Monday, December 14, 2009

The Little One Kicks!

For about a week I've been feeling The Little One moving around. TLO seems to be a bit of an evening/night baby. Each night between 7 and 10pm, I feel TLO moving around for a little bit. It feels kind of like a cross between muscle spasms and fluttering. It's very hard to describe. But it's pretty neat.

Last night for the first time, I felt a series of kicks. They were strong enough that when I put my hand to my belly, I could feel the kicks against my hand. I had E try to feel the kicks too, but first we weren't patient enough and E pulled his hand away before TLO kicked again. Then TLO had moved to another area and wasn't kicking any more.

Today, TLO has been very active, moving around a lot. There's even been a few kicks. So maybe tonight E will get another chance to feel some kicks!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spicier Nacho

I love, LOVE, Spicier Nacho Doritos. They've been very hard to find for about a year now. So a few weeks ago, when I saw them on the shelf at my local Hannaford, I got a bag. I ate said bag in 2 days, the majority of it in 1 sitting. And I paid. I felt pretty horrible that evening, and figured it was my penance for making The Little One have so many Doritos at once. And I vowed that I would not do it again.

So, I went grocery shopping a few nights ago. And saw the Spicier Nacho Doritos again. And got another bag. And they sat, unopened for 2 days. Then last night, I got a craving for some. And I only ate a handful this time. I was very proud of myself!

And then, I found out, no, it wasn't because I ate so many that I felt horrible. It was because I at Spicier Nacho Doritos. I don't think The Little One likes Spicier Nacho Doritos. The Little One hasn't complained about any other spicy food! But, I guess, no more Spicier Nacho Doritos for me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holy garlic, Batman!

Wednesday evening, E and I met our friends K and C for dinner at India Palace for dinner. It's been years since we went out for Indian food, and K was right, this place has great food. We had a great time, with good food and a good conversation. It was something of a communal dinner, everybody sharing their dishes. And E, K, and C all had some garlic naan (Indian flat bread), which had way too much garlic for my onion-and-family intolerant system to try.

That night, E REEKED of garlic. It was so bad, I though I wasn't going to be able to sleep in the same room with him. And last night, after more than 24 hours, I still couldn't face him when he talked. I also got out an air freshener to combat the garlic breath that permeated the bedroom. This morning it's better, though I'm still holding my breath when we kiss.

So, no more garlic naan if you want to enjoy my company for the next 24 hours! At least not until my super-sense of smell goes away!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ultrasounds are cool!

This week E and I went for my first ultrasound. At 13 weeks, 0 days, I wouldn't normally have gotten one, but my midwife wanted to check my due date. So, we went to Leominster hospital and got an ultrasound.

The little one was moving all over the place, wiggling, waving, and seeming to have a good time being watched. It was really neat to see! We also got to listen to the heart beat (E didn't think it sounded like a horse or a washing machine). And we got pictures! Prior to this, I never really thought ultrasound pictures were all that neat, but now that they're of our little one... They're so cool!

The tech said the little one was measuring 12 weeks, 5 days, and that 2 days difference isn't enough to move the due date. She said next ultrasound (around 20 weeks) the little one could measure 2 days in the other direction. So I'm still due May 20, 2010.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Houston, we have a heartbeat!

Today I had an OB appointment, and I met my midwife, A. After going over some info, she got out the Doppler, and I heard the heartbeat! A said it sounded like a boy's heartbeat. Apparently, boys sound like galloping horses, and girls sound like washing machines. A says she's about 80% right, and I should remind her what she predicted when we find out.

It turns out that having hypoglycemia means that I'm at greater risk for having gestational diabetes. So lucky me, I got to take the glucose screen today. They give you a nasty drink, and then take your blood an hour later. Most expecting women get to do this once later in the pregnancy. I'll get to do it at least twice. Woo Hoo (not!)

But, hearing the heart beat was very cool! And I'm getting an early ultrasound next week, since they want to check the age. We're pretty sure I'm 11 weeks, 6 days, but they want to verify that so we know when to do other testing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First appointment disappointment

So, this morning was my first OB appointment, and it was, well, anti-climatic. I met with a nurse at the practice, she asked lots of questions about E and my medical history, answered the questions I had, gave me lots of papers to read, and scheduled my next visit in two weeks. That's it. They didn't even verify that I was pregnant!

We're going to continue to wait to tell people until after my appointment on Nov. 4. I want to have at least some testing done before we spread the word!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pregnancy symptoms - 9 weeks, 2 days

  • All day (morning) sickness subsiding, though mornings are still tough.
  • Tired like never before, but that's good since I was an insomniac and now I'm sleeping! Makes it hard to do things like get up the energy to clean the house though.
  • Migraines that I've had for 20 years are GONE!!!!! Had I known that was going to happen, we might have tried earlier!
  • Mild headaches during the day, though not every day.
  • Breasts sore, though less than 6-8 weeks. They're also 1 size bigger (started at 36D, how much bigger can they get?!?)
  • Not much food is appetizing, but get morning sickness if I don't eat, so I'm grazing a lot. I'm CRAVING Mexican food from the Border Cafe! May have to go there with E soon... I also had a dream this morning about french fries, and woke up drooling (first time THAT's happened). Discovered this morning that I've lost 2 lbs, probably due to the lack of appetizing food.
  • Sense of smell overpowering, which leads to morning sickness. Avoiding the kitchen at home and at work helps though.
  • "Pregnancy brain" - I keep forgetting things, which is so unusual for me, it's funny. I got out the winter clothes and left 3/4 of my long sleeved shirts on top of the cedar chest. Then thought I needed to buy more shirts because I only had 7 days worth of shirts in my dresser. The cedar chest is right next to the dresser!

Morning sickness

The last day we were in Bonaire (7 weeks, 1 day), my morning sickness symptoms really started, thought I didn't realize it. I smelled something at breakfast that literally had me running for the bathroom. I didn't throw up, but came so close, I was in a stall praying to the porcelain gods. The nausea passed and after splashing water on my face and neck, I felt good enough to go back to breakfast.

The flight home, I thought I was airsick. I'd reached stage 2 of sickness, the cold sweats that you get just before you throw up (stage 3), but luckily we landed and I was able to avoid stage 3. Whew! E gets airsick, and I told him that if this is how he feels when he flys, I don't know why he bothers! I didn't realize it wasn't airsickness until...

The following day (7 weeks, 3 days), when I had all day sickness. Ugh. I couldn't move without feeling nauseated. And the whole week (through 8 weeks, 3 days) was like this. Going to work was horrible. I was pretty miserable, and thinking that being pregnant was NOT fun. I now had an inkling of why there's only-children out there, who'd want to go through this again?

Then the nausea started to come under control. I realized that I needed to eat every 2 hours, no ifs, ands, or buts! I needed to avoid things like: the smell of coffee, vegetables (especially green beans!), and anybody smelling like onions. I found that saltines really did help. Mornings were still crappy (now I know why its called 'morning sickness'), but it was MUCH more bearable.

And that's where I am today (9 weeks, 2 days). I actually feel like I could do something this weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bonaire Vacation

Day 1 - Saturday September 26
N, EP, E, and I arrive in Bonaire at 8am, after leaving Boston at 7pm the night before. I didn't sleep on the plane, and E didn't get much sleep, so we get some breakfast and go to bed. Get up at 2pm and go snorkeling. EP's mom, dad, sisters G and L, and L's significant other, M, arrive. Relax for the rest of the day, have dinner with the whole gang, and call it an early night. Day 2 - Sunday Sept 27
Up early with the sun. Have breakfast, then head to the dive orientation at 9am to learn about the SCUBA facilities at Buddy Dive. Get our equipment and go for our first dive! N's ears weren't cooperating, so we end up continuing the dive without him. See tons of fish, including the Blue Parrot fish below. Drive south to the slave huts in the afternoon, then to the windsurfing side of the island, and back to the resort in the early evening. Day 3 - Monday Sept 28
Up early again. Have breakfast and head out for dive 2 in the morning, dive 3 in the afternoon. This is how most of the vacation goes until the day before we leave. Dove at Buddy Dive reef, saw a wreck during the afternoon dive, and some 4ft Tarpon's. Also found a Coral Banded Shrimp.
Day 4 - Tuesday Sept 29
Up, have breakfast, and head out for diving at Windsock. The dive site has a beach entry, probably the only beach on the whole island! Makes it easy to get in and out. I see an octopus, but E misses it, and also scares it into hiding. I get a picture though! We see a school of Blue Tang that will continue to show up at every dive site for the rest of the trip. That afternoon, go snorkling with the whole gang at Klein Bonaire, the island just off the coast of Buddy Dive. We see 4 turtles (and the school of blue tang), and have a good time. In the evening, go to Casa Blanca for dinner with the whole gang. It's an Argentinian Steak House, but they have very good salad and baked potatoes for me. E says it's the best steak he's ever had.Day 5 - Wednesday Sept 30
I wake up to E wishing me a happy anniversary! We have breakfast with EP's mom (the rest of the gang has gone deep sea fishing), then head to Windsock to dive. EP's mom comes along to snorkle and hang on the beach. See a bunch of eels today! After the dive, EP's mom buys us lunch (happy anniversary!) at the pool bar. In the afternoon, we go to Bachelors Beach to dive. Find a swirling school of hundreds of silver fish, that tries to school with us when we swim through. Very cool! That evening, we head into town for our anniversary dinner at the local Mexican place. Food's so-so, but it was nice having a night to ourselves.Day 6 - Thursday October 1
Up, have breakfast, and head to Oil Slick Ledge for a dive. Ledge is right, we have to jump into the water from about 12 feet up to get in. See some barracuda, a Queen Angel Fish, and a puffer fish. There's a ladder to get out, but that's no fun, so Evan takes some more jumps into the ocean once the gear is off. That afternoon, head to 1000 Steps (there's really only about 70) with N and EP to dive. The reef here is the best yet, we see a new kind of tiny blue shrimp. EP finds an octopus that she shows us when we come back in. The walk back up the steps with all of the gear makes it seem like 1000 steps! On the way back, take a drive on the 'bike path', which is a dirt road that goes over the mountain on the island. It's a fun drive, with very nice views of the desert island.

Day 7 - Friday Oct 2
Up early, have breakfast, and head north to go diving at Tolo reef. Best reef so far, too bad it's our last dive (we have to stop 18 hours before flying). We dive with some others from TN, and see a Spotted Drum and some squid (VERY cool!) Spend the afternoon having lunch, doing a bit of shopping, and swimming in the ocean. E and I watch the sun set from the pool bar, then have dinner alone, sitting by the water at a table for 2. Our first truly romantic meal here.
Day 8 - Saturday Oct 3
Did I say we got up early during the week? We're up at 4am today, so we can catch our 4:45am shuttle to the airport. N, EP, E and I stagger to the front desk, load in the vans, and head off to sit in the airport until our flight boards at 7:30am. Fly to Houston, arriving late. Rush through customs, security (thank goodness for friendly travelers that let us skip to the head of the line!), and immigration, and run to the other side of the terminal, stopping only for a quick bathroom break and to grab lunch to go. Arrive just in time to board our flight, whew! Fly to Boston, find out our luggage is still in Houston, fill out the baggage forms, and head home.

Epilogue - Monday Oct 5
2am, our luggage arrives. And I have to get up for work tomorrow? Ugh!

Pregnancy impatience

While on vacation, I was thinking that I didn't really feel pregnant. I felt normal. Then near the end of the vacation, on the 2nd to last day, I had my first serious bout of morning sickness. Nothing too bad, just sent me running to the bathroom during breakfast, but it passed. Then the flight home, I had the worst bout of air sickness I've ever had. If that's how people feel, I can't believe they keep flying!

When I returned home, I discovered that I definitely feel pregnant, every day. And I'm not too happy with it. It's not morning sickness, it's all-day sickness. I'm totally exhausted, I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to keep putting in a full day of work and still be awake enough to drive home. And my chest so sore, it's uncomfortable to walk down stairs fast. And I'm surprised nobody at work has said anything about my recent chestiness, it's not like they were small to begin with!

On top of all of this, I want to tell people. E and I decided that we would tell family when we returned from vacation, but wait to tell others until after the first prenatal appointment. Which is on Oct 20. That's like 2 weeks away! Argh!

Friday, September 25, 2009


The bags are packed, the house-sitter is sitting, and we're going to Bonaire! Woo Hoo!!!! I might post while there, since we'll have wi-fi, but might be having too much fun to blog, we'll see.

If you want to check out where we're going, this is the place:
Buddy Dive Resort

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ug, salad

So, apparently the little one doesn't like salad anymore. I think I'm going to have to change-up my daily lunch. The milk, walnuts, and whole grain crackers are still yummy... I guess the 'What to Expect' web site is right, protein and whole grains are the key right now. Hope E starts eating more veggies from the farm share!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and very queasy. It's started, the 'morning' sickness. Except its now 2pm in the afternoon! And yesterday, it was 11:30 am. So far, it's just feeling blech, no actual sickness. Hopefully it'll stay that way for a while, I've got a vacation to go on in 3.5 days!

Friday, September 18, 2009


E forgets things. I like to think its because he's got so many interesting thoughts to think about. And because he's got ADD. Oooh, shiny!!!

Anyway, I got home today to discover that he left the bathroom heater on. It was 80 degrees upstairs, and the smoke detector was beeping from a worn out battery (probably coincidence). Can't wait to see the electric bill this month...

E has been known to leave the bathroom light on all day. Or the cellar light all night. Or the attick light for days until I notice it.

Do I leave notes at the door: "Before you leave the house, make sure all electronics you turned on are now off." Or do I just not leave the house before him in the morning?

I think I need to get him this shirt. Won't solve the problem, but will make both of us laugh!

Just found out...

I'm pregnant!!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bear-y Cool!

We have a pet Bear! OK, not really, it's just a guest at our sunflower seed restaurant, I mean, bird feeders.

Last night, I wandered into the bathroom, leaving the lights off, and glanced out the window. I saw a very black shadow under the bird feeders. And then the black shadow moved. I realized that that shadow wasn't from a tree, it was the wrong darkness in a night with a bright moon. Then the shadow changed shape, and appeared to be a standing figure reaching up toward the feeders. And that's when I realized that a bear had come to visit.

I got E out of bed and we decided to turn on the spot light, to get a better look. And we did! The young black bear didn't even bat an eyelash. It sat there, eating the seeds, having a wonderful meal. It pulled the feeders over to where it was sitting, bending the 1/2 inch thick iron pole without any problem. It sat and ate, until it had cleaned the feeders out. And then, it got up, and sauntered off into the woods.

And, here's the picture E took of the bear!

Sorry, we'll try for a better one next time. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Earthy Crunchy Moments

In no particular order:
  • E and I went for a light hike in the Squannacook River Wildlife Management area. We saw a garter snake that decided it didn't like E standing between it and the area it could blend into, and it struck (unsuccessfully) at him. We were both fascinated by the snake, and sad that it disappeared so quickly once we moved out of its way.
  • The hornets are eating all of the hummingbird food that I put out. Every once in a while, a female hummingbird tries to come have some, but is pestered by the hornets and leaves after some chittering. Even putting out fresh food in a different feeder hasn't worked. It's the end of the summer, ladies and gentleman! Isn't that what the increase in hornets pestering means to you?
  • I saw a doe and faun walk through the back yard while sitting on the deck. The faun was still very spotted, and looked healthy.
  • The trees that turn colors early have already started. The maple out front is green and red and orange. In a nearby swamp, all of the swamp maples are fully red. Sign 2 that the summer's over!
  • We have a black bear in the neighborhood. Our neighbor, D, saw signs of it a week ago. And we had it visiting our bird feeders one night! I'll blog about that soon...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trying to be positive, and failing

Normally if you asked, I'd tell you I like my job. But lately it's been stressful. We've got too much to do, and not enough writers to do it. It's meant working long hours and not taking any vacation time.

So, now I find out that, not only do I have 45 days worth of work to do in 15, they're taking away my telecommuting. When I first started with the company, I had been telecommuting 2 days a week. Then about a year ago they made it 1 day a week. And now, nope, sorry, none.

And why? Is it because I'm not working enough? Is it because they feel I'm not productive? No, they recognize that I get a LOT done when I work from home, more than when I'm in the office. They tell me I'm one of the most productive writers they've got. OK, then why? Oh, yeah, because it's company policy. Never mind that there's people who work from home EVERY DAY. And I can't one day a week, to avoid 3 hours of commuting?!?!

But hey, I can't complain, at least I've got a job, right?


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Campfire Memories

Tonight E and I had a campfire in our backyard. Just a little fire. It was very nice.
It made me remember the summers when I was a kid...

I remember my parents friends coming over for cookouts. I remember sitting at the picinic table, talking in the dark, next to the camp stove. I remember people getting thrown in the pool with all of their clothes on by two other adults. I remember looking up at the stars, seeing the different constellations, and the Milky Way. I remember that it was fun.

TTC, Take 2

So, after a morning of being glum, I talked with my mom and felt a lot better. Of course, that didn't stop me from being moody all day (sorry E, you took it like a champ). So, here are my thoughts this morning:
  • I'm no longer jealous of our friends, I'm very happy for them. I'd actually stopped being jealous over a week ago, when I talked with E about it. I think I just needed to voice my jealousy to get over it.
  • Silver lining 1: I'd originally thought having a late spring baby would be ideal. Not being pregnant yet gets us closer to a late spring due date.
  • Silver lining 2: I have time to figure out things like, should I stop taking my otc allergy medicine, or is it ok to take while pregnant?
  • Silver lining 3: It's summertime, and having a beer or two while having a cookout is nice. The beer yesterday tasted really good.
  • Silver lining 4: I don't have to cut back on coffee yet!
I'm still disappointed that I'm not pregnant. I'm actually surprised at how disappointed I am. But I take that as a good sign. I really am ready (anxious even!) to be a mom.

I also have a new understanding of all those women who have a hard time conceiving, I don't know how they do it. I think having disappointments month after month would get to be really depressing. I wonder how they can keep trying, and not just give up for sanity's sake. Of course, I know why they don't give up, but it must be so hard.

A few things do suck, and they'll continue to suck until I get pregnant. I still have migraines. I don't have a known time-frame for maternity leave (which I'm really looking forward to!) I have to keep it a secret that we're TTC (trying to conceive), since that's what E and I agreed to. But it's not the end of the world.

So, as a new cycle begins, I'm back to being happy, and hopeful. We'll keep TTC, and we'll see what happens. And hey, that's the fun part anyway!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Nope, not pregnant.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Today on my way home from work, I began having some serious cramping. And when I got home, I noticed some spotting. Am I getting my period after 32 days? Or is it really just spotting? Or worse, am I having a miscarriage? Is fate laughing at me because I called the doctor today?

The doctor suggested going and getting an over-the-counter pregnancy test. So we'll know. One way or the other. Tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Before we decided to try and get pregnant, I thought that pregnancy tests were a waste of money. If you're trying, and you miss you're period, you're pregnant. End of story. However, I'm beginning to see their benefits. I'm in the stage of 'am i late? or pregnant?' I could go out and get a pregnancy test. And it could tell me I'm pregnant or not. Of course, if it was negative, that wouldn't mean I wasn't pregnant, just that I would have to wait some more. Sigh.

So, I wait.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


E and I just found out friends are expecting. Their baby's been cookin' for about a month. And I'm jealous. This was supposed to be our time for the exciting news! OK, yes, we're a bit behind them and all... So, hopefully by time it's our turn to give the good news, I'll be done being jealous, and just happy for them.

And now I'm thinking, as I type this, I've been having some incredible mood swings today, and the intense smells are back... Maybe our news is just around the corner... Here's to hopin'.


This morning I woke up with a bad headache. And I realized that I'm 26 days from the start of last green bean week. And I thought, Oh, that's why, it's just about time for my period. Queue the sad, pessimistic thoughts...

My incredible sense of smell is gone. And I'm sure it was just a fluke, I didn't really have an increased sense of smell. My chest is only sore because it's almost green bean week. My stomach cramps are gone, and that was really a non-sign since it was probably due to using those muscles picking up EG's 2 1/2 year old off the slide. And the headache is a sure sign that Aunt Flow (I've never called it that, but it seems somehow appropriate right now) is on her way.

Will the pessimism go away with the headache, I wonder?

Friday, July 10, 2009


OK, so, to heck with Evan, I can keep from posting this until the time comes when we're sharing. We're trying to get pregnant. We've been trying since the last time my magic beans came up for re-upping, about June 16. Of course, that was green bean week, so we've been trying since then, but, you get the idea.

Since then, I've been seeing signs of being pregnant. My sense of smell is the biggest sign, I'm smelling EVERYTHING: the smoke of a neighbor's fire, the kitty box that was recently changed, the day lilies (who knew they had a sweet smell?)... And then there's the cramps. I've had cramps for the past week, and a couple of days ago, it was bad enough that I decided to take some Tylenol (I'm trying to be baby friendly, just in case). Of course, a couple of days before I was playing with EG's toddler, L, and I had sore muscles from that, so it could have been due to that... Add on top my sore breasts, and I'm wondering...

So, we'll see. In a short while I'll either get green bean week, or not. And we'll know.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hail Storm

Summer time finally came to our neck of the woods this weekend. It was hot and muggy, it got up to 85. We'd planned to have E's family over for an afternoon cookout and the weather was cooperating. People arrived after 2pm, and everything was going well. Until we started up the grill around 5. That's when the summer storm hit.

It started with big fat rain drops. Then it turned into a downpour. And still, we were outside under the umbrella, giggling about the summer storm, counting Mississippis between booms of thunder. That was, until the hail started.

The hail was coming down in 1/4 inch chunks at first. Then they got bigger. And they didn't stop. At one point I ran out to rescue something from under the umbrella, and got hit by some of the larger pieces. It stung, more than I was expecting. The hail kept coming down as we watched from inside the house and Garage-Mahal. And it didn't stop until the ground was covered, it looked like it had snowed.

The rain, thunder, and lightening continued for a while, even after the power went out. And we talked about the phenomenon we'd just experienced. E's aunt had never seen a hail storm before in her life. She'll always remember this cookout!

The next day I went out to survey the damage. The veggies in the garden are flattened. The peas are all bent over. The peppers, which had been blooming and starting the baby peppers, now barely have any leaves, let alone flowers or baby peppers. The lettuce is completely flattened, splayed out like a mat on the ground. And my raspberry bushes, which for the first time in 3 years have berries, look like someone ran over them with their car. It's so very sad.

Another casualty of the hail, the rhubarb and katalpa tree. They have holes in the leaves, like someone shot them with a shotgun. Two folding chairs with cushy seats suffered the same fate.

OK, so, the silver lining. My rain barrels are full. I'll probably still get some peas. The spinach is so voracous that, while the hail did some damage, it's going to keep producing. It's early enough to plant some more for the summer. And, since we don't have the big garden ready yet, we'd bought a farm share at a local organic farm, that is just outside the path that the hail storm took.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oooh, My Head

I'd forgotten. I'd forgotten how it didn't stop. I'd forgotten how frustrating it was. I'd forgotten how much I wanted it to stop. I'd forgotten how I had no power over it.

For the first time in years, my headache wouldn't go away. Instead of my usual off and on for 5 days, and then gone for a few months, for 10 days, it was present, in different intensities. It started out consistent. Then it grew worse. Then it got better, and I though, OK, it's just about over. And then worse again. And 10 days later, it is finally gone. I think. I hope.

I'd forgotten. And I really hope I don't have to remember again. For a long time. If ever.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I got a call from E last night just after I'd left work. There was a very large turtle in our yard. He said its shell was about a foot long. I told him to take lots of pictures and to stay back a bit, it sounded like a snapper to me.

An hour later when I got home, E told me how the kitties had been very excited about the turtle, and had been checking it out. How he couldn't keep them away from it. But, nothing, thank goodness, happened, to either the turtle or the kitties.

By time I got home, the turtle had wandered off. E went on a scavenger hunt and found it again, just at the tree line in the woods. I grabbed my Audubon Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians and went to have a look. Sure enough, it was a snapper. It was probably a female going and looking for a spot to lay her eggs. The guide said they travel a long way from water to build their nest.

So, maybe in 9-18 weeks, we might be seeing baby snappers traveling through the area, going back to the stream or pond that mom came from.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blogging About Yelping

I've been thinking for a couple of days that I should blog about my new, other writing past-time, Yelping. is a site where you can go and review any and all business that you frequent. And you can see what other people think about places you're thinking of going to. Or even find places you didn't know existed, and get some feedback on whether or not to go.

Years ago I had created a web site where I was reviewing restaurants. I figured that it would be beneficial for other vegetarians. I'd had a hard time finding restaurant reviews that were veggie minded. I'd only reviewed a few places when I gave up, creating my own web site was not my thing.

And then I found Yelp, and reviewing restaurants became easy. As did reviewing other things, like our local organic farm.

So now I'm blogging about Yelping. I find it kind of funny, actually. I guess I haven't gotten enough of writing yet...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vegetables for Families in Need

The company I work for has a volunteering reward. Each year, if you volunteer your time, the company gives you a paid day off. So last week I volunteered with some co-workers to build a vegetable garden for a low income family through the Growing Places Garden Project organization.

We met at the home of the recipient at 10am. Since it was in Westford, I had a nice short commute to work for a change! When I arrived, Nikki from Growing Places was there, unloading tools from the truck. I started helping, and the others started arriving. MB was next, and she started pitching in. Then SL arrived. We were making a raised bed garden, so Nikki directed us to position the three 4 ft. by 8 ft. bed frames, and start laying newspaper on the lawn inside the frames. No digging up the sod for us! BJ arrived and then MR, and they helped finish laying the news paper. And then it was time for the heavy lifting.

A load of compost had been delivered to the front of the house. The garden was in the back, about 100 ft. away. So, with 4 wheel barrows, we started moving the compost to the back. When the first bed was about 1/2 full, Nikki and MB stayed to mix in vermiculite (to help hold water) and chicken manure (to add microbial activity and nutrients). BG showed up and helped us lug more wheel barrow fulls of compost. And more. And more. When the second bed was 3/4 full, I stayed to help mix in the amendments, while SL attached a wire fence trellis to the back of the now full first bed.

And the compost kept coming. I kept mixing and spreading, while the others finished bringing the compost back. Then they filled the wheelbarrows so we could move the remaining compost off the lawn, once we asked the homeowner where she wanted it. At about this time, a man pulled up in a truck. He was the homeowners nephew, and was worried about his aunt, since there were so many cars at her place. We assured him that we were just there to build a garden for her, and he went in to ask about the extra compost.

When all 3 beds were full, I helped SL put a trellis on the back of the second bed. BJ and MB were putting nails int he frames to attach twine to. The twine made up 1 ft by 1 ft squares, to help the homeowner know where to put the plants. And MR, BG, and Nikki started putting up a wire fence around the garden. When the trellis was done, SL and I helped with the fence. B was unrolling, SL and MR attaching it to the posts, and I was pounding them the rest of the way into the ground with a 5 pound beater. Fun! During the fencing stage, another truck pulled in. This time it was Cindy, one of the founders of Growing Places. She'd brought the vegetable seedlings by.

When the fence was up, a group went to move the compost while the rest of us picked up tools. Nikki remarked how we had the fastest garden completion time this year, we were done in an hour and a half! When everything was picked up, we took a group picture, and then my coworkers and I headed off for a celebratory lunch, on the company. Another perk of the volunteer program!

So at this point, you're probably saying, hey, wait a minute, you forgot to plant the vegetables! It turns out that's a separate part of the program, a mentor helps the homeowner plant the vegetables and gives them tips. It usually occurs when the beds are set up, but since the homeowner wasn't feeling well, they'd scheduled to plant on another day.

So, next time you're in the gardening mood, but don't have anything to do in your garden, consider building a vegetable garden for those in need!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great Blue Herons

The other day I was telling E about the birds I saw while on my way home. He asked if I'd seen the Great Blue Heron in the stream down the road, and I jokingly said, you mean the one standing near the shore on one foot? Then I had to explain to E that they all did that, and no, I hadn't seen the one he mentioned.

But, that lead me to think about how I've been seeing a lot of Great Blue Herons this spring. If I leave the house, I see at least one. I don't recall seeing a Heron a day ever before. Maybe I'm just in their flight path. Maybe there's a great nesting/feeding spot and they've invited friends. Or maybe I wasn't this observant in previous years.

Who knows?

Now, I know you're saying, hey, if you see so many, why isn't there a picture? And the answer is that usually they're flying overhead while I'm driving to or from work. On the highway. At 65 mph. Yeah, I'm really going to whip out the camera then!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Childhood 'Truth' Debunked

Growing up, I thought that lady's slipper orchids were rare. We'd go down into the backwoods to the one spot where the bloomed. And over time, they stopped blooming there, and I though, wow, they must be just about extinct now...

And then I grew up, and moved to Townsend MA.

It's blooming season for the Pink Lady's Slipper orchid. I went for a short walk in the backwoods (here) this weekend. And I found a multitude of Pink Lady's Slipper orchids. In one 10 x 10 area, I counted a colony of 38 orchids! They're everywhere here! I feel like I've found a lost treasure! So I went back to the house and got the camera, so I could share with you.

Since then, I've done some research. The Pink Lady's Slipper orchid is listed in NY, where I grew up, as "Exploitably Vulnerable due to loss of habitat and exploitation". I also have my own theory that the backwoods (back home in NY) was logged enough for firewood that the orchids didn't make it. They seem to be very fragile flowers. They can't even be transplanted because they won't make it without their fungus symbiot. That's some dependent lady! Makes me think they're royalty... Or Goa'uld...

Elsewhere in New England, they're listed as "Secure (common, widespread and abundant)". My research also turned up that they do better in acidic pine forests, which I live amongst here, versus deciduous forests, which were back in NY.

So, one more childhood 'truth' has been debunked. I now no longer think that:
  • Pink Lady's Slipper orchids are almost extinct
  • Red and Gray squirrels don't occupy the same territory because they don't get along
  • Snakes eat strawberries
  • My mom can change traffic lights to green with her mind
Oh, and here's a little Red Eft (so cute!), that I saw on my walk, too. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer in April

I keep a garden log. According to the log, last year in late April it got to the 80s for 4 days. But, the saving grace, it was in the 30s at night. And now it's late April again. And yesterday it was 89 degrees F here. 89! Did it cool off last night into the 30s? No such luck, it didn't even get down to 60. Ugh, ugh, UGH!!!

I know, most people love this kind of weather. But really, it's hot, and the pools, which are the only reason to tolerate this kind of weather, aren't open yet. The trees haven't leafed out so there's very little shade. The area swimming holes have 40 degree water. The ice cream trucks aren't even around yet! (Not that they come by here, but I hear them in the development that borders our property.) I don't even have E to distract me because he's gotten his spring cold, (poor guy), and is spending his snuffly weekend watching The Wood Whisperer video podcast (yeah, I know, how can I pass THAT up?) I've finished all of my books, so I'm rereading old material.

OK, so I'll try to see the positive side of this. My close line is up, and I've dried 4 loads of laundry in 4 hours. ... ... That's it, that's all I've got.

There's nothing fun to do in April when it's 89. So I'm hot. And bored. And whining.

Thank you for listening. :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Five Questions from Shiny Happy Mama

Wow, how time flies! I just saw that my last post was just about a month ago. And here I thought I was getting better...

A couple of quick things, then I'll get to my point.

Yesterday E and I were carpooling to work in the AM and I saw a HUGE (why do I always put a D in huge?) flock of robins in a local fruit orchard. They were probably resting from their flight back north. It's almost spring...

I went for a long walk with my sister, SS, when she was visiting this past weekend. We saw a cute little muskrat (yes, they look like beavers, but with a rat tail) in a swampy area, he was probably getting ready to go find his new home and mate.

OK, now to the point.
1. How did you decide to become a vegetarian? Do you ever miss eating meat?

The short version of the story is that I started realizing exactly where meat came from. I couldn't get it out of my head. I was a bit of a farm girl, so I had an idea. Little by little, I stopped eating certain foods. Like no veal after visiting a friend's veal farm and feeding the baby cows by hand. But it didn't really sink in fully until my aunt and uncle's cow, Salina, was "sent on the truck". The thought that I could have eaten my namesake did it for me, and I haven't had meat since. I was about 12. Funny thing, the last thing I ate was a hamburger...

I don't miss eating meat, although sometime I miss the convenience of eating meat. When I first said no more, I had meat cravings, especially for mashed potatoes and gravy day at school, and pepperoni pizza. But that slowly dissolved. I think the appearance of a lot of vegetarian alternatives helped. I do miss the convenience, having to check and see if restaurants offer vegetarian food can be a bit of a pain. Especially since I'm onion-intolerant. Yeah, I see the irony...

2. What is your dream job?

Managing a horse barn or a park ranger. I miss being outside. I miss the mountains. I'd like to think that someday I'll manage a horse barn in the mountains, and take care of the conservation lands just off the property. Best of both worlds.

Part of me thinks I should use this education though, so another idea is to be an eco advocate of some sort. I'd love to push the world into the life of thinking about how and what they do affects the world around them, kicking and screaming or not. Part of me thinks I should start a "how can my company be more eco friendly (and save money)" business. Maybe someday...

3. I know you prefer rural life to urban life. If you had to live in the city, what would you enjoy about it?

I'd enjoy not having a car. I feel eco-unfriendly because I drive so far to work. Too far, really. I would love being able to walk everywhere; to the grocery store, to the library, to the liquor store. I miss that. I did live in Somerville near the Davis square T stop for a few years, and I really liked leaving my car parked at home when I wasn't going to work. I'm looking forward to our town putting a trail in on the old rail bed, it would give me a non-highway to walk on to the grocery store.

4. Of all the trips/vacations you've taken, which one was your favorite and why?

Ireland is hands down my favorite place. I've vacationed there 4 times, and could live there if I could convince E to be that far from his family. I feel very at home there. The country is so small that they have death announcements for the entire country, yes, the ENTIRE COUNTRY, at noon. And it rarely takes more than a few minutes. I know, it's a bit morbid, but you see my point. It's so green, and full of, well, country. I could see having a little farm 15 minutes outside of one of the cities where E could work. Or living in Killarney and taking tourists on trail rides through the national park. I could live where it doesn't snow, but it also rarely is above 75F. Definitely my kind of weather. I'd be home.

5. Guilty pleasures - food, books, tv.

OK, this one's hard. Not the foods. Man it sucks to be watching what I'm eating...

Food: Gardin of Eatin' blue corn chips, spicy nacho Doritos, feta cheese (Greek) pizza, strawberries, Beaujolais wine (yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! Can I have some?)

Books: Anything and everything sci-fi. But guilty... that would be spending all day ignoring E to read the Harry Potter and Twilight books on the day they come out. Yeah, teeny-bopper, but good!

TV: Hmm, guilty... During our honeymoon, E and I watched a marathon of Project Runway (season 3). Yeah, real romantic. I think this is the only instance of us watching reality TV. But, hey, in Hawaii, it was on for breakfast. OK, so other guilty pleasure shows... umm, does Privileged count? What about Terminator? I used to like Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, but they don't have the hold over me like they used to.

On a totally un-guilty pleasure, I'm plugging the new Battle Star Galactica series. Four seasons of complete bliss! I would walk over E's dead body to see this one! Well, OK, not really, he gets the shows for me (stupid sci-fi being a paid channel). Thank goodness for the internet! But I've bought all of the seasons, if you want to borrow the DVDs, just let me know... And I'm counting the days until they come out in blue ray!

So, there's the five things. Hope you've enjoyed it!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Noki's New Chair

Our friends K and C were kind enough to give us some nice furniture. I had to work late on Friday, so E went over to pick it up. I got home, and there it was! Noki's new chair!I don't think he's moved since E brought it in, other than to get food, of course! And isn't he sweet, letting Mosa have the ottoman?

A Birdy Week

This week started with the annual Great Backyard Bird Count on Sunday. The Black-capped Chickadees once again were the most prevalent in the half hour that I was watching. But a couple other types of birds made an appearance too, some Tufted Titmice and 2 kinds of Nuthatches, Red-breasted and White-breasted.

Monday morning there were a couple of doves eating under the feeder with the little red squirrel.

Tuesday morning, while letting Mosa decided if she wanted to brave the snow, I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker on a pine tree about 50 feet from the back of the house. You know, the one that Warner Bros. used to designed Woody Woodpecker. It's the white spot in the very center of this picture:If you want to see a better picture, check out Wikipedia's entry.

Then, this morning, a family of 5 Gold Finches came to our backyard feeders. You can (almost?) see 2 here on the green feeder on the left. Everybody else flew away when I got the camera (of course).
I wonder who's going to show up next?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Squirrely Happiness

Red squirrels make me so happy. They're all twitchy and jittery. They move so quickly, they're a streak across the snow. Yet they're happy to sit and eat seeds under our feeder. We have two red squirrels that frequent our feeders. They have created a network of tunnels that makes it possible to get from the woods to the feeder, across the 40 feet of open space, without being seen. It's so nice to see them in the morning, they snack and skitter while I have my coffee. It's a good start to the day for both of us.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cruisin' to Cozumel

Let me start by telling you that I'm claustrophobic. So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to go on a 4 day cruise from Miami to Cozumel. I figured it was an opportunity to find out whether I could handle the confines of a ship. I'd have a roommate (not E) and no choice in cabins. Should be interesting, n'est pas?

I started by talking with my family dr, and getting some "just in case" panic drugs. The warning label pretty much said, don't plan on doing anything for a few days. I figured someone could carry me to the plane if I ended up taking them, right?

The trip started on Thursday, early (for me) in the morning with a drive to Worcester airport. Yes, Worcester has an airport! The group I went with charted some planes, and we quite literally had our own airport. They even opened a special snack shop for us, since the airline wasn't going to feed us. We flew to Miami without incident, and then took charted buses to the port terminal.

It was about 1pm when I boarded the ship and made my way to my cabin. And that's when the panic attack hit. The hallway was small, the ceiling low, and it was very long. I got to the cabin and broke down. But the cabin itself was fairly large, had a big window to the outside, and had my wonderful roommate, SS, who let me finish freaking out in peace. Then she took me up to the open air deck for some food. And things got a little better. But I never did get used to that hallway.

We had our mandatory lifeboat drill, (did you know, women and children first really is still the rule?), and then I spend most of the afternoon on the open air deck. That evening we set sail, had a reception on the open air deck at sunset, and then dinner. By 9pm SS and I were feeling the early morning, and by 10 we hit the sack.

The next day we had a bunch of morning activities, and unfortunately I had a migraine. I stayed in my cabin most of the day, only coming out for some air and dinner around 6. We were arriving in Cozumel at 10pm, so I took a whole bunch of migraine meds, and we went into the tourist trap. The good thing, the fresh air made me feel better. SS and I had fun finding gifts for our families left at home. By 11 my head was feeling much better, but we were both tired, and had a 9am activity the next day, so we called it a night.

Of course, nobody else on board did. The partying and bright lights finally died sometime around 3:30am, and I was able to fall asleep. And then I awoke to a horrendous, building's falling down around you, BOOM! Followed by another, and another, and another... My sleep-deprived mind finally figured out that it was waves. We were crashing through them. Our cabin was in the very front of the ship, so as the ship crested a wave, it would slam back into the water. So much for sleep, it's overrated anyway.

Saturday morning at 9am we had our last scheduled activity. And it was so sunny and beautiful, I went up on deck (I needed AIR) and sat there on a beach chair all day. The winds were wiping, about 30mph, but I found a lee and had a great time reading my book and talking to people as they passed by. My 30 SPF sunblock kept me burn free, except for the spot I missed on my ankle and my ear, I always miss somewhere.

That evening was our dressy reception and dinner. I had bought a new blouse and was looking pretty girly in my skirt. We had some drinks, went to dinner, and then hit the dance club. SS and I danced our toes off, with a friendly group of friends and strangers. I even got the DJ to play Relax for me, my favorite dance song. The lack of sleep was catching up fast, and I new if I stopped, I'd be done. So we danced, and danced, and danced.

That night, the BANG-ing had lessened to every once in a while, so I got some much needed sleep. The following morning we had to be up so SS could disembark, she was on one of the first off the ship. I was supposed to disembark at 1:45, then re-embark, then disembark again at 3 (port rules are so funny). They had food, and I'd been thinking I'd wait until I got back on board to eat, needed to be full for the foodless flight that wouldn't get in to Worcester until 8pm... But around 12:30 I was hungry, so I figured, OK, I'd eat, then have a snack before leaving. Good thing, because at the first disembarking, we never got back on the ship. Instead we sat on the charted bus. And sat. And sat... Turns out the plane had mechanical issues, so they were getting us another plane, and expecting a 1 1/2 hour delay. But did they let us back on the ship? No.

We finally headed off for the airport, and when we arrived, we pulled up to the security gate (charters don't go out from the main terminal in Miami), and they waved us to the side. Where we sat and waited, and waited, and waited... We had 3 busses of people when we left the port, but only 2 arrived at the airport, and they wouldn't let us enter until we all arrived. Ugh.

When we finally got to the plane, they rushed us through "security", a few tables set up with people to rummage through our carryons and others to wave us down with a wand. Very strange, my knee didn't set off the wand... For those that don't know, I have metal in my knee from and ACL reconstruction and have a habit of setting off metal detectors. Especially wands that are supposed to be more sensative. Not that I was going to tell them that!

We finally headed home, and got 2 bags(!) of chips on the plane, which almost everybody devoured (I think a lot of people were going to eat once they got re-embarked). I had some snacks I'd brought with me, and I offered to share with my seat-mates, so we were probably the least hungry of those on the plane. Hypoglycemia comes in handy sometimes...

At 9:30 my friend MB and I left the airport, and I was home, saying hello to E and the kitties by 10:45. All in all, DEFINETLY not the worst trip home I've had!

On the last day when I was waiting for my turn to disembark the ship, people were asking me what my favorite part was. I couldn't figure it out then, but I have now. Towel animals.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Temperature Theory

This week was a cold one, on Friday morning it was -15 degrees F when I left for work at 8am. My kind of weather!

Which leads to my theory. People like the kind of weather they were born in. So in New England, if you were born during the blizzard of 1978 (albeit in northern New York), you like the cold! So far my theory is holding true. Of all the people I've surveyed, those born in the summer like it hot (anything above 75 is hot to me), and if they were born in the winter they like it cold, like me. And spring and fall babies like it different degrees of moderate.

My family definitely follows this theory. My dad and I were both born in February and we like the cold. I'm grumpy any time the thermometer hits 75 and above. My mom and sister were both born in late summer, and they like it hot. My mom didn't like the cold so much, she moved to New Mexico!

So, what was the weather like when and where you were born? Does my theory hold out for you too?