Sunday, August 31, 2014

FAIR TIME

The Champlain Valley Fair means the end of summer in our area of Vermont.
I took my grand kids last year and my grandson has been talking about it with the anticipation most kids might save for Santa Claus for the past year.

It rolled around again and I was chump enough to agree to take them once again. The age difference between my two grandchildren sometimes makes an outing a challenge.  Also Kristen is entering that stage of wanting distance between herself and her grandmother--or adults generally.  I told her she could invite a friend, leaving me free to concentrate on entertaining Dane.  Or leaving Dane free to entertain me.

We negotiated.  I regular check-in time and spot with the girls, not games that would result in having to drag around prizes until we were leaving, and he and I would take turns picking the activities and rides.  That way we got to see the animals and the agricultural exhibits, ride the ferris wheel, and actually make it to the check-ins.  That way Dane also got me onto to some rides that I thought I was done with my own children no longer needed my constant attention at the fair.

Fair food.


Exhibits



Stomach flipping rides


Strange crowds

A day at the fair.
And now, empty pockets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watching Netflix

I just recently signed up again for Netflix.  I signed up once a few years ago and never really got into it, but right now it is like my new best friend.

I have been watching Last Tango in Halifax.  I saw a little bit of it on the first season, but not enough to say I knew entirely what it was about.  Now I am viewing an episode a day and really enjoying it.

I never even heard of the series Rescue Me, but I am enjoying that as well.  It certainly does not give reason for hope in its portrayal of humanity, but there is something about the Dennis Leary character communing with the dead that has me hooked.  There are seven seasons of that to get through.

I also have  Happy Valley  in my line up.

I used to read.  Now I am watching television.  I am not sure that is progress.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend in Connecticut

I was in Connecticut visiting my sister-in-law over the weekend.  We went shopping at the Corelle outlet and had hot lobster rolls at a place on the river.  On Saturday night we took a haunted house tour at the Mark Twain House.  Mr.  Clemens did not show up, nor did any other spirits that I saw.  Still, it was an interesting tour.

Some day I will figure out how to get pictures off my new phone and I will be better able to share some of my little travels.

So instead of a picture, I will share a quote:


“Life is short, Break the Rules.  
Forgive quickly, 
Kiss SLOWLY. 
Love truly. 
Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING 
That makes you smile.” ― Mark Twain




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writers' Group Field Trip

I have belonged to a writers' group at the Jericho Town Library for a number of years now.  In fact, I just realized I have participated since its inception.  The group has changed members over the years, numbers growing and falling off.

Right now there are three of us who meet on a fairly regular basis--the goal is every other week, but of course life sometimes intrudes on that plan.  We work on our separate projects and meet to share and offer feedback and support.  This has become such an important part of my life as have the the two women who have become writerly colleagues and friends.

Sometimes we go on a field trip together.  Yesterday we went to a public event that was part of this summer's Middlebury College writer's conference at their Bread Loaf Campus.  You can see a video and a slide show of the campus HERE.  You can get more information Here.

We attended a reading from a novel in progress by Margot Livesey.  I could only sigh at the craft in the hands of a master.  And Alan Shapiro read poetry that striped down to the bone.  And to shamelessly name drop, Julia Alvarez sat just across the aisle from us.  We were cool--Jen and Margaret and I--but on the inside we were like teenage girls at a Beatles concert in the late '60s.  Wow.

I consider the Bread Loaf Campus sacred ground.  Mike and I were married in the nearby Robert Frost forest.  This was a trip that fed my soul and affirmed my spirit.  And I needed that.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Craziness

I have kind of a quirky imagination, but there is some stuff that just cannot be made up.  I heard this on the local news the other night.  A toddler found a gun in her own diaper bag after being dropped off at a daycare center.  A LOADED GUN.

The child's grandmother had "forgotten" the loaded gun was in the diaper bag.  WHAT??

Even more curious--the daycare's solution to this little problem--children will no longer be permitted to bring diaper bags or backpacks to the facility.

Do we live in a crazy world?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meatless Monday

It is zucchini and summer squash season.

This is my favorite way to use it.

Cheesy Squash Casserole  

1 pound of zucchini, sliced*
1pound of yellow summer squash, sliced*
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup butter**
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese***
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. fresh thyme
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165C)
  2. Bring a large post of water to a boil.  Add squashes and onion and cook until tender (about 15 minutes). * Drain well and transfer vegetables to a large bowl.  
  3. Add butter so it starts to melt.
  4. Add eggs, sugar, salt, and thyme.  Stir gently to combine and until butter is melted.
  5. Add cracker crumbs until moisture is absorbed.
  6. Turn into a 1 1/2 qt. baking dish and top with bread crumbs.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.


*Here is a trick I learned from Lydia Bastianich:  cook the squash whole with ends in tact.  The squash does not need to absorb extra water.  Slice after cooking.  I don't bother to precook the onion at all.  I melt the butter before adding it to the squash.

**Butter=sweet, unsalted butter.  Margarine will surely ruin the whole dish.  Don't!

***Need I say Vermont Cheddar?  Oh, well, if you are from Wisconsin or New York or Cheddar(!),  use what you have.

This makes 8 servings.  I make the full recipe for myself and eat twice a day for four days and lick my plate clean every time.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Shoes

My running shoes are past their prime.  Not that I run, but I do an exercise walk and running shoes are what I find most comfortable for that.

In the spirit of full disclosure--or perhaps of TMI--I have been known to walk five miles in flip-flop sandals.  I know that is wrong.  Time to treat myself better.

Anyway, I need new running/walking shoes so I went online to do some research.  Isn't technology so so grand?

I learned something to pass along.  It is from Fleet Feet and is really about socks:


  • At rest, the average foot releases 1 cup of sweat each day.
  • On a 5 mile run, your feet produce enough sweat to fill an 8 ounce glass.
  • 55% of foot perspiration evaporates through the shoes upper. The other 45% is absorbed in the sock and footbed of your shoe!
  • Two trillion bacteria live on your feet (that’s 12% of all bacteria on the human body).

Yeah, talk about Too Much Information!

I did get new running shoes.  They are Asics gel nimbus and they were more expensive than I would normally buy, but WOW! are they ever comfortable.



I braved the threatening sky and went for my walk.



Having read this on Barb's Live and Learn--temperatures dipping near freezing--I adjusted my angst over signs of the approaching fall.

roadside flowers


Amazing what new shoes and a little perspective can do for a body and soul.