August 30, 2011

Vermont strong

 T.J. the Vermonter here, safe and sound, but slack jawed at what has happened to my town and surrounding areas. 

Every east coast resident now has a Hurricane Irene story-here's an abbreviated version of mine:

Went to Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania this weekend for a number of reasons.  By Saturday afternoon, most of these reasons had been accomplished or cancelled.  Effects of the hurricane caused the usual power outages, flooding etc. in many of our friends and families homes, so we (mostly Champ, that winner of a guy!) pushed up our sleeves to help out. 

Safely chose to stay in town until Sunday morning.  Took back roads to get on highway.  Saw a full rainbow as we entered New Jersey and took it as a good luck omen.  We were wrong.  Entertained Bear with the numerous emergency trucks and equipment we passed.  Explained why water was gushing off the rocks on the side of the road as well as why we were not getting off at our usual exit by I787 and 87 "because there is a missing part of the road, honey".  Heard updated reports on the radio that all was not well in highway land, that towns in Vermont were being devastated and Champ's inservice was cancelled for the next day.  Headed BACK to Pennsylvania to weather the night.

Left Monday for Vermont.  Took new and creative routes to get home thus tacking on a FEW hours to our drive.  Found our home safe and sound with power and no flooding.  Said a large prayer of gratitude.  Heard Champ's school is closed until further notice, began to check on friends locally...

and this is where my story ends and begins.

I thought what we had seen over the weekend was destructive, but it did not prepare me for what I see has happened to Vermont.  My community consists mainly of Londonderry, Weston, Peru, Bondville and Jamaica.  Our surrounding areas are Manchester, Rutland and Brattleboro.  I hear Vermont has become famous with some of these names even on the national news, but seeing this first hand, I really wish they weren't in the limelight. 

I will stop here because the rest gets depressing and startling and there's really no need to emphasis that.  I see a lot of good here, a lot of people helping people and it reminds me that 

I am We are Vermont Strong.

 picture credit: paramount theater
VPR gallery of photos 
(since as much as I love to take pictures, I can't bring myself to take any right now for posting)

August 23, 2011

Tender at the Bone

Our visit to the beach wasn't just full of sand and seafood- there was time for some beach reading and I savored every page turn.

                                              Trot's literal nose in a book

My librarian had recommended "Tender at the Bone" by Ruth Reichl and since she has never steered me wrong before, I checked it out.

It's a slightly older book and nice and short.  The author uses it's pages to construct an autobiography that is hysterical and believable with an easy reading flow that had me flying through the pages.

The story centers around Ruth finding her foodie soul and so it appropriately begins with the author's childhood.  Here it traces all the events that led to her feeling the need to protect everyone else from her mother's cooking: the stories she tells- you can't make these things up!  Each chapter brings the reader closer and closer to understanding how her appreciation of all things food developed over time; honed with trips to France, dealing with her mother's bipolar disorder, commune living and teenage angst.  Seriously, a bright, funny read!

It reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver's  "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" in that recipes are woven throughout the text.  Like the "Artpark Brownies" that I just had to try making.

                                      oh yes, they were good

Next up is an intriguing fried chicken recipe.  Anyway, I really enjoyed this book and it lives on in my kitchen.  Even if you aren't into recipes, consider this read for the belly rattling laughter it provokes.

As for Kingsolver, I haven't forgotten her message in "Animal Vegetable, Miracle"...

We (that pretty much means Champ) spent Sunday afternoon processing 2 bushels of corn.  A few pints of hot dog relish, and some wax beans were put up too.  So now we have no fear- come winter, any threatening blizzard can dump down mounds of snow and we will still be found happily eating hotdogs with relish, corn and beans.  The quintessential January meal.  What?  You don't agree? 

August 18, 2011

Cape Cod

Oh Cape Cod how you continue to charm me.

Each time I cross your shores I'm enchanted by the salty winds, the calming pace, the laughing gulls and boy.

May I have been brined by your waters that I might carry you home on memories and cockle shells.

Memories.  Of ferry rides and loaded transport: a clamorous rally of motorcycles.

Martha's Vineyard- different than remembered, but curious nevertheless.

A father still teaching his 34 year old daughter; now educated about the lay of a dory motor.

A grandfather teaching his 3 year old grandson the first strokes- building blocks for navigating rip tides- independently, eventually...

Bear, does the sea thrill you as it does me?  Are you learning to embrace its every flow right down to its sandy soul?

The herring runs, a clanging buoy, the shovel hitting the pail.  Remember them all Bear

just as I can recall childhood clambakes, a Hyannis honeymoon, your first trip across the Bourne Bridge and now

our final portrait of 3.

Dear Cape, I carry these memories carefully, delicately home until we 4 return to you again.

Can you guess?  It was a wonderful vacation!  I am almost back to reality here in cozy Vermont and within a day or two I'll be back to phone calls, e-mails and blog hopping.  Lots of love!

August 12, 2011

How we prepare

We are about to leave on a short visit to Cape Cod and some of us are getting ready for beach life more uniquely than others...

Bear has been trying out his newest sports equipment love: goggles and a ridiculous wetsuit.  I, on the other hand, prepped for this vacation by finally finishing off a few last minute wardrobe needs for Bear.

The first being a huge, floppy hat to protect him from the sun's rays while still soaking in all it's welcomed warmth.  I found the free pattern here but tweaked it a little to meet my needs and fit Bear's super-sized head.  I cut out 4 (not 2) of the side pieces, but kept the crown the same.  I also added an additional strip of the lining print (dog paws) before sewing on the rim because the length was still a little short to me.  I also ironed on some interface to the brim and sides to give it a bit more body, but I actually don't think I'll do that the next time around.

Hmm, I guess I changed quite a few details, but it was a free pattern and I had a distinct vision (not that the hat actually turned out looking like what I had pictured, but whatever.  I like it.  Bear likes it.)

With the left over material I followed these easy instructions and made a pair of beach pants in no time flat.  I LOVED THIS PATTERN and will certainly be using it again- maybe next time with an actual T-shirt.  The only change I made was to add the border to the bottom of the pants at Bear's request.

And now, I declare we are ready to go to the beach.

August 09, 2011

Madelines and Mint

I really shouldn't be here today.  I have work this week, a house to clean up from boatloads of fabulous company and a beach trip to prepare for-  YAY!!   but here I am because I love you so.  Or because I'm procrastinating that cleaning part.  No.  Well, maybe.

This morning we said goodbye to A and her doll of a daughter, G.

The visit was too short, but we managed to pack it with lots of gossipy goodness and a quick trip to the ice cream stand.

As for the rest of this post, wish me luck.  I am all over the map this week and today feels more like a Saturday than a Tuesday work day.  Perhaps I should allow my post to reflect how I feel...

a while back, I snapped a shot of some cast iron pieces I had scoffed up at a yard sale (I'm a bit obsessed with cast iron- especially when it only costs a dollar or two)

my plan was to show how satisfying and easy it is to refinish a discarded, rusted piece of cast iron into a thing of beauty.  I kind of forgot that as I got into scrubbing away at it and before I knew it I had a gorgeous pan that makes scrumptious madelines, but no photo tutorial to go along with it.  Not even a picture of the dessert!  Sorry. Um, I'm pregnant?

Oh, and I did play around with my camera settings to take my initial photos of the process.  I learned about exposure.  So there's that.

And to top off this stimulating entry, I give you MINT.

Mint grows really well in my garden and I never know what to do with it all.  As I was picking some for my iced tea, I had a brainstorm Hey, wait a minute.  I could use this in my hair!

So I picked a handful to experiment with and made a tea just like my green tea.  It worked perfectly on my hair!  yay!  So for the time being, I have switched over to using mint tea as my hair rinse in the shower since it's a) free and b) wakes me up with it's intense, delicious scent.   

Aren't you glad you stuck around to read this entire post?  I'll leave now. Promise. 

August 05, 2011


No time to chat

when all these

adorable munchkins

are distracting me (wouldn't you be distracted by faces like those?!).

Have a great weekend everyone!

August 02, 2011

Devil's Bowl

Honestly, I'm not feeling the blogging today, or this week for that matter.  Things here are a little bit hectic, it's SUMMER and we currently have a wonderful houseful of family visiting.  Blogging doesn't make it anywhere near the top of the list.

So...  I leave you with a post intended mainly for the Grandparents- Bear's first trip to the racetrack!  

 Our Credit Union was offering free tickets to our local Speedway this past weekend and we totally scoffed up that deal! 

 Devil's Bowl Speedway is the only Nascar sanctioned race track in Vermont.  Not only was that news to me, but this was also the first race track I've ever been to with such a pastoral scene:

(tractors, hay bales.  Granted, the tractor was for grooming, but still...)

It was a gorgeous time to be there.  End of July with the sun setting just right.  My novice usage of my new DSLR camera did not do it justice, but believe me, it was stunning.  And Exhilarating!

 Oh and speaking of my camera, I even got to practice focusing.  See?  First I focused on the cars

and then on Bear

Oooh, such talent I have.  And the kid isn't yet sick of me torturing him with my constant camera clicking.  So I continue to practice, and practice and practice...

I'll be back in a few days.  Be good 'til then.

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