Monday, March 29, 2010

Oh that Recreation Department

J had his annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday! Another successful event with 5,000 eggs and about 500 people in attendance!

I like to give my husband credit for all the events he puts on, but the truth is, he could not put these events on without the help of his volunteers. He is a one-man department. How could he? During his 3 years here, he has built a committee of 9 members who are 100% committed, plus some others outside the committee (Hi!). It's great.

The thing is, I don't think the community actually realizes he is a one-man department. Case in point. I am conducting an online survey to find out what 3 movies the community wants for the summer movie in the park series J will host. In addition to picking their movies, the people could add comments. There was a TON of positive feedback. What was funny to me was that all of the feedback was directed to "the Recreation Department."

The Recreation Department is wonderful. I love all the activities and events you put on. Thank you.
Can't wait for a summer with the rec department!
You guys are great! Thanks for all that you do to help our town.


It just caused me to chuckle. It is J's fault. Every event says "presented by the Recreation Department." Oh well, he never does anything to get "credit" anyways! It's just good to know the people are happy. And when they are not, we'll just blame the "department."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring sweetness

One of the things NH is known for is its maple syrup. This weekend, more than 65 sugar houses across the state had open houses as they are in the middle of syrup production season. The season lasts about 4-6 weeks when the nights are still below freezing, but the days are above freezing.

Even though we were pretty busy, we still were able to visit one! (Next year, we'll do all 65. Kidding.)

We went to Grant Family Pond View Maples in Weare.Where we had some very yummy maple chili.
And saw inside the sugar house and learned all about the syrup process. And bought some maple cream.
Whether you like it or not, I am going to educate you. (Little secret, you can actually just stop reading right here.)

Anyways, it takes about 40 gallons of sap from maple trees to make one gallon of syrup. People "tap" the trees in late winter/early spring. The sap, which actually comes out as 98% water and only 2% sugar, pours into buckets, or can be vacuum pumped through tubes to the sugar house. There's some complex chemistry going on to make sure the sap has the correct sugar content (67%) as it is boiled down. The sweeter the sap, the less water that needs to be evaporated to make the syrup. Pure maple syrup has no fat and no protein, but has calcium, iron and thiamine.

I now know why maple syrup costs so much! But, seeing the inner workings of a sugar house, J and I decided that if ever we have a maple tree on our property, we are definitely going to tap that %$#, I mean tree.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bride-to-be

NHBound had her shower Friday night! J & I cannot wait for this wedding in June between NHBound and Mouth ... we've been waiting for 7+ years! This is her third shower (one in Phoenix, one in Denver and one in NH), so she is becoming quite an expert with the bow hat. Right after that picture, she looked at me and said, "That's going to end up on your blog, isn't it?" No doubt.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Like watching paint dry and then realizing you have to change the color

That's how I feel about the health care reform bills this week.

I waited up Sunday night for the House to pass the first health care reform bill to make it into one of our Monday publications. My editor and I decided on a cutoff of 10:30pm. The House promptly voted at 10:48pm, which I caught on the news as I was drifting into dreamland. I woke up and screamed "son of a biscuit," but I was still in no shape to whip out a proper story.

So I wrote the story Monday. Then rewrote it Tuesday when the President signed the first bill. Then tweeked it Wednesday when the second bill went to Senate for debate and some states decided to sue the government about the first bill. Repeat on Thursday after the Senate passed the second bill with some revisions. Rewrite today after the House passed it. The latest is that Obama will not sign until next week. When will this end??? I'll still check this weekend, but gosh darnit, a story about health care reform is going into my Monday publication with or without his signature.

On a side note, I've become quite intimate with the bills, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. The truth is, I love writing about this stuff. It's riveting!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just a tease ...

Well, it looks like our days of illegal cable are coming to an end. Lately, channels have just been disappearing and yesterday, J noticed ESPN was gone. ESPN is pretty much the only reason we entertained the thought of cable. I don't know if our issues have something to do with the digital converter box, but I'll venture to say that if that's the case, we'll go cable-less again. It was a good run ... Plus, summer is coming. But, we'll still check this weekend with our cable provider (ShortShorts) and see what gives.

We did enjoy a bit of "free" yesterday when Boloco had a free burrito day! This burrito place has grown on me. It's no Baja Fresh, but it's our only option. And I'll take it, especially when they offer FREE burritos.

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness

And I'm not talking about basketball ...

We bid Alaska3 goodbye as she wrapped up her Spring Break with the trip to Burlington, 3 snowboarding adventures, St. Patty's feasting and overall cousin-to-cousin bonding. We absolutely loved hosting her and we hope our future is full of hosting college students, whether it be exchange students or your kids (we already have big plans for Bones and Curly Locks on their future spring breaks).

With all the March madness, I forgot to even mention Town Meeting, the infamous meeting in J's town that determines budget approval. It was last Saturday and thankfully, J's budget discussion only lasted for all of 10 minutes passing with a voice vote (his often comes to a ballot or standing vote). But the other issues, those were something.

I again signed on to take the minutes of the meeting. Normally, the meeting goes until about 12. This time, we went until 5 pm!!! There was a loaded agenda this time—pay-as-you-throw, funding a community well for a small section of town where there's been contamination, selling another historic building to God knows who and giving town employees cost-of-living increases (because they voted it down last year). Holy canoli I seriously felt like I was at legislative session on health care reform (which, oddly enough, may make a historic vote this weekend). There were times I considered chewing on some tin foil to get out my frustration during the meeting. It's just that people LOVE to hear themselves talk and express their opinion. To make matters worse, the votes were so close. So the moderator had to call for a standing vote for every other article. God bless those counters. You'd be amazed to see how many people actually sat through the WHOLE meeting (no lunch break). That's true democracy for you.

Anyways, we are back to a semi-normal schedule. Carry on.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Riding ...

So I took a snowboarding lesson today. And I learned a few things.

1) I suck.

2) The chairlifts are a lot more daunting when you are 31 years old and there's a 400 lb snowboard hanging off one foot.

3) I forgot to take ANY pictures, so I have no proof. You'll have to take my word for it.

4) I think my left wrist is broken.

5) I think both my ankles are broken, or at least cracked slightly.

6) I suck.

7) I now need a fleece-covered butt pillow (extra large, because, you know) to sit on.

8) I am bad-ass! I went snowboarding! Boo to the yah. It was on my bucket list and now I can cross it off.

9) I actually was not that bad. My lesson went well and I made it down the beginner slopes twice.

10) Alaska3 is having a great time. She is going snowboarding AGAIN tomorrow. Not me.

POST-EDIT: I discovered some new aches and pains this morning, including my knees. Anyone have a cane I can borrow?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ides of March

It's Spring Break! For some people ... like my cousin, who I haven't seen in, oh, about 3 years. So Alaska3 is visiting this week (she is a senior at a college in Connecticut) we are determined to show her the best of New England.

First up, we hit the Burlington, Vt., area. Ben & Jerry's Factory (free scoop day March 23!!!), Magic Hat Brewery, lunch on Church Street with theMayor, and trying out a new brewery in Stowe, The Alchemist. And check out theMayor's new ride. J is in some serious negotiations to buy it and convert it into our future home.
Up next for Alaska3 and I, snowboarding!!!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baking up a storm

I volunteered to make a variety of desserts for a fundraiser my woman's club is having tonight, so I've been knee deep in chocolate (just about my favorite thing) all week. I was happy with the finished products--snowballs (sugar balls with chocolate inside), chocolate crinkle cookies and black bottom cupcakes. I was even prouder when I dropped them off today and the woman said, "Oh, I need to get your catering business card!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Children of the 80s

J has been hounding me all day to write a tribute to Corey Haim.

"Because we grew with him on our TVs," he implored.

Well, we did. When I first met and started dating J, one of the first things he did (besides make me listen to From Good Homes) was let me borrow "Dream a Little Dream," because I had never seen it. I actually hate that movie and have yet to have seen the whole thing. But I do love "Lucas" and "Lost Boys" (seriously, that's on my top 10 movies).

J was more team Feldman, while I was team Haim. The Coreys really "died" a long time ago for many of us, but it all does bring back good childhood memories. And it's so sad his life ended so soon (only a few years older than us!).

So here's hoping Corey Haim is in a better place and entered a peaceful dream ...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More concerts ...

I think I am the official "concert partner" for a lot of people. So it's only natural that I joined my sister QuickQuestion for a concert this weekend.

On Saturday night, we went to see Celtic Women. I really didn't know much about them, but I'm glad QuickQuestion roped me in. They were a pretty amazing performance!

And well, since I was in CT, I couldn't pass up some QT with Bones and CurlyLocks. We checked out a new bike path that goes through an abandoned psychiatric hospital campus. Strange? But pretty cool!
Some buildings, they were okay to go near.Others, not so much.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Good things happen in 3s

You are seriously going to hate me for telling you this, but this has been a lucky week for us. First, I won that snowboard (which I have yet to pick up or decide what to do). Wednesday, J got an e-mail saying he won tickets to Riverdance. Then Thursday, J found $20 while walking on the street in the middle of town.

I know I just gave you a virtual kick in the stomach. And I understand if you are putting a hit on us right now. I've always said J is lucky, but now I'm starting to think—without jinxing myself too much—that I am too. In the past few months, I won money at the casino and those Jimmy Buffet tickets, a gift certificate at a local coffee shop and the snowboard. J won a free AMC hut stay, a few lotto winnings and now the Riverdance tickets.

The thing is, J has taught me how to be lucky. I used to always laugh at him when he entered millions of contests and raffles. His motto was always, "In order to win big, you have to play big." Now I enter just as many contests as he does. Especially those local contests. I'm telling you, your chances are higher than you think. The bagel gift certificate I won? There were probably only 5 entries.

As for Riverdance, the performance is Tuesday and J already has his ticket to see John Hiatt (barf), so he passed them onto me. My big dilemma was who to bring.

If you ask J, he would say we have no friends here. That's partially true. We know a ton of people. It's almost inevitable to run into someone we know when we are out and about in Concord. And everyone is very nice. But, we don't hang out with anyone (okay, except for our landlords ShortShorts and theQuilter, but I don't count them). I love the New England area, but someone once told me that it's very hard to make friends (the hanging out kind) and I'm starting to realize how true this is (unless there is just something about us that we don't know, like we smell really bad). We've made several efforts to meet people. We joined the young professional group, I joined a woman's group, J is active in his rec director group, we play soccer, we go to a dance studio, I go to aerobics classes ... We have have made attempts to get together with people we know. Nothing has ever panned out. Many times, it has to do with them having kids and it being a little difficult to coordinate schedules. We feel a little lame and deflated after it doesn't work out. In Danville, it took us a good year and a half to meet some young folks. But once we found the group, it stuck and we hung out pretty regularly. We found friends for life.

We've been here 2 1/2 years. Still no "friends." For the most part, I don't mind. This is not a woe is me post. I have plenty of friends around the country (hi!!!!!), I thoroughly enjoy hanging out with my husband and like I said, we know a lot of people. But it's a time like this—when I have free tickets to a performance—that I need a girlfriend.

There's this wife of one of J's rec director official friends that I met a few weeks ago at one of our only nights out with other couples. She was really cool and we hit it off. I asked her to join me for dinner and Riverdance (she was actually the 3rd woman I asked) and she can and wants to go! In fact, she was very excited about it!!!!!! Which makes me feel less of a pathetic person thankyouverymuch.

So I am going on a first date Tuesday. Sweaty palms and all. I'm trying to be cool about it, but I secretly hope I can make a friend for life.

The funny thing is, J's concert is in Lebanon, where this woman and her husband live. So, he is going to meet up with the husband for dinner as well!

I'm having visions of dinner parties and game nights with this couple; am I asking for too much? Reminds me of that How I Met Your Mother episode when Lily and Marshall go through a number of failed "dates" with other couples. But that's just TV, right??? We aren't that bad, right???

Monday, March 1, 2010

A few moguls make for a fun weekend

My Friday evening may have started off very quiet, but the rest of the weekend was full of nothing but adrenaline mixed with a little chocolate.

UncleSlickG was in town to finally join us for some Carbon Leaf shows, since we rave about them so much. But, half of NH was still without power, so they had to cancel their NH shows for both Friday and Saturday! Although we tried to convince the band to do a stealth show in our living room, they didn't take the bait. And as bummed as we were about the canceled show, we replaced it with Avatar in 3D and Imax. The movie was definitely better than I thought, but we're trying to figure out if it was the special effects that did the trick, or if we would enjoy it as a normal film.
UncleSlickG sporting the 3-D glasses

On Sunday, J & I took advantage of the little snow we have and participated in a ski-to-chocolate festival. Basically, we XC skied about 10 miles from inn-to-inn and picked up a chocolate treat at each stop. Unbelievably, I declined a few of the chocolate treats by the end of the day (maybe it was because I ate a good portion of J's share earlier in the day). Here I am indulging in a chocolate peanut butter ball at Adventure Suites ... mmm good

Seeing Carbon Leaf was not a total loss because we had tickets for Sunday night's show at Port City Music Hall in Portland. Yes, I think I love this band that much and would see them 5 nights in a row if I could (don't tell J that because we'll be jumping on their tour as official groupees). The concert was really awesome, and different than Tupelo Music Hall, where we usually see them in NH. Tupelo is more of a sit-down, low-key place. At Port City, we were able to rock out and dance!
As a side note, I am convinced I now have all the luck in the relationship. Because, before Sunday's concert, we ate at Margarita's and they had their Full Moon Madness Party going on. I got a phone call today. I won the grand prize ... a snowboard. So we have to go back to Portland sometime to pick up my prize ... I'm sure J will find a concert to go to as an excuse.
Band members Jason (drummer) and Terry (guitarist) were also eating at Margarita's! They also won in the Full Moon Madness ... but just a tshirt and hat.