June 21, 2010

Introducing: New England Bloggers

The creative, talented Elizabeth over at Thoughts from an Evil Overlord already has a great thing going with her

through which not only have I met wonderful Elisabeth, but also my uber fun bloggy buddies Coffee Slut and Amy from the Handmade and Natural Life.
Are you ready to meet yet another delightful New England Blogger?

 GOOD because today I am participating in "Introducing New England Bloggers..." and I have the honor of telling you about

Hosted by Amanda who blogs out of Maine, this is a space where she writes about her life experiences and offers  tidbits and insights as she goes along.

She has a yummy recipe for pancakes and an intriguing post about a Maine soda company- Capt'n Eli.
Amanda recently bought a new home with her husband 
and just completed a week long study of photography and color- SO COOL! 

She's been blogging since 2009 and true to form, her posts have been sprinkled with wisdom, humor and the occasional delish recipe.   I am thrilled to have found her!

You know what I jived with the most though?

She is normal- just like all of us!  PHEW.  Her most recent post outlines the current craziness of her life, her unwelcomed attachment to her alarm clock and her desire to keep blogging through it all...

she even tosses in a hint of Rhubarb yumminess- can she be anymore awesome- I mean mentioning food even as she's having a rough day?!  Love it.

Go visit Amanda and give her some well deserved bloggy love.  Tell her New England Bloggers sent ya (secret password "TJ") and that should get you through the door. 

Wasn't that last post of mine a rip roarin' time?!  If you're still intrigued, go in to the comments.  There's some great feedback!  

June 17, 2010

Lady Cup

Be warned boys- this post is not intended for you (sorry)

lady cup

Lady Cup: second month in my possession,
this month I tried it from start to finish.

First day of my cycle; wore a white skirt (coincidence as it happened to be what was ironed), worked a full day at the bookstore.

Giddy at the results and...

White skirt's ready to be worn again!

Felt ridiculous actually ordering it-
now I’m pleased as punch that I did.

Intrigued yet?

June 14, 2010

This "Moose-t" certainly makes it better

I could make today another love letter to you, my readers.  

Your uplifting comments, supportive e-mails and warm vibes were such a pick me up.  They cleared my head and brought me smiles.  Kinda like in the way Champ expressed his support by placing a new pair of shoes in my lap yesterday after work.

I hate shoe shopping, but I do like shoes. 

Champ is extraordinary because not only does he realize shoe buying causes me stress, he recognized that in this particular week, the best way to sooth my soul was to simply surprise me with a pair of J-41 brown "hybrids".

I have been having internal struggles about all the LEATHER in the supportive shoes out there.  I feel a bit hypocritical and yet, no "animal friendly" shoe has been worthy enough to carry me through an entire work day. Champ found that J-41 at least have 100% recyclable packaging and outsoles made of recycled tires.  For now, that works for me.

I love Champ.  I love my new shoes.

Have I mentioned it's moose season here (at least the tail end of it)?  About 3 weeks ago, we spotted this cutie:

 I hadn't posted it at the time because it didn't make for great blog fodder.  I mean, a backside shot...

and then this?  But then just a few days ago, Champ, Bear and I came upon this guy:

He was rather TALL. And curious

 and the calmest, most laid back moose I've ever met.  He seemed to almost enjoy getting his picture taken.

Yeah, we were close.  These were all taken with just my little point and shoot so CLOSE is actually putting it lightly.  Go on and pet him, I know you want to.  It took every ounce of restraint I had to not run up and throw my arms around him in a hug and say "I'm glad you're here!".

Our week ended on a lovely note.  Champ's sister J and her family were here for a visit.  Among other things, we went for ice cream

and sang "happy birthday" to my adorably pregnant sister-in-law

Fun times with my nieces, cake, ice cream, a sweet visual reminder that I will have a new niece or nephew in July and a laid back Sunday spent working in the bookstore?

I'd say it was a fine weekend indeed.

June 11, 2010


It seems it is going to take me more than a week to figure out how to balance a new job, family, blogging and life.  Please forgive me as I struggle to work through this: I truly want to figure out how I can keep blogging in my life because it is such a fun time with all of you and a great writing outlet for me.

I can't even concentrate right now: Bear's learning to adjust to the new schedule and is struggling to sleep through the night AND no longer sleeps in on days when I actually am home.  No matter when I get up- he's up within minutes.  Seriously- I tried 5:30 Am this week and he STILL was up by 5:45!!!!!!  The boy usually sleeps in til' 9 so it somewhat has been cramping my blogging since my rule tends to be no post writing while he's awake.  There of course are other excuses, there always are, but I  won't go in to them here.  Instead let me tell you that:

1. I went with Danskos- thanks for all your suggestions!!!  My feet are sooo happy.

2. Company is due to arrive in a few hours for the weekend so I really should remind Bear to stop destroying helping to tidy the house or get out of my pjs at the very least.

3. I have turned off comments because I feel SOOOO guilty about not visiting your blogs and barely being able to comment these past few days.  Once I know I can reciprocate again I'll turn them back on.

4.  Here's the post I had created with Live Writer (finally!)...

Now that I am feeling a bit more back on track, am getting more comfortable in my new job and am a bit removed from the dog drama of the past few weeks, I wanted to tell you some tidbits.  Some bits and pieces that I’ve been pursuing to help begin to explain life to Bear.  

Or maybe I should say The circle of life, since that’s what we’ve truly been talking about.

Bear is barely 2.   I’m not about to tell him explicitly about murder and rape and unexpected demise, but then, what should I tell him?  I don’t want to hide death from him because our faith teaches that it’s a beautiful thing, yet for many (especially the young) it can be a scary thing, too.

As is my MO for any parenting question I have, I turned to Montessori.

Montessori suggests that grief and death are real and deep.  That it’s important to feel supported when you are going through a time like that and that it’s important TO SUPPORT others if they are experiencing grief in their lives.  Montessorians also believe that the circle of life is should be celebrated and recognized by all ages and that celebrations, rituals and activities can help with this.  

I liked reading that.  It was what I was feeling deep down, but I wasn’t fully ready to trust my instinct on it because the dog deaths were close to my heart.  I thought my feelings on the matter might be skewed… 

I somewhat had my answer.  I knew I could start the beginning stages of Bear’s understanding of life.  I recognized that for us, our Faith in God would play a large role with this.  My next hurdle was to figure out how to go about it?  My answer...


“Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant.  Do you know this book?  Oh it was perfect for what I needed (there’s a “Cat Heaven” too incase you’re interested.)  I had totally forgotten about this book until one day about 3 weeks ago God easily placed it in my hands because, you know, I work in a bookstore now!


It has simple text, gorgeous pictures and a delightful way of explaining how dogs live on after they have died and gone to Heaven.  

This book is not for someone who recently lost a loved one (they would most certainly bawl their eyes out- I would have), but it is perfect to use as a primer to begin explaining about God and Heaven and the circle of life.
We continue to read the book and talk about God’s love. 

I feel that the more we connect with it, the easier the transition will be the next time a loved one departs from Bear’s (and mine for that matter) life.

Miss you all and am really hoping to get this all figured out soon,

June 07, 2010

Tornado Sunday

You're never going to believe this...

Yesterday Champ, Bear and I headed off to church.  We had a cozy family breakfast at our favorite bagel place, did a little grocery shopping for our company this weekend (yay for nieces soon to be here!) and we even had a teeny bit of time to squeeze in shoe shopping for me.  I don't like shoe shopping very much (it's true.  Weird but true.), but it's important I find a good pair of shoes for work because a few hours of walking around the bookstore and my legs ACHE.  Any suggestions?

Anyway, the boys dropped me off at work, I got about 12 minutes into my shift and then this: 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the weather advisory has issued a tornado warning for Manchester and the surrounding areas.  You are safe.  Please proceed to the basement through the guidance of our staff."

Say What? 

I don't remember proper tornado procedure as part of my training.  CRAZY!  However, the well seasoned staff at Northshire pulled it of flawlessly and the crowd was calm and safe in the basement level shipping department and overstock of our store.  They actually seemed delighted that of all places to be stuck in a tornado, they lucked out with a bookstore basement full of magazines, toys and BOOKS.  45 minutes later we were all released to proceed about the day and hear the news that indeed, at least 1 tornado had touched down near town, but with barely any damage.

Work with me because the rest of this post can't even COMPETE with that news...

Today is our Girls On the Run pizza event.  This concludes my sophomore year coaching it along side my fabulous friend M...

 (M and I at the 5k event, scrambling to try and see all our girls)

It will be a great night and as I learned last year, I will be spending most of my time speaking around the lump in my throat and blinking away the tears in my eyes.

These girls make me so proud.  They are amazing.

If ever you are looking for a way to volunteer your time that involves running and girl power consider "Girls On the Run".

On the blogging front: 

- I followed some of your suggestions and tried out Windows Live Writer to create a post- sooo impressed with the ease of it.  I think I'm going to be writing all my posts that way because it saved me quite a hunk of time.

since you are all so smart and wise and have cute hairdos and perfect teeth, do you think you could help me out again? 

- My bloggy friend Kate at "On A Chicken Wing and a Prayer" recently e-mailed me to say that she is unable to post comments on my blog.  Any tips on how I can fix it?  I don't have moderation set up.

- I love my new job.  I love blogging.  I am working to find a balance of the two while still keeping my sanity on the home front.  Hang in there because I'll eventually figure it out!  I feel a sort of "blogger constitution" post coming on... 

June 04, 2010

How does your recycled garden grow?

My plan of attack for today, my day off, is:

1. Garden garden garden!
2. Get caught up with all my bloggy friends
3. Attend a community spaghetti supper

That's my plan and I'm sticking to it, but first, two things I've been dying to tell you about:

Go Green

My wonderful friend Erin over at "The Mother Load"is all about being "green" and I love her even more for that!  She encourages others to do the same and blog about their experiences. So without further ado...

As I was working in my gardens today, I made a few hothouses out of bottles that were left behind when the Memorial Day crowd headed home.

I feel like there is a storybook title hidden in here somewhere.  Something like "TJ's Enchanted Recycled Garden", but seriously- isn't this a cool idea?!  My Dad taught me how to do it when I was an up and coming gardener and it works like a charm.

Try it out: just gather up any 2 liter or water bottles from your recycling bin (old mason jars work well too) and cut off their bottoms or directly in half (depends on how high a hothouse you need.)  If you want to get Fancy save the bottle tops so that you can screw them on or off depending on the weather.

Since I live way up here in Vermont, I keep the hothouses on the plants pretty much 24/7 unless they begin to look dried out for some reason or if the weather really gets balmy.  If you have warmer climates (aka warmer ground) or lots of direct sun, you might only need to use your hothouses overnight.  It's like a botanical magic trick.

The other lovely gal I need to introduce you to is my cutie pie friend over at In A Yellow House.  She just reached her 200th post and I am already eager to lay my eyes on 201!

To top it off, she just started 

It runs weekly and comes with prizes- say wha?  Yeah, prizes!!!  This week's theme is "Red"and I'm going with this snapshot

Not so much because it is a killer capture, but because, well there's red in it AND because today was the first time I was able to snap a shot of one of our many hummingbirds without it looking like a blurry mess which is hard to do people when using a point and shoot and tiptoeing around on the deck.  Thanks In A Yellow House for the inspiration!

Ok, now I'm seriously signing off...

June 03, 2010

And a warm hello to you

So, what did I miss??!!!!

Hey all!  It's good to be back, although that little break was VERY refreshing.  I suggest all you bloggers out there follow suit from time to time- it's worth it!

Let me see if I can give you a quick run down of "TJ's life while away from the computer":

Trot came home from the vet and my parents stopped in for the weekend. It was good to have family by our side and Trot continues to, as I say, "limp down the road to recovery."

I began my new job.  What's that?  Oh yeah, my job started just as all this was going down.  Fun times. I love love love what I do though!  Remember a bit back when I said you'd hear more about the bookstore in town?  Well, that's because I now work there. 


                   (I know it was a bit of a surprise to me too, C)

My roles include "book seller" and "children's programmer" (think librarian, but in a bookstore) and I am happy to report that I am now using both my degrees of English AND Elemetary Education (listen to my parents clapping in the background)

Seriously, it is a perfect fit for me and the "dream job" I've been waiting for.  I still will be putting in a few hours here and there at the non profit I so adore, but besides that, I am no longer a jack of all trades and for scheduling and childcare purposes- THAT ROCKS!!!

We had some Memorial Day company...


  Just a few people *AHEM* and this picture pretty much explains what they did for me: I went from feeling like the before to feeling like the after all because I was surrounded by the love and laughter of friends.  

See how they helped me pull it together?

Oh wait, now one of the girls has wandered away and a new one has sat down.  Well anyway, hope you get my point (love to you all, by the way!).

Also?  Look who helped out in the kitchen

Seriously, our friends are the best.  Except that somehow, someone brought snacks.  Snacks that Bear does not normally know about, but OH he learned about those snacks this particular weekend...

You are so busted Bear.

That about covers it. So...
What have you been up to?
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