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Today was a very un-January-like January day. The weather here has been less than winter-like and reminiscent of spring. Thank you (NOT) El Nino. Winter is supposed to be snowy and cold. Most of the day was rainy and damp with the actual temperatures well into the high 40s. What is left of the snow is either a lot of slush or a sheet of ice, not much in between.
On this lazy Sunday, a gumbo was simmering away on the stove. Tonight we had that gumbo made with North Country andouille sausage, chicken and okra that was flourishing in the garden a few months ago. Served with a loaf of bread, not mine but from the farmers’ market yesterday and some roasted hot peppers.
There have been Christmases since we’ve been here that the weather has not been very Hollywood Christmas-like. In fact, there have been a few Christmas mornings were there wasn’t snow on the ground, but we may have had some snow flurries for the effect, as if on cue. I remember one recent year that the snow began to fly as we left Christmas Eve mass, adding to the magic of the day. There was one Christmas when we went to bed without any snow on the ground and woke to a world glistening from an ice storm.
In general, though, even despite the lack of snow in years past, the weather has been winter-like, temperatures that required the wood stove to be casting its warm glow across the living room floor. This year, it was about 70 degrees on Christmas Eve and not much cooler on Christmas Day. The wood stove had no fire. I learned this year what those folks who live in Florida or other southern parts of the country must experience at this time of the year. I definitely realize that I am a winter/snow Christmas person – no flip flops and beaches on Christmas for me.
For Christmas morning, there was a feast of overnight eggnog french toast, sausage patties and wedges of fresh oranges. Better than the food, however, was the company. It was nice to have all of us around the table.
I am the first to realize that I have adjusted less than optimally to this empty nest. I vow to embrace the upside of the situation even though two dinner plates look lost on our farmhouse table. Seems like it took forever to get the table that was my ideal for our family — and in a short amount of time it became too big, too soon. I think Tom and I are going to have to have one of those dramatic Hollywood style dinners one of our evenings — me at one end and he at the other….in the meantime, we’ll settle for a cozy dinner by the fire more often than not.
Whether your Christmas was warm or cold, dry or snowy, frantic or calm, I hope that you shared it with those that are close to your heart. Blessings and Peace this season.
Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’ ~ Bing Crosby
Today is the day we celebrate those folks in our lives with a natural pizzazz of red hair. According to baynet.com here are some redhead facts:
- The highest concentration of Redheads is in Scotland (13%) followed by Ireland (10%). Worldwide, only 2% of the population has red hair.
- People with red hair are likely more sensitive to pain. This is because the gene mutation (MC1R) that causes red hair is on the same gene linked to pain receptors. It also means redheads usually need more anesthesia for dental and medical procedures.
- Having red hair isn’t the only thing that makes some redheads unique. They are also more likely to be left handed. Both characteristics come from recessive genes, which like to come in pairs.
- Redheads probably won’t go grey. That’s because the pigment just fades over time. So they will probably go blonde and even white, but not grey.
- Rumor says Hitler banned marriage between redheads. Apparently he thought it would lead to “deviant offspring.”
- Redheads most commonly have brown eyes. The least common eye color: blue.
- Bees have been proven to be more attracted to redheads.
- Being a redheaded man may have health benefits. A study published by the British Journal of Cancer suggested that men with red hair are 54% less likely to develop prostate cancer than their brown and blonde-haired counterparts.
- Redheads actually have less hair than most other people. On average they only have 90,000 strands of hair while blonds, for example, have 140,000. However, red hair is typically thicker so they it still looks just as full.
Did you know?
The mutated MC1R gene causes red hair. If both parents carry it their baby has a 25% chance of being a redhead even if parents are not redheads.
Redheads are more likely to be lefthanded.
Bees prefer to sting redheads.
Redheads are more sensitive to heat and cold.
To all those gingers out there, and one in particular, Happy RedHead Day!
It’s been two weeks since we moved the boys to school, that’s two weeks without any kids still living at home.
My question is…. who came up with this whole “empty nest” symbolism anyway? Obviously no one who actually did some research. From what I have read, most adult birds don’t stick around the nest when the fledglings leave, in fact, from what I’ve read some even leave the nest before their little baby birds are off on their own.
Imagine just how that would play out in the human world.
Kid: I will be leaving in a week for college. Are you going to miss me? I need some help packing and getting my stuff there and set up in my dorm room.
Parents: Hope you have fun with that. We are outta here! Headed south for the winter or maybe for forever. The house has been sold since we aren’t living here anymore and you’ll have to leave earlier than a week. Don’t even think about coming home in a month or two for a break or Thanksgiving because the house may be gone or new folks may be living here but one thing is definitely certain, your father and I, we won’t be coming back….ever. And that moving in and getting settled at college thing. Good luck with that.
I came across this quote online and it definitely takes some of the sting out of the whole “empty nest” stigma.
I don’t like the term “empty nesters”…. I prefer “parents of free range young adults.” Robin Fox.
It is definitely a weird transition to go from a house where I have to wonder and plan for things like who is going to be here for dinner and what food shopping needs to be done to a house where there’s really no one to care what time we eat (my husband is pretty flexible with the whole food thing) or if we even eat. Makes my hobby of cooking and baking pretty darn obsolete, doesn’t it? Think I have to find a new hobby to occupy my time.
We just hosted my nephew and his girlfriend for the weekend. We had fun, I got the chance to bake some goodies, make a real breakfast for all of us and enjoy their company. There is one thing that I can tell you though. When we would have a houseful of company and they would leave after the weekend, the house, with the five of us in it, seemed empty. The house with just two of us in it after company leaves is even more empty and quiet. Sigh…….
Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World
You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks.
Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Just click “New Post,” and tell us why you’re here.
My blog is hosted by WordPress. Every once in a while, they offer free blogging courses on a variety of topics. I decided that since I haven’t been as attentive to my blog as I would like of late, this would be a good “kick in the pants” as it were, to make me get back on track posting on a regular basis. The way it works is that every day you are given a prompt and should use it to the best of your ability to post to your blog. Some of the prompts may not be relevant to each and every blog, but you are supposed to extrapolate what can be relevant to you from the prompt and write about it. What appears above is today’s prompt — “Introduce Yourself to the World”
I thought that this prompt was particularly fitting for me considering that, with my youngest son having just turned 18 and heading off to college in the next few weeks and the nest, empty as it will be, looming closer, it is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.
As many of you can relate, for the past 20 years I have been, first and foremost, a mom. It has been (and will continue to be) my most important job and the one that I will have until the day I draw my last breath. I am also an attorney and have been one of those for 27 years but I have no doubt I have put in way more hours as mom than I have or will as attorney despite the difference in actual years of practice. The mom job has been 24×7 since 9:48 p.m. on April 2nd, 20 years ago. In about three weeks I’ll get put on ‘stand-by’ status. No longer will I have to worry (as much) about the day-to-day mom things. All three boys will be off at school. So then, the question becomes, after all this time of being a mom front and center, who am I when they are all off becoming wonderful young adults embracing their new adventures in life? It is a question that I don’t quite know the answer to yet.
I started this blog when we moved up to Vermont from New Jersey in 2006 as a fun way to keep the family and friends in the know as to what and how the five of us were doing. It has grown, as I have, in the ensuing years and it will be fun to see how the blog will morph and change once again when I am officially an “empty nester”. I am hoping that I will be able to get back to posting more frequently.
While I don’t know exactly what this whole empty nest thing will bring, I stand on the threshold, both sad and excited, to see how things will change. I would enjoy hearing from any of you as to how to handled or planned to handle your own empty nest life.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men in my life. Especially to my husband
with him, we were blessed with these three little characters who have brought such love, joy and pride into our lives.
With my husband’s help, parenting and guidance those little characters have turned into these three wonderful young men
Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law who loves me like I was his own daughter and helped to bring my husband into this world. For the gift of my best friend, I am eternally grateful to him.
Happy Father’s Day to my brother and my brother-in-law, two more great dads and uncles who I am proud to call my family
But most of all, Happy Father’s Day to this guy, half of the team that made me possible.
I miss him more and more as the years go by. I wish he were with us to share this crazy ride. I would love for him to see how wonderful these three guys
did raising his grandsons and granddaughters.
For the three of you, I know this guy would be very, very proud of the dads you have become.
I love you all, Happy Father’s Day!
Graduation came and was successful. It was heart warming to see these kids, many of whom I have known for years and watched grow, celebrate the end of high school and the beginning of their journey into the world. It was a wonderful ceremony and one of my favorite parts is that, as chair of the school board, I got to award Tim his diploma (and a big, proud mama hug). So very, very proud of Tim and his accomplishments, as I am of his brothers. They are great young men and I love them with all my heart.
Here are some of the pictures from the ceremony.
Now, I’ve also got a complete set of pictures of the boys from each of their graduations.
Today is an awesome day. It is the day that our youngest son will be graduating and closing the door on his high school years. Fear not though because a new door is opening for him and I am positive that amazing opportunities await him on the other side when he walks through that door and heads off to college in August.
I know that I am a bit partial, being his mother and all, but I am sure that there are those that would agree with me that Tim is an amazing young man. To say that I am proud of him and what he has achieved is an major understatement. He has an amazing work ethic, determination and resolve and he has demonstrated this in every task he undertakes. When we sat at senior awards last night and Tim was called to the stage several times, I can assure you that it was solely as a result that hard work and tenacity. The long hours, dedication and determination he showed in everything he did in high school were apparent and recognized last evening. These traits will serve him well in whatever he chooses to do in the years to come and whatever path he chooses to walk through life. I know that I am not alone when I say that I will miss his cheerfulness, helpfulness and his especially his singing when he departs for college next year.
Watching your child mature and flourish through the years is an amazing opportunity and I am privileged to say that I am “Tim’s mom”.
To my dear graduate and all his classmates, a heartfelt congratulations. Enjoy your special day, you worked towards it from the very first days of school. Revel in your accomplishments, it has truly been a job well done.
With all my love,
Tomorrow will be the last day of school for Tim. It will also be the last day of school for this mom, and this family, marking the end of an era. Tomorrow I will get up, make my last school breakfast and pack my last school lunch. I will send my (not so) little one off for his last day of high school. A week ago, we watched his last choral concert and celebrated our last music awards. Next week, we will sit through our final academic awards ceremony and we will enjoy our last high school graduation ceremony, with all its smiles and tears. It is but one of the many “lasts” that one experiences as the parent of the baby of the family who is growing up and heading off to college in the fall. Not much is written about the “lasts”, particularly when one considers exactly how saturated the media is with a child’s “firsts”– the first smile, the first steps, the first birthday, the first day of school. You can hardly throw a rock without coming across an article either making parents feel guilty or worried about those “firsts” – will you miss them, will you do the right thing when they happen, will you be there to preserve that first for all eternity?
Hardly anyone talks about the “lasts” associated with parenthood, but they are just as important. For many of us they signify a parental transition from moms and dads of school age children to empty nesters with kids off in the real world. I won’t lie, there is sadness in seeing 18 years of a set pattern of child raising ending and a comfortable routine coming to an end. Despite my occasional grumblings, for this mom, there will be no more high school concerts, no awards ceremonies, no prepping school lunches, signing homework or permission slips, baking for bake sales, and writing absence notes. No more need to juggle school, music and social calendars along with work obligations and meetings. Those days come to a screeching halt with the last day of school. It is sad, it is hard and it can make you cry (and it has for this mom).
However, in my effort to see things in a positive light, the “lasts” are also a celebration. These “lasts” have their own story to tell. It is a beautiful story. The “firsts” speak of the foray into parenthood; they speak of the newness, the anxiety, the unknown and the awkwardness of being a first time parent with all the worry and sleepless nights that are yet to come.
The “lasts” though, they celebrate a job well done. The lasts signify that we are survivors. We have endured our children’s friendships, broken bones, illnesses, academic challenges, teenage angst, stresses and broken hearts. We have survived the teenage years (for the most part) without strangling anyone, especially our children. We have lived through our children learning to drive and stayed up waiting on curfews and the sound of a car pulling into a driveway, signifying a safe arrival home. We have laughed, cried, worried, yelled, fought and smiled through all those years of being a parent. All those years between the “firsts” and the present. We have come out the other side of high school with young men and young women we can be so very proud of as human beings. We can sit back (just for a bit) and be amazed that these wonderful, kind, thoughtful, beautiful, giving, intelligent creatures came from our wombs. We can beam as our babies walk down the aisle for graduation. We can enjoy the felling of having our hearts swell 100x their size with pride and know that we have played a most instrumental part in shaping the young men and women that our children have become. We can send them off into the world knowing that we have done our best.
These “lasts” are wonderful memories of accomplishments and memories. They should be reveled in and celebrated as we embark on a new era in our, and our children’s, lives. Happy “lasts” to all of you and yours!
I love cooking and baking, but I think that I fall more on the side of cooking than baking. To me, baking is a science, or at least for me, it’s a science. There are precise measurements and instructions that need to be followed to ensure success. For me, cooking is a form of art. Recipes can easily be tweaked, ingredients swapped out easily. Recipes can be interpreted by the person doing the cooking, adding or subtracting a pinch of this or a touch of that and the result is a new dish, a new piece of art. I know that there are those that view baking the same way, but I am not one of them.
If you are one of them, if your passion lies amid pies, strudels and cupcakes then here is an opportunity for you, particularly if you don’t live here, but have always wanted to come and live in Vermont. There is a bakery in Waitsfield, Vermont that has a unique opportunity
for the baker (or baker wanna be) at heart. For $75, a 100 word letter and a cupcake recipe, you may be the next owner of a bakery nestled in one of the quaintest towns in the state.
Mix Cupcakerie and Kitchen is for sale and the owner is hoping through this unique contest of sorts, to find the perfect person to take over her dream. Kind of like a little Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory action, don’t you think?
Years ago, Tom and I became smitten with the Waitsfield area and dreamed of moving there. Alas, time and fate brought us to the mountain we call home in our little corner of Vermont. We are very happy, Vermont is wonderful, we have our dream. Perhaps, you can have yours. Here is the information to enter the contest. The owner is offering to mentor the new owner for 80 hours and give the lucky person all of her recipes to entice her regular customers to keep walking through the door. Also, I understand there is two months of rent and expenses paid for so you have the opportunity to get on your feet.
If baking is your passion good luck!
“Produced with Genetic Engineering”
This is one of the new labels that you will most likely see if Vermont’s GMO labeling law successfully avoids legal challenge and goes into effect as planned just about one year from now on July 1, 2016. The Vermont Attorney General’s office last week released the rules regarding the labeling of foods produced with genetic engineering that will guide manufacturers and producers of genetically engineering products for sale in this state.
What is covered:
1. Unpackaged food required to be labeled such as fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Packaged foods with genetic engineering offered for sale in Vermont including packaged raw agricultural commodities as well as processed foods.
What is exempt:
1. Animal products and foods bearing USDA approved labels
2. Foods certified as not produced with genetic engineering
3. Processing aids
4. Alcoholic beverages
5. Foods containing genetically engineered materials where the weight of the genetically materials is less than .9 percent of the total weight of the food
6. Foods verified by a qualifying organization – such as food certified as “organic” in accordance with USDA National Organic Program accreditations.
7. Food for immediate consumption such as unpackaged foods served in restaurants.
8. Medical food as defined by federal law.
The entire set of rules adopted by the Attorney General can be found here.
On Monday, the Federal Court denied the Grocery Manufacturing Association’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the law beginning on July 1, 2016. This was a positive result for Vermont, the “david” in this david versus goliath battle. Vermont is the first state in the nation to pass and put into effect a GMO labeling law and opponents of the law were quick to file a complaint in federal court seeking to have the new law invalidated. This request for an injunction was the first step for the opponents to see if they would be able to have the court order that the law could not go into effect until the litigation was finalized.
While this was rather important and justifiably was splashed across the news around the country, not many reported that there was a second part to that ruling. While the opponents were seeking to have the court grant injunctive relief, the state of Vermont filed its own application seeking to dismiss, at least in part, the opponent’s claim. Vermont was predominantly unsuccessful on it application to dismiss various claims. For example, in response to the opponent’s claim that the labeling violates First Amendment rights, the court ruled: The court believes that Act 120’s affirmative labeling requirement is not barred by the First Amendment, but denies Vermont’s motion to dismiss the First Amendment challenge because the court recognizes that this is a serious question of law as to which courts might disagree; but the court finds that Act 120’s ban on the term “natural” does violate the First Amendment.
The court did dismiss the opponent’s claim that the labeling law violated the Commerce clause stating that the Act’s affirmative labeling law did not violate the Commerce clause since the labeling requirement only applied to products sold in Vermont. The court in its ruling was skeptical of some of the plaintiff opponent’s claims of a constitutional nature, but since this was a preliminary application, the court was reluctant to outright dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as a whole.
As has happened many times in the past, all eyes will continue to be on Vermont as this law and the legal challenge to it unfolds.
Siblings. A lot of us have them. They are our link to our parents and the only ones that know what it was really like growing up in our house. They are our biggest fans and can be our worst enemies since they know everything about us, they know our kryptonite and sometimes aren’t afraid to use it, especially when we are young and gullible. Siblings-you gotta love them, you’re bound by blood.
I am the oldest in my family and I have one of each type of sibling, a brother and a sister. The years that separate us in age diminished as we grew into adulthood as spouses and parents. I love my siblings and cannot imagine life without them. When things go bad or are really good, it is my siblings that I want to share it with. We’ve laughed together more than I can recall and cried and held each other when that was what one of us needed.
We have instilled in our boys the idea that they are all they’ve got. They will have each other long after my husband and I have been reabsorbed by the world around us (sounds a lot nicer doesn’t it than saying when we’re wormfood). We are lucky because our boys never really had those knock-down, drag out fights that we’ve heard about from some of our friends. (Oh don’t get me wrong, there was the infamous Tonka truck episode when the older two ticked the youngest off). They were each other’s first friends and probably best friends for a number of years before their worlds expanded. Today, I am proud that they revel in each other’s accomplishments and empathize in each other’s disappointments. It is with a proud mama heart that I watch this and know that I had something to do with it. I hope that as with my own siblings, these bonds grow deeper and stronger as the years pile on.
To those of you with siblings, enjoy them. Laugh, cry, joke and tease – it is what we know and what makes our sibling relationships so very special.
To my own siblings, Happy Sibling Day, I cannot imagine a world without you in it.
Me, your older (and wiser) sister