Friday, November 28, 2008

For Nic and Kristiina...

We missed you two yesterday! It felt odd not having you at our table... or having you, Kristiina, bustling about in the kitchen!

Here's a glimpse of our day.

Uncle John and Dad enjoying some shrimp and cheese/crackers out on the patio at Grandma's house before dinner.

After dinner... and Uncle John and Helena send their best wishes.

(Didn't get good shots of the pretty table, unfortunately...which is where my pics of grandma were. You'll see her below, though, in both videos.)

Heading to Gary and Diane's for dessert and coffee. The sky over the river was pretty.

A video:

Ah... here's everyone telling you how much we wish you were here!! Wish I had zoomed in a little more.

This was so cool! Loved seeing your precious faces. I think we all want to figure out how to Video Chat now, the way you're able to do with Dan.

And here's Dan now... teasing you with the sight of our yummy desserts!

Another video:

I'm videoing everyone enjoying video-chatting with you. Look at those happy faces!!
Check out the reaction to your hair, Nic... especially from your mother. So funny.

Diane and I exhibiting just how short we are. Their new sofa is more like a lounge chair for us! It's comfy, though!!

And it wouldn't be a proper evening at the DiOrio's if Uncle Mike weren't spoiling Sydney. How that little dog loves him!

Love you both so much! We're glad to hear you had a good day. The highlight for us was being able to see you online and send our cyber hugs and kisses. Soon we can do it in person... Christmas is less than a month away!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Rush

Well, here it is, 10 AM on Wednesday morning... "Thanksgiving Eve" and I'm just getting ready to go to the store for my holiday ingredients. Thankfully, I'm not responsible for the whole meal!

Nope... I'm doing the stuffing this year (though we don't stuff) and I'm going to make a pecan pie. Pecan pie is not my favorite; but it is my mom's favorite. ;-)

I was willing to tackle the turkey, but in speaking with my brother yesterday, we agreed he'd handle it. He had just watched an Alton Brown episode...thanksgiving-related, of course... and he told me all about it; even sent me links and a video clip of the segment. So, we've decided we want to give the brining-thing a try. We've never done that before, but John's game to give it whirl, and mom and I are game to let him go for it!

We're going to mom's house for the meal, and she'll take care of all the side dishes... the fancy trimmings! She's never been one to do the turkey or stuffing. Those were always dad's duties. Being our first Thanksgiving without dad, John and I are happy to fill those voids. They won't be dad's recipes, but maybe this year, that's good.

Whatever your plans are for this time of thanksgiving, whether you're hosting the event or visiting the home of another, I pray you're relishing the company of loved ones, and are filled with joy!

Stay safe and count your blessings!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

At the Beach

I went to Fort Myers Beach tonight with some of my favorite people.

Elaine, Ana, Julia and Olivia

Julia is Elaine's 1-year old daughter.

And Olivia is her 2 1/2-year old daughter. "Can I have a kiss?"

It was chilly, but the sunset was pretty.

Olivia had fun!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Random Thoughts

Why is it the thoughts that wrack your brain during the middle of the night bounce around in your head like a pinball in an arcade game?

This was me last night:

It's 2:00 am. I wake up roasting, so I peel off the blanket layer. Ah, that's better. Haven't noticed yet that I'm curled up in the fetal position because my bed is teaming with dogs. After a couple of minutes it gets a little too chilly. Put the blanket back on. Reach behind me to feel for Joe... there's a large, warm body - but he has a cold nose. Sit up (kinda; I'm still wedged in the fetal position - dogs all around me)... and look for Joe. I wonder what time it was when they pushed him out of the bed and relegated him to the spare room.

Flop back down and hope I warm back up fast. It's during this period of shivering that I realize my hips feel fused. Oh, I need to stretch my legs. Scoot... over... oh... okay... wait... ugh... move. Then, another "Ah." I'm lying straight - still wrapped tight as a mummy since the dogs are on top of my covers, but at least I'm outstretched. It feels good, although, I'm now laying in the bed diagonally and I don't have a pillow; there's a big, furry blond boy sleeping on it.

That's okay. I tell myself to go back to sleep.

Boy, am I thirsty! Shouldn't have had ham for dinner and taste-tested Ree's bacon-wrapped crackers in the same night. I'm gonna be swollen as a sea cow in the morning! I wonder if I can reach my glass of water. Ohhh... almost... don't spill it. Gulp, gulp. Much better. I'm so glad that was there!

Okay, go to sleep.

The bed starts shaking. Riley's feet and eyes are twitching a mile a minute. Then he starts his high pitched, "Woof, woof," while puffs of air escape his cheeks. It's always a higher pitch when he's "talking in his sleep." I sit up enough to reach him, "Hush, hush - it's okay buddy. Go to sleep, it's okay." I pet him until it stops.

Okay, go to sleep.

What's that sound? Listen carefully. It sounds like growling, but it's so low. Listen... Sounds like Dexter out in the other room. Listen... It is. He's growling. At what? Should I get up and investigate? Listen... It's so soft, though. A low, guttural growl. Give it a couple of seconds. If I get up now, it'll perk everyone's interest and chaos will ensue... I'll never get back to sleep... Hmmm, he's still at it. I think he's "sleep talking" too! What is this?! Finally, his dream switches scenes and he stops. (Dogs dream, right? They must.) Okay, go to sleep. Peek at the clock. Oh geez, it's 3:35!

Go to sleep!

Start planning my schedule for tomorrow so I can make sure the bacon wrapped crackers (taste-test proved positive!) are done in time for our finger-food party at bible study... that's so nice of them to plan a going-away party for me. I'm really going to miss them. I wonder if I'll meet people in NC that I'll feel as comfortable with and close to. It takes a long time to forge those kind of relationships... start feeling a little melancholy.

Oh, go to sleep!

Start wondering about the house in NC... there's going to be a lot to do to get settled up there. Now, I'm picturing the rooms and picking out paint colors... I'm arranging furniture... Move outdoors; I'm fencing the yard - building a chicken coop - planting a garden - taking a hike - camera in hand (pining for a camera upgrade) - exploring my new town...

Go. To. Sleep.

That reminds me; one of the first things I want to do is find a church. I hope it has a neat women's group. I really want to find a group to have bible study with... {sigh} It was so nice to receive that call from Elaine today. It'll be great to see Ana on Saturday, I miss her...

Go. To. Sleep.

I look at the clock, it's 4:19. Argh! Roll over, find my pillow and see if Blaze will share it with me. Assume the fetal position as I spoon him. Now I've disturbed Emma enough for her to realize she should get up and wedge her way between Blaze and me (she's the jealous type). "No-no, Emma. Go lay down. Okay. Good girl. No-no. Okay. Enough kisses. No, Em. Go lay down. Good girl." She plops down in a huff, curling up behind my knees.

We're back where we started at 2:00 am. I'm in the fetal position, dogs plastered against me. And finally I drift off to sleep...

No wonder I feel a little groggy today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Mysterious Brain

Had this emailed to me yesterday...

Try only takes 2 seconds. Unbelievable!

This will boggle your mind (and it made me giggle at myself), and you'll keep trying it over and over to see if you can outsmart your foot, but, you can't!

1. Without anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY......) and while sitting at your desk in front of your computer (okay, I guess you don't have to be at your computer, you can do this anywhere), lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

I told you so!!! And there's nothing you can do about it! I'll bet, before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so!

Thanks, Mom (and Kira!).


It was definintely cold enough last night for another fire. Joe even rearranged the furniture for more efficient canine snuggl-ability while maintaining the virtue of reading light, TV watching, and roaring fire enjoyment (he just switched the chair with the love seat). At one point, I was blanketed by four sleeping hounds, simultaneously! I think they love their humans as much as their humans love them.

And I love that Joe and I are on the same page when it comes to them. I would guess that not a lot of husbands would make sure his wife has ample reading light, while ensuring that the dogs have enough room to cuddle with her. I am blessed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our First Fire

We lit our first fire of the season in the fireplace last night. I know, I know, you're probably thinking it couldn't have possibly been that cold down here. Well, you're right. Our version of a cold front is what some of you call Indian Summer! (lows in mid-40s, highs barely over 70...)

It's just that we don't get to use the fireplace very often. So, we take full advantage of every opportunity. We'll light a fire before we go put on warmer clothes (Joe still had on his shorts, short-sleeved shirt, and was barefoot)!

So, there we were. Joe over on the couch watching TV with assorted dogs snuggling him (always 2 at a time and they seemed to take turns); me in the chair with my feet up on the hassock, Zeila at my side, Dexter at my feet, a good book in-hand. It was a perfectly cozy, relaxing evening. I hope it's "cold enough" to do it again tonight!

This wasn't last night... this was last January. I just thought it was ironic that it was these two again, Dexter and Zeila, cozying up to me. They make me happy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blaze Now, He's a Blog Star!

I said it was coming... Blaze's day to be the Blog Star. He's my roly-poly, sweet and snuggly, biggest-of-the-bunch, Blazer-Boy!

Journey with me down memory lane of the past 17 months:

This is my newborn Blaze. Literally just moments old.

Blazey, far left, about 30 minutes old. We're still waiting for Sara to arrive. See the mark on his forehead? It's how he got his name... unfortunately that started to disappear after only a few weeks.

I used to like to bounce him to sleep. They all loved this.

Roly-poly... his little pink nose is almost all black already! (Though, his eyes still haven't opened.)

My sleepy, full-bellied puppies! Not hard to pick out Blaze!

Why the long face?

Pampered Zeila having a special bonding moment with her boys. The girls are in the pen waiting their turn.

Dad with the sweet puppy, back when he was small enough to hold in your arms.

With his brother and sisters... how they wished they could have climbed out of that pen! Now Blaze (actually, all of them) can leap the sofa in a single bound!

Oh my! Look at that adorable, wrinkly forehead!

Back when he used to fit under the furniture. And the blaze on his forehead is barely a pinstripe now.

This is his baby walrus phase. He had so much loose skin and rolls. He'd lay down on his side and the skin would just puddle around him. We knew he was going to be big (had to be to fill all that out!).

Alert and playful!

Holy moly. They were weaned and fully on puppy food by this time, but between 8 and 10 weeks, they still managed to rope Mama in to this at least once a day. It was like trying to get a baby to give up a bottle! There was too much comfort in it for them to give it up without a fight.

Just enjoying a little fresh air... 10 weeks old and still saggy-baggy.

Picking him up was starting to get a little challenging at this point. We knew by now he'd be our biggest!

Rough-housing with his little sister, Sara.

Curious puppy, exploring outdoors. I love the way his ears fell forward.

Oh boy! He was the one that Mama always seemed to choose to play with... as if he was the one she needed to teach how things are done. Looks like she taught him well... he's using her own moves on her!

"Yup, Mama... I'll climb on your back and take you down, just like you showed me!" So far, he's still a compatible size for her.

"Sara, we're over here... come play."

His face is so expressive! He still has those forehead wrinkles and emotion-filled eyebrows, and they still melt me.

Oh! Just 6 months old. He's starting to look like a dog rather than a puppy.

And Mama Zeila is after him again. "Come here, Son, do you remember what I taught you?"

"Where is it? I know I stashed it in here..."

"Ah, found it."

"Now, what can I find over here..." (this was -ahem- before the "procedure")

Uh... Zeila, you're lucky your boy is gentle with you...since he's now triple your size!

My Blazer-Boy...

He's so handsome. I'm smitten with this one! (okay, okay, you're right. not just this one.)

You've got to go here to see more pics of the puppies birth through 1st year. So cute!

Friday, November 14, 2008

27 Years Ago Today

... the kids in that photograph got married.

And that's a photo from the Silver Anniversary celebration, 2 years ago... many thanks to Nic and Kristiina (XOXO)!

They surprised us with a party at their house; a slew of our friends and family in attendance! It was great; we were speechless!

The morning after the party, we boarded a plane and flew to Barbados where we spent a glorious 8 days... it was like a second honeymoon.

As we were approaching what would be "our street" for the ensuing week, this is the scenery that greeted us. This area is known as the Soup Bowl and is a famous surfing destination.

Having arrived at our street, this is the view from the corner looking back in the direction we came. We stayed on the quieter, east side of Barbados in Bathsheba.

Our peaceful, secluded little cottage.

And our balcony out back. No windows... just wood shutters. We slept under a bug net (and we were suprisingly comfortable)!

The view of the Atlantic Ocean from our balcony.

While enjoying the view out there one morning, I noticed this guy climbing the palm tree to harvest coconuts! No ropes, no safety nets... but up, up, up he went!
I don't particularly care for coconut... unless it's fresh. And when it's this fresh, it's delicious!

Our neighborhood grocer. Some of the locals were hanging out drinking their locally brewed Banks Beer. A common sight.

Exploring the island, here is a view from the Fishpot Restaurant where we had lunch one day.

An alley cafe in Speightstown.

A typical Bajan neighborhood.

We spent the day at this beach. I took lots of pictures while Joe snorkeled.

While we were there, we met Pablo. He weaved an angel fish for me from palm fronds.

Heading back to the cottage as the sun sets, and in time to join new friends for dinner at the Sea-U Guest House where we stayed and where dinner is served family-style. They have a main guest house with a number of cottages scattered on the property. We enjoyed it very much.

This year is going to be a tad quieter... as matter of fact, we may not even go out to eat but just spend a quiet evening at home. Turns out that anniversaries that aren't a multiple of 5 or 10 don't get a lot of hoopla!

Fine with me. Quiet is good, too... besides, I'm still enjoying the memories of the Silver Anniversary party and vacation.

Check out this site for lots more Barbados photos... it was an incredible experience!

About Me

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I'm a wife, mom, and grandma living in rural Vermont. I spend 40 hours of my week working outside my home and away from my garden, but am nevertheless passionate about healthy eating and sustainable living. By sourcing nutrient-dense food from local farms and avoiding processed foods, we are realizing how our over health is being impacted for the better. I’m excited to have you join me as I share what we’re learning and invite you to offer your insights in the comments. “…giving thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thess 5:16-18