Friday, December 21, 2007

You've got a friend in Oregon...in a couple of months

I've always wanted to check out the Northwest. Now I'm going to get my chance.

I must say, the thought of spending a year or two on that chunk of earth excites me a whole lot more than Florida. Nothing against the Sunshine State, but...I feel like our lifestyle is much more suited to where we're headed. You think you've got some things planned and then, bam - not so much. So...you roll with it. The heli school in Florida did not end up working out and we found a great one just outside of Portland, Oregon.

It's been a crazy few weeks in this household. Some frustration, lots of honest conversation, some tears and a whole lot of excitement about what the future holds. I definitely got some mixed emotions about this move. It seems so much further away from home. Because, uh, it is. I wish I could bring everyone with me. No one's taken me up on the offer yet though. Hopefully we'll get some visitors while we're there.

There's going to be a lot to explore out there. A lot. So many mountains and rivers and miles and miles of coastline. Wineries. Breweries. New experiences. As Mag pointed out - Mt. Hood is open for snowboarding ALL YEAR. Something tells me she and Glacier may show up on our doorstep one day.

It's going to be interesting - driving across the country in the middle of winter. We're going to hope for a few days of no precip. Wishful thinking. We leave mid-Feb.

On we go. I guess this is what life's all about. You make some choices and hope they're the right ones. You never really know, until you know. Here's hoping this is one of those good ones!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Your weather know-how

We're having a little "friendly" disagreement in our house right now...I'm hoping ya'll will help my case - I mean, help solve this...

What elements would you consider essential to a "raw" day? Weatherwise.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Music that Doesn't Suck?

Loni asked me to put together the Christmas Eve shindig's music mix. Her only request was that Dominic the Donkey makes the list. Check.

I've started it...But am open to suggestions...Got any?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We ain't gonna take it, anymore

Some of you may know that I have been working as a "freelancer" for the past year. Freelancer isn't really an accurate description of what I am though. I am working full-time for a large publishing company, whose name I will not mention for obvious reasons.

I was brought on in a freelance capacity with the promise of becoming a full-time, benefited employee...eventually. As a freelancer, I receive zero benefits and am paying for my own health insurance, because living without it is just not an option. [Side Note: That's a whole other topic - but please, if you haven't already - see the movie Sicko and then write your Congresspersons.] I have no retirement fund, no dental insurance and don't get paid if I don't work. No holidays, no vacation days, no sick days. I am not on payroll and must submit invoices twice a month in order to be paid.

Recently, there was a gap of over a month between my paychecks because somehow two of my invoices were lost during processing. I've learned the hard way, that in addition to doing my job - I have to check in and make sure others are doing theirs as well. Ya know, so I can like, get paid. Thankfully, I have a generous roommate who covered my rent until I was paid. Because for the first time in my adult life, I did not have enough money in my checking account to pay my damn rent.

It's a frustrating thing. Not only is it frustrating. It's exploitive. I've made the decision that I will not work on a freelance basis much longer. I've expressed my dissatisfaction with this "system" and I will either be brought on staff within the next six months, or I will be looking for a job with an organization that actually values its people.

I'm learning that this is a fairly common practice. And I'm not the only one fed up with it. For the past two days "permalancers" have walked off the job at MTV/Viacom in NYC. It's estimated that almost 75% of their "employees" are working on a freelance basis. This is an example of a broken system that needs fixing.

Although I doubt that Kobe and I walking around our neighborhood in the woods picketing, would get much media coverage, I'm sure glad this did. For further reading:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/business/media/11mtv.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Strange Eating Habits

Adam tells me that I am the pickiest eater he's ever met. I've never thought of myself as a picky eater - and for the record still don't. But, I guess I do have some quirky ideas of what I will, and will not eat...

*No pulp whatsoever allowed in my orange juice. I can't deal with chunks in anything I drink...Ugh, just the thought of it...

*No cooked carrots, but I love them raw. Instant gag if I try to eat them cooked. I really don't like any veggie cooked, except potatoes, and especially if they're in a fry.

*NO cherries. Every time someone offers me one, I'm instantly back in 4th grade when this girl told me she'd give me her brownie if I ate a cherry. I couldn't do it. Kids are so mean.

For the longest time, I wouldn't go near guacamole because of the color. But then one day, I decided to try it and I'll be damned...it's now one of my most favorite things. Lately I've decided to start trying foods that I think I hate. Some examples? Cottage cheese...I really like that stuff now...and just this afternoon I tried yogurt...not bad. One thing I tried and yes, I definitely still hate? Raisins. Yuck.

Got any weird eating habits? Foods you thought you hated, now you love?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sometimes, a girl just wants to get her groove on

I've had my same ole, same ole morning routine going on for the past year - since I started working from home...Get up, walk the dog, make some coffee, hit the desk, turn on npr for some company (that's a little sad, I realize)...Anywho...

For the past few days I've thrown on some tunes and added a little chair dancing to my morning routine. And a couple of times, I've gotten up and danced around the cabin...Why am I confessing this to you all? Well, I want to add some new tunes to the mix, which currently only consists of Justin Timberlake's SexyBack and Christina Aguilera's Ain't No Other Man...OK, so now that you've had a good laugh at my expense:

When you get up and dance around when no one's looking - who's on your playlist?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Perspective

So, life's short. We all know that. And we all want to appreciate the time we have on this planet while we're here. Sometimes, though - it's hard to look on the bright side, when it seems that nothing is going your way. And you want to tell people looking on the bright side, to shove it.

I had one of those weeks, last week where it seemed that nothing went my way and I was a little down in the dumps. It just so happened that on my way home from lunch with Grandma last week (one of the high points of the week for sure!) there were a couple of MD's on the NPR program, Talk of the Nation - and guess what they were discussing? Stress.

It was a pretty interesting conversation to be a fly on the wall for. Listeners called in with their tips to dealing with stress and by the end of the 20-or so minutes - I was laughing. Something I didn't do a whole lot of last week!

So, if you happen to be having one of those days, weeks, months...I would highly recommend listening to this:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16775002

Maybe you'll be looking at your life from a different perspective by the end too. Or you can just tell me to shove it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's all about the stuffing and other stuff

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I love the stuffing. And nobody does it better than Grandma. That woman outdid herself this year and a fun Thanksgiving was had by all. I must admit that we probably had the most entertaining conversation around the table on Thanksgiving this year. I haven't laughed so hard in quite some time, as Loni and Scott shared with us that Jackson already knows about girl and boy parts.

I have to give a huge shout out to Jeff for requesting Grandma's famous coffee cake. I woke up in the middle of the night Thanksgiving Eve and said to myself (I'm not making this up - this really happened), oh no, I didn't ask for the coffee cake. Thankfully, Jeff was on his toes this year and asked for it. He and Lee were missed at the Thanksgiving table.

It was a really good few days off. Although Adam and I went our separate ways on Thanksgiving Day (we both wanted to spend Thanksgiving with our families - so we did), we spent the rest of the weekend together and it was a lot of fun. Some highlights included going to Pawtuckaway and seeing a really big owl devouring a grey squirrel - of course, I forgot the camera on that trip. But take my word for it, it was super cool. In addition to the wildlife, we watched the movie, Elf and it inspired us to attempt making our own gingerbread house.

After assembling it, we decided that our gingerbread house would probably be in the ghetto. And, I felt like a bear getting ready to hibernate as we made it - one gumdrop for me, one for the house, one tootsie roll for me, one for the house - and so on. Needless to say, I will be taking a break from the sweets for awhile. Below you will see the fruits of our labor.

As we baked the gingerbread, the ever-optimistic Kobe waits for some to land on the floor.

The aerial view. Note the candy cane fence in the far right of the picture - we tried to hold it up with fluff...If you're going to build a house, don't use fluff - it moves.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We're in the midst of our first little burst of snow, I'm feeling like a little kid again. The first snow does that! Kobe and I took an early lunch and I took some pictures. Enjoy!




Monday, November 19, 2007

Big, happy sigh

"My flight was cancelled in Atlanta, so I had to be re-booked on another flight. What a mess."

"I had a three hour delay in Salt Lake."

I overheard several of these travel stories while checking into my hotel in NY last week. Secretly smiling to myself, because - for once - my travel experience was a breeze. The train was just so pleasant...No hustle and bustle. Show up, find a nice roomy, comfy seat and then head to your destination. I experienced no delays, the people were so friendly. It was just an all around great experience.

As for Manhattan, as one of my cab driver's said, "ahhh, it's just crazy..." At least the part of the city I was in, was. I was in mid-town, right in Times Square. It was cool though. I had a good time, feeling proud that this country bumpkin was able to hold her own in the big city. I was there to conduct interviews with some of our authors (while being videotaped!) for our web site. This was a big project that I had been working on for the last several months, working with them to craft some questions and just hammering out logistics. Thankfully, all of that hard work paid off, and everything went smoothly. Phew. So happy to have that behind me!

It was a really good trip, one thing I love about NY is being surrounded by people that are so different from me. I love hearing different accents and languages. For some reason, it makes the world seem a lot smaller and it's energizing.

I missed my boys though, and I'm happy to be home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Riding the rails

Tomorrow I head to NYC for work (I always want to say Neeew Yooork Citaaaay?! - like the cowboys in that salsa commercial when I say New York City). Don't you? Anyway, I'm taking the train instead of flying this time. I'm told by my fellow co-workers that this is the way to go. Way more comfortable, a lot less hassle, more laid back. So, we'll see.

Back in my first job out of college, I did a lot of traveling for alumni events. I was an Assistant to the Director of Alumni Relations at a private secondary school. One of my former bosses was deathly afraid of flying...So, he never did it. But, he had to travel all the time for work, so he always took the train. On one of our trips, we joined him on the train. We flew into Denver meeting him there and rode the train all the way to San Francisco. It was one of the best travel experiences I've had so far. The scenery was incredible - through the Rockies and Sierra Nevada's. Just a good time.

I'm looking forward to my train ride tomorrow, usually I dread traveling to NY. The past couple of times, I've had huge delays trying to get home out of Laguardia and flying isn't on the top of my list of favorite things to do...Which you already know.

I'll let ya know! I won't be posting for the next couple of days, cause I'll be pretty busy. I'm sure to have some good stories to come home with and I'll share them when I return.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

News from the 'hood

Although I've always known it to be true, apparently now it's official: Kobe is THE best dog. I've been stopped by two neighbors telling me that the other night in the clubhouse, a few folks started discussing the pups from the 'hood and Kobe was the unanimous favorite. I've had people coming over to bring him treats and everything. No joke. Kobe is da bomb.

Additionally, did you know that fairies fly South for the winter? According to four-year-old Maddy, she has it from a reliable source (the fairies themselves) that this is in fact true. No, they don't have coats to wear. I asked. So they have no choice but to head to a warmer climate. I also learned from Miss Maddy that the leaves will be growing back in some pretty cool colors, come spring. Be on the lookout for pink and purple leaves popping up. Should be quite the sight to see.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I finally got around to watching the movie, Sicko this weekend. If you haven't seen it, see it. If you have, what did you think? I'm curious.

If you haven't heard of this movie, here's a link:

http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/index.html

Friday, November 9, 2007

Oh, lordy!

I was talking to a realtor yesterday about potential rental homes for us to take a look at when we head down to FL for our pre-move trip. Of course, she was trying to "sell" Florida to me and "this is a buyer's market - we may want to consider buying instead of renting..." I stopped her in her tracks.

No way, sister - this is a short stop in our life trip. A) we're so not buying in a hurricane zone B) we're only going to be there long enough for Adam to learn how to fly a helicopter, build his hours and then we're gettin' the heck out. Just doesn't make sense to buy anything.

So as she continues trying to sell the Sunshine State to me she says..."Well, the summers can be (pause) rough. But how much do you really need to be outside anyway." I laughed at her. Seriously. And proceeded to tell her that we probably spend more time outside than in. Then she tried to sell me on surfing...Eventually she got the idea that, no really - we just want to rent - and we got to talking about some rentals and what we're looking for.

As I search craigslist to get an idea of rent costs I'm reading ads that include phrases like..."no stairs...one level" and I'm noticing that there are a lot of "Adult Communities". We're not going into this move with rose colored glasses. We know that this is not going to be our dream place to live. But, that's not why we're going. We're going with a purpose.

Adam has a dream and this is the place we need to be temporarily, while he works on fulfilling it. And building a better life for both of us. So. We'll go, and we'll deal - together. And we'll make the best of our time in a place that neither of us ever thought we'd find ourselves. Cause I know - if I had a dream that lead us there, he'd come along for the ride too.

I've started a list of things to do while I'm there. What should I add to it? Of course, "lucky" for you, I'll blog all about em as I start checking them off.

1. Airboat ride through the Everglades.
2. Sit by the river and watch the manatees.
3. Watch a shuttle launch.
4. http://www.orlandowatersports.com/ (how fun does this look??)
5. Visit the Keys.
6. Go to one of those cheesy alligator parks. You know the ones I'm talking about - where they dangle the chicken above the Gators and they snap at it.
7. Take advantage of an Early Bird Special.

You're welcome to join me for any and all of the above! Hint, hint.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Yummy in my tummy

I love trying new coffee flavors. I get bored with the same one day after day after day. Right now, I'm enjoying a cup of Green Mountain's Pumpkin Spice. It's got the same great taste of Shipyard's Pumpkin Head Ale - sans alcohol - cause that would just be a bad idea. Alcohol, 8:30 AM - working from home. Although, that does really sound good...Hmmmm.

Got a favorite coffee? What should I try next?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Because I can't think of anything else to write and I don't feel like working...

As I said, I curled up on the couch and watched some movies on Saturday. I ended up renting one of my favorites, because a lot of the new releases were gone - due to the storm. So, if I asked you what your top 5 goofy movies are - these aren't changing the world, but you could watch them over and over again. What would you say?

Mine:

1. Meet the Parents..."Are you a pothead, Focker??!!" I'm laughing just thinking about that movie.
2. Beautiful Girls
3. Sleepless in Seattle
4. Bring it On "It's already been broughten." Laughing again.
5. Adventures in Babysitting - I so wanted to be Elizabeth Shue!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A good little weekend

Loni and Jackson are troopers, for sure. I called them up on Saturday morning and said..."Hey, Noel is passing by - surf's supposed to be pretty large, wanna go check it out with me?" They said yes. Yeee haw! Off we went to the beach. Look at how happy they were to be there...

It was a pretty quick trip to the beach, due to the nasty weather. But the surf was definitely up...

Overall, I had a really nice weekend. Got to spend some time with the Newmarket Rowe's and then had some quality alone time, curled up on the couch watching some movies as Noel's rain pounded at my windows.

Sunday, Adam and I got into serious planning mode for our venture South for heli school. One of the major steps to Adam being able to attend school, will be selling his beloved project of many years. The Jeep. So, if you know anyone in the market for a super cool off/on road Jeep - let us know. I think, no - I know, his heart is breaking just a little bit to part with the Jeep. Sad.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Surf's Up!

We're supposed to get the remnants of Hurricane Noel today and tomorrow. This means some pretty big swells. So, I'm heading to North Beach to check 'em out. Hopefully I'll have some good surf carnage caught on video for you. I'll do what I can!

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Whatcha doing?!"

My new little four-year-old neighbor LOVES Kobe. She's home most days, and so am I. I leave the door open for Kobes to go in and out throughout the day...At first I found it a little annoying that I lost my peace and quiet. But she's sweet and I think a little bored:

Maddy: Heeeeeey!!!! Whatcha doin'? (as she pokes her head in my house)
Amy: Workin'. Nothing exciting.
Maddy: You gotta go to the post office today? (that's usually where I'm headed when I'm running out and she's out there)
Amy: Yeah, in a little bit.
Maddy: Oh. Well, I can keep Kobe busy while you're workin' if ya want.
Amy: OK, I'm sure he'd love that. Go for it.

A few minutes of silence.

Maddy: Heeeyyy! I tried to get him to play with his chicken, but he's just lying there.
Amy: Yeah, he does that. Sorry - he's a lazy old man.
Maddy: Hmmm. Well, I think I'm gonna go home.
Amy: OK. Bye!

A little while later...I walk out the door to go run some errands.

Maddy: Heeeeeyyyy! Whatcha doin? Goin' to the post office?
Amy: Yep.
Maddy: But you're gonna come back?
Amy: Yeah.
Maddy: When? Soon?
Amy: Yep, be home in just a bit.
Maddy: OK, well, I can play with Kobe when you get back?
Amy: Sure.

And so it goes...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

To the Girlie out West

As I'm sending as much positive energy to my friend/cousin out West as I possibly can, everyday to heal and be well...Today I started thinking how lucky we are that she pushed us to do this whole blog thing. Some of us entered - reluctantly and with skepticism. But I'm glad we're all here.

Now that Halloween is over (yay!), tis the season for feeling thankful and well, I'm really glad we're blogging about what's happening in our lives. I'm getting to know some of you in ways that - living thousands of miles apart - I just wouldn't. We get to have little glimpses into what we're all up to and I'm really happy about that.

I'm glad that Mike joined us and that I got to participate in his little baseball playoff thingy. And that he's keeping us up-to-date on what's happening with the PA Warner's. Who knew Cody was such a poet? And it's cool to check in on Gary's blog - because well, we just never know what he's going to say next! And heck, I might not have even known that Jeff is in school had it not been for the blogs. OK, I might have, but with the blogs, we get little progress reports that we wouldn't have. And Karen, when she's done with school, hopefully she'll have some more time to let us know what she's up to.

Jen, Marc, Loni & Scott keep me laughing with their little kid and chicken stories and although I really don't get Marc's sense of "humor" it's fun to try and figure it out. And who the heck's Grandmother has a blog but ours? Not many!

Wherever our crazy lives may take us, I think it's just great that we can log on and find out a little bit more about each other. In between our real-life visits. And, "meet" new people, hi Lori! So let's keep it up. And thanks, Mag.

Oh, and Mom - I have started my list for the round-the-table "what i'm thankful for..." get ready - it's gonna be good this year. Heck yes it is.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just say no

I first heard about "PMU foals" back when I was attending UNH and working at the horse barn there. That was oh, ten years ago. I didn't really give much thought to them at the time. I just assumed it was some type of breed I didn't know about, since my world was all about Saddlebreds. I've learned over the years exactly what a PMU foal is and something I read last night made me want to take some action. I'm not exactly sure what, but I thought I'd start with informing you about this and maybe together we can spread the word.

According to the Humane Society's website: As the name implies, Premarin® is a conjugated estrogen product extracted from pregnant mares' urine (PMU). It is manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Inc., and is most commonly prescribed for estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) to relieve hormonal deficiency symptoms associated with menopause or hysterectomy. More recently, it has been prescribed to help prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. Premarin® is the most widely used ERT drug, marketed for more than 50 years, and currently administered to more than nine million American women.

The key to that description is that this drug is derived from pregnant mares' urine. This has resulted in too many foals and too little good homes for them. The end result is that many end up in slaughter houses, as do their moms - when they can no longer produce babies. Not that their lives before they reach the slaughter house are glamorous. They're not. These mares are always in foal, receive no exercise and are kept hooked up to a bag collecting their urine.

I am not a crazy animal advocate. And, I tend to shy away from people that are. I understand that animals and animal testing are a big part of the pharmaceutical industry. However, when I read last night that there are a number of plant-derived or synthetic estrogens that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved as safe and effective for ERT. Some physicians believe that certain alternative estrogens may, in fact, be superior to Premarin® in terms of both performance and patient tolerance.

It caused me to pause. Well, what the hell? Why are we causing needless pain and suffering and death to these animals when there are such viable alternatives. Money, honey. That's why. This is big business. And it ain't gonna be easy to put an end to this practice. However. One way we can, is to not use this drug and to spread the word to others.

For further reading:

http://www.hsus.org/pets/issues_affecting_our_pets/equine_protection/the_facts_about_premarin.html

http://www.trot.me.com/_forum/index.php?cat=8029&sub=36218&threadnumber=413837

http://www.premarin.org/

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yip Yip!

As promised, here's the "exciting" video of me riding. Sorry, I didn't kiss the dirt yesterday - or did I?

You'll just have to watch and find out.The first horse I'm on is a little Morgan mare, she would make the cutest little kid horse. I am obviously a bit big for her. But, I worked with her on her canter this summer - she was bullying the little kids around a bit. So cute. She's still young - a four year old.

The second horse, my instructor let me hop on at the end cause Adam was there with the video camera. He's a 5-gaited Saddlebred, I've been riding him a lot lately. He's lots of fun - and more my size. Good times!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sick of the kayaking videos? Well, get ready - cause Adam is getting off work early to come videotape my ride tonight! I'll post some of it tomorrow.

Try to get some sleep tonight, I'm sure it must feel like Christmas Eve now. Ahhhh, the anticipation.

Maybe you'll get lucky and I'll fall off or something.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Hey, that's you!"

So, last night Adam and I were playing around on the computer, and we were on youtube, checking out movies. We found one called, "Kayak Carnage" and were having some laughs - when we recognized someone - Adam was in the movie! Pay attention around the 1:00 mark - green boat, red top - it's Adam on the Magalloway river in Maine. Good song too. Have a great day and some laughs with this vid.

Monday, October 22, 2007

If you lost it, get it back

We all have that one thing. That thing that makes us tick. I think when we become grown ups, sometimes we lose sight of it - because we have jobs, husbands, wives, kids, responsibilities - and we let it slip away. The last time I went riding, I ended up at the barn early and got to talking with one of the moms that I see on occasion when I show up for my weekly lesson.

"This is your thing, isn't it?" said the mom. "I see it on your face every time I see you here - you're just so happy and at ease. I can just see it."

"Hmm, I guess maybe it is, yeah." was my response.

I'm not really sure why it is though. And I'm not sure why what makes each of us tick, tick. I find it really interesting - like what may be the thing that makes you tick - me - not so much. I've been asked, since I started riding again - what the point is. I'm not really sure - I don't have huge goals to make it the World Championships in Louisville or anything like that. Maybe I'll do a little local showing here and there. But, maybe not. I'm trying to figure that out now. And I'm setting some goals for myself. Because, well - once a week at the barn just ain't cutting it. I'd ride every day if I could.

All I know, is that every time I come home from riding, Adam can tell it was a riding day - even if he had forgotten. Cause I just have this huge smile on my face for the remainder of the day. I think maybe it lets me forget the everyday "stuff" for a little bit. Because I just concentrate completely on my horse and our task at hand. But for me, it's not just the riding. I love the whole aspect of having a horse - ever tried cleaning a stall? It's therapeutic - I'm telling you! Well, it is for me.

After losing it for a long while, I'm so glad I found my thing again. I'm curious...What's yours?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Free Hugs

With almost 19 million views, chances are you've already seen this. If not, enjoy. If so, enjoy again. I'm not sure I woulda hugged this guy. But, I live for cheesy things like this. It's a nice little reminder, that a little hug can make someone's day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tis the Season

I am not a fan of Halloween. I think if you're over say, 14 - you shouldn't be dressing up. We received our first (and let's face it - probably only - we don't have a lot of friends) invitation to a Halloween party yesterday. Included in the invitation, "costumes encouraged." I was almost in until I read that part.

Not going.

I hate the pressure associated with coming up the coolest costume. It's so stupid. And really, who wants to look around the room and see a bunch of adults dressed up? Not me.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's totally cute when the little ones dress up. That's how it should be. And actually, I like the pumpkin carving and seed roasting.

But, what's with these adult parties where you HAVE to go in costume? Ugh. Go ahead, call me a party pooper.

Anyway, here's a picture of the first drop on the Bottom Moose, Fowlersville. Apparently, a rafter (yes, people run that in rafts) got tossed and was stuck in the middle hole for FOUR minutes, until someone paddled over and pulled him out. Who knows? Maybe he would still be there if that hadn't happened. Scary stuff! Pretty though.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mighty Moose. And that's just what it is.

"You didn't bring directions? How about a map, got one of those?" I said to the boys in the other car when they called asking how to get to Old Forge - as they drove around aimlessly in Vermont. Me? I had an entire manila folder with printed out directions to and from Old Forge, to the Black river, which we planned on heading to on Friday for some park and play and rapid descriptions of the entire Moose river. I'm a planner. Single boys in their 20's - not so much (no offense, Cody - I'm sure you would have had a map at least). I knew we were in for one heck of a weekend.

Oh, also - note to self. NEVER share a hotel room with said boys again. Ever. Good kids - not good roommates. We decided last minute due to the weather (called for snow/rain all weekend) that we should all just pile into a hotel room.

We eventually all found our way to the hotel Thursday night and then drove over to the Black river for some fun on Friday.

Adam getting some air on the play wave - Black river, Watertown, NY. If we had a feature like this close to home, I would get real good in a hurry. Very, very cool spot.

Hammin' it up for the camera...



We got some bad news on Friday night that the guy who was going to show Adam the lines on the Bottom Moose had car trouble and wasn't going to be able to make it to NY. The Bottom Moose is a Class V river. You really should go with someone who has been on it before. But, we headed there anyway on Saturday morning as planned to check it out. Let me tell you something...You can hear it before you see it. Pictures do this section of the river no justice.

[All of a sudden, blogger decided that it can't upload images right now, so I won't be able to post any more pictures today.]

Adam decided that he wasn't going to run the Bottom that day, after studying the lines for awhile on that first rapid. We watched some people drop in...Saw some carnage...and also saw people style it. It was pretty cool to see the pros that we watch in all of our movies, run this stuff in front of us.

Instead, we headed to the Lower Moose and had some carnage of our own. One of the members of our group got pinned on a rock in Class III+ Tannery Rapid http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_1351 , she had to pull her skirt and had a nasty swim - and decided to call it a day.

The Moose had it's way with us on Saturday.

So what to do? Head to the festivities Saturday night, that's what.

Sunday we woke up and decided after not getting any sleep all weekend, that Adam shouldn't even attempt to run the Bottom without his buddy. So, we took our time packing up and headed home. He was really bummed out that he didn't do what he'd set out to. But, I think he made a smart decision. When rapids have descriptions with, "somebody died here - watch this spot" you really should be well rested and with someone that knows the lines.

Next time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moose

This afternoon we head out to the Moosefest for a long weekend in the Adirondacks. Neither of us has ever been out there - so it's pretty exciting! The good thing about the Moose River is that it has a bunch of different sections, each with varying degrees of difficulty (thanks, Moose!). So there's fun for everyone.

We've got a good group of about six or seven heading out there to camp, paddle and yeah, maybe party a little too. I hope to get some good footage, both video and picture and I will post next week. Kobe is going to sit this one out and go on his on mini-vacation at the lake (thanks Mom and Gma for watching him - again). Have a great weekend!

Here are some links if you have any interest in reading about the Moose River and the Fest.

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_1352

http://www.nyriverfestivals.com/moosefest2007paper.pdf

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Playing around with video

And that's just what this is! Don't expect any music or anything fancy. But we've compiled a lot of video footage and I'm working on starting to download it and actually make little movies. This was me practicing pulling pieces from the camera.

So.

This footage was taken on a chilly day back in March after Adam had just spent a week down in beautiful North Carolina taking a creeking clinic. We met up with his friend Miah and the boys paddled at a feature called "Crackpipe Wave" in Manchester. That is followed by us playing around on the creek that we can walk to from our house (Maggie named it Kobe Creek and it's stuck).

Marc and Scott, remember when we were determined to get the iron out of the little stream in front of our house growing up? It was like our little after school project. Well, this spring Adam and I spent many after school nights trying to get wood out of this creek and I told him at one point it reminded me of those good ole days. Kobe was borderline hypothermic this day because we could NOT keep him out of the water...And well, you'll see what happened. Enjoy! I'm going to post these more often and hopefully they'll get better with time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sugar Honey Iced Tea

I learned last night, as I was running around looking for tip money for the pizza delivery guy - that it's about that time to start watching my mouth around Jackson.

"Swear words" were not permitted in our house growing up. I mean, really. We weren't even allowed to say "crap" or "shut up" - which I'm actually thankful for, because still to this day, I don't say "shut up" and I cringe when I hear it. Well, unless someone is saying something totally mind blowingly unbelievable to me, and it's used in a different way...For instance:

Jeannie: Did you hear that the Crocodile Hunter was killed by a stingray today?
Amy: SHUT UP...You're not serious.

So last night when Loni and I discovered as the pizza was being delivered to us that no, we did not have enough cash to cover it, I yelled out "shit" as I ran around dad's house hoping that there was some secret money stashed somewhere. As Loni did the same. Jackson thought this was pretty darn funny and was laughing at us in our mad dash. And then he repeated it. And laughed and laughed. Thankfully it sounded like he was just saying "it" - but as we stared at him, he had one of those laughs that come from the belly.

My friend Jeannie doesn't swear. She never has. Since I've known her, I can probably count the number of times she's slipped on one hand. I asked her about it once, and now I can't remember her reason. And when I talk to her, I don't swear either. But when you spend your weekends hanging out with a bunch of dudes on the river, it's easy to get in the habit and the swears flow off your tongue like they're nothing.

Sometimes though, for some reason it just feels really good to yell out an obscenity. I'm not sure why - it seems to add emphasis. Like, look, I really mean this or something. Who knows. But I'm going to have to keep those to myself when the little guy is around. Or I'm going to have my mouth washed out with soap by his parents.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Do Yourself a Favor

If you get the chance to go see the Avett Brothers, jump at it. They are absolutely the best band that no one is going to see. They pour their heart and soul out on stage. They jam. A little banjo, a little string bass, a little cello, a little guitar. Their lyrics are beautiful. You will leave with a smile on your face and it will still be there the next day. I've seen Dave, I've seen Bruce, I've seen James, I've seen Brandi C. - this is the best show I've ever gone to.

--

And they may pay us off in fame
But that is not why we came
And if it compromises truth then we will go

We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that's good that's how we'll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way

-Salvation Song, Avetts

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Today's the Big Day!

When your dreams start sayin' I can't come true,
you'd be better off without me.

Don't let em go.

-from A Gift for Melody Anne, the Avett Brothers

I've waited for this day for a long time. I feel like I'm 10 and it's Christmas. I get to see these guys live.
They provide a little inspiration when I start to think there's not much good in the world. Their live shows are supposed to be amazing and I just can't wait. I'm putting on my dancing shoes and hope to have a rockin' end to what's been a not-so-rockin' week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How to run a waterfall

hahahahaha.

http://www.teamspecialed-sped.blogspot.com/

Something Pretty

On a lighter note.

I've long admired the work of this artist: http://www.tmccuepastels.com/content/theart.aspx

I first saw one of her paintings where I get my hair cut and I asked about it. My hairdresser said that she and the artist exchange services and that she would be cutting Teresa's hair for a long time to pay off the huge painting that adorned her wall. Which I think is just so cool.

Some day when I'm rich (haha) I will acquire one of her paintings. If money is no object and you like her stuff, get you one!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

how did we get here?

Warning: Don't read this if you don't want to hear a crazy rant. Really. This is literally a brain dump. Something I just had to get off my chest.

--

Yesterday, I checked the news on cnn.com and the "breaking news headline" was that Britney Spears custody rights were being revoked. This caused me to pause. What? THIS is breaking news? THIS is the news that I should be concerned about? Are you serious? This "news" for some reason hit me like a bmw on the highway.

How did we get here?, I thought to myself. Honestly to the point of tears, almost - I'm not that crazy. But. I am so sad about the way of the world right now. I tossed and turned all night, hardly sleeping.

I distinctly remember where I was when I learned about the first U.S. casualty in Iraq. I spent the weekend up in the mountains and was on my way home when I heard. And I'm just gonna throw this out there, I did cry. This was some one's son. This man meant the world to someone. I will never forget that day. I thought about my brothers, my dad.

I am so mad about this war and even more mad at myself for doing nothing about it. I don't understand why we're not all mad. Because we SHOULD be. And we should be doing something about it. But we're not.

Every time I see that damn ad on tv saying that "they attacked us...," my blood boils. It does. "They" didn't attack us. The Iraqi people did not fly those planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or that field in Pennsylvania. Who are these people that are stupid enough to believe that? It was a group of extremists lead by an f-ing lunatic, who "we" still haven't captured. I haven't forgotten.

But now we've destroyed an entire country's infrastructure. We've removed their leader, and he's been executed. We can't just leave. Look, I know the world is probably a better place without him. He was a tyrannical leader. I know. But there are LOTS of leaders just like him. Why aren't we running off to Myanmar right now? Oh that's right, they don't have something we want.

Meanwhile, the Polar Ice Cap is disappearing before our eyes. Our soldiers are dying daily overseas, but we should give a shit about Britney Spears losing her kids? I think we all need to start getting mad. I feel helpless. I want to believe our leaders. Really, I do. I want to believe that there are people in office far smarter than I am and they know what they're doing...But I just don't. Not when we find out after the fact that we've been lied to. Hello, weapons of mass destruction? Our reason for invading Iraq...Oh yeah, there WEREN'T ANY.

So, what do I do about it? I vote to put people into power that I believe are going to do their best to turn things around. To help us get our priorities straight. I hope that's enough.

If you've made it this far...do you feel the same way I do? Am I wrong? Should I not be mad? Is it lack of sleep? I'm just wondering if anyone else feels this way too. And if so, what do you do about this. I guess we just keep on keepin' on and make the world around us as good as we can. We volunteer, we make positive choices, and maybe one day we'll wake up and things will start turning around because we've all done our little part and it will add up to one big thing? I really hope so.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Awesome!

We decided to keep it local this weekend, but somehow managed to squeeze a lot in.

Friday night found us at everyone's favorite: The Deerfield Fair. How can you go wrong at the fair? A little horse show. A little tractor pull. Mixed with the most fattening food on the planet. Everyone's happy. Seriously though, have you noticed that when you step onto fairgrounds, you're instantly happy? And so is everyone around you. It's like stepping back in time. I looked around while we were at the tractor pull and there were people from all walks of life, young and old chatting about tractors. It was a good time.

Maybe we need to have all the worlds leaders "summit" at a county fair? The world may be a different place.

Saturday was a bit boring. Yawn. We caught up on house stuff that we really needed to. I should say, it WAS boring until Jackson and Scott came over for a little bbq. In the words of Jackson, it was "awesome". We tried bison. It was alright, I guess. But we got out the mandolin and banjo that our buddy John gave to us. Scott got us psyched up to actually take some lessons and learn how to play them.

I got a call from my sister Chia on Saturday that she was going to be home on Sunday and wanted to go paddling with us. Again, awesome! She did SO great. She is an absolute natural at this. We were warming up and she flipped over accidentally. She was able to roll herself back up. She's only paddled with us one other time, and Adam taught her how to roll. It usually takes a long time to learn this skill. Not Chia though. She rocked...And, she says she's hooked. I'm happy to have another girl paddler to hang with.

Why do the weekends go by so fast? Sigh.

--

EDITED to add: Tinydancer, I think you should post a video of Jackson saying awesome, so that everyone can see how funny it is.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A little B & J

We try and keep it pretty healthy here at our house. Someone (maybe Maggie? maybe Loni? maybe Jen?) turned me on to the Skinny Cow...actually, I think it might have been Oprah...Anyway...Skinny Cow has a great line of ice cream products that are low in fat but fairly high in taste.

However.

Sometimes you just have to throw the calorie counter out the dang window and buy yourself a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Last night was just such an occasion for me. Grey's season premiere...this is big doings - cause for celebration!

I remember when I was out in Missouri for my freshman year of college, I had dinner at one of my friends parents' house. The discussion turned to dessert, which turned to ice cream and I brought up Ben & Jerry's. The mom looked me right in the eye and told me she didn't like Ben and Jerry's - too creamy. I did all I could to not give her the death stare. I had never heard this statement before. Not like Ben and Jerry's? How could you? Stop it. I lost a little respect for her that day. I mean, really - a couple of spoonfuls will do ya, you don't have to eat the entire pint in one sitting. Too creamy? Pshaw.

My poison of choice last night? Mint cookie.

Got a favorite?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Confrontation

So another thing that happened over the weekend, that I didn't include in my weekend recap...

While we (Adam, our buddy Josh and me) were on our way out of Vermont, we stopped at this little cafe and had breakfast/lunch on their deck. Nothing fancy, just bagel sandwiches...But, we were sitting there enjoying the beautiful Vermont morning...When all of a sudden Adam is yelling at someone, over by our truck...Something about peeing and on your stuff.

Of course, my immediate reaction before I even know what is happening? I want to curl into a ball and hide. "Stop it...", I say to Adam.

Wait, what? What just happened?

I look over and see this woman walking the other direction away from the truck with a little yap dog at the other end of the leash she was holding.

Adam: That woman just let her dog pee all over the tire on the truck.
Amy: So?
Adam: Amy, that's disgusting. We put the keys in there all the time when we boat.
Amy: So, what's the big deal?
Adam to Josh: Amy is so afraid of confrontation, that she'd rather let someone walk all over her, than make them feel bad, by letting them know she feels bad about it.

It's something I've always done. Always. If there's the slightest chance that something could be controversial, I run. Sometimes, literally. It makes me sick to my stomach to think I might hurt some one's feelings.

Anyway, we got in the truck and headed home and I started thinking about it. Wait. He's right. I would NEVER let Kobe do that to some one's stuff. I was so focused on the fact that there was a confrontation, that I didn't even remotely think for a second that he may be right.

I've always admired people that have the self confidence to stand up for what they believe. Loni. Maggie. Marc. And so on. Sure, I might be a little ticked about what they say sometimes and don't always agree with them. But. I respect them for that. And I still love them.

When I posted the link to the webcast yesterday, the last thing that was on my mind was controversy. Really, I just wanted to let you all know about this, so you could get to know some candidates if you wanted to. I've always been a political nerdo. I was an intern at the Governor's Office when I was in college, for crying out loud.


But, when it started to get a little controversial with Maggie's comments - immediately, my heart sank a little. Oh no. Someone is going to say something back to that. It's going to get nasty. I don't want things getting nasty, not here.

Immediately, I wanted to think of something funny, light-hearted to post today. A joke, perhaps. Anything to get you to not read the comments from the last post. But then it hit me. Maybe a little FRIENDLY debate is OK sometimes. It gets us all thinking. And, maybe that's not a bad thing.


It's one baby step for me in an attempt to feel a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

--


OH...And my horse bit me last night. On the boob. That's funny, right? I can tell you what's not funny about it - it hurt AND left a mark!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Get Informed

I take my right to vote seriously. I won't bore you with the reasons why. But this is one of the few things I am passionate about. Don't vote? Don't bitch.

Sure, they may all be crooks, but you can at least vote for the candidate you think is the least of all evils. Your vote matters. Really.

I'm going to check in on this tomorrow. Thought I'd share in case anyone might be interested and hadn't heard about it.

http://www.myspace.com/election2008

P.S. No, I don't think they're all crooks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bye Bye, Perez

His website is like crack.

Seriously. And I'm an addict.

I made a decision yesterday to quit cold turkey. Honestly? It's *killing* me not to check it. There should be a rehab facility for this. Unless you live under a rock or are enlightened enough already to not care about celebrity gossip, you know who I'm talking about. If I got you hooked on this site, I apologize - let's quit together and start a support group.

I was working along in the loft, bee-bopping to some tunes, when the following line from a Marley song caught me:

While you point your fingers, someone else is judging you.


Eek. So true. Sure, I suppose you could use the argument that celebrities put themselves in the spotlight and it's all part of the biz. But they're people and it's gotta hurt them. Plus, we got bigger things to be worried about than who "they're" sleeping with, yes?

It's human nature I suppose, to gossip about other people. Not sure why...I guess temporarily it makes us feel better about ourselves. I try hard not to do this. But, I'm as guilty as anyone.

So anyway, yeah I quit Perez. You can currently find me shaking in a corner.

Willy would be proud

Friday afternoon found us on the road again.

This weekend the plan was to head over to Jamaica, Vermont to run the West river (http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_2055). The West river is dam controlled and they release water two weekends a year - one in the spring which is a Saturday and Sunday release and one in the Fall - which is for one day only - Saturday. This is a beautiful river. One of the cool things about it, is that there is a hiking trail along the entire thing. So if you don't paddle, you can hike along with your buddies who do.

The West is a Class III. I decided to raft it this time and hopped on a friend's raft for a run. Adam did multiple runs in his boat and I got some shots...

It was a great day on the river. Temps were mild and it was sunny.

Sunday, we packed up and headed back home...we decided to stop in at our local park and play spot...for a little urban kayaking...yup - that's the highway, right above us.


That's me in Adam's boat...Thinking maybe it will channel some of his skills to me...Don't think that's gonna happen though. Another great weekend for the memory book.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Find Your Spot!

I think I might make Wednesday's my 'find something on the Internet to play with' day. Today?

http://www.findyourspot.com

It only takes a few minutes, you answer questions about your likes/dislikes in regards to your living situation and it spits out your ideal place to live according to your answers. When it came time to choose a geographic location, I chose "none" so it wouldn't limit my places. Funny. My top ten?

1. Lewiston, ME
2. Hancock-Houghton, MI
3. Plymouth, NH
4. Montpelier, VT
5. Johnson, VT
6. Durango, CO
7. Shelbourne Falls, MA
8. Plattsburgh, NY
9. Williamstown, MA
10. Lebanon, NH

Even if you have no intention of moving anywhere, it's still fun and who knows? You might find that you're living exactly where you want to. Or, damn close.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weekend Adventure: Part II, Things Brighten Up

I don't know about you, but watching buildings blow up sure snaps me out of a bad mood. After watching the smoke stacks (eventually) fall in Berlin - we had a whole new outlook on things and decided to get us some rain gear and warm clothes at a local shop and continue north for some camping and paddling.We set up camp and Adam did a little paddling on the rapids right by our site...


We were the only people in the entire campground. Kobe was beside himself with excitement. He got to run all over the place without me yelling at him to "get over here and leave those people alone!" As darkness started to settle in, we got the fire going and settled ourselves in for a nice cozy evening around the campfire. Enjoying some yummy cider from some local folks http://www.farnumhillciders.com/ and reflecting on our last crazy 24 hours.


The next day, we met up with our friend Steve and did some paddling.

Hey, look - it's me about to head into a crazy, wild class VI rapid...

OK, not so much a class VI, but we did find this nice spot with some little baby waves to surf while we were in between rapids. It was a great day on the river.

What did I learn this weekend? When you're about ready to lose it, go watch some buildings explode, have some coffee and eventually everything will be alright!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Weekend: Part I, The Misadventures of Amy, Adam & Kobe

I wouldn't be being completely honest with my readers if I just pretended that all of our weekends are filled with fun and good times. Sometimes, we have misadventures - things suck and we want to kill each other. This weekend was clearly one of them and so, I will break it up into two parts. Today: The Misadventure.

The three of us headed north in the truck on Friday afternoon. Our mission? To pick up Adam's Jeep at his parents house, take it for a test run to Errol. Camp at Errol for the weekend and paddle and then take the Jeep and the truck home. That way, Adam could put the finishing touches on the Jeep and get it ready to sell.

This mission already makes me nervous. Why? You may be thinking. Seems simple enough. Because it involves me driving the truck, a standard. I have yet to master the standard. My mom can attest to the fact that I am no good at driving a stick. I think I may be solely responsible for her gray hairs, for that reason alone. I'm a little slow on the uptake when it comes to this task. But, I decided it was time to buck up and figure it out. The old Nike theme comes to mind.

We got to Adam's parents house much later than planned and when it was time to hit the road and head to Errol it was dark. It was about 9:00 pm and we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us. Uh huh. Off we went. I did fine taking off, no stalling. Sweet! Maybe I've got this, I am thinking. Ahh, not so fast, young lady. We get into town and stop for gas...And I stall it about three times.

Adam calls me on the phone and asks how I'm doing. I answer in one word sentences. He knows I am not happy, but I say to him..."I've just gotta do it. I have to." He tells me that we can leave the Jeep somewhere and abandon the mission. But I say no. So, we continue. I stall some more. He pulls over. I am on the verge of tears because I feel like such an idiot. "We're going to leave the Jeep." he says. "I used to work at a furniture builder, I'll leave it in the parking lot there with a note on the windshield. This is crazy, it's windy, the Jeep is loud, you're freaking out, we're both tired." "Fine." I respond.

So we pull into the furniture place. We're there for a couple of seconds when we hear this:

Man in the dark: This isn't an f-ing parking lot, get the f-out of here.
Amy: Uh oh (this is not happening, I'm thinking to myself)
Adam: Pete, is that you?
Man in the dark (aka, Pete - Adam's former boss): Yeeeaahhhh
Adam: It's Adam
Pete: F*&K. You stupid SOB, what do you want to get yourself shot?

They keep it simple in the North Country.

Adam goes on to explain the situation and Pete was our best buddy by the time we left. Sure, we could leave the Jeep there for the weekend.

Off we head, still with 1 1/2 drive left in front of us. Then, it starts raining. Adam tells me he can't make the drive - too tired. As am I. So we decide to try to find a hotel in Gorham. With the dog. We decide on the cheapest looking motel. Get a room there and sneak Kobe in. The place was nasty. But it was dry and had a bed (probably full of bugs). We went to sleep without saying a word.

The next morning we were both awoken by the pounding rain. "Maybe we should just go home?" I say. "Do you want to go get coffees?" Adam replied. "OK" I say. Adam goes out to the truck to get the bag with my raincoat and all of our warm clothes in it. It's gone. It flew out the back of the truck on our way.

Then we remembered that they were supposed to be blowing up the smoke stacks at the old paper mill in Berlin, right down the road,"The city that trees built" it says on their Welcome to Berlin sign. Once a booming mill town, Berlin is now a bit depressing. Every time we drive through there on our way to paddle, I am amazed. Everything is for sale, run down, the people look sad. Sweet - it could be fun to watch buildings blow up. This was supposed to be a new beginning for Berlin - a fresh start. We decide to do that and hope that it stops raining. Things are looking up. We got a great parking spot to view the stacks.

Little did we know that this is where THE biggest news story in the state was about to occur. They were to blow up three stacks. The first two toppled, no problemo. The third one, he was a stubborn sucker. They tried once...BOOM we heard. The thing doesn't even wiggle. "COOL!" I say to Adam and Kobe. "This is so symbolic. I love it. The stack is saying a big F-U. I worked hard for a lot of years and this is the thanks I get? I bet it's how a lot of the former mill workers are feeling right now too." They both just stared at me.

About 30 minutes later, they reset the charges and tried again. Again, nothing. Then, oh, maybe 20 minutes later, the sucker starts falling on it's own. "There it goes!" says Adam. And we watched the third and final tower fall. "I hope there wasn't anyone in there." we both say simultaneously. Check out the news story below to see pictures/video and what actually unfolded.

http://www.wmur.com/news/14121806/detail.html

We decided it was time to get out of town, and keep heading north. Up next, Weekend Part II: Things brighten up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scenes from the hood

Instead of sitting in front of the computer yesterday afternoon, I decided to go for a nice long walk with the boss.

Nah, nah, nah, nah poo poo....I'm swimming and you're not.


One of us seriously has a "boat buying" issue. Welcome to Adam and Amy's Kayak Shop, er, I mean, front porch.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Coffee, I Salute You

I was up until 1:00 this morning working on a manuscript, so I've earned a little "screw off on the Internet time" today. It ain't always sunshine and balloons working from home. One of the things that's no good is that the office is always here. To cut any of you off at the comments pass - no, I'm not complaining about my sweet gig - just stating the facts.

A couple of days ago Grandma/GB/Betty/Old Goat reminded me of an online game that I used to love playing and I thought I'd share in case you haven't played it before. It's fun. I stunk it up the first time I re-tried it yesterday. But I think I'm going to devote some good Internet time to it this afternoon. If you feel like wasting some time too:

http://www.addictinggames.com/texttwist.html

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Keep Breathing

The one television show that I do watch on a regular basis is Grey's Anatomy. Love it. Love the unrealistic view of the ER and the peek into the lives of the interns. Actually, I thought it was unrealistic until Adam and I spent a few hours in the ER a couple of weeks ago when he injured his hand at work.

That place is full of the crazies! One woman next to us kept talking about how she was "froze" - her brain was froze, she couldn't think...And her body was froze - she couldn't eat or drink (which was BS by the way - because when the nurses left her little ER cubby, I totally heard her drinking). And how she wished she had never gotten that "damn cat" because she was going to be thrown out of her apartment TODAY because she had the cat. They called in someone from the Psych unit for her.

Anyway, I love Grey's Anatomy and was not disappointed by the season finale in the spring. Immediately following the episode, I logged onto the computer to download the final song that played as Christina struggled to shed her wedding dress after Burke left her at the alter. The song grabbed me and I had to hear the whole thing.

Well wasn't I disappointed when I learned that the song would not be released until today - this was May when I had to have it! So, instead I logged into the artist's myspace page and listened to it now and then. But it's here - and I am happy. I downloaded it from itunes first thing this morning. Have a listen!

Artist: Ingrid Michaelson
Song: Keep Breathing

http://www.myspace.com/ingridmichaelson

Monday, September 10, 2007

5 things I did this weekend

1. Played with all my nieces and my nephew.

2. Drank a Pumpkinhead Ale, or two (http://www.shipyard.com/). Fall is here and it tastes damn good.

3. Paddled with my best buddy. Just the two of us.

4. Googled 'frogs on wet roads' numerous times. Still no answer to "why." I am now obsessed with finding out.

5. Drove to Rhode Island and back in less than 5 hours. To buy a kayak. Cause it was "such a sweet deal..."

How 'bout you?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Carnage!

I was driving down the highway tonight after a rain shower and there they were: frogs. These little guys were *everywhere* - absolutely unavoidable. Trust me, I tried. For some reason in this particular spot - and I swear I'm not exaggerating - there were 100 of them. They were jumping all over the place. I literally said, "Oh lordy, sorry you guys!" out loud. It was frog madness - almost like a mass frog suicide.

I did a quick online search but couldn't find out why frogs flock to wet roads.

Does anyone know?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Because who doesn't love a cute puppy pic

I received this picture from my sister Chia this morning, and it was too cute to keep to myself. Meet Bumpa's new little one, JoJo.

I think I may have to go pay them a visit and meet her myself this afternoon.

Have a great weekend, all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Video

Click on the link below to see a video put together by one of the dudes Adam paddled with on Sunday.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2799715370215019393

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Get out the map...

What a kickin' weekend!

We headed north to the Forks, ME for a couple of days on the river. With no reservations for camping or a plan for who the heck we were going to meet up with when we got there - but hoping we'd find someone. We pulled into "town" and immediately saw one of our good friends, followed by a couple more - they had a campsite and sure, we could pitch our tent there. Sweet!

We set up camp and then went to grab some dinner, drinks and play some horse shoes at a restaurant down the road a piece - where Kobe almost ended up acquiring a new brother. We were heading back to the truck at the end of the evening and this dog randomly started following Adam...He got to the truck, opened the door and the dog hopped in, curled into a little ball in the passenger's seat and made himself at home. He was a super cool looking dog - yellow lab-ish with one blue eye and one yellow one and Kobe-calm.

Adam to the dog: Uh, doggie, Amy needs to sit there, you're gonna have to hop down.

Dog: Looks at Adam, and hops into the back seat of the truck.

Adam to Amy: I think he's coming home with us.

Amy: But, don't you think he belongs to someone? [no collar, though]

Adam: Well, maybe he does, but maybe he doesn't like that person, cause he sure seems to want to come with us.

Amy: I'll go back in and see if he belongs to anyone.

Adam: OK, but if he doesn't, he's ours. He loves us, and I know Kobe would love him.

So, in I went, secretly hoping that, nope - nobody knows the dog. I headed directly to the bar where I asked the college age-ish bartender if she knew the dog..."Oh, yeah - he's mine." Damn.

Out I went to break the news to Adam, who was talking to to the dog and petting him, who now had a name - Marshall.

Adam: I just told him all about Kobe.

Amy: He's got an owner.

Adam: What? Who?

Amy: The bartender.

Adam: Her??? She shouldn't have a dog.

Amy: Maybe not, but we can't just take some one's dog.

So, we had to physically remove him from the truck...neither of us could do it, our buddy Miah had to. Marshall followed us out to the road as we pulled away.

The next day, Adam was set to kayak the Dead River at 5500 cfs (http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_787) with a great group of people. The river is a solid class IV at this level. I was going to hop in a raft of a friend of ours. However, she didn't make it to the river, so I was out of luck...But was I? I ended up meeting another girl who wasn't paddling either, so we decided to head out and spend the day on the deck at a local resort, sampling the local brews http://www.northernoutdoors.com/maine_brewpub_microbrewery.html. Not a bad afternoon after all.

We met up with the boys later on and had a great night by the campfire. We also found our friend with the raft and decided that we would raft the Kenne the next day (http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_438) - another Class IV. It was a great day - Adam rafted with me - instead of paddling his boat...So, it was four of us in the raft. If you ever have the chance to see this river, I highly recommend it. It's beautiful.

After running the Kenne, it was time to head home (BOO!). Once we got to the highway, the traffic was bumper-to-bumper and we decided to find a back way home...So, I got out the map and navigated us back home. It took a bit longer - but maybe not - cause at least we were moving and not sitting in traffic. Normally the trip is 4 hours and we think it took about 5.

A good little weekend.

Friday, August 31, 2007

5 things I learned from my nephew

Yesterday I got the chance to hang with Jackson, for the entire day. Alone. Me and him. I think we're fully buds now. Seriously, I would hang out with this kid for fun - he is hilarious.

1. Life's too short to focus on one thing for too long. You gotta mix it up. A lot.

2. When in doubt, laugh.

3. Naps = Good.

4. Water tastes better coming from the dog dish. (Sorry, S + L)

5. When nothing else seems to make you happy, throw in a movie. It fixes everything.

Have a fun-filled weekend, all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Turkey Stuffing Stir Fry

OK...Before you dismiss this recipe because of the name, give it a chance! We had this at one of our Cooking Club meetings and it is yummy and easy.

Turkey Stuffing Stir Fry

1 pound turkey cutlets
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/3 cup green onion, sliced
1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups Bread Cubes (I usually just buy a loaf of french bread and cube it up)

Cut turkey in to 1/4" strips
Saute turkey until cooked and set aside
Boil broth in same fry pan
Add celery, onions and seasonings - cook 2 minutes
Add turkey
Stir in bread cubes until liquid is absorbed

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What on earth?

Do you ever look in the mirror and say, "ick" out loud? Honestly, right before bed I bent over the sink to spit out the toothpaste and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I was horrified at what I was looking at.

I feel like I've gotten a little off track lately. It happens. Sometimes you don't realize it until your ugly mug is staring back at you. I've been eating crap and haven't gone for a run in some time. We've been eating out way too much & not sleeping under the stars enough.

Since Adam and I met, we've taken on adventuring like it's our job. Rarely a weekend goes by that we're not miles away from home in the woods or on a river. I guess I should say "had" gone by. It's been over a month since one of our weekend adventures. Entirely too long. Sometimes life just catches up with you and before you know it you're in a rut. I don't like it. Not one bit. I miss our life and it's time to get it back.

I don't want to see a fox in a cage, I want to happen upon one while I'm walking in the woods.

I'm bored. It's time to get back out there.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Grrr

Yesterday, Adam and I took a little trip to the Squam Lakes Science Center (http://www.nhnature.org/). This is a place I've wanted to visit, well - revisit for quite some time. Let me briefly explain my first "visit."

When we were kids, for a short time my dad lived across the street from the Science Center. On one of our every-other-weekend visits, he decided to take us across the street. But the place was closed. Not sure if we were even supposed to be there - I'm going with not - but dad has never been one to follow the rules. Actually, he is one to always follow the rules, so this was a little uncharacteristic of him. Another shocking thing? He wanted to do something even remotely involved with "nature." So, we kids rolled with it.

Off the four of us went - Dad, Scott, Marc and me. We couldn't have been very old at this point - maybe we were still all under 10? I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that I will never forget what transpired as we walked the trails of the Science Center.

We came across the deer enclosure. "Wow, that one really wants to get out..." one of us, maybe all of us said at one point. There was a young buck with little nubs for horns, ramming the chain link fence that housed the deer. He meant business. He so did not want to be there. So, we watched for a few minutes and then continued on with our walk through the trails.

Eventually, we started making our way home, walking down the long paved driveway of the Science Center - when we heard it - the pounding of hooves on the pavement. We all looked back, and wouldn't you know it? That buck was comin' at us. "Run, kids!," my dad yelled to us.

Run we did. But not without looking back and watching this buck bump our dad in the butt the entire way down the driveway. I laugh out loud every time I recall this story. It ended up being a whole scene. Police were called and dispatched to capture the rogue deer. "Lettuce, throw it some lettuce..." that's what we were told to give the deer to keep it around. I think he was eventually captured and returned to the Center. Sad, actually.

Which is what I left feeling after our visit yesterday. A little bit. Don't get me wrong, the animals that call the Science Center home are obviously well cared for. Their habitats are as close to what they would live in if they were in the wild. But, damn. Some of them just didn't seem to dig their digs.

I point to a couple of things when I say this. As we approached the red fox exhibit, I noticed one of the foxes pacing back and forth on the far end of the exhibit away from us - so wanting to be on the other side of that fence. I sat there and watched him/her looking longingly. Who knows? Maybe there was just a tasty looking rabbit on the other side that only the fox could see and he wanted to grab it and come right back in. But I doubt it.

Then we moved onto the bobcat enclosure where there was a woman dangling her backpack back and forth as one of the bobcats tried to go after it like a cat would a string. This woman with her four or so unruly kids and husband no doubt drove one of those cars in the parking lot with red plates (Mass). As the woman dangled her backpack, her kids were screaming at it and making faces. Well the bobcat's buddy didn't like this too much and came out of the den attacking the glass. Full on wanting to grab onto those kids and make a meal of them. The Mass family acted so shocked that the cats would do this - they had gasps of horror. Well, what the hell people? This is a wild animal. The cat just acted out what I was thinking.

There's no doubt in my mind that the fine folks at the Science Center are doing good work. But I can't shake the image of that fox. So obviously still wild and unable to be.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Up for Sainthood

If you are a dog lover, you should definitely click on this link and watch the video in Bernie's newest post:

http://www.aplacetobark.blogspot.com/

This woman is tireless and will have no trouble getting into heaven.

Bikini Jeannie

I've been friends with Jeannie since college and although she lives in Philly, she's still one of my closest friends.

We have random text message conversations out of punctuation marks that go a little something like this:

J: ?
A: !
J: ,
A: ?
J: .

Jeans and I are pretty much opposites...she's freakin' smart. I mean, Maggie smart. UNH was a breeze for her and then she immediately went to Temple, got her Masters and is a Speech Pathologist in a school district in a Philly suburb. Oh and on top of the brains, she's gorgeous...Scott calls her "Bikini Jeannie" - at one point we were talking about doing a whitewater rafting trip and Scott mentioned that the only way he'd get back in a raft with me would be if Bikini Jeannie came along.

She still goes out every weekend...Spends her summers, "down the shore" in her Jersey shore house that she shares with like 50 other girls so they can all afford the dang place. Something I just don't get. BUT, I do get some really great stories after said weekends. I get random things from her on my phone...This weekend she was in some costume contest thing down there and I received a picture of her in a girl scout uniform. When she called last night I asked if she completed the uniform with cookies...Of course she did. She was handing out Samoas in the bar.

Anyway, she called last night while running some errands...We ended up talking longer than usual and it was just nice.

My point to this seemingly pointless post: Sometimes, it's good to take a little time out during the week and have a good conversation about nothing with a good friend. It's good for the soul to hear about the crazy things your opposite friend from Philly may be up to.

We always end our conversations like this...One of us will get sick of being on the phone, or just run out of things to say...Sometimes it's only after two minutes:

A: I'm done with you.
J: I was done with you first.

Click.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dreaming

Last week I did something I've only done once, maybe twice before in all of my 31 years. I bought a Powerball ticket. Heck, there hasn't been a winner since June, the jackpot is ginormous. Some one's gotta win - why not me? Ever since I bought that ticket, I've randomly thought of things I'd do with the money.

First of all, if you're reading this and you're family - you are golden if I win. That's #1, you'll never have to worry about the benjamins again.

Next, I would buy a pimped out RV and do the cross country trip I've always wanted to do. I'd pack up my two boys and we'd take our time - OK, we might go sorta quickly through the Midwest, but once we hit 'rado we'd slow the pace. And we'd make our way back home through Canada. Spending a good chunk of time in B.C.

We'd take a little break in between trips, but then it would be off to Norway. I read an article in some travel magazine about Norway while waiting for my oil to get changed a few weeks ago and I've had this urge to go there ever since.

That's another thing...If I was Powerball rich, I would *never* take my car to get the oil changed again. I'd hire someone to do it. It's one of those things that I HATE doing. They always find something else you need done, and I never know if I *really* need it or if they're just trying to make a buck off my ignorance.

And, I'd quit my job. That's right, I said it - I would. I love my boss and the good work she does, but I wouldn't 'work for the man' anymore. I'd quit my job, take a few grant writing courses and make some money for some causes I believe in. I'd be a freelance grant writer. Heck, maybe I'd write grants to my own Foundation and either approve them or not. That could be fun.

So, that's what I've been able to come up with so far. I wouldn't buy a fancy car, I like my car. I would probably buy a house, but not a horrendous McMansion, it would be a small log cabin on some acres.

Damn that Powerball, it's got me dreaming!

What would you do with the $$?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bump in the Night

"Did you hear that?" big tough Adam said at about 2:30 this morning.

Yeah, I heard it, I was already awake. It's funny, a night last week I heard this same noise and pretty much convinced myself, that in the morning I was going to go out to the porch and find a big huge mess. I envisioned the hummingbird feeder destroyed and our recycling strewn across the lawn. But the next morning I woke up, went outside and found - nothing. Yeah, that's right - I thought it was a bear.

It's a weird noise, a banging, sort of rustling and it's enough to creep you the heck out. Especially, out here in the woods.

"We should have one of our phones in here," I said to Tough-y. He had already gotten up, closed and locked our bedroom doors and the window. And was sitting there with a look on his face that I hadn't even seen when he was up against a class V rapid. We had already been sitting up in bed, light on for about ten minutes. No noise.

"OK, yeah," he said - you're right. "I'll go." Ah, my knight in shining armor.

He went out to the living room, grabbed a phone and a piece of apple pie from the fridge - because that's going to keep the scary things away, I guess. And, all was well.

Yeah, we slept with a light on for the rest of the night.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

tired

It's been a long week, ya'll (that was for you, Lon).

Beginning on Sunday with Dad and Chia's joint birthday party, there's been a whole lotta socializing going on in my world. Late nights. So many late nights.

Actually, the late nights began on Saturday evening - after some paddling, we had some friends over to our house for a bbq that went into the wee hours. It was nice having people over, we decided we need to do that more often.

Loni and I had a ladies night on Tuesday, taking in a Brandi Carlile and Indigo Girls show. I can't say enough about Brandi. Get her stuff...You won't regret it. Incredible. The Indigo Girls - eh - maybe it's just hard to follow Brandi, I'm not sure. But I wasn't feeling it. They were good, but not Brandi good. Needless to say there was some good people watching ops at that show. Enough said.

Last night I fulfilled a promise I made to Chia eons ago, taking her out on her 21st birthday. It ended up being more low-key than I was hoping it would be for her...But it was still a good time.

And today, I'm tired...two back-to-back nights of staying up way beyond my bedtime. I'm only writing this post because it's distracting me from the loads of work I have piling up on my desk, that I can't seem to muster the brain power to tackle. But, I must.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Woody

I'd like to introduce the newest member of our family, Woody...He decided to join us this morning and as much as we like having him here - we think it's time he went back to his birdie friends.

It's hard reasoning with a bird...I've tried, "Birdie, go outside, it's time for you to go..."; "Fly away birdie..."; "Your Mommy misses you, time to go see her..." Now he's got a name, Woody - I figure he's been here long enough - he deserves one.

Instead of flying back outside - since his arrival this morning I have removed the air conditioner from the loft and opened up the top window - he's decided he's going to peck his way out.

In addition to now having the loft window wide open - I have the front door open and some of Woody's cousins are joining us. As much as I'd like to have a party - I have a lot of work to do.

Any suggestions about how to get him to go? I'm open, and so are all of my windows.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Toe Stomper

Adam and I had the good fortune of being able to catch an Alison Krauss & Union Station show last night. It was so good that when I logged onto the computer this morning, the first thing I did was go to their website and see where they were playing tonight.

These guys have been playing together as a band for 16 years now. And man, did the audience benefit from that and the obvious love these folks have for each other. You just don't get the kind of performance that we did from these manufactured groups popping up today. There were no egos on that stage, just a bunch of people enjoying each other and what they are doing.

At one point, the entire band - with the exception of dobro genius, Jerry Douglas - left the stage and Jerry played a few solos. You can bet I'm going to itunes and downloading a few tracks of his today. He told a funny story behind the first tune, "Little Ro Ro" - was inspired by Jerry's son's high school friend who aspired to be a hip hop star, although his name was Pierre Michaelson...He knew he had to change his name to try to make it in the biz and Jerry was there when the teen decided on Little Ro Ro.

The only bad thing I can say about the show is that it was one of those venues that you can't just get up and dance...but man did we bust out some serious toe stompin'! Catch 'em if they come to a city near you. For serious.

Monday, August 6, 2007

No electricity = No bunny pasta

Being a parent, a good parent, requires some serious self-sacrificing (I know, duh). My brothers and their wives are *incredible* parents. I knew that before this weekend, but I had no idea just how tough it is. I am humbled.

"Amy, we get to have bunny pasta!" Avery proclaimed pointing at the box of Annie's mac & cheese, as we hung out in the kitchen soon after I arrived. That was all she could talk about, so excited about the bunny pasta. Who doesn't love Annie's? I was just as excited as Avery was about our menu for supper.

After going through the schedule as they were getting ready to head to the wedding, Jen and Marc kindly let me off the hook by saying that it didn't matter if the girls had their baths - thank God - because I honestly couldn't figure out how I was going to juggle both for bath time.

With the 'rents on their way to the wedding, the girls and I headed outside for some swinging, some popsicle eating under a tree and some swimming in the kiddie pool. Eventually it was nap time and Avery and Nora went to sleep like champs. Phew, I thought, I can clean up the kitchen from lunch. Not too soon after I was done cleaning up, I sat down on the couch and they started.

Thunder that sounded like it was right next door and hail, yikes, I have never seen hail like this before. The storms were intense, so intense that poof - they took the electricity with them as they passed through. No worries, I thought to myself, we'll get power back in a jiff. Not so.

Avery woke up not too long after the power went out. And we played inside while waiting for Nora to wake up.

Still no power.

Eventually Nora woke up and it was supper time.

No power.

"Is it time for bunny pasta, Amy? Avery asked.

Dang it, I thought to myself.

"We're going to have to come up with something else, Avery, we don't have power to cook the pasta."

Nora, who isn't quite able to express what she wants to say verbally yet, had this to say about no bunny pasta for supper:

Although we were all disappointed about not being able to have some Annie's, we improvised..."Avery, what do you feel like having for supper?" I asked. "Turkey? Do you like turkey? How about cottage cheese? Does Nora like cottage cheese?" Bingo - yep she sure does. So, our supper was deli turkey meat (which Nora did not like, at least not that day), cold pasta and sauce I found in the fridge (which Nora does like!), cottage cheese, grapes and some milk (of course!).

With the thunderstorms behind us, we headed back outside and played until the bugs drove us inside & it was time for bed anyway. At one point, I looked at Avery, and she had a mosquito on the corner of one of her eyes, which I *gently* swiped away...Loni, don't come after me.

The next morning, Avery woke up looking like she went three rounds with George Foreman:

We spent Sunday hanging out by the pool and enjoying the beautiful day with the entire Maine Rowe family. I left exhausted and happy that I got to spend so much time with my nieces, with a new appreciation for what Marc, Jen, Scott and Loni are going through right now. The life that I lead is so different from theirs. I'm glad that I get to spend some time in theirs now and then. Both of my brothers and their wives have created beautiful, loving, happy families.

As Marc said to Avery when she asked why Adam and I were still in the pool messing around, seeing who could make the biggest splash...while everyone else was out getting ready for lunch, "Avery, they're still kids - they'll get out eventually."

I'm happy being in the pool, atleast for now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A girl, her dog and two kids under the age of 3

This is going to be an interesting weekend.

Jen and Marc, for some unknown reason think it's a good idea to leave Avery and Nora in my care while they attend a wedding on Saturday.

I'm guessing the girls are on some sort of schedule, that will be completely thrown out the window as soon as their Subi leaves the driveway (I kid, I kid).

All I can say is that there will be a) swimming b) swinging on the fancy swing set c) running in the grass (yes, I will do a tick check on their noggins when we come inside, Marc) d) fun in general.

It's gonna be interesting, full report (with pictures, if approved by their parentals) on Monday.

Good times!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

How dare you.

I try to keep things light and fun on this here blog, but I heard something this morning on the news that I just have to vent about.

In the wake of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, I was reminded of something that really gets under my skin about the mainstream media. Following the story about this tragedy, the anchor closed by saying, "what an awful tragedy, but we realize it could have been much worse."

Oh yeah?

And how about the mother at home listening to that news report that lost her son to the collapse? Do you think she feels that it "could have been much worse?" Or the husband that lost his wife? Nah. They just lost their entire world's, so for them, no it could not have been much worse.
the wisdom's in the trees, not the glass windows - j.j.