- Records from a someone’s collection

And the winner was…..

A couple from Northern Maine who will let PK and I stay in their log cabin on 85 acres of land and have us over for dinner in their other home this summer. Obviously they hit my sweet spot with this offer. They are also going to fill an external hard drive with mass amounts of live Grateful Dead shows and other music. My other sweet spot. And the best part is that they have not seen Phish since 1994!!!!!

So, when you say “whose got my extra?” I sure hope I do because making someone’s day is the greatest reward.

Ps….. maybe someone will get my extra front row seat for Syracuse……


Shake what your momma gave you

We had our first dance class last night. The dance studio said they missed us during the summer, but mostly they just missed our awesome costumes for the monthly costume ball. This month, we're learning Salsa and Bolero, along with more Swing and Foxtrot. After class last night, an older woman told me I moved my bum really well. I'm just glad she didn't ask me if I had a license for my caboose.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NJ in a nutshell

I wasn't sure if my camera would work, so I only took limited photos. I will try my best to keep you entertained as I recap our trip to NJ!

Wednesday, after dressing like Sandy & Danny for J's senior Halloween lunch (the old bitties said we looked more like Elvis and his groupie), we drove in the pouring rain to CT for a quick overnight visit with the niece & nephew.

The kids were so surprised and excited they peed their pants.

We let Bones ride his bike (2-wheeler!!) to the bus stop Thursday morning. QuickQuestion has yet to forgive us.

Next stop was theMakeupArtist's house in NJ to meet J's latest birthday buddy, LJ. They are still in that 6-week newborn period of non-existent sleep.J & I departed ways from there. He went into NYC to attend 2 nights of the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concerts with UncleSlickG.

J said they were by far the best concerts he's ever seen. If you really are interested is seeing the list of artists, go to the Web site. But he did say the 3 best performances were by Bruce Springstein/Billy Joel, Metallica/Ozzy Osborne and U2/Fergie/Mick Jager.

In between concert-going, J met up for lunch with theBuddha and his other birthday buddy CJ, who is now 1. Oh and SILAdventure also happened to be in the city with her friends for the weekend. So you know things got wild and crazy! Needless to say, J is exhausted from all the festivities.

My next stop on Thursday was to Hallmark4ever and GoodEgg's house, where I realized holy cow, my friends produce cute kids. Their son also just turned 1!Hallmark4ever & I met up with theAccountant at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Girl talk commenced and ceased 4 hours later.

My pasta dish had asparagus in it and my pee smelled for the next day.

I had breakfast with theMentor Saturday morning. Her kids are now between 14 and 21 ... I changed their diapers!

Short on Coffee and Big on Lotto bought 335 pieces of candy for the trick-or-treaters. Do you think that was enough?

J and I reunited Saturday and went to watch the World Series at theCoach and DishSoap's house that night. Joined by thePlaya, PanicMan and AYB. A small Prep reunion, but of course some important people were missing--like Beef! We ended up in a sea of wrappers and a candy coma. My teeth are not happy. Oh, and PanicMan gave J and I some intense lessons in texting. We're getting the hang of it slowly.

We cruised home Sunday. Did you get all that?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A spooky tale for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!
Most of you know our spooky, true-life ghost stories, but I figured today was a good time to recount them!

J and I bought our Virginia house in July 2005. It was in shambles and we couldn't move in for months. The first project was to fix the roof, since it was raining inside the house. I'm pretty sure that's not supposed to happen.

The roof job was completed the evening before we were flying to Arizona. I badly wanted to take a picture of the progress, but it was dusk and using the flash did not capture the picture. So I went flashless, which is much like going topless, but fuzzier.

Anyways, I snapped the shot, uploaded the photos to Snapfish and we flew out the next morning.

In Arizona, we were so excited to show some pictures of our first home!!!!!

What did every person say when they saw my no-flash roof photo (see above)? Who's that standing in your window?

Like I said, we weren't living in the house yet. No one was. Someone clearly was though. Actually, we see 2 people in the photo. Granted it's not the highest quality photo, but most people saw the same thing.

When we moved in months later, it was confirmed we had ghosts. The cat would freak out staring at the corner of the room. We heard random screaming. The oven timer would beep on its own. The doorbell would also ring on its own. Doors closed without wind or manpower.

After talking to a "ghost expert," that person told us the ghosts are always there in old houses (ours was built in the 1880s). The only reason they are acting up is because the house sat empty for 2 years and here we come in and shake things up. To clear the air, so to speak, all we had to do was make a speech about how we don't mean any harm in the renovations and we only want to live in peace.

We made our speech and never heard a peep again. Until the day J found out he got the job in NH and we would be moving out. There's a longer story to it, but basically, they knocked a picture off the wall that had our name on it. We took that as a sign that they were sad we were leaving.

Believe if you will ... we do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't argue with the ref

As the temps start dropping, J and I switch into "winter" mode. That means the start of indoor soccer and dancing. Tonight was our first soccer game. We won! But that's not the point of this post. ShortShorts is playing on our team this session. So tonight, the ref came up to him at halftime and asked where he got his shorts. 1972?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a Long Strange trip it was……..

Try to contain your excitement. Here is J’s guest blog entry about his trip out West (without me) a few weeks ago. I am still NOT happy about all the touring he did to places I’ve never been. I thought we became one when we married??? Anyways, enjoy!

Late is better than never…. So every year I go to the National Parks and Rec Conference. It is a great event attended by over 10,000 people from every state. We do not play wiffle ball and drink beer as my wife thinks. We actually do attend educational seminars, visit with vendors and attend social gatherings. Okay, sometimes we will play tennis, drink A beer and well, we always seem to find the local dueling piano bar.

This year the conference was in Salt Lake City. I have been to SLC before and while it is in the beautiful state of Utah, the city is not like visiting the scenic National Parks Bryce, Zion and Canyonlands. Though very scenic and surrounded by mountains, you need to venture out of the city to places like Park City or Ogden. I knew I was not going to get this opportunity because of all the “learning” I was going to be partaking in.

So I decided to fly out west early to my sister’s in Denver (SILAdventure). We had a plan…..

We were not going to chill in Denver, but hit the road taking the long way to SLC.

We left early in the morning for the 7-hour dive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Well, we woke to about 2 inches of snow in Denver. As we were driving, the snow got worse and the highway department thought it was a good idea to close the highway at the 80/25 intersection in Cheyenne WY. The plows I guess could not handle the snow. No worries, we found our way around this detour and ventured into Jackson around 7pm. My sis had a friend in Jackson so we met up with her and her boyfriend for some dinner at a local brewery (yes, I stole a glass to add to our exploding collection). Her friends had a great place tucked away in the woods, where we stayed for the night. We woke around 8am to a nice coat of snow on the ground and opened the curtains to the deck to see some elk just chillin’ in the yard. That day, we headed to Grand Teton NP. We packed up our gear, got our boots and gators, and did a nice 5-6 mile hike through some snow, most of the time breaking our own trail. We hiked up a small mountain and while in a valley we looked up and saw over 40 elk grazing along the ridge, some of them had huge racks (on their heads). After a great day of seeing elk, moose, snow and the Tetons we headed into the town of Jackson to get some dinner and have some drinks. We hit the hay early so we would be well rested for our next adventure to Yellowstone NP.

We woke early and got the road report. The road we wanted to take from the south entrance was closed, so we headed over Teton pass into Idaho to the west entrance. We spent all day and into the night exploring every nook and cranny of Yellowstone. We drove just about every road that was open—one was closed for construction and two were closed for snow. We stopped at all the hot springs, geysers, and even for the hundreds of bison and elk we saw. We did go to Old Faithful and it was, well, touristy. I must say that we did hit the park at a good time of year. There weren’t that many tourists and the bison did outnumber them. At Old Faithful, there must have only been about 200 people there. You could tell that there was room for a lot more, I would say over 1000. Old Faithful was set up as an amphitheater with room for just about everyone and their mother to stare at spouting water.

We got out of that area as quick as we could and headed north where we saw just about no one. We did see some elk in the road and the spot of a lifetime happened. WOLF!!!!! This was just the second time I saw a wolf, I had one come up to my car walk by me and look at me while living in Denali. My sis never saw one so we watched as the wolf scurried around a field chasing some ground squirrels. We pushed on past Mammoth Hot Springs and the large hotel. The place was empty (shut down for the season). We were there with about 200 elk as they tried to cross the road and took their sweet time holding us up, damn nature!!!

Mr. Bison says, "don't stand so, don't stand so, don't stand so close to me!"

We were planning to tent camp at Mammoth but the below freezing temperature and snow on the ground made us think twice. So we headed north to Bozeman, Montana. We found nice brewery (yes, I stole a glass) and then found the only hostel in town. Hadn’t been in a hostel since Scotland (10+ years ago) but this was nice and cheap.
The next day was the big push to SLC. We headed down some obscure roads past Big Sky Ski Resort and into Idaho. Then south until we hit the great state of Utah into SLC.

We checked into the hotel and then found my colleagues who traveled from New England for the conference. We hit the town for dinner, drinks and told the stories of our 1500-mile adventure.

Oh, did I mention the conference was great too!!!!