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The title grabbed my eye. Living here, I was curious to know, what 23 things? Where are they? Well, as it turns out, the 23 things are not actual things here in Vermont, but rather a website and blog set up by the Vermont Department of Libraries to teach people about all those wonderful widgets, gadgets and other stuff out there for blogging and using the web to its fullest.

While I get that the goal is to educate fellow librarians, I think that I might learn a thing or two as well.  It might explain exactly what some of those crazy widgets available on actually do.

Check it out……

The road home – Foliage report


The road leading home

The road leading home

For those of you wondering, this is what our road looked like yesterday. The camera does not do the color up here justice. It is beautiful.  Oh, and by the way, snow is predicted for Thursday…..gotta love it.


The new loft in the new barn

The new loft in the new barn

Okay, the long awaited photos of the new barn. As I type this my husband is outside grading his gravel that was dropped yesterday to finish off the driveway. He and our friend Andy put the loft in this weekend and Tom is working on the shelving. The plan is to put all the “toys” in that barn with all their accessories so I get the little red shed barn as my garden spot for yard things.  Ultimately, we want to turn the garage (since it will be free of all that stuff into a mudroom and one part a playroom for the boys) 



The new barn

The new barn

Well yesterday, TJ got his cast on. He really is quite happy for a kid with a broken wrist. The cast gives him back some of the use of his right hand and being right handed, this is huge. And pink. It’s amazing that in less than 3 hours, it was completely covered in signatures from his friends, teammates, teachers and coach. So nice to see him smile again. I missed that. And he will be able to play again starting next week, so he is thrilled about that. It is relieving to know that the fall didn’t kill his enthusiasm to play, which I was afraid it might do. Evidently, not at all. 


I heard a really nice thing yesterday which made me proud of my little guy. One of TJ’s best friends had pulled his hamstring during a soccer game. TJ ran out onto the field and carried his friend off the field with the coach. A small, simple task which came naturally to my son yet evidently meant a whole lot to his friend, who still speaks of it. When TJ broke his wrist, his friend remembered the small telling gesture and reciprocated.  

Another kind note, was our friends who own a cabin next to ours were coming up for the weekend. They offered to bring up a sushi dinner for the four of us to share for my birthday. Considering the week that Tom and I had, this was another small gesture (with an awesome amount of delicious food) that meant more to me after such a crazy week than they knew. A couple hours to relax with friends over a meal that I didn’t have to cook but was at “home” and not out, was big. Small gestures that speak volumes. Perhaps we all need to remember that kindness, friendship and generosity do not need to be grand because those things that are really small, but from the heart, mean more than you know sometimes.

I gave up on the idea of cute outfits and getting all dressed up when I didn’t have a girl. And when I didn’t have a girl again….and again. The idea of getting dressed up had less and less appeal. I mean, quite honestly when you flip through the pages of the advertising circulars or catalogs around the holidays, there are all the most ADORABLE outfits for little girls and bigger girls, but hardly anything comparable for boys. And since my boys (and their dad) really are not into getting dressed up….even for me… it makes the whole process unpalatable when you have to fight over it. So I gave up. Like other things, what I wanted or thought I wanted faded away. Less of me and more of what other people want. Guess what, my boys are starting to realize that even their friends actually get dressed up and dress clothes are important like for occasions like semi-formal dances. And they also are learning that I am not wonder mom….in fact really far from it. The harder I try, the harder I fail. I am not a miracle worker and cannot pull a set of dress clothes perfectly ironed and ready to go from out of my hat (okay so I don’t wear a hat, but you get the picture) on a moment’s notice. Especially when they are teenage boys. Why you might ask? Why? Well, I will tell you. Because the darn kids grow…in fact, they grow lots and they grow out of things that only fit them months ago or even weeks ago. Why the rant you might ask? Because tonight was one of the best endings to an already less than perfect week with a kid in tears because he didn’t actually tell me (he will beg to differ) that he intended to wear dress clothes to his dance this evening. Dress clothes that he hasn’t worn in months and which, guess what, didn’t fit him the way he would have liked them to. With little time to waste, we had to pull together another outfit which while quite acceptable, was not what he wanted. And guess what, he wasn’t happy and I failed again to be the wonder mom. 

The myth of perfect mothers, perfect wives, perfect lives, perfect holidays and perfect birthdays are really nothing more than commercial efforts to make us feel like crap when they don’t happen. Really, honestly truly, like crap. As women in particular we are raised with ideals, the perfect dress for our wedding, the perfect wedding, the perfect husband or boyfriend, the perfect family, the perfect friends, the perfect romantic evening or date or get away. And guess what, we are all human and none of those things exist. Yet we are raised to believe that they do and we are disappointed and demoralized when it doesn’t happen the way “it is supposed to”.  The trick I guess to getting over the way “it is supposed to be” or the way one “hoped it would be” is to get away from the expectations. Dispel the myth. There is no wonder mom and there never will be. She is dead. Or more precisely she never existed in the first place. Just like all the other “perfect” ideals. Girlfriends, in case you didn’t realize it, the knight in shining armor is dead, his horse ate him and the coyotes ran away with the bones. Get over it and you will hopefully be much happier. I am trying….not doing a good job of it at times, but desperately trying.

Okay, so after reading about everyone and their brother making cheese, I decided that it’s my turn. Well, our turn. A group of friends have been talking about doing it and I think that this is the perfect time of the year, assuming of course that I can stop my frequent visits to Rutland Regional Medical Center’s emergency room (but then I am running out of children who can get injured so that might be possible). I am also going to pick a couple cabbages and start sauerkraut. I made some two years ago and as long as you remember to rinse the salt out, it tastes really good.


Fall is arriving

Fall is arriving


I looked around today and realized that all the trees now have the twinge of color. Not full blown color, although some of them already do, but the sign that autumn has arrived and the leaves are changing. The air is crisp, the mornings and evenings are downright cold (literally a few nights freezing) and you can smell autumn in the air…..I love this time of the year.

A new year has started. For me, at least. I figure that if I live as long as the other women in my family (maternal and paternal grandmothers) then I’m only halfway to dead. And that’s a good thing. Dusting off myself from the birthday blues, there are some positives to the birthday. I got a gorgeous dozen roses and a charm bracelet as well as some software for my camera which will make things easier to download pictures (more on that later). I have decided that I have 364 days to make life, my life, a little better and what better day to start than today?

Well, today’s my birthday, the fateful, dreaded 45. There is nothing like the fates conspiring against you especially around your birthday. Last night, or yesterday afternoon to be precise, got a call from Tom who got a call from the coach that TJ appeared to have broken his wrist and they were enroute to the ER. Since I was already in Rutland, I went straight there and Tom joined me. It turns out that TJ fractured his wrist in two locations, an ulnar fracture and a radius fracture. Now, I have one very miserable kid, since it is his right hand and he is unable to write (okay, so no great loss there in his mind) but he is also unable to use the computer or even worse (GASP) use the XBox. So now I have a miserable child. Hopefully this will get better after he is casted on Monday (he is only splinted right now due to swelling).

Since he is mopey and miserable and wallowing in his own self pity, he also didn’t feel up to going out to dinner. So, I must say, I did do a good job of cooking my own birthday dinner, complete with cake (hoping it would pep him up some, since it is his favorite).

Our dinner plans were trashed, and the entire place has been thrown on its ear with spending the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening in the hospital last night. No one feels much like celebrating except poor Tim who did a really great job of making me two birthday cards. 

Ah…..I think I’ll just go enjoy my dinner and go to bed….there is always next year. And maybe it won’t be quite so dramatic around here ……

Sesame allergy….. who would have guessed. Not me. I have been doing some research on this since this is one food that I would have never imagined being on the list of allergens. Unfortunately, Tim (my youngest son) tested way positive for a sesame allergy in addition to the other positive results. Doing some research this is pretty scary if you have a girl, since sesame oil (which I was strongly advised by the allergist to keep away from Tim since it is considered a “dirty” oil) is found in a lot of make up and skin care products. Not to mention that sesame seeds are on McDonald’s buns. Lucky Tim is not a bread eater. Evidently, from the research that I have done, sesame allergies are the fourth most common allergy for children in Australia. I have never even heard of this. Luckily this is one of the more controllable allergies for our son, since he is not a bread eater and his taste in chinese food is simple and does not include sesame oil.

Wow, thanks for the great, helpful comments and links. I am pleased to report that my motherly instinct was correct, but sad to say that Tim is definitely allergic to peanuts. He is also allergic to sesame, brazil nuts and was advised to stay away from all tree nuts since those reactions were questionable on the skin test. He also tested slightly allergic to salmon and flounder which would explain why the past two times our friend Lou was up and cooked his “fish and pasta” which my boys refer to as “chicken pasta” Timmy got sick. Now, Lou doesn’t have to have a complex that his food poisoned my son, it was an allergic reaction.

The allergist informed me that this age, 11, is the prime age to demonstrate allergies to these food groups, although he did say that it was odd that he tested negative to them less than a year ago. Odd, but not impossible. While I am sad that Tim has “grown back into” allergies, I am thankful that at least now we know what it is and what to look for. I guess that my mother’s instinct was correct when I pretty much avoided giving him peanuts or peanut butter, since he never asked for it or showed any interest. And take that, Dr. ER, who knows a child better than his parent.

Well, it has been a crazy couple days. Yesterday afternoon, we were driving like lunatics to Tim’s school since we got a call that he was having an allergic reaction to a peanut cookie that he ate. I thought that we were over the food allergy phase of his life, at least, when he passed his egg challenge in November and has seemed to be fine and allergy-free since then. See, the issue is that Tim was allergy skin tested last November and tested allergic to nothing (hence the egg challenge). It is very scary to think that he turned this quickly to develop an allergy to peanuts after showing no allergy to them less than one year ago. It is even scarier to think that the skin test was wrong and maybe he has been allergic to them all along. You see, Tim up until yesterday, has never had peanuts. No peanut butter, no peanut sauce, no peanuts, period. While he has definitely probably ingested products that were made at the same facility as peanuts and certainly may have contained trace amounts of peanuts (since this is something that I never really gave a thought to since he tested negative) he has not actually eaten a true peanut product. My original thinking was, why take the chance? He was allergic to eggs and strawberries and the poor kid got so really physically ill (vomiting, pale, lethargic) when he had them, that since he never asked for peanuts or peanut butter, it didn’t really make any sense to push it on him. And it never really seemed to be a concern particularly in light of the fact that he didn’t seem interested in them. Well, yesterday changed all that. Quite honestly, it scared the hell out of me and I am sure Tom, as well. He presented with the same symptoms as if he had ingested eggs or strawberries, when he was allergic to those, it it seemed pretty clear to us that it was the peanuts. Not so with the ER doctor when I brought him there, while he was fantastic and very informative, he was very reluctant to say it was a peanut allergy and disagreed with me about how the allergy presents itself. He said, shortness of breath and the runs, I said that it was classic for Tim with the way he had experienced food allergies in the past. I really think that I am correct, since quite honestly I know my kid and I have seen him this way before (with a different food).

I was fortunate to be able to get an appointment at his allergist in NJ since we are headed down there for the orthodontist tomorrow and I guess that my suspicions will be answered then. Either way, it is scary. I hate to see him so ill, and I really want to know what it is. If the ER doctor was correct, and it is not an allergic reaction to peanuts then what the heck was it? That is even scarier.

Evilwife on the move

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