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P1080854Tyler asked me to make this buffalo chicken grilled cheese which actually was quite yummy.

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From before first light this morning, the snow has been falling, fast and furious. At points today, a look out the window gave one glimpses of some almost blizzard-like winds and snow with very little visibility. By the time I ventured out at 3 to get kids (yes they had school today) we had about 8 inches on the ground here. The town plow truck had been by several times, each time flinging snow to the sides of the road.

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I definitely needed my good ol’ Sorel boots to wander out into the yard today.

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Especially when it was looking like this outside this afternoon.

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Imagine my surprise when I went down the hill and then headed down into town. Less than six miles away there were flurries falling but no real accumulation and by the time I got to the school, you would swear we lived in two different worlds. There was no snow, no snow accumulation, just rain falling and lots of brown grass. 

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So odd, how in just a few miles and a few less feet in elevation, it is a completely different world. BTW, as I type this, it is still snowing here. 

 

Here’s a sunset picture Tyler took and posted on his blog a couple weeks ago.

 

Here’s a sunset picture I took today in Rutland. Same sun, totally different look.

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Green Mountain Scenes

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It was a beautiful evening sky at sunset.

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Reading is fundamental #warbywalk

Reading is fundamental #warbywalk (Photo credit: doodlehedz)

Remember that public service announcement from the Children’s Literacy Foundation?

RIF – Reading is Fundamental.

Today was one of those days where that phrase would have definitely come in handy. We were trying to return anything extra from the renovation of the ceiling in the living room. We had a pendant light fixture to return to Lowe’s. Turns out that the fixture could not be affixed to the ceiling and would have had to be mounted on the beam instead, which would have worked fine for anyone in the house under 5 1/2 feet tall (read: me) but would not work at all for the men in my life who all tower over me. They would have repeatedly clocked themselves on the light.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with our neck of the woods, there isn’t a Lowe’s anywhere around here. We went to Glens Falls to the Lowe’s there to buy the fixtures and since Lake George isn’t exactly a booming area in the dead of winter, we decided to drive down to the Lowe’s in Albany to return the light and then visit the mall and grab dinner, making a day out of it.

We went into Lowe’s with our light fixture, the girl scanned the fixture (I couldn’t find the receipt which will make a whole lot more sense as this story unfolds) to process the return and informed me that I didn’t buy it there. She had a bit of attitude from the outset, so I pointed out to her that we didn’t buy it there, but we did buy it at the Lowe’s in Glens Falls. No, she said, rather annoyed, you didn’t buy it at Lowe’s. Yes, I did — I insisted, annoyed at her curt demeanor. No, you didn’t — she was insistent. ARGH… So this is how this is going to be. She then turned the box over and very pointedly informed me that I purchased it at Home Depot. Lo and behold, there it was, right on the box if I cared to read it. Talk about embarrassing. I politely thanked her and explained that we had bought light fixtures from both stores and I was wrong and then slinked away with my light fixture that took a ride all the way down to Albany with us. Good thing that we were planning on doing something else.

Lessons learned — (1) Reading really is fundamental. Saves you a lot of embarrassment.

(2) Make sure you’re right before you get nasty with the sales clerk that is short with you. She may be right after all.

While I enjoy taking pictures, one of my sons has an eye for it. He has “guest photographed” on my site a few times where he has gotten photo credit for his work from me. He has a gift and can compose things just right. My camera in his hands (which is nothing special) turns a ho-hum picture into something blog-worthy.

He just put up his own blog here at wordpress.com and I would ask that you check it out and give him your feedback. You can find him at http://tylerheffvt.wordpress.com/

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Got to spend my Valentine’s Day (or at least a good portion of it) with Tim’s Chambers singers. The group of 18 splits into two octets and heads out into Rutland County to deliver singing Valentines to lucky recipients. The day is a fundraiser for the music program at the school. Parent drivers transport these kids to various homes, businesses, offices, the hospital and rehabilitation centers to deliver messages of love and good wishes to spouses, children, grandparents, friends, loved ones and even total strangers. It is a wonderful program and the kids, who dress in concert black with red accents, go about their appointed tasks with great professionalism and good cheer.

This year, they sang “We’re Happy Together” at least 25 times for each group and they did each one as if it were the first time, with great enthusiasm and beautiful smiles, making each recipient feel like they were the only one being sung to today. Their professionalism and musical talents are thanks in no small part to their choral instructor, who is amazing and makes the kids feel amazing themselves.

Here are some pictures from the day. If you missed it this year and you’re in Rutland County, I highly recommend you get your name on the list for next year! So very, very proud of Tim and his friends!

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Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is the day before the lenten season of fasting and abstinence begins. It is the culmination of the festival of Carnivale which begins with the celebration of the Epiphany which occurs twelve days after Christmas. In celebration of the last day before Lent, most people go all out with a special meal or in the case of a lot of people, a dinner of pancakes since Fat Tuesday is also known in parts of the world as Pancake Day. The reason being that people traditionally would use the last day before the lenten season to use up all their fat, eggs and dairy by making pancakes before Ash Wednesday to clean the cupboards, so to speak, of the rich and fattening foods that weren’t permitted during the fasting period.

We didn’t have pancakes for dinner (although that would have also been a good idea) instead, we had just about as fat a meal as one could get at the men’s requests– Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes with a provolone cheese sauce  on kaiser buns and scalloped potatoes au gratin.

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This is my trusty mandoline which is probably as old as at least one of the boys and is kept safe and sound in its cardboard box (together with its VHS instructional tape (give you an idea of how old it really is?) in the closet and is taken out for french fries, thinly sliced cucumber salad and for these potatoes. It made the work of thinly slicing four  pounds of potatoes a heck of lot easier — otherwise I might not be writing this now, but rather I might still be slicing potatoes.

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We had salad and I had steamed escarole too, just because we needed something green and relatively healthy.

Dessert will be double dark chocolate brownies that just got taken out of the oven instead of the King cake that a lot of people enjoy.

However you choose to celebrate — Happy Mardi Gras!

Tonight we had some fancy potatoes for dinner. These are pretty easy to make but look like they are pretty darn fancy. Sliced them almost all the way through, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper, garlic and melted butter with a little bit of rosemary. Not too shabby.

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If I’ve been a little quiet lately, I apologize. Things have been a bit hectic around here. A bit of renovation always makes me jumpy and on Saturday, we tore down the ceiling in the living room to replace it since parts of it were water damaged and cracking. I, however, was no where to be found after we removed everything but the sofas from the room. Construction and the mess associated with it, especially right in the center of the house, makes me jittery and agitated. Best I be out of the way. When I got back after a couple hours of running errands I was pleasantly informed by my husband that when they ripped out the sheetrock, lo and behold there were the original post and beams from the house. This is kind of surprising since we were pretty sure that the living room area had been renovated and there wasn’t much of the “old stuff” still remaining. We were wrong. We found some hand hewn beams and wooden pegs as well as the gas lines from the gas lights that must have previously lit that room of the house. There was also an old ceiling fixture that had simply been covered up when the 2×4 went up and the sheetrock went in.

 

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We decided that it would be a shame to cover it all back up again and changed our plans to keep it open which required a different plan for lighting since we had planned on putting LED can lights into the sheetrock ceiling. The next day, we were heading over for a pleasant afternoon in Glens Falls to hit up the closest Lowes and get the fixtures that we wanted. While we didn’t make it to the Thai restaurant that was on our radar for a late lunch or early dinner, we had a pleasant day nonetheless. When we got home, yours truly did it again. I slipped on the ice getting out of the truck. While most of me moved when this happened, the hiking boot securing my ankle decided to stay firmly planted in place when I fell. So, needless to say my ankle didn’t make the journey with the rest of my body and now resembles a much larger, more swollen and painful version of its former self. The pizza we had grabbed for the boys that I was carrying and dropped when I got out of the truck fared far better than my ankle did.

To alleviate my anxiety over the house being in a state of upheaval from the work in the living room, I can now  ponder attempting to safely hobble about on a sprained ankle with minimal pain. It all evidently works out in the end.

 

Candles in Lourdes

Candles in Lourdes (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

There are a variety of celebrations that mark the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. I can imagine that winter can be very long in some parts of the world and throwing a celebration of sorts halfway is probably a good idea.

Here we celebrate Groundhog Day which is the day when the designated groundhog will predict the weather for us —kind of makes you wonder how they get these holidays, doesn’t it? Traditionally, about halfway through winter, hibernating animals would poke their heads out to determine what was going on outside — and depending upon what they observed they would head back in for six more weeks of hibernation.

It is also the celebration of Candlemas which is marks the purification of Mary, mother of Jesus and the presentation of Jesus to the temple for the first time. According to custom, after birth Jewish women were not permitted back to temple for a period of 40 days — they were considered unpure. February 2nd marks the end of the 40 day period from Christmas.

It is also a day that candles are lit to symbolize the returning of the strength of the sun, the coming of spring and to banish evil spirits. This became the day that all the candles to be used in the church for the coming year were blessed during mass, hence Candle-mass.

In Ireland, Scotland and Wales this time of the year is the celebration of Imbolc which is the celebration of the time that the ewe’s milk starts flowing recognizing the beginning of lambs’ births– usually associated with spring.

In France it is known as La Chadeleur or Crepe Day. The French celebrate Candlemas by not only lighting candles but also by making crepes. A French tradition is to hold a coin in your writing hand and simultaneously hold the crepe pan with your other hand and try to flip the crepe successfully. If you manage to catch your crepe, it predicts prosperity for your family in the year to come.

There are several Candlemas sayings which revolve around the prediction of the weather….

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

If Candlemas be dry and fair
The half o winter’s to come and mair;
If Candlemas be wet and foul
The half o winter’s gane at Yule.

For the farmers:
Just half your wood and half your hay
Should be remaining on Candlemas Day

 

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It is a sad day here.

Tom realized just a few minutes ago that the hard drive on the computer that runs the weather station has died, taking the weather station and its data offline. Hopefully, he will be able to recover the data — it’s one of those things. He was commenting that he needed to do a backup since he knew that the hard drive was getting old, and before that could happen, it went.

We have had the weather station for about ten years. The boys and I bought it as a gift for Tom when we first bought our house up here and way before we ever moved to Vermont. It is funny how somethings become ingrained in your life and you take them for granted, until of course, they stop working.

It was very matter-of-fact to check the weather in our own backyard, as a good number of you also do, as I can tell from comments on the blog. In fact, just yesterday we were checking it regularly to find out exactly what speed that wind that was whipping outside our house was registering.

So, now we will be weather-data-less for a bit until the new hard drive is up and running. Guess we’ll have to relay on the old-fashioned stick your head out the window weather reporting for a bit.

 

 

Evilwife on the move

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