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simple-woman-daybook-smallFOR TODAY AUGUST 13, 2009…
Outside my window…It’s sunny
I am thinking…that I have to finish up some work stuff that I really don’t want to do since I’m not happy with them.
I am thankful for…The boys not giving me a hard time this week while Tom is away.
From the kitchen…The coffee is brewing.
I am wearing…Grey shorts, a black tee shirt and flip flops.
I am creating…this post.
I am going…nowhere this morning and then all over Rutland this afternoon with kids.
I am reading…The Time Traveler’s Wife
I am hoping…that someone needs me.
I am hearing…the coffee brewing and the birds singing.
Around the house…kids are starting to stir.
One of my favorite things…snuggling with my husband which I haven’t had a chance to do much in these last two weeks.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Getting everything gathered and in order for vacation next week.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…DSCN4859

A well dressed lab named Jinx – (Lou be thankful it’s not your picture 😉  )

Thanks to The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Photo courtesy of American Printing House for the Blind

Photo courtesy of American Printing House for the Blind

My oldest son, 14, has an interest in engineering and is constantly asking what he can do with the math he loves and comes so easily to him. I am always looking to show him how to put his math skills to work and possibly make a career out of something he enjoys. Recently a group of engineering students at UVM designed a thermal eraser for blind people. This eraser, meant to work with a tactile drawing pad permits blind people to erase what was written or drawn on the pad.  The tactile drawing pad is similar to the lift and erase pads that we all used at one point or another as children. Prior to this development, people using the tactile pad had no way of correcting what they wrote or drew, short of starting over from scratch since unlike the drawing erase pad we used as children, the tactile pad images are permanently fixed in place. These pads create a raised bubbles that can be felt by a visually impaired person with their fingers, allowing them to draw and write, tasks which are difficult if not impossible for visually challenged individuals. Engineering students in the UVM SEED Program (Senior Experience in Engineering Design) designed a thermal device which in essence erases the bubbles as the person guides the eraser along, permitting the individual to correct or alter his or her work. The students presented and demonstrated the device at the National Federal for the Blind’s convention in Detroit. The project and the students were enthusiastically received. Congratulations to the students and professors who oversaw their work. Excellent use of those math skills!

There is a film, Crude,  premiering this fall which tells the legal battle surrounding the claims of an Ecuadorian tribal community of approximately 30,000 people that have alleged that Big Oil contaminated their land, destroyed the environment and have caused these people to suffer numerous cancers, illnesses and disease. Big Oil has refuted the allegations with contentions that the miseries of the people stem from their lack of sanitation. The legal battle has lasted six years in the Ecuadorian and is still underway. The plaintiffs’ attorney has commented that merely reaching the stage of trial is a huge victory. The matter was originally filed in the United States District Court in New York. It was determined that the matter should proceed in court in Ecuador and the matter was re-filed in court in Ecuador. It is anticipated that a verdict in the matter could come forth by the end of this year.

Sting’s wife appears in the film as well since she is a noted activist. Sensationalism or documentary? You decide.

Thanks to for the heads-up on this film.

Scientific studies have disclosed that there may be specific nerves that may be solely responsible for the itch sensation that we feel. For a long time, scientists were of the belief that neurons which conveyed the itch sensation also conveyed pain sensation and therefore manipulation or deadening of the nerves would result in loss of pain sensation as well as relieving itching. Now, research has discovered that certain neurons may be solely responsible for the itch sensation and destroying those nerve cells may in fact permanently relieve itching but not cause one to lose their sensation of pain.

The entire article can be found here. This may be good news for those of us with chronic itchy conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and chronic contact dermatitis. The experiments produced mice that did itch…and that’s good.

Here is a list of 75 things that you can compost but probably thought you couldn’t from Some of them are things that I would never have given a second thought could be composted and then some, well, I just probably wouldn’t compost anyway.

  1. Coffee grounds and filters
  2. Tea bags
  3. Used paper napkins
  4. Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
  5. Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
  6. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
  7. Plain cooked pasta
  8. Plain cooked rice
  9. Stale bread
  10. Paper towel rolls
  11. Stale saltine crackers
  12. Stale cereal
  13. Used paper plates (as long as they don’t have a waxy coating)
  14. Cellophane bags (be sure it’s really Cellophane and not just clear plastic—there’s a difference.)
  15. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
  16. Old herbs and spices
  17. Stale pretzels
  18. Pizza crusts
  19. Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  20. Wine corks
  21. Moldy cheese
  22. Melted ice cream
  23. Old jelly, jam, or preserves
  24. Stale beer and wine
  25. Paper egg cartons
  26. Toothpicks
  27. Bamboo skewers
  28. Paper cupcake or muffin cups
  29. Used facial tissues
  30. Hair from your hairbrush
  31. Toilet paper rolls
  32. Old loofahs
  33. Nail clippings
  34. Urine
  35. 100% Cotton cotton balls
  36. Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks
  37. Cardboard tampon applicators
  38. Dryer lint
  39. Old/stained cotton clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces
  40. Old wool clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces
  41. Bills and other documents you’ve shredded
  42. Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
  43. Pencil shavings
  44. Sticky notes
  45. Business cards (as long as they’re not glossy)
  46. Receipts
  47. Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
  48. Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
  49. Subscription cards from magazines
  50. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  51. Dead houseplants and their soil
  52. Flowers from floral arrangements
  53. Natural potpourri
  54. Used matches
  55. Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit
  56. Party and Holiday Supplies
  57. Wrapping paper rolls
  58. Paper table cloths
  59. Crepe paper streamers
  60. Latex balloons
  61. Raffia
  62. Excelsior
  63. Jack o’ Lanterns
  64. Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
  65. Natural holiday wreaths
  66. Your Christmas tree. Chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one…)
  67. Evergreen garlands
  68. Fur from the dog or cat brush
  69. Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
  70. Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
  71. Feathers
  72. Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
  73. Rawhide dog chews
  74. Fish food
  75. Dry dog or cat food

Today was in some ways comical. It is hard to imagine that we could fit any more in even if we wanted. We have a contractor here doing work and a company came in to move our barn building (we are putting a lean-to on the side of it and it needed to be raised up) and chicken coop (while they were there anyway – move it to a place that the chickens don’t require snorkels to maneuver through with all this rain we have been getting). That required moving the chicken fence and the chickens (who were less than pleased that they were de-cooped for the better part of the day). It was however quite comical to watch 4 chickens try to sit on top of the same metal feeder in order to nest and lay eggs. It was also quite funny when they were let back into the coop – everyone, even the one rooster Chickenzilla (as we affectionately call him) made a beeline for the coop. What was his hurry? I have no idea – a safe haven to decompress from all that stress I guess. After it was all said and done, it required moving it all back and putting everything back into the coop and re-aligning the fence and making sure it was all re-connected electrically since last evening we watched a coyote meander through the field next door.

In the middle of all of that chaos, the plumber didn’t come and the cleaning lady did (which I wasn’t expecting since I had my dates all off) and Tom was to be at the airport for a business trip and departing in the afternoon.

Then, I had to do dinner, we were asked last minute to babysit the neighbor’s son and a LONG committee meeting to get all the merit badges and other issues from scout camp and the boys’ canoe trip underway.

Tomorrow is another early day with soccer camp and prying Tyler out of bed to get there.

I hate leaving day – the day that Tom leaves for a trip. It is just so dismal. He doesn’t really want to leave and not one of us really wants him to go. Everyone moves a lot slower, quieter, hoping for a few more minutes, thinking that maybe if we move slower, the clock will somehow slow down as well and those last few hours or minutes will stretch out into more time. It never works, time marches on as it must and he eventually wrangles free of us to depart.


Today is Sister’s Day. I’m lucky – I have one of those. It’s one of the people in this world that knows me inside out and upside down. She knows what scares me (because she used to be really good at scaring me) and what makes me happy. We are two very different people who share a very strong, unbreakable and unspoken bond. She is smart, funny and outgoing. She can make me or anyone laugh and is very often the highlight of the party. I envy her for that – I dread crowds, I hate small talk. I don’t have that knack for drawing people out of their shells (since I am in my own) to get them to start talking and find common ground. Some of my most vivid memories growing up are our midnight monopoly games that lasted well into the night and when I came home to find that she had moved me out of “our” room, just because I had “mentioned” that I might like to move into the room in the basement. The girl carried all my furniture down three flights of stairs – now, if that’s not love, then it must be the overwhelming desire to have the room to herself.

We have listened to each other laugh and cry. We do our best to keep in touch despite the fact that we are in different states – about 3 1/2 hours apart – and each have three boys who do their best to keep us busy.

The picture is my sister with her oldest son at prom. I am lucky in that I have a real sister and I have some really good friends that are sisterly. There is a special bond between sisters. We have evolved through the years to have a good, comfortable relationship where we are there for each other. Since I don’t have daughters, I don’t have anyone to do those girl-y things with that mothers do with daughters as they get older so I look forward to visits from my sister for that girl-to-girl time. And I know that she won’t be moving my furniture around any time soon.

Happy Sister’s Day to all you sisters out there!

Today is a pretty rainy day. But a good day to reflect on the good things in life. I got an email from Grace in small things which reminded me I have a lot of reasons to be thankful. Here are today’s Five:

1. the soothing sound of rain falling

2. a really nice week with Tom

3. the boys come home tomorrow and life resumes as normal – the way it’s supposed to be.

4. the remaining quiet that I have left to enjoy for today

5. Three healthy, happy boys – the youngest of whom is turning 12 tomorrow!

When the phone rings in the middle of the night and you know that your children are away (and one of them is asthmatic and has food allergies) you practically have a heart attack before you wake up enough to realize what is going on. That’s what happened last night in Burlington. Sound asleep in our hotel room and somewhere in the middle of the night (around 2:30) Tom’s cell phone rang (it of course didn’t help that the ringer is set to “deafening” levels anyway). As it turned out the horrible weather back home here, killed the power and Tom has the house automated to call us when the power is out (a leftover from the days when we didn’t live here and would have to send a neighbor over to check on things if the power were out for any length of time). BTW, the house was kind enough to wake us again two hours later when the power was restored, so that we wouldn’t lose sleep wondering, no doubt.

The trip home took a detour and we wound up over by Chimney Point where we had lunch at a quaint little diner on the corner of the road. There, Timmy if he was with us, would have wanted to move in. Sandwiches and burgers are served with a side of fries bigger than most places ‘large’ order of fries. We each ate about half of our own sides and there was still enough left over to qualify as a large order of fries at most places.

After we left there, we came upon a trio of people in a car that needed a jump. They were on a corner literally in the middle of nowhere. So, in the spirit of “Do a Good Turn Daily” (the boys’ scout motto), Tom pulled out the jumper cables and shortly they were happy, running and on their way.

We finally made it back and are glad to be home. Here are some pictures taken from the hotel room. Gorgeous room with a view. Thanks Tom, it was a good mini vacation.





Here’s some pictures that we took in the evening from the walkway by the Lake.



IMG00028-20090729-2057Tom and I have been spending a couple days in Burlington while the boys are in camp. This is a real treat for me. We got to spend some time together and explore which is pretty cool. Today we went on a drive up to the islands on Lake Champlain which was very pretty and definitely a vacation consideration for next summer. Isle La Motte was both our favorites since it is only 16 sq miles 8 of which are land and has not a restaurant that we could find, store or any of the other hokey tourist trap type places. Having finally spent some time by the Lake in the summer (as opposed to the winter when we were up this way last during the day) and it is beautiful. Reminds me of the ocean, peaceful and calming.

Tonight, despite the rain that fell crazy earlier, we were able to walk down to Chuch Street for some delicious Thai food for dinner. A real treat since we seldom get it where we live. It was a nice and relaxing day and a good trip. (Despite the crazy screaming woman in the room next to us)


The boys are off….again. Their brief stint at home was over. Today we dropped them off at Camp Wakpominee in Fort Ann where they will be spending the week. Everyone was in surprisingly good spirits to be off again so soon, which was a good sign. But when we dropped them off, it was rather heartbreaking to me since Tim (the youngest) was all teary-eyed and actually crying since he is not fond of scout camp due to its over abundance of daddy longlegs. He was well outfitted with his mosquito enclosure that goes over him and his sleeping bag but since the boys had the site to themselves this year (last year they had to split the site with another troop) they were quick to point out that everyone could have their own tent. Good news to everyone but Tim. Tim stood outside of his tent with tears streaming down his face because he had to touch the flaps to get inside and they were covered with daddy longlegs. Makes me sad, but I know that he is there with his brothers and his friends and the adult leaders who all know him and are going to take good care of him. I just want him to have a good week, since his birthday is Saturday and I hate to think of my “baby” alone and crying.

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