30 August 2007


There is no better therapy than a walk with Polar. It has been a stressful week. We are updating the store software so I have been rebuilding databases under a time crunch. The longer I am fussing with them the more out of sync the one they are using will be, and the more data entry I will have to do after... No one at the store is fond of change either, so there is a little (or a lot of) pressure there. So I have to get the databases updated, the new software installed, learn how to use it, then show others how to use it in less than a week! I did hire a computer guy to help, but he just helps with the actual make computer a get along with computer b and the software stuff. The really fun part comes after the install, though. Quickbooks, in it's infinite wisdom did not give any way to export open layaways (we probably have 150 of those). So I get to re-enter ALL of them manually. Then we have to figure out the dollar amounts, and inventory amounts so that isn't all screwed up. The inventory scares the bejeezus out of me. Ever since our computer guy extracted the database items sold have not been recorded. This with all the duplicate products I will be "pulling" from inventory when I have to re-enter makes me wonder if I should just lose my mind now! Plus setting up a computer for the town offices and getting all of those files sorted out and entered in so that I can get my reports done the first week in September. So, last night after nine or so hours pouring over the inventory database I let Art take over while I grabbed the dog and headed up the hill. Polar is always ready to go for a walk. He takes his time initially, sniffing each bush and twig by the side of the road, and marking his territory as needed. A couple of horse riders passed us and stopped to say 'hi' and let Polar sniff the ponies. Then the first part of the hill we move at a good clip. It is a fairly steep grade so by half way up he can certainly go more quickly than I. The last quarter of the hill he was tugging so hard I jogged the rest of the way with him. It's about a mile up to the junction in the road. Go right, and check out the Beaver pond in a quarter mile, go straight a half mile to the end of the road, or go to the end of the road and hang a right for a one mile path up to the ledges. It was getting dark, so we went with Beaver pond. No Beavers today, but we did note that they jammed the drainage port really full this time! By the time we headed back down the hill that little knot in the back of my shoulders had untied, and I felt more relaxed than all week. We came home and I pretty much went right up to bed... My kind of therapy! (Pic of the pond is from a different day)

29 August 2007

Lucky Number Seven

Congratulations to the guys at our shop! We received the honor of being Harman Stove Company's seventh largest dealer in the nation. Last year was a tough year for us, so we are glad that we still did well enough to be in the top ten. Also, congrats to our sales reps Charlie and Mary Kaye, who received Manufacturer's Rep of the year.


It is almost pear time. Our seckel pear tree is bursting at the seams. One more week, and they will be ready to eat! :) Here is my favorite Pear Cookie recipe since I dug it out for a bake fest I'll have next week!
Pear Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups rolled oats
1-1/2 cups flour
2 fresh, medium-sized pears
1-1/4 tsp coarsely chopped cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
granulated sugar
Cream butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in remaining ingredients except sugar. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies)
Nutrients per serving (1 cookie): calories 62; protein 1.0; fat 2.1; carbohydrate 10.1; dietary fiber .6g; cholesterol 9mg; sodium 54mg.

28 August 2007

Rising up

When we first moved in to our house the great room was actually two rooms with a loft. There was one bedroom in the front of the house, or a little hall that lead to a narrow living room with a ladder in the middle of the wall going up to the loft. Tearing that wall down was one of the first tasks. However, the ladder was literally in the middle of the room when this wall came down so it had to go. Through the years we have stored a few items up there like skiis, and suitcases so if we needed them we would have to go get the step ladder and climb up. Because of the pitch of the roof we had no idea how we were going to access this loft long term. The only space with enough headroom is in the middle. My best guess was a librarians ladder that could reside on a side wall and slide to the middle for use. Art thought building a walkway from the Bear room was the way to go, but that would mess with the vaulted ceiling look big time! Then we saw this great little Italian staircase. It can be installed as a spiral staircase or in our case a small straight pattern. Most staircases take around eight to ten feet of floor space to rise up one floor. This one accomplishes that in only four feet! The only trick is that you can only walk one way. You have to start with your left foot going up and right foot coming down. Now we just have to find a use for the space!

27 August 2007

Life is Good!

Another fabulous day. We spent the day out on the coast with Art's folks and sister Karyn. We met up at 10am to head over to the beach. Karyn had found this gorgeous little island park in Newcastle. You would watch the boats come in and out of Portsmouth, and it was a perfect sailing day so there were many of them about. The temperature was perfect- light breeze, little sun. We were able to park about 30 feet from our spot so it was a breeze with Mom. There were quite a few people at the park, but it was not crowded at all. There was a beach area, a great field with picnic tables, volleyball courts, and we even saw someone with their croquet set. Then all along the shore they had shade trees, benches, and great spots to roam around and enjoy the view. Then Dad asked what we wanted to do for lunch. We turned it back to him. He said either Newicks (seafood) with their paper plates, or Wentworth by the Sea (a fabulous resort's restaurant that they took us to for their 50th wedding anniversary). Wow! We would've been happy with either, but he ultimately chose Wentworth by the Sea. They made it very simple for Mom, and even set up a table that was just a little higher so her chair could slide in easily. The menu was extraordinary. The setting is pretty nice as well. Beautiful crown mouldings, artwork, and fireplaces with a wrap around deck through the seaside view floor to ceiling windows in this renovated beauty. Presentation was half the experience. With elegant service and meal presentation. The wait staff would file out in harmony carrying everyones plates. After lining up behind their respective client they would in one motion present the plates. Bud had a lobster pie that had huge chunks of lobster meat, and topped with curls of puffed pastry. June had fish and chips that looked pretty amazing. Karyn had a panini that looked tasty enough-but her pickle won the day. He had a lettuce jacket with a folded down collar. It was tied in front with a carrot string. Art had a champagne butter and crab stuffed filet of sole that looked elegant and tasted incredible. I had a warm gorgonzola and steak salad. I had never had a steak salad this fabulous! They had topped it with lightly toasted onions, delicate cuts of meat that I cut with my butter knife, and a shallot vinaigrette. Delightful and delicious! We then headed back to their house to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Bud regaled us with stories of going on his Brother-in-law Ray's lobster boat way back when. I guess there is a show on Discovery now called Lobster Wars that his grandson Mike Polumbo is featured in. What a tough business that was/is. Coming home we passed (the usual) 9 cop cars, I was glad that the Porsche didn't feel the need to zoom quite so fast today :)

26 August 2007

Wood Energy Day

We had a great day out at our pellet manufacturer's open house yesterday. Our newly blonde employee Mark brought over some grills and had a great time. They fed over 500 people and the food was gone by the time we got there at 1:00. He also did a plug for our store with the remote radio crew. It is very exciting to see the growth and changes of this pellet mill. I still remember seeing our friend Steve's first mill out in his garage. Now his board includes people like Dean Kaymen (Segway), Craig Benson (NH former governor), and Charlie Bass (former NH congressman). They also recently partnered with a biomass energy company out of Texas called Zihlka. They are responsible for the latest addition at the plant. A Co-gen facility. The pellet mill added a sawdust dryer a few years back. This opened up a whole new category of wood product to be used. However, it takes a lot of energy to dry the sawdust. They spend over a million dollars a year in electricity alone. The co-gen is a steam powered jet turbine engine (just like a plane engine) that is powered by wood chip. The engine produces electricity, and the really innovative part is that the heat waste generated by this process is pumped into the dryer to dry the sawdust to make the pellets. They should be able to generate enough power to dry the pellets and have some left to sell back to the grid. It will be the first net metered facility in NH, which (Public Service) generally discourages such competition. Power created on site will be much more efficient than that supplied by the grid. The amount of loss over the grid is outrageous. For every one unit of electricity we use, four must be created. 75% loss! Crazy. The less it travels the less loss there is, so the new co-gen is about 50 feet from the dryer- Can't get much closer than that!

Jet Turbine Engine for Co-Gen

Pass The Butter

This is interesting . . Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.
How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings. DO YOU KNOW...the difference between margarine and butter?
Read on to the end...gets very interesting!
Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.
Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.
And now, for Margarine...
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
Very high in trans fatty acids.
Triple risk of coronary heart disease.
Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.
Lowers quality of breast milk.
Decreases immune response.
Decreases insulin response.
And here's the most disturbing fact....
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC...

Experiment:You can try this yourself: Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:* No flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)* It does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value* Nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weenie microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?Share This With Your Friends..... (If you want to "butter them up")! . .

25 August 2007

Baby? Not us...

Here are a few snippets from a great thought provoking link from a gal in my child free group.
So many of my friends are expecting kids lately. Congratulations and I will always wish the best for all of my friends, but, I wonder... Would so many people procreate if they had time to think about the implications and were able to experience the realities, not even getting into the environmental/global impact??

The chart entitled: Why Breed?

Reasons given-I can't help it, it's a biological urge.
Real reasons-Unexamined motivations.
Suggested alternatives-Institutions await those who can't control their biological urges.

Reasons given- I have superior human genes.
Real reasons-Doesn't recognize an oxymoron.Megalomania.
Suggested alternatives-Do great things with your genes, rather than expecting the next cultured batch to do it.

Reasons given-Need help on farm or in family business.
Real reasons-Too cheap to hire help.Child labor laws inconvenient.
Suggested alternatives-Mechanization gives faster return on investment.

Reasons given-I love babies.
Real reasons-Short-sighted view of reality.
Suggested alternatives-Babies soon turn into children, then adults. Infant care work is available.

Reasons given-My child could find a way to save the world.
Real reasons-"Mother of God" complex. (Also applies to men).
Suggested alternatives-If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Here is a link to the full page:

23 August 2007

What did I sign up for???

The reality of my new second job hit me head on today. Which is funny, because I am still just a lowly deputy treasurer, not the treasurer. However, the story of how and why I am the deputy is coming to light. The gal N who is treasurer was deputy for probably ten years. Turns out she was just friends with the treasurer, and he wanted to help her out since her husband had passed and I am guessing the health plan. She never actually did any of the work. She even confided to me last week that she avoided financial duties in general... She had been talked in to being treasurer because one very aggressive town member really wanted the job and the only way to keep her out of it was to have N take the job. Then they drug out the interview process until the aggressive gal had to get another job (rumor is she wanted this one for the health plan...) So they waited her out, then brought me in as deputy. N is 85 years old, sweet as can be, but not fiscally minded, and she does not intend to keep the job. I knew from the start I would be expected to run for treasurer next election in March, but, silly me, I thought I would get to learn and slowly be immersed in the job. I should know better! So, while I am still practically a volunteer I am the one who is sorting through the old treasurers stuff, making new files, data entering all things from December last year on, and doing reconciles because I am expected to come up with quarterly reports in September. Even though it is the treasurer's job technically, N can't do it/doesn't know how to. Not sure why they don't just pass the torch. Kind of feels like they are getting the milk for free right now, and why mess with a good thing like that???

22 August 2007

My version of 'Priceless'

Gas to get down to my favorite store: $6.23

Bill for mail order items to be returned: $16.00

LL Bean bucks from my Bean card: Priceless

I have been conquering candida since late last year. This has had a shrinking effect on my weight. However, it has also had an impact on my dwindling wardrobe. At the beginning of summer I went to Kohl's and bought some cheap shorts since my weight was still fluctuating. I now weigh what I did in high school. The bad thing (or probably good thing) is that I don't have any clothes left from that era. So I have been running around in baggy sweat pants and two pair of pants I picked up from the fire department donation bags since the weather turned cold. (trust me- even though it is a 100 where you are it has been 40-60 here-Bbbrrrr..) So yesterday I decided that I couldn't take it anymore, and drove down to Bean. I had a shirt that I ordered for Art that didn't fit so I was returning that, and I had three reward coupons from my LL Bean credit card burning a hole in my pocket. So I was able to get three pairs of pants, and a wool sweater for only 43 cents. Yippee! That is my kind of shopping trip. Hopefully I have found the bottom, as I never was skinny, nor did I ever have the desire to be so, then I can start to build a new wardrobe! Yay!

21 August 2007

Open House

Two events down. One to go. We had our open house over the weekend. It is a good way to kick off the season, and gives us a pretty good idea of how busy (or slow) we will be. We have one day specials and fire up the pellet bbq. Our stove rep who used to be a caterer was our chef du jour. She made fabulous chicken, beef tenderloin, and my personal favorite mini-burgers. The kids liked the popcorn, and the Dunkies coffee and breakfast sweets never last. It was pretty windy in the morning and we had an incident with the tent that wasn't weighted down, but it worked out great for the distribution of bubbles. We put them out front and they blew right across 101A. Not blindingly, but they were a nice display. Kind of like big snow flakes. The weather cooperated, too. While it was a heat wave in most parts of the US here in New England it got down to 42 the night before, and was forecast to get up to 69. Add the breeze and it was just right standing in front of the burn trailer. This year was pretty much what I expected sales wise. We expect it won't be as slow as last fall, but still a far cry from two years ago... We do have two bills on the floor that would help a great deal! Off to our pellet man. next weekend to show off the pellet grills!

17 August 2007

and then... Someone Flipped the Switch

Summer 2007 was a great summer. Summer of the Porsche, the 'tini, family, and dairy queen. We stayed close to home (Yay! No airplanes) and had many fun adventures within New England and Canada. I know that some of you are saying,"Uh, excuse me, summer isn't over for more than a month..." We are on stove time, though, where happily summer starts in the spring, but sadly ends abruptly some time around, well, now... We have had one guy on vacation for the last two weeks, our piggy-back went in for it's annual maintenance which has jammed up pellet deliveries, and they are already booking new installations pretty heavily. Oh, and we got to RE-do inventory this week... Plus we had the Energy Fair last weekend, our Open House this weekend, and an event at our local pellet plant next weekend. We have been scurrying around like busy little mice getting all of the things together for a great open house. We have the burn trailer, which has six flaming pellet stoves, and a gas one crammed in the back that we mostly ignore. We went to Sam's yesterday to get the goods for a pellet bbq- chicken, beef tenderloin, burgers, and all the fixings! We are borrowing the popcorn maker from the Fire Department. Cost- cleaning it out! Eewww! Our theme this year is things that POP! We got an industrial bubble machine that will blow a non-stop stream of bubbles down the road, and little bubble bottles for big and little kids alike. We have lolli-POPS, POPcorn, and more balloons than you can shake a stick at. The promotion balloons are already stuffed with confetti. They will have coupons in them that people will POP when they buy a stove. We did a test yesterday. Confetti everywhere! So fun. Today I get to finish making our new stove flag. After the wolf quilt it was pretty simple, plus it only took four months! I blame the slippery fabric... I just have to attach the pole today. Then make banners, the balloon coupons, pick up water, popcorn, and soda. Clean the Popcorn machine (yuck!), get the helium for the ballons and pack up the car for an early departure tomorrow.

13 August 2007

A day in Greeley

Greeley Park that is. In Nashua. Today we had a booth at the Children's Fest / Alternative Energy Fair. Yeah- children and alternative energy, they go together like peanut butter and... wellll... hhhmmm.... cotton candy. It was a strange combo of nursery schools, face painting, local dance and karate businesses, and PV solar, solar hot water, NH Timberland Assoc., hybrid cars, our stove shop and local pellet manufacturer, etc... Call me biased, but I thought it was very odd to have so many little rug rats running around with samples of biodiesel, wood pellets, and firestarters. I was a hard nose, relatively speaking, and wouldn't let youngsters take the firestarters with matches (one of our promo items) unless they had a parent who was A) with them and B) Approved. Shockingly, not a parent said no, even for an ~six year old boy. Nonetheless it was a beautiful day out, we got to drive the truck right up to our spot to load/unload. Saving us from lugging our stove across the park :) We talked with a lot of folks and let them know about our upcoming open house. Afterward we went to a new Brazilian restaurant on Main Street in Nashua. Art had been wanting to go there for a while. No one spoke English in the place except an older lady who was dining there with her husband. Her English was about three sentences; I am from Brazil, my husband is Armenian- he is lucky to marry me. I have 48 grandchildren. and I play joke too much... We either missed it, or were not offered drinks. We ate the buffet since we did not receive menus and they kept pointing to the plates by the buffet. It was o.k. The beef was a little overmarinated, but the chicken was not bad. Art also had pork with mystery balls of meat in a black bean sauce. I was guessing the balls were literal... Never a dull moment!

10 August 2007

"Life is a box of chocolates"

Today began early. My eyes popped open at 6:00am even though we had been up with Abby and Natalie until midnight. I laid in bed until seven looking out the skylight then snuck down stairs quietly take a shower, and make coffee. Everyone started filtering in by 8:00. I made a great breakfast of Shannon Springs Chicken, bacon, sausage, eggs, and toast with home grown raspberry jam. I then shot off to my second job as treasurer.
A quick hour later we headed out to the coast to see my mother and father in law. We took the Porsche since it was such a nice day and we haven't been out in him in a while. Nat did a great job keeping up with Art, who has about the heaviest foot you can imagine! My m-i-l had gotten out of the rehab center the day before after being in there for a month, other than one incident which put her in the hospital with pneumonia for a week. Abby and Natalie had seen them the day before and said that Oma was looking much better. Unfortunately, she was not having a great day and was very tired, but I think she liked having us around.

In the afternoon my m-i-l's sister Joanne came down. She told us her story of Katrina. She lived in Florida for many years, but after three hurricanes she moved over to Mississippi. She lived right on the beach. Even though two previous hurricanes hadn't amounted to much, she packed up her "hurricane box" of essentials and three days clothes and headed up to Biloxi to stay with friends. She told us her story and of the unimaginable devastation. Her complex had been all but washed away. The landscape physically had changed so much over such a large area that she had trouble even finding her old home. Cement buildings, beaches, hotels, houses, stores, roads- gone. She said she was surprised how little rubble was left. Most was washed away she speculated. The only thing left of her building was the metal fire escape stairs that now lead to nowhere. She talked about the weeks that ensued waiting in line for hours to get water, ice, and food. About 40 people had grouped together at the house she found shelter in. Luckily her town was one of the first (still weeks later though!) that FEMA got temporary housing trailers for. One day looking around her old home for any shred of her belongings she found a dress shoe of hers (her bling bling shoes she called them :) It was only one shoe and it was twisted, but Joanne took it with her anyway. Many weeks later when she was showing her visiting daughter the aftermath, her daughter found a shoe. A dress shoe. She commented that it looked just like one of her mother's shoes. Joanne just started laughing! She had found the second bling bling shoe! Joanne is a tough gal and she will do fine. Her family is encouraging her to stay at her home in NH after all the hurricanes she has survived.

After we left we followed our neices over to Karyn and Ralphs for dinner. We had a great time, and enjoyed Karyn's fabulous ribs, and black bean salad. It had the perfect amount of spice! Ralph made margaritas. We have spent a lot of time with our family this summer and it has been great! Even Abby, who lives in NYC and works crazy hours, has made it to most of our get togethers. To top the evening off we stopped at DQ for a donation Blizzard. DQ did a fund raiser for the Children's Miracle Network. Buy a blizzard yesterday and the money went to CMN. We had to do our part!

Great day, great family, and lots prayers for Mom...

09 August 2007

A toast!

Sad morning. My beloved 38 year old toaster, that my Mother gave me for my first house, bit the dust this morning. My mother first received it as a wedding gift. We used it the whole time I was growing up. Sunday breakfast after church was a ritual in our house with omelets, and toast. My mother grew tired of it when we moved to Colorado so it went into hibernation beneath the stairs for a while. When I moved out she let me pick through her old kitchen items. I still use many of the things I procured to this day, such as a spatula, a crock pot, the toaster, and a strainer. For many years I ate eggs and toast for breakfast. You had to smash a bagel to get it to fit, but the pusher would shove them out either way. We do not eat toast at this point so it has been tucked away in the cupboard since last Fall. We had two of our neices spend the night last night, however, so I thought I would make a breakfast including bacon, eggs, sausage, and toast with raspberry jam that a lady in town made from our patch. So I pulled out old reliable, plugged her in, and heard a nice zzztt zzztt sound then it faded out. Art took it as a personal challenge, but alas she has to be laid to rest.

04 August 2007

Pics from Nova Scotia

Barrington Passage Light just off of Cape Sable Island.

Dinner on the shore...

Welcome to Canada, eh?

Maritime museum

Sailboats at Maritime Museum in Halifax

Pics from Nova Scotia

Citadel- Halifax

Citadel Moat- I am sure they had crocodiles at one point :)

Canons/pigeon roost - Citadel

Lone Drummer at Citadel

How not to vent a wood stove!

Pics from Nova Scotia

Halifax harbor light.


Now that's a weathervane!

Heading up the Cabot Trail to Ingonish.

The views were amazing!

Pics from Nova Scotia

Cape North Lighthouse
View from Ingonish
Art overlooking the ocean in the fog on the cliffs of Cape Breton.

Cabot Trail- Cape Breton
Puffins. Cutest, fastest little birds.

Pics from Nova Scotia

Seals greeting us at bird island.

Lighthouse at Englishtown

We saw dozens of Eagles, as well as gulls, puffins, and many other birds.

Sunset on Cat ride home...