Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Open Letter to the Black Flies Living Within a 50 Mile Radius of My House

Dear Black Flies Living Within a 50 Mile Radius of My House,

I understand your plight.  It has been a long, sunless spring and we are all eager to enjoy the beautiful weather that has finally arrived.  And while I'm sure you've been hungry, waiting for all us humans to head back outside to your feeding grounds, I'm not sure it was completely necessary to attack in such a manner yesterday that I feared for my life.  When I proposed a picnic lunch to my one year old son, I was not, in fact, proposing that we become a picnic lunch.  I was merely hoping that for twenty minutes or so, we could enjoy the sun, eat our lunch and revel in mother nature's glory.  Instead, it appears that one of you sounded the alarm, alerting all nearby black flies to come attack us as we ate.  Might I suggest a more candid approach next time?  Perhaps, had you lined up single file, or even by twos, my son and I would have spent more time outside, allowing more of you to snatch a quick bite.  Instead, you bombarded us as though you were a squadron of air force jets, forcing us to run inside before we became strange, bloodless, human-black fly vampires, or at least very itchy.  This is simply not acceptable, black flies.

Today I noticed you were in much better form.  I was only bothered by a few of you little devils.  We were able to enjoy the beautiful weather and our second attempt at a picnic.  I would even say "Thank you" but, one of you felt the need to fly down my pants and bite my butt, and I simply cannot accept that.

Be warned, black flies living near my house, I have unearthed a bottle of bug spray.  May it leave as bitter a taste in your mouth as it does in mine.



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Glorious Spring...

It is so pleasant to wake up to sunshine.  The sun is out, the house is warm, the birds are tweeting, yup, that's a great way to start the day.  I've got the windows open and a nice little breeze is blowing some fresh air in here...and the dogs are barking.  The down side to opening the windows.  The dogs feel the need to notify me of EVERY noise they hear coming through the open window.  The neighbor slams a car door, EMERGENCY.  A dog barks down the street, WATCH OUT.  A squirrel chatters in a nearby tree, SOUND THE ALARMS.  They drive me nuts.  Seriously nuts.

Now back to my praising of spring time:  With such nice weather, we've been able to go outside again, get the grill fired up, drive with the windows down....ynnnmjk oh nice, Ben wants to help lguyhhhhhhhhhh5/"p.ill me with my blog.  Nothing like trying to focus with a one year old bouncing on the couch and pushing all the buttons on /the laptop.+*/++

And I wonder why I can barely get eight blogs written a month...

Happy Spring!

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am DETERMINED to plant a garden this year.  Every year I get all jazzed up about it in the spring, and then it never gets done before planting season is over.  This year it's going to happen...this weekend!!!  For Christmas my mother bought me a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening.  I'm determined to follow it to the letter so I not only have a garden, but vegetables that are actually growing in it.  (I'm not exactly known for my green thumb.) 

This is what it is supposed to look like

The theory behind the square foot garden is to minimize space and maximize output.  So I'll be building 2 4x4 raised bed gardens, each 6 inches deep.  Each garden is divided into 1x1 squares and the book lists many types of plants and how many you can grow in each square.  It also provides a recipe for dirt (that's right...a recipe for dirt!) that will have all the nutrients the plants need, plus be able to retain moisture.  This sounds idiot proof.  Which is exactly what I need.

Today I made a list of materials we need (wood and dirt) and then I mapped out the grids and determined how many of each type of plant I'm going to plant.  (I'm either going to have waaay too much lettuce, or not nearly enough, I guess we'll see.)  I'm all excited to get planting!  Fresh cukes, tomatoes, beans, peas....yum yum!!!  I hope the sun realizes I'm going to need some cooperation here...this week upon week of drizzle thing just isn't going to work....

Bring on the veggies!!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Day Off?

Today I woke up and said to myself: "I need a day off."  So I watched an episode of Bones on hulu, played around on the internet, started my coupon list for the weekend, and then I got bored.  So I picked up the disaster area that is my living room/Ben's play house and vacuumed.  A day off?  I guess not quite.  I find it hard to be home and not want to do something around here that needs doing.  Next on my "day off list" will probably be dishes.  Then laundry.  And I'm sure if I don't stop myself, I will decide to finish spring cleaning the kitchen.

I guess if I want a day off I should lose myself in a book.  I think that might be the only way to escape my own sabotaging of my day off.

Oh, and today is my Mom's birthday!  Happy Birthday Mom!  And would you believe she's only 39?  No?  I don't buy it either.  But you're only as old as you act, and I suppose that's all that really matters.  Love you Mom!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prom Time!

It was a busy weekend.  Very busy.  There was a lacrosse game, a birthday party, work, grocery shopping and then the two big ones: Prom and Graduation Party Planning.  Ahhhhh!  Growing up is happening way too fast around here!  I've been so focused on watching Ben grow this past year, that this seems to be coming out of nowhere!  Jake is growing up!

Saturday afternoon, while I headed to work, Jake his friends put on their tuxes, posed for a few photos and headed to the prom.  I was so disappointed I didn't get to see him, and no amount of convincing, pleading or begging could make him stop by the restaurant and show me his tux.  Apparently he found it uncomfortable to enter a packed restaurant in a tux so his step-mother could gush about how handsome he looked.

My husband was nice enough to stop by with photos (although I think the ulterior motive was to have dinner at the restaurant and avoid cooking that night) which I proudly showed off to my co-workers.  And I have to admit I was a little teary eyed.  I didn't get to see him in his tux, and the next time he will likely be wearing a tux will be at his wedding.  And just how do you not tear up thinking about that?  So grown up....

Sunday we went to Don's Aunt's house to plan a graduation party for Jake and his (sorta) cousin Emily.  (She is technically Don's cousin, but is in Jake's class.)  We discussed seating and food, decorations and cake, and the whole time it became harder and harder to deny that the end of Jake's "childhood" with us is all too fast approaching.

I didn't expect to be all sappy about this, I've know him for 8 of his 18 years, which is a lot, but still puts a bit of a distance between us.  But here I am today sniffling and snizzling over the upcoming graduation.  Growing up just happens way too fast....

Jake, Don and Marcus 2005

Jake, Don and Marcus 2006

Ben, Jake and Marcus 2011

Prom 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blogging About Books (Again!)

When I can't figure out what to blog about, I find it's best if I blog about books.  Right now I'm reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire.  And, yes, I've read it before.  I'm waiting for my husband to go to the Portland Library to pick up something else for me, but in the meantime, I thought I'd re-read Wicked for something to do.

When I first read Wicked, it was after I had gone to a reading of it and after I had unknowingly met the author.  My friend and I decided to check out "Longfellow Shorts," which was a theatrical reading presented by Longfellow Books.  For this reading, they would be doing selections from Wicked and the readings would be done by some of the actors from Portland Stage Company.  It was even held at Portland Stage Company.  While we had never read the book, my friend and I decided it sounded like something fun to check out.  That afternoon, before the reading, I was working at the Cookie Shop in the Old Port and I had a man, his wife and two very active young children (read obnoxious) come into the shop and sit down and enjoy a few cookies.  They stuck out that day, possibly because the children were loud and possibly because the wife was a very interesting character (read bitchy).  I was shocked when later that night we arrived at Portland Stage and saw the woman and children running around the theater and then the man on stage as the author, Gregory Maguire.

The reading was AMAZING.  I hadn't read the book, but I went out the next day and bought it and absolutely loved it.  When Mr. Maguire spoke, after the actors had read, he talked about how Wicked was being worked on to eventually become a Broadway Musical.  Really? I thought, A musical?  I guess it was a good idea.  (Wicked is currently a huge success on Broadway for those of you living under a rock.)

Now, as I'm re-reading the book, I wish I had read the book prior to Mr. Maguire's visit to my cookie shop.  I wish that I had had a copy for him to sign while he was there.  I wish that I'd been able to ask him questions, tell him how much I enjoyed the book, how impressed I was with his details.  I wish that I could have done something other than roll my eyes at his annoying kids and try to sell him more cookies.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day.  The last few days, as mother's day has been approaching, I've spent a lot of time reflecting.  Mostly on my journey to becoming a mother, and how lucky I am right now to have such an amazing son.  A few years ago the approach of mother's day would make me miserable.  Try as we might, a baby was just not happening for us.  Every year my husband and stepsons would wish me a Happy Step-Mother's Day, and I'd smile, and say thank you, but inside, I just hurt.  Wanting a child and not being to have one is a horrible feeling.  Knowing that "money" is prohibiting you from becoming a parent, is worse.  Mother's Day sucked.

Then I had Ben.  And I am so amazingly thankful that he is here, that he is healthy and brilliant and that he loves me.  I know everyone loves their children, and is thankful for them in their own way, but there is just no way to appreciate how amazing a child is until you have spent years wanting and trying to get pregnant.

So today when I woke up and had Ben plunked down in bed next to me and he leaned over to give me a big, sloppy, open mouthed kiss, I was as happy as anyone can be.  I am so lucky to have him.  Just so lucky.

And since it's Mother's Day, I've also spent time thinking about all the other mothers in my life.  As blessed as I am to have Ben, I am also very lucky to have so many strong, smart, loving women in my life to show me how to be the best mother I can be.  So, Happy Mother's Day to Mom, Audrey, Pat, Cookie, Mary Ann, Nana, Grammie Sinclair, Grammy, Lydia and everyone else that shows me how to love my son and be the best mother I can be.

Happy Mother's Day to Me!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


One of the illustrations from a story within the story
"The Standover Man"

Well, I finished The Book Thief last night.  It was taking me too long to get through so I decided to just sit down and finish it.  And it was excellent.  I don't always find myself crying at the end of novels, but last night I had tears in my eyes in several different spots.  I suppose that's to be expected of a Holocaust novel, but perhaps not what you would expect from one narrated by Death.  Zusak, the author, did an amazing job of capturing the heartbreak of watching a friend march towards a concentration camp among many other dramatic scenes.  I can't really even put it in words.  This was definitely a book I would recommend to anyone looking for an intense and meaningful read.  There is certainly nothing lighthearted about this one, though the narrator does have his moments.

I'll leave you with one particular quote I found interesting:

(As narrated by Death)
"They say that war is death's best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one.  To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible.  He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly: 'Get it done, get it done.'  So you work harder.  You get the job done.  The boss, however, does not thank you.  He asks for more."  (pg 309)

I thought it an interesting take on war.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I've Been Doing Since My Last Blog Post

1.  Celebrating Easter with family.  Ben participated in his first Easter egg hunt.  He is super observant and actually found a few on his own...without us placing him one foot away and pointing to the egg...

2.  Started a new book.  I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It's good, but a bit different from what I've been reading lately.  It's a bit more intense of a read, so I find myself distracted away from reading it.  Usually it's the opposite for me.  When I start a book, I'm completely consumed.  This one, while I really am enjoying it, I'm not consumed by it.  I'm almost done with it though, and then I will have to find something else to read.  (Yes I'm taking suggestions if anyone has any ideas)  I'm afraid it might be time for my yearly reading of Outlander, but maybe only the first (and second?) book this year.  I find I'm missing Jamie and Claire...

3.  Decided it was not too late to start a New Year's Resolution, and resolved to make my bed every day.  Sunday: Success  Monday: Fail  Tuesday: Success  (I think this will take some time to catch on.)

4.  Visited my dad and stepmother on the island for a few days.  Ben and I drove up on Monday, stopped by to visit my Grandmother in Belfast, and stayed until Wednesday morning.  I was able to have a quick visit with my friend Ashley, whom I hadn't seen in ages, and meet my other friend Rachel for lunch!  My Dad and Audrey are doing well and it was really great to hang out with them for a few days and let them enjoy how much Ben has grown up!  He was so good the whole time we were there, but a completely different story when we got home.

5.  Ben's molars are finally coming through the gums.  And we are both still alive.  It's a miracle.

6.  Working.  I've been busy with book work, both at home and at the office, and I've had a couple decent nights at the restaurant too.  Saturday night was karaoke night and apparently everyone in Waterboro turned up to watch.  Which meant the bar was hopping and I made some money...woohoo!  It also meant crazy drunk dancing ladies in the dining room, which was kinda hilarious to watch.  Yay for karaoke!

7.  Not writing.  Unfortunately, since my last blog post, I've not found a minute to write.  Which is rather obvious since I haven't blogged since my last blog.  Duh.  I'm a little disappointed by my April stats.  Only 8 posts all month.  Bleck.  That's terrible!  Only two per week!  I'm going to have to find some more time in May and make myself write.  It's going to be tricky though, since work is going to be getting busier and with the warmer weather Ben and I are outside more and I'm going to be starting a garden.  Oh well, I'll just have to make some time!

And that's what I've been doing since my last blog post.

From My Garden!!