Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Don't Get It

  1. Jimmy Buffet
  2. Bruce Springsteen
  3. Lady Gaga
  4. Vera Bradley
  5. Dancing with the Stars
  6. Las Vegas
  7. Starbucks
  8. Low Pants
  9. Florida
  10. Twilight

Vacation Part 3 - Elizaville

From Hyde Park, we went to Elizaville and spent several days at The Lake Place.  There was swimming:

 There was rowing:

 There were cousins and fishing:

For me, there was a lot of down time.  I did some knitting and reading and general sitting around.  I saw cool birds. I played board games with my family.  And we had a lot of morning boat rides.  I miss the morning boat rides.

Today is the last day of August.  I can't believe what a great month it has been.  August is usually my least favorite month, but thanks to delightful weather (sorry, Texas), a really good birthday,  visitors, and a fun vacation, this has been a great one.  I predict I'll need a sweater in the next couple of weeks.  Bring it on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

West Virginia has Problems

There are some good things about West Virginia.  It's a really pretty state to drive through in the fall.  It has a beautiful capitol building with a shining golden dome.  When I was a kid, my grandparents moved to Huntington, WV (home of the original Jamie Oliver Food Revolution show because it was deemed the unhealthiest city in America), so we used to visit there a lot.  It didn't seem too bad at the time.  But then, I grew up and moved to Virginia, and have since had a series of bad experiences there.  We always drive through on the way to and from Indiana, and it seems to coincide with eating time.  There's never a good meal to be had in West Virginia.  Don't get me started on the disappointment of Biscuit World.   Even places I love and trust, like Panera Bread, are bad in West Virginia.

We had a pretty good time in Harper's Ferry, once we got to the town, but the drive in was a little dicey.  After crossing the state line, we saw, and I am not exaggerating, at least 10 people before we saw someone wearing a shirt.  (Cue "Dueling Banjos")

Anyway, West Virginia has problems.  And last night, Kev was reading Mental Floss and came across an item about the West Virgina Road-Kill Cook-Off and Harvest Festival.  What?  I looked it up, and it's a real thing.  The main ingredient in the cook-off has to be a critter that is often found on the side of the road, like 'possom.  (Sorry, Pancho).  As Kev said, W Va isn't doing itself any favors.  There is even a Ms. Road-Kill Pageant!  Can you imagine the winner of THAT?  Good grief.  I am at a rare loss for words. 

I will still drive through West Virginia, especially in the fall, but I am never EVER going to eat there again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Days

Preschool 3s, Preschool 4s, and Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten

 A few pictures, then lunch on the porch.

A few minutes on the swing.

Then, down to the sidewalk to wait...

...for the bus!

A quick wave, and off she went.

And I was fine.  I went straight to Curves to work out, and then to lunch which probably cancelled out any and all benefits of my workout.  She said she had a great day.  I'm glad.  I think we'll both have a good year.

Vacation - Part 2 - Hyde Park

From Strasburg, we drove up to Hyde Park, NY to see Kev's parents.  It was so nice out that we decided to take a walk (or in Daphne's case, a scoot) over the Hudson River on the old rail bridge, which has been fixed up for that purpose.

When we got back to the house, we ordered my favorite bbq chicken wrap from Coco's and had a little birthday celebration.  It has become tradition that Kev's mom gets me a watermelon cake from Friendly's for my birthday every year.  So good. 

As we sat down to eat the cake, who showed up but this BARRED OWL!!!!!

See him there, blending in with the tree?  You can click the picture if you want to make him bigger. It was so dang cool.  Only my second owl sighting ever, and this was a really good one.  He sat there for a long time, letting us take pictures of him before he flew off into the woods.

On a similar evening in 2005, certain Long Island mischief makers made fake owl sounds and tossed stuffed owls at me on the porch of this same house in Hyde Park.  This real owl was much better.  But I wish they had been there to see him too.

I did not experience any lost time, and could not find any evidence of probes.  So I'm putting it in my bird log as a real sighting and not an alien mind trick.

Also on this trip, we saw a green heron and a pileated woodpecker and a family of wild turkeys.  My interest in bird-watching has been rekindled.  Hooray for vacation!

Coming soon:  Wake Fun.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What I Did on my Summer Vacation - Part 1

Today in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, it was beautiful out, so we walked to the hot dog place for lunch, got a drink at Shoes, and went to the Tally Ho to see Mister Popper's Penguins, which was surprisingly not bad.  A pretty good way to spend the last day of summer break, as school starts tomorrow.    I can't believe summer is almost over. 

As promised, here are a few pictures from our vacation, at least from the first day, which we spent in Strasburg, PA.

In Strasburg, PA, you can sleep in a caboose.  We slept in "Alaska," pictured below.  It was by no means luxurious, but it was clean and comfortable, and very super cool if you are a five year old kid.

The motel grounds have about three playgrounds, some farm animals, Amish buggy rides, and a big silo that you can climb up in and see miles and miles of Pennsylvania.

Daphne got to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed in the caboose.

We rode a cool old steam train.  Daphne took this one:

And in the morning, we ate in the motel dining car. I highly recommend Strasburg as a weekend vacation destination.  So much fun.  Here's a tip:  Only order ONE pancake.  They are bigger than the plates.

Occasionally, I have one of those happy moments when all is right with the world and everything is perfect.  This happened in Strasburg on the first night of vacation, when our little family huddled outside under a blanket and watched "Meet the Robinsons," which was projected onto the side of the barn at the motel.  It was cold out (in AUGUST!) and there was a big full moon.  It was pretty awesome. 

Vacations are good.  Tales from NY coming soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

 Dear Blog,

I'm back.  It was a long couple of weeks with almost no internet access.  But I survived.  There is a lot to tell about my time away (including an OWL SIGHTING!), but it will have to wait a bit, because I want to talk about yesterday first.  Yesterday was Daphne's Kindergarten Orientation.  Kev and I took her to meet her teacher and see her classroom.  The kids stayed in the room and did some coloring and stories and stuff, while the parents went to the cafeteria to learn about How to Send Your Kids to Kindergarten.  There is a lot to know about Kindergarten!  More than I ever thought.  We got a huge envelope full of paperwork to read and some forms to fill out.  It was overwhelming.  I didn't make any new friends, and I already have a Nemesis Mommy. I don't know her name, so I am going to call her "Newman." She is a horrible horrible lady.  Things can hopefully only get better.

Meanwhile, Daphne seemed to enjoy it pretty much.  She came home with a picture she colored of a raccoon on a school bus, and a lot of black play-doh under her fingernails.  A sign of good times.

I am not ready for Daphne to go to Kindergarten, but she is.  

Tune in Monday, when I have to put her on the school bus and let her go.  Good grief.  There's gonna need to be a lot of chocolate around here to get me through that day.

On a happier note, you may notice Daphne's new pink western boots!  She got them at the Dutchess County Fair in New York on Tuesday.  We spent most of our vacation in New York.  Who would have thought Daphne would get cowgirl boots in New York?  But she did.  And we also had some decent tacos there AND the best barbecue I've had since we left Texas.  Go figure.  But more on the trip later.  Daphne's preschool teacher is coming for a visit this afternoon, and I have a bit more tidying up to do.

Until I can write again, here is a vacation blog preview photo:

Ah.  Serenity now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Well, today was Birthday, Part 2.  My mom and dad came up, and Kev and Daphne made us all a delicious breakfast.  It was a nice day.  A good way to end a good weekend that included a family bike ride and breakfast at South Street Under. 

There are only 2 more weeks until school starts, and I am going to go unplugged and spend some quality time with my family.  I will continue to take a photo each day, but I probably won't post until I get back on line.  So, I'll be back in a week or so with hopefully something interesting to write about.  Enjoy the last days of summer, and I'll see you soon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Very Good Birthday

So, I got my birthday pizza at the end of a very very good long day.  It started at 2:10 am, when Daphne woke up crying because she was all stuffy.  I helped her blow her nose - problem solved.  But the weird thing is, I was born at 2:10 am, so I was awakened at the exact moment my birthday officially began.

Gifts were sprinkled throughout the day, starting in the morning with a really pretty wooden salad bowl and utensil set from Kev.  I love wooden bowls, so this was very exciting.  And I promised there would be more salad in our lives, even though the bowl is almost too pretty to use.

Next, Daphne and I went to Manassas, where we picked up my dad and went to visit my mom at the YARN SHOP where she works.  She bought me some birthday yarn, with which I intend to knit a cardigan using the new skills I learned from Emily while she was here.  This is going to be the Autumn of Knitting.  And perhaps pie and fresh pasta.  But definitely knitting.

Then, we went to lunch with my dad, and got to see the art studio where he has his painting class.  It was cool.  His teacher is really nice and really good, and my dad's painting skills just keep getting better and better.  After lunch, I got to go hang out with Albert the good dog for a little while, which was fun.  And Daphne got some playtime with Grandpa, so everyone was happy.

Back at home, we sat on the porch for the first time in a LONG time, and waited for Kev to get home.  He and Daphne started the evening's birthday festivities with a Happy Birthday ukulele duet.  Daphne gave me a book that she wrote about an owl family.  She made up the story and dictated it to Kev, who wrote the words.  Then she illustrated it.  It's awesome.

Kev got me a Ray LaMontagne record I've been wanting, a book with all the 2005 posts from this blog - more on that later - and a new awesome camera!  Woohoo!  Mine has been on the fritz for a while now, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to complete my 365 project.  No worries now!  I can't wait to use it.  Plus he got me a VERY stylish camera bag, handmade from this great shop

We walked to Fireworks for dinner.  So I got my pizza.  And Daphne got pizza too!  She ordered hers with apples, pineapples, chicken, and green peppers, NO sauce, and NO cheese.  She ate it up and told the guy it was the best pizza she's ever had.  So hooray for Fireworks for having great food and flexible chefs.

Cookie sundae for dessert.  Doesn't get much better than that.  And if that wasn't enough, the celebration continues on Sunday, when my family is coming up from Manassas for a breakfast cooked by Kev and Daphne.  A very good birthday for sure.  I don't even mind that I'm older.  Thanks, everybody.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Very Texas Weekend

 Our visit with our friends from Texas went by way too quickly.  Hikes were taken.  Beavers were found.

Good food was eaten with nice people in cool places.

Pies were made and eaten.  Pie-making secrets were learned.

The kids seemed to have a really good time.  They played music.  They built forts.  They dressed up in costumes.  They picked carrots and peppers and tomatoes.  They watched movies and ate s'mores.  They got along.

And I got to visit with two of my very favorite people.  We went for a really nice dinner at the Wine Kitchen and dessert at Tuskies.  We ate pie.  We watched Project Runway together.  We talked.  We knitted.  So great.  I miss them already.

We will be taking a trip to Texas.  Like maybe in February when we're sick of winter and need some sunshine.  I hope Emily is finished with all of her rooms by then.  Or at least the guest room.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I am trying to decide what to do (eat).  I think I want something I usually never get to have, like pizza or macaroni and cheese.  I will let you know what I decide.  Off to deal with Daphne, who is going through withdrawal.  She is having a hard time adjusting to having no other kids in the house.  At the moment, she is flopping on the couch and whimpering.  "I don't know what to DO."  Good grief.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Naughty and Nice

Yesterday, I let Daphne play in the attic.  Alone.  I was doing some cleaning, and then I sat down to finish knitting a scarf I started way last winter.  My knitting chair is right at the bottom of the attic stairs, and I was keeping an ear on the Peanut.  It got quiet.  REALLY quiet.  Then, she called, "Mom!  You should SEE this!  You're gonna LOVE it!"


I went to the attic, which she had "decorated" for our house guests.  And by "decorated" I mean "destroyed."  OK, destroy may be a little strong.  But do you see that evil feather boa in  the picture above?  Well, imagine about a million tiny feathers strewn about all over the entire attic.  They were EVERYwhere.  It was like a bunch of angry pink and yellow birds went up there to explode.  I think I got most of them cleaned up, but I had to empty out the vacuum filter thing three times.  I think we're going to be finding stray feathers for a long time.  It is about 10 degrees hotter in the attic than in the rest of the house.  I was hot and sweaty from all the vacuuming and going up and down the steps. And I got really sneezy.  I didn't really yell too much, but Daphne knew I was mad.  Poor kid.  She went and hid in her room.  She felt awful.  She was, after all, just trying to make things festive for her friends.  But she should have known better.  Needless to say, the feather boa is now in the trash.  And Daphne doesn't get to play in the attic until tomorrow when our friends come.  Now, all is forgiven.  I think the guilt she felt was punishment enough.  But what a mess.

 In happier news, yesterday I was cleaning under my desk and I found a nickel and a penny.  Woo-hoo!  Straight to the Nantucket jar I went with my six cents.  And when I opened it, I found that some sort of Vacation Jar Fairy had poured a bunch of spare change in there, along with this fortune cookie fortune.  There is almost $30 in there now!  I like Kev.

OK.  Yesterday I made ravioli filling, so today i need to make the pasta.  And do a bunch of laundry so I don't have to do it this weekend.  Visitors tomorrow!  Yay!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Toys in the Attic

Another weekend came and went at the speed of sound.  Friday night, Daphne spent the night in Manassas, and Kev and I went to see Crazy Stupid Love at the fancy new Cobb movie theater here in town. First, the movie was GREAT.  You really can't go wrong with Steve Carell.  Second, the movie theater is great.  You can get real food and adult beverages if you choose, and take them into the theater.  It's not as good as Studio Movie Grill, but it's the closest thing I've seen anywhere around here.  And the seats are wide with plenty of leg room.  Awesome.  After the movie, we went to the new Irish bar and grill - Finnegan's - and listened to a band.  It was a good night out.

But the rest of the weekend was work.  It was all about home improvements.  A few pictures were hung. 

Kev cleaned out his side of the closet (top) and it is so nice now.  There is plenty of room to walk around without tripping over bins or bags of stuff.  We also got the attic cleaned up and made part of it into a play area for Daphne.  We put all of her dress-up stuff up there, so now she can do plays and puppet shows and whatever she wants without tripping over bins or bags of stuff.  We have a lot more to do, but it's a good start, and Daphne LOVES it.

 Where's Waldo?

It will be a great place to play when we have kids over, which we will later this week when MY FRIENDS COME FROM TEXAS!!!  WOOHOO!!!  So, I need to get going because there are preparations to make.  Hope you had a good weekend.  Happy August!  (The worst month of the year, but it means September is coming).