You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

I am such a perfectionist that I get angry with myself when something doesn’t go the way I expect. I decided that I wanted to try making bagels. The recipes that I found and the comments indicated that it was so easy and I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t try it before. Everything went well at first. The dough rose, it rested, we formed balls and then bagels and they rose and then we put them downstairs to chill. A combination of rising a little too much and really frigid temperatures last night turned my beautifully risen bagels into flat wrinkly things this morning. Deflated and disgusted ( me, not the bagels) I figured that maybe through some miracle they might re-inflate and turn into real bagels. Sadly, they boiled and baked and turned out like wrinkly compact bagel resembling things. So sad. They didn’t taste bad, they just look pathetic.

That makes two things that I am determined to master Kazan Dibi and bagels. Stay tuned.

Baby, it’s cold outside. The weatherlore about it being the coldest either immediately before or immediately after a January thaw is pretty accurate. At least this year, it is.  We have had temperatures in the zero to below zero range along with wind chills approaching -35. Today the high was supposed to be 8 degrees and while it might have hit that in Rutland, here on the hill the temperatures hovered around zero, give or take a degree.

I just came in from a walk (a rather brisk walk since it is so cold out) and tried to get Tyler to go with me. He insisted that he might freeze to death (highly unlikely when we were only walking 1/2 mile total) but he assured me that if I didn’t come back, he would assume that I had frozen to death and send his father, when he got home. Comforting, isn’t it?

This weekend will be the first weekend since before Christmas that we don’t have anyone visiting with us. Somehow a house in Vermont and the winter with snow is like a magnet. We’re used to it so I’m not complaining. It’s just that we are so used to the flow of people, in and out of the house on a regular basis for more than a month, that when there’s one weekend -seemingly out of the blue- that we will have no out-of-state company, it seems odd. Notice that I said no “out-of-state” company. I specifically am not including the undoubted flow of children’s friends that will come to roost for all or part of the weekend. One of my oldest son’s friends who goes to school out of state is coming home for a birthday weekend and while the plans are to be at his house, plans change and well, you never know. Another child’s friend is the only boy and he finds the company of compatriots in our house entertaining.

The stoppage of company flow also doesn’t mean that it will be a quiet weekend. Oh, no my friend. Tonight there are guitar lessons, tomorrow more of the same and then Odyssey and then skiing with scouts. Then there is all the regular stuff – church, homework, chores. While absent company, certainly not lacking things to do.

With all of the things that the legislative branch of our government can do with its time and energy, with all of the worthy causes and important issues they can choose to legislate on and about, they chose this one. It is truly baffling to me. WCAX reports that Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons introduced a bill to ban school districts from starting the school year before Labor Day. Her reasoning is that early starts to the school year interfere with families’ vacations and student’s employment and interferes with employers’ labor force (ie-student employees, I am guessing). Maybe that is the real force behind the bill, rather than the concern for families to be able to vacation together. Really, seriously? We start school here in our school district about a week before Labor Day and so they have done for years, it is my understanding. Anyone’s children that are involved in school fall sports are already unable to take vacations during this pre-season time anyway even if the school year was moved back to Labor Day. Is it really necessary to expend our legislative time and money on this issue? I think not.

The wind, the pouring rain and the heavy winds wreaked havoc on the snow here yesterday. Winter is a mere shell of itself here this morning. Snowmobile trails go into green grass like paths to nowhere. I dread going out and seeing what’s left of my cross country ski trails. Probably not much. I am sure that down in town and in Rutland, there is little, if any, remnants of the snow. If things have taken their toll here with such great gusto, I doubt that the lower elevations fared any better.

The good news, and there is always good news, is that the forecast for the entire rest of the week is snow – in one form or other. Snow flurries, snow showers (which for us can mean several inches of snow) and plain old snow.

The January thaw has run its course, the temperatures are back below freezing and dropping more and more each day the remainder of the week. Winter is coming back.

Traditionally a January thaw takes place here in Vermont around the third week in January and usually between the dates of January 23-25th. This is usually noted quite often because it happens right alongside some of the coldest days of the winter. No one knows why it happens and it is commonly referred to as weather lore.  Statistically, this time in January records the minimum winter temperatures for the entire winter season. January thaws usually follow an extremely cold snap of weather. No one really knows why it happens when it does, although much research has been done on various theories. Some have attempted to tie the January thaw with various events, such as meteor showers, sun spots, tides, tornados, etc. To date, it appears that no one has come up with any answers.

Today, there is snow on the ground and it is in the 20s. By tonight we will have heavy rains and wind through tomorrow night with temperatures close to 50. Crazy. So much for the cross country skiing for a while. I do hope that the snow doesn’t all disappear though, since winter without snow seems pretty pointless … and rather ugly.

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I hate hormones. I really do. I totally understand that they are a necessary evil, and I like to think that I have some degree of control over mine (insert snicker here) but every once in the while, out of nowhere some stupid, totally chicky hormonal thought takes over and it is capable of reducing a girl to tears in seconds. Seriously, women out there know what I am writing about, men just cannot understand this, despite the attempts that those who love us make on a regular basis. Unless of course, no one else feels like this and the thin string of sanity that I grasp to for dear life has finally broken and sent me careening into madness. (A distinct possibility those who know me would say). Still, I prefer to think of it as some hormonal upswing or downdraft in my system.

For instance, last night, totally out of the blue I woke from a sound sleep. I had been having some type of dream regarding babies, I honestly cannot the details of the dream, only that waking from it reduced me to tears. Mind you, in my awake and rational mind, babies – making them and raising them – are safely tucked away in the “been there, done that” corner of my mind; I am happily content to be a mother of two teenage and one almost-teenage sons and an aunt to the little ones. Rationally, I know that I am too old to be pregnant, (while physically possible, not medically recommended nor is it emotionally reasonable) – I don’t have the patience or the desire to do go there again. Then, I ask why is it that the irrational, evidently hormonal driven subconscious brain can reduce me to tears out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night, over the thought of not being young enough to become pregnant anymore? Totally irrational and totally Cybil. Gotta love hormones though because for about the next hour or so, I lay there upset over this thought, the same idea that I would not even have a second thought during any other time but for some hormonal overage or underage or something.

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“Congratulations! You have been determined eligible for admission to the Vermont Bar.”

This was the first line of the email I received in my mailbox this morning. What a great way to start the day. The hours of completing the paperwork necessary for admission on motion, having the whole stack of that paperwork and its many copies all notarized (thanks Sandy!) and asking people to make recommendations (gosh, she’s just a great girl)  on my behalf has finally paid off. I honestly was beginning to think that maybe they had forgot about me since I did all that back in August and assumed based on the information that I received from the Board of Bar Examiners that I would hear from them with a decision before the end of the year. The beginning of this year is just as good.

So, officially on March 30th, when I am sworn in, I will be a member of the Vermont bar, a licensed attorney in the state. Woohoo! Hooray for me!

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Cross-section of a Pascal celery rib.
Image via Wikipedia

Homegrown celery - Happenings on the Hill

As I was making soup today for dinner tonight I was chopping up the vegetables. As I was chopping the celery it occurred to me that while I love the winter, I do miss the ease, satisfaction and good taste of those homegrown vegetables that are prolific during the summer months. As I stared at the store-bought celery on my counter, the word that popped into my mind was “anemic”- pale, lacking color. I remember wistfully the dark green leafy celery that grew so darn well through the entire summer. When I needed celery for soup or salad or whatever, it was there for the taking. A whole bunch or a couple stalks.

Now, until well into the summer of next year, I have instead the pale vegetables to look forward to seeing. The celery that is about 10 shades lighter than mine and the tomatoes that look too orangey-pink to call themselves red are abundant in the supermarket. Sadly, the farmer’s market around here just doesn’t have these kinds of things during this time of the year, although they will appear far quicker at the market than they will in my yard.

I would be curious to find out the difference, if there is one, between the nutritional value of my celery (or any fresh farm grown celery) compared to the ones available in the supermarket, which seems that it must contain less nutrients just by virtue of its pale color.

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Lately, there has been a lot of discussion around the T’s House of death, dying and tragedy. The earthquake in Haiti and the horrid destruction, death and injury that it has left in its wake are devastating. A good friend who was staying with us has a close uncle that is close to passing away at any moment. Seeing him wrestle with the sadness and grief that accompanies losing someone you love brings back sad memories for me.

Patty at Where Did the Time Go? blog posted a link to a blog from a teacher in her area that was volunteering down in Haiti at the time of the earthquake and recounts as some of us hope we will never know in our lifetime, the horror, fear and panic of a country brought to its knees by a natural disaster. I strongly encourage you to take a look at it.

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? ~ Edgar Allen Poe.

Today is the birthday of Edgar Allen Poe, his 201st. Fitting that in all this news of death and destruction, the writer who can make us shiver with his very words should celebrate a birthday. Last night, for the first time since 1949, the mysterious visitor that has for these last 61 years left cognac and roses at the gravesite of Mr. Poe on his birthday did not come. No one knows why although there is much speculation. Crowds of onlookers, illness, maybe even the visitor’s own death?

Reproduction of the signature of American writ...

Image via Wikipedia

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The weekend was long, the fun was substantial, the friendship was eternal. That just about sums up our weekend. We did a lot of relaxing and laughing and catching up, mostly over food. Saturday afternoon, we headed out to the Long Trail Brewery Pub. located in Bridgewater Commons, VT. While it is not far from us, it is not a place we think of going unless there’s company. One of our friends suggested going there for lunch and the group readily agreed. Their food is quite good, especially their burgers and wings, most notably the Yaki wings. If you are in the area and have the opportunity, I would definitely suggest it for lunch. I would however, try to avoid holiday weekends, it’s usually busy, busy, busy. During the summertime, it is located on the Ottauquechee River and there is an outdoor deck for dining during the summer months. We just hung around on the deck in the beautiful winter weather.

The kids went skiing at Pico Mountain. The weather was beautiful and of course what would the weekend be without cake. Birthday cake, since what’s a birthday party without cake.

Tyler made the cake for the guys and it turned out pretty darn nice.

All in all, it was a good weekend. Good times, good friends. Thankful for both.

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Winter would be quite drab and boring if it were not for the snow.  Without the beautiful decorations provided by Mother Nature there would be little purpose for the cold weather. For my purpose, winter exists solely for snow. Living in a climate where it is cold and drab and without the fluffy white stuff, would be quite honestly, pointless in my opinion. In that event, one should live where it doesn’t really get cold.

Last night, Mother Nature re-decorated the woods as evidenced on my ski this morning. These branches were blocking the trial and I knew that I had to take a moment to take a picture, because the scene wouldn’t last forever.

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