Friday, July 14, 2017

Thats a Wrap.. aka .. Its Summertime!

Summer is officially here and we are all dancing.

(We deserve too!)

If I think of everything that has happened in the last 6 months it is sort of overwhelming.   
- We bought a house in a weekend. 
- Moved overseas. 
- Bought two new cars and will have our old one shipped to us soon.
- Started new schools or new jobs.
- Suffered through two months of the flu.
- Established new doctors.
- Set up new accounts.
- Had the hot water heater break during the middle of the deepest snow storm.
- Saw Willow through some rather severe depression and anxiety. She is doing much better these days. Shes gotten involved in volunteering with the Burlington art center, Special Olympics, and the Autistic kids at school. She has made a good little committee of friends at the youth group from First Methodist, has grown some friendships from school..on the bus that live close!! And now she has a boyfriend who she met through youth group.
- Willow is greatly looking forward to her year next year. when she will be taking the culinary arts technical training and a few fun and easy academic courses
- There were two graduations: Greg with his Masters, and Connor from 8th grade. (Not to mention 3 other graduations in the extended family. Congratulations guys!!)
For so many years you get used to the idea 
of these little ones 
always being around and then..
 They grow up

Then there is the exploring, learning, downloading and processing our new environment. 
- There was a week in Nevada. 
- Willow and I drove to NH and adopted Rosie who is slow, sweet and often scared. 
- We adopted a sly cunning cat who touched our lives deeply but who wasn't suited to the comforts of home. 
- Then there was the adoption of another cat who came to us bloody and bruised and required some definite care and nursing. He has since proven to be a loyal companion. And he is a gentleman/cat. I once saw actually use the toilet. 
- Then there was my arthritis diagnosis, subsequent medications which mean I  can't drink, body wide hive reaction that I thought at first was shingles, a return to pain and inflammation when I stopped the meds . All that fun was followed by allergies and asthma that have kept me locked inside for more than the last month because passing even an open window takes my breath away. Its called the green mountains for a reason and I ground to a halt as all this regional grass keeps me locked up .  I am greatly looking forward to a time when my arthritis and allergies are both well managed. There won't be any stopping me once the pain is down and my energy rebounds. 
-  I learned how to start and maintain a spa
- I am learning how to keep a pool
- Willow and I went on a weekend road trip. Saw Silversun pickups and went to Canada to get her friend from Germany who is here with us for a few weeks. (Ill blog all about it when we send her home)
- Found out how useful a snow blower is. 
- Found out how useful a Riding Mower is.
- Established with a hematologist that Greg's iron levels are not something to fear or contend with. Whew!
- Connor participated in a ski program.
- Connor spent a weekend in Washington DC and came back even taller. 

- Connor took an overnight field trip to a Dude Ranch in Upstate New York. 
- A few weekends ago Connor had auditions for the High Schools Fall Theater production of Josephs technicolor coat. He was cast as a guard and Ishmaelite.  Not huge parts but perfect for an incoming Freshman without any formal music or dance training. I mentioned to him that Theater on Ice might be a great thing for him to look into.

Are you exhausted by looking at this list? I am! And I am sure that that isn't even the extent of it. But we made it. And,God Willing, we wont see a period of such extreme transition again. 

Something New! I know some people *coughs Greg* don't have the time to read but they can incorporate listening into their routine a bit easier. So I have decided tto make a podcast where I will audio record these in the future. (*Pst..Happy Birthday!!*)  This is the podcast home for future reference

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Whats new Pussycat?

Nevada was good. Busy. Came home and fell down. Metaphorically that is. The medical drs here are great and we now know that I don't have Fibromyalgia. It official. I actually have an inherited form of spinal arthritis. My dr told me I need to swim. And then when my neck fuses together I can use a snorkel. I laughed. She wasn't joking. Regardless of how bad that sounds, I am now going down the path of pain management through medication, diet and physical therapy and I am starting to feel better than I have in 20 years. 

In other news..  Connors School musical performance is tomorrow. He auditioned for a solo but is a little bummed that he didn't get it. The end of next week he is off to a Dude Ranch in New York overnight for his class graduation trip. Then he is home for the weekend and then off to Washington DC. The next week is 8th grade graduation. The following weekend he has auditions for the High School Fall Play (Josephs Technicolor Dreamcoat) with some workshops between now and then. Assuming that he gets a role, his freshman fall semester is already booked solid. He thinks he is tired now! Its just about time for him to really get his hustle on. 

Willow is doing good. After we got back from seeing my mom she broke up with her long distance boyfriend. She was a bit down about it but she got through all of that quite alright. She is going to a youth group leadership Conference with the Methodist Church this weekend. So I am digging through the camping gear and taking stock. Get her set and also see what we need to start exploring the glory that surrounds us. As the summer schedule starts filling up, Im scrambling to see when we can make it happen.

There are 27 parks and beaches in Burlington alone to explore. I managed to check one out this past weekend.

We continue to spot DaBella (Willows cat that escaped when we were gone) around the yard. In the meantime, we now nursing a stray 2 year old musky tom cat, whom we have named  Toby Jack (TJ).  He is rather beat up and covered in wounds from fighting some feral cats who's territory he was dumped in (Given his extremely social nature and desire to be in the house, we are assuming his previous owners abandoned him).

He is quite content lounging and recovering. He will be a good interactive member of the family (Unlike Dabella) However, Dabella has been very helpful in keeping the  bunnies away and I am happy she is sticking around and lurking in the shadows.

Where is Greg passing the free time he has on his hands since he graduated last weekend?

You will find him going around in circles on his riding mower.


Rosie is as sweet as ever. She is feeling less nervous now but she she sort of freaked out when she saw a plane high in the sky. Silly dog.

Well as of just now, our pool is open. It has some chemical processes to go through before we can hop in, but soon. In the meantime.. there is weeding to be done!! (And dinner to cook, and errands to run and.. well.. so it goes!) 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Smelling the flowers

I had a daydream that I would wake up at 5 am this morning. My intention was to write in that quiet sweet spot that happens and hour before waking anyone. Sitting in the front room, watching the sun rise, sipping on tea and tapping away at the keys. Unfortunately, however,  I did not set my alarm and instead find myself scraping out words here and there, between this and that, as the day rambles on. This is the view from my window.

It turns out that we really have not "lost" DaBella. She has been sighted numerous times in and around our property. But it has become clear that she has decided to live next to us; not with us. At least not yet. Maybe eventually her wild untamed heart will warm up to us and the promise of domestic bliss but, until then, she will live under the porch and find fresh food daily in the barn.

Big News from the Weekend... Greg has finished his MBA! What an accomplishment especially when you consider all that has happened from the time he started and now. How many moves? How many challenges? And still he finished and did so with a 3.8 GPA. Congrats! We are supper proud of him!

After being  around all my Artsy Family during our trip, as well as getting a bump of creative inspiration from the time spent with friends, I was moved to break out the paints and finally begin to use my "art/sewing" space. It was a good way to regain my balance, fend off the shakes and recover from an intense flair up after our trip. 

 I still have work to do on it.. quite a bit probably.. but its not a bad start.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Caught up in a whirlwind but not blown away

 Let me just preface this with one thing. If you are one of the people who are just now hearing of our east bound travels of last week and you wish I had have dropped you a line so we could have met up, please forgive me. It was not because I forgot you. We were just booked full as it was.

A week.. Just enough time to get through the worst of jet lag before returning home to a week of re-adjustment. What a visit home we had. Because Vermont is sort of removed from the world up here in this beautiful green mountain lake valley tucked up near the Canadian border, and because Reno is not a huge destination spot either, making this trip typically requires two layovers and a full day of travel. That is if you are lucky and make all your connections. Which, on the way there, we did despite an average of a 20 minute delay on each flight. With relief, we finally descended upon Reno at 10:30 pm dipping and jerking with turbulence. By the time we checked in, ate and got tucked away, it was well past our normal bedtime being 3:30 am at home.

Needless to say we were slow moving Sunday Morning. We met up with the Reno Cousins and enjoyed a wonderful lunch under a big open sky while taking in the scenic beauty and catching up on all matters of news and celebration. Afterward eating, the cousins took us to the Church Fine Arts Building at UNR. The campus has changed radically since I was there last. Do people now tailgate in the parking garage?  Regardless, areas that once held strong emotion and memories have been paved over and rebuilt up. Which is probably for the best.  Despite the changes outside, inside the Art Building was seemingly unchanged, comfortable and a bit of a relief after the shock of trying to get my barrings on the extremely renovated campus. Anyway, we saw the play Eurydice. It was a contemporary take on the Greek Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice from her point of view and somewhat changed story line. It was well acted and costumed but strange. I still don't know what I think about it. After that it was off to Moms and Dunkles for dinner and then to bed. 

Monday rolled around and we found ourselves lunching with the folks and visiting with the Grandparents. It was good to see that everyone was healthy and as well as can be. Discussions of current events, new pets and home life punctuated with laughter and warmth dominated these times.  That evening we three found ourselves at T's. When I come to town she usually asks me to pull together any of our mutual acquaintances that I know happen to be around. Due to time constraints and other reasons, only D and M were able to make it. It was a perfect little gathering of my most favorite people. Dinner wrapped up early as it was a school night. Willow stayed the night at the grandparents while Connor and I headed back into Reno where we welcomed the arrival of our longtime friends Susan and Jake from California. Susan exhaled deeply and Jake's first question was "What are your guy's plans for snow play?". 

Tuesday, we took the scenic route from Truckee to Carson in search of some powder to play in. We didn't find any until we hit Spooner where, tucked in deep shadows, a pocket of icy packed snow was found. We turned the boys loose and Jake enjoyed his third ever snow experience.  On our way back to Reno we stopped and checked in on Willow. We found her in grandmas kitchen under a layer of butter, flour and sugar. She and grandma were happily baking batches and batches of cookies to share with the Family. After leaving moms we freshened up at the hotel before taking the boys to Circus Circus. It wasn't as exciting or as large as I remembered. But then again there wasn't much of a crowd to cut through and more than half of the midway had been shut down. I guess the boys now know what they are not missing. 

Wednesday, after a leisurely morning, our company finally left. Con and I returned to Carson, had a good visit and waited for another one of the kids most favorite cousins to get out of school. She got too spend 2 whole days with the kids. Willow also got some time behind the wheel when Dunkle took her off road to learn how to drive a stick. The family went to see Beauty and the Beast and I crashed for a much needed recharge. The time change, the late hours, early waking, not to mention all the social interaction had wiped me out.  After dinner, I returned to Reno while all the kids stayed with Grandma. At the hotel I took some time to read at the bar before heading out to meet M for her birthday celebration. Some bluegrass band was playing at a new music venue called The Saint. I don't know if they were any good. The noise, the crowd, the hubbub was a bit mind numbing and i didn't get a good listen.  M and I enjoyed a drink at the front of the building while discussing her need to move on from something. My pillow however beckoned and I left after about an hour. The bar scene just doesn't hold the appeal it once did.

Thursday, I arrived at moms to help her get ready to greet the Forrest Hill Cousins who skipped school and drove over for the  day. It wasn't as long a visit as we had hoped for but we are looking forward to them coming out to see us in August. After they left, I took the kids and their cousin back to the hotel to give mom and dunkle a break and give the kids some swimming time. The hotel however was booked full with High School aged girls that where there for a volleyball tournament and they sort of had a run on the pool and fitness studio.

By Friday, Willow had hit her limit and crashed out at moms and Dunkles after the cousin went home. Connor went to the movies with Dunkle and saw "The Fast Furious." He enjoyed it. Meanwhile mom and I enjoyed some intoxicating sunshine and some good mother daughter bonding time . We got in one last visit with the great grandparents before wrapping up and heading back to the Hotel.

Saturday Morning, bright and early we were at the airport and homeward bound. At least we thought we were. We were delayed an hour because a terminal in SF was closed and they were dealing with many delays. We had hoped that our connection would likewise be delayed but it was not and so we were routed and re-routed and finally landed in Philadelphia for the night before making the final leg home on Sunday.  

How good to be home. How beautiful this world looks from above. Green Mountains is a very apt name for the range that makes up our backyard. During the trip Mom and Dunkle spoke often of their Camping plans  and I must admit, flying over New England I too caught the itch. There will be hiking, fishing and camping in our future. 

Greg was waiting, thrilled for our return. The week had taken its toll on him. He didn't eat well (If at all) He accidentally let Willows cat get out. Being that it was feral before we adopted it, it has not returned but has been spotted around the yard. We are leaving it food outside and hoping she comes around eventually. Needless to say it was a challenging week for him.

And after all that, Monday we all returned (with some relief)  to our normally scheduled activities. 

Oh! You may be asking why I don't have any pictures in this blog. Well, that is because I didn't take any.. except for maybe a few  such as the back of Connors head to show him what his haircut looked like. During the trip I read the Circle in its entirely which paints the pros and cons of internet and gadgets and anyway, because of it ( and a crappy wifi connection at the hotel which I didn't want to bother with)  I just wasn't motivated to document my life.. at least not like that.  The story and smiles of the time spent with family and friends is engraved  on my heart and that really is the important part.

When I did get home, however, I did take some pictures. We returned to a new more colorful yard. Within the week, the white of snow and brown of winter had given way to a carpet of lush green,  pink blossoms, and abundant wildlife. April showers do indeed bring May Flowers and Spring is officially here.

Time to get twitterpated. 

Well the time has come to put down the computer and get moving for the day.

And what day is it? American Drinking Day... Aka Cinco De Mayo. May we all enjoy some tall cool refreshment.  Ole'

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Smoke em if you've got em

Im sitting in my office as I write this. Overlooking the front yard. watching rain fall, bunnies romp, and birds flit. To bad that I have developed an aversion to the computer, otherwise this could be my view more often. But alas, real world matters have been taking precedence and so it is hard to sit when things need doing.  The adventures never cease and time flies by. There is never a boring minute.

Snow snow and more snow. I was sort of fearful of what a New England Winter would look like. It turns out they are manageable. Snow has since given way to rain and we have officially entered a 5th (and previously unknown to me) season.. Mud season. The world is greening up and the days are getting longer. Makes my heart happy. Soon.. very soon.. we will need to get a riding lawn mower. With over half an acre of grass, Its will be a necessity.

The kids are growing stronger and healthier. Our Vitamin D levels are rising... Interesting side note.. In Germany people were always naked and soaking up the sun. The Germans believe that a good sun bath will help you with any illness. The sonnenheilung or "Sun Cure" is deeply and anciently rooted in the culture. It seemed weird to us of course. But there is a very practical reason why this behavior pattern developed. When we returned to the states, I had a Vitamin D blood test to try and sus out what all was going on with me and my numbers were so low they could have been negative. Vitamin D is so important to health and well being and, with only 14 days of full sun a year (Not an exaggeration), the behavior of the Germans is actually one developed out of survival.

Anyway, in my VT journey for a healthier existence, my chiropractor suggested that I give CBD oil a try. I found a place to get some and tried it out. I found it beneficial for the whole families needs. Just as I was giving it a try, an old and somewhat distant friend from elementary school who now lives in Hawaii randomly hit me up with a business proposal. Long story short, I am now an affiliate for Prime my Body which specializes in high quality Hemp products.  My first job in 20 years... at my own pace... because at the moment I am just in it for my own product. But, eh, if you want, give it a look.  If you are interested, shoot me a text. 

Lots has been going on. Most of it a bit mundane but not all of it. Connors school  put together a musical concert. Actually, The 7th and 8th graders put it on and with very little adult leadership. In fact they pick the songs, decide the order, come up with the choreography, lighting and basically do it all.  Connor is in Chorus. (I remember when his voice was so high and squeaky that we could not wait for it to drop. And now he is a Baratone!!) He intends to continue with Chorus when he gets up to the HS. Below are the two songs he was in. The first one has some user error. You wont see anything .. but you can close your eyes and listen. Skyfall from James Bond.


I  pointed my camera in the right direction for this one. This is some internet thing that the kids decided to do. 


Spring break is coming up quick along with what should prove to be a busy trip seeing family and a sprinkling of friends. At least the kids won't be bored and fighting.  I need to think about packing. 

And Summer.... School ends at the beginning of June. Connor's Jr. High Graduation trip is an overnight trip to a camp in  Upstate New York and directly after that he is off to Washington DC for a week with school for a learning field trip sort of thing. July is going to be insane. Willow and I kick off the summer with a quick trip to NY to watch the Silversun Pickups before Heading to Canada to pick up a German friend of Willows who is staying for a few weeks. We are playing to work in a trip to NYC to watch a Broadway play with  my old pal Aimee. After that Connor is off to Summer Camp at the HS so he can learn his way around and maybe make some friends before starting 9th grade next year. And somewhere in there we need to get Willow her learners permit and start her practicing! 

Gregs work is coming along. His project is starting to wrap up and everything is falling nicely together. He graduates in a few weeks with his MBA. I think he will graduate with Honors. 

The pets are doing well. Something spooked Rosie quite intensely. We don't know what. It could be anything really. She startles at the drop of a pin. But my best guess is that it was the wind. She has been reluctant to go outside. But I did coax her out for a walk. During which, we were buzzed repeatedly by a kitty clearly wanting some attention. I did not get her repeatedly running past us at warp speed but I did get some exposed belly.


 Meanwhile, DaBella has been seen out and about a bit more. I took a nap the other day and woke to find her sitting in my room, staring at a sleeping Rosie and giving her the evil eye.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Plotting Course

Where is the little girl I carried? 

All grown up and looking to graduate. 

Willows transcripts have arrived from Germany and from CA and in a few weeks we will be sitting down with an academic adviser to discuss what her next few steps will be. Currently she is only attending 2 or 3 periods a day and she has already accumulated more than enough credits to graduate. She does, however, need to meet a few more requirements before that happens. In the mean time, next year, she is planning to attend the local Tech/Trade school and pursue an education in the Culinary Arts. It is a rather impressive 2 year half a day every day program. Soon we will find out how that will play into her graduation date. She has the desire to open her own bakery in the future and it is something I see her being very well suited for. She has a good plan in mind for achieving that. 

How weird though to think that she will move out in 2 years (give or take).  Is she ready for that? She is headstrong and determined. At that age I was as well, but I think she is stronger.. more mature even and certainly more worldly.. than I was.  I know she will manage the challenges of the world just fine. But still that mom part of me is already worrying and wondering what I need to do yet to best prepare her. 

Where has the time gone? Soon enough there will be grandkids! Egads!  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

We'll make great pets!

I can't believe that it has been a month or so since my last post here. The flu took hold of the household and rotated through us. This gave me the house to myself for all of three days in 4 weeks.  Now we are all fairly well recovered (except for a fibro flare up that hit me like a bag of bricks).

Ive been looking forward to everyone being well once again and returning to "normal" however, the kids have stayed home all this week because it is Ski Break Week, which was poorly timed as the  temperatures soared into the 60s, broke records and melted all the snow. As of today though, the temperatures have plummeted once again and we have a wind chill of -12 going on and the white stuff is falling. It was nice while it lasted. The locals claim that we are due for at least one or two more major snow events this season.  We will see.

Apparently True Spring doesn't usually arrive until the end of April... beginning of May. I am sincerely  looking forward to long buried seeds springing to life. There is a red berry bush of some sort that still bears fruits that sits just outside my office window. Red cardinals and other song birds frequent it often for a nibble. I look forward to when the widows are open and I can finally hear them singing loud and clear. Just a few months more.

We are looking at putting up a greenhouse and we spoke to the guy about setting up solar. We will not be off grid but the panels will be ours.

Greg's rash disappeared after 3 days. The final consensus was that it's source was viral. He has since been in the hot tub without trouble and we have not changed our laundry soap or body products and there has not been any sign of re-occurrence

Anyway, last weekend, Willow and I took a little road trip over to New Hampshire. It was sort of a fascinating experience. Now Vermont is all mountain range and moose. The culture is very much like a mix of the "State of Jefferson" and Northern Nevada.  I can't even detect an accent. Vermont is very homey.

New Hampshire not so much. New Hampshire is one state over and is bordered on the East by the Atlantic ocean (4 hours away). We could tell we were in another world the minute we passed the border. The land flattened out  and scenery took on a very distinct and even creepy feel that sort of said "You don't belong here." While I don't know much of the history, it felt strongly (in parts) as though the spirits of hostile native Americans lingered there waiting to ambush.

Dotting our route were numerous far flung antique shops housing other mystery's of the past. Which cast an eerie vibe as well.And as for the people and the culture, I could not help compare them to Oakie Oregonians. Faces covered in huge unkept beards speaking mumbled words.  

It was a very strange experience.  However, we were there for a purpose and that was to meet and adopt a 3 year old wrinkly faced Bull Mastiff name Rose. Rose is the most low key, non energetic dog I have ever met. All she wants to do is crawl into your lap and cuddle. She is extremely sweet despite her fierce bulldog mug.

Speaking of pets, I realized that I have not really posted much about Dabella (Willow's cat) Mostly that is because she is Willows cat and she has not bonded much with the rest of the household yet. She was feral and is extremely skittish. She only comes out late at night to prowl around. Slowly she is letting herself be seen more and we have introduced her and Rose. Eventually she will integrate more but it is going to take her time. That said.. the following little video (A compilation of kids, pets and laughter) has a clip of when Willow met Dabella so you can get a sense of this cautious creature.


Rose has also taken quite a shine to Greg. 

The only other major thing that happened this month is that we are now receiving our CSA (Consumer supported Agriculture) shares.

A big bag of veggies fresh from the farm. I am now learning things like how to use celery roots and  beets. Time to get cookin!