Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farm Fest

We sure lucked out on the weather this year for Farm Fest (FF), it was beautiful. Sunny, warm, but breezy. Just right, if you ask me. FF seemed bigger this year, with more vendors and displays. It was really nice, though what struck me was the lack of visitors. There didn’t seem to be as many people who showed up for the festivities. I always say this, and it could be that I’m not seeing it properly, but at almost every event that we go to, and we go to a lot of them, the crowds just seem to get smaller and smaller. People just have other things to do.

Either way, that didn’t stop us from having fun, or rather, the kids from having fun. I just sat there on the sidelines as the kids took off with their friends. I had brought along a book, which for the record, I am totally into. It’s awesome when you have a book that you look forward to reading, and this one, the Steve Jobs bio, is great. I was looking forward to sitting under the shade and reading it, but I didn’t end up getting any reading done. Part of it was because it’s nice to people-watch, especially when you’re alone with the kids all day, but also because I got to see a lot of our friends. Plus, it was a fair, after all, with so many distractions and things to check out and sample. Also, I like to have some idea as to where the kids are.

It was nice for A because she immediately saw MB and they took off running, eventually hooking up with HJ. N managed to hang with several boys, so the girls and boys got to their respective things. N first hung with KP, then CE showed up, then CH. They’re all friends of his, albeit older, but he hang with older kids. If anything, younger kids (i.e., his age) tend to overwhelm him with their energy. He also hung out with ES, who I think is a great fit.

Needless to say, we deviated from our healthy eating plan, at least in terms of sugar. You just can’t be a kid at a summer fair and not get ice cream or a lollipop. Thankfully, it’s Farm Fest, so they promote local food and not processed junk, so even the lollipops were made from local maple syrup. I just sat back and watched the fair evolve, occasionally dispensing money and the obligatory parental directive, which usually falls upon deaf ears. In an interesting note, we saw our friends A&K, who are our models of vegetarian eating. They set the standard in terms of healthy eating, more so than I can actually manage, but they are a good yardstick. I told them about our new eating plan and they were very supportive, though at the fair, I got the lamb meatball stew with rice from Skunk Hollow Farms and had to hide from A&K while I was eating it.

They had a raffle of some really cool stuff, and we entered but didn’t win a thing. We did, however, win a gift basket with a sample of several of the vendor’s wares in it. I filled out a survey about the farmer’s market, and they drew names and I won. The basket is really nice, and we got some pottery, all sorts of food, some beautiful wooden spoons, and really nice cloth napkins. It’s a wonderful basket, and I had no idea my name was even entered, but it was a nice surprise. Don’t you love when that happens?

Several of our book club friends showed up, and it is always nice to see them and hang out. The E’s were there with their own booth and KE gave me advice about my back. Our friends JD&J showed up, as well, so it was really nice talking to them. We stayed until the very end of the fest, which was about 3:30. The kids were still revved up and ready to rock and roll, so they went home with HH and her kids, and then she took them over to ultimate frisbee at 5:00. That gave me a window of time to mow the lawn and cut wood, and of course make supper.

All in all, it was a hectic, crazy, but fun filled day. Just the way we like it. Somehow summer has the reputation for being relaxing and slow, but it never manages to live up to this. Funny how that works.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to twg1942 for the pic.

The Truth About Tilapia

It turns out that tilapia is not the miracle fish that we’d been looking for (i.e., healthy and cheap), all due to the inevitable meddling of the human race, of course. Now we had no idea, but were listening to the radio and one of the so-called self help gurus mentioned that tilapia was not so healthy after all. We mentioned this to mom, and she did a little research.

It turns out that tilapia is a heavily farmed fish, originally from Africa. It apparently does well in crowded and less than ideal conditions, making it a good candidate for farming. Also, it has a bland flavor, and doesn’t really taste like fish, which the American consumer likes. I noticed from the get-go that the fish was lacking in flavor. The goal of food producers is to make tilapia like chicken from the sea, so much so that it even resembles chicken in that it is somewhat bland.

Now I know the point is to have a sustainable model, but something about farmed fish just seems a little off, even when they’re organically raised. They feed farmed fish all sorts of things that maybe they just weren’t meant to eat, not unlike the meat industry on dry land, particularly beef. Farm raised fish tend to get things like soy or grains, and their meat tends to reflect this diet. As a consequence, tilapia may be a good source of protein, but their omega-3 content seems to suffer. It’s complicated, but R mentioned that if you’re eating tilapia to get good fish oils, you may be barking up the wrong tree. The gold standard remains wild salmon.

Oh well, back to the drawing board. I wasn’t so thrilled the tilapia, anyway, but it sure was cheap. It just goes to show you, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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

New Karate Plan

The irony of being unable to make it to karate (and every writer lives for irony) is that I may end up practicing on my own even more than when I was attending regularly. In an ideal world, I would go to class and then practice being a killing machine every day. Knowing that is not going to happen, it would be nice if I could practice at least a few days in between, but that doesn’t seem to happen, either.

The reality is, I know what I need to practice, and the skills all boil down to repetition to the point where they become instinctual. Wax-on, wax-off, as Mr. Miyagi said. If anything, going to class is about learning new skills and getting tested, but the core set of knowledge needs to practiced on your own time. This, of course, requires that you want to do it, and discipline and self-motivation are keys to this process. Only then will you be ready, grasshopper.

Now that I’m not going to class, I realize that it is that much more important to practice on my own, so I have been more motivated. It’s nice because the stretching is good for my back, and I get a good workout from it. Plus, I feel I’m getting that much closer to becoming a lethal killing machine. If I practice even once or twice a week, I’m still doing better than I had in the past, so it’s a win-win situation.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Project for the Kids

This past weekend I was busy doing real-man’s work when the kids mentioned that a hummingbird had come to our feeder and there was nothing in it. In light of this, they asked if I could take the feeder down, clean it, and then put in fresh hummingbird food. To that I replied, “Are you kidding me?”

I told them I didn’t have time, and that if they wanted to, they could do it themselves. A left and did what she always does when I say no to her request. She went to mom. I felt a little bad afterward, but you know what? With a little assistance from mom, they took the feeder apart, cleaned it, and then put in food that they made (basically sugar water). All by themselves.

In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t help them because they took their own initiative and did a nice job. Is just goes to show you that kids can be inspired and work hard on projects if given the chance. Just as a sidenote, the next morning, we saw a hummingbird feeding from the feeder. How cool is that?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

The Mellow Weekend That Never Was

As if I’m ever going to get a break. Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend, and the official kick-off of summer, filled with all the classic images of relaxation and fun. I will admit, it was fun, but not much in the way of relaxation. If anything, it seemed like constant work, which is often the case when you’re a parent and your kids are having a good time. It’s nice because many of the structured activities are winding down, so our level of engagement is largely up to us. Of course, with young kids, that choice is usually being active.

On Saturday, my original intention was to mow the lawn and cut firewood. The morning started out muggy and hot, and I was not looking forward to the day’s heat, but some sort of front moved in bringing drier weather with a breeze, so it ended up being beautiful. The first thing we did was head over to the Garden Club plant sale (see Plant Extravaganza for more), though the selection was a little disappointing. I was really looking for vegetable plants, and they had some, but mostly decorative stuff that was really nice. I got a couple of tomatoes, but had to visit the farmstand to get more.

The kids also wanted to ride their bikes on the special track that the rec center designed. It’s got all sorts of lumps and turns, making it more interesting than just going in circles. They rode around while I practiced karate in the shade, so it worked out beautifully (see new karate plan for more). After riding, we went home and I had to go to the store to get vittles. Then I managed to cut some wood and mow the lawn, though it was late, and we wanted to barbecue.

Before supper, A&R wanted to take a walk, so N and I went to practice some lacrosse and check out the garden, which has nothing in it. Afterward, we got the grill going (using our killer charcoal starter) and barbecued fish, burgers, and asparagus, along with corn on the cob. What a feast, though it was a bit of a challenge cooking the fish this time around because it really stuck to the rack. Plus, it was tilapia, and tilapia is not the miracle fish that we thought it was, which tempered our enjoyment a big.

The next day was Farm Fest, and even though I’m getting too old for these sort of things, the kids were excited about going. So much so that they wanted to get there first thing in the AM. We rode our bikes over and when we got there, it was clear that we were too darn early, because not that many people were there. Fortunately, the wonderful MD, director of the library, had jobs for the kids to do, and they went right to work. We were at FF from about 10:00AM until they closed down, which was well after 3:00. Talk about a long day. Then the kids went to play ultimate frisbee, but due to my back issues, I sat this one out.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we had nice weather again, so I cut wood and mowed the lawn. I also managed to plant our tomatoes, though it’s clear that I’ll need more because they only took up about 2/3 of the garden. I have space for maybe 4 more plants, and I gave them lots of space. At some point in the afternoon, the kid’s buddies called and wanted to go swimming, and then as usual, A&N managed to cajole us into having a dinner party. It was another long day to cap off a long weekend, but I’m not complaining because we really like HH and her kids, and enjoy having them over. We barbecued again, this time with more veggies, but were exhausted by the end. That’s what happens when you parent the hard way.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to acceber26 for the pic.

New Lids

In a good example of how life’s all about the little (and trivial) details, I found one piece plastic lids for our Mason jars, and it pleased me to no end. We tend to use the jars for all sorts of purposes, including storage of dry foods (beans, grains), as well as holding beverages. I try to avoid plastic. The big issue I have is with the lids, which have two pieces. For canning, this makes perfect sense, but for every day use, I find it to be a pain having a two piece lid that always comes apart when you open it.

Now we found one piece lids. Granted, they’re plastic, but I feel that a plastic lid is better than a plastic container, less exposure, and they have no BPA. The one problem is that they leak, which is pretty serious when you get down to it, but I’ve found that by placing a regular flat mason lid (not the band) inside the plastic one, it forms an excellent seal because it has a gasket. It also reduces exposure to plastic, and it snaps in, so you don’t have to deal with two pieces.

I think we have a winner. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gone (mostly) but Not Forgotten

That is putting it lightly. We are trying to eliminate processed sugar from our diet, and going to the big holiday weekend made it difficult, if not impossible.  I mean, come on, it’s summer and kids (and adults) will be kids. Truth be told, we slipped a little and had ice cream and some sweets, but on the whole, we are doing pretty well on our new healthy diet. Avoiding white flour is easy enough because there are good alternatives, even ones we prefer. We generally opt for whole grain bread, and I can’t remember the last time I bought white flour pasta, we always get the whole wheat kind. Not eating potatoes is a little trickier, because we love them and from a vegetarian perspective, they’re a great food to keep you mind off meat. However, meat has become once again acceptable, as long as it’s all natural and local. None of that pink slime garbage.

It’s the sugar that’s tough. Not only is it in everything (everything good), but even organic foods can be full of sugar, and sugar is sugar. We try to sweeten with raw honey and agave, but apparently even that still has offending qualities. In the end, you can’t be perfect, especially with kids. Life should be fun, so we can’t do completely without. It’s all about moderation.

I will say that I’m happy to have eliminated dairy. The rice milk is a good substitute for real milk, at least in cereal, and that transition has been easier. We’ll still eat a bit of ice cream, and cheese is hard to completely avoid, but we’re working on it. I eat yogurt, but that’s not a problem because the kids don’t really like the stuff, anyway, so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.

Boy, obsessing over your diet can sure take a lot of time and energy. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to le cabri for the pic.

Forcing the Issue, Sort Of

Once the weekend is over, it’s back to our regular routine, and that means academics. This means that I have to do battle with the kids to do their school work, and it isn’t always easy. For the most part they do their work without too much of a fight, and there are even those wonderful days when they do their work without me even having to say anything - I love when that happens. Unfortunately, those moments are not the norm.

In general, the kids are resistant to doing school work, and on the one hand, I understand, but on some level I think they enjoy it. I know how crazy this sounds, but there is something magical about that moment of understanding when you are learning something or trying to solve a problem. It’s as if at that moment, life suddenly makes sense, and it is very satisfying. I know the kids experience this all the time, but it still does not inspire them to do their work. It’s still work, and they’ve convinced themselves that they hate it, especially N. A tends to be more inspired, but N is all about resistance, even in lieu of the fact that resistance is futile.

Which brings me to some important points. In life, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to, and that just because they are not always fun, you don’t quit or walk away, or even worse, don’t even try. Plus, in many instances, and we’ve all been through this, you have to be forced to do things that you enjoy, or things you didn’t know you enjoyed but after doing them, you do. The problem is that it’s too easy to fall back on the path of least resistance, which means routines or doing nothing, even when these choices leave us flat, bored, or uninspired. It’s like watching TV, you may not like it, and you may realize that it’s not the best thing for you, but you can’t help but indulge. It’s too darn easy.

I think with the kids, they’re young enough to where they don’t have a lot of life experiences, and you can’t force them to like or dislike something. As a parent, however, you can be the one to introduce them to things and let them decide. That’s the only way, because without that, they wouldn’t try anything that takes work and motivation. In terms of school work, there are subjects that the kids do like, but it’s important to help them find their way. That’s a parent’s job, right?

There are in fact beautiful moments when N does a great job on his own, and even does extra work because he likes it. Yes, it’s been known to happen, especially with math. He’s even said he loves math, even if he puts up a fight when he has to do it. I’m not taking that for granted, I’ll take what I can get.

Either way, I’ve found that as an adult, and I don’t think I’m alone on this one, it’s much easier to sit back and let the world happen around me. This is fine if that’s what I want, but if I have any inclination for something more, than it takes a bit of work and discomfort, namely getting out of comfort zone. When I spend all my time avoiding new and uncomfortable situations, I find that I stop challenging myself and my brain goes soft. I start to anticipate the predictable, and if anything, become dependent on it. There's nothing like trying new (hockey, training to be a real man, parenting) things to shake up the system and invigorate oneself.

This is the beauty of living in New England, the shifting seasons and the New England ethos are all about changing and adapting to the different times of the year. Sure, you can find routine in all of that, but each year brings something new, and there is something revitalizing about the changes that occur with each passing season. I love it, and they really celebrate it up here. Another great area where this happens is with travel, and again, sometimes you have to force the issue to come a new and better person on the other side.

Okay, I’ve lost my train of thought (finally). Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to KimmerKC for the pic.

Not Quite the Same

We ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Boloco, the other day, and I have to say, things were a bit off. Maybe they’re going through some growing pains from their success. The differences were not huge, and some people might not have even made an issue out of them, but it is interesting to see. It could stem from the fact that there is a new crew of people, none of whom I recognize. Maybe they just need time to get it together.

The first thing I noticed is that the hot sauces are in a bad way. The one we like is never there, and the area where they keep them is in complete disarray, messy with all the caps of the bottles missing. It leaves a bad impression. A mentioned her burrito was hotter than usual, and R ordered the Mediterranean, which is a veggie deal, but they didn’t add hummus. When I went to tell them they forgot the hummus, they said they’d been out for a couple of days. Is that how you deal with a situation?

The food was still good, and we still love Boloco, it’s just that it wasn’t quite up to speed for us. It’ll be interesting to see how things evolve in the future.

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fly Trapper

Every summer, it’s the same old song and dance. We get inundated with fruit flies, as well as house flies, but not as badly. We leave our doors open in the summer and it invites all sorts of wildlife into the house. It’s a good thing we have cats, because otherwise it would be like Wild Kingdom over here.

Now I had nothing against fruit flies because they are pretty harmless, they just bug the heck out of me. We eat a lot of fruit, and compost, so we have pieces of fruit lying around all the time. The fruit flies come out of nowhere and suddenly, there are several of them around the sink. You can’t catch them because they’re tiny, but I keep finding them in my OJ. I’ve tried fly paper, but they don’t stick to it. They are a little slower than house flies, so I decided to make a trap. It’s not perfect, but it works pretty well.

I simply take a yogurt container and deposit fruit leftovers into it. Within an hour the flies are all over it, so I quickly cover the cup and trap the flies. I then take them outside and release them. It sounds so archaic, but it works. In the past, when I came downstairs in the morning, the flies would bum me out, and now their numbers are greatly reduced. I’m still amazed how they keep showing up, but that’s what flies do, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

First Loss at Lacrosse

We had our first lacrosse loss, though it was an exciting game. We played Rutland, which is kind of known for playing a rough and maybe a bit nastier. They definitely have that reputation when it comes to hockey. The coaches were kind of anticipating this, and sure enough, they were a tough team, playing a little dirty and sneaky. They also had more 4th graders than younger kids, whereas N’s team is an even mix.

It was their first loss, but it doesn’t really matter, because the kids go out and have fun. I’m learning to appreciate lacrosse a lot more, partly because it’s a lot harder than it looks. More importantly than the loss, however, was that N played a lot of the game. He didn’t score, but they put him in as a mid-fielder (midi), and he did a great job. The midis are key positions and are usually the older and more experienced players on the team. N was playing along 4th graders, and it was exciting to see. He ended up playing all the positions, and was in for most of the time. I think regardless of the loss, he had fun, and the coaches seem supportive of his play.

At the next practice the coach asked if N was okay after the game, because some of the other players were bummed at the “slippery” play of the other team, but N wasn’t upset in the least. He would have preferred the victory, but I think he’s just happy to be out there, and that’s the way it should be, isn’t it?

Until the nex time, thanks for reading, and thanks to spartanfoto for the pic.

Teammates

I feel bad dragging A to N’s lacrosse events, but sometimes she can find them enjoyable, especially when the older girls are there, some of whom are her friends. She may even have some interest in seeing some of the older boys, though I’m not sure if she’s really at that stage, yet. She is influenced somewhat by her older friend, who is boy crazy. Either way, she is always a good sport about it, and when she does get to see her friends, it’s always fun for her.

Recently she has been running into her hockey buddies, and that’s nice because I think they’re a nice group of kids, and they share a common bond over hockey. Then again, what else is there in life? She’s been ruminating, or rather I’ve been ruminating, over the idea of playing on the U12 girls team, though she has been pretty adamant about playing on the House team. One of the girls on the House team who is a good player was out on the lacrosse field and she said hi to A, and they talked hockey. It turns out she wants to stick with the House team, and her dad is a killer coach. I’m actually glad, because I worried that all the girls on the House team were going to migrate over to the U12 team. This is not a bad thing, it just would have been a bummer if A was the only girl left over. After talking to some of players, this appears not to be the case.

So it looks like it’s been decided, at least for now. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to NxtLvlPhotography for the pic.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Low Inflammation Diet

We are about to embark on a new diet regimen, and from the looks of things, it’s not going to be easy. Then again, with greater challenge comes greater reward, right? R and I were talking it over and we have decided to try to eat what is known as a low inflammation diet, which basically restricts or removes refined starches from your diet. Unfortunately, refined starches include many of the fun things in life, including potatoes (i.e., french fries), white bread, dairy (ice cream and cheese, though maybe yogurt), and perhaps the biggest one of all, sugar, or at least cane sugar, which is pretty much in every thing we eat and love.

This may beg the question, why, and truth be told, I don’t think I can give an adequate answer to convince you of our decision. Then again, this “adventure” is not about winning approval of our peers, but rather a quest to try a healthy diet that is a bit extreme, but healthy, nonetheless. I don’t think people can really dispute the healthful aspect, even if it takes a lot of the fun out of eating. Furthermore, there are some interesting and intriguing issues to consider, though for the record, I don’t have all the facts. Give me time to research this and I’ll get back to you.

First off, I just heard on VPR that the Pediatric Association has revealed that a whopping 1 in 4 teenagers has type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Can that really be true? That number is difficult to fathom, but they went on to say that in the next 20 years that number will rise to 1 in 3. That is completely crazy. Now I know you have to take medical information with a grain of salt, especially when it pertains to obesity and body mass index. That number isn’t always an accurate measure of a person’s health because numbers don’t tell the whole story, but something like diabetes seems pretty straightforward because it’s a disease that is diagnosed. Now I always assumed that contracting diabetes was linked to being overweight, but that is not always the case. You can be thin and diabetic if your pancreas simply stops doing its job, and this can happen when it has to work too hard. I won’t go into the physiology of it all, but suffice it to say that you can eat your way to diabetes.

I don’t think our kids are at risk, they eat a healthy diet, and don’t overdo it with sweets, though they do love them, as do I. They are also active and are not overweight, but man do we love our sweets. I think the biggest thing I worry about for them is acne. They have good skin, they’re young, but I had acne as a teen, as did R, so they have the genetic potential. Plus, R and I are convinced that there is a dietary component. Now my word doesn’t mean much, but R has been researching nutrition as part of her research, and believe me when I tell you, when it comes to researching a topic, R doesn’t mess around. She doesn’t have a Ph.D. for nothing. Her current focus is nutrition and HIV, so she knows her stuff. The take home message is that certain foods must surely contribute to acne, and the biggest culprits are dairy and starch (sugar,bread,potatoes).

We’re going to give this a try. There are acceptable options to occasionally treat ourselves to some dietary enjoyment, but for the most part, it’s going to take a great deal of discipline. This, of course, is going to fall into my hands, because I’m the cook in the house, and I happen to love sugar, dairy, and starch. I also had bad skin, and am currently suffering from all sorts of health issues that I won’t go into right now. At some point you’re willing to try anything, and I’m big proponent of the importance of diet.

So here we go. Stay tuned for more. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to khancafee for the pic.

Seeing the Doctor

My back pain was getting bothersome to the point where I decided to go and see the doctor, though I could see the end result from a mile away, because when you really get down to it, there is only so much they can do before they start prescribing medication or resorting to surgery. I’m not complaining, I’m glad there is a simple, if not a bit pedantic, solution, it’s just that sometimes I may be hoping for some revelation. I just sometimes wonder if the answer simply boils down to common sense and doesn’t require an office visit.

Also, for the record, my back pain isn’t actually located in my back, it’s deep within my left butt cheek. The sciatic nerve runs down that way, and often when you have lower back pain, the first question they ask is if travels down your leg. My pain is actually originating from my butt. Either way, I called to see if I could see my doc, and of course he wasn’t available for a couple of days. Not a problem, I said, can I see any doctor, and sure enough, there were several available. A bit of advice for people who want to see a doc, just because your primary care physician is not available, if your situation is not serious, they can usually squeeze you in to see somebody. I went for three years having never met my doctor, she was never available, and then she dropped me.

It turns out that I probably have what is called piriformis syndrome, which involves a muscle deep inside your butt. I’m not even sure what it’s used for, but it can touch the sciatic nerve, and that’s when the pain kicks in. My pain definitely reminds me of a pinched nerve, which I get at times in my neck. The doc gave me some literature on stretching exercises, but they were the same ones that my father in law, RR, recommended to me, so nothing new there. She did say that if the problem did not improve, they could initiate physical therapy, but I don’t think that will be necessary. At least not yet.

On a bright note, my BP came in normal. I wrestle a little with mild hypertension, and have yet to really modify my salt intake. I have, however, found that eating lots of bananas (good source of potassium) and exercising regularly can help, and they have.

I’m still cruising along, for now. It still hurts to sit, and driving can be a chore, especially using the clutch. I was at N’s game and was doing some stretches on the grass with A sitting next to me. I told her that I might suffer in the process, to which she said that hopefully I’d suffer in silence, for a change.

Boy, sometimes I can’t even buy any sympathy.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to gj2802 for the pic.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thoughts on Tennis

Since the weather was so nice last weekend, we didn’t want to squander a chance to be outside and really enjoy the great outdoors, especially since the kids can get antsy being inside all the time. On Saturday morning, N asked if we could go play tennis, and I thought, why not. It was early and still cool, and probably not too crowded. I told N to gather up some balls, get the rackets and we headed on over.

Nobody was there so we had the court all to ourselves, and it was a beautiful morning, though you could tell the heat was on its way. We hit the ball back and forth and I was amazed with how good N was going. Really good, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his dad. In the past, even last year, playing tennis with the A&N amounted to one of two things: either they hit the ball into the net, or I was forced to run all over the court chasing the balls they hit. It almost never amounted to anything more than one hit each, then game over.

This time around, N did a fabulous job. Not only was he making good contact, but he was getting it over the net and with a lot of control. Also, he was hitting backhanders, which is huge. In the past, he would maneuver himself so he was always hitting forehands, and if you’ve ever played tennis, you know this is a futile endeavor. At some point you have to employ a backhand shot. His backhand looked good, too.

We had rallies that lasted at least a dozen shots, and it was fun. It reminded me of when N first started playing baseball. At first, it was me lobbing balls at him so he could catch them, but at some point he was strong and coordinated enough to really throw and catch the ball. At that point, he had become a real baseball player. Bear in mind, a lot of the kids take years to reach that point, or never reach it at all. I know this from years of playing and coaching N’s teams. You can see right off the bat (no pun intended) which kids are going to be baseball players and which ones will never really quite pick it up.

We had fun playing tennis, and I can see one day having actual matches with the kids. A doesn’t show as much interest, but that may change. Or not, whichever way is fine, she’s got so many other interests that it doesn’t matter.

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

Nice Time at Amy’s Range

Last weekend N said he wanted to go to the driving range, he was feeling a bit antsy, so we headed on over to Amy’s Range in Quechee. It’s a nice range, small and manageable, and you can’t beat the location. It’s usually quiet there, which is surprising considering that there are two serious golf courses close by. When we got there, the owner was giving some instruction to a couple of golfers and we got to listen in on some of the instruction.

While we were hitting balls, the teacher, who is also a golf pro, came out and helped N out with his form and swing. She was so cool about it, she essentially gave him a free lesson, and pointed out many things that I had no idea about like how to place your hands and body dynamics. It makes you realize that there is a whole science to golf, beyond anything I’m capable of learning. She also complimented N on his swing and his strength, and I have to confess, he is a rather strong boy.

After we were done, she mentioned that when she closes up, she goes out and pitches the balls on the grass into a centralized area, and she invited us to come on down and join her. I thought that was really nice. She pointed out that the grips on his irons were a bit big for his hands and that was why he tended to choke up on the handle. She said she could order junior grips that would feel better, and we were all for it. They also come in cool colors, and are not expensive in the least.

All in all, it was a nice day spent at Amy’s Range, full of good vibes. After golfing, we went over the climbing gym, which just re-opened. It’s called the Green Mountain Climbing Gym, and it’s good to see them back in business. The place looked good, and we might go for a climb one day soon. We got home in the early afternoon, had some lunch, took the car in, whipped up some supper for after UF, then went to UF, which was fun. We had a good crew out there. Then again, we generally manage to have fun with UF.

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

Fitness Schedule

I am trying (and failing, thus far) to implement a new fitness program, but boy does it sound good in theory. Since I haven’t been to karate in about 1 1/2 months, I figure I can still practice katas and one-step spars on my own time. Plus, I can stretch and do sparring drills on my own, not to mention hit the punching bag. Of course, I’ve done very little of this, compounded by the fact that my back is hurt, but no time for sissies, right?

I did manage to ride my bike up the big hill the other day, and that was nice because it doesn’t take much time and I can squeeze an errand in there, as well. Plus, it’s better for the environment than jumping in the car for every little need. About two weeks back I also did some jump-roping right before UF, so things are slowly happening, albeit without the regularity I seek. Mind you, the goal is not to simply get some exercise in, which we always manage to do over here, but more so to maintain my lethal trained killer status while also helping my hockey game. Is that asking too much?

Besides, word on the street is that Master H has his sights set on testing me for black belt this year, which will require that I run 5 miles before fighting an entire Shaolin temple. This should be interesting. I have to start making it to class, first.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

He Shoots, He Scores

N had a great lacrosse game this week, and it was a blast to watch. They were playing Hartford for the umpteenth time, and on their home turf. Naturally we saw many of our friends out there, and the weather was nice. It had been hot all day, and there was a threat of thunder storms, but it worked out nicely because the clouds came in and cooled things off but the rain and thunder never materialized. I’m grateful for that.

A decided to come along and watch. I’m not sure if she’s so into lacrosse, but she’s at that age where she might be more inclined to check out the older boys who play right after N. She’s mentioned a few names, but I’ll leave it at that. Personally I think she’s still young for all that, but some of her friends are boy crazy, so that’s going to rub off on her to some degree.

Anyway, before the game, the coach shifted N to defense. I’m not sure why, but I did notice that there was a new goalie, and the usual goalie was put in at striker, so that is part of the reason N shifted. I don’t know if it will be a regular thing, but whatever be the case, N might not have been completely thrilled with the change, but he still had fun. Best of all, N scored a goal, and an amazing one at that. He carried the ball all the way down field and fired a shot. As you can imagine, I was beside myself.

From what I can gather, defensemen don’t score that much in lacrosse. It’s not like hockey, where defensemen can be a team’s leading scorer. In lacrosse, players maintain their position and don’t really leave their zone. N was in the defensive zone when he picked up the ball and started running. He ran past defenders, who were all trying to get that ball, and carried it all the way to the other goal and took the shot. He’s got a pretty forceful shot, and it zipped past the goalie and in. It was incredible. I was screaming, I was so excited. Now I don’t know much about lacrosse, but I think as N gets older, if he is still interested in the game, he could be a good mid-fielder, but that’s just my opinion.

After the game, walking to the car, I told N that his goal was sweet, so much so that I wanted to use the f-word to accentuate my excitement, but I refrained. Good thing, too, because that always comes back to haunt me.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug88888 for the pic.

One Car Family

In a throwback to our first four years living up here, we are down to one car, and it definitely forces us to be a little more creative and thoughtful about our day. About a month ago our mechanic was putting the snow tires into the Honda and being the burly manly man that he is, pushed too hard and put a dent in the hood. He was completely up-front about it and said he’d pay for the repair, giving us the name of his auto-body guy. The only problem is, the guy is that it’s a bit of a trek to get to this guy. I’m guessing they have a long running relationship, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there were body work guys closer. Oh well, I can’t complain, he’s footing the bill.

The place is about 20 miles away, out in the boonies in Perkinsville. I’d never been to Perkinsville, much less heard of it, and when we drove out there, once again I was convinced that we were lost until we arrived there. We had to take the car over for him to assess the repair, make an appointment, and then take the car back to do the actual repair. On the way over, R had to follow, and she said later that she was convinced that I was lost. I can’t say I blame her.

Interestingly enough, on the way back home, I realized that we could pull it off on small side roads, and the drive is rather interesting because you go through small towns that you would normally never drive through. I rather enjoy that. Either way, we took the car in on Sunday night, and we’ve been with only one car since. Like I said, it forces us to be a little more creative with our time. Fortunately, R has flexibility at work, so she’s been doing some stuff at home. Also, A’s track is over, and the only place we have to be is lacrosse. In that sense, the timing is not bad.

We’re supposed to get the car back soon, so that will be nice, but for now, it reminds me a bit of when we first moved up here and only had one car. That was a challenge, and not an easy way to go for me and the kids because we were trapped at home with nowhere to go. The kids were young at the time so they didn’t make much of a stink, but I’m not sure how that would work out today. Then again, you do what you have to do, right?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Doug88888 for the pic.

Back Pain

I have been suffering from chronic back pain, and as anyone who suffers from any sort of chronic pain knows, it’s such a drag. A couple of years back I was skiing with the kids and foolishly followed N over several jumps and the next day I was in traction, the pain was so bad. After a few days I recovered, but certain aspects of my back were never quite the same. About six months ago, my left leg/sciatic nerve started to flair up, and it’s starting to become a constant thing.

The odd thing is, sitting down is what makes it flair up. I still play ultimate frisbee and run and ride my bike, and during these times it’s fine, but when I sit down, the pain starts up. Actually, it hurts when I stand up from sitting down. What a bummer. I’ve tried all sorts of stretching exercises, and have thus far avoided medication, but in the end, all it takes is sitting down for the pain to return.

I think I’ll go see a doctor, because it isn’t showing any signs of abating. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to renochiropractic for the pic.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tennis and BBQ

We had a really nice couple of days last weekend, punctuated by fabulous weather. Granted, it was a little warm, but there was enough of a breeze to make it pleasant, especially after all those days of rain. On Saturday, N asked if we could play some tennis, so we headed over to the rec center and hit the ball around. I will say this, he’s become quite the good tennis player. Sure, he’s not ready for Wimbledon (we’ll wait until he’s nine), but last year he struggled to get the ball over the net, and this time, he was hitting it beautifully.

Not only that, but was hitting nice backhanders. He used to position himself so that he could always hit on his forehand, which as anyone who plays tennis knows is not ideal because it leaves you scrambling for position. Last weekend he was actually purposefully hitting backhands, and doing a great job. In fact, we were having some nice rallies, and played for awhile. At some point I was wondering if he was getting tired or bored, but he wanted to keep going. I was all for it. He did a great job, and I can see one day soon playing games with him.

After tennis, I broke out the lawnmower and took on the grass. With all the rain and then the sunny weather, the grass has been growing like crazy, and every week it needs a trim. I mowed about 80% of the lawn, which takes about 4 hours, including some pretty decent hills, all with a push mower. After all is said and done, however, it sure does look a lot nicer. You can’t beat the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer, or for that matter, the sound of a distant lawnmower.

For supper, we decided to barbecue and build a bonfire. Our fire pit is coming along nicely, I dug it out a bit so it is actually a pit, and we have some new devices for our BBQ. First off, we got a rack to cook fish. Barbecuing fish is a challenge because it gets flaky and falls apart on the grill. This rack encloses the fish and allows you to flip it without disturbing the fish. It’s amazing. We marinated catfish in chimichurri, grilled some filets, as well as some asparagus. We also had corn on the cob.

The fish cooked beautifully, though I might consider a different marinade. It’s nice, though, when the fish gets crispy from the grill. The filets were from Cloudland, and I have to confess, their beef has a strong beef flavor, almost gamey, as the saying goes. I’m much more aware of it because we don’t eat much meat, and I have to confess, I’m not so into it. Real beef lovers can appreciate it.

We also tried out our charcoal starter, which is supposed to eliminate the need for lighter fluid. Our kid’s dentist, SB, even scolded me for using lighter fluid, he kept telling me to get a charcoal starter. He and I always talk about cooking, he’s a gourmand, though I think people might think we’re sissies because of it. Can’t say I blame them.

Either way, the charcoal starter worked beautifully. We just stuffed some newspaper in the bottom, put coals on top, and let it go. It worked way better than lighter fluid, and faster. The coals really got fired up, and they were hot from the get go. When I use fluid, the coals seem to take forever to get really hot. I love this thing.

After supper, we hung out by the fire pit and the kids roasted marshmallows while I suffered from back pain. I hate being such an invalid, but does it ever hurt.

Then again, I should stop being such a sissy. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to hsarik and mawie for the pics.

Garden Almost Ready

Last week during story hour, I spent about 2 hours weeding our garden plot, and I think I’m about 75% done. I had worked on it about a week before, and figured it was about half done, but when I showed it to N, he said it was more like 1/3. Thanks a lot. That’s what happens when you’re surrounded by people who are good at math.

The work is hard, the weeds are deeply entrenched, and unlike years past, I’m not just turning them over, I’m pulling them out. The root networks for some of these weeds is extensive, if not a bit impressive, and takes some serious effort to dislodge. Needless to say, the work is slow, and small areas suddenly seem vast when you’re on your knees pulling weeds. I did have a sudden insight, however, when I realized that it’s more effective to use a potato fork and unearth the stuff standing up. You just a lot more leverage than when you’re on your knees with a trowel.

I will say this, as much as I dislike weeding and gardening in general, it’s somewhat peaceful and satisfying getting some stuff done. It helps that the weather has been mild. In the past, the weeds came back with a vengeance because I only turned them over, but this time around, their rebound is somewhat tempered because I’m making more effort to pull the things out. They don’t rebound as a lawn, but more as individual stalks that can pulled out by hand.

Once the weeding is done, I’ll spread some compost, work it in, and then we’re ready to do some planting. This should be good.

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

Track Confusion

I’ve mentioned that I think this is a bit of a bummer, but the 5th graders don’t get to compete in track anymore, their season is short, even though the rest of the kids will continue to race. I understand the reasoning behind it and won’t carry on, but I figured A could just continue going to practice. Then she told us that another kid had told her that they weren’t supposed to go to practices anymore, either.

My first thought was, don’t assume anything until you hear it from the coach. With that in mind, we went about our lives as usual, but at story hour, ES wasn’t there. Maybe she went to practice, and suddenly the notion that we were missing it entered into our minds. According to the schedule, there was a practice, and we didn’t know if the kid who said 5th graders were done knew what they were talking about. I emailed KS and inquired, but didn’t hear from her until the next day.

Well, as luck would have it, I was over at the gas station and ran into the coach, DS, who was heading to a track meet. He confirmed what the child in question said, and went on to say that A did a great job at the meet, and that she had really come along nicely. He specifically mentioned that she was doing well in terms of her form and technique. I have to confess, I was thinking the same thing, but it’s nice to hear it from someone who knows and whose opinion A actually takes to heart.

Now that we are clear on the status of track, we can get back to our normal lives, whatever that means.

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

To Travel or Not to Travel

That’s the big question, as least in terms of hockey. I was approached by one of the hockey dads who said they are going to create a girls travel team that will compete with other girl travel teams. I know they have them at the other programs, and the big city program is a powerhouse. I thought it would be great for A because they are taking all levels, even girls with no prior hockey experience.

Plus, she would be with a bunch of girls who happen to be nice, and she would get to know them well. This would open up all sorts of social opportunities and give her a cool group to identify with. I get a sense that they are trying to lure girls away from the House team to play on this one. I’m not sure how many they’ve succeeded in getting, but there are only a handful of girls on the House team, so it would take much.

I thought it would be a perfect fit for A, mainly from a social perspective. The House team is mainly guys, and though they all jive, I don’t think she’ll develop any real or lasting friendships with these boys, they’re just too young and crazy. Playing with a group of girls, however, would be great. They would totally jive, and again, they’re really nice girls.

A has indicated, however, that she wants to play on the House team. She feels loyal to them, and that’s fine. As much as I would think it would be a better fit with the girls, I’m not going to push it. It would be more work and time commitment to be on the girl’s team because they are a travel team, and I was also told they need coaches and my name came up as one of them. Are you kidding me? Either way, in choosing the House team, A is making our lives easier, but as we all know, it’s not about making life easier, but rather making it better.

In the end, she should make her own choice and I’ll respect that. She’ll have fun no matter what.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Go-Cart Developments

Our most recent plan for the go-cart has us combining forces with the esteemed ladies of racing. Originally, N and I were going to team up with some boys that JM was going to find and make a go-cart, and A was going to work with HH and her kids. They had a marked advantage because HH is a pro-builder with a pro-builder set of tools, not to mention the experience and know-how to build a killer vehicle. I even asked her to borrow a jigsaw.

The last time we saw JM, he said he hadn’t spoken to the boys or found a group for us to join, and I realized the better alternative was to just join forces with HH. Even though it’s good for A and N to pursue their respective interests, he’s buddies with HH’s kids, and this way we had a complete team. I have to confess, I was somewhat relieved to have HH there to help build this thing, because like all professional builders, she’s patient and thorough. You just know she’ll do a good job.

Life is good in the go-cart world, we’re just going to have to figure out how to satisfy each child’s respective interest, because when you get a bunch of heads together to figure something out, it can become interesting, for lack of a better word.

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

Juggling Our Schedules

I was talking to KS at the track meet and she mentioned that they were going to have a quite, mellow weekend with not too much in the way of planning. She alluded to how much they were looking forward to it, and I can relate, though we both sort of agreed that when your life is hectic, you ramp up your energy and anticipation level and act accordingly. When that changes, you have to change your expectations, accordingly. It’s not that you like it or want it, it’s more of survival thing. In order to pull it off, you have to be ready to tackle the day’s events, and when they’re not there, you have to decompress. It’s hard to really explain.

Either way, we had a crazy few days last week, and had to employ the assistance of friends to pull it off. The kids had book club early in the day, and during that time, I had to prepare supper because once I left the house again, there was no coming back. A had track after book club, and I had a trustee meeting in the afternoon. I ended up dragging N along with me, but somehow A had to get from track to my meeting. I asked KS if she could help, and they were more than happy to. I figured we could find somebody to drop her off, it’s not that far, and if anything, for most people, it’s on their way home.

It’s cute at the meeting, because at some point A shows up and comes to the big glass door to say hi, and the other trustees always enjoy seeing her. With the exception of myself, our group is all women, and they can appreciate a cute kid in their presence. Then again, who couldn’t?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to sim-sim clown for the pic.

New Drum Developments

We haven’t been going to drum or piano lessons for the past month, and probably won’t resume until some point in June. A’s track has ended, but N’s lacrosse continues, so our Mondays are booked. We haven’t been to karate, either, but don’t let’s not get into that one.

I’ve been making the kids, much to their chagrin, practice drums and guitar, and though they begrudgingly do it, once they get started, they get into it and start to actually explore their instruments. I think it’s awesome to see and hear. A will practice her songs and then either start figuring out new ones on her own or playing with different cord combinations. She’s very interested in musical theory. N has a lesson plan that his teacher is following, but when I listen to him, he adds in all sorts of rolls and combinations. When I ask him if that’s part of the lesson, he told me they weren’t and he just added what he thought sounded good.

How cool is that? Now if I could just motivate them enough to practice on their own, we’d be in business.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Clocked in the Jaw

We’ve been having beautiful weather for the past couple of days, and I figured it would be a good time to weed our garden plot. Of course, N had other ideas, and we brought along our lacrosse sticks, as well. Needless to say, I didn’t get much gardening done. I will say this, however, N is really getting comfortable and confident with handling his lacrosse equipment. Sometimes he tosses the ball and it’s impressive how much power he has.

In fact, at one point he winged the ball towards me and I mishandled it. The ball missed my basket and proceeded to hit me in the face, right in the jaw. Ouch. It felt like getting punched in the jaw, and I’m lucky it didn’t knock my teeth out. The pain lasted for the rest of the day, but oddly enough, it hurt in the back, near my ear. N apologized but I made it clear to him that it wasn’t his fault. Besides, it gave me a reason to indulge my dramatic and whiny side.

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

Fortuitous Timing

It’s been sort of unfair to A because we haven’t been able to make it to her track games because of time conflicts coupled with the fact that she rides the team bus. Plus her meets are long and we don’t know when her actual event is, and thus far N has had lacrosse games at the same time. The last meet, however, things worked out so that I got to see her fun, and was it ever cool.

I was prepared to take N to his game and A understands, especially since as the younger team, they don’t really compete that much. In fact, this was their final meet, even though the team will run until the end of the month. N asked mom if she could come and see him play, so we shifted plans, which like everything in our lives, took some juggling.

I took N to his game and got him all set up, then left when it began and headed over to A’s meet. Luckily it was close by. R was going to stop by the game after work and catch the second half, then bring him home. A would take the bus home after the meet, and then I’d pick her up at the school. That way she could hang with her teammates.

I got there about two hours into the contest, they go at least three hours. I spotted A and she told me they ran the 4X100 and came in 4th out of 6 teams. Not too shabby. The next event was the 4X200, which I was in time to catch. A was running with the other 5th graders, and there were five teams running. They mixed the ages up, but A’s team was all 5th graders, the young ones. There were two other relay teams from her school, along with two other schools. I know, it’s confusing. KS was there and, knowing the drill, explained to me where we should stand to get maximum viewing of our own respective kids. Her daughter ES is on A’s relay team and is her buddy.

From the opening gun, one of the opposing school was way ahead. The girl came out like a rocket, and nobody was even close, but once she handed the baton over, her teammates were much slower, and the rest of the field caught up. A’s team was the slowest from the start, and they were way back. The lead team eventually got passed up by every team except for A’s team, and it was looking like they would come in 5th place. A was the anchor, which is where you usually put your fastest person to finish the race.

When A got the baton, they were in last place, and she was about 50 feet behind the other team. I figured they did a good job just going out and competing, so it didn’t matter what place they came in. However, A really turned on the afterburners and took off running. At about the 100 yard mark she caught up with the last girl and passed her. I was doing cartwheels, I was so excited. It was so fun to watch. By the finish line she was at least 30 feet in front, if not more. She looked so good out there, her form has really fallen into place. Her older teammates took 1st and 2nd, and her team took 4th. What a great race.

Afterward I told her what a great job she did, and I think deep down she knew it. She worked really hard. In a funny twist, the girl she finished ahead of is a homeschooler who we’ve met on several occasions. She came up to me and asked if A was at the meet, and I almost said, “Are you kidding me? She just beat you.” It just goes to show you, when they’re running, they’re so focused, the don’t know what’s going on around them.

What was really cool was walking to the car, her older teammates called out to her and told her that she ran a great race, which is huge when you’re a kid. In fact, one of the team’s stars yelled out what a nice job she did. It made my day. Now the original plan was for A to ride the bus home, but since the meet was close, most of the parents came and the kids went home with them. In light of this, A decided to get a ride with me.

On the way home, A called N on the cell and they chatted about their respective contests. N won his game, so they were both excited. Now A’s season is over, it was very short, but at least she got a taste for track, and she likes it. We’ll look forward to next year.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Monte Isom for the pic.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mean Kids

I was at JM’s party last week and was speaking with GM, who BTW is such a great guy. He’s so nice. He was relaying to me a surprising story, though not surprising in light of what I know and remember about school. Apparently there was an incident involving one of the sports teams where one of the kids quit because one of the other players was being mean. Now I know all about mean kids, and the thought of them gives me anxiety when I think of A&N, which is why I tell them not to put up with that. Just walk away, and if they persist, punch them in the nose. Just kidding... sort of.

Anyway, it was a telling tale of kids just being mean. It’s too bad because now one child misses out on the fun, and the mean kids win and get to go on being mean for another day. Now I know people say that’s just life and kids need to get used to it, but there’s something now quite right about that level of cruelty. Where exactly does it come from? We live in a pretty small and humble town, so it just goes to show you, it’s everywhere. I can think of a few other kids I think are mean, but I won’t get into it.

I asked A if she knew anything about it, and she had some sense, but as a kid, she’s sworn to secrecy whenever adults get into the picture. After talking with her for a bit, I got a piece of the picture, though not the whole picture.

Boy, it ain’t easy being a kid these days. Then again, was it ever? It just goes to show you how important it is to find your thing in life and embrace it. They you can assume your place in the adolescent universe and try to make it to adulthood without being too scarred.

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

Being Zen About Lacrosse

When N started playing lacrosse, I vowed to take a more Zen approach about it, i.e., keep my big mouth shut. In hockey I got a little passionate at times about giving N advice, not so much regarding skills and strategy, but more so about attitude and work ethic, i.e., I think he has the skills and abilities, it all boils down to confidence and mental discipline. For all it’s worth, I think it’s helped him, and in certain areas his game has really come along.

Now I know all about playing for fun and the fact that winning isn’t everything, but I also know that, as a kid growing up playing team sports, the better you are, the more fun it is. It also gives you a certain level of carte blanche amongst your teammates and friends. I am fully aware of the flaw in this way of thinking, but it’s just the reality of boys playing team sports. The goal is never to get N to be something he is not, and the key is to have fun and enjoy it.

Either way, I’m getting better at lightening up with hockey, partly because I think N’s growing as a player. When he decided to play lacrosse, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take a big step back and just watch. So far, so good. It helps that I’ve never played the game so I know nothing about it. At least with hockey, I watched plenty of it to understand how it’s played. Lacrosse is an alien game to me.

What’s nice about lacrosse is that his buddies from hockey all play, so he’s getting to know them better, and is connecting with the guys. I can see where a lot of the thought processes of the game can translate to hockey, and it’s nice to be outside in the beautiful weather. Plus, it’s fun to watch, especially when I just sit back and enjoy the ride.

We’ll see how long this lasts. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to elainebrown82 for the pic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday Night Movie

R was talking about going to see a movie in the big city if we could somehow pull it off, but there is so much going on that it was going to be difficult. It seems like every day this week we have lacrosse or track, both of which finish at the end of the day. From there it would be a challenge to drive all the way out to the big city, though not impossible.

As it turns out, there was a movie playing in the adjacent town at the town hall theater. The movie was Mirror Mirror, a play on Snow White, with Julia Roberts as the evil step mom. Since we had lacrosse, we weren’t too far away. A had track earlier, but she could catch a ride with mom and meet us there. The only complication was what to do about supper.

We put our heads together and came up with a plan. Since we torture ourselves over where to go when we eat out, I decided to make supper on the go and simply eat it before the movie. The hard part is, what to eat? Picnic food was in order, but it was threatening rain. Then again, what’s a little rain to Vermonters? I ended up making a pasta supper with salad and bread, and left it for R&A to bring with them. N and I headed out to lacrosse, and afterward met up with R&A at the theater. They have a sheltered front porch complete with benches, so it was a perfect place to eat. Since R got home a little early, she and A ate at home, and N and I ate at the theater. Fortunately, we weren’t pressed for time, and it was actually nice sitting there eating and watching the rain.

After our meal, we went in for the movie. Of course we had to get popcorn, though this time I decided to forsake (much to the kid’s chagrin) the maple butter that they offer. Amazing stuff, but not in line with our healthy eating plan. The movie was a lot of fun, and the kids really enjoyed it. They can definitely handle more PG movies, and I think they could handle PG-13, as well, but maybe it’s best not to rush things. Heck, I remember my parents taking us to R rated movies before I was ten. They were a bit disturbing for me, though.

The movie ended around 9:00 and when we came out, it was raining, as usual. We headed home and went straight to bed, but what a fun evening. It’s nice to get out and be a little spontaneous. Plus, the kids get to be hip on the latest movies, which is always an important thing.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to m4tik for the pic.

Enough of a Break for a Super Weekend

It’s been raining for days, and I think we’re past any drought or water shortage crisis. In fact, it seems at times as if it’s been raining for a week straight. As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. Interestingly enough, it’s been pouring, but we had enough breaks in the weather to have a great weekend. Last Saturday, the weather was one of the “perfect weather” days, the kind that GS says remind him that there’s no better place to be living.

Last week was fairly gray and dreary, much like late spring can be. We need the water, and who knows how summer will be, so I can’t complain. If anything, it makes you really appreciate when the sun does come out, and it was beautiful on Saturday. Sunny, low 70s, and breezy. Perfect day for lacrosse and track. A had her big track meet that day, and headed off with her friend for that, and N and I headed off to Norwich for his game. It was a pretty exciting match, and they won, though Norwich came out fighting and scored the first two points. It was a tough match.

N started again at attacker, and played most of the first half, though he didn’t get back into the game for the second half. That’s kind of a bummer, but he’s one of the youngest, if not the youngest, kids on the team, and his playing time will to some degree reflect that. Either way, it’s great to see him out there, and he’s having fun with it and enjoying the camaraderie with his buddies. It’s interesting because the kids do come from all over the place.

After the game we went for pizza, and saw from friends from town. We stopped at Stateline to get some lacrosse equipment and saw GG and J&H. Always nice to see them, they’re really cool people. When we got home, A was still at her meet, and was going to hang with her friend afterward. This gave me a chance to finish cleaning up the backyard and then mow the lawn. I wish I had my chainsaw, but such is life, right?

It was nice to have such great weather for the weekend, even though it’s been raining non-stop since then. You have to be grateful when you catch a break in the weather, because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. Then again, that’s how life should be, right?

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

Working the Garden and Attacked

I finally made it over to our garden to clear some weeds, and it was quite the adventure. For the record, I’m excited about the possibilities. Now my plan to clear the weeds was compromised by our busy schedules as well the poor weather we’ve been having. Non-stop rain, though I guess I could always pull weeds out of the mud. I’m just being a wimp, not good for a real-man in training.

Either way, the kids were at story hour and the weather had finally abated. I went over with a weed tool and trowel and went to work. I also brought along my carpenter’s knee pads to get down and dirty, or at least down, but not dirty. I managed to weed about half the plot, and felt good about that. At the trustee meeting, SG commented that she saw I had finally gotten some of the weeds cleared. Vindication is a beautiful thing.

One funny that happened was while I was weeding, I was attacked by ants. I must have disrupted their nest, and since I was on my hands and knees, they had easy access to my flesh, and proceeded to bite me. I felt a stinging sensation on my legs and looked down and saw the assault. It was a little unnerving, though you have to give them credit. When faced with an ominous adversary who is thousands of times bigger, they don’t back down.

I had to take off my knee pads and clean myself off, and continued to work in a squat position rather than on my knees, which was a lot harder on my back, but what are you going to do? This is the price you pay when you want fresh tomatoes.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Chiot's Run for the pic.

The Fruity Balancing Act

One of the nice things about summer is that the summer fruits start to appear, and it’s no longer about eating just apples and pears. Oranges, grapes, strawberries, and eventually peaches and nectarines, you just can’t beat it. We try to feed the kids fresh fruit every day for either breakfast or lunch, preferrably both, and then veggies for supper. The fruit thing works well when you have variety, because they’re more inclined to be enthusiastic about eating it rather than being forced. As you can imagine, this is more difficult in winter. We’ve been eating oranges like they’re going out of style.

They tire of eating the same thing every day, however, but I have noticed that as they get older, they’re more tolerant of the repetition, not to mention welcoming of things they didn’t like as much a couple of years back. I’m glad for that, but it ain’t easy maintaining a healthy diet. Then again, the best things in life don’t come easy.

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