30 October 2008

Birthday Bliss

It has been a busy couple of weeks (surprise, surprise!)
Update on Zoi- They were really encouraging us to put her down asap. I sat holding her all weekend crying my eyes out and just couldn't come around to it. We picked out a spot, and made a nice box and pillow for her. Art couldn't do it either. Then after a couple of days on the steroids, antibiotics, and painkillers she started to feel better. She started eating again, and had a little energy. Nope- not going to do it. We know that we are just buying a little time with the steroids but we have cherished every minute, and will do so until the end!
My Mother came for a visit last week and she brought a special guest- My niece R! I was pretty excited. I think she was too :) We scoured the house and even hooked up the wood cook stove on Thursday then picked them up late.
Friday, we headed out to the seacoast. We went to Warren's for lunch. Fabulous seafood place on the water with a salad bar that can't be beat. I think this place has been around for over a hundred years! Delish!
We stopped at Nubble Light in York before heading up to...
-(you guessed it)- Ogunquit. One of my new favorite places.
We walked the Marginal Way cliff walk, and shopped in the little shops. Unfortunately, all the boats were put away for the season. It was a gorgeous clear day with temps in the 60's.
Since we had a teenage girl with us (and my Mom) we stopped at the outlet malls in Kittery for a little shopping. Then went to Poco's in Portsmouth for dinner. What a great birthday. Warrens, Ogunquit, family, and Poco's! We stopped and got cake and ice cream on the way home. Cake at ten o'clock? Sure- it was tasty!

The next day we had a part of Art's family over for dinner, and then headed off to the Keene Pumpkin Festival. It was pouring buckets by the time we got there, but we made it!
I also got a special birthday gift from my girls today. My nieces were out visiting the chickens and they found a perfect small brown EGG!
My first egg! Couldn't be a better birthday gift.
Wil and his crew were renovating the greenhouse this week so the girls and Elliot were cooped up the whole time. Meant to be. The egg was in the laying box where it should be! Yippee! The south section of the greenhouse was ripped off and replaced along with the back doors. The girls will be snug and warm this winter!

We got the lid on just in time since the first snow was last night!
I got a Frederick's cake to celebrate an early B-day for R. I got a horse theme since she is a horse enthusiast. No pics from the Pumpkin Fest. Way too soggy! We spent Monday in Boston with my Mom and neice. We walked all over that place. Parked in the Common, went to Newbury street for some shopping (really looking since everything there is so $$$$), then over to Fanieul Hall and Quincy Market for lunch and more shopping. The teenager was in heaven. I (and my Mom) sure enjoyed the little model with no shirt on outside the Abercrombi and Fitch place. But, man that place is LOUD! and the place is saturated with the stink of perfume! I felt old in there. I liked the American Eagle place a little better. They had chairs where I could watch videos of songs I had never heard before, but that R swore were the best songs around! LOL! We thought we would end the day by having dinner in China Town, but once there she was a little put off by the chickens, squid, and other misc. meats hanging in a lot of the restaurants.
So we headed out and up stopping at the Cheesecake factory in Burlington instead.

The visit was way too short, but we sent R off with a smile on her face and an extra suitcase of loot! so I think all went well.

19 October 2008


The spring of 1996 brought many changes. We had been married in February. Art got a job in Broomfield as a hardware tech. We bought our first home- a little 800 square foot (1200 if you count the basement) bungalow in Denver proper. We had just come out of a long string of moves from Greeley to Utah, Texas Creek, to Rochester, NY, back to Greeley. My dear sweet Opal moved with us each time. Art's mal Moose was lost in Texas Creek. We did pick up a couple of ferrets when we finally moved back to Greeley. Denver was the beginning of our new life as a married couple. Art picked a wonderful dog out at the Boulder shelter. He was the smartest dog we have had to date. You could have a conversation with Ky and he would understand. I thought another cat should join our brood. So off I went to the Longmont Humane Society. Art was working an odd shift so he could not make it. I picked out a lovely kitten and filled out all the paperwork. They looked it over and when I was about to hand them a check they said that Art had to come down to give his approval of the adoption. What? That wasn't going to happen. He was sleeping or at work when they were open. I was young, impatient, and fiesty so I tromped out and right over to the mall. Turns out it was fate. There was the most adorable grey fluffball waiting there. She greeted me with an instant purr when I picked her up. Her little claws latched on when I tried to set her down. So I took her home with me that minute.
She blended in quickly. Even crabby old Opal liked having her around. She would spar with the weasels providing endless entertainment for themselves. In the beginning the ferrets had the upper hand, but as she grew and learned their tricks it became an even match. I remember her spending time sunning in a potted plant I had on our porch. She was so tiny! She spent most of her time in my arms, though. She just loved to be held. She didn't care what I was doing as long as she could be there with me. She would climb up my leg if I set her down- that was quite interesting in the summer- Yow! She loved anyone and everyone. She would come right up to anyone who stepped into our home. She wasn't shy. You could hold her on her back and rub her belly or she would put her little arms up around your neck to get a big long back pat.
It wasn't until we moved to NH that we found out she was a ferocious killer. She would take down birds, mice, and chipmunks. She and Opal spent the first two months (which they stayed inside for) watching and planning their first attack- a little chipper that lived under the front step.
She was the perfect cat. Art thought we should have named her Noodle because of how she would just flop in your arms any which way to get love. She could sneak onto his lap without him even noticing. She was just an extension of him. Art got lap time in the morning I was graced with her in the evening. She kept me warm many a winter night by snuggling down on my lap. But the weather didn't really make a difference, or the time of day.
She's on my lap as I type this.
Before we left for our last trip we noticed that she was piddling around the house a lot. I thought she was just mad and trying to make a point (she knows which buttons to push after all) about us leaving so much, and she never quite embraced Lizzy. When we got back I found several piddles, and a few hairballs. I put her outside for the rest of the day. That night Art went to a concert with friends. Zoi peed right next to me while I was in the kitchen. I got mad and put her in the basement. Later she was on my lap while I was watching tube. I got up to go to the restroom, and she followed and squatted on a towel left on the floor! I was furious. I put her in the basement again and left a note for Art that she would spend the night there. When Art came home she ran out of the garage. He finally got her back in- he never saw my note. The next morning she wasn't in the room with us so I assumed she was in the basement. We talked about what could be bothering her, and set off to find her. Art found her upstairs in the loft. She was lethargic, hot, and laying in piddle. We called the vet immediately. Of course, we both had a hectic day with a weeks worth of appointments to catch up on, but we rearranged our schedules. I set off for my first appointment and Art dropped her at the Vet's office. A couple of hours later I went in to meet with them. I thought that maybe she had worms. Cancer. Her little kidney was swollen to the size of a raquetball. So best case she had pancreatitus, or cancer. Blood tests would come in the next day to confirm one or the other. She didn't eat or drink the rest of the day and her hot little body just laid there so sadly.
I had the FD rummage sale to work Saturday, and Art had training for Ski Patrol. She called on my cell to tell me her white blood cell count was off the charts and it was the worst. I had three choices: we could have exploratory surgery to 100% confirm which she told me would not change anything, we could give her a series of cortisone shots and steroid boosters to give us a little more time, or...
So I dropped everything and took her down for the cortisone shot. She feels better now and even started eating again last night. We will talk to the vet again Monday, but the end is near. Sweet Zoi has not left me unless it was to go to Art, and I won't leave her until...
Life is too short- this seems so unfair. She is only 12. I thought she would live until she was 18 or 20. How can it happen so fast? There is going to be a big hole in our lives when she is gone. I can't even bear to think of it. For now I am just holding her as tight as I can for as long as I can.

16 October 2008

Welcome Home

Our yard had the fall welcome mat out. Man alive, a lot of leaves jumped off the trees while we were gone! Guess I know what I am doing this weekend. The leaves are at peak here now, funny that they were past peak when we went south to Massachusetts. It was a beautiful ride home even though it was raining.
This week being peak week in New Hampshire has me contemplating life and the seasons we go through. I will be thirty-seven in a little over a week. When I was a teenager I couldn't even imagine being that OLD! Nor did I have any plan for being that age, because let's face it I didn't actually think I'd live to the ripe old age of thirty-five much less anything beyond! I think Art and I are in the summer of our life. It isn't new, or formative, but it is growing and comfortable. We know where we are going, and at the same time we are storing away and planning for the seasons beyond.
I watch my in laws, and the pets we got when we first married, and first moved to New Hampshire enter the latter stages in life. The winter- if you will. If our lives are fleeting how do animals feel?!?
Time is so short and right now we have so many roads in front of us still. Which to take? If we take one, what are we leaving behind? What will we miss? I am glad to have the opportunity to choose, but terrified I will take a mis-step and mess the whole thing up! On the other hand, it is good right now. Enjoy the moment, the day, and go with the flow. Everything for a reason.
We really enjoyed this time with Art's folks. We were a little road weary from so much travel this year, but we looked forward to this trip to spend time with them. It is not an opportunity that comes up often anymore, for sure. It is hard to watch how difficult the seemingly simple tasks have become. Meals took a great deal of coordination and effort. You have to find a place that allows room to load and unload, has a ramp to get in and out, and a table that can accomodate a wheelchair. My MIL has a bladder of steel also. Good thing, because handicapp stalls just don't accomodate her needs. Growing old is tough. We did enjoy every minute we got to spend with them, though!

Now, back to work! It's still raining so I don't have to rake today, but the stack of mail is calling me...

15 October 2008

Tagged by Sue!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:15am
2. Diamonds or< /pearls??? Pearls

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Mummy 3.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Stargate Atlantis

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Lots of coffee!! then eggs...

6 What. is your middle name? Suzanne

7. What food do you dislike? fruit

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I-pod drive mix- mostly girls- Gwen Stefani, Shakira, Avril Levigne, Christina Aguilera, Thalia...

9. What kind of car do you drive? Audi station wagon

10. Favorite sandwich? Tuna Fish

11. What characteristic do you despise? Lying

12. Favorite item of clothing? Black Cotton Bean Dress

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Australia

14. Where would you retire to? NH- (omg!)
15. What was your most recent memorable birthday? 30th

16. What are you going to do when you finish this? Watch last presidential debate- or what's left of it.
17. Furthest place you are sending this? Canada

18. Person you expect to send it back first? Chris

19. When is your birthday? October 24

20. What is your shoe size? 7

21. Pets? 1 dog, 2 cats, 10 birds
22. Any new and exciting news? No- not exciting to most... New company and partnership.

23. What did you want to be when you were little? a chemist
24. If you have a whole day to yourself, what do you like to do? blog, soaps, bath

25. What is your favorite flower? daisy

26. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Halloween

27. W hat are you listening to right now? Art surfingand ringing in right ear.

28. What was the last thing you ate? Brownie Sundae (life is good :)

29. Do you wish on stars? Yes
30. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Orange
31. How is the weather right now? Beautiful fall day
32. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Dawn- our banker.
33. Favorite soft drink? Diet Doctor Pepper

34. Favorite restaurant? Poco's or 3 Margaritas

35. Hair color? Blonde

36. What was your favorite toy as a child? Stuffed Frog

37. Summer or Winter? Summer

38. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

39. Coffee or tea? Coffee

40. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes

41. When was the last time you cried? Last week.

42. What is under your bed? Pajamas- We have an underdresser.

43. What did you do last night? Drove around looking for restaurant for dinner with in laws and hubby. Ended up eating at Debbie Wongs Chinese in Pittsfield, MA. Very good!

44. What are you afraid of? Losing Art.
45. Salty or sweet? Sweet.

46. How many keys on your key ring? 5 on main ring- 7 on second

47. How many years at your current job? Almost 11

48. Favorite day of the week? Wednesday

49. Do you make friends easily? No

50. How many people will you send this to? 8

51. How many will respond? ??

52. Do you like finding out all this stuff about your friends? Yes.

Tag- You're it!

13 October 2008


We went down to Stockbridge today to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. He spent his later years here, and his family opened a museum at his former home and studio. Breathtaking views from all vantage points. He was an incredible artist.
The GPS was set on tourist routes, so we took a lovely ride home through the country.
Very enjoyable.
I am surprised at how far along the leaves are down here. I think we are closer to peak (not past) up in Vermont and New Hampshire...

We are staying in Pittsfield, Mass. It was much more of a town than any of us imagined. I was thinking little old mill town, and it seems that was everyone in our group's picture of the place. It is quite a thriving metropolis. About ten years ago it had 80,000 people and GE was a major employer. They also have a ton of museums, theaters, B&B's and resorts. When GE closed up the population dropped in half and tourism took over as money maker. We went up to Hancock for the day and Jiminy Peak (ski resort). Very pretty area if you ever get out to Western Mass.

Arguably the best time of year in New England. With cool nights and warm days, very reduced bug population, and lower humidity levels make it one of my favorites. I have always had a love hate relationship with the trees in New England. I grew up in Colorado- the desert pretty much. The only trees we had were the knee high ones we planted, watered, and begged to grow. On moving to New England I missed the sky. Our first house here was nestled in the woods and you drove through a tunnel of trees to get to it. Since our current house was once an organic farm it has been cleared for growing fields although we do have nice sugar maples along the front and some short fruit trees in back. Because of our business I rarely got a chance to go out and experience the fall colors in all of their glory. This year, we are operating on a slightly different schedule so we have been able to take some hikes, and will spend some time down in the Berkshires leaf peeping with all the tourists. I feel like a giddy school girl about it :) I will post lots of pics when I can...

In the mean time I have been picking pears as fast as I can. The pumpkins were also pulled in. Operating on the good old New England No Heat Til Trick or Trick I have been in the mood to bake! Still waiting on the wood cook stove- I had to order a piece of pipe- gggrrrrrr... but my old reliable does just fine.
I made cheesecake for the first time in my life. Not the blend cream cheese with jello kind either. Pumpkin cheesecake drizzled with caramel and pecans! Here are a couple of recipes for ya!

Pumpkin Cheesecake INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter. Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture. Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.
Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until filling is set. Run a knife around the edge of the pan. Allow to cool before removing pan rim. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Drizzle with caramel, and top with whipped cream and pecans. Serve.
Pear Oatmeal cookies are a favorite standby recipe. I also did oven dried pears for the first time. They are so sweet! They taste nothing like the chalky ones I buy at the store...

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 California Bartlett pears, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 tsp 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.

11 October 2008

Mad As Hell ...

Money, Politics, and the American Way
I started reading a Clive Cussler book the other day. I would've sworn it was a brand new book because of how current the issues involved were such as global warming, financial scares, and oil price spikes and shortages. Turns out it was written in the seventies. So was this clip I found. I am just about to stick my head out the window- too bad I live in the middle of nowhere and only Polar, the chickens, and nearby squirrels would hear...
The bailout, from minute one, seemed to me to be a horrible plan. Like putting a bandaid to try to heal a severed wound. I compared it to my business because after all, it is only a bunch of zeroes that separate us from them. If my business is being poorly run and we overspend who has to pony up? I do. If times turn sour, and business is down who pays? We do. I've been at that point more times than I care to count with my little rinky dink biz. But, I assure you it is my bank account being drained, or my signature on the loan paperwork for a bridge loan. I can't even imagine asking the government to give me money because I screwed up, or didn't have a big enough egg stashed away for poor times. I wouldn't even know who to ask, but I am sure whoever got my call would die laughing! It's capitalism. That's how it works, and that is why it works. If you screw up that badly, you fail!
The election is looming and we will have a historic first regardless of who wins. Everyone throws (or lately spits) Republican and Democrat as if they are four letter words, and to admit one or the other is likening yourself to the Nazi party or Communistic regime. I don't play that. I vote for the person, not the party.
The first president I really loved was Reagan. I would say that he is my favorite- in my lifetime so far. I didn't mind Bush I, or Clinton. I abhor Bush Jr. Hate him. Hate that he lead us to war for oil while ignoring viable alternatives in this country. btw-I don't think we should pull out and abandon the people in those countries we devastated, either.
This time around it is Obama that scares the living crud out of me. We are a hair's breath away from socializing our system, and with him I am afraid that would only be the beginning. I like capitalism. I like getting compensated for a job well done. I understand that I won't get paid if I don't work, or if I screw it up. The whole tax the rich to give to the poor is horrifying. Maybe I am a little biased as I just finished Atlas Shrugged, but it is hard to see it playing out any other way. There are moments when I remind myself he hasn't actually done anything! He could turn out to be a puppet that gets pushed around by those in office.
Then there is the fact I think things could still be going South. Whoever gets elected may be branded with the failings through no fault of his own, so who should that be??
John McCain is nothing like Bush. To digress, I hate Bush. I really like John McCain- and I think Sarah Palin is just awesome. Living in NH I am among friends with this opinion, although the hardcore conservatives don't think he is Republican enough. Ms. Palin saved the day there. I like that he has been working to cut pork, even though is part of the senate. In our business (industry) we learned first hand how much money and time it takes to finally get a bill on the floor, Then to have to bend over and take it while they go back and forth getting their special earmarks and concessions put in. Then you have to do it again for funding. I think this is a huge problem in our governmental system. I also like his health care policies. Being a small business I like his incentives (or should I say lack of additional taxes) that will help (or at least not hurt) keep my business going in good times and bad. I like his practical approach to energy. He was one of the first to support a biomass initiative. See above for how it turned out, but the fact is he helped write it and get it passed. I find it absolutely embarassing that we exported more biomass than we used domestically last year. Export our cheap biomass to Europe,and import more oil from the Middle East. We have about 1.4 billion tons of biomass waste annually in this country yet we used 1.3 million tons and exported 1.6 million. Disgusting. Actually, I think either candidate may do o.k. on this front but McCain HAS been doing something, and I think has the experience and knowledge to make it happen NOW!
I know politics is often a touchy subject, and I am sure there are multiple people who will take offense somehow to what I have said. It was more written for me. I would like to look back at my frame of mind before the election.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadian friends!

10 October 2008

Blizzie on the move

I haven't put up pictures of our little monster or as we now call her future fat girl. She has slowed down a lot, but is still great fun!

Her favorite pose- that inspired her updated nickname.
Inspecting the new loveseat. The old one had a pull out bed that broke off the frame, so we were like two puppies in a hammock trying to get work done. Not pretty!
Hiding on the white bath mat. Pretty clever- I think I checked every room in the house before I found her here!
Supervising laundry day. She's keeping the towels warm (and fuzzy;)
So much pent up energy it drove her straight up a tree :)
She loves boxes and baskets!