Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Howl-o-ween!

There isn't much going on here in Britknitterville today, so we went down to Fortescue to take a walk on the beach. I love to look for sea glass, and there was a bunch to be found today. Lots of green, too, which is rare, and even one piece of white glass! Take a look at this Halloween haul!

It might not look like much, but when you compare it to what's in this bowl which holds three summers worth of sea glass hunting, it's like I found a treasure trove of sea glass today!
Here they are together, looking like a very crunchy, very painful appetizer of chips & dip. Yum...
And, because no blog post is complete without at least some mention of the babes, I have to show how helpful they were with the photos today.

First Cooper helped while I was taking pictures of the sock I was supposed to finish by today for the Socks from the Toe Up Knit-a-long on Ravlery. Yeah, it's not "finished" so much as "barely started", but Coopie McLoopy wanted to lend a hand...

Next, Emma and Tara wanted to check out the sea glass. Such helpers.
Here is a good shot of Emma and all of the blonde that is coming out on her face. It's not white. Nope. She is NOT getting a white muzzle.
She is only 8 years old, so it's blonde. Blonde, blonde, blonde. I refuse to even consider the fact that it might anything other than blonde highlights.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

This morning as I was getting the dogs' breakfast ready, they just looked so cute, I had to grab my camera and get a picture for this week's Dogs on Thursday. They were adorable, really and truly, but Emma and Tara decided they didn't want to be on the blog this week and exited the kitchen as soon as I got my camera out. :sigh:

Cooper, though, decided to cooperate. Either that or he just didn't want to leave the area where his breakfast was being prepared.
I told him that since it was Dogs on Thursday today, be had to do something cute to earn his breakfast. (I'm mean, I know.) This was all he could come up with on an empty stomach.

It's his impersonation of a poor-despondent-starving-dog-who-has-not-had-any-food-since-dinner-the-night-before-and-his-mommy-is-making-him-pose-for-pictures-before-she-will-give-him-anything-to-help-him-make-it-through-the-day-today-until-dinnertime.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Every Girl Needs...

... is a tractor! We've had this Ford 8N for a couple of years now, and it is so much fun!
Perfect for those little jobs around the yard...

...and even some not-so-little jobs!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs on Thursday, the residents of Britknitterville wanted to celebrate the fact that October is National Pizza Month. They found out about it on Chan's blog. I have got to limit their computer time...

First, we need some pizza.
That piece looks like it has been "nibbled" already. Who could have done that? Take a closer look at that photo and you will see this bad boy...
Yes, Mr. Coopie McCooper wanted to get the ball rolling and decided to help himself. Next I cut it into pieces. Notice the number of pieces. I'm not sure how many there are, but I can tell you it is a multiple of three.
Next is eenie-meenie-minie-moe so everyone gets the same number of pieces. They can count. Trust me...they can count.
Next a "before" shot. I call this: "Put the pizza on the floor or I swear to Dog I will eat you in your sleep tonight."

And we're off!
Emma naturally finishes first, then promptly checks everyone else's bowl.

Emma says: "Hey, mom...they got more than me!"
No they didn't Emma. Everyone got the same number. I told you they can count.
Tara takes pride in being the clean-up girl. She will lick and lick and lick everyone's bowls until they are so clean you don't even have to put them in the dishwasher...but I do, anyway.
Emma checks the countertop to see of there are any crumbs. There aren't.
Tara continues her thorough clean-up.
When things are clean enough to meet her high standards, Tara says:
"My work here is done."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Count your Blessings, Name them One by One...

The title of this post is taken from a song we used to sing in Sunday School, but for the life of me that's the only line I remember.

Anywhooo, my friend Chan is having a "Big Blessed Bash Contest" and this gives me a perfect opportunity to focus on the good instead of the bad, or the non-existent as the case may be. For many years I made myself miserable because I wasn't content with what I had. I wanted more. More, more, more. That's not to say I wouldn't be roll out the red carpet if more came along, even just a little more, but I have become pretty good at accepting "what is" and not always wanting more, more, more. Truer words have never been spoken (or written) than this line from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

"...where other powers
of entertainment are wanting,
the true philosopher will derive benefit
from such as are given."

Thank you, Miss Austen. I couldn't have said it better myself.

So, on to my blessings. There are so many, where do I start? I have an "embarrassment of riches" in my life. Not literal riches, (although money and jewels would be nice) but the kind of riches that truly count.

  • Mom & Dad: I have wonderful parents who are in good health, they love me, and they love their grand dogs. Well, maybe "love" is too strong a word. Like? Nope. Tolerate? Just barely. Other than the one flaw of them not being head-over-heals in love with my poorly-behaved-wild-child dogs, they're the best parents ever.
  • Family & Friends: I live with the best sister ever who loves the dogs (almost) as much as I do. She tolerates my wacko sense of humor, and calms me when I go off the deep end. I also have wonderful friends, bloggy and non-bloggy, to share the ups and downs with, and lend a helping hand when needed.
  • A Job: With the economy still in the toilet, I am blessed to have a job, especially since I work at a non-profit arts organization. Not only am I lucky to be still working, but I so very grateful that the people here really "get it" that the dogs are my children, and there are times when I need to take off early or come in late, and that's OK, even though they are "just dogs".
What does each of the above have in common?
  • My Dogs: My happy, healthy, funny, wonderful, quirky, exasperating, destructive, disobedient, never-sleep-through-the-night dogs. I love my four-legged children more than any mother could love any two-legged child. OK, maybe "as much as", but that's as far as I'll go. I am so very blessed to have three dogs, all in very good health. I know this cannot last, as Cooper is now 10 1/2 years old, but I am thankful for every day I have with each of the dogs.
OK, now I'm crying, so I'm going to stop for now and go give hugs and belly rubs to the best dogs in the world.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

OK, Emma, Tara and Cooper. One week ago today mommy was in Vermont. Did you miss her?
Tara says: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Cooper says: You were gone?

Emma says: You wake me up again to take a picture and I'll take that camera and bury it in the backyard. Now go get me a cookie and then leave me alone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vermont, Part 4, in which two ships pass in the night

Last time we left off, I was in Hastings Store, thoroughly embarrassed and thanking my lucky stars that the only people in the store at the time were the store-guy, the postmistress, and me, turning beet red from my head to my toes. The store-guy was saying something about Marcelle's family owning a "nice piece of land with cottages for rent" while I made a hasty retreat back to my parents waiting in the car.

After a full day of sightseeing and shopping, we decide to head home the next morning. We packed up the car, cleaned up the cabin, and headed off to Hastings Store to drop off the trash and let the store-guy know we were leaving. Apparently in addition to storekeeping and matchmaking, he watches over properties & gets boats out of the water and such.

Anyway, mom and I were waiting in the car while dad went into the store, and he was in there for a looooong time. We couldn't imagine what was taking him so long since he was in such a hurry to get on the road. Turns out, the store-guy and postmistress were talking to dad about staying through the weekend. Guess who happened to stop in the store the night before? The famous Marcelle! Yes, indeed. Apparently there was some discussion, and Marcelle offered to take me out and show me the scenery. Yeah, right. Mr. Storekeeper and Ms. Postmistress probably badgered the poor guy and wouldn't let him out of the store until he agreed to show me some leaves.

Needless to say, we headed home that morning, and Marcelle was off the hook. While our two ships passed in the night, or more literally our two cars passed on Interstate 91 in Northern Vermont, mom was mumbling about what might have been with Marcelle, missed opportunities, maybe another time, blah, blah, blah.

Me, I'm just happy to be back home. Just look at this sweet face!
The End!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vermont, Part 3, in which I receive an offer of marriage...of sorts...

After spending all day Wednesday on a train, I was anxious to see some of the lovely Vermont countryside. Joe's Pond is in the region known as Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

What's that you say? Who cares about want to hear about the marriage proposal? Patience, patience. All in good time.

Back to the scenery - the leaves were at their peak, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was cloudy and rainy, and if the sun was out the mountains would have looked like they were on fire with the reds and golds and oranges, but even the muted colors were breathtaking.

Mom and dad had a visit to Gardener's Supply and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company planned for Thursday, so off we went to shop and explore. You can't start off with an empty stomach, though, so we went to a local breakfast place that specialized in pancakes. Big pancakes. Really, really big pancakes. It's hard to tell from this picture, but this pancake is served on a platter, and it is so big that it overflows the platter onto the table.
You can tell from the presence of bacon that it's not my breakfast! Dad managed to eat the whole thing. Mom also ordered a pancake, but only ate about half of it, and played with the rest of it, carving out a piece of pancake in the shape of New Jersey. (Doesn't that count as playing with your food? We used to get yelled at for playing with our food. I'm just sayin'....) I had the french toast, and didn't come close to finishing it. Vermonters must eat a hearty breakfast!

Enough about the food? You want to hear about the marriage proposal? Ok, ok...

Mom had some cards to mail, so we stopped at Hastings Store - the local general store/post office/deli all rolled into one.

I offered to run in and drop off the mail since I wanted to pick up some souvenirs for my coworkers. As I took my purchases to the counter, the conversation went something like this:

Store-guy: Souvenirs? You picked a lovely time of year to visit.

Me: Yes, my parents are staying at _______ on Joe's Pond this week, and I came up on the train last night.

Store-guy: Your folks have been in here and said you were coming.

Me: They said you can get just about anything in this store, and they were right. I'll bet if I needed a tooth pulled you could take care of that, too.

Store-guy: I wouldn't do it myself, but I know of a few dentists in the area... I'd be happy to marry you though. I'm a Justice of the Peace and have married a few couples right here at the counter.

Me: Really?

Store-guy: Yep. One time I married a couple and nine months later they had a set of twins!

Me: Thanks anyway, but that would be a deal-breaker. Besides, you would have to supply the groom, too. Do you have a list of grooms to choose from?

Store-guy to the Postmistress: Hey, D, do you know of any grooms in the area for this girl?

Me: (turning 50 shades of red) No, no, no, I was just kidding!

Postmistress: How about Marcelle?

Store-guy: Yes! Marcelle!

Me: Hahaha, I'm too old for this stuff, but thanks anyway.

Store-guy: Nonsense - how old are you?

Me: 47, and besides, I'm a package deal. I come with three dogs.

Store-guy: Not a problem, I'm sure.

Store-guy to Postmistress: How old is Marcelle?

Postmistress: I'm not sure. I was kind of saving him in case something happens to my husband, but this could work out!

To be continued...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vermont, Part 2

When we left off on the Whirlwind Trip to Vermont, I had just gotten onto the train. I'm not sure what I expected train travel to be like, but I was pleasantly surprised. After the initial panic when the train started moving and I realized there were no seat belts, I soon realized that there is no need for seat belts. That is, as long as the train car doesn't jump the tracks and go hurtling into a canyon, but we won't go there. In true tourist fashion, I snapped lots of pics from the train, but they fall into two categories, cities and countryside, and the pictures in each category all look alike, so I will only bore you with one of each.

City: I think this is New York City. Yes, I'm pretty sure it's NYC. Either that, or Newark, NJ.

Countryside: This is somewhere in Connecticut. Or Massachusetts. Could it be Vermont? Who knows, but it's pretty.

After too many hours on the train in which I got too little knitting done because I was constantly gawking out the window and taking pictures, I arrived in Montpelier, Vermont. It was dark, raining, and the train station was little more than a cattle shed, but that all added to the charm. Of course, it was great to see mom and dad there waiting for me, and we all piled into the car for the long drive to the lake.

I insist on calling it a lake, even though it's really called "Joe's Pond", but if that is a pond, than Mt. Everest is just a hill. It's a lovely spot, and would be absolutely perfect if it didn't get tons of snow in the winter. Oh, and cell phone service and wifi would be nice. Not absolutely necessary, but nice. I took along my laptop and cell phone, so I had what amounted to be a big paperweight (laptop) and a small paperweight (cell phone).
Here is where mom and dad were for the week.

View of the house from the "road" (and I use that term loosely).

View of the house from one of the docks:View of the lake from the porch:
View of the best parents in the world:
Stay tuned for more Vermont fun, including a marriage proposal...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whirlwind Trip to Vermont, Part 1

The trip to Vermont was indeed a whirlwind! Where am I? Is it over? I'm not sure. The trip started ear;y Wednesday morning when I left my sweet babes (there may or may not have been copious amounts of crying, but I'll never tell) and caught a ride with my sister to the school where she works, and was picked up there by my little niece Lexi and her mommy Kris. Remember them from this post? This is what little Lexi looks like now.

Forgive her messy face, but she just loves Fudge Stripe cookies, and most of the chocolate ended up on her face! No, mommy Kris doesn't usually allow her kids to eat chocolate for breakfast (even though chocolate is the Breakfast of Champions, as everyone knows), but she made an exception. Come to think of it, Kris really didn't have a choice as I just gave the cookies to Lexi without asking. My bad! Thanks a bunch to Lexi and mommy Kris for taking me to the train station. Kris has a lot on her plate with three kids and another due in December, but insisted on taking me to the train station. I couldn't have had a better ride to Philadelphia!

Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is just like it is in the movies. Think "Witness". I had only been there once before and that was when I was a little kid and we all took my father’s mother to the train station for her to go somewhere. I don’t remember much about it, except for the big, high ceilings and church pew benches. The ceilings are just as high as I remember, and the church pew benches are still there.I absolutely love the train arrival/departure board. You would think it would be a new electronic board or LED or something snazzy like that, but nope. It’s the old fashioned one that has a board full of individual letters that rotate and go tick-tick-tick-tick-tick when the board changes to update for boarding or departing trains. It sounds so old-fashioned --- just like it should in this beautiful old building.

A nice surprise at the train station was the dogs! Two yellow labs and one German Shepherd. They were there supposedly to sniff for drugs or bombs or stuff, but you and I know they are really there just to keep the security guards company and to calm down any nervous-nelly passengers like myself that are already missing their dogs so much it’s like a big lump inside my chest and I start to tear up every time I think about them. I keep telling myself - two days…two days…they will be fine for two days. Especially with my sister and my niece and the Nanny all taking such good care of them. The question is, will I be OK without the dogs? Yes…I can do this. I am strong.

Pretty soon it came time for all passengers on “The Vermonter” (that’s the name of my train) to board, so we all lined up like good little sheep and went down into the bowels of the train station, which is just as spooky as it sounds. Very, very creepy.

I’m glad the train came rumbling into the station shortly after, and I found my way to the business class car. Wow, is it nice! Big comfy leather (ugh!!!) seats, lots of room, and it’s set up that there are two seats on one side of the train and one seat on the other, so I chose a seat on the one-seat side so I have the best of both worlds - a window and an aisle. Who could ask for more, especially on the looooooong ride to Montpelier, Vermont. I have a couple of knitting projects to choose from, a recent issue of Spin Off magazine, a bottle of water, and some granola bars and trail mix, so I’m all set.
All I need is my iPod with the audio book that I loaded onto it, but I couldn’t find it last night. I think I might have packed it with the stuff I gave mom and dad to take with them so I wouldn’t have so much to carry on the train. Brilliant, eh?

To be continued...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'd Rather Be...

...Kayaking! But I'm not. I'm working today. Yes, it's Sunday, and I have worked the past 6 days in a row, and will be working the next two days, but at least I have a job, right? I keep telling myself that. Then, on Wednesday morning, I get on a train and head north to Vermont. I've never been on a train, other than the Hi-Speed Line into Philadelphia, so this should be exciting. At least the first hour should be exciting, anyway. It's an 11 hour trip, but I'm packing plenty of knitting, and I loaded an audio book into my iPod, so it's all good.

Before I head out to work, I'll leave you with some pictures of a recent day on the lake at Parvin State Park.

OK, now I'd ready to go out and face the day!