Monday, December 31, 2007

Crossing the Threshold

There are only a few hours left before the year 2007 will pass into history.

And here I sit, the rumination of the the past 11+ months trying to mill around my brain.

What have I done? What can I look back on and say "Ah, yes"?

And the truth is I don't know.

And the even truer truth is I don't even care.

Because, really, why? To what end?

No, I would so much rather look into the New Year, blank page that it is. Or hopefully more appropriately, an untrodden path.

What will I do instead of what have I done.

I have so many exciting things to look forward to this coming year - another child heading off to college, baby goats (hopefully!), shifting the career to focus more on our farm ... so many things.

I have always loved New Year's Eve. As a child I remember parties long into the night with many families and friends. As an adult, hubby and I had the great fortune to rekindle those festivities in our own home. However, the past two years, and again this year, hubby ended up working through New Year's Eve and we had to forego the parties.

I miss being with my family and friends, kicking the old year in the pants and ringing in the new. I miss the hugs and kisses, the conversation, the smiles and laughter, the food, the music into the wee hours of the morning...

But, even though I won't get to spend "the moment" with my family and friends (or even my hubby!), it still doesn't lose its magic for me. I still feel like I am stepping off the ledge of a rock cliff and falling into the crystal blue waters of the New Year.

So much potential! So much promise!

There is nothing like the feeling of a fresh start.

So, dear blogger friends, here is my New Year's Toast to you.

... raise your glasses ...

May the new year bring peace for your mind, love for your heart, health for your body and happiness for your spirit...
May you feel fulfilled in your work, joyous in your play, and content in your home...
May you always have shelter for your head and enough food for your belly...
and may you drink up every last drop of the crystal blue New Year with an unquenchable thirst for life.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Greetings

Hello everyone.

I hope your holidays - whatever they may be - are happy.

We celebrate Christmas and the Solstice - although the Solstice is kind of our own mish-mosh of whatever we have the time, energy and desire to do. I ususally like to at least have some kind of fire, whether it is outside or in the living room fireplace. Other than that, we completely wing it. One year it might be a quiet fire and watching a movie, another year it might be a big bonfire and naked dancing in the woods. Who knows?

Our Christmas was very nice despite being pretty hectic in the last days leading up to it. I swear to myself every year that "Next year is going to be different!" And, indeed, next year will be different. I have resolved to take Christmas by the horns in 2008. I will OWN that holiday! No more last minute anything! My cookies will flatten out like they are supposed to! Christmas 2008, YOU ARE MINE!

Can you tell I'm still winding down a bit?

So, anyway, I did make it through the holiday relatively unscathed. I say relatively because there was actually some scathing.

You see, we apparently chose one of those rare blue spruce Christmas trees that exhibit that agressive nature that the Christmas Tree Growers Association have worked to hard to breed out. There's always a throwback.

This particular tree outright attacked me while I was stringing the lights. I'm talking it JUMPED me! I was merrily decking halls and coming a wassailing and all that and, when I briefly turned my back to untangle a string of lights, it leaped on me.

And it's a big tree.

It flattened me.

But I'm pretty scrappy for my size and I managed to subdue it and make it behave. After I established my dominance with the tree, it settled down and behaved like a good Christmas tree should.

The only other Christmas related accident I had was falling off of a floor speaker that I was standing on while decorating the tree. And, no, the tree had nothing to do with it because I was watching it very carefully. At any rate, during the fall, I manage to plant my shin bone squarely and quite hardly on the corner of the speaker. And now I have a rather larger purple-black mark on my lower leg.

Which nicely matches the two large pruple-black marks on the back of my upper leg, those being courtesy of one of the goats.

Is 2007 over yet? Because I don't know if I can make it much longer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Temporarily Suspended

Thaaat's right.

Project goat watch is on hold due to lack of progress. And continued uncertainty as to the "with bun" status of said goat.

Plus the Livestock HMO called and said all her days are used up.

So back with the peasants she goes until we see some real progress.


On the shoe thing, we were sitting at the office before heading out to the Office Co-worker Dinner (NOT an office party - that would infer sponsorship by actual employer), and I noticed M had her shoes on.

Me: How do you like your shoes?
M: Oh, they're wonderful. So comfortable...
Me: Even with two different sizes?
M: Ha, ha. You're very funny. I knew right away something was up but I though it was T messing with me.
Me: It probably was.
T: Oh you are so full of ----!
Me: What?

So, anyway, they say they knew that day that it was me. I suppose. It's not like it would exactly be out of character. They were going to try to play a trick back but said they couldn't think of anything.

Now that's sad. What a commentary about America today.


Ok, I have to actually cut this short.

Today! Yes today! Is my 18th wedding anniversary!

Yay me & hubby!

So, dear hubby is downstairs right now cooking a kick-butt anniversary dinner for me.

He is da bomb!

I would write a big sappy post all about what a wonderful guy he is but I think I'll say goodnight to you all and go tell him in person.

Good Night!

Happy Winter Solstice Eve!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day ... Um... Whatever

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

Sorry about leaving you all hanging, desperately waiting for new.

So, still no baby goats.

I don't know. I'm back to wondering if she's even pregnant at all. Maybe what I thought was a baby goat rolling around in her belly when I felt it was actually just food getting digested through the various processes.

At any rate, Gyra seems happy enough to be in solitry, not having to deal with the other goats at feeding time. And, I have to say, the Birthing Room is probably the sweetest set up yet as far as the animal shelters go. We had wind last night that would blow the hair right off your head but she was snug as bug.

So, that's the new. No news.

Now, on the shoe thing...

I was at the office on Saturday and one of the ladies - I will call her M - that ordered shoes was there briefly. I was talking to someone on the phone at the time so I didn't even get to talk to her. But I did notice that one of the shoe boxes had returned to the room in the back. The co-worker that was there the day of the switcheroo happened to be there too. I asked her if she heard anything. She said M came in with her shoebox and said "Everthing is all screwed up with these shoes. I have a two different sizes. I checked with T and she does too. I don't know what we're going to do with these."

Oh we laughed...

Then we started to wonder if they might return them. I figured nothing would happen over the weekend since m left her box of shoes at the office. She is probably waiting for T to come in and then maybe send them all back together.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I started to worry that they would end up sending them back. So I called T under the guise of asking about Christmas presents for the secretary and the bookkeeper. She said that one of the pairs of shoes that were ordered are part of the bookkeeper's Christmas present. Ah! An open door! So I said, "What's up with the shoes anyway? M was in the office and said there was a problem." All innocent like.

Then she said "Oh, yeah. It's the craziest thing. Every box had two different sizes."

"Wow. That's pretty crazy." said I.

"Yeah. But the real funny thing is that we have three full sets of shoes - the sizes we were supposed to get - but they were all mixed up."

"Hmmm. How odd."

"I know. Thank God M called me and I checked before I wrapped the pair for the present."

"Yeah, thank God for that."

So. All's well that ends well. I still didn't fess up. Maybe at the Christmas party.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 4

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

No goat babies again.

I was up until 4 o'clock this morning checking her every hour on the hour until I just couldn't stay away any longer. I really thought she might be in labor because she was breathing a little oddly. Finally I just figured it was from trying to get some rest with a bunch of baby goats rolling around inside.

So, nothing yet.

And the shoe thing...

Two of my co-workers came in and opened their boxes to look at their shoes and didn't even notice! Granted, they didn't try them on but I at least though they would have noticed that one shoe isn't as long as the other.

So the secretary, the other co-worker and I all managed to keep our mouths shut and we'll see what transpires over the weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 3, Part 2

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

So, no baby goats yet.

Apparently she wasn't as far along as hubby thought.

And since I'm sure you are already wondering to yourself by now, the spine sqeeze test is still at the same spot.

And so we come to the end of day 3 with still no goat babies. Although, there is still 2 and half hours to go before the technical end to the day so, you never know.

Since I don't have all kinds of exciting goat news, I figured I'd give you a little story.

But first I have to point out that Professor J nailed the identity of My Hat from yestereday's post - she knew it was an LL Bean hat. I never even looked at the label until I read her comment and, sure enough, it's LL Bean. So, I thought that was kind of interesting. She has quite the keen eye! And quite a good blog too so you should go check it out.

Now, on with my story.

As you are all aware (if you read Part 1 of today's post) I was at work during the snow/sleet storm. There wasn't a whole lot going on business-wise so I was grasping at straws for things to occupy my time.

As luck would have it, the UPS dude stopped by with a big-ish box from Land's End. As I was carrying it to the back room, I realized that it must be the shoes that my co-workers were ording a few days prior. I remember them talking about these cute slip-on Moc shoes and they asked if I wanted to order a pair too. Since I cannot fathom the idea of buying shoes that I haven't tried on, I declined the offer. I placed the box in the back room and didn't really give it a second thought.

Until I got really bored.

I went and got the box and brought it back out to the office area. The only other person there was our secretary.

"Now what are you doing?"

Me: I don't know. But I can't just let this box of shoes here and do nothing.
Secretary: You are such a troublemaker.
Me: This is why you have to keep me occupied.

I sliced open the box and found three shoeboxes inside. I took the three boxes out and examined them. They all bought the same style of shoe in the same color but three different sizes.

At this point the secretary wandered over. "So...what are you going to do with their shoes?"

I got her to help me peel the tape off the shoeboxes, trying to be as careful as possible not to mar the boxes. There were some small spots where the paper pulled off but I was able to color it back in with a pen and you would have to look very closely to notice anything.

At this point, another one of my co-workers stopped in.

Co-worker: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing. Did you order shoes?
Co-worker: No, I was going to but I didn't. Are those the shoes they ordered?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker: Did you order any?
Me: No.
Co-worker: You're just looking at the shoes they ordered?
Me: No.
Co-worker: ...
Me: ...
Co-worker: What are you up to?

Like I have a reputation or something.

So I took the right shoe out of each box and I put the size 9 right shoe in the size 8 box, the size 8 right shoe in the size 6 box, and the size 6 right shoe in the size 9 box. Then I sealed the boxes back up perfectly, put them back into the big box and resealed that with shipping tape. It is impossible to tell the box was ever opened.

My only regret is that I won't be there first thing in the morning when my co-workers come in and are all "Oh! Our shoes are here! Let's try them on!" Because they will. Immediately. Because we have our priorities in line.

I gave the secretary strict orders that she isn't even allowed to so much as look at them when they try the shoes on because she cannot keep a straight face. She is terrible at this stuff. So she promised she won't even look away from her computer. She is only allowed to intervene if they don't catch on right away and think they need to call the company to send the shoes back.

So, I'll let you know how it all pans out.

Click here to continue reading Project Goat Watch.

Project Goat Watch: Day 3

If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

I know this is a little early in the day but I have some news and some time so I thought I'd give you a quickie update.

I came out of the house to leave for work this morning and hubby was fiddling with the Birthing Room. He just finished working 3rd shift so he usually takes care of the morning feeding of the animals. Normally he is done with the chores and heading off to bed by the time I am leaving for work but sometimes he gets distracted by other jobs.

Although, I kind of thought he might stay up a little later today anyway since we are supposed to get a slight battering by Mother Nature. This would be the pre-battering to the big whallop that is supposed to come Sunday. And we don't have a plow. Or working snowblower. We have a snowblower but, when you put that "working" quialifier on it, well...

So he is going to bastardize a plow onto a walk behind Gravely tractor.

I could really delve into the whole Gravely Syndrom but that would take up a whole other blog. Seriously. It's a sickness and it seems to be genetic.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, so I saw dear hubby at the Brithing House and I started to walk over. I didn't even get to say "Hello" or "How was your night?" or anything before he said (in the tone of an obstratrician about to yank a baby) "It looks like she's ready to go."

Me: What? Now?! RIGHT NOW??!!
Hubby: Well, soon. I think. I don't know.
Me: Well, how do you know?
Hubby: She's getting all, you know, swollen in her back end. And a little mucusy.
Me: Did you squeeze her spine?

Because this, as far as I am concerned and in my vast experience, is THE way to tell. Plus it is the only skill in my bag of tools. So, yeah, spine squeezing.

He said he did and it feels closer than it had but maybe not completely where it should be.

So I looked at her. And she looked at me. And I tried to telepathize when the baby goats would come. But nothing happened. Something must have been blocking my goat sense.

"Well" said I, "I have to go to work."

Hubby: What? What if the babies come?
Me: Well then, good luck, Doctor.
Hubby: WHAT?
Me: I'm sorry. I have work. I have an appointment to show a house. I really have to go.
Hubby: They're going to cancel. No one is going to go out in this to look at a house.

For, indeed, the snow/sleet had already begun.

Me: Look, let me go in and take care of this appointment. As soon as someone else shows up at the office, I will leave and come home. If something happens and there is an emergency, call me. But I still have a job and I still have to go there.

He seemed satisfied with this.

So, here I am. At the real estate office. In the middle of a snow/sleet storm. Because, as long as there's a dollar to be made, the office stays open.

Go back and read that sentence again with a little more bitterness and resentment.

No, go ahead, I'll wait.

dum, dee, dum ...

Oh, come on. You can do better than that. MORE BITTERNESS! MORE RESENTMENT! Try again.

That's better.

Well, I did manage to bump my appointment up and show the house before the roads got too bad. Now I am just sitting here, not selling houses, because no one is thinging about looking at houses, they are thinking about shoveling their walks and plowing their driveways and birthing their goats. Er, ok maybe that's just me, but still.

Click here to continue on with Project Goat Watch.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Project Goat Watch: Day 2. And My Hat


If you are just joining Project Goat Watch, you might want to begin
here and continue forward.

So, not a whole lot of news on the Goat Watch front.

I checked in on mother-to-be this morning before I left for work and then again when I came home.

And then again a few hours later.

And then again when I fed the animals for the evening.

And again after I painted a roof for a goat shelter.

And then once more before I came to post on the blog.

Which brings us to 10:57pm EST and no goat babies yet.

So. Not a whole lot there.

I did the spine squeeze again but it doesn't seem much different from the last time I squoze it. By the way, on this whole squeezing of the spine thing, what I am doing (I think) is checking to see if the ligaments at her hip joints are beginning to loosen. "They" say that when you can reach your fingers right around and touch them with nothing but the skin in between, the goat should have her babies within 12 hours. So that's what is up with all of that business. Hooray for narrowing the window!

Other than that, she seems content enough. She hasn't really tested the fence around the Birthing Room which is a good thing because it was a real quickie job on my part. Partly because of time crunch but mainly because the post pounder is so darn heavy and I think I might have done a little something called "not good" to my back on the second to last post. I don't think I really killed it or anything. It's just ... very stiff. I probably need a good, long stretching session and a hot bath. Maybe around May I'll get to that.

So, since there isn't much happening goatbaby-wise, I have decided I am going to finally add a picture to my profile. I think I have milked the mystery factor just about as much as I can. And, when you consider that just about every bad photo of me that was ever taken has now been posted on the internet, what harm will one more do, right?

So here is the photo that is going to be my new profile thing. Avitar? Symbol? Likeness?

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It's a picture of me. And My Hat. I mention it that way because My Hat has a personality of its own, as you can tell.

I found My Hat in a house that I was selling. The home was part of an estate and all of the contents were getting tossed out. So, I picked through them and found My Hat. I love My Hat. We have become almost inseparable. Much to the chagrin of my family.

I know we look a little ... odd ... but, I have to tell you, My Hat is one of the warmest hats I've ever come across. And I think it is just damn stylin'!

And, if you look closely, you'll be able to see two pieces of hay above my right eye. Garnish.

Ok, so I think I've done enough damage for today. I'll see you soon with the next installment of Project Goat Watch.

Click here to continue on with Project Goat Watch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Project Goat Watch

Hi everybody.

I know, I know. I fell into a bit of a slump after NaBloPoMo ended. What can I say? I needed a break.

Anyway, I'm back with some pretty exciting news.

One of our goats is getting ready to have her kid(s?). The goat would be Gyra - the original goat that was purchased in order for me not to have to deal with the weed wacker.

See how easily it all goes down hill?

We have her in the Birthing Room which, thankfully, is NOT in the house. It is an old chicken coop that we converted into the delivery area. She seems to be comfortable enough. I think she's just happy not to have to deal with the other goats at feeding time.

So, with this being our first livestock birth, we really have no clue what we're doing. We're mostly hoping the goat will know. But, I do have some books and a few excellent web sites. I also have the number for the vet just in case.

In anticipation of the blessed event, I've been reading and reading and reading up on every possible birth scenario I can find. And, yes, I did purchase some extra long latex gloves. Hopefully they can just stay in the bag.

We're not really sure on the exact date she is due, which is really only a hint anyway, but we think she's pretty close. At least most of the signs I've been reading up on seem to be there.

Although, I have to admit that until I actually finally felt one of the little goatlings rolling around inside her today, I was still a bit suspicious that she was not in fact pregnant and just tubby. But! All doubts have been erased and I am devoting all my time to squeezing her spine just above the tail to see if the ligaments have loosened. Which annoys the crap out of Gyra. To the point where she was doing this little I'm-gonna-keep-my-butt-as-far-away-from-you-as-possible dance every time I would go into the Birthing Room but we have now reached an understanding that involves me bribing her with baby carrots. All is well.

So, this - along with fixing fences, holiday cleaning, holiday shopping, work, Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic, ETC. - is what has been occupying my time lately and why I haven't been in a big hurry to sit down and blog.

However, I have decided that since I have this very exciting thing going on, I can kind of do Project Goat Watch as a mini-series and keep you all posted on the progress. Sound good? Good.

Now don't get all bent out of shape if I don't have any big news right away. These things take time.

Also, I am hoping, hoping, hoping that I will be able to include some photos of the goings on. I promise to warn you before I post any pictures of mucus plugs and stuff.

Oh. Did I just say mucus plug? Sorry.

Be back soon!

Click here for Project Goat Watch: Day 2.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday! Friday! Last Day of NaBloPoMo Woohooday!


So it doesn't rhyme.

What of it?

I can't believe it. I can't believe I made it all the way through ... well, except for the day I got sick. But, regardless, this is the longest string of writing I think I've ever done.

For whatever effect it may have on the world.

Ok, so Geek of the Week.

I am going to defer to my dear hubby on this one. He's all riled up.

Attention Mr. Dennis C. Wolff? Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture?

You are Geek of the Week.

And NOT in the traditional sense of the word either.

You are a bad, bad man.

You who would ban the labeling of dairy products as to whether or not they contain antibiotics, pesticides or rBST (an artificial growth hormone).

Just why was that again? Oooohhhhh yeah. We don't want to confuse the consumer.

Thaaaaat's it. I'm sorry. I keep forgetting how discombobulated my little ol' mommy brain gets in the dairy aisle when I see the tried and true milk suffering the wild postulating of that radical hippie milk.


Hormone Free.

No antibiotics.



Mr. Wolff, give me a freaking break and give me the option to choose. I don't want you and all your cronies - who are making waaaaaaaayyyy more than any dairy farmer is - to put a warm, wet cloth on my forehead and pat my hand and tell me to "Just relax ... they ain't no harm in chemeeculs an such." I wan't to be able to choose. I don't care if I am paying more for it - that's my business.

EVEN! Even if you have NO PROOF WHATSOEVER of any harmful effects of any of this stuff - EVEN THEN! - I still want the option to choose to buy my milk from someone who doesn't roid their cows all up. Just because.

At least until I can get my own cow.

So, in conclusion, Mr. Wolff, you suck.


If you, as a Pennsylvania dairy consumer care about this little issue, you can send along a little note to that effect to our Governor.
Governor Edward G. Rendell
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or, you can email him.

Email the Governor of PA here.


Now, I have to back up to yesterday's post because my daughterchild pointed out to me that I never answered the "fun part of being my children" part of the question. Which I shall do forthwith.

The best part about being my kids, I think, would be having me as a mom. The end.


Ok, really now. One of the fun parts about being sonnyboy, I think, would be having the ability to ride a dirt bike pretty well. And actually having a dirt bike. That runs.

Because I? Have a dirt bike. But it? Does not run.

It doesn't even walk. Or roll.

All of a sudden I just came up with a crazy idea for a pimped out walker - you know, for people who need them to get around. And it can be called, you might have guessed, The Walk-n-Roll!


But I digress.

Yeah, I think having the ability, and lack of fear, to go over jumps and stuff like that would be pretty cool.

Maybe I'm just getting all nostalgic because that Master of the Moto, Evil Knievel, died today.

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I remeber watching his stunts on TV as a child. EVERYONE wanted to be Evil Knievel.

God rest his crazy soul.

So, yeah, that would be cool. And apparently sonnyboy thinks so too because he spends an awful lot of his free time doing it.

As for daughterchild, she has so much going on I'm not sure where to begin. She can pretty much do whatever she sets her mind to. For instance, I just popped in the living room for a moment and she was watching a movie and knitting.


I can't knit. I wish I could knit.

I also wish I could make it through an entire kick-boxing class. Which she can. There's a lot to be said for youth.

But, if I had to pick a particular thing, I might pick working on the yearbook. It was one of the things I kind of always wanted to do in high school but just never did - mainly because of the moderator. It is a little know fact that Kim Jong Il was a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and acting moderator of the Cardinal Brennan yearbook club. That was way before North Korea.

Fortunately for daughterchild, she gets to work with a hip (Hip? Did I just say hip?) moderator and staff. It's a lot of hard work but I really think she enjoys it. And, more importantly, I think I would enjoy it.

But in the end, I think I would enjoy a whole lot of what they do. I don't mean to brag or anything but I pretty much have the best kids in the world.

No. I do.

No, really. I do.

Ok, ok. I know. That's what every mom says.

Except I'm right.

Anyway, I just have to say that I really like hanging out with my kids. I so wish we weren't all going in ten different directions at once and could actually do more things together. Because they are cool people.

It's so amazing to see the young adults they have grown into. I look at them and cannot believe I even had a hand in anything so wonderful.

And it's REALLY amazing to think my hubby had a hand in it. (Hi Hon! Just kidding!)

I think one of the things that I am most proud of - even though I have no idea how much I've actually had to do with it - is that they are thinkers. I love thinker kids. They are a joy to be around because it is so interesting to see their take on the world. It's neat to see what makes them laugh, what moves them, what riles them ...

Here's a for instance ...

(Ha! Boy am I rambling now!)

In the summer of 2000, daughterchild's Girl Scout troop made a day trip to New York City. I went along and had the opportunity to take sonnyboy as well. It was nice because there were some general stops but we were able to break off into our own little groups.

One of the stops was Ellis Island. None of us were ever there before. If you've never been to Ellis Island, I highly recommend it. It is just amazing. And not just the Statue of Liberty.

While she certainly commands attention it was the museum that was really moving. The stories of the people who passed through there were just incredible. I could easily spend a whole day there. And, as corny as it sounds, walking around there, looking at the photographs, reading the snippets of people's lives, one really gets a sense of what is special about our country.

And I could sense that my children felt it too - as much as a child could in their limited understanding of the world. They wantered around the museum, a quick glance at this photo but staring at that one, reading this item but skipping that one, the whole time showing a sort of childish reverence for everything.

At one particular moment I was lucky enough to snap a quick photo of the two of them together. It is a moving photo that I will always treasure. It's a perfect snippet of siblings, sharing a day, a moment ...

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... and a sense of humor.

My little snots of liberty. I love 'em!

This Post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday! Thursday! One Less Goat in the Herdday!


So, today we had our first goat fatality.

I say "first" because I'm realistic. These things happen.

Remember the little comment in yesterday's post about the goat in the utility tub and the tapeworm? Yes, well, that's the one.

It was one of the twin goats that I brought home from Massachusets back in ... I think July.

You know, I never had a good feeling about this goat. She just never seemed to keep up with her sibling and waivered between perky and not-so-perky healthwise. But she'd throw in just enough perk to let you think "Well, I guess she'll do fine."

Ah, she was tricky that way.

So, to make a long story short and mercifully less disgusting, I found some sort of worms in her poop about three weeks ago.

Oh... you're reminding me that I said "Less disgusting"? Right. Well, believe me, that was the pleasant version.

Anyway, I followed the worming routine and she went into one of her perky phases. Now it is generally recommended to do a follow up in about 21 days because that will then take care of eggs left behind and whatnot. So this time I decided to use an herbal wormer, you know, less harsh and good for you ... er, good for goats and all that.

This herbal wormer has a lot of garlic in it. (Makes a great seasoning for spaghetti sauce too!) These wormers act as a bit of a laxative to help flush the system.

Remember, this is pleasant.

So things get a bit more ... aqueous, if you will.

Then, on Monday, I noticed a change in the ...uh, flotsam. It looked like pieces of what could be a tapeworm.

Good. This is good. Because it's coming out. And the goat is still eating and is still perky.

Everybody is happy.

Until ...

this morning.

The goat had become decidedly less perky.

She was getting lethargic and no longer showed interest in eating. Not a good sign. I had to leave for work first so it was left up to my hubby to go get Gatorade and try to get some into her. Which he did with some success. Then he got her set up in a nice little area of her own where she could rest and not be bothered by the other goats. After that he had to leave for work.

When I got home she was even more lethargic and things did not look good. I put a call into the vet's answering service and tried more Gatorade. No interest.

I really knew in my heart that she was not going to make it. So I just kind of sat there with her until she died.

Then the vet called.

Funny how things happen like that.

I told her what happened and she said everything points to tapeworm. And! Here's the kicker. The wormer we initially treated her with will kill just about any internal parasite except tapeworms. That's a fine how do you do.

So she told me a different wormer to get and recommended treating all the other goats just as a precaution.

The one thing I have learned in dealing with goats is that internal parasites are the bane of every goat farmer. There are so many different kinds. And! You just can't worm willy nilly because they build up a tolerance to the medicine and it won't work any more. And! The wormer that says kills internal parasites does not, in fact, kill all internal parasites. And it's a cattle wormer anyway but still used on goats but not technically approved for it in the US and blah, blah, blah enough with the freaking worms already!

The vet also did tell me that we were on the right track with what we were doing but, with the first wormer not even making a dent, it probably just got too bad by the time she was given the herbal wormer. And as long as the goat was active and eating, it would be hard to tell that anything was wrong. That was encouraging - at least our instincts were heading us in the right direction.


I called hubby at work to give him the news that "Guess what? You get to bury a goat in the morning."

So, while it sucks and all that, I have to say that I'm not emotionally devastated or anything. I mean I liked her and all, but having the nagging suspicion that she was a little on the frail side to begin with, I didn't really get too attached to her. But it still sucks.

And along with the we-really-didn't-want-her-to-die-because-we-liked-her kind of sucking, there is the whole part that it also represents a lost investment as well. Not just what we paid for her (she actually was a cheap goat - the yellow CLEARANCE sticker should have served as a warning), but the lost income from fiber and off-spring. While it completely lacks emotion, that part of it sucks as well - especially when you are trying to get a fledgling farm up and running. Not many people get that part of it.

That's the news from the Farmfront.

On the bright side, we did manage to get the leaking roof patched and Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic is back on track. So that's good news.


Now, I think I am actually supposed to post something specific toady. Oh yes - question from my sister. Let me check on that.

Ok, here we go.

Question: If you had to change places with each of your kids for a day, what do you think would be the most fun and most challenging parts of being them?

Hoo boy. This is a tough one. You know, even though I don't feel old (usually) or think of myself as old, it really is hard to remember what it was like at that time of life. Or, picture myself at that time of life in today's world.

Both sonnyboy and daughterchild are kind of on the cusp of a new part of life. Sonnyboy will be finished with his college program in one more year and on the brink of the brave new world. And daughterchild is in her last year of high shcool and currently in the process of trying to choose the next phase of her education.

What exciting - and yet scary - places to be in life. I think that would be the hardest part for me - trying to choose my path. Because, in case you haven't figured it out, I'm a bit of a meanderer. For me, to try to look into the future and think "This is where I am definitely headed" is not easy. It never has been.

I completely admire those people who, in high school, knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives and planned accordingly. Imagine having everything mapped out - knowing exactly where you are headed and what you need to do to get there. How ... organized!

But I also feel a bit sorry for them. I'm not sure why. I guess I have this romantic notion of life as being a perpetual reel of "On the Road" with Charles Kuralt. That is probably a job I could do and love. I am such a sucker for the wonderful thing thats waits just around the next bend. Probably to a fault.

So those points in life where I have to make a "big decision" that will affect things for the foreseeable future always rankle me a bit. And it's not a matter of change, it's a matter of choice. I'm more of a jumper-in type than a let's-sit-down-and-analyze-the-crap-out-of-this-so-we-are-sure-we-are-making-the-right-decision type.

College? Sure! Which one? GAAAAHHHHHH!

One of the other hard things, I think, would be not wanting to bring friends over to our freakishly cold house. That sucks because I'm an adult and I still don't want to bring people into my freakishly cold house. But I have the benefit of being married to my best friend so, he's stuck here with me.

And this is why Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic is so important - so my kids can inch a bit closer to a normal social life. It's not about the warm, baby, it's about the par-tay!

Ok, that's a wrap for today.

Oh, one more item regarding the goat.

We are planning a private service for family only. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to Project Insulate The Back Part Of The Attic, a charity near and dear to Lilly's heart. No flowers please. Unless it's bales of timothy or alfalfa.

This Post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday! Wednesday! Find A Home For Our Dead Feathered Friendsday!


About the little owl that I recently acquired.

I did a bit of research and I am pretty sure that it is a Saw-whet owl.

Looky here...

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Isn't that just about the cutest little raptor you ever did see?

Now, that's not the actual owl. Mine is more ... frosty.


Notice what a nice accessory it is for a Christmas trees.

Well, I am sad to say that I am not going to be able to keep the owl after all.

After giving it some thought I figured I should heed the warnings in the comments and check into this a bit more. So, I called the Game Commission and found out that, unless I am an educator or the representative of a museum, I would not be able to obtain the proper permit to keep a carcass that I found along the side of the road. And, just because I have a lot of old things in my house - like knob and tube wiring - it doesn't necessarily qualify as a museum.

I get the jist of why and all that but, really, I think if you're lucky enough to find a dead owl you should be able to get it mounted for your Christmas tree.

But! Because I am a law abiding citizen (and because taxidermy is not a hobby I can afford to divert my time into right now), I am giving the owl to a teacher friend of mine. I emailed her today when I got off the phone with the Commission and she called me back right away. Apparently it was her planning period.

Anyway, I told her about how I came to be in possession of wildlife contraband and asked if she would be interested in it. She was, as I expected, pretty excited about it.

I asked her if she wanted to stop by on her way home from school but she had a whole lot of errands to run and figured she'd be too tired to stop. Then I asked her if she had a freezer at school and she told me that she has one in her classroom. So I said I would just send it in with my daughter.

Here's how that conversation went...

Me: Do you have much time between when you get to school and when you have to get to homeroom?
Daughter: Well, I usually pick up my friend so not really. Why?
Me: Well, can you call your friend and see if maybe you could leave a little earlier tomorrow? I was wondering if you could take a dead owl in for Mrs. W. and give it to her before homeroom.
Daughter: Ok, just remind me in the morning.

That's it.

I'm not sure if I should worry that my asking my daughter to deliver a dead owl doesn't even raise an eyebrow. It seems as though my children have become completely immune to the bizarre.

For instance, if one of them would have come home at about 2 o'clock this afternoon, they would have found a goat in the utility tub of our laundry room. (Don't ask - it's a long story and it involves tapeworms.)

These are the kinds of things they are subjected to on a daily basis.

So ... I don't know. Hopefully it will help them deal with the big ol' world.


Now! For my Best Of _____ Award!

I am going to give two.


Best Teacher Award goes to my friend, Roseann, who has so graciously agreed to give my little owl a loving home. She is also going to name it after my husband.

While discussing the owl, she offered to name it after me. Or hubby. I asked her if there was an easy way to tell you know, gender-wise, what it should be named. She said it's pretty diffucult and got into the whole description as to why.

Then I suggested that since I found him dead along the side of the road, one might conjecture that it was a bit of a reckless owl.

So hubby's name it is.

And I'm hoping that maybe some year he can come "visit" our Christmas tree.


The Best Big Sister A Gal Could Ever Want Award goes to ...

My big sister. Because she is the coolest. She's smart and witty and one heck of a writer. She's a great mom. She's got a kick-butt sense of humor and one of the few people who will go into hysterics with me just by letting those balloon-animal balloons go flying around a room. She can finish my sentences and vice versa, even though we don't get to see each other very often.

She is the best!

So read her blog! Clean her house! Buy her Frangelico!

Give it up for ma sistuh'!

Woot! Woot! Hoot!

This Post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday! Tuesday! Read the Post From Yesterday!

Ok, so I just now, at 11:50 Tuesday evening, finished the post for Monday.

It's a long story that involved Computer Bubonic Plague.

So, today you get the second half of yesterday.

Go there. Read it.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday! Monday! Some Randomandomandomandom Funday!


It's raining (again) and cold. Lots of mud. Lots and lots of mud, mud, mud.

Today is the first day of the hunting season where you can shoot a deer with a rifle. You can use the rifle to shoot the deer. Not shoot the deer that has a rifle. Because they generally don't carry them.

Anyway, I did not go hunting today. Rather, I chose to try to get some stuff done around the house. Which, more or less, is what happened. Lots of little odds and ends.

I have recently decided to take on a new project. I am going to put insulation on the attic floor over the two back bedrooms of our house.

These are two rooms that really don't get used at all. They are just total dead storage. When we first bought the house, I made a concerted effot to fix one of the rooms up as a play room for the chillernts. I painted it, got a cute border of cats wearing cowboy hats, and I bought a nice big carpet remnant and had a carpet place put an edge around it.

Crap. I have to stop and do a virus scan on my computer. Hopefully I will be back to finish this later tonight.


... crawling back from the tech-trenches ...

I hate viruses. I hate the people that make viruses.

However, I love the folks at as well as the folks at because they? Rule. They are all about the free help for computer buffoons like myself.

So the Very Bad Virus has gone away.

The End.

Remind me to add those sites to my sidebar. Props to my geekstas!


Boy, talk about your random posts.

So ... where was I?

Oh yeah, the insulation project.

So anyway, the not oft used toy room is now going to be my daughter's art room. Because I ask you, what can be more inspiring to a young painter than cats in cowboy hats? Hmm?

But, as with everything, there is the pre-project kick-off that involves ... well, usually a lot.

In this case the going out and purchasing insulation part is probably going to be the easiest. Along with the purchasing of the materials, this pre-project kick-off also involves some minor things like patching two 5 foot long leaky areas in the roof - pish! - and removing and replacing the knob-and-tube wiring that currently sort of services the lights (yes, only lights - no outlets in these rooms, baby) while threatening to burn the whole shebang down with the push of a switch. Because the swithches? Are the old push button ones.

Let's see ... is there anything I missed? Oh yeah, picking the ceiling up off of the floor of the once-toy-room-soon-to-be-art-room and replacing that.


there's something else...

Oh. Yes.

Getting rid of the dead bird. Which I think somehow entered through the used-to-be ceiling but I'm not quite sure of that.


And now for something not so completely different.


So, this past weekend I was showing a home to a young professional, his wife and their lovely children

They were looking at a modest house in a not-so-modest price range (yay for big commissions!). While walking through the house, we talked all about some plans they have going on and some plans they would like to have going on.

They have big plans.

I mean really big plans.

Big bankroll type plans.

We chatted back and forth and, as we were wrapping things up, I happened to glance down at the wife's hand.

Other than the Hope Diamond, this was probably the biggest I've ever seen in my life. And, just talking to the people, you know it's not a fake. The rock on her finger probably cost more than all my goats. And my house. Together. Based on that potential dowry, my daughter better get reeeaaaaal inspired by those cats.

Of course I didn't let on that I was mentally calculating just how many goats equal a bazillion karat diamond. I continued on with our pleasant conversation and avoided looking at the hand again - as if it were the Monkey's Paw.

But still, I couldn't help but think ... What would these people think of me if they knew I had a dead owl in the trunk of my car?

Because I did.

This little treasure was something that I had picked up off the road after showing a house earlier that day. Oddly enough, it wasn't far from the end of my drive-way.

I made a quick stop at home after showing properties to my first client and, as I was pulling out of the drive-way, I noticed a furry little lump on the side of the road. At first I thought it was a grouse but after giving it some thought, decided it wasn't. Curiosity got the better of me and I whipped the car around at the next possible spot.

As I approached the little lump, I pulled off to the side, grateful that there were no cars coming in either direction to witness my checking out the road kill.

I walked up to it and, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a perfect little owl. It must have gotten bopped on the head by a car or something during the night. It wasn't all mangled and it was frozen.

So, I went back to my car to get a pair of leather gloves I keep for occasions such as this, and retrieved my owl. I took him back to the car, respectfully placed him on a sheet in the trunk, slammed the lid and sped away.

The whole rest of the day, this owl occupied my mind. Like the Tell-tale Owl. Hoot. Hoot. Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.

"Doesn't this home have a lovely view?"

Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.

"And this is the master suite with full bath..."

Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.

"The lot size ... GAH! STOP THAT HOOTING ALREADY!!!!!"

Ok, so I didn't actually freak out in front of the clients. Because I am a professional and I don't do things like that.

Anyway, when I made it back home after my long work-a-day, I got a gallon sized freezer bag, put the owl in it, and put it in the freezer. Between the green beans and the pierogies.

I went into the kitchen to deposit my other things and my hubby entered the room.

Me: Guess what?

Hubby: What ... now?

Me: I know what you can get me for Christmas.

Hubby: Oh really? What is that?

Me: Come here.

... walk to freezer ...

Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.

... open door ...

Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.

... grab bag from freezer ...

Me: "Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear open the bag! -- here, here! -- it is the hooting of his hideous owl!"

Actually what I really said was, "I want you to get this taxidermied for me."

Hubby: What is it?

Me: A little owl! Isn't it cute!

So, hopefully by next year, I will have an owl to put on my Christmas tree.

Um ...

I understand that this could very well be the post that cements my weirdness and leads some of you to vow never to read my blog again.

Be that as it may, I have an owl!


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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday! Sunday! Havin' Some Family Funday!

So, again.

No advice-seeking questions.

Well, it's great to know the world is on track because, frankly, I need a break.

So, tonight. FINALLY! We are going to have a fire in the living room fireplace and sit around and eat bowls of ice cream.

We have been trying to do this for forty years and it just seems like something or other always gets in the way.

But not tonight! NO!

So, dear readers, I will leave you with ... um, I will find some kind of music quick. Hold on ...

Ok, here we go. This song pretty much occupies my head ALL. THE. TIME.

I give you The Be Good Tanyas with Scattered Leaves.

Enjoy. You have no other choice.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday! Saturyday! Sisterly Smackdownsmatterday!


Don't get excited.

I am just throwing a quick post up to get my NaBloPoMo credits.

I will be back later with the actual post but, there is a good chance that it might be past the magic hour since guess who's going to see Ween tonight?

That would be me.

I really thought my husband was going to take one of the brothers but ... well, no.

So, in case I don't make it back in time, rest assured that I will post a picture to avenge my pride so mortally wounded in last week's smackdown. Let's just say the ol' kitchen table wasn't the only bountiful thing at mom's house this Thanksgiving.


In the mean time, enjoy some Ween.

*******UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!*******

Ok, so I'm back.

Ween was a very fun time. I'm glad I got to go.

And! They played Voodoo Lady and The Mollusk!


Ok. Back to the business at hand.

I see my sister has pulled out all the stops for the end of the Smackdown.

As will I.

It was so hard to choose this time. What would be a proper culmination of
The Ugly Sister Saturday Smackdown?

Well, a chronology of sorts would seem to fit the bill for this.

So,to start off, since you already have shared in one of my religious sacrements, you may as well get to share in another.

First Communion

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Who is that person to the left? I don't know. Not Amy. Definitely not Amy.

And next we have a little photo of us on vacation.

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I would probably be about nine in that photo. Similar time period as the photobooth pictures on my sister's blog.

Next we move on to the night of my little league dinner. Look at the sisterly love!

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It looks as though I still have the same plastic frame glasses as the last picture. And if they aren't the same as those, perhaps they are the same ones I am wearing in this photo.

My big sister's graduation day.

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Oh my. The hair, the hair, the hair.

Had enough yet? No?


Because I wouldn't want you to miss coming along to the airport when we bid my big sister Au revoir and send her off to Europe.

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And that, my friends, is a wrap. But, like my sister said, rather than scaring you away from talking to us anymore, these photos should serve as proof that even the ... oddest ... among us can turn out ok. Yes, there is hope. For you, and you, and, yes, even you.

And here is one last photo to prove it.

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Or ... not.

Thank you! Thank you! And thank you sister for a fun little exercise and an easy Saturday topic during this most grueling of months.

This Post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday! Friday! I'm Very Full of Pumpkin Pieday!

Good evening. I trust you all had a splendid holdiay.

Me? Oh mine was just fine, thank you. Dinner was deeelish. Then we relaxed and watched a bunch of episodes of this ... I guess new show called "The Big Bang".

If you haven't seen it, it's actually pretty funny. It's the first sit-com I've seen in a long time that had some interesting humor. It mentions things like String Theory and Quantum Mechanics and our friend, Archimedes. The jist is that there are these two extremely intelligent lads - physicists - that share an apartment. The other lead characters are their two equally geeky and intelligent pals and the bomb-shell next door who also happens to be the unrequitd love interest of one of the lead geeks.

In all actuality, it is the first show I've seen in a long time period. Because, you know, the whole not having TV and all that.

But, I really enjoyed this one. I think because it really hits home for me. What with being married into the family that I am and all that.

Here's a for instance. Today I came home from work and I was about to get changed so I could go feed the animals. I heard someone clomping around downstairs and thought it might be hubby home from Black Friday shopping. (True! I sent him out to buy two of the down comfoters that were on sale for super cheap. Alas, no deal. They were all sold out.) I leaned over the upstairs banister and hollered "Haloo..?" The responding "Hello" told me that it was not, in fact, my hubby but one of his many brothers.

So I went downstairs to chat with him a bit and learned that he was having problems with some piping on his well pump and stopped by to see if we might have a piece of 1 1/2" black plastic pipe. Because, you never know. We just might and probably do.

See how easily I explained that to you?

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That's not how easily it was explained to me. I got the version with the pressure this and whatever valve that and, I'm sorry, but I'm really not a plumber and understanding all of this but I'm pretty sure I know what black plastic pipe looks like and I might be able to help you even though I don't really understand.

I'd be good at Lowes.

"No, I have no idea what you use it for but it's in aisle 14."


"I don't know if this is going to solve your problem but it seems to fit the description you gave me."

I'm good at things like that. But, really, my wonderful brother in-law, God love him, talks to me while forgetting that he is not talking to a fellow engineer or one of his brothers. Which is redundant.

On one hand, it's kind of flattering. I am seen as an intellectual equal fully able to comprehend this plumbing-pressure-with-a-leak-twist dilemma. Or whatever other item is the project/problem du jour with the guys in this family.

On the other hand ...

I think they would just talk to anyone like that. Because that's how their minds work. The whole lot of them. They've got those "crazy brains".

Here's another for instance. The whole family - all eight siblings and their assorted spouses and children - got together this summer to take Mother and Father out to dinner for their anniversary. I was coming to the restaurant drectly from work and I arrived just before dinner actually started. As a result of my fashionably (perpetually) late arrival, the only chair available happened to be at the kid table. Which was fine by me because I didn't get to see my nieces and nephew in a while. All through dinner there was quite an animated conversation going on at the adult table. I couldn't really catch what was being discussed but it was being debated enthusiastically.

When dinner was wrapping up and we started to wander back and forth between tables, I worked my way over to the adult table. Upon arriving, I was immediately summoned for my opinion. "A. says that the design of a race car is such that the air flow over the body makes it actually stick to the road..." The ending tone implying What do you make of that nonsense?

To which I replied what any sensible person who made it through high school physics would, "Um...I thought that was gravity."

A round of hearty chuckles at my obviously flip humor.

"No ..." says A. "They would stick to the road even if they were driving upsidedown."

They all look at me again, awaiting my decision of which intellectual camp I would ally my mind with.

"Are we talking Hot Wheels? Because they can go upsidedown in the loop. And they stick to the track. But I don't think it has anything to do with the design of the Hot Wheels per se..."

Silence. And then ...

Another hearty round of chuckles and, hey, more wine!

So, you see, this show speaks to me.

Now, I am supposed to pick a Geek of the Week. And I am happy to report that, again, no one has bothered me much this week. So, I am going to deviate from the usual plan and pick an actual Geek of the Week - with geek being the more traditional definition. And, not only am I going to pick one Geek of the Week, I am going to pick several.

Drum roll please ...

Geek(s) of the Week is/are ...

My hubby and his bros.

Although, I have to admit, I almost bought a t-shirt this week that said "There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't."


It kills me every time!

So I guess we're made for each other.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday! Thursday! Eats Those Roasted Birdsday!

Today is a day that I answer a question from my sister. Let me find one.

Here we go. This is a kind of easy one, which I picked on purpose because I don't have too much time to write and I don't know if I will get back to the computer tonight.

Question: What are all the rock/pop concerts you've seen?

I don't know if I can actually do this chronologically or not, but I'll try.

Here we go.


I promise.


No, really.


Ok , I guess you can sense that I am stalling. It's true. I am stalling because I hesitate to type the first one.



Ok, let's be brave about this.

All (or most) of the Rock/Pop Concerts I Have Seen

1. Night Ranger

Thaaaaat's right. My first concert was Night Ranger.

Alright! Let's stop right here and I will try to explain. I was home sick from school - in 7th grade! - and they had a contest on the radio and I was whatever number caller I needed to be so I won the tickets. It was free and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Moving right along.

2. The Stray Cats
3. The Grateful Dead - several times.
4. Bob Dylan
5. Lou Reed - um, sort of
6. Neil Young
7. David Bowie
8. Sade
9. The Violent Femmes
10. Three really hard core bands in Boston of which I can't remember any names. I think because they probably never really got big. And it was a long time ago.
11. The Ink Spots
12. Bon Jovi with Skid Row opeing

Um. I think I need to do some more explaining. About 3 weeks after my son was born, a friend called and asked if I wanted to go to a concert. I jumped at the chance. I didn't care who it was - obviously - I just needed to go have fun for a night. It was the first time I squoze myself into regular jeans in months.

And it was actually ok.

13. The Monkeys - don't ask
14. The Spice Girls - I am a good mother
15. Brittany Spears - I am a good mother

Actually, again, I have to say that even though these gals aren't the ones I would pick to throw in the ol' cd player, I had fun at the concerts.

16. Patty Griffin
17. The Dead - I took my mom. This is when she learned what pot smells like. Hee.

And then there are the festivals. I can't even think of how many different groups/performers I saw at festivals. When you are camped out at a place for several days that has music going on at 4 different places almost on a 24 hour basis, well, it gets to be a bit much to remember.

But, some of the names are Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, Old Crow Medicine Show, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Ricki Lee Jones, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Dr. Ralph Stanley (and co.), Tony Rice, Jennie Stearns (I heart her), Richie Stearns, Mary Lorsen and Saint Low, The Waifs, The Hix, Occulus, Abigail Washburn, The Hackensaw Boys, Frog Holler, The Horse Flies, The Flying Clouds, The Sim Redmond Band, Paso Fino, Del McCoury, Dry Branch Fire Squad ... um ... I'm running out. There are so many others that I can't remember. Forgive me other bands, I can't help it.

There might be a few other "big names" as well, but... oh well.

So there it is. My musical experience.


For a little bit of a holiday thing.

I just want to jot down a some things I am thankful for. By all means, this list is not all inclusive. Just a few things ...

My husband and children. There is nothing I can put into words that can even begin to cover it. I love you all.

My family. Immediate and extended, including my in-laws. I come from good people and married into good people. They are the collective bomb.

My friends. I have to say that, when it comes to friends, I must have stepped in a whole lot of poop because I am the luckiest dawg. Friends, you all rock!

My relatively good health.

My farm. Love, hate, love, hate, love!

Our animals. They keep me steady.

My co-workers. Even though we are an eclectic bunch, it works. Like a disfunctional family.


... and last but not least ...


You all know how I am with that. Why just today, as I was starting to make a squash casserole, a song came on that just stopped me in my tracks. I had to put everything down and just sit an listen to it.

This might be a possible reason why I don't always get things done quickly.

I have a problem.

Hi, my name is Anne. I like music. A lot.

Ok, I have to actually get back to the squash as I think it is done cooking and ready for the next phase of the recipe.

Let's casseroll!

Oh, and one more person I saw.

I'll leave you with this.


This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday! Wednesday! Give An Award To My Friendsday!


As you all know, Wednesday is award day here at Almost Quintessence and Halushki.

I would like to start off today's ceremony by giving the Most Righteous Woman This Side of the Vulcan Award to my friend Kathy.

This past Sunday I received a call from her while I was grocery shopping at Giant in Hazleton. She was on her way to get some spring water ...

Um. Ok, I think I might have to explain something.

Here in the coal region you will often find people pulled over on the side of the road filling up plastic jugs with water flowing from natural springs. They are all over the place. Two of the more popular springs I know of are in impossible spots on the road - the one being along the stretch of RT 61 between Frackville and Saint Clair (also known as the Schuylkill County Autobahn where you are taking your life in your hands by stopping along the side to fill jugs), and the second on a hairpin turn along RT 339 coming down the mountain into Brandonville (also probably not the best place to sort of pull your car off the road to fill jugs). These springs are almost always flowing unless there is a super severe drought. People who live "in town" and people who live in areas where there are known septic issues and, consequently, known well issues are the ones who frequent theses spots.

I grew up on the RT 61 spring water, thankyouverymuch.

Back to our shceduled post.

... and she called me to a.) tell me she had a big roll of plastic in her car that she was going to drop off at my house, and b.) it is snowing a whole lot and the roads are getting bad and you might want to get your crazy self home from Hazleton.

Kathy lives in a big old school house with big old windows so she has a unique appreciation for the value of large rolls of plastic. She is my kind of woman. She knows what turns me on.

I think I might have mentioned before my total failure at girlyness. I really stink at it. Really. Here's a not-so-ironic factoid for you. When I was in 6th grade, I was in a sort of regional spelling bee. I came in second place. The word that tripped me up? Femenine. I mean, feminine.

So, if you tell me you have a big roll of plastic, you are my hero. If you tell me you have a multi fuel outdoor furnace and all the piping and heat exchangers to make an old farm house feel as toasty as a mother's womb, I am yours. If you tell me you have an F350 Dually 4x4 diesel dump truck with a plow, ... well ... this is a family blog so I'll just have to stop here.

By the way, if you do have the F350 Dually 4x4 diesel dump truck with plow, look me up on AOL - my screen name is HotLuv2onRearDumpxxxx. I'd loooooove to get to know you(r truck).


I can't wait to see the search hits after this post.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah.

So, when I came home, sure enough there was a nice big roll of plastic in front of my garage, and I have been busying myself with it ever since. Although, I am now wondering if, rather than making all these plastic window inserts, it might just be easier to wrap myself in the plastic. I admit it sounds a bit selfish, leaving my hubby and children kind of literally out in the cold. But! Desperate times and all that rot.

In conclusion, for seeing a need and filling that need with plastic, I award my friend Kathy with this most prestigious award. I don't even know if she reads this blog so Kenny, Amy, if you see her before I get to talk to her, give her the good news.

And now for my second award.

The Most Helpful at the Home Improvement Store award goes to Pete at Lowe's.

This past week I had to get yet another roll of fence for the evil ... I mean, my charming 4 legged, two horned spawns of Sat... I mean, ... the goats. I went to Lowes and bought the last roll of 4 foot woven wire fence because, why not? We bought pretty much every other roll they stocked this year. So, that and 10 (more) steel posts. All of this amounted to Very Heavy.

I had the load on one of those kooky carts they have where the middle wheels are on the ground but you can only have the wheels from either one end or the other on the ground at a time. So you can never just roll it. You kind of have to rock-and-roll it. I guess it's for leverage (Remember, Archimedes is your friend!) or something. ROCK AND ROLL! AT LOWES! YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAH!

So, I paid for the stuff (first at the store in cash, later with my soul and sanity) and wheel-bump-wheel-bumpity-bumped it out into the parking lot. I had our Subaru station wagon which we pretty much use to transport everything but coal, and that's probably not too far off as well. (Hi! Dump truck!) I was wheel-bump-wheel-bumpity-bumping the cart through the lot and, as I came up to my car, I noticed one of the Lowe's people gathering carts from one of the parking lot depots. I glanced at him and, even though I believe in my heart he tried not to make eye contact, it was too late. He looked at me and saw me. And I saw him see me. And he saw me see him see me. It was a veritable see saw. The tension mounted.

But. Being the independent woman I am, I looked away and thought "Meh, I can load this into the car. I've done it before."

So I wheel-bump-wheel-bumpity-bumped the cart next to my car and opened the back hatch. As I was clearing a space for my purchase, I caught site of the Lowes dude in my peripheral vision. Approaching. Me.

I pretended not to notice.

I clambered out of the car and there he was. Pete.

"Um. Do you want some help with this?" he politely asked.

"YES! YES! Oh, God, YES!" I might have also grabbed him by his red vest lapels and shaken him until his teeth rattled, I can't quite remember.

After we had everything loaded into the car, I turned to him and with all sincerity said, "Pete, today you are my hero."

And he said, "Well, at least I get to be somebody's hero..."

And we lived happily ever after. At least, I'm hoping for the best for Pete.


This post was brought you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday! Tuesday! I Have A Bunch Of Wet Shoesday!

The wet shoes referenced in the title would be from trying to do a whole bunch of outside chores today while the drizzle melted the snow from Sunday/Monday.

This is a challenging time of year on the farm. These are the Mud Days. Everything is just ... mud. The hardest part about this time of year is that it is so diffucult to keep the animals comfortable. Everything is just soaked.

I made an attempt to build up the bedding in the horses' stall with some woodchips. The problem is that the pile of woodchips isn't exactly right near the stall. And with the ground being as muddy as it was, it was impossible to move a wheelbarrow through it.

Here's a little math problem - with two parts.

a) How many Tidy Cat buckets of woodchips does it take to make a 4 inch deep bed in a 12 x 15 horse stall where x = the melting rate of 10 inches of snow and y = the precipitation rate of rain?
b) How many bottles of wine will it take to get the job done?

The answer to both a and b is: a lot. I was going to email this little math problem off to my daughter's calculus teacher but ... I'm not sure what he would think.

So anyway, wet shoes.

Aside from dealing with the wetness, today was a pretty productive day. I was home all day and I managed to get some little projects done - installing a dog door for the beagles, putting plastic over a screen door, fixing a screen and getting it ready for plasic, cutting son's hair.

That's it?

Well, it felt more productive. The thing with the plastic is this - we have a lot of windows. When I say a lot I mean A. Lot. Like if I told you, you wouldn't even believe me.


It's 80 windows.

I crap you not.

Remember that picture of the house from the snow day? That particular room alone has 26. Fortunately, that's more of a 3 season type room that we don't heat so I'm not too worried about that. But, that still leaves a whole boat load of windows. Some have aluminum storm windows with screens and that is all well and good.

But some don't

Some have the old wood storm windows and some just have the old wood frames with screen. The latter group is the one I am currently trying to address with the plastic. I have no idea how many there are. I just kind of take it one window at a time. A friend of mine who is also living in a big ol' drafty house gave me a huge roll of plastic. It's awesome! I can't express just how wonderful it is.

So, plastic on windows. Yay for heat retention!

But back to the business at hand which would be "The Ugly Sisters Remember When".

We didn't really plan a specific topic for today but I thoght what with this being Thanksgiving week and all, maybe something along those lines would be good.

So ... Thanksgiving.

When I was growing up, my parents were pretty much always the ones to host Thanksgiving. My dad's dad was there - because he lived with us - and usually my mom's parents and sometimes aunts, uncles and cousins.

When there were a lot of people there, we were one of those families that had a kid table and a grown-up table. The kid table was the round oak table in our kitchen and the adults got to eat in the actual dining room. It was always kind of fun sitting at the kid table. We were always silly and laughing and, once in a while, boisterous enough to get a warning from one of the adults.

I can still picture my mom making dinner. She always wore one of those full aprons while she bustled around the kitchen. Turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, butter beans, salad, cranberry sauce, gravy, kielbasy (smoked and fresh!), string beans, stuffing (oh heart's delight!) and several types of pies.

My dad was always in charge of the mashed potatoes. I'm not sure how he ever came to be the Potato Engineer but, once they were ready, it was his job to mash them. Which he did with a hand masher and his tongue sticking slightly out of the corner of his mouth. When they reached fluffy perfection, he would pile them in a serving bowl and then embellish the heap with pats of butter.

My dad's other job was to carve the turkey - a job he took very seriously. He would come to the table with the big carving knife and one of those knife sharpeners that looked like a sword. He would take his place at the head of the table and start the Thanksgiving pageantry, criss-crossing the knife over the sharpener, elaborate arm swooping motions, until it was just right. Whatever that was. Who knew? Then he would poke the two prong fork into the turkey and begin to carve while we all waited anxiously. When he was done, we would all pile our plates, say grace and dig in.

After dinner, the adults would clean up and retire to the living room for beers, wine, sometimes a shot of something, and coffee for the ladies. Except my grandmother - she would have a beer or shot. Or both. Rest her soul.

The kids would go outside and play. Probably tag or some make believe game. In a little while we would come back in and have dessert.

I know there are people out there that dread holiday get-togethers - something I can't even imagine. My holiday memories are nothing but wonderful and happy. I don't remember anyone ever fighting or arguing - just a lot of eating, talking and laughing. As the years went on, the number or guests dwindled until it was just my parents, grandmother my and my sister's families.

And now it is just my mom.

Who very graciously agreed to cook the 24 pound turkey I got from Giant.

Because, hey, free turkey! Plus her house is warmer.

So this year, my hubby, kids and I will have Thanksgiving dinner with my mom. And so it goes.

I don't really think about Thanksgiving Past very often so I'm glad I wrote this post. It gave me a chance to look back, almost like I was standing outside and looking in the dining room windows of my parents' house. I see a room full of people, sitting around a bountiful table, enjoying each other's company. I can hear the animated conversations and laugher. As I step back into the evening, the lights glow warmly and I can still catch the sound of an extra hearty laugh.

I step a little further back still and, even though I can no longer hear the people inside, the cheerful lights spill into the yard.

Snow flurries start to fall and I start to float up into the sky. Down below I can see the houses of our neighbors, where they are also sitting down to their holdiay meals.

Floating a higher still I can see over my whole home town and the twinkling lights of all the little houses. A beautiful peace alights on the earth, and I think to myself...

"Holy Crap! I'm flying!"

This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday! Monday! Pretty Much Like Sunday!

So, Monday. That random, crazy Monday day.

I have nothing.

No. Thing.

I am spent. Written out.


And it's late.

I had to go to work today. And, what? Nothing. The internet was out.

Did you know it is impossible to conduct real estate business now a days without the internet?

It is.

Or ... mostly is.

Today work day consisted of sending two faxes.

That's it.

I couldn't even check email. Of course. Because that would be one of those internet necessary things.


I am going to bed now.

Sorry about the nothingness of this post.

I'll do better tomorrow.

This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday! Sunday! No One Sent Us A Questionday!

Thaaaat's right.

Here we are, ready, willing and able to doll out good, sound advice and what?
No one can be bothered to ask.

Not a one.

Well, fine.

You know what that means, don't you? Now I get to ramble.

Iiiiiiii'm a ramblin'. Ramble, amble, amble, amble, abmlin'.

Ok, so after my sister's post yesterday I bet you thought I'd never come back to the internet. Well, here I am. Because, well, I don't know ... I guess because I just don't learn.

So anyway...

Guess what happened to me today! Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words so I'll just go ahead and babble for a little bit...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's my eye.

Or ... what could have been what's left of my eye.

Yes, another tragic farming accident. Farming is ranked in the top 10 for Most Dangerous Jobs, don'cha know. And well deserved is that place.

You know, just this morning, I was getting ready to go out and start feeding the animals and I happened to glance down at my leg while I was putting my pants on. Black and blue. Everywhere. I had no less than 8 black an blue marks on one half of one leg. Eight! Where do they come from? Darned if I know. It would seem that I am always battering myself about.

A little while ago, hubby suggested in a very concerned voice that I might want to get all this black and bluedness checked out by a doctor. I think he was worried about what people might think when, say, I am walking about in a short sleeved top and look like I was just beaten in a back alley. So, when I had my regular tune up with the doctor, I had him check into it. As it turns out, I have Chronic Clumsy. I just happen to be one of those people that ... bruise. Like a fine, ripe apple I am.

So anyway, I was feeding the animals this morning and I had to lean way in under the roof part of the one feeder to put the grain in for this certain pack of evil goats. I leaned down and started to pour the grain into the trough and they all started swarming like they usually do.

Let me tell you, piranhas have nothing on goats when it comes to feeding frenzies.

Well, the long and short of it is that one of the goats stuck me in the eyeball with the tip of her horn.

In my eye.

A goat horn.

In my eye.

"OW!" said I. Because it hurt like a mother.

So now I am going to be forced to get some crazy make up to match my other eye to this one and spike my hair for work tomorrow because I am the warrior. Shootin' at the walls of heartache.

Bang. Bang.

I can't believe I got gored in the eye.

You know, with getting my eye almost taken out, slogging around doing farmwork, freezing my patootie off every winter, one might ask "Crazy Woman, why do you do this?"

Because, really, some days it is just a big ol' pain in the butt. As well as a pain in many other places.

Like today it happens to be a pain in the eye.

But, whatever the case, I could most indeedily lead a much easier life than this. So why, then, don't I?

I am going to blame Robert Frost.

Robert Frost is probably my most favorite poet. (Ok, him and Billy Collins.) I would guess that among some literary circles, saying Robert Frost is your favorite poet would be akin to saying McDonald's is your favorite restaurant. I mean, he's the guy that shows up in the fourth grade reader, introducing the masses to Poetry. He is like the grilled cheese sandwich of poetry - unassuming, comforting and familiar. Everyone knows Robert Frost.

But I love Robert Frost.

I love his talk of apples and stone walls and snow and bowed birches and cords of maple and yellow woods. I love all the beautiful, sad and nostalgic things they are.

And I have since the fourth grade. Since "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening".

And this is why I lug bales of hay ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and carry water buckets ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and shovel poop ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and wear three layers of clothes inside ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and shear goats ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and put up miles and miles of fence ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and black and blue myself ...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and all the other stuff that seems so hard some days.

So I can go outside on a day like today and stop by my snowy woods.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

For all the difficulty, challenge, sacrifices and everything else ... in the end it's worth it.

So, a day that started out with my eyeball almost getting run through on a goat horn turned out not so bad after all.

Dust of Snow
by: Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

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This post was brought you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday! Saturday! Wore My Scooby-doo Hatterday!


Here it is once again.

The Saturday Sisterly Smackdown!

For today's photo, I reached waaaaaaay back into the Ugly Sisters' past. Waaaay back to a special holiday. Waaaaay back to the time of polyester blazers.

I bring you...



Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dig those photogray glasses.


By the way, it was about 2 degrees. Typical Pennsylvania Easter.

This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday! Friday! I Could Just Pluck Out My Eyeday!

Ok, this is going to be very short.

Geek of the Week?

It's a tie between...

My Computer!

Because it keeps freezing up and I can't get anything done.


My Head!

Because it won't stop hurting.

Computer and Head? You both suck.

I am going to quick post this now while I still can.

This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday! Thursday! My Sister Got Her Post Up Firstday!

I'm running out of rhymey titles. It's hard to begin with but when you have to come up with something new every week, well...

So, anyway, I am going to quick post this bit here so I can technically have a post up but I am going to then actually finish the post and repost it so I will post what I am suppost (hee) to be posting.

That's more posts than a dressage event.


I'm back.

Ok, so as you all know by now, Thursday is where I answer a question from my sister and vice versa.

Let's see what we've got in the line of sisterly questions...

Question: If you were queen for a day, what three laws would you enact (worldwide or local).

Oh, how often have I lolled away the hours dreaming up the answer to this question. I'm talking answers that are years in the making here. And yet, this is going to be hard. Mainly because my Queenly Precepts are pages long and it's going to be hard to pick just three.

Not that I have it actually written out.

Because I wouldn't really do that.




Queenly Precept #1: NO LITTERING! DAMMIT!

And I mean it, too. I HATE HATE HATE litter. Every spring (except for this year, unfortunately) I spend a whole day walking along the road that runs through our property picking up litter. It is so disgusting. I mean come. On. People. The world is not your garbage can. Not your ashtray. Not your compost pile. Not your whatever else people put garbage in.

The other day I heard a bit on public radio about trash and the terrible awful amounts of it that we conspicuously consuming Americans churn out in a day. And, living in the state that is the number one importer of trash (how's that for a claim to fame?) I take umbrage to the carelessness of the natives who have to treat the whole damn place like a landfill.

Umbrage. I don't think I have actually used that word since vocabulary class in school. I don't even know from where I pulled it. Umbrage. It's a good word ... I think I'll keep it.

One of the items mentioned in the broadcast was a challenge someone made to carry around with your bad self all the trash you personally produced in a week. Instead of pitching it in a garbage can, you had to put it in a bag and carry it with you. I think you were allowed to recycle but you had to make the effort to do it at the moment you were done with the item. You couldn't, say, put a glass bottle in your bag and then later, when you "remembered", throw it in a recycling bin. No, if you would originally put it in the garabage, you had to carry it with you for the week.

I think this is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So, that would be a sub-law of the NO LITTERING! DAMMIT! Law. Everyone would have to carry their trash for that day.

The very day after hearing the NPR story, I was at work listening to two of my co-workers lamenting the fact that the office was out of plastic cups again for the water cooler. "I just brought in two packs of 50 cups!" says one. "I don't know how we go through them so fast!" says the other.

People, we don't have a lot of folks working at my office. There is no reason we should be going through plastic cups so fast. As a matter of fact, we shouldn't be going through any plastic cups because we have regular cups. And a kitchen. With a sink. Where they can be washed.

So, I listened to these two ladies go back and forth about the rapid use of the disposable plastic cups, while my inner Jiminy Cricket with the voice of an NPR correspondant whispered in my ear about "all that garbage", and it was all I could do not to scream at them to "Just use the damn cups in the kitchen and wash them!!!!"

Because they just don't get it. They don't even want to get it. Because getting it would involve effort. And, when it comes to office relations, you have to be discriminating about which hill you want to run around and rave like a lunatic on while the enemy rolls their eyes and whispers under their breath "Oh, brother. Here she goes again."

If any of you are experienced at deep sea fishing now would be a good time to try to start reeling me in. Because I will take this topic and break the surface like a glimmering Blue Marlin, dive back under, surface again another 150 feet out, flip flop like a cesium atom and break the line.

Stop. Now. Ok.

So, garbage = bad.

Let it go.

Ok, I just had to scroll back up to see what question I was trying to answer.


And it can't be carrying someone else's garbage for them.

And it can't be for someone you know.

Like, if a stranger wanted to come insulate my house, that would be awesome.

Although, they don't have to be such grand acts. You know, like a stranger suddenly coming up to me and giving me flowers. That's Impulse.

Do you remember those commercials? Now it would be "That's Creepy" or "That's a Good Reason to Run Away Fast". As for me, I'd be glad to get the flowers even if they did come from a crazy impulsive stranger. Because I'm not proud.

As long as he was hot.


What's the question again?

Oh. Right.


Although I have to make the exception for computers that run things. You know, like power plants and hospital stuff.

So here's my thinking on this. One day isn't going to kill anyone. Maybe we could take the time and play a game or visit a neighbor or walk the dog or write a letter or paint a picture. Maybe we could all hold hands and dance in a circle and sing a song about what a good queen I was for the day.

Maybe we would just notice each other and the world around us a little bit more.

Is it any wonder people think I'm a freak?

No, it is not.

This post was brought to you by NaBloPoMo and Perrier.