29 June 2008

Hot Hot Hot!

We just got back from a visit to Nevada... in June. Can you say HOT??? My body went into shock as we went from rainy and 50 at home to 108 with shadeless sun the next! We usually visit Vegas in January when the temperature is in the fifties and sixties- much like NH at this time of year but our friends were going now so off we went!
I was very surprised to see how crowded it was. I thought for sure with the heat, the down economy, the heat, the high airfares, and the sweltering heat we would have the place to ourselves. Not so. We, along with many many others spent a good amount of time by the pool.

The hotel did a nice job creating a little desert oasis- complete with palm trees, waterfalls, and lots of birds. One really nice touch that I hadn't seen before was a series of misters. Strung out like Christmas lights these little tubes would mist passers by with a light refreshing cool water spray. I could spend about fifteen minutes in the sun before I had to retreat to the ice cool pool, or misted shady spot. We spent our time walking in the sweltering sun, then retreating to near ice box chilly casinos during the day, and having some nice meals at night.

It was a little strange coming to Las Vegas twice in one year. I think the big wow factor and scale of the place has been lost. Not that I am not still very impressed with the construction projects they always have going on, but the veneer is a little thin for frequent viewing.
With all we had going on at the shop we had a little black cloud hanging over us, but we had a good time catching up with our friends. I had been consoling myself by saying that our industry was a little bubble, and that our allocations, short supply, and high demand were part of an isolated scenario. Then the last day laying by the pool, I was near a couple of contractors that were talking about being on allocation for steel and concrete and trying to bid and plan projects in that situation. They were saying how the country is slated to use about 160 million ton of rebar this year, but we only have 140 million. They talked of taking orders for delivery next spring and their concerns with supply and pricing when doing that. Replace concrete, rebar, and steel with stoves, pipe, and pellets and we were in the same situation...
It was great to catch up with our friends, and that was what it was all about!

28 June 2008


We are approaching the end of our traveling season. Just as Miss Lizzy is catching on to some new tricks to try to keep us from going...

Step One: Sit on top of open suitcase. If the suitcase doesn't close they can't leave!

If that fails and you just get messed up a bit try sitting in the bag (giving a dirty look is a nice touch at this point...).

Maybe they will unpack the bag to get all the kitty hair off of their clothes and forget about the trip altogether!?!

Hiding won't stop them from going, but maybe they'll take me with!

If all else fails: Try to eat the bag! This is a tall order, but if the people won't listen maybe you can bully the bag!

21 June 2008

Hey Chick! Want to Foul around?

The chicks are here!!!

I got a phone message in the morning with little peeps on it for about 30 seconds. Then my friend's little girl called to tell me that I had to come see the chickens, and who had what color beak and feathers, how old they were, etc. etc. etc...
Their oldest met us at the end of the driveway with a HUGE grin on his face hopping up and down saying that we have to come see the chickens, then he tore off through the woods to the coop while we parked. No sooner did I get out of the house than their other two kids came running screaming from the house "YOU HAVE TO SEE THE CHICKENS!! YOU HAVE TO SEE THE CHICKENS" and an adorable "Them's so cute!" from their little girl.
Eight of these little fluffballs are ours. Our much more experienced friends got 17 to join 8 older girls that they adopted earlier this spring. We can tell a few apart already, but in a week we should be able to tell all of them. They will come home a week from today!! One that they can tell is an Auracana (probably Americauna) is a real sweetie.
Art says I am not supposed to name them, but the kids and I were starting to formulate a list of who is who ;)

13 June 2008

Bare Feet

Summer. As a little kid I would go barefoot for days in the summertime. Hopping and running across the hot street as fast as I could to my friends house. The long grass tickling my toes as we ran around playing tag and red light green light. The inevitable sunburn on the top of my feet that Mom would put Noxema on to sooth the burn. The slippery feel of the bottom of the pool. The chill of the garden hose as my Mom made me rinse my feet before coming in the house.

When I was a tween we moved to the outskirts of a rural Colorado town on the desert plains. Lots of cactus, clay, and other prickly ground weeds. We lived on dirt roads, and had a long driveway with river rock. I would condition my feet to walk on the river rock up to the mailbox, and tip toe through the field to a friend's house, but some of the charm was lost.

When we moved to New England and I experienced the softest feel under my feet. The ground felt like a soft sponge. The grass was a light cushion, and even the weeds (mostly moss) felt pillowy under my feet. I wear slippers to keep my ever cold feet warm in the winter, but as soon as it got nice I kicked them right off! I love going out to hang laundry in my bare feet. Or walking down to the pond with Polar with naked toes. It feels so simple to have bare feet. I can disconnect from the chaos that is my work life, and get in touch with the earth and with my home. It feels good :)

I went to the nearby lake on one of the hottest days of this week. Feeling the hot sand of the beach, the warm sun on my piddies, and the cool sand in the water squish between my toes felt so relaxing. I think I cried louder than my friend's kids when it was time to go home ;)

May you have many carefree barefeet days this summer.

10 June 2008

Contents of my Purse

Contents of my purse (in no particular order):
1. Coordinating wallet. Such a dork. They had their matching purses and wallets on a clearance sale, and I had a coupon so I went with it.
2. Check book.
3. Palm Pilot so I know if I am coming, or going, and how late I am...
4. Cell Phone
5. Burt's Bee's chapstick
6. Concealer
7. Tide pen. We are both prone to dripping something on us at regular intervals...
8. Ear Plugs- for movie theaters, plane rides, and the #*$&# tinnitus!
9. Drugs and prescriptions- for the #*$&# tinnitus. I wish they would figure that one out! I feel like a test rat!
10. Receipts galore
11. Business cards that haven't found their way into my office yet...
12. Coupon collection- down to a staples coupon at this point.
13. Invitations for our tenth anniversary party- so I can finish getting all the stuff! (Yeah- I like matchy matchy stuff...)
14. Toothpicky things.
15. Pens
16. Copy of bank check from my new (to me) car.
17. Tissue.
18. Tags from recent Bean purchases.
19. Thermometer. Bought this the same day we got the car. It was for my Element :(
Not seen: Girl stuff ;)

06 June 2008

Double fisting

Coffee. What did people do before coffee?Walk around with puffy bleary eyes until noon? Maybe they slept until noon? Yesterday hubby was stranded in bed with the latest strain of goo that's going around so it was up to me to run the morning meeting. Which was o.k. since I had to fiddle around with the new workstation at the shop anyway, and I had my Kohl's coupon, and LL bucks safely tucked in my purse.
Of course, I did not get up on schedule and today I needed to be on my toes so it was definitely a two or three cup day ahead of me!
Alarm clocks freak DH out so we don't use them. He is usually our alarm clock if the dog doesn't sleep inside. Polar wakes us up promptly at 6:30 every morning when the first car goes by- doesn't want to miss anything- you know... But, the dog was out and hubby was broken. So I did not have time to drink my coffee before I left.
Now it's not that I am addicted to coffee. I don't drink it when we are on some vacations and business trips, and sometimes I just take a break because I have ramped up to so much of it I lay awake staring out the skylight all night... I just love coffee. Especially in New England. There is rarely a day that a warm drink doesn't sound perfect! We have been enjoying Kona coffee we got while touring a coffee plantation in Hawaii this week. Chocolate macadamia nut coffee. Sounds like dessert and tastes like it too! One of the few that has better coffee than Dunkin Donuts!
I made a pot of coffee before hopping in the shower. By the time I ran around and collected all of my paperwork I was five minutes late heading out the door and I had had no coffee yet. Not one drop. (gasp!) So I did what any level headed coffee lover would do. I got out two travel mugs and filled them to the brim. One for the ride and one for the meeting. I felt pretty clever as I zipped down the mountain drinking having the warm brew that filled the air with the smell of chocolate and coffee drain from my travel mug all the way down :)> Then to go in to the meeting with a fresh one was just right! I buzzed through my shopping trip, too!

05 June 2008

Recipe Box Swap

This is through Renna and i have to say...
My recipe for the day is what we will be having for dinner.
Coconut Curry Chicken Salad
(forgot the celery- in the pic not the final salad :)
1 pound chicken strips

1 T Coconut Oil
1 T Mayonaise
2-4 teaspoons curry (to taste)
1/2 cup celery
1 T sun dried tomatoes- minced
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/8 cup Crushed Walnuts
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat frying pan over medium to medium high heat. Add EVOO and Butter to coat pan (I use a combo because it can take a higher heat without browning the oil/butter). When hot add chicken strips. Cook until lightly brown and then turn and lightly brown on back side.
Remove chicken to cool. Deglaze pan with approximately 1/4 cup water. I use a flat wooden spatula to get all the good bits up!

Chop or shred chicken into ~1 inch pieces. Mix with deglaze liquid, oils, and other ingredients in bowl. Curry, salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve warm over fresh greens, or cool chicken for a cooler meal.
Garden Greens

02 June 2008

Everythings coming up Roses (or is it Rhodo's)!

Wow! What a weekend! We had our third best sales day ever on Saturday! Oil pre-buy letters have started to go out and $4.85 a gallon is a common quote- YIKES!! Pellets would have to be well over $500 a ton to match that price-(they're $239). To celebrate we took the guys to a favorite old haunt of ours, and another of our guys who doesn't work on Saturday joined us, as well as a friend of one of our guys. The Pasta Loft.
In the beginning Art and I ran the business by ourselves. We would usually do an install or cleaning in the morning, go to the store from noon to seven, then on many nights do deliveries after we closed. So we ate out a lot! Pasta Loft was always a favorite. Good food, great bar, and live music. We all had great meals, and beverages of course ;). The owner of the place even got us a round on him- good guy!

Lizzie is continuing to grow. She has now gone outside. Very big deal to her. The first day I took her out while I was hanging clothes on the line. She stayed low and close. The next time she went out with Art who was doing a little work on the pond pump. Zoi was outside, too and showed her some great hiding places. After that she wanted to be outside all the time! Chasing bugs, and running in circles like a crazed cat. One little hitch. We have that dog in the neighborhood. You know the one. Doesn't listen, takes himself on walks. Loiters around and steals Polar's food all the time.
Imagine that. I got a picture of the little pest. Generally we ignore him, but one day Izzy hopped outside when he was here. He tore after her like a coon hound on the hunt! I managed to chase him away- Polar did nothing- thank you very much... Later that day she snuck out again when I returned from the mail box (man she is fast!!) Well, old reliable was waiting in the bushes. He chased her for a good five minutes. The cat is a pretty cat it turns out. No smarts, but pretty cute. She ran in circles, ran around the house, over the bridge through the field. Didn't go up one tree, didn't go under a porch, didn't go in to the open door to the house. So after flailing and screaming like a looney I caught up to them. He had her cornered. He was just wrapping his mouth around her. He wasn't growling but I wasn't taking any chances. I kicked him as hard as I could in the soft spot between his belly and back leg. He yelped and ran off while Lizzy ran up my leg panting with eyes as big as pie plates. She hasn't been out since. I keep watch, and the dog is still trolling the yard. Maybe I need to get the pellet gun out. Pop a few in his butt!
I sure hope she learned something from this! She is doing a good job of hiding here :)

Here are a few other shots around the yard.
I am still putting the flower beds back together, but the flowers are starting to rebound.

Polar catching frogs in the pond.

We are so busy at the store I have lost my Element. Loved that car! But, when we bought it I knew I would only have it until they needed another service vehicle. (((Sigh))) On the up side I have a new car. We love VW's and have had many over the years including my first car-a Dasher, a Corrado, and our 2001 Passat that is going strong! I needed a wagon though. I was spoiled by the space in the Element. I did not want it to look like a Mommy-mobile though. The Passat wagon they make now is SO BIG! it verges on a mini-van. Hubby didn't like the new Tiguan, and the Touareg gets horrible gas mileage. So we looked at the Audi's. I fell in love with the A3 at a car show a few years ago. It was just a little too small, though. It also had a silly sun roof that was practically the whole ceiling and only covered by a mesh. I am not a sunroof person, so this was a big strike against. They did have an A4 Avant (wagon) on the lot. We looked, we sat in, we sat on the fence (literally) behind it and pondered. Then we went in and saw the guy who had been talking to us over the years (we had probably looked a half dozen times over that period). He told us a bit more about it like the fuel economy of almost 30 mpg, all wheel drive, and some fancy transmission that constantly adapts. So I drove it. Wow! It was a smooth ride. So easy. They laughed and said it was because the Element is so clunky on the road. Well, he talked us into it. It wasn't much more than getting a new service van for the store, and it was our plan to give the Element back. So new car for me.