Monday, March 30, 2009

Buzz Buzz Buzz

So I told you we had another dance on Saturday night. The theme was something along the lines of got cabin fever, think spring. Our thoughts led us to the bee and beekeeper (whose company is called Bee Be Gone Inc.).







Most other people were wearing bright colors and flowers. But they knew to expect nothing ordinary for us. We just really hope our crazy costumes are making up for our dance moves!!

Now just to clarify, a New England spring is not really bright and colorful. In fact, it's dark, wet, brown with some spots of dirty white (leftover snowbanks). Spring actually comes for about 3 weeks during May and June.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lightening strikes twice?

I went to Boston today to take another medical writing class toward my certification. I know, such a fun thing to do on a beautiful spring Saturday. But it's worth it. Anyways, whenever we go to Boston, we make 2 pitstops.
1) REI -- CHECK
2) Baja Fresh -- EPIC FAIL!
I pull up to the Baja Fresh today and there's a sign on the door that says "lost lease." What the eff???? No notice of a relocation. And their Web site still lists that location as open! Not a happy camper. Now we have less of a reason to go to Boston ...

The kicker of it all is that this is the second time a Baja Fresh closed on us unexpectantly. A few years back when we lived in Danville, we used to go to Greensboro to get our Baja fix. One night we were in Greensboro for something, and of course stopped at the Baja. Big sign on the door saying "sorry to our faithful customers, but we had to close due to a lack of interest."

Waaaaaah!!! It's like losing your best friend, I tell you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frenemies

I have a window in my office that faces our awesome backyard. Fairly often, our landlord's cats (and other neighborhood cats) sit outside my window on our porch roof. Mind you, my office is on the third floor of the converted barn we live in, so it's no small feat for the cats to get to this spot. They have to come from other side of the barn and walk a fine line across the slanted roof. Talk about living on the edge, but I suppose nothing can stop someone in love ...
Here's what happens:
I see or hear the cat at the window. Sometimes I hear the pitter patter across the roof. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the cat and it scares the bejeebies out of me.
If Mr. McKinely is not already there (he has an incredible ear), I will let him know his date has arrived and he comes running with excitement.
Mr. McKinley: prr, prr, prr
Other cat: hiss, hiss, hiss
Mr. McKinley: prr, prr, prr
Other cat: hiss, hiss, hiss (while jumping at the window)
Mr. McKinley: prr, prr, prr
Isn't love grand? Or maybe just blind.

I often feel like J and I are overprotective parents who won't let their kid outside to play. But McKinley has always been an indoor kitty (we stripped him of his front claws when we got him ... I know, shame on us). But we do let him out on our deck (um, supervised of course). He doesn't seem to mind only having brief outings and loves sitting in the windows watching as the other cats frolick. They're all, "Look at me! I'm playing! Eating grass! Oh look! I caught a bird! And I'm eating it!" And he's like, "yeah fool. My parents love me. That's right. There's real love here. By the way, watch out for that skunk behind you."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

This is not a shameless plea or effort to persuade, because that's just not me. Frankly, I'm more of a follower than a leader. But, I thought I'd tell you about Earth Hour. We did it last year. It's when you turn off all your electricity for an hour to recognize global warming. So here's your chance Saturday from 8:30-9:30 (according to your local time) to join the movement.

And here are some of my thoughts about this:
*I do believe global warming is happening. Will 1 hour of saved electricity around the world help? IDK. But, it's a start. If you tell me you've switched all your light bulbs to energy-saving ones or put solar panels on your roof, that's when I'd give you three whole stars!! Much more impressive.
**I don't think J and I will be able to participate this year, or at least not at the 8 o'clock hour on Saturday. We have that monthly dance at the local Concord studio this Saturday. The theme this time is slightly boring ... think spring. So we are spicing it up. But that's a whole other post. So unless we turn off the lights and music at the dance (which I really don't think would be appreciated), we'll be practicing our "save the planet" effort another time.
***When I was volunteering in Phoenix for that year, my housemates and I did a "no electricity" day once a month (or was it once a week? I can't remember). In any case, I think we did it more to recognize poverty and those who did not have, but either way, it's a powerful experience.

Go Earth!

On the topic of Earth, Bones (nephew) called J and I the other day to tell us he went on a walk with his father and picked up garbage on the road to fill a whole bag (that he claimed was overflowing). "Even a beer bottle!" he said. "I know you and Uncle love the Earth, so I wanted to tell you I was taking care of it." I was so proud, I almost shed a tear!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I gave blood today, but J was the one who almost fainted

Most of J's teenage years were spent in the hospital. He was a sickly boy and he's been jabbed with needles (legally) in spots you wouldn't even think of. Don't worry, he's been all better since he met me. No seriously. Knock on wood, his chronic problems haven't caused us any big hiccups.

I told J I wanted to give blood at the local drive and he almost threw up on the spot. All his childhood memories came flooding back.

But, he was brave enough to come stand by my side. And we both survived.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A different kind of spring fever

My sister just called me to tell me she was violated.

She is a speech pathologist and spends most of her days on the road traveling from client to client. So she normally finds a nice quiet parking lot to eat her lunch. Today, she was parked in one of her usual spots eating peacefully and saw a truck pull up behind her. Then another car pulled up. The young female driver got out and into the backseat. The young man got out of the truck and into the other vehicle's backseat. You see where this is going ...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Madness starts today


Hi,

Unless you are calling my husband to talk about bracketology, or how the Huskies beat the Huskies, he will be unavailable. At least for the next few weeks. As for me, I'm all sorts of available.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Celebrating Pat

I do have some Irish in me, but I don't like corned beef.

Which is why we had pork chops, baked potato and beets for dinner last night.

But, our local church (the church led by Eugene Levy ... for real), is sponsoring a corned beef dinner this Saturday. You get corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, carrots, bread, I think a salad and a dessert. All for $6!

So I told J we should get him that meal, because, even though he is not Irish*, he does like corned beef. I said I would eat all the veggies. A meal for 2 of us for $6? Definitely a steal.

He's a little hesitant because it's a fundraiser for the church and how will it look with us splitting one meal? "Maybe you should tell them you're a vegetarian," J said.

Great. So I'll just lie to the little old nuns just to save $6. Do you think I'll still get into heaven?

*So, as it turns out, J is Irish. And he says he knew that. And told me. Hmmm.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Looks like we're staying in NH at least one more year ...

I know some people got our relief phone call or text, but for everyone else, J's job is safe for another year!

And actually, it was a lot of worry for nothing. Not that recreation didn't come up, but no one actually proposed to cut it completely. They just basically complained that it existed. It's better that we were prepared for the worst though. Highlights of the 5-hour meeting:
The town voted down employee COLA raises. So no 3% for J.
The town voted to keep summer camp (209-177).
The town voted to take away J's capital reserve fund (that was meant to eventually buy a recreation van).
The town voted against pay-as-you-throw (212-215).

As far as town meetings go, I learned a ton (and made good money) being the official secretary. I learned that only a small percentage of people actually come out and vote. There are 4,658 registered voters in J's town. About 500 came out to make the decisions. Kind of appalling in my opinion! I learned that you can pretty much propose anything as long as you have 5 signatures on a piece of paper. I learned that some people like to talk just to hear themselves.

Anyways, we survived another town meeting. It's safe now for everyone to book their flights to visit (Beef)!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Town Meeting Time

Crap. My least favorite time of year. And if you don’t live in NH, or wherever else they have this unique form of government, you wouldn’t even know it’s Town Meeting time or what that means.

Let me break it down for those who are unfamiliar. A town department (everything from recreation to police/fire) proposes their annual budget, the Selectmen fight about it, then vote to approve it (after making suggested cuts). It moves on to a budget committee, who fight about it for weeks and months and definitely recommend cuts. Finally, the people vote at town meeting somewhere around Marchish.

This year, there’s been a common theme across all NH towns I’m seeing on the news and in the newspapers. CUTS. Understandable, given that the economy is the worst since I've been alive at least.

From the start, J was a good boy and proposed a 5% decrease in his budget to the Selectmen. They were pleased, but the budget committee proposed to cut out summer camp staff funds. No big surprise--it was on the chopping block last year, and the town ultimately voted to keep camp (remember a time when the economy was okay).

Still, there’s always a few townspeople who are all "poo-poo" recreation and want it cut completely. This year, the group seems to have grown not because J sucks at his job (cause he so doesn't), but because of, you know, the economy.

Overall, his budget, which does not include programs, but covers staff, buildings, fields, operations, supplies and more, is only $140K total. There’s really not much he can cut, aside from shutting off electricity in a building or firing himself. And it cost each household somewhere around $5-10 to have recreation in the town. I suppose desperate times seek desperate measures because by golly, people really seem to want that savings!

Here’s one example of a comment published in the newspaper:
In these very tough economic times it is important that every town select between the services it needs and those that would be nice to have. In our case, we clearly need services like fire and police protection, road repairs, plowing and ambulance protection. However, while nice to have, do we really need to spend $137,000 to support recreation activities? I suggest that the Selectmen move money from the recreation activities and use these funds to help support those departments that our Town really needs.

So Saturday is the big decision day. We just don’t know what will come up. Town meetings that already took place have been grim. We keep saying we wouldn’t be surprised if they axed the whole recreation department, but in reality, we would be surprised. And depressed. And screwed. The nail-biting begins …

Oddly enough, I’ve been contracted to take the minutes at the Town Meeting. I asked J what I should do if they vote out his department. He said I should keep taking the notes because we’ll need all the money we can get!!!

Fingers crossed everyone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A fun Tuesday night out

As if we didn't spend enough money this weekend out at our pub crawl, J and I decided to do something different Tuesday night.

We've been trying to go more this winter to the indoor rock climbing gym in Manchester, that way maybe this summer, we'll actually feel prepared to climb outside and check out what NH has to offer!! Tuesday nights are ladies' nights=cheap climbing. The pictures show the 4-story elevator shaft you can climb in.

So this time, though, we took our climbing night out a step further and went OUT to dinner after climbing. Gasp, I know. Two nights in one week. Tisk, Tisk. Anyways, one of our local Mexican restaurants hosts a "full moon party" with specials and prizes. While I love Mexican food, even when it is from an East-coast chain, we ended up getting wings to eat last night. They were 11 cents each!!! I might add they were very tasty coming out of a "mexican" restaurant! We didn't win any prizes, but it was a pretty cool night out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pub Crawl 2009

Bolt made it home safely from his ice climbing expedition.

So after one visitor left, two more came. Last March, we visited AlwaysGame in the Boston area and did a pub crawl. We tried to recreate the event in Concord. Just like last year, we only made it to 3 bars. We started at The Barley House.


Then hit The Green Martini.
And last, but not least, Pertucci's. This was more than a hole in the wall, actually a hole in the basement. It was down right scary, so we just tried to act crazy to fit in ...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I thawt I saw a putty cat ...

On our drive home from the Great North Monday, I spotted a moose, but I'm not satisfied yet.

I am on the lookout all the time. It is my goal to see a moose before we move out of NH. Just like it was my goal to see a rattlesnake and a tarantula in AZ. Incidentally, I didn't see those creatures until AFTER I moved out of AZ and was back in the Southwest for a visit.

While I might have seen my moose, I am not counting it. He was really far in the distance and we were driving in the snowstorm. I have no physical evidence for the spotting. So my quest continues for Bullwinkle. This summer, we have a 4-day backpacking trip planned up in the Maine wilderness and if I don't see, let alone run into, a moose then, I'll be darned.

J of course likes to remind me that he saw a moose every day when he lived in AK. With my luck, though, I wouldn't even see the moose there!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mardi Gras!

Our dance studio hosted another theme party (they do it every month), so it has just been "our thing" to try to come up with crazy costumes. I think we did pretty well. The hats made it difficult for our turns in the waltz and swing, but they were still fun!
We are currently waiting for our friend, Bolt, to arrive from North Carolina and his flight is delayed. He hired a professional guide to take him ice climbing up here for the week. And we have no shortage of that here ... we are getting hit with yet another huge winter storm. I'm hoping we can still go XC skiing tomorrow with our friend, but the weather likes to ruin our plans lately, so we'll see! Hopefully Bolt won't almost get us killed like the last time he was here.