Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I have resolved to do NaBloPoMo again this year.
For those of you who don't know, that means every day for the month of November I'll be posting. It might not be much but it will be something.
Every single day.
Anticiptation abounds!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


In case you hadn't noticed, I was not around last week.
I have a good excuse. I became ill.
Monstrously ill.
Gravely ill.
At deaths' door ill.
Ok, maybe not quite that bad.
But I was really  sick.
Remember the dentist appointment?
The appointment went beautifully. 
I had four fillings and a scolding from Kevin the cute hygenist about my lack of flossing.
After the dentist it all went downhill.
I woke up Thursday night/early Friday morning with severe vertigo that seized hold and would not let go for days. 
I spent Friday and half of Saturday throwing up whenever I moved my head too much.
TV was out.
As was reading.
I was reduced to lying almost comatose on the couch in between bouts of nausea.
When I finally roused myself enough to go to the Dr, it turned out that I has some kind of inner ear inflammation.
He prescribed a weeks worth of prednisone.
My equilibirium was off.  I couldn't sit up straight.  I kept listing starboard.
I couldn't keep my balance if my life depended on it.
I was a mess.
I'm doing much better now.
Except for the fact that we had 4-6" of snow yesterday and as a result we've no power and an uprooted tree in the back yard.
Seriously...snow before Halloween?!?!?!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today is my second try at the dentist.  I've confirmed my appointment so I know it is the right time.
Wish me luck!
In other news, my sister read my blog for the first time and wants everyone to know that even though she can lift a 100lb baby calf she is a delicate, fragile flower.
She also thinks I'm weird for having a blog and putting out such personal information for all and sundry to read.
Truthfully, that hurt my feelings. 
I don't consider myself weird.
Different perhaps.
Eccentric maybe.
But definitely not weird.
But then it occurred to me that Jody is not into the internet and all its wonder and glory.
You see, she has a real, full life.
Let me itemize just a few of the things my sister can do/does:
1) She works part-time for an upholsterer
2) She knows how to re-cane a chair
3) She can deliver a baby cow
4) She keeps chickens
5) She raises sheep
6) She shears sheep
7) She spins the wool from her sheep
8) She dyes the wool from her sheep
9) She knits with the wool from her sheep
10) She raises pigs
11) She arranges for her pigs to be butchered
12) She rides her horse 
13) She has a loom on which she weaves beautiful things
14) She is building a rock garden with giant Vermont rocks
15) She works two days a week as a church secretary
16) She is raising 3 three kids, 3 kittens and a Corgi dog named Morgan
17) She does the chores at the barn
18) She is involved in community activities
19) She keeps a close eye on her aged in-laws
20) She keeps the books for a business that is very often in the red
21) She will rebuild her front porch next spring
22) She is helping her husband and her neighbor build a pole barn on her property
23) She grows beautiful vegetables and herbs in her garden
24) She dries the herbs and then makes catnip mice and sends them to my cats
25) She is teaching her children how to become responsible, independent, free-thinking people
Shall I go on?
With all these myriads of things that occupy her life,  it is no wonder she thinks that someone who sits in front of a computer talking/writing about her trivial life is weird.
But I would venture to say that she will keep coming back to read what nonsense her big sister is writing about today.
And I'm sure, if pressed, she will contribute some "Notes from the Northeast Kingdom" for your reading enjoyment this winter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I must share this with you and yes, I am well aware that it borders on the vulgar but nevertheless it must be told:


My husband told me about an NFL football player that couldn't play this past Sunday because of an undisclosed illness.


During a radio interview, Boomer Esiason divulged that the player had a staph infection that caused his manly bits to swell up to the "size of grapefruits" (that might be hyperbole on Tom's part)


I winced in sympathy.


But the mental image I have of a big, tough NFL player mincing along bow-legged will be with me for days.


Now you too can have this image in YOUR brain.


No need to thank me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pink Pearl

Ah, the pink pearl eraser.

Everyone, at some point in their school career has used a pink pearl eraser.

I must have used an entire eraser each year that I took algebra and trig and geometry in high school.

Over the weekend I started to watch “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and it reminded me of the list I found last month when Ginger was out visiting and we were going through my box of old high school memories.

Amiable Agate
Alluring Amber
Ardent Amethyst
Charming Coral
Daring Diamond
Enticing Emerald
Fickle Fluorite
Gracious Garnet
Joyful Jade
Lovely Lapis-Lazuli
Mysterious Moonstone
Obscure Obsidian
Ominous Onyx
Obstreperous Opal
Pink Pearl
Pernicious Peridot
Ravishing Ruby
Startling Sapphire
Sinful Sardonyx
Tempting Topaz
Zealous Zircon

This, my friends, was a brain storm I had in Algebra II.

I remember it distinctly.

I was staring at my pink pearl eraser and it suddenly occurred to me that Pink Pearl would be an excellent name for a madam.

She would work at "The Jewel Box" and the girls would have jewel names.

My friends all liked the idea and picked their monikers: Ginger was Ravishing Ruby, Sanna was Gracious Garnet , Jess was Ardent Amethyst and I, of course was Pink Pearl.

I barely passed Algebra II that year.

Who would you be?

Dentist Part Deux I screwed up my appointment time yesterday and had to reschedule for Thursday.  I'm still dreading it. But now I have time to catch up on flossing!!
I have a much better post in the works.  Come back a little later in the day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

the dentist

Lately, my enjoyment of all things sweet and delicious has diminished due to several cavities.
I have been ignoring them for some time, but when I can't even eat peanut M&M's without wincing it is time for a visit to the dentist. 
I have a dentist appointment scheduled for 5:30 today.
I am dreading this appointment.
Not because of anticipated pain, I had braces for 4 years and a little pain in the dentist chair is nothing compared to pain in the orthodontist chair!
I am dreading this visit because when my dentist asks me if I have been flossing regularly I'm going to squirm on the chair, evade the question and pretty much flat out lie to her. 
Truth be told - I DON'T floss regularly, witness the three root canals I've had in the past 5 years!
So if the dentist tells me I need to have yet another root canal I will have no one to blame but myself.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Notes from the Northeast Kingdom

1) The day after I arrived, my sister helped a cow deliver a calf.  I wished I could have been there to watch.  I'm really hoping she washed her hands after! One year when I was visiting, we had to go out into the pasture to look for a calf that had been born overnight.  After we found him, my sister hefted that 100+ lb baby calf over her shoulders and we walked triumphantly back to the barn.  I stepped in a cow pat on the way back.
2) There is a meat eating dinosaur even bigger than the T Rex.  Jason can pronounce all of the dinosaur names, so when I was reading him his library book about the dinosaurs I had to turn to him for the exact pronunciation.
3) If a cow is delivered of twins - a heifer and a bull - there is an 80% chance that the heifer will be sterile.
4) Verna, my littlest niece is fully potty-trained but refuses to use the big potty.  She uses a little training potty. Her mother informed her that if she is going to use the little potty then she needs to be responsible for emptying it.  Verna doesn't always remember......
5) Oftentimes, for dessert, my sister's family has bowls of maple syrup.  Just plain maple syrup.  It was the most amazing thing.  One minute there was noise and confusion and whining and then John (her husband) brought out the jug of maple syrup and poured bowls  for the three kids and himself.  Silence reigned as they all tucked in to their bowls and started slurping away, not unlike eating soup.  John and the girls like the light syrup while Jason prefers the darker syrup.  The light syrup is the grade A stuff.  John sugars the syrup himself every spring from the sugar bush that has been supplying sap for maple syrup since his great-grandfathers time. 
6) This is where Jody and her family live.  Craftsbury, VT  is in the Northeast Kingdom and is quiet and peaceful.  The sky seems so close when you are up on the mountain.  On Friday morning it was 45° and Jody had the wood stove going.  Her father-in-law says that he can remember a year where it snowed every month. 
7) Because it is a farm, there are always cats around. Jody brought three wee kittens down from the barn to be housecats.  Verna walks around with one little kitty draped over her arm, looking not unlike my grandmother carrying her great big black purse. Jason picks up a kitty by the scruff of the neck and lets it dangle there saying "This is how Daddy picks up the kitty". It makes both me and the kitty nervous as evidenced by the plaintive "Mew, mew" coming from the kitty.  Phoebe wants to show me how the all black kitty can do back flips.  If the kittens survive the man-handling by the kids they will be well equipped for life in the house although I'm sure they would prefer  life in the barn where the only requirements are to catch mice and drink warm milk straight from the cow.
8) Jody works two days a weeks at the United Church of Craftsbury  as the church secretary.  The church is a stones throw from the Craftsbury library.  The library is beautiful. There is a roofed porch with a windowed door that leads into an anteroom, where the library patrons are encouraged to take off their shoes before entering the library proper.  I'm sure this is greatly appreciated by the library staff, especially during mud season.
9) Bella is Jody's BIL's dog.  She is an English Mastiff.  She is large and kind and truthfully a little silly for such a big dog.  She sounds ferocious as she lets out a deep-throated "WOOF" when someone comes to the door.  For a big dog she is very light on her feet and does not jump up on visitors, which is good for me since I'm a little unsteady on my feet.  A week before I arrived, Bella was in heat and was unable to get any satisfaction from Jody's little Corgi dog named Morgan.  Morgan and Bella are chums and engage in regular evening wrestling matches.  When Morgan becomes overwrought with excitement, Bella calmly and gently engulfs his head with her mouth and Morgan becomes deathly still. He must feel as though the all lights have gone out!  Jody said that when Bella was in heat and not really interested in wrestling, Morgan was bewildered by the change in his playmate.  Bella has since come around and although she doesn't know it yet, is scheduled for a trip to the vet later this month to get spayed.
10) Jody allows her kids to have gum, even though Verna can't keep the gum in her mouth.  She is always playing with it and stretching it out.  When Mama, Phoebe and Verna were walking back from the barn, Verna's gum fell out of her mouth onto the dirt road.  She wept some bitter tears and told Mama that she couldn't chew it anymore because "there is road on my gum."  When she told me her sad story I was all set to give her another piece of gum but Mama said "No, it is time for bed".  Aunt Jen promised Verna and Phoebe that she would give them gum before she left for NJ the next morning.  Jason protested, "But I won't get any, I'll be in school".  I promised to put a piece in an envelope for him so he would have something to look forward to when he came home from school.
The next morning, when I came into the house, the very first thing Phoebe and Verna said to me was "Aunt Jen, can we have our gum now!?!"
11) As do so many Vermonters, Jody heats her house with a woodstove. John told me that he cuts wood for their house, his sister's house, his parents house and the sugar house.  It averages out to about 5 cords of wood per house.  He cuts and splits and stacks this wood all by himself.  Jody says he would almost rather work in the woods than do the dairy farming.   Either way, it all boils down to a lot of hard work!!
Thus concludes the notes from my visit north.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

in other news

Monday night I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the Monday Night Football game.

It was worth it to watch Reggie Bush run the ball for not one but TWO punt returns for touchdowns.

Tuesday I went to the eye doctor for a regular eye exam and dropped $600.00 on new glasses and contacts. I stayed up way past my bedtime playing a video game. I've been stuck at this one level for the last month and I FINALLY passed it. I was so tempted to wake up Tom so he could share in my jubilation, but common sense prevailed.

Tonight is laundry and the finale of Project Runway and then to bed by 11pm or my name ain't Jen!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

freckles and phoebe

When I was a little girl, I was all over freckles.

I was so freckly my mother wrote a story about my freckles aptly titled "Jenny's Freckles" and my Papa would tease me mercilessly that I was "rusting out". Over time the freckles on my face faded and I was left with just freckles on my arms and the story of "Jenny's Freckles".

Turns out my little niece Phoebe has freckles as well.

"Phoebe" I exclaimed in surprise and delight, "you have freckles on your nose".

"I know" she calmly responded, obviously used to people pointing out the obvious.

Monday, October 06, 2008

the weary traveller returns

I don't know if you noticed, but I was away last week.
I went up to Vermont to visit with my sister and her family.
I have stories to tell and bits of farm lore to share.
All of which will be forthcoming, but in the meantime anything new and exciting happen while I was gone?