Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Sparkling Daughters

Turbo Tech!

I spent most of yesterday playing with my computer, but......I actually downloaded music to my MP3 player, a smoking hot playlist of current songs ( and I got the just released remix of "Pocketfull of Sunshine", it's mixed with Sweet Escape and it is AWESOME!), updated features on my computer, cleaned out things we never use, used the flashdrive to dump out photos and free up space, and set up everyone's new email. In addition now that there is road runner, Miranda is able to use some of her technology that didn't work on dial up. She is also on tech overload. However, to make sure she is not a computer slug, for every min you are online, you owe me a min of reading. Works like a charm and she is reading!

I can't believe how fast everything moves on my computer now. I have turbo baby! Turbo car ( I really am going to get a speeding ticket one of these days), turbo online. For a multi tasking mom like me with limited time, I appreciate the speed. Zoom Zoom!

Dog Days of Summer

Need I say more?

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Not Gonna Take It

So Brian and I had decided in the Spring that we're not going to take it anymore. We are referring to the price of gas/oil and that fact that it has driven all other prices up. We decided to make changes to keep money in our pocket and not feel the pinch of what's going on.
Some of my summer has been consumed by being a better, smarter consumer. To date we have: put our biomass furnace on layaway ( Total is 4K with taxes, we used the stimulus money and some savings and have about 1K to pay off before October), the pellets will likely cost us 1K this year, Oil would be triple that, so the savings is HUGE, this furnace will pay for itself in just 2 heating seasons. Not to mention we are being kinder to the earth. We changes out communication suppliers. Our phone used to run us 50.00/month, 10 for dial up and 60 for Direct TV. 120.00 total. For a dollar less, I switched to all the best from Time Warner, I got: digital cable, digital phone ( one flat fee, I can call anywhere, nor charges), adn road runner. I significantly upgraded our technology and in the long run wil save a few bucks. Finally, I reshopped our home owners insurance and will save us 300 dollars this year.

It seems like good savings, but we will probally just break even, but that was the plan. It took up a bunch of time, but has saved us some cash and improved out technology. If the government isn't really going to do much to make things easier for people, we took matters into our own hands.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


We have updated pretty much all of our technology at home. It's almost overwhelming to make all the necessary changes. Spent the morning typing to update my email address to all. Took my two hours. We purchased the "All the Best" from Time warner and updated to digital cable, Road Runner, digital phone, and we even purchased a new phone to handle all of this. Loving the speed! If you don't hear from me for a while, it's just that I am trying to get everything settled and set up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cooperstown Beverage Trail

Who knew? Cooperstown has a beverage trail, and I was on it! As anyone that knows me knows I love, love, LOVE Cooperstown. Old homes, country living at it's finest, cute shops, that lovely lake and history, and I will even forgive them for the whole baseball thing. Anyways, my dad had knee replecement surgery. I took him last week for the preop. and yesterday for the surgery. Well, what's a girl to do in Cooperstown with 5 hours on her hands? Head to Fly Creek for Apple Wine. While there, I sampled their new Apple Cherry Wine, and brought that home as well. Both are chilling in my 29 bottle wine chiller. They look so happy here.
So about the beverage trail. They gave me this magazine and it was all about the trail, from Bear Pond Wineries, to the Cider mill, to Ommegang and Cooperstown Brewery. I got a stamp at the cider mill and if I visit the others will get a free glass. Silly good fun, but now I want to visit. Bear Pond has cranberry wine, and I do love my cranberry wine! Had another NY Wineries cranberry with Thanksgiving last year, it was delightfully perfect with the turkey. Crisp, sweet, and lovely. Brian and I are now motivated to finish the trail I began yesterday. Good to know we still have goals!
My dad's birthday is today, and they will turn off the pain block and send him to therapy. It won't be such a good day, but I told him a year from today on his birthday, his knee will be working and pain free, for the first time in 20 years. Here's to that, Dad. You deserve it. He will get sprung from Bassett on Saturday, Hall of Fame Saturday. That should be fun. May need to stop for more wine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Books, History, and POPT, Again

Books, well, I have just finished my two, I was reading them concurrently, and would read them based on my moods, but " A Girl of the Limberlost" won. What a great book. I will put this on my daughter's reading lists. The main character is everything I want my girls to be. She is hard working, honest as the day is long, and resilient. I have always said my girls don't need to be straight A students, but honest and hard working will get them anywhere they dream to go, and Elnora, from this book proves my theory. A good read, very good.

The Prision Diaries and Letters of Chester Gillett, not so much. I started to read out of curiousity, as I tend to gravitate towards regional authors of late. He seems to have been writing this for an audience. It seems "staged " to me, like he was writing hoping for an appeal and when the appeal came, they would present this diary as evidence that he was a well educated, compassionate, caring person, to shed doubt for the jury. He had to be writing with this intent. Oddly he never mentions Grace, but once just in passing reference. He hardly mentions his circumstance, but to refer it to his troubles. After I read this, I now feel that the diary was superficial, and that he never for a second believed he would be put to death. He thought there would be an appeal and he would be free. He seems arrogant. ( Another motive for the diary, he would hope to sell it for profit). I also now know he killed her. He made her travel seperatley from him as they headed to the "North Woods", they boarded the trains at different times and did not sit together. He registered them as assumed names into the various hotels ( what would real names have mattered? Who in Utica knew them, or Big Moose?) they stayed at and ran out on their bills. He had planned ahead by telling his family he was just heading north for some R and R. He had some things sent on to Old Forge. Never mentioned Grace or the fact that they would travel together. ( The entire time she was preggers, he cavorted with other girls without real cares). He rents them a boat and loads his suitcase into it, tennis racquett, and all his belongs for a lesiurly paddle in the Big Moose. Who takes all their stuff? Grace didn't.
The only thing I wonder, is what the hell was he telling her? How did he justify they travel seperate ( they didn't even sit together, which was premediated, so people wouldn't be able to testify that they saw them together). How did he justify the vacation, or the fact that he loaded his stiff into the Adirondack Canoe for a paddle? And why was she so guillable, so smitten with him she would believe his crap? They went to Utica first, the theory being he was looking for a boarding house for unwed mothers and she would stay there, have the baby and give it up, but if that were the case, why the seperate travelling arrangements? Nothing illegal there? I think that is just what he told her, knowing the entire time he had a plan. I would like to now read the letters she sent him. He sent her a few, but she sent him many. I am just curious what she believed what was the intention of their trip north? Romantic getaway?

In other news, I met up with my friend Karen, and he fater in law grew up in our house. I invited them over to see our projects, and it was cool having him here telling us what has changed, or how things were. He grew up here, we are the 4th owners since 1850, his parents were the second, so this house was pretty "original" when they lived here. I have them looking for old photos of the house, old black and whites. We would like to have some to display them. Funny, where I have my antique was stand, he said his mom did. Where I have the dining room buffet, he said his mom did. My wash basin and picture, he said his mom had one just the same! Mission accomplished! When I decorate, I try to take history into account, and although I want some modern things, I like to showcase the history of my house!

Finally, breaking news last night. Kids are fat. That was actually the story. Brian and I were laughing, because I have been saying this for a couple years. Working in school, I see 600 plus kids in my building. You wouldn't believe the overweight to healthy ratio. The norm is chubby. And somehow, the chubby girls still have self esteem to wear tank tops, low rise, short shorts, etc......( these are teens). They are addicted to technology instead of running around outside, they eat crap, drink sugar filled energy drinks ( Every AM at school, walk down the hall and see the kids drinking this crap for breakfast, or eating chips and soda for breakfast), and most probally don't sit down for dinner. Oneida Co. came into our school and did an survey, anonymous, on various helath and safety issues, less than 20% ( I think it was 16%) sit down and eat with their families.

Hope money wasn't spent on this new study that says kids are overweight.POTO again. Walk the halls of any school. It breaks my heart to see kids in what should be their health prime overweight. They will struggle their entire lives with health and weight.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chef Boy is She Cute!

Ava is Miranda's chef hat from girl scout camp. Had to share the cuteness that is Ava.

Island Girl

While I am showing off our projects, here is a view of the island Brian customized ( it was just base cabinets, the ones we got for the kitchen.). He wrapped it in beadboard wainscoating to match tne cabinets, added legs he made out of stair banisters, and we sanded down the butcher block we removed from the gutted out kitchen, and voila! I love it.

More Country Living

I worship "Country Living" magazine. You can take the girl out of the country, you can't take the country out of the girl. If you have glanced at this magazine, then you know my style. Not "country cute" like my friend Amy says ( Fake country,tacky country), but antiques, and a style that suits my 1854 village farm house. So, when the neighbors gave us their old playhouse, I couldn't just plop it in the yead, I had to make it match it's surroundings and to look, well, perfect. So I spent a week working on it, but here it is, before and after. ( Well, my before shot has 1 coat of blue paint on it, it was grey with green trim to match my neighbors house).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Again, POTO People

So Obama makes some remarks yesterday that come up as, and this is funny, "Breaking News" on my internet home page. Headline news, bold print with links. Among other things, he said this: ``I have little doubt that we've moved into recession at this point, and the sooner we can get money into people's pockets, the sooner that we can stabilize the housing market, and the sooner that we can send a message to the markets that we're serious about creating an energy policy that will create greater energy efficiency over the next decade or so, I think the sooner we're going to get our fundamentals right,'' he said.

Well, at least he is admitting it, and not trying to dance arouond it, but don't people know this? The Republicans are trying to fake us all out by stimilus checks, but isn't the very notion that people needed a hand econimically basis for recession? Have not we as a nation been through times like this were the Feds have stepped in to lend a hand and we called it what it was, recession? Recession has to happen, after all. Recession, depression, and economic booms are a continuous pendulum that swings all the time. We are there folks. Even though I believe we have everything to do with it, we are there one way or another.

Along with the "Living Large" Clinton years, people were economically healthy. They bough big houses, cars, toys, etc....When we applied for this home loan, the banks wanted to give us up to 75K more than we spent. We kind of said " are they nuts?" We don't want a loan this big. What happends if there are more health problems, a lay off, home repairs, etc, how would we handle it all? But Brian and I aren't really the norm, we think of these things and try to live conservatively. The norm would have purchased that living large home, that came with huge taxes, heating and cooling, and when oil prices shot up, they couldn't afford it all. Again, I think things are being learned by this mess, and perhaps lenders will lend more conservitively. Oil prices rose 40%. Who factored THAT into living expenses. We don't need housing reliefs and checks from the government. We need to reply on ourselves for stable energy sources like wind and solar. We would control the price of that, and not have to be at the mercy of anyone but mother nature. That then controls the price of well everything. The oild has risen 40%, and the price of all goods and servics have followed.

When we visited my sister in law in North Carolina, and saw all the sunshine, I couldn't believe every home in her new development didn'thave solar panels? That's crazy! That is a new development!!!! If people in general can't afford oil to heat their homes, gas their cars, think about business? Everyday businesses are going under, people are losing jobs. Who wouldn't have paid a little extra for a home with alternative heating and cooling energy if it meant helping to stabalize the economy, jobs, and our nation as a whole? Every new home should be built in a way to save people money and save resources.

Forget Obama, I am going to run for President. On the "We're Not Gonna Take It" ticket/party. Who wouldn't vote for me? We are re-visiting the 70's and sadly we didn't learn from history. A war we can't get out of/afford, energy crisis ( yes, I call 5.00/gallon gas a crisis, POTO people) , and recession. Here we go again......

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book Worm

In the summer, while I go full speed ahead trying to catch up on life, parent and worry about my own kids ( instead of all the kids at work), and become "Project Girl". I become a book worm. During the school year, between working a stressful job, and all the girls activities, my own life and personal enjoyments come to a halt. Something has to give, and it's my hobbies. But during the summer? I head to the library and grab a stack! I am currently reading "A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton Porter. Don't know how this escaped me as a kid? I read everything I could get my hands on and many American Classics. ( but sadly, didn't finish half the books we were supposed to read for AP Lit. Man, who picked those books! Our AP kids are reading much better selections) This book has got my attention. I will polish it off by weeks end.
Walked down to the library yesterday for the girls to get some books, no summer brain drain here, and got "Prision Diaries of Chester Gillett" Typically, I don't go for crime books, or even mysteries, but the tale of Chester has always intrigued me. PErhaps because he was tried in Herkimer Co, or because this happened in my precious Adirondacks, or just because I can't understand how murder becomes an option to someone just not wanting to face parenthood. It was turn of the century, before DNA, he could have just said " She is a tramp, a tartlet, the kid isn't mine." He was an upstanding man from an affluent family, she just a working girl. HE would have been believed. It's the same for Scott Peterson, divorce was always an option. So perhaps my read and curiosity is just to try and understand how someone arrived at that decision? I am not sure, but whatever the case, it looks like a good read.

Anna got a stack of books, as did "the professor" I took the liberity of grabbing a coupld for Peep, as she is at camp. She isn't crazy about books, but the other two? They get me and they get books! We'll have to head for the playhouse for a good read today.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Captains Log

Summer vacation, day 2, and did I get some things done! Put a first coat of paint on the play house ( left over paint in the cellar, left for us from the last owners!), went to the playground, swam for 3 hours with the girls ( I swam laps as they played), made a nice home made dinner, moved the crib out of Ava's room, moved in Miranda's old bed for her, and cleaned out the dress up box and under Miranda's bed. Ready for the loft to be built in her bedroom. Mulched around the trees, and moved out plant boxes I am using in the playhouse project.
Look at me go! Also, as I was cleaning out the vitamins, I found some Papaya Enzyme not yet opened. I asked Brian about it and he said he wasn't taking it anymore. Me " What will it do"? Him " It's for energy". Damn! Why didn't you say so. Who needs more energy than me. So I popped the recommended dose. I figure I will give it 3 weeks and see if I have more energy. Cracked myself up, I was recalling Amy in high school when she kept that list in Chem. of the chemicals and elements. She would ask the teacher what a certain chemical would do if you put it in your mouth. He would answer, she recorded that, and then tasted it to see what the reaction was.

Here's to another busy day! I want to finish the blue paint on the playhouse, and fill the planters with dirt, maybe even get some plant for it. Embrace the day! and here's hoping my papaya will kick in!


POTO, pointing out the obvious......I have been saying for the past, I don't know, YEAR, that we got ourselves into this oil mess. Blame government all you want, but how many people are driving around in gas guzzling monsters? How many people with kids "needed a big car" and drive cars half the size of my house? How many guys drive trucks and never actually put anything in the truck bed? MANY. It's simple economics folks, lower demand, increase supply, lower the price. Learned that in high school. The solution has ALWAYS been that we need to make changes as a society. We need to trade in vehicles for hybrids, we need to move closer to work and commute less or car pool. We need to combine errands and drive less period. We need to heat our homes with renewable resources. We need to harness the wind! Why in hell would you put a power line through my beautiful upstate NY for energy going to NYC, when you could put a wind farm in the Catskills, or closer to the city??????? It is so obvious, yet governments response is that in 10 years time maybe there will be vehicles mass produced and available and affordable, and that they should lower the speed limit to force people to save gas??? Are you freaking kidding me? Force legislation down our throats? People should be making the changes on their own.
So yesterday, some old oil tycoon from Texas comes on TV and says what I have been saying all year. That we created it, we need to get ourselves out of it. His backdrop for the news conference? Wind turbines, beautiful clean wind turbines. ( you know, ones that don't even require man power to run them?). The networks lead with this story last night. Maybe people will now take notice and make changes????

Don't blame me. I live in the village I work in, although I have 3 kids and according to society, I "qualify" to drive a small house, I drive a Volvo wagon, fits 7, 28mpg. Could be better, but not bad overall for the small amount of driving I do. We actually use the truck we own to haul stuff, move stuff, and for my husbands home inspection biz. We are purchasing a furnace to burn pellets. No more oil heat here, and thatsavings will be hundreds of gallons a year.
I also blame the Clinton years. Times were good. We forgot to save for a rainy day and we became gluttonous consumers. We could afford super size everything. I think times have to be tough right now so we slow down, and make positive changes for ourselves, and for our planet.
I will continue to raise girls that are aware, that are not sucked into consumerism, and that reuse, reduce, and recycle. It's up to me to help, and I can make a difference. We all can, and in the end, it will benefit us all and generations to come.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

An Ode to Google

Google, Google, how I love thee!

I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, this way, I can be busy all day and not have to stop and think, 'cause who wants to think on a vacation day in July? So, I googled some things I have in my pantry and freezer to see what I could make. I googled "sausage and cornmeal", two things I have in plenty and that are gluten free. Came up with a recipe for a cornmeal sausage casserole. Awesome. We are sick of the same old same old gluten free fare, so this will really shake thinks up, and use what I have in stock!

Enjoy this gorgous sunny day. I am going to paint the "new" play house to match the house ( the neighbor's kids are too big for it, so they gave us their sweet little custome made playhouse, that currently matches their great old house), Ava wants to go to the playground, swimming is a must on this hot day ( pool is actually a steamy 70 degrees), and who knows what other tasks I can come up with, the day is young! Embrace it! And remember, Google kicks ass!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I've Got a Mule Her Name is Sal

It was 15 miles to Erie Canal Village! What am all American 4th of July we had. Went to the drive in Friday night to see Wally-E. The movie actually depressed me, I'll post that another time. Saturday, for the 4th we went to Erie Canal Village ( free admission) and explored life in the 1800's for the afternoon. We had a picnic lunch there, and then came home to play, swim in the pool, cook out, and shoot off our "Contraband" fireworks from Pennsylvania. For a State I don't really like, that is REALLY boring to drive through, they make up for it all by selling me fireworks. Had a bunch of silly fun, and I will always remember and never forget little Ava driving the power wheels around and around the pool and under the deck at FULL SPEED. She is crazy, we were calling her "Danica".