biggest loser

I am getting a complex. I keep writing the same post, it keeps disappearing.  What’s up, WordPress?

A came in second on the last contest, I came in 4th – woo hoo!  The group decided to start again, this is our first week,a dn I lost the most.  It won’t happen again, but I wanted to do it once.  A and I each lost over 4 pounds.  Now we will settle back to our standard one or two pounds a week.

no one wants to pay it forward

I am sad, I was plotting and planning what my gifts to you all would be.  I guess I will just keep making hats and Christmas presents.

If you missed the post and DO want me to make you something, check it out.

Here’s what I wrote a few weeks ago…

Pay it Forward. (Click the link)

This looks like lots of fun, and I HOPE  I was one of the first three commenters, but as she posted it days ago, I might not be.  But it occurred to me – I could do it anyway.

So, follow the rules, and I will make you a present. 🙂

Here are the rules if you want to join in:
1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise.

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated regularly, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you). Include your blog address in your comment.

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will choose the next person who comments…It’s that simple.

Quiet Sunday

Friday night was game night – late night (for me!) I got home around 10:30.  A left around 7:30, so she had a normal night.  It is fun to play games with the people at her job, I think, but she has a short attention span for it.  So I go, and she stays for a while.  Luckily, because of the logistics of playing after work, we have two vehicles there. but we played two games that were quick, and that she liked – one was Zombie Dice, and I can’t recall the name of the other one.

Saturday I was exhausted – not sure why, I wasn’t out that late!  But it felt almost like I was coming down with something.  Time will tell.  I did a little work on my reports Saturday – very frustrating, because none of the files would open, so I had to run to the office to load them from the server onto a thumb drive.  Came back, they opened just fine, no thumb drive needed.  Ugh.

We went to Brewer to have “lupper” with A’s sisters at Kosta’s – it was yummy, and I will be having leftovers for supper tonight. Then we went to Lowe’s – made ourselves walk every aisle, as we had not really exercised in a few days.  It is a n expensive way to exercise, as there are many many things we want from there.  L went with us – she had never been inside a Lowe’s before – only in the garden center.  We could not believe it, as it has been a huge part of our lives for 4-5 years now! She was amazed at all they had, but probably won’t go there often, as she rents from a landlord who takes pretty good care of her place. I got some craft supplies (which others might think of as building supplies) and some Christmas decorations – yes they are out already! and some magazines.  We also got a birthday present for little niece E who will be 6 next week.  And a bunch of other stuff. A got some router bits to use on the last of the trim on the bed.  She said she “needed” them.  As I often “need” things like yarn, I could not argue.

Today we are still low energy – but we had to get ready for a visit from Sandy – brought in the lighter porch furniture, put the trash barrel up on the porch, that kind of thing.  We don’t expect a big hit, but it seems the forecast calls for three days of heavy rain and high wind.  So, we will make sure nothing we own can go blowing around, and hope that the trees stay put. We are high enough that flooding from the astronomically high tides and rain should not bother us – although, if it is really bad and timed right (wrong?), we will have to stay home, as the road has a low place near the marsh/river.  Now that would be sad, given how much I have to get done next week.

Book group has already postponed our meeting. I will be glad to not have to drive in the storm after dark, although I like going to the group.  I wonder if we will move our annual meeting?

So.  Did a chore (or two) and wrote a blog post, so I now I get to go watch a show and do some knitting.  Life is good. As long as we do the opposite of Scarlett O’Hara – don’t even think about tomorrow – at Tara or anywhere else.  Just focus on today, a pretty warm autumn Sunday.

a tale of Zumba

Every evening we sit and watch the news.  Allie Cat and Zumba often sit with us and watch the TV with us.  Or, take a bath, as was happening this particular night.

Zumba was diligently cleaning herself, ignoring the TV or so I thought.

Then the first (of many subsequent) story aired on the prostitution case in the southern part of the state.  The accused is a Zumba teacher.  Well, when Zumba heard her name, she whipped her head around, stared at the TV.  The story went on, liberally sprinkled with “Zumba” and she stared at the TV for the whole story.  When it was over, she went back to her bath.

A and I cracked up, it was so funny.  Zumba could not believe that the noisy window knew her name.  We noticed she did NOT go to it when called.  After all, she is a cat…

But I guess she knows her name.


Blessings?  Down?  Maybe some of both.  I try not to blog about work because I do not want my life to be defined by it, and I find if I focus on the other things I do, it reminds me that I am not my job. But I have a stretch I’m in the midst of that is just overwhelming, all-consuming and it is WORK.

So, the blessings are that we are hearing back on grant proposals we did at the end of the summer, and so far, the news is good!  This is especially important to me because of some internal strife about whose program is more worthy of some of the funding opportunities  – NOT instigated by me, I might add – which kicked my competitive spirit into high gear.  Of those, we have heard back that my proposal was funded, and the other project was not.  We have one more of these to hear from, then hopefully things at work will settle into an even keel on the internal funding struggle. And I would be thrilled if the other result is the same as this one!

We also are close to bringing a new funding partner on board – which will make me very happy.  We have been working on this one for YEARS.  Should hear more today.  But I am not at work.

One of our business clients is featured in a documentary that I will get to see Friday night – Betting the Farm – if you are anywhere near where it shows, please go see it – pretty interesting story about the start of a milk cooperative, Moo milk – doesn’t sound exciting but it is !  All about local farms surviving, and that is important to the whole country.

On the count down column – I have THREE federal quarterly reports due by Wednesday.  to do them, I need numbers from our Finance division. But this is year-end AND we have new accounting software, and so although I keep asking, until I am screaming, I am not a high priority for them.  I understand this, but it is still stressful. I hope to get my numbers this afternoon so that I can work on the reports this weekend.  Ugh.

And the reason I won’t have much time to do them early in the week – our annual board meeting is Tuesday night, and a very special project that I have been working hard on is happening on Thursday and Friday – a huge business conference. These two things will take up my whole work week and then some, even without the reports.  So I think I am looking at a 60-70 hour work week.  I am tired already.

More on blessings – these of the NOT work variety…

Monday night is book group, and I loved the book we read – Anne Quindlan’s Lots of Cake Plenty of Candles.  She is just very funny and clear in her real life observations about how women think, grow, change, survive. I can’;t wait to get with the ladies and see what they thought.

I spoke to my Dad last night – my grandmother has made a good transition to assisted living – seems to have perked up and is much more responsive, is slightly more vocal, moving around more.  I think that being with people is a great antidote for whatever was ailing her (I suspect some real depression, but hard to tell when she doesn’t respond anymore).  And, I made arrangements to do the one thing I really never look forward to – driving to CT.  But in a couple of weeks, I will head down to visit Dad and see Ma in her new digs – and celebrate her 103rd birthday!  It’s this week, but I can’t get down there this weekend – see above! Can you imagine?  103 years old – there is some serious counting.  The stories she has told me about being a little girl, and young woman back in the early part of the last century – sounds so long ago, but it wasn’t really.  And HER grandmother met Abraham LIncoln.  Mind boggling. I will see if she can tell me some  more when I visit – not sure she is talking THAT much, though.

Anyway, with that move for her, Dad has a huge load off of his shoulders.  So maybe he will get to relax and enjoy life more than he has the last few years. That will be good!

Here’s another blessing, remotely work related – the drive to work and back this time of year happens just after sunrise and just before sunset – and the scenery has just been gorgeous all week.  We have golden light -the kind that reminds me of the Hudson River Impressionists – and fog in the valleys, and beautiful foliage colors the whole way. It’s a wonderful way to start and end the days.

Today has hardly any chores – so I will get to go to the craft room! Lots of November birthdays to make cards for. So sad. 🙂

view on the trip home

Sunday – a confession

I’m not typically a church-going woman, so a Sunday confession is NOT normal. But in order to tell you what I did today, I need to make a confession first.

A and I have always had cats.  When we had to put my Frankie down this spring, it was because of kidney failure. If you have had a cat with kidney failure, you know that sometimes they signal they aren’t well by not using the cat box all the time.  Frankie was notorious for this, and we always paid attention to her when she acted up like this, rushing her off to the vet. So, this spring, it finally got so bad we had to put her to sleep.  A couple of weeks later we got the kittens.

One big change we made in between was the location of the cat box – we took it out of the laundry room and put it into the guest bathroom.  This was very exciting to me, since it meant we could now close the laundry room/mud room door when we do laundry and in the winter, to keep the house warmer.

Here comes the confession: this week, we started shutting the door at night.  And in the morning, when we opened it – overpowering smell of cat urine. All summer, the windows had been open, and we never noticed it. Ugh!  Just what we want to have greet us when we come in the house. We are pretty sure that it is not the new kids that did this, but the old sick girl.  And truly, we HAVE cleaned in there this summer, but obviously, we missed something major.

So, today I totally emptied both rooms, moved the washer and dryer out, cleaned behind them, cleaned the dryer hose while I had everything apart, scrubbed the floor all over, especially under the sink where the cat box had been.  But nowhere did I find any signs of old cat urine – no smell, no dried puddle places. It took hours to wipe everything down, dusting, vacuuming, moving furniture.

Now that everything is clean, it only smells like the floor cleaner in there. The only things that aren’t back in there are the shoe stray and the door mat.  I am really afraid the source is the door mat, because that would be the hardest to clean.  It is also most likely what Frankie would have gone on, if she wanted to go outside and the door was closed. So, we will bring the shoe tray in and see if the smell comes back.  If it doesn’t, then we will know, and that will be the end of THAT door mat!

Other than tearing one end of the house apart, cleaning it and putting it back together again, I haven’t done too much.

A got her brand new table saw this morning, she and her brother-in-law put it together, then she cleaned up the workshop, and now she is too tired to go play with it.  But it will be there for years to come, so I know she will use it a lot.

We did make a very special dump run/road trip – we took the kittens for a ride.  🙂  I know it sounds like a crazy cat lady thing to do, but I really want these kids to not be afraid of their crate and the car.  So to me, that means we take them out sometimes when they are not going to the vet. Today we decided to try it out. It was interesting – they both got into the crate with no trouble – no surprise, we leave it out all the time so they can use it for a bed (something we learned from Tuppence – we had to get the crate out days before we needed it – she hid when she heard it).  We all got in the car – me and the kids in back and drove the 5 miles to the dump.  Kids were fine – a little nervous, but not crying or terrified – just cautious about something new.  On the way home, A said “Open the door and see what they do” so I did.  It was too funny.  They carefully came out, and sat looking out the windows. Allie eventually went under the front seat, and then sat beside A for a few minutes.  Then, without any coaxing, as we turned in our road, they both came back and climbed in the crate. So I guess they are not yet traumatized by car rides.  We will keep up the experimenting, and maybe someday, we will be able to take them with us without listening to wailing and crying the way we had to with their old sisters.

Saturday Road Trip!

In the middle of Biggest Loser I said to A “When this is done, we are going to Big G’s deli”  I see the ads on TV all the time, and I have heard from people who have been there that the food is yummy, the portions ridiculously huge.  I decided we needed to go there. I was hungry.

Well, Biggest Loser was done last week, but with all that company, we couldn’t go.  Even though a new round of Biggest Loser started yesterday, we decided to go now, so we could have time to lose the weight.

So, since we were going on a road trip anyway, I decided we would take the long way, and go find Chimney Farm in Nobleboro, where Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth lived.

We invited A’s sisters, S and L, and headed out this morning.  It is a rainy, foggy day today, not beautiful for scenery, but not bad. On the way to Nobleboro, we had to go through Waldoboro, where Borealis Breads is located.  So sad, we had to stop and buy some yummy cookies and breads.  If we are going to not diet, we should do it thoroughly right???

Following that pit stop, we found the farm pretty easily.  Couldn’t see the view because of the fog, but I loved the farm – it looks real, somehow, not picture perfect. But it is not open to the public, so we looked at it from the road, read the little plaque on the barn, and headed north to Winslow and Big G’s.

A beautiful ride, in spite of the weather – went on roads I either have never been on or not in a long time.  Big G’s was interesting – very industrial looking – big warehouse type building.  Inside, it was confusing!  There is a giant menu board that would take a week to read and comprehend.  But it is organized by the main sandwich ingredients, so I went right to Roast Beef, and found the Bill Cosby.  Yum!  Hold the onions, add some horseradish and I was good.  We grabbed a whoopie pie and a cookie, each the size of dinner plates on the way in. We finally figured out how to order, and did so.  I was asked did I want a whole sandwich or a half?  I said “How big are they?” and she pointed to a basket that is at least 8 inches square.  I ordered half.  Glad I did – holy cow, that thing was FULL of meat, cheese, veggies.  I ate less than half of what I got, and brought the rest home.  The others had similar experiences, except L, who was NOT asked if she wanted a half or whole, and so got a whole.  I think she will be eating it for weeks to come!

We left there and crossed the bridge to Waterville, and went to the Yardgoods store, which I knew had fabric and yarn, but which I did not know also had scrapbooking supplies! I was in heaven.  They have good quality fabric and yarn, which is nice, as not too many places around do, anymore.  I wandered around a lot, but finally left with only some new glitter glue and a rubber stamp. But there was so much there I wanted.  If I had time to use it all, I might have succumbed, but I have enough fabric and yarn to last a life time – maybe – and I don’t NEED more stamping supplies.  Although… there were plenty I wanted, and which will now haunt me until I get them.

We came home through Belfast, and stopped at the potters store so S could look for more of her favorite ornaments.

Got home after 2, still overly full, so no supper tonight!

Once we got home, S and L headed out, and I changed over the laundry (still doing sheets and towels!) and then I headed downstairs to put another coat of paint on the first two boxes of the bed.  Yesterday I filled the nail holes and primed them – tonight I sanded them and put the first coat of finish paint on them.  It should be dry before A starts doing any cutting tomorrow.  At this rate, we will be on that bed sooner than planned, as we aren’t painting the whole box, just the front, and on the end one, the sides too, it is pretty quick.  The prep work takes longer than the painting, as usual. This is so exciting to us, we can’t wait to have real furniture!  A thinks we have other projects for her to work on next, but I am thinking that the headboard should be next. Maybe I will do it myself… 🙂

Tomorrow is a big day – we meet up with brother-in-law M and his big truck at Lowe’s at 8 am, and A gets her new table saw, the one she has been drooling over for years.  We saved our points on our credit card for the gift card to get it – it has taken ages.  She will be making lots of sawdust after this! When we get home, I will probably do some cleaning while she plays with her new toy in the basement, then I will sneak upstairs to the craft room.  Sounds wonderful to me right now!

old fence – Chimney Farm, Nobleboro Maine
plaque on the barn at Chimney Farm

I made it!!!

Never thought today would get here, but I survived.  Sleepless nights, headaches, more meetings than one person should have to attend, work piling up all the while, doesn’t it sound fun?

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

But it is FRIDAY, I have an eclectic list to get through, and so I am listening to an eclectic array of music – I think I have Gordon Bok, the Four Preps and Carousel cued up in the cd player.  We’ll see how that fits with my mood today.  🙂 so far I have heard Julian of Norwich followed by Santa Catalina… felt odd even to me, and I chose it!

So today’s list:

  • Laundry – all the sheets and towels that got used last weekend. A did the clothes last night, so I have a head start!
  • Hair cut – desperately needed, I hope the barber shop is open. (if you are reading this and want to save money – see if your local barber shop cuts women’s hair – it is SO much cheaper than a salon. I pay $8 bucks to get my hair cut.)
  • VOTE!  I can’t wait any longer.  Then, when I get the calls trying to convince me to change my mind, I can tell them they are too late. Hello, WORLD – I made up my mind a long time ago and NOTHING has happened to make me change it, I can’t conceive of what that would so LEAVE ME ALONE!! Thank heavens for the DVR – we only watch shows that we recorded so we can speed through the hideous ads.
  • Grocery store.  Sigh.  Biggest loser ended last week, we have enjoyed it this week, but we started again this morning.  Amazingly, I only gained 2 pounds this week!  That includes last week’s activities, take out galore, pizza, chocolate.  Now it’s back to basics.  They once again put A on a different team from me, so we will be back to trash talking around the kitchen.
  • Pharmacy, dump, etc.  The only usual chore I don’t think I need to do today is the hardware store – how can that be?
  • Finish the darned pool.  It is dry this morning, but will rain later.  If I don’;t get it done today, I am going to give up and cover it with a tarp and hope for the best. It is getting too cold to hang around in shorts and bare feet messing with water.
  • stain the last deck railing board.
  • This one is BIG – prime the new bed!!!  A has two of the three boxes complete and ready for me to paint.  If I get them prepped for painting and primed today, while she isn’t down there making dust, we will be that much closer to getting it upstairs where it belongs. She thinks maybe by Thanksgiving???
  • This is ambitious and probably won’t happen, but it is that time of year – Christmas card making.  I have the design in my head for this year’s card, I have to see if it will really work, and NOT be 200 million steps like last year’s were.

So I had better get cracking, huh?

kitten games

While I was away entertaining company all weekend, A was home, among other things, playing with the kittens.  She has a goal to teach them something new every day.  Well, this is what she taught them this weekend.  I should stay home more.

This is how it begins – a toy, a fishing pole and a laundry rack


Allie has it figured out!






L and the “kids” (niece C and friend M) arrived late Friday night, as they hit bad traffic in Massachusetts.  I gave them drinks, showed them where everything was and then fell into bed.  I think they did, too, although not sure the kids went right to sleep.  We had to be out of the house by 7:30 Saturday to get to Husson in time to catch up with B and get to the “President’s breakfast” , the first of our planned activities.

Amazingly, we pulled it off, and kept to the not very rigorous schedule – breakfast in the new dining hall – boy, has college food changed in the last 30 years!!!  The dining hall is beautiful, the chairs are comfortable and the food was GOOD!  It was so good to see B and meet her friends and some of their parents.  She looks great – she has actually LOST weight since getting there – no freshman 15 for her.  I found out why…Following breakfast, we had a tour of where her classes are, and what her day is like.  LOTS of stairs!  Everywhere she goes is either up or down a few flights. Excellent for kids and exercise, although my 50 plus year old knees weren’t so sure it was a good idea. But I kept up!

Then we did a grocery run for her, so she can get through the rest of the semester, and it was on to the barbecue.  I don;t think I have mentioned that this was the coldest day we have had yet?  It was sunny, but very cold, and windy. the “barbecue” was under a tent with no walls, and the food was in steam trays, so not very hot or good, and there was no sun, just wind, so we about froze!  L did win one of the raffle prizes, though, a gift card to governor’s – yummy! and we were thrilled to get out of there and sit in the bleachers for the football game.  Well, glad to get into the sun, anyway!  I forgot how cold bleachers are to sit on, but one of B’s friends has a very smart Mom, and they arrived with a pile of blankets, which we sat on and under, and that made it bearable.  I sat there knitting and telling B what was going on with the game – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????  Me, who does NOT like football has picked up enough over the years of watching games with people who DO like the game to at least be able to tell if we were offense or defense, how many yards nad downs to go, and when the QB got sacked.  It was amazing.  Sadly, no one committed my favorite foul – the “I’m a little teapot” foul.  I think it is really “off sides” but tell me, is the ref not doing the “I’m a little teapot” dance? You can see how good I am at this.  Anyway… Husson lost badly, although they did have two face-saving moments – they scored their three points first, and they did block a Mt Ida kick at the end of the game.  So it was 30-3 instead of 31-3.  B enjoyed it, as she knows some of the players and cheerleaders, and had not been to a game before that.

After the game, we went back to the dorm, and we were all tired from late nights, early mornings, cold air, so L and I left the kids there for the night and headed home.  A was kind enough to get us take out italian, and the three of us old folks watched a little tv, and went to bed when we were all nodding off.  Hate to confess, but it was not 7:30.  Very different from my college days, I have to say!

Sunday was a misty rainy day – I had to run up to Bangor to get the kids and take them down to Warren to see brother C.  Niece B had too much homework to do to see her dad, but C and M went along.  It was a gorgeous ride through the backwoods and farms with all the hills foggy and misty and drenched in autumn colors.  We had a nice visit, Mom and B came over as well, and we sat around a campfire drinking cocoa telling ghost stories (it loses something in daylight), until we were too damp to take it any more.  We taught brother C’s girlfriend A how to play Phase 10, which niece C and I love, and everyone else tolerates.  🙂 then headed home for supper and more games.

It was a long weekend with lots of driving and lots of visits with people I don’t see very often. 

And while we were gone all those hours, A was in the cellar plugging away at the bed, and cleaning up saw dust and playing with kittens. I think she was in heaven to have peace for all those things, and no errands to run.

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