Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Dentist and Dental Woes

My dentist, or rather former dentist, JL, was a really cool guy, and his office was conveniently located in Quechee. He actually replaced my even older dentist who retired, so the transition was relatively seamless. Then Irene hit, and his office was literally washed away. He relocated to Randolph, which is way too far away.

I decided to find a new dentist, especially in light of the fact that I currently have dental woes. I had a filling put in a molar and at some point the thing fell out. I remember when it happened, I was eating tortilla chips and bit down on something hard as a rock. I assumed it was a piece of corn or something, so thought nothing of it until I felt the tooth and noticed a jagged edge and gap. I didn’t realize so much of the tooth had been replaced.

I figured it was not a big deal because it didn’t hurt, and I could simply find a new dentist and have it fixed. Then, my entire molar cracked. It was quite a shock, but even more surprising is the fact that it doesn’t hurt. It’s a little bothersome to chew on that side, however, so I need to get it fixed.

This means the time to find a new dentist is now. I chose R’s dentist, but in order to see me, they need a copy of my complete file. I called my old dentist and they said I needed to fill out a form and then they’d release the info. They would send the form, I should mail it back, and so on and so forth. The problem was that I had a cracked tooth that needed attending. I made an appointment but the soonest I could get in was next week, and even then, they needed that darn file. Otherwise, the new dentist would have to take a complete set of X-rays, which insurance wouldn’t cover.

Wow, life sure is complicated. I had to make a decision, and it went like this. The chances that I’d get the file before my appointment were practically zero, so I decided to drive up to Randolph and pick them up in person. It was about an hour drive one way, and the kids were bored to tears, but it worked out fine, and now I’m all set. Personally, I want to yank the tooth out myself, but that could be disastrous, and I’m not big on disasters.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Matthew Maaskant for the pic.

Face Plant

We went skating this weekend because neither A nor I have been doing much of the stuff, so we figured it was time to get our legs back. N has been doing hockey so he's on fire. We didn't go to our regular rink because their times were too late, so we went over to the Hartford Rink and actually saw some friends over there. It was fun, we had a blast, though I was trying to skate backwards and fell flat on my face. It was serious enough so that everyone around me stopped skating and asked me if I was okay.

There was no blood, but I got a pretty good bump, and probably got a slight concussion. That's what happens when you get in over your head, but what else is new?

Now I'm recovering. No symptoms, but I've been told these things can take days. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lotus Head for the pic.

Hockey Democracy in Action

I haven’t jumped into this, and for all I know, it’s been resolved, but they are searching for a parent to step up and volunteer to be on the team board of directors. I’ll you, all this democracy in action is a little overboard. There are so many boards and meetings, it wastes a lot of time and bogs down the process, but such is life in a democracy.

Either way, as you might have guessed, no parent wants to do it, and the team does need representation on the board. Counter to common sense, I have toyed with the idea only to help out the team. The kids need us, right? Since no parent has the time, not that I do, I thought maybe I could help out in some way. I would coach, as well, but those dads who coach are like NHL pros, they are such good skaters and players out there, I’d feel like an idiot. However, I might be able to help in other ways.

I haven’t done or said anything, yet, and for all I know, they’ve already found someone to do the job. R thinks I’m crazy for even considering it, but what else is new? Stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Albin Axelsson for the pic.

Growing So Fast and Winter Gear

A seems to be growing at an incredibly fast pace, and this is readily apparent in her shoe size. We tried on her winter boots/shoes and none of them even came close to fitting. This, of course, meant that we were going to have to go on a mission for shoes. Now I’m all for saving some money and buying used stuff, but somehow wearing someone else’s shoes is a tough call, unless they’re family. Plus, used shoes are usually dirty and beat up. We did see a nice pair of brand new snow boots at the consignment store. They were a good price, not a steal because they were literally un-worn, but still a deal. They were Kamik boots and what I assumed was her size, which is about two sizes above what her old boots were.

The woman at the store said she’d hold them for us, but when she tried them on, they were too small. Incredible, her feet had grown at least two sizes in the last year. That meant that we were going to have to delve into women’s shoes. No more kiddie stuff over here.

As luck would have it, we had a few LL Bean gift cards, which more than covered the cost of her boots. Now she has new boots that fit her perfectly but more importantly, are cool. You can’t stress that enough with kids. We were looking at shoes, as well, and once again, we’re going to have buy her women’s shoes. Crazy.

We also have to think about her ice skates, though on a bright note, A and Mom can probably swap shoes, or maybe ice skates.

On the N front, he’s all set for Winter gear, I think, though hockey stuff continues to evolve. He’ll get his game jersey soon, and we needed to get him new hockey socks. Of course, they have home and away uniforms, so I’m told that there are two pairs to get, and he also got his practice jersey. They put the team logo on his helmet and needless to say, he was thrilled about all of this. Can’t say I blame him.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jasmaine Mathews for the pic.

Fruits of Our Labors

When it comes to schooling, A is definitely more enthused and motivated than N, not that N isn’t good. He is just not as inspired, so we have to nudge him a little, and while he can be incredibly inspired and diligent, he sometimes also complains and gets grouchy. At one point, I wasn’t sure how I was going to teach him to read because he had no interest in books, though he liked being read to.

We stayed the course, laying down the law and gradually teaching him to read and write. We literally chipped away at the stone, and it was a good lesson in pushing the big picture to the back of your mind while you slowly take it one step at a time. During this period, N let us know at times that he wasn't happy, though secretly I don't think he hated it, he just hated being told to do it. Can you blame him?

Over time, he has learned how to read and write, and I'd go as far as to say that he's good at both. We got to see the fruits of our labors the other night. We were with friends playing the game Apples to Apples Jr. I don’t know if you’ve seen this game, it’s a great one, but requires reading. I think we have the regular Apples to Apples, and it’s really an adult game because there are all sorts of references to pop culture that I experienced as a kid. No kid today even has a clue what some of those topics are about. Maybe realizing this, they came out with a Jr. version, which is awesome.

Either way, as I mentioned, it requires reading, and in the past N got frustrated and lost interest because he couldn’t read the cards. Not anymore, of course. He’s a good reader, and kicked some serious butt reading the cards aloud, which is part of the game. We were so proud of him, but more importantly, I think he felt good about the fact that he could read the material along with the bigger kids and adults. It makes the game more fun, and it’s a light bulb moment when a kid can feel proud and realize that reading is not such a bad thing, after all. Plus, it gives a chance for parents to feel shamelessly proud of their kids.

The ego is such a fragile thing. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Svilen Milev for the pic.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hockey Week 1

It was our first week of hockey, and so far, so good. N is enjoying it, and I’m loving being a spectator/hockey dad. The parents of the hockey program are a dedicated bunch, dare I say almost a bit like a club. As usual, I’m on the outside looking in, but what else is new?

N is hanging well with his age group, and he’s even on the bigger side. I think he’s on the cusp of the ages, so it makes sense. The program doesn’t mess around, either. They practice 2-3 times a week, and then have a game on top of that, in other towns, no less. There is a game coming up in Burlington, which is kind of serious. It should be interesting to see games against some of the more local towns, we’ll probably see people we know.

I could tell N is liking it because they had a practice at 8:30AM. This meant waking up early, and that is not N’s forte, but he said emphatically that he wanted to go. Say no more. The coaches thus far have been positive and encouraging, so life is good on the hockey front. Now all we need to do is find a bag with wheels on it.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Tom Pickering for the pic.

Homecoming Bonfire

It was homecoming last weekend, and we joined in on some of the festivities. You really get a sense of school pride at a school like Dartmouth. It’s like a club that people can bond over, though I’m sure like any club, there are hierarchies within so that the requisite social pecking orders can be established. It is interesting to see it all in action.

The big event for homecoming is the big football game, which we were intending on attending, but had a time conflict with other things, so it wasn’t looking like we were going to make it. There were, however, plenty of other things going on.

The bonfire was Friday night, but before that, there was the preseason opener for women’s hockey. We had a plan. Since Fridays are sort of busy, the plan was to get our stuff done and then head out to watch the game. A&R were having fun and didn’t want to leave at the designated time, so we got to the game late, after the first period. The game was actually free, much to my surprise and joy, though there was no food concessions. Bummer.

Dartmouth played against McGill U, my mother in laws alma mater, and we found ourselves rooting for McGill. Oh Canada. It was a good game, and it still surprises me that in light having such a great hockey team, nobody comes to the games. The place was empty. The men’s team is just a bigger draw. The game was fun, N got to see real hockey in action and maybe find some inspiration. After the game, we went in search of food.

The band was gathering right as we left, so we followed them towards the bonfire. It’s interesting to see the band and wonder how people end up where they do. Does Dartmouth give out band scholarships? We ate at our favorite place, Boloco, which was a zoo. We saw our friends from UF there, their mother is an alum and was in the parade, and we also saw A’s buddy, SR, so it was fun. The bonfire was a little nutty, tons of students, having fun and probably drunk. You see the antics that you thought were cool when you were younger but now look a bit silly. A by product of getting old and dull.

Our timing was actually good, because we missed a lot of the boring stuff like the parade and speeches, and we only had to wait about 20 minutes before the fire. Last year we sat through all the ceremony, and it was a complete bore, plus the crowds can get crazy. We listened to some speeches and then the big event, the one the kids and parents really wanted to see, the lighting of the bonfire. It’s pretty impressive the stuff, the woodpile is probably about three stories high, and when it burns, it’s so hot that it hurts your face, even when you’re about 100 feet back.

We watched it burn for a bit and then headed home after a long day. It’s fun to go along for the ride, but sometimes I find the whole school spirit thing akin to brainwashing. Does your school really love you as much you love it? Also, not to sound like a stick in the mud, but I couldn’t help thinking what a waste of good lumber that fire was. Not sure what sort of wood they used, but it must have been about a half dozen cords up there.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to n9iknorris for the pic.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday and No UF

We went to a birthday party last weekend and the festivities coincided with ultimate frisbee, which we missed last weekend because of our trip to DC. I really wanted to play UF, but I get a sense the season has come to an end because apparently nobody showed up last week, and this week might have been more of the same.

The kids had a blast at the party, however, and we parents got to sit around and discuss parent issues. Same old, same old. R was let off the hook and got to stay at home and do important logistical stuff, which meant that I was the ambassador to the parenting world. What else is new?

They’re family friend, so it wasn’t like a wedding where you sit with people you don’t know and try to make idle chit chat. It was a nice time, though I’d rather be building walls or splitting wood, but social obligations take precedence when you live in a social world. If you shunned all human contact, then it wouldn’t be an issue, but that’s the not the world we’ve chosen to live in, especially with the kids.

The party was a pretty much a free form event, the kids just took over and did what they wanted, which meant games and running and shouting. They had fun, and the parents pretty much sat around and did nothing. My kind of day. After the usual couple of hours, thing wound down, and we hit the road. The plan was to see if we could catch the tail end of UF, but when we got there, there were no people on the field. Total bummer. Has the UF season come to an end? I hope not, but it’s not looking good.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Aneta Blaszczyk for the pic.

First Hockey Practice

We had our first taste of kid’s hockey, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A came along for the ride, though I’m not sure if she’s going to sit through every practice and game. We also had some equipment issues that we were able to resolve, and in the end, N said he had a blast. Say no more.

It had been awhile since we suited up, so we had to remember the order of getting dressed and what went where. The locker room is always buzzing with activity, and once again, we were on the late side. I’ve learned in hockey that you can never get onto the ice too soon. In fact, when we arrived, kids were already skating, and we were on time. Live and learn.

We made our way through the equipment, and then N hit the ice while A and I watched. A’s old buddy, CB (aka YKW) is playing on the team above N, so they practice together, and there were some familiar faces from summer league. I love watching the kids practice and play, and A enjoyed it, too, though she wanted to hit the ice herself.

At some point, N said his helmet was hurting his head, and it was bad enough to make him not want to be out there. N is fairly tough and resilient, he doesn’t whine or complain, even if things are not going well, so for him to want to stop playing meant that it must have hurt fairly bad. I know my helmet hurts my head, and when it does, it’s a total bummer.

Of course, I didn’t have a screwdriver, and had to seek out the ice crew to get one. N sat out while I adjusted his helmet, and he made it back on the ice for the last part of practice. He said his helmet felt much better, and you could tell he was in better shape. The coaches were encouraging after practice, and being the completely objective and unbiased person that I am, I thought he did a good job. He skated well and worked hard, and I think over the next few weeks he’ll regain his legs.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Tom Pickering and Shannah Pace for the pics.

Birthday Boy

We celebrated N’s big birthday a couple days back in grand fashion. The big 8.0! I can’t believe it, he’s growing so fast. Planning and preparation for the big day were complicated by the fact that we were in DC until the zero hour, but it worked out in the end. The original plan was to go to DC for his birthday, but he balked at that idea and said emphatically that he wanted to do one thing, and that was to golf. Fair enough.

I did some investigating and learned that the best time to his the Windsor Country Club was a weekday afternoon. Throw in some not so ideal weather and there was a good chance that we’d have the course to ourselves. We could even rent a golf cart. Woo-hoo!

The morning started off with waffles and bacon, his choice, and he got to open his presents, which is what it’s all about in the end. We had ordered him and A some gifts but they didn’t come until the next day, which isn’t a horrible thing because it kind of draws out the birthday fun. He got lots of cool stuff, and they were occupied and having fun for most of the morning. Looking outside, however, dark clouds were looming, and there was an increasing chance of rain. This meant that the golf course would be quiet, but we had to seize the moment.

We went golfing earlier than planned, but it was fine. No rain, but cool and breezy. It had rained all night, so the grass was wet. We had a blast golfing, my first time, really. We got to break in our new clubs, and I proceeded to lose about a half dozen balls. We didn’t bring any, and I bought four used ones at the club, but again, I lost mine on the second hole. Fear not, because everyone dove into the woods and we found about two dozen golf balls. It was almost as fun as the actual golfing. At some point the ladies lost interest and amused themselves driving the cart and looking for golf balls while the men stayed the course. N did a great job, and prided himself in losing only one ball. The course was unusual, not that I’m an expert, and it’s instructive playing on an actual course.

At some point another guy showed up, and we paused and let him pass, then finished our game. By the 8th hole, it started to rain, and we really had to call it a day. No worries, I think N got a lot out of it, we broke the ice, and set ourselves up for more golfing in the future. We headed home and regrouped, then went to Jesse’s for supper. N got the sirloin steak, and for dessert, he and A got to make their own sundaes at the sundae bar. They were in hog heaven.

It was a long but fun filled day, and now we can look forward to a regular schedule, which is crazy, but fun.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Michal Zacharzewski and and Clint Rankin for the pics.

Taking the Train to DC

We traveled to DC a little differently this time around and actually took the train. Normally we would have driven, and a plane would have been an option if not for the cost. The train was much cheaper, and a lot less stressful. The only downside, and for many I know it’s a significant one, was that it was a long ride, about 11 hours. I realize that for many of us, this is an intolerably long time to travel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I could have just sat there for the entire trip and looked out the window, read a book, and slept. My idea of a perfect vacation, actually. The one thing I worried about were the kids and how to entertain them, but they did a great job, and we brought along several movies and my laptop for them to watch on.

We caught the train in WRJ, though there is a closer stop, but it doesn’t really have a station. We opted for a place to park and a conductor on duty in case we had questions, and I always have questions. The closer stop is always there in a pinch, and we can get there in minutes, literally.

Our biggest concern was entertaining the kids for 11 hours, not an easy thing to do. They are fairly self-sufficient, but even the most imaginative kids will run out things to do for 11 hours. We brought along some card games and books, and also with my laptop, about a dozen movies. We checked them out of the library and got a couple of Netflix. Food is also a good way to kill time. The food on the train is horrible stuff, all pre-wrapped in plastic and microwaveable. Your basic junk food selection, and not what you want to feed your kids for an entire meal. I had to pack the food bag in less than half an hour, right before we left, so it was a bit of a scramble making sandwiches and packing snacks. We had plenty of food, just a little short on fruits and veggies, but we had apples, and that was enough to get us there.

Now the ride was long, no doubt about it, but I personally enjoyed it, thoroughly. R and I talked about how nice it was to take the train. Low stress getting to the train and boarding, and we loved watching the scenery go by out the window. I could have sat there and just watched it all day, or taken a nap, or read a book. That’s all I need. When you’re running around all day running errands and taking the kids to their activities and answering all their questions, you really appreciate quiet time just staring out a window and doing nothing. Or sleeping. Flying can be stressful, and even on the plane it’s hard to relax, but trains are like traveling in a lounge. Lots of space to rest and move around, and again, you feel way more connected to the scenery. It’s definitely more about the journey than flying.

One funny note was the food car worker. The attendant was one of those guys who you can tell hates not only his job, but people in general. He was so unfriendly and intimidating, and of course I managed to piss him off even more by going over there at least a half dozen times. The kids wanted hot chocolate, which for the record was listed on the board. When I asked, without even looking at me, he said, “I don’t have it.”

We had a longer stop in Claremont, and I went back and asked if he had hot chocolate, and I kid you not, he was quivering he was so irritated. So much for customer service. Kind of amusing, actually. I figured at the last stop they re-stocked their stuff, but he said they don’t re-stock until New York/Penn Station. Now you tell me. Looks like no hot cocoa for us. I think he started to warm up to me because when I went back to the umpteenth time to get a hot dog, he actually cracked a joke and said, “Are you sure that’s all?” Ha-ha. When you’re dealing with cranky people, you have to take what you can get.

Just to add a final amusing piece to the story, the same guy was working the food car on the train ride home, and he recognized me and said he had hot chocolate this time around. Too bad we already had some at Penn Station.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Johanna Ljungblom and jasen swafford for the pics.

Fruitful at the Listen Center

Last week we stopped at our favorite retail outlet, the Listen Center, and scored a few goodies. First off, before we even walked in the door, there was a scooter sitting there that caught N’s eye. He has a scooter that we got for free years ago, and he’s made the most of it, even though the thing is a complete piece of junk, beyond repair. He never complains about it, and uses it all the time. I figured that at some point I’d get him something in better shape, but hadn’t really found anything, until now.

The scooter wasn’t even on the shelves yet, so there was no price. When I inquired, she told me $4.75. Say no more, I’ll take it. I also found a new driver with a metal head (no more wood heads for me, thank you) that cost me a whopping $2.50. Is that a score, or what? I love that place.

Now we can go and play golf. I need to replace the wheel on the scooter, but hopefully I have the tools and to pull it off. Let’s hope so.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to eurok for the pic.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reflections on DC

We had a really nice time in DC, and dare I say that I rather liked it there. I’m a big devotee of NYC, but the past couple of times we were there, I found it a bit overwhelming and maybe even a bit too much for me to handle. The noise, dirt, chaos and crowds just got to be too much, which is odd because those were the very things that I loved about the place. I’d heard DC was a bit more sterile and stiff, especially with the conservative atmosphere with all those politicians, and that’s kind what we found, but again, it wasn’t such a bad thing, especially with the kids. I don’t think I’d want them to see the things I saw when I lived in New York, it’s a bit overwhelming, even for an adult.

Either way, DC was clean and orderly, and there was a lot to do, not only for kids, but for adults. It struck me as a pretty young-ish town, hip and trendy, as well. I didn’t get a sense that there were a ton of politicians where we were, maybe just the young aspiring types, all stylish and in-shape. I’m guessing a more conservative crowd than NYC because you didn’t get the stylish and eccentric extremes that you see in the Big Apple, though there isn’t as much character, either.

We stayed at a nice, reasonably priced hotel, The Topaz, in an area known as Dupont Circle. I don’t know anything about the neighborhoods in DC, but this one was fine, not too much crime from what I could gather. It was within walking distance to the Metro and plenty of restaurants, so we were not in want of food. The restaurants seemed to cater to my type of crowd, fairly healthy and not too expensive, a step above fast food. I didn’t spot too many expensive restaurants, which I prefer to avoid, for numerous reasons.

What I really liked about the Topaz was that they catered to hip young folks, but also were very family and kid friendly, giving them welcome packages and even offering them child-size robes. If you were inspired, they’d bring a fish tank to your room that you could keep during your stay. We took the robes but balked at the fish, much to the dismay of the kids. The staff was very friendly, and they even had a deal with the local YMCA to use their facilities, which we did - we went swimming. The rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable, though the place was on a city scale, which meant on the small side. Small elevator, small bathrooms, etc. It had a very European feel, which is fine with me, I love Europe. Basically, the place had character rather than the generic, cookie cutter feel of most hotel chains.

We tried to squeeze in as much of the city as we could, eating at places we couldn’t find in Vermont (i.e., ethnic food) and seeing as much of our government as possible. We did the White House and all the monuments, and then went to see where our currency is made. All in all, the government stuff was a bit of a bore. We went to see the monuments at night, which was a bit of an adventure because for whatever reason, we decided to walk there, and it must have been about two miles. The kids were troopers, and we took it all in, from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln. It’s pretty impressive, but that’s the point, right?

I think the most fun was at the museums, specifically the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. Pretty cool place, amazingly well done, but that’s what tax dollars get you. The place is huge, and loads of fun. I kept thinking R’s dad, RR, would have loved the place, as would PR, but I’m guessing he’s been there. We could have spent a few days in that place, there’s so much to see. Tons of planes and spaceships and even a flight simulator that the kids loved.

We arrived on the weekend that they were unveiling a statue of Martin Luther King, so there were plenty of crowds out and about. It was interesting to see. We spent another day just walking around and cruising the different neighborhoods, which are different than what you see in NYC. The areas in New York are very distinct and often run along ethnic or demographic lines, and you can see the shift. In DC, it’s all more homogenous, so it takes more effort to find certain things. We even walked to Georgetown, which in the end is all about high end shopping, not unlike certain sections of NYC. You see what fuels our economy, which is kind of sad.

Of course, we couldn’t leave a trip without getting some swim time, the kids insist on it. We went over the Y and spent some time in the pool, which was really meant for doing laps, but they reserve one lane for play. We spent a couple of hours in the water, which was pretty cold, so you had to keep moving.

All in all, we really enjoyed DC, and I’d go back in a flash. Eating can get expensive, but we found tasty food that was healthy, so we felt good about it. Plus, it’s our nation’s capital, so it warrants a visit from everyone. FYI, all the museums and exhibits are free of charge, though we all pay for it, in the end.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Nicolas Raymond for the pic.

Winner of the My Memories Giveaway

Congratulations go out to Gary, our lucky winner of the My Memories Suite scrapbook software. Gary is the pilot and owner of Balloons Over New England, the premiere ballooning operation in New England. This scrapbook page of some of Gary’s flights was made with this scrapbooking software, and needless to say, it is only the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks to Gary for taking the time to check out the promotion, and to all of the readers out there.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Our Final Market... Hallelujah

I can’t go on with my life without an entry about our final market. Now I was ready to call it a day and simply blow off the final market. Forces were pointing in this direction because the final market was complicated by the GOP debates, which were held on the Dartmouth campus. I guess Bloomberg news set up this big news center right where we were having the market, so we had to move the operation to the other end of the green. Several of the vendors we knew were not coming, and business has been slow. Do we need another reason to not go?

Well, there was the issue of selling off the remaining dumplings, which would have gone to waste, not to mention the concept of closure. There is something to be said about riding something out until the very end and leaving with a little pride and dignity, so we packed up the gear and headed over for the last market. My heart and mind were definitely not into it, and I proceeded to forget several important items. I had to borrow tongs from the Turkish food stand, and R and the kids had to run over to Yama to get some chopstick that I use when I cook. Also, for the first time, the propane in our tank ran out. In the past, I refilled it when it seemed low, but there was always about a gallon left inside. We use less than a gallon, so I figured we’d be okay, but we weren’t. The tank ran out just as the market was about to start, so after enduring the completely un-constructive and relentless scorn of my wife and kids, I ran over to CVS and got a new cannister. Now we have all this propane and nowhere to go, but more on that later.

The market was slow, once again, but we sold all of our dumplings and left on a positive note. It’s always sad to say goodbye to our market friends, but I won’t miss doing these dumplings. We packed up, hit the road, and closed another chapter in our life of adventure.

This, of course, begs the question: what next?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kaanon MacFarlane for the pic.

Thought I Was Done

I have plenty of things to deal with right now, and one of them is this letter proposal for the library. I had been putting it off and worked like a dog to get it in by a reasonable time to MD, and then figured I was done with it. It was ready for the other trustees to look it over and edit it as they saw fit.

No such luck. After some edits and additions, she sent the darn thing back to me and mentioned some of the necessary revisions. Boy, a man’s work is never done.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sigurd Decroos for the pic.

Day of Rest... Not!

Last week before our trip we had a day off from our frenetic schedule of activities and I figured it would be a good time to get some down time, but no such luck on this end. I needed to take advantage of the chance to work on the barn and make KB proud. It took about two days of my time to get it in, but I managed.

Kudos to the kids for entertaining themselves while I worked. They’re very good in that way, and I appreciate it to no end. When the time comes that they can prepare their own meals, then I’ll be an efficiency machine. Cooking and cleaning for meals takes a huge chunk out of your day, not to mention breaking your rhythm, which can be the kiss of death.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to craig toron for the pic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We Have a Winner

Hey Everyone,

We have a winner. More info coming soon. Thanks and take care.

Free! My Memories Suite Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

As I mentioned, I’m giving away a free copy of the amazing digital scrapbooking software, My Memories Suite. Sorry for the delay, we were out of town, as you might have guessed. Here's a quick collage we made of our trip to DC.

As for the program, everyone in my family loves it. It’s a great way to organize your pictures and share them with friends and family. The program is easy to use, very versatile, and loads of fun.

The first person to comment on this post wins. Just drop me a line and I’ll give you the details on how to get your own copy.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to the wonderful people at My Memories for making this giveaway possible.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to Karate

We missed karate last week because we weren’t feeling well, but now that we’re feeling better, wanted to make it to class. This was complicated by the fact that Sensei H called in the AM and said he had some work to do and was wondering if I could open the doors. I have the other set of keys. That meant the looming possibility that I was going to have to lead class, which I am more inclined to do as I do it more often. Experience is the key.

Nonetheless, I contacted Master H and he said he planned on coming, so there was no way I wasn’t going. It actually turned out to be a big class, the higher belts showed up, so I was spared from having to teach, and a lot of the newer belts came, as well. A got to recite the koan, and she did a great job sparring with AI.

Master H focused on the medium/higher belts preparing us for our possible next test, and NS led the rest of class. Things got a little heated with the sparring, one of the new guys basically beat up one of the other new guys, I thought it got a little out of hand, and felt like they should have toned it down. It also got me to thinking that I need to work out more and prepare myself for doing battle with these guys. It’s a little scary, they’re not even yellow belts, but they have pugilistic inclinations. I think someone needs to talk to them.

We’ll see. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Kriss Szkurlatowski for the pic.

Impromptu Sleepover

We had a bit of an impromptu sleepover the other night, and the kids were thrilled. I remember as a kid wanting to have kids sleep over and it was always this big rigmarole with my parents. By the time the sleepover came around, the excitement wore off because of all the stress and preparation, so it wasn’t much fun. My friend’s parents were more accommodating to spontaneity in this regard, and I always thought that was cool of them.

Now that I’m a parent, I try to be more relaxed. The sleepover thing comes up a lot, and though we don’t oblige them every time, I like the idea of less planning. Their buddy IH asked if she could sleep over because her sister was going to a sleepover party. I thought, why not? We had a busy day with I-KODI stuff and golf, but would be home that afternoon/evening.

HH brought her over after supper, and they got to hang out and then watch movies until bedtime. It was low key and fun for them. The next day we made pancakes and fruit, and the kids feasted. Then we took IH back home and made the long drive out to Killington, but that’s a story for another time.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Zach Den Adel for the pic.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Day in DC

We landed late at night in Union Station, and the first order of business was to get to the hotel. We picked up a cab which I think I mentioned I assumed was ripping us off, but we later realized that he wasn't. The cabs have some complicated system of fares that baffled me. That didn't mean, however, that underhanded bad deeds were occurring.

The hotel is in what is known as the Golden Triangle, which is some sort of real estate marketing term for this section of town. Two things struck me about DC from our arrival - it's a whole lot cleaner than NYC, and a lot quieter. It's really nice, in fact, and we lucked out on the weather. It's been pleasant and mild. We hit the hay immediately and had a good night's sleep.

The next day, our goal was to check out our tax dollars at work, but not before some breakfast. In the daylight, you get a sense that DC is a really nice town. I'd heard that it was a bit bland and sterile, and compared to NYC, I can see that, but it's also kind of happening, full of young and hip people, and with a lot going on. And did I mention it's clean and quiet? We walked to a diner and had a nice breakfast, and got to see some of the Wall Street protesters walk by. After our meal, we then jumped on the Metro to go to the Mall. Our goal was to check out the Air and Space Museum. One thing nice about DC that I remember from my first visit here is that all the government museums and galleries are free. Then again, our tax dollars are paying for them.

Figuring out the Metro was a bit of a chore, it's an awful system that takes awhile to figure out. The fares depend on where you're going, and it's this complicated mess trying to get fare cards, but we eventually figured it out. Plus, it's kind of expensive. We stopped near the White House because we figured no trip to DC was complete without at least a view of the President's home. There was something going on and the secret service was not letting people near it. A train of black SUVs exited, which we assumed was the President going off to do diplomatic duty.

From there, we walked by the Washington Monument, where crowds of people were promoting Martin Luther King. I couldn't figure out why until later I learned that they are unveiling a statue of MLK on Sunday. There were speeches and vendors, and all sorts of activities. It took awhile to finally find the Air and Space Museum, which is part of the Smithsonian, but find it we did, and was it ever cool.

We all really enjoyed it, and my first thought was, R's father, RR, would love this place. Something to think about. More later, we have to run. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to edgar0587 and gerard79 for the pics.

Train Ride to DC

We did things a little differently on this trip and took a train, of all things, down to DC. The Vermonter Line just opened up again after extensive track repair which I guess stems from the damage done by Irene. I know that there was a lot of damage to bridges in White River. Either way, the cost a train ride was fairly reasonable, and we all love riding on trains. The one daunting aspect was time, it's an 11 hour train ride. Yikes! Most people would never go for that, but we were all for it. We were not in a rush, and trains can be fun and relaxing. When you look at it from that POV, it's not such a bad thing.

I will say this, getting to the rain and boarding it is a lot less stressful than getting on a plane. I realize that flying to DC would have taken two hours or less, but the stress and time to get to the airport and all that good stuff would have made it a chore. This time around, we left the house about 1/2 an hour before departure, parked the car, and waited for the train. Once it pulled in, we boarded and we were off.

Now the two biggest concerns for me were entertainment for the kids and food. R and I were fine just reading/sleeping and staring out the window. Since becoming a SAHD, I truly enjoy such things, but try getting two young kids to sit through that. No way. In order to entertain the kids, we brought along some games and about a dozen movies that they could watch on the laptop. They could also walk around the train. For food, I made several sandwiches, and brought along snack galore. 11 hours is a long time to be eating microwaved food wrapped in plastic.

Plus, you can't beat the excitement of pulling out of the station on a train. It's always a lot of fun, and the view was spectacular with the foliage and the river. Just a really nice time. We managed to enjoy the long ride, and mom and dad in particular made the most of the down time just sitting and doing nothing. We really needed a break. The one thing I would have done differently would have been to pack more fruits and veggies, maybe with something to dip it in. It's hard eating carbs and meat for an entire day.

We pulled into Union Station around 10:30, then caught a cab to our hotel. Being a former New Yorker, naturally I assumed that the cab driver was ripping us off, but we soon realized that they do things differently in DC vs. New York.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to ddaaniel for the pic.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scrambling to Help Bake and Fry

Since our lives are so boring and so uneventful, we helped out with the food for a symposium that I-KODI was holding regarding food, shelter and education for kids in Kenya. Also, to add to the fun, I said I would help out with the Woodstock Youth Hockey bake sale. This meant, at the minimum, baking something for the sale, and if I could, spend time at the tent selling the stuff.

That Saturday was quite a scramble. R planned on spending most of the day at the symposium. They were serving lunch, and MD, who was in charge of food, asked if we could fry her samosas since like most people, she didn’t really have the facility to deep fry things. This meant that I had to set up all of our dumpling stuff, but I was happy to help.

Before all that fun, however, I had to bake stuff for the sale. I also had a deadline to write that library letter, and N had a golf lesson in the afternoon. I was about 75% done with the letter, so I wasn’t too worried. Either way, first thing in the morning, I made cookie bars and a apple bundt cake for the bake sale. I have bad luck with bundt cake pans, the cake always takes a bit of a beating, but there was no time to worry about that.

R left soon after breakfast to attend to the meeting. I was supposed to bring the samosas over by noon at the latest, but preferably before that. This meant that we had to get to the bake sale to drop off the goods, then off to the symposium to drop off the food. The parents at the bake sale were so nice, and it was the first time we got to meet most, if not all, of them. There were several kids there that are part of the hockey program, and N got to meet a bunch of them, as did I. I think hockey moms give soccer moms a run for their money.

After we dropped off the goods, we jetted over to Lebanon and met with R, who directed us to MD, who was scrambling upstairs to prepare the feast. The kids and I stuck around and helped, because she was all by herself. We carted the stuff downstairs and were prepared to go over to Au Bon Pain for lunch, but they insisted we stay and dine. Say no more, MD is an amazing cook, so we feasted on African food and hung out. Kind of a serious crowd, however, so we didn’t really stick around and chat.

Plus, we had golfing to do. We drove (no pun intended) over to the driving range and N had his lesson while A and I hit some buckets. It was at this time when I cracked my club, which is a bummer, but c’est la vie. After we got ice cream, and then drove back out to the big city to meet mom and have supper. Nobody was hungry at that point, so we just went to the library, got some books, and came home. Boy were we tired. It ain’t easy trying to be helpful.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to michaelaw for the pic.

Last of the Ski Equipment?

We were at Golf and Ski Warehouse and they had a massive sale on equipment. The last things we needed were gloves for N (his have holes) and goggles for A. She mentioned wanting a pair that she could wear over her glasses, and I’m all for it. We found a nice pair that weren’t expensive, and the sale made it even better, so we jumped on that. We are also all set on N’s gloves, which we got at Henderson’s, so we are ready to rock and roll.

On a side note, I found a pair of clear goggles that were cheap, the reason being that the cost of goggles is all in the lens. If you get a pair with low tech/clear lenses, the goggles are cheap. Once you start delving into high tech/tinted lenses, and there’s plenty of that out there, then you pay dearly for it. I just wanted something to wear in low light because as I become an old man, I have trouble seeing the bumps in the snow with tinted lenses, and I need something to keep the wind out of my eyes. Boy, life sure is complicated, isn’t it?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Megan Dodson for the pic.

Broken Clubs

You’re not going to believe this, but on the first day that I used my golf clubs, I broke the darn driver. It cracked all the way through. I was shocked, but reminded myself that you get what you pay for. $5 for a golf set doesn’t buy you a whole lot. When I brought my clubs to the range, the people there, including N’s coach, PB, all commented on the fact. PB said the clubs were old school, which meant they were antiques, but I’m not picky, at least not at this point. He even said that if I was skiing, I’d be riding on wooden skis, just to illustrate his point.

Either way, he explained to me the technological thought that goes into clubs and the material they use. It’s pretty amazing stuff. I’m impressed. Of course, none of these technological advances apply to my clubs, because they didn’t think of these things back in the caveman days, but who needs technology?

The one problem with these new developments is that I still need clubs to play with N. The set I bought actually has 3 different drivers, the reason for which was explained to me by PB, so I have two more drivers to play with. I just can’t hit the ball too hard. This precludes using them at the driving range, but they have clubs they lend out anyway, so it’s not the of the world.

I would like to get a driver made of metal, but that could take time. I called Golf and Ski Warehouse and they sell used drivers, but they’re for the hardcore golfer, and range in price from $100-200. That’s way to much, so in the meantime, I’ll be scouring the dump, thrift shops and want ads.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Claude Coquilleau for the pic.

Getting a Break and Buying Myself More Time... to Procrastinate

I scrambled to write this letter for the library, keeping in mind that numerous deadlines that were sooner than anticipated. I have to confess, it was not my best effort, but even a crappy first draft is better than none. It gets those mental juices flowing so that you can approach it with ideas rather than a blank slate.

I did feel a little guilty, however, but there was so much to do, what with the market and activities, not to mention the scramble to get all administrative stuff into the state. Whine, whine, whine. Whatever be the case, I got a rough draft to MD, and she glanced at it and said it’s a start, but not to worry because she probably wouldn’t have a chance to look at it until the weekend, or even early next week. This, of course, bought me some time to blow it off some more. Besides, all I want to do over the weekend is work on it, right?

I should be in good shape because as I mentioned, the pressure is off, and I have something to work with. That always helps.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Susanne Nilsjo for the pic.

Finally Finished and New Academic Resolve

We finally got all of our state stuff in order, including curriculum for the next year and assessments for the previous year. The state is very much on top of this stuff and lets you know fairly quickly what is right or wrong. I made some blunders but they let me know and the situation was quickly rectified. Now that we are done with answering to the state, I made a resolution to be more on top of things. We’ll see where this one goes.

The main thing is to keep tabs on what we’ve done, not just to make end of year stuff simpler, but to help plan the days ahead. It’s easier knowing where you’re going when you know where you’ve been. With this in mind, I’m determined to keep better regular/daily/weekly records of what the kids have done, rather than scrambling at the end of the year to gather all the stuff and then summarize it.

I’m also drawing inspiration on our friend, DE, who says he writes a weekly newsletter to his wife telling her what they’d done. It sounds corny at first, but is actually a great idea, and one we’re going to try. I just need to be diligent, which is not my strong suit. This way, I can get R’s feedback, if any, and it brings her more into the loop, as well.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mattox for the pic.

Sorry For My Absence

Wow, time sure travels quickly, and before you know it, days have passed. I apologize for not posting for the past few days, I've plenty to say because so much is going on. Part of it was preparing for the market, but also because we are on vacation in the aftermath of our final market. Praise be to Nero's Neptune.

Either way, we are currently in Washington DC, if you can believe that one. We took the train out of White River, 11 hours on Amtrak, and I have to confess, I really enjoyed it. So much less stressful than a plane, and a lot more fun. Sure, it's a long ride, but after a hectic week, I welcome the down time.

Now we're in DC and I just woke up in the hotel. Would love a cup of coffee, but may have to wait. Until then, thanks for reading.

and thanks to raly for the pic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trip to the Museum for Beaver Education

Our penultimate market was complicated by a field trip we wanted to make down to Grafton, which is about an hour drive south. It’s actually a really nice town, we’d visited it once before and had a nice time. Really nice community of people, though it got hit hard by Irene and was in the midst of rebuilding.

There is a nature museum down there that is small but has nice classes on various nature topics. This one was on beavers, which are amazing creatures, but the main draw was getting to spend the day with DE and his kids, who A&N get along with really well. The only problem was, we had to be at the market by 2:00, and the class went from 10:00 until 2:00. Factor in an hour drive, and that I have to prepare an hour before getting there (i.e., 12:00), and there was no way we were going to make it.

I broached the possibility of DE watching over A&N and then bringing them to the market. It was a lot to ask, but he was all for it, thanks to him for helping us out. We could have just bailed out on the whole thing and taken the kids with us, but they get along well with C&A, and I’m sure they’re sick of the market. I know I am.

The plan was for all of us to head down to Grafton. DE had offered to take all of us in his truck, but since I had to leave early, I followed in our car. The kids sat with the them because it’s more fun with friends. I got to listen to NPR instead of Lady Gaga. The drive was quite an adventure, he took a rather circuitous route that I’m guessing is based on experience, and at one point, I began to worry that I wasn’t going to be able to find my way back. The museum itself is rather small but nice, and I got to sit in on the first hour of the program.

The instructor is a wildlife biologist who happens to homeschool his kids, as well. There was a really informative presentation, and at some point the kids were going on a nature walk to visit a real beaver den and dam. I had to leave, so I missed out, but the kids had a blast.

I, of course, got to prepare for the market, but more on that later. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to H Rotgers for the pic.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Last (Windy) Market, After All?

I was all set to forsake this past market because of the weather, when lo and behold, the rain actually stopped and there was no getting out of it. Bummer. It was, however, incredibly windy, not to mention cold, which didn’t make for a good time in shorts and a t-shirt. Plus, because it was so windy, none of the other vendors used their tents, which made for an odd scene.

The market was slow, as well, and at some point I began to wonder if this was it. Next week there is going to be a big political event the day before, so the entire green is going to be a mess. The market is going to be relocated to another part of the field, and there will be no parking. Why bother?

I spoke with several vendors who said they are not coming next week, which inspired me to not want to come, either. It doesn’t take much. R, however, and the kids, are adamant about doing the last market. R especially wants to sell the rest of our dumplings, but I think it’s more of a symbollic ending, finishing what we started and riding it out to completion.

We’ll see where this one goes. There’s still a chance the market will just be cancelled, but no sense in getting my hopes up. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lize Rixt for the pic.

Raining Cats and Dogs

I can’t get over how much rain we’re getting. Besides the devastation of Irene, the rain has been just non-stop, exacerbating the woes of the state. I can’t even remember the last time we had a sunny day. It makes it hard to do much in terms of yard work or barn work, but that’s because it doesn’t take much to inspire me to put it off.

The one bright spot about all this inclement weather is that we may get to skip the market. Who wants to sit around all day in the rain while customers stay inside where it’s warm and dry? Not I, that’s for sure. Besides, our tent has finally taken a dive and the leg fell off. Bummer.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Piotr Ciuchta for the pic.

Catching Colds

There’s something going around these days, which isn’t surprising since we’re in the midst of cold and flu season. A first got some sniffles then a full blown cold, then N and now R. I know my time is coming, there’s nowhere to hide. I’ve noticed that people we know are catching colds, vendors at the market haven’t come and I can hear it in the kids I run into. A said that many of the kids at choir practice are coughing and sneezing.

Oh well, better to get it over with sooner than later. That reminds me, we have to get our flu shots. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sebastian Smit for the pic.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Own Clubs

I was at the dump and spied some golf clubs at the thrift next door. There were in fact three sets of golf clubs, and they were all for sale. I don’t know the first thing about golf clubs, so I went with what looked the nicest. It turns out I picked out the ancient set, because N’s golf coach referred to them as “old school.” So much so that you can’t even find clubs like this anymore. I prefer to call them “vintage.”

PB, N’s coach, gave me some perspective on the clubs by saying that if I was skiing, I would be on wooden skis. What’s wrong with that?

At least I have some clubs so I can hit the greens with N. This should be good. Until then, thanks for reading.

Answering to the State

We are so close to being complete for our 2010-11 academic school year. We weren’t early by any means, but not nearly as late as last year. When push comes to shove, you can get things done in a timely manner if you just bear down and focus. We had some added incentive, but more on that later.

At some point I’d gotten next years curriculum done and had set up an appointment to get our evaluations done with DE. The state even contacted me to tell me that certain things were missing, like our signatures. The good news in all of this is that they didn’t tear my curriculum to pieces. In the past, that’s where I’ve really taken some hits, because they are fairly rigorous about what’s expected of you. This is not a bad thing, it just makes for more work for yours truly.

So we are close. Just waiting on those evaluations and that beautiful letter from the state saying that we are done and ready, at least for this school year.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Vikki Hansen for the pic.

Wet Saturday in the Big City

Last weekend we had things to do in the big city, so A and R went to do some things at work while N and I went to the driving range and met up with them later. It’s been raining non-stop for days over here, but the driving range has a cover so you can still hit balls in the rain. Say no more. We also stopped at the Golf and Ski Warehouse to get N a golfing glove, which he had been asking for for some time. I’ve found the shop can cater to some high end clientele, but the prices are not unreasonable.

Either way, we went to the range and hit some balls. N got to use his new clubs, and it was a lot of fun. No sense in letting a little rain get in your way. Since it was rainy and cold, we passed on the ice cream and headed out to the big city to meet A and R.

We were planning on going to the football game, Dartmouth against Penn. It was the first night game ever at Dartmouth, so we figured why not. The only problem was, it was raining pretty hard by the time we were in town. I figured that it wasn’t going to happen and we could just grab some food and go home and relax, but no such luck. The kids were adamant about going to the game. The rain had let up slightly, so it was still a possibility.

By the time the game was supposed to start, it was a light drizzle. I had prepared raincoats for the occasion, and we had towels in the car, so we decided to go for it, umbrellas in hand. We got tickets at the door, and it seemed like great seats, about three rows from the field. In retrospect, the better seats are higher up because the constant flow of people get in the way.

At several points in the game the rain just came down in sheets. We had umbrellas and coats, but we got soaked, just the same. It was chilly, as well, and by halftime, we’d had enough. The game was a little slow, lots of mistakes, and not much scoring. Plus, the crowd was pretty subdued compared to what you see at a UCLA football game, so we figured it was a good time to leave. N, however, was a bit disappointed, if not angry. That boy doesn’t seemed fazed by cold weather.

I found out later that the game got really exciting after we’d left, of course. Dartmouth almost pulled off a big win, but lost in the last minute. I also heard that the rain pretty much stopped by that point, which just goes to show you, you just never really know.

No regrets on this end, we were soaked and freezing, so going home was the best option. We think we’ll try to make the homecoming game, which is always a bit of a circus.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Asif Akbar and Mike McKee for the pics.

Golf Clubs for N

I have been scouring the classifieds lately for a number of items, notably golf clubs for N. It would also be nice to find him a hockey bag with wheels, but hockey equipment is rather specialized, so that probably won’t work. In the past I’ve looked for ski equipment but that hasn’t worked out so well, either. The best bet is to go to Henderson’s for that.

Either way, every now and then you’ll get lucky and score a good deal on something you’re actually looking for. Case in point, last week I saw an ad for junior golf clubs. The guy lived in Woodstock so I figured he wouldn’t be a total slob. N and I drove out there to check it out, and the guy selling the clubs happened to be somebody who seemed like a golf pro. He was older, a la Arnold Palmer-ish, and very nice. He talked about golfing in Arizona and Florida, so he'd hardcore.

The walls of his garage were literally lined with clubs, I kid you not. He was a collector of wood shaft drivers, and you could tell that golf was his passion. He said that in the course of searching for these clubs, he ran across a junior set now and then and would unload them to the neighborhood. He charged us $10 for the bag and clubs. Their are in excellent condition, and the bag has this cool feature where legs pop out when you set it down, so the bag stays upright.

Best of all, N is thrilled to pieces with them. He was so excited, and when we got home, he took the clubs up to his room and kept them by his bed. How’s that for a score?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

They Found Me

With what little time I have, I’m plugging along on this i-KODI website. As with everything in life, it’s a bit more complicated that I originally envisioned. I don’t know how JF thought to put this thing together, but my impression is that he didn’t opt for the easy way out.

Now I’ve been able to toy with this thing at my own leisure, which means I haven’t done much with it, but this has been due to the fact that nobody has even mentioned it or asked me about it. Well that all changed when they found me. I got an email from MG about the website, asking questions and requesting info. It hasn’t happened yet, but now that I’m in their sites, my luxurious life of leisure is sure to come to an end.

Oh well, now that it’s getting cooler, I have to pack up the hammock anyway.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Jess Rosales IV. for the pic.

More Deadlines

Boy did I space on this one. We are trying to enter our library for consideration for a national award, and the first step is writing a letter of intent. For reasons that elude me at the moment, I said I’d help to write a first draft. I created this situation for myself by impersonating a writer, and now whenever writing things come up the look to me. You make your bed and sleep in it, right?

Either way, I was under the assumption that we were going to apply next year, but then found out that we were in fact going for it this year. Okay, that meant I had a couple of weeks to draft something, and then I learned that the meeting had been moved up a week so now I only had a few days. Yikes! I can’t let my trustee compadres down.

Nothing like a little pressure to grease the wheels of progress. Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to uwbobio for the pic.

More On Ski Gear

We took A’s skis in to Henderson’s for a tune-up, they’re having a fall special on them, so we scored a good deal. We ended up getting N some new goggles, and he was excited about that, mainly because they are cool and he really likes them. I was pleased by the fact that they weren’t that expensive because, as I’ve mentioned, kid’s stuff costs less, and Henderson’s has great deals.

A, on the other hand, wants over the glasses goggle, which are more of specialized item, and costs a bit more. However, as I’ve also mentioned, I’m all for her wearing her glasses when she skis, so I’m going to shop around a bit and find her a pair she likes, or at least likes enough to wear. We can’t afford to be too fancy and picky over here, or rather, we find that mindset misguided.

On the whole, we’re still getting our acts together for winter, slowly putting all the pieces together. Granted, we have time, but it’s nice to deal with it now rather than scrambling once the snow falls to be ready. Plus, when you have some time, you increase your changes of finding good deals, even used stuff at the Listen, and I’m all for that.

We’re still pondering the whole season pass thing. It’s a lot of money to ski in one place, and we like variety, so it may not happen. We’re exploring some options, so stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Bjarte Kvinge Tvedt for the pic.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Final Local Market

Last week was the final local market, and though it’s always sad to close the chapter on something, it does sort of simplify our lives. I’m bummed because the kids do have fun at the market, but the crowds have been sparse, and it ends up being a really long day/evening, and I spend all this money on food and assorted items in an effort to support the local economy. It does get me out of having to make supper, which I’m not complaining about.

I’m not sure what the fate of the local market is going to be. Attendance really dropped off in terms of vendors and customers. They feed off one another, and this could spell trouble for next year. In reality, it may be too much to think a small town like ours can sustain a market. As conscientious as people are around here, the fact of the matter is that people are just not coming. I’ve spoken to a number of friends and neighbors who have never even made it to the market this year, so it’s not simply of question of not having enough food vendors. People just aren’t coming. It’s just another case of a good idea that doesn’t really pan out in practice.

It’s a shame, because it’s such a nice scene. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to elke oerter for the pic.

More Performances

When we were speaking to JB about various musical occurrences, it came up that there was going to be a school performance by the school chorus. The light bulb immeditately went on in my head, and I asked A if she was interested (she was), and then JB if A could join in (she could). Good news, because this means she gets to hang with her buddies and do what she loves, which is to sing on stage.

She had her first rehearsal the other day, and the other kids were two rehearsals into it, but that’s fine, because it’s a kid’s chorus. She can always hide out in the other voices. Besides, A is quick at learning songs, so she’ll be fine. Most importantly, she’ll have lots of fun.

It makes for a busy day, but that’s how we like it, right? At least sometimes.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Juan Croatto for the pic.

Sixteenth Market and Light at the End of the Tunnel

Two more markets left to go. No complaints on this end. Well, there’s always something for dad to complain about (why not one instead of two?), but I’ll keep it under wraps for now.

The previous week that we missed was a busy one, so we were told, and we figured as much. It was the first week with the students back full time, and it was the one day where the weather was beautiful, so it makes perfect sense. We couldn’t make it for various familial obligations, but we weren’t complaining. Time off from dumplings is like time off for good behavior.

Everyone figured that the next week was going to be a busy one, us included. We even got an email from the manager saying that it was busy and that people were asking about our dumplings. I.e., get to work and be there for the market. Even the weather cooperated on some level, and it stopped raining.

Even in light of all that, the overall market seemed a bit slow. Even S stopped by and commented on how slow it was, and it seemed to have all this potential. When we arrived, there were about six or seven tour buses parked along the street, and people figured that meant more business. There were lots of people milling about, but they all disappeared once the market started, and it was a pretty light day. Sure, there were the usual moments of busy-ness, but in the end, it was slow.

I’m fairly ambivalent about it all, what we didn’t sell we can carry over to the next week, which means that there are fewer dumplings to make for the next market. I personally think the big city market should have ended in September, but that’s just my bad attitude talking.

Now I have to make dumplings, and I am not excited about it, but I figure two more weeks to go, and then I can live the fabulous life of leisure that I long for.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to John Nyberg for the pic.